Denali Northern Expenditure

Category: Goodness Page 1 of 4

Tricking Ourselves Into Learning

Tricking Ourselves Into Learning

Everything we do teaches us something. Life is all about tricking ourselves into learning.

Penny’s Big Invention

Penny had a big school project last year where they got to invent something. It sounded like an amazing idea and I was very excited to see what she would come up with. You know what she invented? A pencil box. Made out of paper. (So I’m not counting on her invention skills to get us to early retirement quite yet!) But instead of saying: “Hey Penny, see that plastic pencil box you’re using that actually holds the pens because it’s a durable material? It’s already been invented!”… I let it go to see what would happen. Surely the teacher would tell her it was a terrible idea and help her come up with a better one. But guess what? She did not.

Putting Process Over Product

I know, you educators are probably eons above me in this story and you can already see where it’s headed, but Penny’s teacher didn’t care about the product. Instead, she used the invention project to teach the kids through the process. Penny may not be winning any invention awards, but she learned the process of inventing. She had to make a working prototype. She had to work with a team. In order to do that, they had to learn Google Docs to share their notes. They learned how to put together a powerpoint presentation (filled with funny GIFs and cute kitty pictures). None of this felt like work to Penny because she was so excited about their amazing paper pencil box, she was excited to do what had to be done.

Tricking Ourselves Into Learning

As grown ups, these same situations often arise, but I feel like sometimes we ignore the lessons. If something’s hard, we want to forget it and move on instead of analyze what we’ve learned and move forward. Because we choose to ignore the lessons, we don’t emerge any different.

Though this applies to all circumstances, this is primarily a personal finance blog, so I think we should talk about money. I’ve witnessed tragic financial circumstances. When people hit rock bottom, they just want to start over. Everyone needs a fresh start sometime. But these people need help.

This is what I’ve learned from witnessing these situations. And I’m better for it. If we’re able to learn from the situations of others as well as our own, our education expands exponentially.

Get yourselves out into the world. Do good. Help others. When we get ourselves out there and interact with others, we are tricking ourselves into learning. But it’s up to us to apply the lessons.

What lessons have you learned from the situations of others?

Mosaic Thoughts After a School Shooting

“Mosaic thoughts” means these thoughts are all over the place and the only connector is the most recent school shooting:

Life is Heavy Sometimes

The weight of this school shooting really hit me the next day after I dropped Lui off at preschool. I returned home to an empty house and instead of getting anything done at all, I just wept. For a really long time. I cried again later that day when I heard Pink’s song on the radio: “What about us? What about all the times you said you had the answers?” – We’re failing our children. And it hurts.

The weight really made me ask myself a few questions this week:

  • If any of my family members died today, would they die knowing I love them? What was the last thing I said to them and how did I say it?
  • If I knew any of my children had just one year left to live, what would I change about this next year?
  • With so much darkness in the world, how can I bring light?

Light up YOUR world

I can’t solve the world’s problems. I can’t change the hate that gets thrown around on a daily basis. But I CAN brighten my world. I focused more on that this week. I spent time in my son’s preschool class. I collected clothes for twin baby boys that were born in Anchorage from the bush so they could go home equipped. I brought dinner to another new mom. I snuggled with my kids.

Each day I need to focus on lighting up some part of my world. And if you do the same, eventually, the world will be a better place. I truly believe that.

Fighting is Better than Hiding

Our school district recently moved over from lock down drills to ALICE training. The big difference is that the kids used to hide behind coats and be really quiet and basically wait to die. Now, they actively barricade, run, zig zag, throw things, etc. I MUCH prefer this for two main reasons:

  1. Empowerment – The demeanor of my kids explaining ALICE drills is TOTALLY different than how they used to explain lock down drills. After hiding in coats and trying not to breathe, they were so scared. Now, they have an active plan. They’re excited they get to take control. They no longer have to wait to see if they’ll be the one to die. They’ll ACT. When we have a plan for things, we don’t feel as scared about them. Instead, we’ll be prepared to jump into action because…
  2. Statistics – The chance my kids will be involved in a school shooting is still statistically very low. I absolutely think they should prepare kids for that event even if the chances are slim, but the trauma of pretending to wait to die is so much worse than giving them tools to fight back and succeed. The drills are hard no matter what. You’re telling kids that a bad guy may enter your safe space and kill you. That’s never easy. But it’s the truth. And if we have the truth AND tools, we can move past the fear of that event happening.

Some Things are More Important

Six weeks into each year, I realize I’ve set my goals too big. I take too much on. This year is no different. And this event happened at the exact same time. It really shook me out of thinking: “You’re failing at everything you set out to do” and instead got me thinking: “You’re failing those things because you’ve been focusing on what’s important.” It’s hard to remember that playing with your kids instead of writing a blog post is the right choice. When you’re constantly reading about personal finance and entrepreneurship, it’s hard to remember that spending time watching the olympics with your family instead of throwing yourself neck-deep into work is the right choice. But those are the choices I’ve been choosing.

So I’m not failing at all.

Baby It's Cold Outside: Don't Have to Be Old to Retire

Baby It’s Cold Outside: Don’t Have to Be Old to Retire

Here’s our annual holiday hit and follow-up to last year’s song. This year’s is to the tune of Baby It’s Cold Outside, but our version is called: “Don’t Have to Be Old to Retire.” Mr. T wrote the words and they are a very exaggerated version of our usual conversations around the Banks house (he’s the spender). I will reiterate VERY EXAGGERATED. But he wrote it and he’s singing this year, so everyone is very excited! Enjoy!

Happy Holidays friends! We’ll see you in 2018!

Love, the Banks

Our Focus on Gratitude

Our Focus on Gratitude

2017 has been a crazy ride for us, but we know we have so much to be grateful for! Today’s post is a reflection of our focus on gratitude.

What Northern Expenditure has done for us:

Sure, we don’t make money off this blog (I think we managed to break even this year!), but this blog has been amazing in so many ways. As we reflect on the things we’re grateful for, we obviously start with family, friends, better health, our home, our jobs, and the opportunities we have. Focusing specifically on this blog, we’re grateful for:

You – our readers

I know, I know. I’ll try not to get too sappy, but I LOVE it when you comment or send me an email about your own journey. It makes it all worth it.

This blogging community

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started the blog, but I certainly didn’t expect making so many good friends I would fly across the country just to hang out with them for a week in Texas (for FinCon). There’s also a handful of my closest blogger friends that have been so awesome. How sad I would be to miss out on those friendships if I hadn’t decided to jump in!

Strange opportunities

Through this blog, I have had the opportunity to dabble in SEO work, freelance writing, freelance research, and without the blog, I would not have found out about Merch by Amazon.

As we gather with our local friends tomorrow to eat turkey and Mr. T’s pies, know that I am thankful for this little corner of the internet that we have created and your part in that.

Happy Thanksgiving (US) friends – (international friends: please eat pie to celebrate anyway. There’s no bad day for pie.)

The World Has Enough

The World Has Enough

Lately, the news has been full of fires and floods. Seems like half of the United States is on fire (including my dear Oregon) and the other half is under water. And that’s just the United States! Add in genocide and more flooding in Asia, the international refugee crisis… the list goes on and on and on.

The World Has Enough

Now, it makes total sense that if we could just haul all the water from Houston and Florida that isn’t wanted there and pour it all over Oregon, Colorado, and all the other fires, our problems would be solved!

Read More

How I use Evernote for Everything

How I Use Evernote to Organize Everything

Evernote is another free tool that I use extensively every single day. While Evernote is free (in the basic versions), I do recommend purchasing the basic version of Evernote Essentials. I paid full price for this guide to Evernote and it was totally worth every penny.

An Introduction to Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking service that is SO. MUCH. MORE. When you open an account, you start with just a blank slate and the ability to write notes and create notebooks (notes in notebooks and notebooks in notebook stacks is the filing system of Evernote). It’s basic. It’s easy. Maybe TOO basic and easy. This is where Evernote Essentials comes in. Brett Kelly tells you all the ins and outs and cool things you can do and how to get started so you don’t regret your notebook structure later. (Evernote actually hired him to work for them after his first version of the book!) Evernote allows you to write notes, lock notes, make checklists, clip websites directly, link with Google Drive, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff!

My Recipe Book on Evernote

Read More

How I use Google Calendar

How I Use Google Calendar To Stay Organized

Google calendar is a free tool available through your Google account. Maybe your Apple calendaring system can do the same things, but we’re a heavily Google-integrated family (our budget is on Google drive) and here’s how we use Google calendar to stay organized.

Keeping Two Adults in Sync

Mr. T and I have totally different things going on. He goes to work, I juggle all sorts of things during the daytime and we each have different responsibilities with work, etc. We keep it all in line by having synced Google calendars. I keep mine updated and so does Mr. T. As soon as I make an appointment, it’s in the calendar. This means that we both know what the other is doing. When Mr. T sees that I’ll be at a Church youth activity, he knows he has to be home during that time. When I see Mr. T is helping someone move on Saturday, I know that I’m home. It’s implied with 3 kids that we’re going to work together on taking care of them. If there’s a scheduling conflict, that’s when we have an actual face-to-face conversation about the calendar. “I just found out I have a work meeting the morning you scheduled to ride your bike to work. Is it possible to switch bike-commuting to the next day to help get the kids to school during my meeting?” Because we’re both awesome, these conversations are quick and solutions reached easily.

Keeping the Kids Organized

Read More

You Are Your Own Agent: A Pep Talk

You Are Your Own Agent: A Pep Talk

At the beginning of the year, I was about to attempt a new freelance opportunity that I hadn’t done before. I was struggling with selling myself and setting prices that I would be happy with later (especially because the project was unlike any I had yet done). Do you know who gave me the greatest pep talk of all time? Revanche over at A Gai Shan Life.

The Original Pep Talk:

If you were negotiating on my behalf like my agent, what would you be proud of telling me that you’d gotten as a rate? Don’t think of it as selling yourself, think of it as letting them know the circumstances under which you can work together. They’re not doing you a favor, you’re providing an excellent service they want and they need to compensate you fairly or it’s not a relationship worth your time. Puff up that chest with a huge breath, let it out and calmly imagine them being THRILLED to be working with you. That’s the feeling you want to have going in and coming out, and quote them from that mindspace.

So good, right?

You Are Your Own Agent

Read More

Your Spring Will Come

Your Spring Will Come

Sometimes in the thick of winter, it is hard to remember spring will come. I did not truly understand the redemption spring symbolized until moving to Alaska. In this state, winter means darkness and hibernation. The plants feel winter approaching and shed their leaves and turn brown. All signs of plant life recede and the ground looks dead. As the sunlight returns and the snow melts, the earth looks hopeless. The ground is flooded, littered, and barren. How can life possibly emerge from this? Then, it does. From the barren ground, the sprouts emerge. Over just a few weeks, the world that looked so brown and dead is brought to life. The plants that looked hopeless burst into life all at once.

Your Spring Will Come

The symbolism of spring is a poignant reminder that life is not made of just winters. It is also made of springs, summers, and autumns. Maybe you’re in the midst of a winter. Health, family, or financial setbacks take their toll. They dim the sun and plunge us into a season of winter. Some winters are darker than others. Sometimes, in the midst of the darkness, we feel like spring couldn’t possibly be the next season. Life can’t emerge from such darkness, we think.

Read More

Am I Happy? Stop Looking Outside Yourself.

Am I Happy? Stop Looking Outside Yourself.

We introduced our children to Wii Fit recently and they’ve been loving it. Florin, my 6-year-old, will finish every single game and then say: “Am I happy?” and wait to see if her character is excited (happens when played well) or sad (happens when played poorly). She can roll down the entire hill crashing into things in Wii Fit Skiing and STILL be surprised when her character is crying. On the flip side, she can do an amazing Wii Fit ski jump, but she won’t be happy or excited about it until her character starts jumping up and down with excitement.

Read More

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén