Why I Loved Today

Today was an uneventful day.

I bought paper towels without freaking out (even though I price shopped them at Target and ended up buying them at CVS). I filled up my gas tank even though it still had half a tank. We had Sunday supper out with our kids. We went to the pumpkin patch with my grandson. I took a 2-hour nap.

What was amazing about today was that I didn’t fret about money. Not once.

I felt the chill of the almost Halloween weather. I sang at church. There were no deadlines, no important meetings, no bills to pay.

Ahhhh, the sanctity of Sunday.

What was beautiful about today was that for the first time in many years I felt at peace. Money didn’t enter my thoughts. I didn’t obsess how we’d make it through the week.

I didn’t worry about tomorrow. I thoroughly and contently made peace with today. Thank you God.

The financial comeback is brewing…I can feel it.


What The Male Gurus Won’t Tell You that Every Woman Entrepreneur Wants To Know

I love examining the differences between men and women in business.

Women speak of passion and pursuit and of living their dream. Men talk about…cold hard CASH. If it doesn’t make them any money, they simply don’t do it.

Women on the other hand toil and stress and would virtually go without eating to make their dream business a success. I’m not saying it’s not good to be passionate, I’m saying if it’s not making you any money and you call it a business, then you have to decide when and if to stop.

Men will call their business “worldwide” even when it’s a chair and a desk in their basement. I used to have a Freight moving client that called his operation “XXXXX Worldwide.” I marveled that he felt qualified to call it that. There wasn’t anything worldwide about it, except he occasionally moved some freight into other countries.

My marketing consulting firm generated solid six-figure income over a period of years. However, I still worried that someone might find out I was working from home. Unbelievable.

Men have no trouble calling themselves the CEO or the President. Women rarely throw titles around.

Men are better at delegating. Women try to do it all.

3 Lessons the Male Gurus Won’t Tell You That Every Women Entrepreneur Needs to Know:

Lesson #1: Don’t worry, make money. Money is an important indicator of success and results.

Lesson #2: It’s okay to look and act bigger than you actually are. Coca-Cola only sold 9 bottles of Coke their first day in business.

Lesson #3: Get help. You can’t do it all.

10 Great Careers for Work-At-Home Moms

I’m a blogger. The way my husband says it you’d think I was a blah-gher because he can’t fathom that people can earn a living and make a difference sitting behind a computer doing what I do.

But you can.

I’ve taken subjects near and dear to my heart and turned them into a place of refuge for women. I want Moms to be home with their babies. I want families to get out of debt. I want women to love their lives. I want home to be a sanctuary. I want everyone over 50 to cut up their Aarp cards and truly live.

Was this blog successful on day one. No. It was simply a functional websites. Nothing special. But as I poured my heart and my soul and my business savvy into it, it became something. It grew and morphed into something more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

Along the way, EncouragementToGo helped people. It probably helped me most of all.

I’m a blogger. An author. A writer. A philosopher. An entrepreneur. A speaker. A motivator. An encourager. A cheerleader. An internet whiz.

My blog site made me nothing (zilch, zero), before it made me something. I had to have faith. Dennis had to have faith that it was going to become something. He had to believe in me despite the fact that I’ve business failures and boon times. I’ve made alot and I’ve made a little.

I had vision. I created something in my mind long before it became anything physical. When you’re ready, it’ll be time for you to create something special too.

10 Great Careers for Work-At-Home Moms

Great Career #1: Blogger
Do you like to write? Becoming a blogger can be a full-time job. And, you can’t put up a blog and expect people to come. That takes marketing. If you’re business savvy, there are unlimited ways to make money online with your blog.

Great Career #2: Seller
Buy and sell things on-line. Ebay. Craigs List. Etsy. Or create your own proprietary site and get known for one special thing.

Great Career #3: Virtual Assistant
Until a few short years ago, no one even knew what a virtual assistant was. Now, you can help an unlimited number of workers/CEO’s and entrepre eurs juggle the tasks they hate. This position is awesome if you’ve got great organizational and administrative skills.

Great Career #4: Direct Seller
Have you heard of Stelle & Dot? Mary Kay? Silpada? Tastefully Simple. All are direct marketing companies which use consultants to market their products. You’ll earn a commission, get some great leadership training and gain an extensive network of people when you utilize your sales skills.

Great Career #5: Information Marketer
This career is simply that, selling information. People love information. We can’t get enough. Make money providing it.

Great Career #6: Event Planner
Love weddings? Plan great parties? Turn it into the business of your dreams. How you charge depends on you. You can be commission-based (taking a percentage from the vendors you use, usually 10-15%) or fee based charging a project fee for your services.

Great Career #7: Real Estate Developer
You don’t have to be Donald Trump to be good at real estate. In fact, because women aren’t as power driven, I think we’re actually better at real estate than men. You’re not going to be a real estate agent (that’s a 24/7 job). You’re going to perhaps buy one or two properties a year and fix them up. Will this take some capital? Yes.

Great Career #8: Consultant
My first work-at-home position after I fired my boss was a marketing consultant. I took what I knew how to do (which was market things) and translated it into a business for insurance companies, computer companies and a variety of other industries. I owned this business for the almost 12 years before I tired of the client demands. What’s your expertise? Can you parlay it into a paying gig?

Great Career #9: Dog-Walker
I always say that people are crazy about their kids but they’re beszerk about their pets. They’ll pay virtually anything to know that Fido is well taken care of. You can even walk multiple dogs at the same time. I live in an apartment complex that’s filled with dogs. An email or door hanger around town, wallah! You’re in business.

Great Career #10: Extreme Couponer
This isn’t about what you’ll make…this is about what you’ll save. Working at home is about making more…it’s about how the money is distributed. Can you save your family enough money each month by couponing to pay the car payment? (PS. Your savings from getting rid of day care alone should be enough to buy you a good used car.)

These 10 great careers are just a tiny smidge of what’s available out there. If you can dream it, you can do it. Just remember, you have to make money. Passion isn’t enough.

Is Revenge Good?

Last week I was a vision of character and grace. Bear with me and I’ll tell you why.

I’m hooked on ABC’s newest evening soap opera “Revenge” in which Emily Thorne lives solo in the Hamptons in a mega-mansion and executes a master plot to avenge the death of her father 10 years earlier. While she is masterminding and scheming to rip the rug out from under the lives of those who took her Dads, she ever so sweetly attends Hampton galas with ladies who lunch.

I’ve never aspired to the ladies who lunch lifestyle so I can’t figure out what’s got me so intriqued. I’d love to have the Hamptons mansion she lives in but I don’t think that’s why I watch. I think it’s the thought of sweet revenge. Getting back at someone who took something from you with malice.

Last Friday morning I sat in the Hy-Vee grocery store cafe while my husband Dennis and I ate huge helpings of biscuits and gravy and hash browns. While washing it down with an enormous Diet Coke, I noticed a couple sitting 2 booths over. They looked familiar. I scanned my memory. I couldn’t place them.

And then it hit me. He was the creep who stole $200,000 from my husband and I in a real estate deal.

You’d think his image would be seared in my brain forever. His boney little wife with dyed black hair sat ever so sweetly eating her eggs while I was channeling Emily Thorne in my own way.

Should I say something? Embarrass them publicly. Throw my hash browns in his lap and walk off? Hurl 4-letter words. No. I would do none of those.

I simply sat with a smirk on my face. I knew they’d seen me. Now I was the one getting to make them uncomfortable, if even for a short 20 minutes. They knew who I was.

They darted off into the store, seeing if they could escape my glares. Somehow, I kept running into them. With glee I kept making them more uncomfortable.

I’m still $200,000 down. But just the fact that I could make them squirm was a teeny-weeny little bit of satisfaction. They knew they’d done us wrong. It showed in their demeanor. I was a vision of character and grace. (I didn’t dare tell my husband they were there, he’d have his own version of Revenge.)

Perhaps bad karma is the best revenge. We may not get to see how someone whose done us wrong is affected, but I can guarantee you, they are.

For now, I’ll just keeping watching Revenge. It makes me feel better.

Would You Have The Guts?

Finished reading Stephanie Madoff Mack’s new book “The End of Normal” in one sitting Saturday. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

Stephanie is the 34-year old widow of Mark Madoff who was left agonizingly and sadly alone with her two babies to raise when he killed himself to rid himself of the pain of his father’s legacy.

If you still don’t get who she is, she is Bernie Madoff’s daughter-in-law. Bernie Madoff, formerly the King of Wall Street, is now serving 150 years in federal prison for bilking $65 billion (yes, that’s with a b) off his investor’s.

Why did I love this book? Because Stephanie got real. She told the truth. She took her pain and put it into something worth fighting for…her and her children’s futures. She gave a voice to a man who had lost his (her husband Mark). She showed great courage and hutzpah in the face of lawsuits, threats, pure emotional meltdown and family calamity.

She had nothing…yet she had nothing to lose.

She stood up against the monster of a family legacy that Bernie Madoff himself had created. She watched her entire world fall apart, yet she refused to quit.

Would you have the guts to do the same? Would I? If everything you knew to be true was told to be a lie this very day, would you be able to go on? What would matter?

Women like Stephanie make the world a better place to be. They defy evil. They look for good. They don’t profess to be Wonder Woman or Mother Teresa. They fall down into heaps and crawl and scratch their way back into an upright position.

Read the book. The woman is worth knowing. She’s lovely inside and out. What she stands for is downright captivating.

What Does a Well-Lived Life Look Like?

I attended my friends’ Dads memorial service yesterday. He was 75 and died watching Monday night football and reading the Wall Street Journal. Two of the things he loved most in life.

I watched as his 5 children shared their most poignant memories of life with their Dad. I kept hearing the same words…relationships, people, God, joy, happiness, sharing, cooking, travel and Kansas City Chiefs. They seemed to reverberate throughout every single person’s words without ever being said exactly the same.

The grandchildren shared. His grandson exuberantly and without tears said “Grandpa, you were a great Grandpa. I’m gonna miss you so much. You taught me how to fish, how to watch football, how to treat a woman by watching how you treated my Grandma.”


My 20-year old son leaned over to me during the service and said “Now that’s a man who knew how to live.” Which got me into my writer mode thinking…what is a well-lived life?

What will they say about me when I’m gone? My son filled that one in with he’s going to host a parade and throw candy and have Kansas City’s most famous marching cobras band lead the way. Whatever.

What is a well lived life? Ken Zagnoni’s life was a well-lived life. This is what it looked like.

The Well-Lived Life

When you spend your time working on relationships, making people smile and when your children and grandchildren not only love you, but respect you, that is a well-lived life. When you bring meaning to many simply by being who God designed you to be, that is divine. When you make people your purpose, your passion and your pursuit, life takes on a beauty that radiates like the sun. Life is messy. Bad things happen. But when you wake each morning focused on God and His glorious goodness, each day becomes a reason to celebrate. May the well-lived life be a light to many, a gift to the generations and a legacy to follow. Few complete the travels this magically. It is a journey worth remembering.
The Well-Lived Life is Copyrighted 2011 Cheryl Thompson, EncouragementToGo™

Thanks Ken for sharing your well-lived life with us. I could only hope to do as well.

When Will It Ever Get Good Again?

As we began turning our Titantic of debt around, there were still moments (and still are) that paralyzed me. We’d have $24.00 in the bank account before Dennis’ payday and that felt like a big win to me. Then, I’d get a notice from the bank that a check to one of my vendors had been returned for $150.00 and I’d go into a tailspin.

I made everything, every step about me.

There were times when debt had become “our story,” “our legacy.” There wasn’t a conversation with my friends when debt wasn’t discussed in some way, shape or form. I hated being defined by my failure, especially when we were trying so hard to make good on all our debts.

We hadn’t walked away in bankruptcy.

We weren’t one of those who denied what had happened.

We didn’t blame it on the market, or on anybody else.

We took responsibility for our actions.

It still hurt. It was still stifling. It made me question everything about myself and the woman I was. How could I have made these stupid decisions? How could I have lost so much?

When would life ever get good again? Would we ever feel carefree? Would the debt ever really equal zero?

The answer to “will life ever get good again” is that life is good again. It never stopped being good. We have 3 incredible children. We have dear friends. Dennis’ parents are young at heart. We live in a beautiful apartment and drive fairly nice (but not new, 175,000 miles+) cars. Both our daughter’s are married to men they love.

We have a 2-year old grandson who lights up every room he steps into. I’ve created more of my writing and art in the past 5 years than I did in the past 45 put together. I’m using this blog to help people get out of their own debt.

We serve a great and living God. We eat well and sleep well. We just celebrated 30 years of marriage, and we’re still deeply in love.

Life never stopped being good. Our perception of life was what had changed. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing small things. Things that tell me life is just going to keep getting better and better. The sun looks brighter. The wind feels crisper. The vegetable soup that I cooked yesterday tasted amazing. Fewer and fewer bills are showing up in the mailbox. I’m organized like I’ve never been in 50 years.

As the debt goes down, my spirits go up. I know I shouldn’t have tied my normally good attitude and my self-worth to the debt, but I did. There were times when the debt felt like it was strangling the life out of both of us.

I contemplated buying a pack of gum yesterday. It had 60 pieces and cost $2.88. Should I? (Why is this big…because before debt I would’ve bought it without thinking. Now, I don’t buy anything without thinking.)

If you’re fighting your own debt monster, know that it will get good again. I promise. Stay in the fight…look for the good…I’ll stay with you.