All things that include family, friends, well, just life…

5 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self

Why is it when May rolls around each year, we suddenly feel ourselves going warp speed? We now have two college graduates and I feel the tears flowing inside (I am not much of a public crier). I can’t believe those cute little blond kiddos are grown up and starting their lives.

As I look back on the past couple of weeks, I realize that life is so short. If I were to visit my 20 year-old self, I would have some things I would like to tell her.

1. Don’t Major in Music

Especially don’t double major in music. I have two (nearly three) degrees in music. What do I do today? I am a user experience engineer and I teach flute lessons and write music for fun on the weekends.

It’s not that I regret my music degrees, I just have to fight twice as hard for where I am today, not making enough money with music. I have to make a living so having reliable work is imperative at this point in my life. If I had gotten a degree in business or marketing, I would have more of an edge in the business I had before the tech bubble and also in today’s workplace.

Minor in music only and enjoy all the fun gigs as a hobby. Get the knowledge in business or something you can use in the future.

2. Be Vulnerable

This area of my life needs the most improvement. Being one of the few women in music composition and web development over the years, I felt I had to be strong and never let anyone know how I feel. Looking back, this may have been a big disadvantage in my life. It’s not too late for being vulnerable in my work (user experience). It’s an ongoing thing that I am working with.

Being vulnerable will open many doors for you and help you grow in your work.

3. Be Intentional About Your Friends

Here at Ramsey Solutions, we surround ourselves with awesome people we call ‘thoroughbreds’, people that are well-rounded in every way, great personality, have a passion for the mission here, not afraid to work hard, the best in their field, etc. I wish I had been more open-minded and reached out to the thoroughbreds of my school days, as I feel we would still be inseparable friends and encouraged each other throughout life’s hardships and victories.

Today, I have learned to hang out with those that share the same passions, great work ethics, and best at what they do.

4. Don’t Lead Them On

This is a hard one to write about. For me at least. I believe that God leads us to the right people at the right time. The journey to that ‘God’ point was painful, as I learned a lot about myself and areas I needed to improve. Along the way, it seemed I led some hopefuls in thinking there was a future with me. I am truly happy in my life and with my husband. God knew what he was doing when he put us together.

My advice is to be transparent with your feelings when talking to the ones you are closest to or have meaningful relationships with.

5. Be Fearless

Anxiety sucks. I apparently was a very anxious kid growing up and throughout my college days. I finally got help and feel 110% better. In the early days, I used to throw up before every solo performance. I used to be sick for days at a time when a big event was about to happen. I was a mess! With anxiety, comes fear. Lots of fear. It crippled me in everything I did. It kept me from moving forward with my dreams. Don’t let this happen to you! Don’t be afraid. That’s resistance, and resistance will never quit. It will drag you down. It indicates what you want to do is what you should do.


Leave a comment about what you would share with your younger self.

Gatlinburg, TN - Ober Ski Lift

We are Debt Free!

Some bit of exciting news from the Sullivans…

On the Friday morning of August 26, 2016, Dewayne and I paid our last debt payment on the credit card. We are debt free!

We want to tackle the house mortgage, but that will wait until Baby Step 3 is done. We also have two college students graduating within the coming months, so we need to plan gifts for them as well. Going to be a fun ride.

If you are wondering how we were able to get debt free, we followed Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps in Financial Peace University, we were careful with our finances, and most importantly, we prayed. Both Dewayne and I highly recommend you go through this 9-lesson money course. I promise it will change your life like it has changed ours. You can take Financial Peace with others (highly recommended) or by yourself at your own pace.

Can you imagine not having to worry about a monthly car payment, student loan payment, or even credit card payments?! We are stoked because now we can save money for things that really matter. It is possible to get out of debt. Please do it before Murphy strikes again. 😉

What did we do to celebrate?

We went to Gatlinburg, TN and paid for the entire trip in cash!

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Be Brave and Be Different for the 2016 Election

This year’s 2016 Presidential Election in America has been quite the circus. I am not going to persuade you to vote for anyone, nor am I going to disclose which party I am affiliated with. None of that matters. It really doesn’t.

For this election, I am getting the feeling that people who are normally affiliated with a party are feeling discouraged. The two major parties that get way too much attention in America are muddied in political views, dishonesty, crudeness, lack of leadership, not wise, corrupt, and the list goes on.

Know who you are voting for already?

That’s awesome! You are probably in a much better spot than most people. I can visualize how the lines are going to be very long AND slow at the polls because one glance at the presidential ballot will cause panic, causing one to eventually be forced to choose a name on the list.

Don’t have a clue who to vote for?

You are not alone.

Did you know that only 9% of America choose Trump and Clinton as the nominees at the moment? That’s not a lot of people. You are probably wondering what about that other 91% of people. The NY Times does an awesome job describing this with an interactive map. Basically, the ballots are open for other people this year.

Who do you side with?

So you may already know who you are voting for, or maybe you do not. Either way, I highly urge you to go to this amazing interactive site called I Side With. Put in your response and you will get a very comprehensive list of current presidential candidates that are running and which issues you side with. I learned a lot about myself by taking this free quiz.

Take the I Side With Quiz

In Conclusion

I know I am agnostic about politics, but I also want to make the choice each election to ensure that the person I vote for will side with the issues that are important to me. I urge you to do your research before you step up to the polling machine.

To fail is being afraid to vote for whom you think will be the best president. If you don’t voice your opinion at the polls, the candidate you feel isn’t ready for the presidency may win.

Be brave and choose the right person for the job. Don’t be afraid to write a candidate in if you feel like the ones on the ballot just aren’t capable of changing our future in America for the better.

Good luck at the polls and see you on the flip side!

P.S. Share your results from I Side With in the comments below… if you dare 🙂

Selfie Inception at Fall Creek Falls State Park (Tennessee)

Fun with the Family on Labor Day 2016

Believe it or not, Dewayne and I had a day together to do something fun. We decided to go to Fall Creek Falls, a beautiful Tennessee state park near Spencer, TN. So, we packed a picnic and grabbed Yuxin (our Chinese exchange daughter) and headed on the 1.5 hour trek to the sticks.

Selfie of a Selfie

Selfie Inception

Once we got there, we drove around and saw some beautiful scenery on the overlooks that are along the loop road. We got tired of that soon after and decided that we needed some exercise after that long drive and wanted to take a hike. So, we found one of the main trails and made our way through the woods with gusto and enthusiasm. Cue to one hour later, we are literally climbing up and down rocks and logs on the side of a mountain, our enthusiasm completely gone, with sweat dripping down our backs. Crap! I didn’t realize how out of shape I was. I didn’t feel so bad when I saw all the other passersbys were in anguish as well.

Our final hiking trail we did consisted of the top of the Cane Creek falls. Because it has been a hot and dry summer, the water was very low. This allowed us to be able to literally walk on rocks across the creek at the top of the falls to the very edge overlooking a deep green pool at the bottom.

With my feet hanging off the edge of the falls, it was a reminder of how big this world is and how much of it I haven’t explored. There was the God moment where I felt overwhelmed by the beauty. I am grateful for days like this.

Feet hanging over the edge of Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Feet hanging over the edge of Cane Creek Falls at Fall Creek Falls

Bleep the Joneses Rooftop Party in downtown Nashville, TN

Party with the Bleep the Joneses

Bleep the Joneses After Party by Ramsey Solutions - The Ride

As part of our reward for our band, Bleep the Joneses, winning Ramsey Solutions Battle of the Bands 2016, a huge rooftop party at the Aerial in Nashville was held for the band including team members, family, and friends.

One of the perks was the huge limo that came to pick us up at work to take us downtown to Nashville. It was awesome riding with my friends through the crazy rain (hmmm… what about the electrical equipment on a roof in a rain storm?).

Bleep the Joneses After Party Guitar Madness

Once there at the Aerial Nashville, there was a ton of cheering from family and friends. It was awesome. I actually felt important, something that I never get to experience. The food was pretty amazing. My favorite was the bacon-wrapped date. Oh my gosh! My mouth waters thinking about it. Oh, and did I mention there was a southern bar with biscuits and gravy? Well, I avoided that altogether since I am celiac. I did find the bacon though.

Two of the bands, Bleep the Joneses and Brothers Brotique, performed. We did have some challenges as I hinted. Rain + Electrical Equipment = Disaster. Our power went out including the electrical equipment shorting out from being wet. We finally managed to rig up something so our guitarist, Gawain, could do some magic with his 9-string custom guitar.

Most importantly, it was amazing to see the turnout of all the family, friends, and teammates. This is by far the best party I have been to in a very long time. Thank you, Ramsey Solutions, for allowing this to happen. The culture here is amazing and encourages me to work even harder.