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The Importance of Accountability


Sorry for the radio silence the last two weeks. It’s been a bit of a rough go. Had some family health issues and some work mess tacked on top. I’m not quite ready to unpack it yet but I’ll circle back to share soon.

Instead, let’s talk about accountability. I swore off the Cheetos I’d been devouring but left to my own devices… I jumped right back into that bag very shortly after swearing it off. I kept up the exercise, something that always boosts my mood, but fell off the wagon when it came to food.

My husband is a great accountability partner – except when it comes to food. If I’ve had a bad day, he comforts me with food. If I’m crying, he’ll pour me a glass of wine. Food is his ‘love language’. I wasn’t sure what to do. I needed someone to force me into controlling my eating habits.

My brother and I, while sharing a donut, complained about recent weight gain thanks to being home bound. “Wanna make a bet? We have to pay each other $55 if we don’t meet a stretch fitness goal?” I asked.

Cash. Always a way to make me do something.

“Yeah!” he said.

I started a group text with four of my siblings, three of their spouses, my husband, and my mom. I challenged all of them to set a stretch fitness goal. If it wasn’t met in 6 weeks, we’d have to pay $55 into a pot to be split by the people who did meet their goals.

The challenge expired this week and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a long time. It forced me to eat healthy and exercise daily. Over the last six weeks, we have cheered, laughed, and taunted each other. I text “GET AFTER IT!” to the group at 6am on a Saturday with a selfie of me running. Without fail, there would be a text 20 minutes later from someone else in the group with a running selfie.

My husband didn’t want to lose $55 and suddenly lost his food ‘love language’. He started passing on the white rice and eating more quinoa. He started reading books on muscle and fitness. He lost 14 pounds. That loss has encouraged him to continue past the end date and I catch him taking second glances at himself in the mirror.

I don’t know who this person is!

This was such a good reminder to me about the importance of accountability. I often take for granted how valuable it is to have someone keeping your finances, your health, your anything in check. If you want to make a change, find someone to challenge you. Find someone to cheer you on, to laugh with you, and to tell you that you fell off track. You will go much further than you would on your own.

Every person in the group met their challenge. I’ve never seen so many smiling selfies on scales and of muscles (geez, lots of muscles!). Find someone to challenge you in your finances, in your fitness, in your whatever, but don’t be afraid to challenge someone else.

We all need a little fire under our butts.

Buying Father’s Day Gifts


My dad and his girls

It’s Father’s Day this weekend, so of course my dad has been on my mind. He passed away four years ago this summer after a long battle with cancer. It’s still so strange to not buy him a Father’s Day gift.

My parents were living in Denver when he started to decline rapidly. By June, the cancer was too metastatic to stop and his liver was shutting down. I had two sisters in the area, so my other two sisters and I quickly flew into town. We helped my parents set up hospice care, we spent as much time with Dad as we could, and we felt relieved as the hospice nurses got him comfortable.

One Last Gift

I left a few days before Father’s Day, but I couldn’t not give him a gift one last time. My dad was usually so easy to shop for—he was a tool guy. He had an amazing workshop full of carpentry and welding tools, and he worked on cars, engines, wood projects, and repairs. It was always safe to get him a Craftsman tool or a Lowes gift card.

But he was too sick to go into his workshop. What do you give your dad when he needs nothing you can buy?

I landed on pictures of my kids, drawings from my girls, and an iTunes gift card. I just couldn’t not buy him something. He also loved movies and music, so I hoped he’d be able to download something he could watch or listen to while he was in bed.

He never did.

The Unused Gift

My sister gave me back the unused gift card after he died in August. Mom wanted me to have it, and it sat in a drawer, haunting me for a long time. We finally used it on some purchase, and I was glad to have the reminder gone.

As I go to buy Father’s Day gifts for my husband and father-in-law this week, I do think about what we get to take with us. My husband and I tend to not spend a lot on gifts for each other. We’ve never had a lot to spare, I suppose, so it’s just became the norm.

But I do feel this nagging doubt sometimes when I hear friends or family buying huge gifts for their husbands or fathers. Yesterday my sister told me she and her husband are shopping for a new boat to replace the one they already have. My husband is getting some new shorts.

I’m trying to stay focused on the fact that gifts don’t have to be expensive to show our love. When it came to the end, my dad didn’t need that gift card. But he did hang the pictures I brought of his grandbabies by his bed. And he did love having all of his girls together with him.

It Really is the Thought that Counts

Getting out of debt is just not glamorous. I hope one day when we do have more money for gifts, that I never expect a pricey gift to do what any thoughtful gift can. As cliché as it sounds, it truly is the thought that counts. And it’s the thought and the love that lasts.