Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Blessings of AdvoCare

I am SO incredibly thankful for AdvoCare. It has blessed our family (along with countless others) beyond measure in many ways. We are healthier than we’ve ever been, we are more financially “fit” than ever before on our journey towards debt freedom, and we have grown tremendously as people and leaders, which is helping us be better examples for our children. For example, we have cut out cable off and spend more time together and reading. We have also improved in the area of procrastination & not making excuses. (Self-development is one HUGE area that many other career fields are lacking, but is encouraged in AdvoCare.) We have made some awesome friends that help us to be better. It truly is a champion culture- very positive, uplifting, & encouraging- which I know is unique- and we are proud to be a part of it. I am reminded of this as I read through our guiding principles and the learn more about the values the company was founded upon, but even more as I SEE others changing and growing. (Like my sweet friends Jenn & Nikki for example. Just two of MANY!)

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It’s a blessing to know we have found a way to earn residual income that will take care of our family long into the future, and hopefully even help our parents retire (if we beat them to it). We plan to pay cash for anything we buy (Lord willing) and save our children from the burden of student loans. More than anything though, we want to give them the gift of our TIME.  We are still very early in our parenting journey and know God has a lot more up his sleeve for us in the family department. Both of our parents were extremely present in our lives growing up, an that is important to us. Our ultimate goal in raising children is that they LOVE the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, and serve Him to the best of their ability. (There will be trials, of course, but I believe everything else will fall into place if we focus on that.) The BEST way we can do that aside from modeling it through our own walk (which we strive to do- fail often, but continue to strive for anyway) and through TRAINING them up in the way they should go (Prov 22:6). That requires lots of effort, consistency, and most of all, TIME.

AdvoCare has been around for 21 years and is continuing to grow at exponential rates because the products and opportunity are so incredible. We are thankful for the time freedom and financial freedom this is going to continue to provide us so we can give our best selves to our children. I was just talking to Jonathan about this yesterday and he said he thinks that is what makes it so special. Sure, we could have other professions that pay us well, but there is NOTHING else we can think of that would allow us the time freedom we have with what we do now.

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Before AdvoCare, we knew we wanted for me to be a stay at home mom. (Wish I would have prayed more about this before loading up on degrees!) We were both working multiple jobs to save up a nest egg to make sure we would be “comfortable” when the time came for us to start a family. We did NOT want to fight about finances, as financial issues are the number one cause of divorce. (And in a society with such high divorce rates, those are not good odds & not a chance we were willing to take.) Jonathan is an extremely hard worker, which is one of my favorite qualities about him- I cannot handle lazy so I really appreciate this about Jon. Anyway, we both knew that when the time came, I would stay home, even if that meant him working multiple jobs & long hours. Hours and time away from us. (Neither of us are really okay with that either, but didn’t know any other way.) Me being at home was/is a non-negotiable for both of us and something about which we are both very passionate. We both saw that when I was working full-time outside the home, I was not able to give my best IN the home (which I feel is my ultimate calling & main ministry). I was often grumpy when I got home. I did not want to cook dinner- much less a healthy, home-made meal. Did not feel like doing any household chores. Did not really want to be touched or even talked to for that matter. Hats off to the women who can balance this, but I am NOT one of them! (I’m certainly not perfect now by any means, but I can say I am so much more effective in the areas I feel like I’m called to serve my home.) Now I can’t WAIT for Jonathan to get home from work! I love to talk to him and hear about his day. I love to work out with him. I find satisfaction in preparing healthy meals for our family (something I have prayed about- I did not used to enjoy cooking). I enjoy keeping the house tidy. I like not feeling rushed when I am doing my Bible study. I like being able to do things for other people in the community/serving when I am able. And I like spending Jase’s awake time singing to him, playing with him, reading to him, and teaching him.

Thankfully Jonathan has been very successful running a couple of his own businesses, but without AdvoCare,  we would have fallen into the second or third of the following categories that describes the majority of families in today’s culture:

1. Both parents work to provide for the family, and the children spend a large chunk of the time each day with caregivers other than mom and dad. Family time is often rushed with homework, school projects, meals on the go, practices, television, etc.,

2. Dad makes good money so mom can stay home, but he works lots of hours and/or travels a lot, missing quality time with the children. Or vice versa. (Honestly, we’d rather struggle financially than have Jonathan be away from us.)

3. The family lives on one-income, but struggles financially to make ends meet. This often leads to stress, worry, more debt, and marital strife.

Our long-term goal is not some lavish lifestyle with lots of jewelry & nice clothes, boats/toys, fancy cars (I just want something reliable), & vacation homes. What we want is simple- debt freedom. Debt freedom leads to many other types of freedom. The Word is clear about not owing anyone, so we are working diligently on that. We do want to build a home on some land  with animals and a monster garden eventually (we are seeking God’s timing & direction), so actually, if anything, we want to SIMPLIFY. Jonathan and I  both also have a passion for ministry, and love the idea of being able to serve whenever (because of the time freedom) without ever being supported financially by the church (because finances won’t be an issue). We are both feeling the beginnings of being called to adopt as well (that’s another post for a different day) and want to be able to fully fund that ourselves when and if the time comes. I also feel one of my spiritual gifts is giving, and although we give no matter our income level, this has allowed us to increase our giving. I believe giving needs to be a private thing between you and God so I don’t talk about it often, but I will state the obvious: Proportionately, the more money you make, the more money you are giving to advance HIS kingdom.

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We are coming upon our two year anniversary in March, and in two short years, it has already provided us with tremendous freedom. As Jonathan always says, “Even if it never paid us another dime, it has already blessed us beyond measure.” In honor of our two year anniversary with the company, I wanted to share some of what it has done for us and give God the GLORY for putting this opportunity in our paths!

  • One of my favorite things about this, aside from helping others, is that we get to do this TOGETHER. Jonathan & I both grew up playing team sports and very much appreciate the mindset of having a teammate. May sound cheesy, but we view each other as teammates in our marriage and in LIFE. And there is hands down NO ONE I would rather be working along side. I know lots of couples who prefer to go there separate ways during the day and don’t like the idea of too much “together time.” They can’t imagine ‘working’ with their spouse, but I’d say that’s the beauty of having a marriage built on a solid friendship. We really are best friends, have lots of the same interests, work together very well, and actually ENJOY being together. No, we don’t always get along. We do have our disagreements for sure and get on each other’s nerves sometimes, but at the end of the day, we have a BLAST being together & enjoy working this together. We have very different strengths too, so we compliment each other well and by working together it allows each of us to thrive in the area we are strongest.
  • I’ve heard lots of moms say they could never stay home because they would be “so bored” & they have a career outside of being just a wife and mom to find fulfillment. And I respect that. Although I LOVE being a wife and mother, I can say that it is incredibly rewarding to be able to help others, especially in the two areas where most Americans are struggling- health & finances. I am passionate about teaching and encouraging others, so this allows me an avenue to use my gifts and exercise my other passions outside of being a wife and mother (while still being able to give my best to my family). Honestly, I feel like it helps me be an even better mom! I am not burnt out and needing to tell Jonathan about every detail of my day when he gets home. I am not idle, which helps me focus my efforts and energy on something productive (the Bible warns big time against idleness, and I have seen it cause issues with stay at home moms before). I love that I have the adult interaction throughout my day, and I have made so many incredible new friends through this! Most of the people closest to me are involved in AdvoCare on some level now anyway, so it’s just given us one more common thread.
  • I appreciate being able to contribute to our household. My desire is to be the wife depicted in the Bible. Still working on many parts of it… (Proverbs 31:10-29)

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”

  • I “work” (it does not feel like work) 15-25 hours a week, depending on the week.  This is definitely a part-time effort. But even in that, I spend ALL of Jase’s awake time WITH him.  So really, it’s just that I choose to use my “free time” a little differently than others. I take/make phone calls during his nap times. He sleeps for 4 hours during the day, and goes to bed by 8 every night. Jonathan & I have 4 hours to ourselves every evening after he goes to bed. If I spend one hour during each of his naps intentionally working AdvoCare, and one hour after he goes to bed, I still have lots of quality time with both of my fellas. (And like I said, this is something we do TOGETHER, so even in the evenings we are still spending time together.) That’s part of the beauty of AdvoCare - you can earn a full-time income on a part-time basis.  In fact, I make three and a half times what I made as a teacher (with a Master’s and Specialist’s degree). I do not say that boastfully, but am just in awe at what’s possible and am so thankful the Lord put this opportunity in our path (and pretty much slapped us in the face with it).
  • I have plenty of time to take care of the MAIN things in my life. Bible study, spending time with family & friends, exercise, paying bills, household chores, preparing healthy meals, etc. Being a work from home mom does take some balance, and it has definitely been a process and learning curve over the last 9 months. And honestly, it has taken about 9 months, but I feel pretty good about where I am now. I do not feel guilty about the times when I was on the phone while Jase was awake though. He is still young enough to think I am talking to him, and honestly, I am using a substantially more advanced vocabulary than when it’s just me and him. I do make an effort to talk to him and be descriptive, but who can resist baby talk with a little cutie like that? I know he is learning some language he wouldn’t ordinarily hear.
  • The PEOPLE. The products are what brought us in, but the PEOPLE (and the products, duh) are why we have stayed for the past two years and plan to stay for the rest of our lives. Not only are the leaders, mentors, president/CEO & his wife, corporate staff, & our AWESOME team just full of the kind of people you want to be and surround yourself with…but we do this for the new people who aren’t even on our team yet! SO MANY lives being changed, and it’s just really cool to be a part of something bigger than yourself and your own family. We know that people’s health & finances can be improved through AdvoCare, and we love paying that forward.
  • AdvoCare allows us to travel, and it is an investment in our business. We typically bring Jase AND my parents (which allows us to spend more time with them- double bonus!), and Jon’s parents and/or sister watch him when we have local events. It’s not very often, but I’m glad he gets to spend time being poured into by family members who love him. It’s important to me for him to be well-rounded, and I know he is getting lots of love, affection, attention, and learning new things outside of me & Jon. Plus, they all LOVE the time they get to spend with him, so it’s a win-win. (And it’s usually some quality time for me and Jonathan. We spend lots of time talking/enjoying each other during the time on our way to events/training.)

With our two year AdvoCare anniversary coming up, Jonathan Butler & I have been reflecting on our journey over the past two years. I wanted to put together a post to share some of the ways it has blessed our family. I'm sure I've missed a few things, but man are we ever grateful for what it's done for us. 
http://www.butlerpartyof3.com/2014/02/the-blessings-of-advocare.html

  • By the end of 2015, we will be 100% debt-free (even our mortgage) and be a full-time, stay at home family. Honestly, that was not even in my paradigm before AdvoCare, but it is possible. I know it can be a reality because so many of our friends in the company are living it. And they are ordinary people like me & Jon. This makes me so excited because we will have the TIME to spend with our children, to homeschool if that’s where God is leading us, to give and support our favorite ministries, & to serve more freely. AND, this means we will be helping (literally) HUNDREDS (and possibly thousands) of other people and families become healthier, have more financial, time, or debt freedom.

I don’t mean to make it sound too good to be true. Sometimes I feel like it is, but the reality is there are days it is tough. It takes a lot of discipline because we DO get to make our own hours & choose when to work. Sometimes we have chosen not to put as much time into it, and our paychecks reflect that. And it’s tough sometimes to keep going when you’ve heard lots of “no’s.” We do WORK this, and we do work it hard so we can help our team and our own family. Still, even on the “tough days,” I know this is hands down the BEST opportunity we have ever encountered in our life. And while I know it is not for everyone, we are both so, so thankful for the way it has blessed our family. We LOVE this company and are proud to be a part of some of the lives it is changing, including our own.

4 comments:

Nicollette Caselman said...

Hello! Let me start out by saying I love your blog. I absolutely love seeing what God is doing and has done in your family's life. Now for the question. I am a high school senior (18) and will be attending college in the fall. I am very scared for the incoming student loans I will be faced with. I am wondering if advocare could be a route for me. I have been praying about joining for a long time but I would like to hear from you if at all possible. Thank you so much!!

augirl said...

Amazing post! I love your blog. You are such an inspiration on so many levels. I would love to get started with this product and get to the point your family is at. Can you give me some advice on how to get started? My husband works full time M-F, I am working 12 hour night shifts but am fixing to have to swap to full time day shift. We have no family close to us so my children (my 4 year old daughter and 16 month old son) will have to attend daycare. This absolutely crushes me but we don't have a choice. Advocare sounds like it could be an alternative. Thanks in advance for any help , advice, etc. you can give.

Natalie said...

Advocare is amazing! I am so glad I found your blog. I am a new Advisor in the world of Advocare and am eager to help people learn how to take back control of their destinies!

Cayte Brown said...

This is awesome. I am in the middle of a 24 day challenge right now and came across this post today! My husband plays professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians and I am seriously looking into becoming a distributor! Thanks for the encouraging posts!