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My newest BIG idea

March 21, 2018

There is no comforting way to state it, but the rising costs of post-secondary studies is alarming, at best.  Multiply that fact by the real felt truth of three members of Team Stevens pursuing various degrees and those skyrocketing costs daily impact my family. Many sacrifices occur to put three members of the same family through college and graduate school at the same time.  Growing right before our eyes, and sometimes seemingly overnight, is the baby of this clan who is millimeters away from surpassing me in height. It won’t be too much longer and there will be a fourth member attending an institution of higher learning.  Thankfully, the older kiddos worked diligently in high school to earn amazing scholarships which have helped offset costs, and I have no doubt that their little sister will do the same. But still, I do fret about how much a college degree will cost for her.

I am nothing if not a BIG ideas girl, and I think I found the perfect solution.  I am going to start my very own scholarship program and I think I have discovered the foolproof funding structure.  I’m thinking my plan will have a success rate equal to the time I rewrote Meghan Trainor’s song “All About that Bass” to explain that shoes at the front door should touch the baseboard and not be recklessly thrown in the middle of the entryway after nearly dislocating my hip tripping over carelessly strewn shoes.  Seriously, it’s all about that baseboard! Lest you have trouble!

When I declared my desire to finally pursue my dream of earning a doctorate, I was also very clear on the changes that would have on our family.  Mom wouldn’t be able to drop everything to solve everyone else’s problems.  She also would have to miss out on some family things or be forced to take homework with her. Others would need to step in with meals, cleaning and laundry, but the biggest requests were to pare down the assorted clutter in our lives which honestly bogs me and my ability to think straight down.

I would love to tell you that my family did all those things with happy hearts and willing spirits, but if I did I would be lying.  To their defense, they have taken over most of the cooking, cleaning and laundry duties.  No one complains when I drag a backpack full of homework to basketball or volleyball tournaments, family gatherings, and beach vacations.  Honestly that last one I wanted to complain, but a goal is a goal and my professors have deadlines too. But it is the clutter that drives me nuts makes me *bleeping* CRAZY!

After a major momma meltdown, we finally took the plunge and got rid of 75% of what we owned, and while a great start, reducing the physical number of items didn’t remove the clutter mentality for my teammates.  Seriously, you give these people an inch they will take a Sarah Sylvia Cynthia Stout mile.  If one paper is placed on a previously clean surface, the result is something akin to this . . .

So what in the mayonnaise does a rant about clutter in my home have to do with my new scholarship program? Well, hopefully this explains it.


Most of the items in today’s invoice are repeat violations; so I will just give a quick pictorial tour of the charges.

invoice pic

Starting in the upper left hand corner and working clockwise.  Nice try with the napkin, but yet the other water marks on the table are from similar efforts to avoid using coasters like civilized people.  While I am all down with decorating like the hipsters, I don’t think McDonald’s smoothie cups and fruit snacks wrappers (look carefully) count as a minimalist’s dream ideal for home decor.  We aim to provide a general atmosphere of love and welcome at our home/headquarters, but last time I checked, reminding us of your most recent pedicure only serves to remind us how much more free time you have than the rest of us.  Finally, we all love Ruby and we don’t want her to meet the fate that one of my college roommate’s puppy (who similarly loved to chew) did when left alone with a live cord.

Now before anyone thinks this is too harsh a penalty, I thought $10 for my maid service for a day was a steal, because honestly there are days where I spend three hours picking up other people’s clutter before I get one minute of teaching or homework done.  So while I am instituting some Coach Carter smack down, I am still a momma with a heart and I gave her a bit of a break on what my time is actually worth.

So there you have it!  My new scholarship program in a nutshell.  Believe me, this was a slim day, and by the time I collect all these fees and future ones, I am pretty sure we can partially fund my remaining year of study and Sal, well, at this rate, she can write her ticket to her dream school!

They tell me a messy room is a sign of problem solving at work, but I am not buying it. So, here’s to great ideas that are going to be kid-tested but are definitely mom-approved.

In all seriousness, hug your kiddos today!




  1. nancyholte permalink

    How do you enforce payment? 🙂

  2. Well, I haven’t quite worked out all the kinks, but I am noticing that my keys don’t work in the car when there is a mess.

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