Friday, March 30, 2012

Life After Debt: A Vision for the Future

I've had to force myself to do a reality check recently.

As I've mentioned before, in 2008, we went to Dave Ramsey's FPU at our church in Tuscaloosa. This changed our marriage and our financial outlook for the better. Since then, we have been working our way out of debt by following Dave Ramsey's baby steps. We are currently on Baby Step 2.

Baby Step 1: $1,000 in a "baby" emergency fund.

Baby Step 2: Debt Snowball. We started first by paying off our vehicles, then our credit cards, then my student loans. Now we're working the debt snowball to pay off Eli's loans, and we're about 2.5 years away from success.

In four years, we have not had any "emergencies," but only inconveniences. I think the difference is having the emergency fund ready, and having the mentality that we are going to save up for cash and pay for everything we need.

And I had been getting excited about out debt-free date (and it is exciting, really).
There was a part of me that was thinking, in 2.5 years we're home free! But, they are called baby steps for a reason. Being out of debt is not the same thing as freedom, necessarily.

So, I've been thinking about what things will look like in a couple of years, and the truth is, not much will change (much to my selfish chagrin). Instead of paying out to pay off debt every month, that money will go toward Baby Step 3, a fully funded emergency fund. When that is accomplished, we move on to Baby Steps 4 and 5 and use the same money to fund retirement first, and college second. Any income above that will go toward paying the house off early. Then, and only then, will we actually be free. This could take decades.

I set up a spreadsheet and did ran the numbers, modeling our finances into the future until the kids are out of college (2035?), and it was a little bit depressing--we'd still be paying on the mortgage, and barring any raises (which will happen, I know, but who knows what to plan for?), there would be little wiggle room in our budget.

On the bright side, the babies will one day no longer require daycare, which is a huge chunk of our budget. But then they will go and grow and need new clothes and need to eat more (and more often, perhaps) and will have activities and school-related needs/wants/desires. A little more wiggle room, but not much.

We are currently trying to discern the best time to refinance the house to a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. That timing will depend on whether or not I get a contract for next year. This will change everything. We will have the house paid off before Elsie graduates from high school if we stay on the amortization schedule (which we won't since we'll be making extra payments). If we don't stay in the house that long, we will have WAY more equity in the house than if we were on a 30-year schedule. And extra payments on the principal will go much further.

I guess there was a part of me that thought I would be ready to give give give when we're debt free, but that's Baby Step 7 for a reason. If I don't take care of my family first, I won't have anything to give later. That's encouraging.

So, what on my dream list gets put on hold for a little while (or indefinitely)?

monthly support of my missionary friends
a new wardrobe (a la What Not to Wear)
new bedroom furniture
an interior designer to design on a dime (whole house)
a professional landscape designer
a bi-weekly maid
a professional organizaer
backyard play structure
pottery lessons
cake decorating lessons
vacations to exotic locations
lots of cool stuff for my classroom
gifts/cool stuff for Elsie's teachers
greater donations to church building fund
charitable donations to a variety of causes

It's not going to be easy after Baby Step 2, but it's going to be worth it. The inner child (memememe!) is throwing a fit, but I'm changing my family tree. This takes discipline. Planning. Saving. Deliberate execution. And a lot of ice cream.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy

Come ye sinners, poor and wretched/Weak and wounded, sick and sore
Jesus ready stands to save you/Full of pity joined with power
He is able, He is able/He is willing doubt no more
He is able, He is able/He is willing doubt no more

Come ye weary heavy-laden/Bruised and broken by the fall
If you tarry till you're better/You will never come at all
Not the righteous, not the righteous/Sinners Jesus came to call
Not the righteous, not the righteous/Sinners Jesus came to call

Let not conscience make you linger/Nor of fitness fondly dream
All the fitness He requires/Is to feel your need of Him
This He gives you, this He gives you/'Tis the Spirit's rising beam
This He gives you, this He gives you/'Tis the Spirit's rising beam

The Incarnate God ascended/Pleads the merit of His blood
Venture on Him, venture wholly/Let no other trust intrude
None but Jesus, none but Jesus/Can do helpless sinners good
None but Jesus, none but Jesus/Can do helpless sinners good

This is one of my favorite hymns that we sing at church (and we sang it today). I'd never heard it until we came to First Pres. Has anyone else heard it before? I've been looking around, and it seems that there are different tunes that are sung with it. A musical group called Indelible Grace has done an update on the music, but I found the tune we sing here, and it is evidently known as the "Beech Spring" version, using an old Quaker tune.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me!

Remember that post in December where I mentioned how many people had recently asked if I was pregnant? Yeah, the day after I posted that, a coworker came up and put her hand on my belly and inquired if I was pregnant. That was it--the final straw in the haystack that was my laziness and indifference.

My original excuse for not knocking out the baby weight was, "If we're going to eventually have more children, why bother?" But, that became null and void when I got mad about people being rude. Also, Eli pointed out that if I'm in shape to begin with, then it won't be that hard to lose the weight later. Good point. I hate that.

I went into the school library to rant about the injustice to my casual friend the librarian (English teachers and librarians have special sort of relationship), and I came out with a workout partner and a plan for January.

Ten weeks later, I'm here to tell you that I'm embarrassed.

I'm embarrassed because it really took relatively little effort to lose almost ten pounds. I mean, seriously, the only change in my diet I've consciously made has been to scale back on soda intake. For the most part I'm eating what I want, when I want. It's sick, I know.

I'm embarrassed because the inches have melted away from exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week. The underlying truth here is that I have just been lazy and making excuses. That's pretty mortifying to face. I'm lazy. And making excuses.

Early this week, I was in my closet looking for something to wear to work because I hadn't done laundry recently, and on a whim I picked up some pre-Elsie khaki pants--pants I haven't worn in over three years--and I put them on.

They fit.

No muffin top. No thigh strain.


The next day I decided to go for a pair of jeans that I've hung on to for this long because I had a dream I would be pre-baby size again.

They fit.

No muffin top. No thigh strain.

Miracle of miracles.


We don't have a scale at home, and I don't much care about weight, but every time I go into the teacher's lounge (a couple of times a week) I step on the electronic scale we have in there. Tuesday, the reading was under 140 by a couple of ounces. I don't think I've been under 140 since my first year of marriage.

I mean, I know it fluctuates throughout the day. No big deal. That's why I don't obsess about my weight. But when I started this journey in January, I was pushing 150.

There is visible progress. The scale is evidence. The pants are evidence. The comments people have made about me losing weight in my face makes me think it's visible (thanks, btw--because everyone wants to hear they had a fat face). One of my team teachers (a female, in a joking/encouraging/non-offensive way) telling me that I'm looking sexy with my lean self seems to be evidence to me. The fact that I feel comfortable tucking shirts in again since there's not much muffin to top makes me think it's visible. A student asking me if I've been working out, makes me think he knows a couple of terrible pick-up lines, but that it's visible, too.

The plan for now is to keep up the workout schedule and keep the sodas at bay. I definitely feel better and have a smidge more energy. This summer I would love to get back into running. I remember loving it at the end, before I hurt myself playing softball and then finding out I was pregnant with Elsie. I want to love it again. (Hopefully this isn't remembered with the same pair of rose-colored glasses I wear to the beginning of each new school year..)

I know that my body will never be the same. I know. But I still think there's room for improvement. Maybe another five pounds and I will have worked my way down to my maintenance weight--that is, the weight that I want to maintain. We'll just see how it feels.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dental Drama

I've blogged about my dental woes since right before Oscar was born. If you really care, you can read about them here, here, and here.

Since the last post, I had the dental work done (2 filled in December, 1 in January), and was extremely displeased with the way things went down, but for some stupid reason, I kept returning to this dentist--some strange sense of loyalty? I don't know.

Two weeks ago (to the day, actually) I was eating cereal (this is a recurring issue, evidently) and something happened. I don't know if I heard it or felt it, but something changed in the tooth that was filled in January. I went to work and avoided chewing on that side all day. 48 hours later, I was able to get into the dentist to have him look at it.

Essentially, he told me it could be one thing or another, but without knowing for sure, he was ready to do a root canal right there and then. I balked. I asked for a referral to an endodontist, the same one who did my root canal on the dead, gray tooth last year some time (don't know if I blogged about that..). I think my dentist took it personally, because the first thing that came out of his mouth was "he costs more." Because discount dental work from the guy who tried drilling into my tooth TWICE before it was fully numb (didn't blog about that either, but that was the January filling on the tooth we're talking about)--yeah, that's exactly what I want. He left the room and I explained to the tech what my reservations were, and she agreed to get me an appointment with the root canal specialist. And then the dentist came in and "took the tooth out of occlusion" with a grinder. Really wish I had asked more questions about that. Kicking myself for not leaving this guy sooner.

Anyway, today I met with the endodontist, and he didn't see any reason to do a root canal right away--it may still be the other thing that my dentist mentioned.

Yeah, that's right. When the specialist in the area is not as easily convinced as the generalist, I have an issue with the generalist.

This, and the cumulative feelings of previous visits, has solidified my decision and resolve to switch dentists. And yet, I feel guilty because they people there are so nice. The dentist just happens to be mostly a jerk.

So, thus is life with me. Will be doing experiments over the next couple of weeks to see if I bruised a ligament around my tooth. I'm okay with that.


Monday, March 19, 2012


I have a lot of dreams for the future.

One of those dreams is to refinance the house to a 15-year loan and be done paying on it before Elsie is out of high school. I can't even imagine how liberating that will be! I think it's worth the itty bitty extra stretch every month for the next three years, and when we are debt-free (June 2015, baby--if not sooner!!) it won't be a stretch at all. Once the mortgage is paid, the extra cash from house payments can go toward cash-flowing college for our two eldest (right now, our only two).

Another of those dreams is something I'm reluctant to talk about, but it does have to do with starting a non-profit of sorts. I have a big idea. I'm not sure how big. And I'm not sure what to do with it, but the Lord has made abundantly clear that this will be an exercise in patience. Part of me really just wants to jump in head first and see what happens. Another part of me wants to ignore it and let someone else do it (and who's to say that that won't happen anyway?). To sit and wait on the Lord is the one thing that is stretching and tearing my insides into glorious, faithful pieces. I look at a timeline of several years and I get impatient, but I know that the stretching feeling in my soul is the Lord growing me, all the while perfecting His plan.

We've been talking about God's providence at church, and I have no doubt that the Lord has put me in all the places I've been in order to enable His will to be done. Even if nothing comes of this big idea, my prayer is that I will be obedient and patient so that the Lord will use whatever this is, and whatever it's intended to be, to further His kingdom.

So, right now I'm just gathering.



Names of connected people.

Useful skills.

Books I need to read.

Fundraising strategies.

Possible in-kind donors.

People with know-how; specialists; artists.

Geographical locations.

Stuff like that.

Please just pray for me and my willingness to be patient and obedient. This may be years--years--in development. I'll talk more about it when the time comes. For now, prayers please.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Restful Weekend

This was a fun, restful family weekend. I don't feel like we've had one of these in a while.

Friday night I went to the local high school's production of Anything Goes, a Cole Porter musical. The character actors were the best--Mooney, Reno, and Sir Evelyn were my favorites. And there was tap dancing. I love tap dancing.

Saturday, we woke up early, and Eli made breakfast of sausage and heart-shaped biscuits. After we were dressed, we headed out to search for a lawn mower. We went to two different places (the small engines store and Home Depot), and then decided that we should head out to Plant World to see what they have there as far as flowers to go in the front of the house. I didn't find what I was looking for, exactly, but I did find some "sun coleus" that I'm going to plant in the flower bed in the side yard, I think.

We went to lunch at Jim Bob's Chicken Fingers, where we found out that kids eat free on Saturdays (score!). Elsie insisted on heading to a playground, so we went over to "Monkey Park" (Municipal Park). There were about five different birthday parties going on, and the train was running, so we rode the train around the park for the first time. Then we went to play on the play structures. After a while, Elsie wanted to swing, so Eli pushed her again and again. Oscar continued to go down the slide, again and again. Finally, it was time to nap.

When the kids woke up, I was still asleep, but I heard maniacal laughter and a sound that was suspiciously similar to a trampoline's springs. When I got up to go investigate and Elsie had pulled the rocking chair over and had vaulted herself over the side of the crib and was in there with Oscar, both of them just bouncing up and down with glee. Silly kids.

I wanted to get to the kids consignment sale for the 50% day, so I took Oscar and left Elsie with Eli. They were going to wash the Subaru. I was an hour off, so the sale was already closed down for the season--Oscar and I went to Target instead. I was looking for planters, etc., just to get an idea of what was available for the front patio area (they have some cute ones!) but decided that I could live without anything, so we left.

As I was putting my cart up, a man approached me in the parking lot and asked me if I could buy him a loaf of bread and some lunch meat. I mean, the man wasn't asking for money, smokes, or booze--he was asking for food. Sure, I could do that. He told me he would wait outside for us, but I told him to walk with us. He put his backpack in the back of the cart, and we walked inside. I asked him about himself. He told me about hitchhiking his way back to Anniston, AL (2 hours NE of here), from Florida. His truck broke down and he couldn't afford to fix it, so he was headed back home to borrow some money and a wrecker from his boss man to get it fixed.

In addition to the bread and meat, I hooked him up with some cheese slices, chips, and a big old bottle of water so that he could refill it as needed. We walked back out into the parking lot and I prayed with him before going our separate ways. I can not/will not say no to someone asking for food. Even if I've had some twinges of doubt since then, I feel like I did the right thing. The Lord put me there in that place at the time, and I feel like I was obedient.

When we got home, Elsie was drenched from head to toe, and she turned the hose on Oscar, who was not happy about it. Eli finished washing the car, and I finished weeding my flower beds. The kids helped, pulling up various and sundry pieces of grass to add to my bag of lawn scraps.

While the kids got baths, I went and picked up some special St. Patrick's Day dinner, complete with green ice cream. Bedtime was pretty easy.

Today was a nice day, too. We slept in and then went to Sunday school and the late service. We came home and ate lunch, and everyone settled down for naps at the same time. Again, when I woke up, the kids were laughing maniacally, and Elsie was in Oscar's crib, both little jumping beans.

So, we took the crib apart, returned the toddler bed to our neighbors, and set up the two toddler beds that we now own (I had a friend with twins that was getting rid of both of them at the same time). Oscar is now asleep in his toddler bed, and Elsie is being tickled on our bed, avoiding bedtime. Soon, though.

In no time, they will both outgrow the toddler beds and we'll probably do twin beds next--maybe bunk beds. I don't know. We have a twin bed that was originally meant for Elsie, but it has just worked out that other people have slept in the bed. Anyway, we'll see what happens.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

$ Forgiveness?

Maybe because it's because I'm hyped up on Diet Pepsi at 12:30 a.m. and can't sleep (had to have something to help me grade papers), or maybe it's because I'm tired of people complaining.

I've written before about student loans, and how I feel about people complaining about them. So when there's a petition on FB for supporting the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, I just want to smack people over the heads.

Sure, in theory it's a great idea. But in practice, I just can't get behind that.

This link summarizes what it says. And, honestly, I don't care for mumbo jumbo.

I just know that I signed up for loans. Willingly. For a private education. And I paid them off. I spent two years working with AmeriCorps to get money for it. I worked two to three jobs most of my post-college time in order to make ends meet. But I did it. It's not impossible. I just had my priorities screwed on straight.

But I also didn't take out loans to live on, or use any excess for premature standard of living increases. You know, I might be willing (but not likely) to support the forgiveness of loans that were used solely for direct-education costs like tuition and books, and possibly even on-campus living. But I KNOW people who took out loans (both private and federal) and then used the excess to pay off their credit cards (which then got charged up again), or bought themselves a new (to them) car, or designer clothes, or techy gadgets, or expensive phones, or weeks of dining out at restaurants, and it really ticks me off to think that people want the government to pay for that junk.

I'm a taxpayer. And this is infuriating.

I hear people say they had to take out loans to go to school. No. You didn't have to, because you didn't have to go to school. Both were choices. All choices have consequences. When do people learn about their responsibilities?

Convert private loans to federal loans? More federal debt? Aren't we already complaining about our debtload? And with this plan, it's not even going to be paid back, so it's a loss for taxpayers. It's more debt. Period. The 10/10 plan (as outlined in the link) is maddening. So, if 10% of a person's "discretionary income" (whatever they're using to calculate this) is less than 10% of the loan over 10 years, the government should forgive the other 90%? What? I just don't get how this "promotes fiscal responsibility."

Look, I know people are in over their heads and are looking for a way out. But this is not the answer. A compromise, maybe, a break in payments or interest for a little while, maybe, but not this.

I know people who took out loans and never intend to pay them back. Ever. And they never had those intentions, even from the beginning. Defer. Forbear. Repeat. I just don't think this irresponsibility should be rewarded.

Off my soapbox now.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Short People, Long Post

Finally! Time for some little people. I took a couple pictures with my phone last week (or the week before?) so here they are. Dinner time at the Beaver house:

I haven't written about them in a while--I'm sorry. We've been keeping busy. Once school started back in January, we hit the ground running. Elsie was pretty much potty-trained for overnight within a week of our 3-day boot camp. Two months later, she's only had a handful of accidents. In the mornings, sometimes she refuses to go and I take her to daycare, where all K has to do is tell her to go and she goes. Oh, little girls. We've tried to have a routine where she goes potty when Oscar goes to bed to avoid bedtime drama for her. It works pretty well. She tells me when she has to go, usually, and she goes. I go in there at the end to remind her to wipe, flush, and wash her hands.

Speaking of bedtime, at 18 months, Oscar is a great sleeper. He pretty much goes to sleep when his head hits the pillow--a Big Al Pillow Pet (an elephant, for those of you not versed University of Alabama paraphernalia). He's ready by 7 p.m. almost without fail. Elsie, at 2 3/4-years is ready a little while later, starting to unwind (in more ways than one) by 8 p.m. Sometimes she falls asleep immediately. Other times she stays up singing and talking until after 9. Yikes.

This semester, we have our church small group on Wednesday nights. We are not hosting this semester, but instead travel a few miles to our friends' house where we have an amazing group, and Elsie and Oscar get to play with some little friends. We're out past bedtime on this night, and I feel sorry for K on Thursday mornings (and hopefully am appropriately apologetic). But it so refreshing to be with our church community.

Speaking of K, morning drop off at her house has been going soooooo much better since after Christmas. Elsie stopped crying and screaming, but insisted that I carry her, so I would carry the two toddlers into the house in the mornings because it was just easier. Then, one day two weeks ago, Elsie announced that she wanted to run. So, she got out of the car and ran toward the door. The next day I asked her if she was going to run, and she told me that no, she was going to walk. And she walked. And has walked ever since. So, this last week, I decided to put Oscar down and let him walk, too, since he follows Elsie everywhere. And so, he's walking into the house also. It's such a relief to have two big kids (relatively speaking), and not having to worry about bending from the knees and not from the back as I try to carry 50+ pounds of toddlers into the house.

Now, I'm just going to list things that I think of to share. Some are update-quality, some are just memories I don't want to forget:

1. Elsie is obsessed with Charlie Brown. She saw a Charlie Brown movie at our fall festival last November while I was in Arizona (Eli took the kids) and she hasn't stopped talking about him. Frequently she will come in and announce, "I'm Chawie. You're Sawwy." She's never identified with Snoopy or even acknowledged that he exists until today: From the back seat I hear, "Mama, what's Chawy's puppy?" It took me a minute to figure out what she was talking about. We practice saying "snoo pee" until she got it. Then, we're eating dinner, and she cocks her head, rests it on her hand, furrows her eyebrows in seriousness and concentration, and asks, "What's Chawy's puppy name again?" I tell her, she repeats me, and she files it away in her sponge-like brain with a smile.

2. She hasn't mastered the sound of the letter L.

3. In February, Miss J gave Oscar a gift bag of toys that had a pirate on the outside. Elsie put her chin up and tried to close just one eye (but still squinting the other eye since she hasn't mastered it), sneered her lip as best she could, and said in a gravelly voice, "I'm a pirate! Arrrrgh! Merry Christmas!" Another time, she was trying to put on a pair of toddler sunglasses that has the strap all the way around, and she had it on crooked so only one of the lenses covered one of her eyes, and she looked at me and said, "Look! I'm a pirate!"

4. I had a sweet moment with Oscar a few weeks ago. I was putting him to bed, rocking him in the rocking chair, and I told him that I loved him. I said, "Can you say 'I love you?'" He lifted his head up and looked right at me and said, "Love. You." Then he put his head down again. Melt this mama's heart.

5. For Christmas, Eli's parents got the tots the Melissa & Doug Pound and Roll Tower. Oscar is crazy about this thing. Sometime in January the balls disappeared under various and sundry pieces of furniture, but the tower did not lose its appeal. One day I heard Oscar playing with it and couldn't figure out what was going on. He had found a plastic Easter egg and was dropping it in the holes, over and over and over and over. Then Elsie brought over a handful of change and they both got a kick out of dropping dimes and nickels, pennies and quarters down the tower. They've tried Mardi Gras beads and toy cars. I'm just so amazed at their creative minds.

6. I may have already mentioned this, but Elsie still does it, so it's worth mentioning again. She'll get a ribbon from my craft ribbons and give Oscar one end. Then she'll lead him around the house, calling him Alex. He has no idea, but that's the name of Miss J's dog.

7. Favorite pasttime in the backyard: playing in the "garden"...that is, the ash from the Weber charcoal grill.

8. Singing. Elsie loves to sing. She remembers tons of songs. She just started belting out "I've got peace like a river in my soul" the other night while playing in front of the refrigerator. Another night, she started singing, "I love you, Lord, and I lift my soul.." They sing a lot at K's house. Elsie is a sponge and remembers most of them.

9. I've gotten into the habit of correcting "yeah" and "nah" to "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am" respectively, even with Oscar, even though he's still pretty much a one-syllable guy. Imagine my surprise when he started saying "Ma'am" when I would correct him. Every once in a while he'll say both words, but not often. And he still likes to grunt or say "uh-uh" or "uh-huh". But if I press further he'll say "Yesh" or a very clear "No".

10. In the last week or so he's been saying Elsie's name at various times. Sounds like "Eh. See." He threw his pacifier out of his crib and then called, "Eh. See!!" for her to come get it and give it to him.

11. Sharing is getting better. Still running hot and cold with this concept and the nearly three-year-old.

12. I love to hear them giggling together. It's usually followed by screaming and crying, but I'll take what I can get, you know?

13. Oscar loves to steal socks. After 5 p.m. he seems morally opposed to the wearing of socks by anyone around him, so he'll forcefully remove them from me, Eli, sometimes Elsie, though hers usually don't make it all the way home from K's house. The backseat of the Saturn is a sock depository. When it's time to do their laundry once a week, I go to the Saturn and get all the little rejected white balls of cotton. Usually there are at least 12 socks. Sometimes there's an odd number, and that's confusing. Oscar also gets a kick out of wearing my novelty socks. The sock thing lets me know that they were not switched at birth.

14. It's softball season, and I really love to watch softball, even if it's middle school softball. One night, Oscar wasn't feeling well, so I left him with Eli and took Elsie out to the ballpark. We got out of the car and she told me that I needed to get Oscar out of the car. I told her that he wasn't in the car, and that blew her mind. How did we go somewhere and not take Oscar?!? We got out there and even though she had a jacket on, she was cold (it was windy) so she sat in my lap for about 5-10 minutes before she started climbing around on the bleachers, and then announcing that she was going home. She climbed down the bleachers, and headed toward the parking lot and asked, "Where's Daddy's car?" (the car we were driving). She was not a bit interested in the game.
Two days later, I left Elsie at home with Eli, and I took Oscar out to the ballpark, and he sat on my lap and very intently watched the game for 45 minutes (there was some fruit-snackage involved) before he got distracted by the field lights, which are seemingly everywhere. Pointing in the air, "Weiss! Weiss!" Took me a minute to figure out that it was the lights that were exciting him. And then he wasn't interested in the game and we went home.
Moral: Elsie is a doer. Oscar is a watcher. Neither of those is a bad thing.

15. Elsie is frequently heard singing on the potty. In the mornings, it's usually "Yea, Alabama!" Yesterday she was singing and informed me that it was the Backyardigans theme song. Not surprisingly, I already knew that, because this girl has an ear for tunes. And an uncanny memory for lyrics--even when she doesn't know the words, she is able to replace them with similar sounds. She is a sponge for media (scary!) and has often been known to sing her replies to questions. Silly goose.

16. Oscar was 23 pounds and 23 inches at his 18 month checkup.

I can't even think of what else I need to put down before I forget. I'm sure I'll think of more soon. Hope you enjoyed this little window into our lives of late.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

March Debt Update

Coming out of February, this is where we were:

First 10K Chunk, started 10/1/11
fundraising ideas
Fundraising Thermometer

This month is promising. We may be able to finish off this thermometer and start a new one, depending on how this one goes.

But even more promising is what I heard from some friends of mine today.

B&R are high school sweethearts, people I knew way back when who got married pretty much right after graduating. Through the magic of Facebook, we connected and remain on each other's friends' list. I'm not in Texas, so I didn't know the particulars of their situation, but I knew that R worked away from home, out of state, and they had a school-age daughter who wasn't adjusting. I knew at Christmas, she would count down the days to see him, if he could come home at all. I would read B's blog about her struggles with her daughter and dealing with R's absence. My heart went out to them, but I didn't know if I could help.

Then in July of last year, R posted this:

I HATE MONEY!!! I hate how it makes me feel! I hate how it controls me!! I hate it being tied to EVERYTHING we do!! I HATE MONEY!!!!

I told him that it sounded like he needed some Financial Peace in his life, fully intending the double meaning (a la Dave Ramsey). His response was essentially that those two words can't exist in the same sentence.

I prayed about it and prayed for them for a couple of days before I finally got the courage to send them a message, offering up tidbits of our journey and encouraging them. They were very grateful for my dose of hope, and I ended up sending them the Kindle version of The Total Money Makeover, and then for Christmas, I found a really good deal on FPU Online, so I went ahead and bought one for them since they can use it from their separate locations.

Today, I got an update from B, and I am so excited for them. The Lord is working in their lives. R switched companies (same type of job), has a regular schedule, is still away from home, but it is predictable when they will see him, and it included a raise to boot! They are working through Dave's principles as outlined in the book, but haven't started the FPU class (plan for next month). The hope in that e-mail was something I know comes from God. They have paid off all their credit cards and are two payments away from paying off a loan they've been facing for the last five years. They still have a long way to go, but there's wiggle room, and their debt snowball is rolling, and they are all happier than they've been in a long time.

I thank the Lord for using me as a tool and for giving me the courage to share with B&R. It was scary (who likes to be rejected?) but so worth it to give God the glory.


(I'm backdating this post a few days just so that the update on the kids will be on top.)