It can be difficult these days to be intentional about reflecting on my life and encouraging others. Often when I sit down to think (in the rare moments of silence) … Continue reading Book Review: “52 Weeks of Gratitude” and “Whatever is Lovely”
And, if we move forward wisely, if we choose to learn and grow rather than continue to fight and divide, this could very well be the best thing to happen in our lifetime. This pandemic-filled, tension-ridden, politically crazy year very well may lead to a more beautiful, loving country than we have seen before.
Yesterday I downloaded the Facebook app after a week of not using it at all. And I’m a little surprised at what I learned. I really didn’t miss it. I … Continue reading Reflections on my No Facebook Experiment
It’s been a long four months. It started in early March with learning that we had lost the two embryos we had transferred in February. Then, just a week later, … Continue reading The No Facebook Experiment
A friend recently asked me a two-part question that I have been pondering for days now. She asked: “How has your story of walking through lament – and joy in … Continue reading Lament and Joy
This is the transcript from a devotional I led today at MOTS at LCBC. Lately I’ve been studying the importance of remembering as I prepare to write again. I’m not … Continue reading Gratitude Requires Effort
I tried an experiment this week and was both surprised and not surprised at the results. Lately I’ve been pondering limits and self-discipline, both as a result of my fitness … Continue reading The Limit Experiment
I had a realization this week that surprised me, so I’m sure it will surprise you. I don’t mind when times are tough. Note that I didn’t say I like … Continue reading Why I Don’t Mind Tough Times
If you’re like me, you don’t like being told what you can and cannot do. I think it’s something with which we all struggle and it’s likely because we are … Continue reading Limits Bring Freedom
It’s been ten years since I first took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. For the first time, I felt like I knew how to handle budgeting (I used to think it was inhibiting, when it’s actually incredibly freeing) and how to tackle debt. I met Brennan a few months later and eventually taught him what I had learned.
When we got married, we both brought debt (student loan and other debt) into the marriage. Our total amount of debt was $106,929.39. Staggering. Crippling debt. But, we followed Dave’s plan (with a few detours) and committed to knocking that out as quickly as possible.
We bought our first home six years ago because we saw the profit potential and knew it would be a way to become debt-free even faster. And it worked.
In our first six years of marriage we paid off $85,000 and were down to only my student loan. But then we became lazy and, when tempted to take out a large construction loan to remodel our new home, we gave in impulsively to have the instant gratification. While not in debt to the extent we were when we first got married, it’s debt, regardless, and it has been difficult mentally to get over our mistake.
Our new church announced that they were offering the class beginning in January, so we decided that it was time to take it together and get back on track. We have continuously budgeted our entire marriage but it’s time to start the “debt snowball” once more.
Now that we have children in our home again, we’ve realized that THEY are our motivation and purpose. We never want to have to tell them they can’t participate in something because we don’t have the money if debt is the reason.
Our goal is to be debt-free by the time they turn five. That is fifty months from now.
We have a plan. We’ve tightened up our budget as much as possible – which led us to realize that we surprisingly don’t have a spending problem, but rather an income problem (in terms of having extra to be aggressive with debt payoff). We weren’t sure what to do, but we prayed for opportunities to earn extra money that could be applied directly to our debt.
And, as always, God is faithful to His children.
I was presented with the opportunity for a new part-time job that will not only bring in some extra income but also help us cut our food budget and simplify meal planning (and give me a much-needed break a couple of nights each week).
And then, on Friday, I was offered a promotion at my other part-time job that not only pays more but it’s a lot more responsibility (being the manager on duty – MOD). Not only was this an answer to my prayer, but I was an answer to their “prayers” because it’s only 1-2 weekend days a month and they didn’t know how they would find someone willing to work so few hours. Then they remembered me, my qualifications, and how I’m currently only working there 1-2 times per month, and they said it was the perfect solution all-around. God’s hand is clearly in this.
This all happened in the last three weeks and we’re still in awe.
We didn’t pray that God would just hand us money (though we wouldn’t say no 😉 ) – we prayed for opportunities to EARN it, and He came through quickly and amazingly!
I share all of this as an encouragement. ANYONE can do what we’re doing. EVERYONE can become debt-free even though it requires dedication, sacrifice, and hard work. As Dave says, “Live like no one else so that later you can live and give like no one else.”
We are “gazelle intense” and ready to pay off my student loans and this construction loan as soon as we possibly can. The future of our children is worth the sacrifices we make now. ❤