Tag: Goals

The Start Experiment: Day Two

Today was a success! I accomplished all of my goals for the day, plus some that I added in the moment.

I still need to work on being more prepared and eating a more filling meal in the morning so that I’m not super hungry by 10am.

I also need to work on going to bed earlier (note the time of this post!) so that I can get up earlier without it being painful. ūüôā

Today’s verse was Hebrews 12:11 —

I’m going to write these daily verses on index cards so that I can carry them in my purse. This will give me easily accessible truth with which to combat the “voices” that try to bring me down (or when ice cream is calling my name).

I spent a lot of time today cleaning/finally decorating/organizing my house–something I’ve been known to procrastinate about. I worked up quite a sweat doing it, which was an added bonus! I need to Start focusing and stop procrastinating on the little things in life, like cleaning the hardwood floors. ūüôā

I will be starting to read a book on Spiritual Disciplines that our church leadership team is going through together (funny timing, isn’t it? ūüôā ) and that will only help me in this process, I believe.

This is exciting. Discipline is NOT fun, but I know that the fruit that will be produced from my disciplined life will far exceed anything I will be “giving up” long-term. ūüôā

 

The Start Experiment: Day One

Overall, a successful day.

It started with serious temptation in the form of donuts, but I overcame the temptation and did not even touch them.

I learned a lesson today, thankfully early on in this journey, that I always need to be prepared and have healthy snacks with me when I will be away from home for a long time. Hunger can easily turn into weakness and makes me more susceptible to temptation.

I established my reading/journaling spot in our home on our brand new couch and am really excited to spend time with God there each day.

I am going to focus on one verse each day (in addition to other reading), a verse that deals with self-discipline. I chose 2 Timothy 1:7 today:

Fear is alive and well already, trying to bring me down. I’ve started transcribing ¬†the “voices” in my head that keep trying to make me fail. The ones I’ve identified so far are these:

You can’t do this; you’ve failed before.”

People see you as overweight and that’s all they see.”

Life is too short to eat healthy foods! Give in and enjoy life!”

I am working on truths to combat these voices whenever they enter my mind so that I can “punch fear in the face” (as Jon Acuff says so fondly). And today I was successful. Fear has no place in my life. God has given me everything I need to combat this fear/doubt because I have Him with me!

I met all of my goals today and feel excited about tomorrow.

 

Our Budget Plan…

I was asked by a friend how we do our budgeting, so I thought it would be a great blog post! I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

First of all, we love the teachings of Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. We cannot recommend him enough! Because of his wisdom the only debt that we have left is our student loans.

We maintain two spreadsheets: Our budget, and our “Special Expenses by Month”

The first one is our budget. Every other Wednesday, I (Lesa) enter the amounts that are due for this pay period. We always budget to “zero”–meaning that every dollar is accounted for. We use cash for food, necessities, clothing, date nights, etc. so we pull out the cash on pay-day. The line items below often change based upon our needs for that pay period (i.e. if we need clothes, we’ll add that line item).

We have our spreadsheet set up to automatically calculate things, so once we enter our income (we usually know by Thursday morning all of our income for that pay period) into the purple section it tells us how much we are over/under budget so that we can adjust accordingly.

When you are trying to get out of debt, it is important to use any extra money that you have to make extra payments. That is how we paid off our credit card debt so quickly–it requires sacrifices, but it’s so worth it.

(Click on the image to make it larger)

And our Special Expenses by Month looks like this:

This spreadsheet helps us to never be surprised by a bill that is coming up. It allows us to plan for them and be prepared! It would make it very easy to total up your special expenses to divide by the number of pay periods per year so that you could save little by little, as well.

Because we get paid twice a month, we do our budget twice a month. However, you have to do what works for you! This has been such a blessing to us because we always know exactly what we have to spend. We pay all of our bills on pay-day for that pay period which also reduces time and stress because we never forget to pay a bill.

If you have additional questions, please let me know! Budgets are not constraining–they are truly freeing!

Finish Year Update: Mid-September

Brennan and Lesa:

  • Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan:¬†Reading another book about Tim Tebow currently…

Lesa:¬†Finished “To Heaven and Back” and “One Call Away”

  • Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We have paid off 98% of our credit card debt! We will have it paid off by October! Praise God! We will then start paying off our student loans in a couple of months after taking a short break to build up our savings account and travel fund.

  • Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates

make a list¬†and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

We have¬†3¬†Groupons¬†left to use. We started with 12 Groupons and 4 gift cards, and we’ve bought some since we started this.

Lesa:

  • Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

I have lost 8 lbs… ūüôā

  • Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan
  • Send 30 thank you notes this year;¬†finish sending wedding thank you notes

I have sent 12 thank you notes this year…that’s it.

  • Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts

  • Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

  • Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”
  • Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
    Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund
  • Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with¬†tiny closet)

Finish Year Update: May

Brennan and Lesa:

  • Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan:¬† Finished “Game Plan for Life” and “Date Your Wife“…and is reading “The Fourth Fisherman” currently.

Lesa:¬†Finished¬†“It Was Kitty’s Idea”¬†by Joseph Brechbill,¬†“Love Does”¬†by Bob Goff, “My Big Bottom Blessing” by Teasi Cannon, “The Fourth Fisherman” by Joe Kissack,¬†“By Faith, Not By Sight” by Scott MacIntyre, and “Winning Balance” by Shawn Johnson.

  • Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We have paid off 67% of our credit card debt!

  • Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates

make a list¬†and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

We have 4 Groupons and 1 gift card left to use (just bought one). Making progress!

We started with 12 Groupons and 4 gift cards.

Lesa:

  • Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

I have lost¬†8 lbs…still.

  • Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan

  • Send 30 thank you notes this year;¬†finish sending wedding thank you notes

I have sent 12 thank you notes this year! I decided to adjust the goal down to 30 from 60.

  • Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts

  • Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

  • Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”
  • Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
    Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund
  • Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with¬†tiny closet)

Finish Year Update: March

March was a busy month for us, but we still managed to make progress on our goals!

Brennan and Lesa:

* Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan:¬† Finished¬†“Drive” (Larry Byrd), “Never Again” (John Ashcroft), and “My Imaginary Jesus”

Lesa: Finished “Culture Shift” and “Stuff Christians Like”

* Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We have paid of 63.6% of our credit card debt!

* Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates

make a list and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

We have 7 Groupons and 1 gift card left to use, and two of those will be used on April 6th. Making progress!

Lesa:

* Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

I have lost 7 lbs! We have been learning a lot lately about nutrition and are enjoying being healthy!

* Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan

* Send 60 thank you notes this year (average of 5 per month); finish sending wedding thank you notes

I have sent 12 thank you notes this year (none in March)…I’m behind!

* Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts

* Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

* Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”

* Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund

* Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with tiny closet)

 

Finish Year Update: February (updated)

We are doing really well with the reading books goal! Overall, we’re making progress in small steps–which is exactly what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s Finish YEAR, not Finish Month.

Life update: We were assigned a permanent placement at the Milton Hershey School, so we will be working (soon) every other weekend with middle-school boys! SO excited for this experience! The added benefit of doing this will be the extra income, which we plan to put entirely onto our debt, which will really speed up the process of being debt-free! Double blessing!

Here’s our Finish Year update:

Brennan and Lesa:

* Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan:¬† Finished¬†‚ÄúDecember 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World‚ÄĚ and “I Am Second”

Lesa: Finished “Bad Girls of the Bible“, “The Great Divorce“, “Untamed“, “Gazelles, Baby Steps, and 37 other things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt“, and “My Imaginary Jesus“…

* Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund

* Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We have paid of 61% of our credit card debt! Because we owe a significant amount in taxes this year, we’ve had to save up to pay those which has slowed down our credit card payments, unfortunately. However, we’re almost ready to pay our taxes in full, so then we’ll get back to working hard at this goal!

* Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates
make a list and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

We had a date night out using a Groupon two weeks ago–SO nice! Looking forward to more date nights…

* Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”

 

Thanks to our generous friends, we will have one in a month!

Lesa:

* Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

No comment… ūüôā We’ve been going to the gym consistently, at least!

* Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with tiny closet) and keep them organized
Not doing so well on the keeping things organized part…

* Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan

* Send 60 thank you notes this year (average of 5 per month); finish sending wedding thank you notes (30 left…terrible, I know!)

I sent¬†7 during the month of January…5 in February…

* Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts so that I am always prepared

* Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

Finish Year Update: Mid-February

Biggest update is that we have an emergency fund! This means that we’re officially on “Baby Step 2” (because we skipped #1 initially…sorry, Dave Ramsey!). I’ll post another update at the end of the month–I was just excited to have finished a goal!

Brennan and Lesa:
 
* Finish one book a month (minimum)

Brennan: Reading “1941”

Lesa: Finished “Bad Girls of the Bible“, “The Great Divorce“, and “Untamed” so far…

* Finish funding emergency fund ($1,000)
Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund

* Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012

We made larger than normal payments on our two remaining credit cards.

* Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates
make a list and schedule on calendar as “date nights”

¬†* Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”

We have started to research safes, and we are saving up to purchase one.

 

Lesa:
 
* Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently

* Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with tiny closet) and keep them organized
Traveling so much lately has made keeping things organized a challenge, but we’re going to be home consistently for at least a while now…

* Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan

* Send 60 thank you notes this year (5 per month); finish sending wedding thank you notes (30 left…terrible, I know!)

I sent¬†7 during the month of January…1 in February so far…

* Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts so that I am always prepared

I began making a plan for each month, including a budget, but have not purchased any gifts yet.

* Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

This one might have to wait until Spring, because it’s REALLY cold in our attic…

“Finish Year” Goals…

In January 2011, I spent some time pondering what I wanted to accomplish during the coming year. I set a few goals that I successfully accomplished–being intentional about frugality, specific friendships, and a few other things. Intentional was the key word for 2011. And I believe that we succeeded.

Brennan and I were intentional about simplifying our lives in order to be less busy and more effective/efficient. We were fairly successful and found a great joy in living simply. The word “no” is an amazing thing! ūüôā

So, for 2012, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to focus on at first…until Jon Acuff, a great author and speaker, issued a challenge to his readers called “Finish Year”. Essentially, he discovered that while he is great at starting things, he never finishes anything, and he challenged us to make a list of things that we want to finish this year. This really resonated with me, and I began thinking/praying through what I want to finish this year. Brennan and I have also set joint-goals of things that we want to finish together.

I am going to try to blog at least once a month with my/our progress for accountability purposes, and in hopes that this will encourage someone else to finish something.

So, here are the things that we are going to finish this year:

Brennan and Lesa:
 
* Finish one book a month minimum
* Finish emergency fund ($1,000)
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –Open new savings account specifically for the emergency fund
* Finish paying off credit cards by December 2012
* Finish using all Groupons/gift certificates
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† –print them all out and schedule on calendar as “date nights”
¬†* Finish protecting important documents by purchasing a “fire safe”

Lesa:
 
* Finish losing 30 pounds and keep it off permanently
* Finish organizing clothes in bedroom (i.e. figure out solution with tiny closet) and keep them organized
* Finish YouVersion Bible reading plan
* Send 60 thank you notes this year (5 per month); finish sending wedding thank you notes (30 left…terrible, I know!)
* Finish purchasing “secret sister” gifts so that I am always prepared (this is a year-long church ministry)
* Finish organizing attic and put everything in plastic containers for protection from mice/temperatures

If I successfully accomplish these goals, I will add more throughout the year…but this is a good place to start. I have many more ideas that I can add!

2012 will be another year of living intentionally. We are going to be forced to become more disciplined in many areas of our lives once we are on a regular Milton Hershey School house-parenting schedule (every other weekend) due to the time commitment that ministry will involve, and I am looking forward to the challenge that will bring. Already, I know that this will mean less mystery shopping and (hopefully) a different work schedule to allow me time to take care of our home and various errands during the week more efficiently.

This¬†year will be another year of continuing to live frugally, as our goal is to have no credit card debt by the end of this year. The task is daunting and will require great discipline, but the freedom that will come from being debt-free makes it all worthwhile! God has abundantly blessed us and continues to provide for all of our needs, and we can’t wait for the freedom to give even more to provide for the needs of others! Gazelle intensity!

I recently read that we can live with the pain of discipline or we can live with the pain of regret, and I’d much rather have the former. With discipline comes peace and joy, and that’s what my heart desires! As the Bible says, discipline isn’t always fun, but in the end it is fruitful.

Most importantly, we want to remain intentional about keeping God at the center of our marriage and our lives, because without Him, we will fail miserably on our own. He alone needs to be our focus and our purpose!

Let “Finish Year” begin! ūüôā

Fundraising Update!

Thank you SO much to all who contributed to my 3-Day, 60 Mile walk fundraising! You helped me go from 18% to 44% in less than a week! AMAZING! I am only $94 away from hitting 50%, and my goal is to reach 50% by May 4th!

If you’d like to donate directly to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, you can do that here! http://www.the3day.org/site/TR?px=5639655&fr_id=1624&pg=personal

If you like Pampered Chef and would like to order this month, our consultant is giving us her ENTIRE commission, on top of what Pampered Chef will send to us! Great way to stock up on awesome kitchen tools AND join the fight against breast cancer! Click on the following link, click on shop online, then enter “Bucks for Boobs” as the organization. http://www.pamperedchef.biz/dorothyd

I am still selling Mary Kay products, and this month I will donate 30% of all purchases to my 3-Day Walk! If you would like to host a skin-care class, let me know! My website is always open: http://www.marykay.com/lesa.brackbill

Every dollar helps…what is keeping you from donating today to help find a cure for cancer?