Friday, July 11, 2008

Gotta get off my......

I won't finish that sentence but I'm betting you did.

No excuses for not blogging except to say I'm a new blogger and it just hasn't been my priority. The other reason is that I've been working much more.....more than my typical Sat & Sun at the local hospital, where I am part of the "Baylor" plan. I work 24 hours, get paid for 32 and still qualify for some benefits. It's an awesome program and when I pick up another shift or two, it really helps put a boost into our debt reduction plan!!

Speaking of The Plan....we're getting more focused on exactly what needs to be done to eliminate the closed business debt. The history in a nutshell business, didn't work, closed and now, leftover debt. I wish it was so much more exciting than that but sadly, it is not. We wanted to pursue the American Dream.....and discovered that was the WRONG road and now, realize we are living the American Dream. With a bit of debt to go with it!!

Soon I think I'll be willing to post more details about the plan and how much debt is out there. For now, I came across this great article about the top priorities of getting out of debt. Here are ours:

1) So that our sons will never see, firsthand, how stressful and overwhelming debt can be. How it eats at your soul and heart at times. They are young (2 & 3 years old) and blissfully unaware of the debt and it's toll on us now.

2) We long to get out of our debt so we can give more freely to others, in a financial way. We truly want to help finance churches and charities in ways that it makes it difficult now. We give in other ways but we would like to give financially as well.

3) We want to "put our money where our mouth is" so to speak. We HATE, HATE, HATE debt!!! Enough to truly make some changes. Hard to talk about not believing in this much debt when you have this much debt....

4) FREEDOM! To live without the thought of "what are we going to do....". I really cannot stand the thoughts that awaken me from sleep about how we're going to reduce the debt.

5) SURVIVAL! The business did not survive but we will. When we are finally able to put it away for good, we'll truly be able to tell the story of how we survived this incredible challenge from God. I can't wait....

6) Value statement! The one VERY good thing about the process is that it is helping us to truly put our values out there. Separating those needs vs. wants. Showing one another the lengths that we are willing to go to to get to the finish line! It is bringing my husband and I closer together.

7) Challenge & Unity. One thing that has ALWAYS identified our relationship is challenge and unity. We grew up in different cultures and different geographical areas. Our union has always been somewhat of a challenge. We are of different cultures, different skin color, different family values. Yet we were able to go beyond all those things and find the very things that unified us.....a belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior, a belief that family is your second highest priority in life, after Christ, a belief that you share your love openly with those around you, whether they be related by blood or friendship or humanity itself. This journey is challenging and unifying us again....and again....and again.

What are your reasons to rid yourself of debt?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Testing something

Wow--long time, no blogging!

So sorry everyone....not very nice of me to blog and leave, is it? I went on vacation to my childhood home in the Midwest. To "The Farm". My parents still live there and it is smack in the middle of nothing. Closest town is about 5 miles away, and that isn't much of a town at all. Two gas stations, no traffic light (though I think they are up to 2 STOP signs), 2 banks, 3 bars and one library. Oh--and of course, the smattering of farm components such as the feed store and grain elevator. Iowa...that part of the midwest. Small town Iowa. VERY small town. The Farm is still without most modern amenities....including any kind of internet connection. None. Zilch. Absolutely no remote chance of even stealing the neighbor's signal....since the closest neighbor is about 1/2 mile away. So we just roughed it for about a week and a half, hung out, planted carrots, played tag with the cousins and slept a lot. It was heavenly.

Since returning, it's been all about work and organizing. Had a killer garage sale....made a couple of hundred bucks. And settling in to our summer routine. So I'm sorry about being gone for so long. I'm back. Soon you'll be sick of hearing from me.....

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Letting Go

One of the foremost goals for myself is to live my life in the way God intended it. That being said, I'm not really sure what that means. I mean, it sounds good. It sounds so gentle and so deep and so thoughtful. Yeah, maybe..... Mostly it means that I am trying to let go more and trying to just let things happen. In a very 12-step kind of way, I suppose. Except I tried the 12-step thing before, and I'm not particularly good at it. I tried in terms of eating, which I like to do and probably do way too much of. But how do you Let Go and Let God determine if you eat the bread or not? I never got it. So now I'm trying it again, but in terms of oh, let's just say, just about everything.

I'm a reactor. Nuclear sometimes. I have a non-existent level of patience, I interrupt others all the time (ask SH......he'll tell you all about it, except I'll probably jump in there to tell you first), I have a lightening-fast temper and I jump to conclusions. Usually, not the accurate one. So I'm working on letting go. I'm working on counting to 5.....but let's face it....I rarely get to 3. I'm getting better and better at this when SH is not home. He's not home often because he travels for his job and is gone 3-4 days a week. I'm really good at taking a moment to pause, reflect and speak before inserting my foot.....when we are on the phone. I'm really--NO REALLY--bad at doing this when we are in the same room together. I tend to get pretty wound up quickly when the energy is in the room. I think that it is such an issue in my relationship with SH right now because God is trying, begging, pleading and forcing me to look at how destructive that personality trait truly is. It is a lesson in faith I'm telling you. Do I have enough faith that if I just shut up for a few moments, I'll still get what I need? Do I have enough faith that my needs will be met? Do I have enough faith that I will be nurtured? Do I have enough faith that even if it is not my way, it is still The Way? I am really bothered by that notion. That I don't have enough faith to carry me through. Because if I don't have enough faith, how do I teach the boys about it? If I don't have enough faith now, what is in store for all eternity for me?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Snowball Goals for 2008

One of the things you don't know about me/us yet is our fanatical following of all things Dave Ramsey and DEBT ELIMINATION in our lives. It is getting pretty hot in to speak.

Superman Hubby (that's way too much to write all the time, considering I'll be talking about him a lot....from now on, let's just whittle that down to SH) and I had what we thought was this fantastic little idea a couple of years ago. That was after the fantastic Little Bit that was born to us. We thought we wanted a retail business of our own....a food business. I'm quite a foodie, and quite a cook, and sometimes, a bit of an entertainer. SH is just quite a business man. So we delved into the world of food-related retail. It was quite an adventure, but to make a VERY long endeavor short, it just wasn't meant to be. So we ceased that adventure and are now stuck with a bit of debt from it. That combined with our own little bit of debt and we have more than we want. So we are in the Graduate School of Hard Knocks, mastering in Debt Elimination and Living More Simply and Frugally. It actually is kind of fun...trying to get blood from the proverbial turnip (I actually like turnips....raw with just a bit of salt....Yumm!).

Here are our overall financial goals for 2008, which are being reworked and revamped on a continual basis:

1. $1000 in our Emergency Fund---DONE! Thanks to a "failed" business in the eyes of the IRS...we got a great return this year

2. Chase (those evil, evil people!) Circuit City credit card---will be completely paid off in May, this month!

3. Chase Credit (again, another entity of the evildoers!)--paid in full by September 2008

4. All business equipment sold and monies applied to debt--so far, over $4000 paid toward debts. We are expecting only about another $2000 from the equipment and that will go toward the Chase CC.

5. NO NO NO additional credit card debt---As of April, we completely destroyed all our cards. We found we truly had to complete a plastic-ectomy to stop the bleeding. So, that takes care of that!

I'll keep you up to date on how we are doing. I can't divulge just how much debt we have is truly an emotional issue as well and just too difficult to put those numbers on paper for all to see. We poured our hearts and souls into something that was just not meant to be and in hindsight, realize we should have stopped the bleeding long before we did.

We recognize also what a wonderful lesson from God it has been. We are incorporating many things into our lives at this point, that we know are what we are meant to be doing. We are not only spending less money and living below our means, but recycling more, reusing more, praying more, talking more, and eating less (especially outside of our home). I don't think that it is at all a "coincidence" that in the year I turned 40 that we are experiencing a life change. Each decade of my life has always been very different.

My teen years were well....full of teen things. My 20's were spent close to my childhood home, trying to grow up and grow out of an environment that didn't want me to change or leave it. I left when I was 30. In that decade I lived in 5 different states, started my new career and created an entirely different social network. I still maintained some key relationships near my childhood home in the Midwest but everything else changed. I met my husband, moved several times, got married and had children in my 30's. Seems to me that my 40's will be full of yet a new adventure and the business what just a blip in that process. So far, I'm really liking the change.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Our wonderful neighbors celebrated his 40th birthday last night and we were invited to the party. It was really great to be included in the celebration. Friday was spent preparing for the event and evidently, the rumor has it that my potato salad was pretty terrific. Woot! Here is the recipe below for any potato salad fans....nothing spectacularly fancy but being from the Midwest, it is a staple and one that any good former 4-H girl should be able to do!

Potato Salad

5-6 large red potatoes
3 eggs, boiled
1/2 cup finely diced onion
3/4 cup sliced thin celery
1/2 cup pickle relish
1/4 - 1/2 cup mayo
1/4 - 1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
2 Tbs. yellow mustard (if desired)

Boil potatoes until just tender. Immediately remove from boiling water and dip into cold water. When cooled, slice into bite size pieces in large bowl. Dice boiled eggs into same bowl. Add remaining ingredients, leaving mayo and sour cream for last. If you like a "drier" salad, start with the 1/4 cup. For a very creamy version, go ahead with the 1/2 cup. You can add more to taste if you want it even creamier. Let sit overnight for best flavor.

That's I said, nothing spectacular but pretty darn tasty. I'll be doing many more recipes on the blog....I LOVE to cook, love to entertain and love to share some good food and memories with those we love. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day two...

I dreamt about the blog last night. I dreamt of the incredibly creative, witty and thought-provoking statements I would make. I dreamt of how the entire cyber-world would recognize me and believe that I was truly what it has been missing. Then I woke to the sound of Little Bit (that would be our two-year-old male child of unbounding and unending energy) screaming....MILK MAMA! CHOCOLATE MILK! And began my day again.....

I suppose that if this is even going to reach a level of mildly interesting, I should try to explain a bit of myself and those crazy individuals that surround me. There is Superman Hubby.....been married to him for close to five years now. Yes dear...I do remember our wedding anniversary in September. I just cheated and looked at the inscription on my wedding band. We've been together for about twice that.

Next is Big Boy...our 3 1/2 year old, approaching genius boy child. OK...maybe not technically genius but he has an amazing memory. Steel trap that kid. Doesn't ever let me forget the dog food....or gum for that matter.

Lastly, but most certainly not least, is Little Bit. He's 2 1/2 years old. He's the most inquisitive, strong-willed and absolutely challenging person of my life. He has my quick temper and Daddy's stubborn strength. Not a pleasant combination most days.

Fifteen months apart those two boys. Yes, you can gasp. You can even ask what were you thinking?!?!! At this point, I don't have an answer. But before Little Bit was actually here and in screaming mode, I was thinking, Awww, how cute. So close these two brothers. How adorable. Really?!??

Me? I find myself at 40, wondering if I've done enough at this point in my life. And knowing that I have a finite amount of time to do more. Not that I'm thinking life will be over anytime soon, at least I hope that is not in God's plan. But I do recognize that the past 40 years have gone by much faster than I ever imagined. I mean, I have SO much that I want to accomplish yet. So here I am, prepared to start my next "to-do" list in life. Starting with each day. I want to incorporate more happiness in every day, more smiles, more giggles, more prayer and more thankfulness in each day. I've always been one to journal. Why not do this through a blog? We'll we go on yet another adventure.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today it begins....

So today I start my blog. Because I'm crazy.....and naive.....and ignorant (which by the way, does not insinuate that I'm stupid, because I'm not...)...and excited....and willing to do just about anything. I have really very little idea of what I'm doing. Which I'm quite sure will never get me nominated for Blog Of The Cyber-Universe or Cutest Blog Ever or even Mildly Interesting Garbage On The Net. But it will keep my family (scratch that--parents still live in the distant past with no internet or idea of how to use one)--some loved ones and friends informed of what our boring family is up to these days. Today that is nothing. But wow, maybe tomorrow we will escape and do something that everyone will want to know about! Yeah--back to today. Blogging seems like the thing to do if you are me. I need to talk, love to talk, love nothing more than to tell you my life story, as my friends have often reminded me that the dude with the long hair, tattoos of spiderwebs and the really cool Harley at the gas station, does not need to know about. But tell him I do. And now, I tell you. Stalkers, line up at the door.