Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Financial Review

So to change it up a bit...

Yesterday I posted our New Years financial update. And oh, how excited I was. But alas, I have had a verse on my heart for several weeks. and I was certain I knew it was that we were to reach our goal early. And I still feel that that goal is attainable.

Jeremiah 29:11For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And wow, were we finally headed to the prosperous road. Oh wait, what was I thinking. Yes, I was thinking, not praying, not asking, not seeking Him. I was going my way full steam and ready to cross the finish line with gusto.

Yesterday afternoon the Lord grabbed our family by the reins and said WHOA, what about me, am I involved at all anymore? My sweet prince was released from current career. Ouch! that was not in My plan. How in the world are we to reach that finish line now. My thoughts were in a tailspin most of the afternoon and evening. Until I reached home and my sweet greeted me at the door with the warmest embrace and the same verse wispered in my ear. Oh, yeah I thought, I'm okay, I'm in the Lord's hands and I know he has a great plan for us.

So as an addendum to yesterday's blog. I have no idea when we will reach our financial goals. But, I do know the Lord has great things in store for me and my family. And I am again excited to see what will happen in the new year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Financial Review

It's the end of 2009 and time for our financial review. We began our journey 2 years ago with some dear friends. They introduced us to Crown Financial Ministries and the book "Your Money Counts". We had no idea what God's view on finances looked like.

My sweet prince grew up thinking that a good financial planner was someone who could transfer money from one low interest credit card to another. I on the other hand grew up with the thought that if you worked hard you would eventually make enough money to be happy. Usually at some point after the children were out of the house. There was no planning for the future or saving. Neither view looked at God for anything. So needless to say, wow, were we surprised to learn about what the Lord had in store for us.

We made the commitment then that debt was not going to rule our lives and we would in no way take on anymore debt . This included cell phone contracts, 90 day same as cash opportunities, credit cards with points etc, etc.

We knew the why behind our finances. We knew God had a plan for us. We knew we wanted to be able to bless others and to provide for our family. But we soon realized we were struggling with "how" to accomplish these tasks.

So in May of '09 we began the Dave Ramsey plan. We diligently put money into our envelopes and counted our pennies and were quickly at each others throats!! We just couldn't maintain such a strict budget and be happy. It seemed we were taking one step forward and two steps back. So we have now adapted a plan that works for us. Cash is not our friend, we've learned. Sorry Mr. Ramsey, it is just spent faster that way. We do however have a weekly budget and have given each other allowances. We also maintain a very strict communication policy on spending. Although we don't have cash stashed away for the known events in our lives we are able to sit down each month and allot enough for the "oops I forgot, or I didn't think of that" fund. And yes, our savings is growing too. We have blended the two philosophies into something that works for us.

So now it is Dec. '09 we began our journey approximately $15,000 in debt and I am happy to announce we will be debt free by March of 2010!!!!

So if anyone asks that is my birthday wish. I would like nothing more than to celebrate my 30th birthday without debt. And a rather large sum of money added to our daily income. WHOO HOO!!!

So stick with us, and I'll be happy to report each of our milestones as they occur. And watch our mountain come crumbling down.

Parenting Antics and Perspective

I have to share our latest parenting fiasco. Yes, it was quite a hilarious attempt at "good parenting". The great part it, I think it actually may have worked.

So my sweet 9 year old daughter has developed the typical, horrid, preteen attitude. Complete with eye rolling, foot stomping and the valley girl, "I'm SO much better than you" tone of voice. URGH!!! Okay, I must make this confession. I was just like that, and I hated my mom telling me I had a bad attitude, when I felt just fine.... (and I wonder where she gets it).

So I used my childhood experiences and my husband and I decided to demonstrate what her behavior looked like. We explained what nonverbal communication is and how it can effect the message you are trying to portray.

We started in the living room with her sitting in a chair in the middle of the floor. (always a bit intimidating, but keeps their attention a bit longer). Then my sweet prince asked her "how do you think I feel right now?". Her response was that she didn't know, but we must not be happy. Then my sweet grinned from ear to ear and asked the same question. She was getting it, by jove. She knew dad must be happy and was laughing at his silly grin.

Then he asked her with his meanest, scary daddy face and gruff voice the same question. And just that fast we saw the meltdown. Complete with tears, shaking, trembling and OH NO!!! written all over her sweet face. I couldn't help it, I had to laugh. I know it was so wrong, but oh my she was so funny. I couldn't believe how fast she went from laughing to crying. Unfortunately my sweet caught my laughing, so there went his great perception.

Needless to say, it took us some time to quite her back down. And she also laughed at herself in the end. The point was made and now we wait and watch. After one week, I must admit, there is some improvement. At least the eye rolling has been unseen so far. We'll keep praying and thank the Lord for humor in teaching.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Parenting Antics and Perspective

The Lord has blessed me with two wonderful gifts from above. I know, everyone says that but really, I have the two perfect kids for me. As I grow up, yes I am still growing, I am learning the value of God's gifts in my life. My children are one great example.

Since coming to Christ my husband and I have found ourselves with a huge desire to love children, other than our own. If you asked me as a youngster or teen, I would have vehemently told you, you were out of your mind. My dream was to be a successful doctor, and children were no where in that picture. Especially not my own. But, oh how the Lord softens our hearts and changes our perspective. It's absolutely amazing how he works in each of our lives individually. I can't imagine life without my children.

So one lesson I have learned; God game me the perfect children for me. No matter how "perfect" a child may seem they are human and have flaws too. We have recently had the opportunity to watch several different children in recent weeks. All for various reasons and lengths of time. And oh, how thankful I am for my own children. Don't get me wrong, every child we have watched has been an absolute angel. But I have learned that each child is raised for their parents alone, silly quirks and all. One sweet friend has Mysophobia, fear of germs. So her sweet darling is addicted to hand sanitizer. I think we have a bottle of the stuff tucked away somewhere in a back cabinet. Another has computer savvy parents, so we were informed of all of our technological shortcomings. And a third is parents to a hairdresser. So in case anyone was wondering, I have several grey hairs that need tending to. Each child, although absolute darlings and wonderful joys to care for, have their own quirks. I also know that my children are absolute slobs around everyone else. They also speak their minds rather bluntly, really I wonder where they get it.... So the Lord has placed on my heart the perfection of my children for me, myself and I. Hence why they were given to me to tend and care for and raise up in the way they should go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wow What a Glorious Day!

Today started off with a glorious gift from God. New fallen snow it Texas. What a wonderful site.

Then, during my quiet time I was delightfully astounded. To quote the passage from my bible study:
The book of John
"... The Father draws men to Jesus. These men are God's gift to His Son; Jesus receives those who come in this way (6: 37). He also keeps those who come to Him (10: 28). He regenerates them with a quality of life that will be consummated at the glorious future day of resurrection (6:40)"

So my sweet savior receives me as a precious gift from his father. He loves me so much that he cares for me and molds me into something even better than what he received. He keeps me and cares for me until he is ready to present me to his father again. The picture that I received was something similar to the Father that gives his son a beat up old pick up truck. Together they work on that old truck and the finished product is nothing short of spectacular. That is how Jesus sees little ol' me? I am the "beater truck". But with time, pain staking care and love He molds me into something that would fit on a showroom floor any day. WOW!!!

So how well do I treat the treasures Christ has given me? Do I cherish my relationships to this degree? Do I value the provisions and luxuries I have been granted? Or do I treat them with little regard; as an object to be used?

So to go a little further into my thoughts. It has been put on my heart the desire to "opt out" of the cultural Christmas extravaganza. Instead my hearts desire is to sit quietly in contemplation and see the work of my gracious Father. Who, on one starry night changed the course of the world as we know it. He came down to earth to experience our lives. On top of that, in all his infinite wisdom and power he gave his life for me, so that I may know him.

Well, needless to say, I feel overwhelmed today. I look forward to what the this season will bring.

So to put start the ball rolling with this goal. Friday our family has the opportunity to serve in our church together. I can't wait. I'm very excited to see my children working along side other believers in Christ as we are His hands and feet. I pray they see the power and love of Christ as they are surrounded by "grown ups" that are living and breathing examples of Christ. It's one thing for mom and dad to explain and demonstrate service. It's a completely different perspective to see others actually demonstrating the principles mom and dad explained. I thank all of our friends and church family for the opportunity in advance, and I truly can't wait to see how the Lord will work this night.