Friday, March 28, 2014

It's the March Round-Up! And it's Madness!!!! (Get it? March Madness?) :)

     We are three months into a year that the Lord has called us to be content with what we have for one whole year.  That means we are not buying anything for ourselves.  No clothes, which is no big deal for me.  The no house projects on the other hand is HUGE for me.  We have been shown so much grace and provision in these three months it is incredible.  We have felt so supported by our friends and family and we are so thankful for that!  Let me share with you all a few things we have learned and also how we're coming along in our effort to kick our debt in its FACE!!!!!
     First off, let me share this story with you because it happened recently and it's my blog and I can.  haha!  I was sitting in church last Sunday fiddling with my wallet that holds all of our cash.  (It has sections in the back that you can label...meant for coupons, but AWESOME in place of envelopes! Bed Bath and Beyond is where I got mine...thanks for the tip Bethany Skinner! :)) I don't know why I was doing that instead of paying attention, but that's what was happening; I get distracted easily, just ask my husband.  Anyway, I looked in an obscure side pocket and found our tithe check from February!  I NEVER put checks in that wallet.  I have another place that they go so I won't forget about them.  Apparently I missed my own memo.  "Oh well," I thought.  "At least I'm at church and I can just give it to them now.  Perfect!"  That's when I heard the Lord say to me, "I am giving that to you."  "Lord," I said, " have it all wrong.  I am giving this to YOU!"  "Use this money to pay off your car," said the Lord.  "No." Said my self-righetous self.  "This money is yours God!"  Then the Lord said to me, "ALL money is mine.  And I am giving this to you."  I didn't know what to think.  We have been continuing to give our tithe this whole time because we felt like the Lord wanted us to.  Now he wanted us to keep it!?  It did NOT feel right.  I went home, called K and told him about it and asked him to pray about it and I would do the same and we would talk about it the next day.  While I was making dinner I was reading Proverbs (sometimes that's the only time I get when my kids aren't pulling at me because they know I'm going to feed them food so they don't interrupt.  HAHA!) and God highlighted a verse for me.  It reads, "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice," Proverbs 21:3.  My mind was blown (which seems to be a regular occurrence these days).  The Lord is PROUD of us.  He DELIGHTS in us following his will and saying yes when He calls.  He would rather see us pay off our car, doing what is right and good, than see us just give another sacrifice to the church.  Now please.  I am NOT saying that you shouldn't give to your church!  We still feel called to give and we will continue next month as usual, but I have a much different attitude about it now.  Instead of, "here you go is OUR money for YOU."  It's, "Here Lord, here is YOUR money, what would YOU have US do with it?"  I feel like this was a HUGE lesson for us and am so humbled that God is cheering us on in huge ways.  Our tithe check was for $400...we owed $414 on my car.  We went down the next day and paid that sucker off.  Here are some pics because we are dorks.

So excited to own my Excursion!

The Banker helping us thought we were funny and probably a little crazy. :)

Little D's excitement doesn't show on his face, but I like to think he was jumping for joy on the inside!  HAHA!

MAN THAT FELT AMAZING!!!  What a gift from the Lord!  Now let's get to the numbers and see where we stand going into April!

  • New debt total going into April- $12, 400.33!!
  • Amount paid off since last month- $3,095.87!!!!
  • Amount paid off since we started- $10,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you would have asked both of us last December when we would have had our debt paid off we would have said maybe some time next year, meaning 2015.  Never in my craziest dreams would we have thought we would have been able to pay off $10,000 in a year...let alone THREE MONTHS!  God is SO GOOD.  That is the point.  If we were trying to do this on our own, there is no way we would have had the conviction to stick with every extra penny we have going to debt.  It's not easy and we have messed up...ok I have messed up (remember my coffee I bought?), :) but it's all a part of this learning journey we're on.  So thankful today for God's grace and really is limitless.

Have a great weekend friends!!  April starts on Tuesday!  AHHHH!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Exhaustion Setting In

   "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man." Proverbs 24: 33-34.  "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. " Proverbs 22:7.  The Lord led me to these verses tonight to encourage me.  Not the most encouraging verses right?  I didn't think so either until I started thinking about it.  You see, I miss my husband.  He is my best friend.  Not the cliche, "I'm married to my best friend!"  No.  He truly is my best friend.  He knows everything about me, he is patient with me, he supports me, he loves me unconditionally, and he is a HUGE help to me when he is home.  As I sit here and watch a documentary about tornados (I know...don't judge me) I can just feel the emptiness; and I don't like it.
     Being alone comes with the territory of being a fireman's wife, this I know.  We also knew that this year was going to be tough.  After almost three months of K basically working four days straight and then being home for two we are starting to feel it here at home.  We all miss him.  That's why these verses were so encouraging to me.  They spell out exactly what we are avoiding by K being gone so much and what we are living out at the same time.  The first verse gives purpose to this emptiness and the second rings true in so many ways.  Let me tell you, we definitely feel like servants to Chase Bank until these credit cards are paid off.   Thank you Jesus for knowing exactly what I need to hear and when.
     Here's a funny story, I had a fail moment last Saturday and stopped at Dutch Bros. on my way to the kid's basketball games. (Yay for transparency)  They got smoothies and I got a coffee.  I wasn't supposed to get that coffee.  Know why?  My parents showed up to the game with a surprise coffee for me!  GEORGIA.  GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD.  GOD KNOWS YOUR NEEDS.  EVEN COFFEE.  REMEMBER THE GIFT CARDS!?!?!?  I think I am still shaking from all the caffeine I drank that day.

***(Hang on while I find a new documentary to watch...the tornado one just ended.  Here we go...National Geographic: Dawn of the Maya.  Exciting, right!?)***

     I realized tonight that this journey doesn't end after this year is up.  We need to keep moving forward so that this doesn't happen again.  No more servant role for us unless we are serving our God!  I realized today that we quit the first go around.  We stopped following the Dave Ramsey principles after we had our debt paid off and never moved past baby step number two.  Not this time.  We will attack the emergency fund next so this doesn't happen again.  God has blessed us with too much for us to live our lives in bondage.
     So friends, pray for us please.  Pray that I can be still and just trust God.  Pray that God will continue to encourage us to finish the race as we are only 1/4 of the way through the year.  If you are reading this blog know that I am praying for you and asking God to highlight what you might need to read today.  That you might leave this site feeling encouraged (except for my whiny post today ;))  in your finances and ready to tackle some debt along with us!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Good Words, A Travel Fund and little bit of selfishness....OK a lot. :)

     So I just have to say how encouraged we are by everyone's encouragement of us!!  I have had more people vox, text or just tell me how God has used this blog to teach them something in their own lives or are encouraged just knowing that someone else is going through the same thing too.  It's SOO HELPFUL to hear those comments!!  I just want to thank you so much because God always seems to have someone do it when we need it most.  This journey is becoming about so much more than finances.  There is a much bigger picture that God is getting at.  I've mentioned before about the legacy we are leaving for our kids and I know that is a big part of it, but your finances are the lifeline of your family for most people.  How they are handled says a lot about your priorities and what you value.  Matthew 6:21 says- "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  We were storing up all the wrong treasure.  God, with all His grace, is helping us correct that wrong.  Praise the Lord that he loves us so much to redirect our paths even when we don't know we're on the wrong one!  I just have to shout for joy really quick- "WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!"  Ok. Done. For now.
     I must share with you all about our travel fund.  Our travel fund consisted of a gallon sized glass jar that we would put all of our extra change into from the cash budget purchases.  Well throughout this journey it has been sitting on our counter almost full of change and some dollar bills.  Check it out-
It was pretty full!!

I had felt a tiny little pull from the Lord early on about this jar.  I ignored it.  So lame I know.  I justified hanging onto this jar of coins because it was for the whole family!  It wasn't just a jar that was for me and K, we had talked at length with the kids about what we were going to use this money for.  Hawaii came up, Disney Land and even a trip to Utah to see my sister and her family.  It had a purpose.  God wanted me to let it go.  I was being a big baby and didn't want to let it go.  "WHAAA!" I said to God...."Just let me keep this!  It's just coins...mostly!"  I hung onto it until one day my husband called when he got to work.  He had felt convicted about that stupid jar all the way to work and felt like we weren't really giving our all if we didn't give this jar up.  SO LAME!  At least that's what I thought at the time.  Anyway, when he got home, he and the kids emptied it out, sorted and rolled it up.  It was super exciting that I will share some pictures with you!

Their faces say it all...pure excitement!

The barbie in the back has passed out from the sight of all this coin!

They were such good sports about it, and I think it helped make them more a part of this journey as well.

See?  Thrilling!  The grand total came out to $277.50.  The next day we marched down to Golden One and made a payment toward the principle on my car loan.  Every. Penny. Counts.  Every penny that goes toward this debt is a penny toward freedom.   I don't miss that travel fund.  All the change we get now goes into the debt jar for a extra little payment at the end of each month.  I don't know why I was such a baby about this (That darn selfishness again).  I laugh at myself now, but if we are obedient in the small things we will be trusted with bigger things.  This is about so much more than just our finances. "Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noon day sun," Psalm 37: 5-6.  We commit our ways to you Lord.  ALL our ways.  Even our travel funds.

Thanks for reading friends!  Hope you had a great weekend!!