Friday, August 31, 2012

20 Percent Down

I'm linking up with Amy today for Frankly Friday. And I'm going to write about something that I believe is super important...


I know it freaks some people out when I talk about money and actually give numbers and stuff but here's my thinking... we have a serious money problem in our country. Most people have loads of debt and kids are growing up not knowing how to handle money. I believe a big part of that is that people just don't talk about it. If people don't talk about money how can those who don't know what to do with money learn?

So I talk about it. :)

Most of you know that I'm a HUGE Dave Ramsey fan. He talks about money and he changed my life by changing my thinking. We took Financial Peace University seven years ago. Since then we've paid off $20,000 in debt, bought an $8000 van with cash, added two kids on (extremely) high insurance deductibles, saved up an emergency fund that would cover six months of expenses, built on our retirement fund and had a decent sized short term savings. We had four wonderful debt free years. HAD that short term savings and debt free years... because we just bought a house with 20% down!

All that on $40,000 a year!

To me that is a huge accomplishment because so many seem to think that $40,000 just isn't enough. But it is!... If you figure out how to make it be enough. :)

Really though, I'm totally excited about being able to put 20% down a house! We did receive a good sized gift to help us out but we also had enough to cover the 20% and closing in our own accounts. And it's a good thing! You see... the mortgage company missed the memo that we were getting a gift and if we had tried to do that at the last minute it would have screwed everything up. So we had to use all of our money and we will refill our emergency fund in a few days with the gift. Not the least stressful way to do it but it works. Writing a check for $17,600 was crazy!

Anyways... it wasn't easy building almost $18,000 in savings over the past four years. But we did it! We haven't taken big vacations. We don't get loads of new clothes. I have to keep putting off that camera upgrade that I desperately want. It has taken sacrifice... establishing what our needs really are and what are simply just wants. It's taken telling myself NO time and time again. Discipline. A lot of it. And it's not been easy!

But oh! Is it so worth it!! 

As I get ready to go spend day number two cleaning my new home... it is so worth it! So worth every sacrifice. So worth the peace I have when it comes to money.

To change our money problems we have to change our thinking and learn how to live off of what we have.

If you aren't sure where to start I highly recommend taking Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey! It will rock your world in an amazing way and change your future!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Purely for Your Entertainment

So many of you left sweet comments about how much you enjoyed the videos of Liza on her first day of kindergarten. I decided to share some more videos from today. :)

I got some new music recently after some recommendations from this awesome blogger. Good, upbeat Christian music. Just what I've been looking for for like EVER. Thank you Amy!

We had a long day of cleaning today and after dinner I decided to turn on some music which of course led to a family dance party in the living room. Eventually Liza started playing her air guitar and head banging. I asked her where she learned that and she said "I don't know. I saw it on a movie." Of course Jason had to join in as well.

I think the videos are hilarious. Maybe you won't because you aren't their mom but I figure at least the grandparents will enjoy them so here they are. :)

I just want to say Jason at :34 in... awesome!


Pretty sure that if Liza grows up to be a singer and gets on American Idol season 27 that this will be the video that gets played when they ask about "when did you start singing?" Someday I'm gonna be a rockstart! Said at 23 days before she turned six. History. She'll be the girl rocker. Watch for her.

Here is the end of the song. I don't know why I stopped and started again but I did.

I love my life! The entertainment is awesome!

House Cleaning...

I woke up this morning, got Liza ready for school, packed the kids in the car along with all of our outdoor toys and headed to the new house. Walked Liza to school, got Jason's toys set up in the yard and then decided to get ready to do some cleaning.

Turned the water on... nothing!

Can't really clean without water.

I had called the water company two days ago to get it put in my name. They said no problem and they would send someone over to read the meter and get me set. (Or something like that.) We were at the house yesterday and had water.

So there I am... a girl who has been able to call maintenance for the past 9 1/2 years to fix my problems and now I am on my own.

Thankfully I had a phone since my wonderful friend Kim let me borrow an old one that had lots of minutes left on it. But I didn't have a phone book. I could have run home but Kim was on her way and I didn't have her number. (Although after I thought about it I figured I probably DID have her number somewhere in that cell phone.)

I was feeling a little helpless. But then I saw the neighbor outside! Have I mentioned how wonderful our neighbor is?? He has been sooooo incredibly helpful for us the past two days. He got the phone number I needed and told me that he saw someone from the water company at the house earlier in the morning. (Important information!!)

I made my call and they said everything should be on because it was never turned off. "Check all the valves and make sure they are open." Ok. Problem... I had no idea where the valves were! Kim was at the house by this point and she helped me out. But I ended up having to ask the neighbor for help AGAIN. He looked at the valves, said "everything is on. I bet the guy turned it off this morning."

Called the water company again, told them what was up. Real nice lady on the phone. After talking for a minute she said "We'll just treat this as an emergency and will have someone out soon to figure this out." In the meantime nice neighbor brought his hose around so we could fill up buckets and get started. Shortly after that water person came and said that the water did in fact get turned off that morning but should now be on again. I was just excited to have water.

Of course I have no hot water yet since I didn't get the gas turned on. I'll do that tomorrow I guess. Hot water would be nice. We boiled some to add to the cleaning water. A little old school but it worked.

And then we set to cleaning!

I mentioned that my WONDERFUL FRIEND KIM came over to help. She was there for hours and was soooo helpful! I told her I would have been on the floor crying that the work would never get done if I had had to do it all by myself.

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We got most of the downstairs done... I hate cleaning kitchens! Tomorrow we'll tackle the upstairs. Should go much faster since it doesn't have a kitchen. But oh! People! Cat hair! Gag. I gag easily and hair always gets me. Cat hair everywhere. (You would probably laugh at me because really it wasn't horrible but it was there... everywhere.) In the fridge. That grossed me out so much! I have a feeling I'll be finding random cat hairs in the house for a long time. :(

Liza and Jason jumped in and cleaned some walls too! They were so cute and Kim was thinking quick and grabbed my camera and snapped some shots for me.

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Some time while we were cleaning my new friends Pauline and Priscilla stopped by to give me a little house warming gift...

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It's a mug that says WISDOM!!! They were at the meeting two weekends ago when I spoke on wisdom. They said they saw it in the store and just had to get it for me. I told them it will be perfect for my mornings of sipping tea on my sun porch!

So thoughtful. Between the two of them and Kim... I was so blessed today! I love friends! And good neighbors!

Tomorrow I'm back at the house cleaning some more. We invited family and friends to join us at the new (but still empty) house tomorrow evening for a time of prayer as we dedicate our house to God and His purposes. I'm excited!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Liza's First Day of Kindergarten!

Oh my! This girl!!! She was just so excited about her first day of school... with a little bit of nervousness mixed in the past few days. But this morning there were no more nerves. She woke up wondering how long until she got to go to school.

Actually... I woke her up. :)

That special breakfast... she told me two weeks ago she wanted a special breakfast on her first day of school so I was all "ok. So what would be special? Pancakes? Waffles?" You know... things were rarely have. Nope. She wanted special cereal. Something sugary since we only ever buy flakes, cheerios, kix and rice krispies. This was her request...

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She insisted on having breakfast in her princess bowl.

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She was such a big girl when I dropped her off. Walked right in her room, gave me a hug and she was off. Jason and I hung out for a while. It was different. I realized it was really quiet. I missed her giggles. But it was sweet having some time with just Jason... but I'm pretty sure he missed his big sister too!

We picked her up and she was just so excited! She said she wanted to go again tomorrow. That's a good thing... you know... because she is going to have to go again tomorrow. :)

I go a little video with her again before she went to bed. Here is her thoughts on her day...

I just love her so much!!

Why Should I Get Wisdom -- part 2

Wisdom brings so many blessings with it. The following is a list of some of those blessing. I encourage you to actually look up the verses as I have not quoted them all but just pulled out the benefits of wisdom.

Proverbs 1: 22-23 Listen and wisdom will pour out her thoughts and make known to you her teachings. (I know I would like to know wisdom's thoughts!)

Proverbs 1:33 If you listen to wisdom you will live in safety and be at ease without fear of harm. (I don't mind living in safety without fear!)

Proverbs 2:12 Wisdom saves you from the ways of wicked men. (Yes please!)

Proverbs 2:16 Wisdom will save you from the adulterous woman and her seductive words. (Or the adulterous man.)

Proverbs 2:20 You will walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.

Proverbs 3:1-2 The teachings of wisdom will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. (I want to live long! I really do! And with it peace and prosperity... for every area of my life.)

Proverbs 3:21-24 Do not let wisdom out of your site for wisdom brings life, grace, safety, and sweet sleep. (Ahhh... sweet sleep! Because you don't have to fear harm.)

Proverbs 3:35 The wise inherit honor.

Proverbs 4:6 Wisdom protects you and watches over you.

Proverbs 8:12-23  Wisdom is speaking…
"I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power. By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just; by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full. The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.

What I love most about the above verse is that last line... Wisdom has been around since the beginning. It has seen all and knows all. We often look to people older than us, those that have lived a lot of life... we want their wisdom. But wisdom has been around since before the world began. Who better to seek than wisdom!? (Not that we should stop seeking out the wisdom of those that are older!)

Proverbs 8:35 says, "For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD."

Proverbs 9:11-12 Through wisdom your days will be many, years will be added to your life. Your wisdom will reward you.

So wisdom brings safety, sweet sleep, grace, long life and much more!

Get wisdom!

We Bought A House!*

I'm not sure I have enough energy to even think through an entire blog post at the moment but I'm going to try. If I make it I might move on to post number two and post number three that need to happen today.

Last night my phone quit working completely. Great timing! NOT!! And we had 30 minutes left on our cell phone. Not good. Still haven't sorted the phone situation yet but my wonderful friend Kim is letting me use an old phone she had that still has some minutes on it to get us through the next day or two. Good friends are such a treasure!!

I went to bed hoping no one needed anything else for the house situation.

I woke up this morning, got Liza and Jason ready and headed out to take Liza to her first day of Kindergarten! (More on that later... Liza's first day of school ever is deserving of it's own post!)

Jason and I hung out for the morning. We picked Liza up, came home, ate lunch and Mike's mom came to watch the kids so we could go do the final walk through and head to the closing. Problem was that we showed up for the final walk through at the time we were told to be there and the neighbor told us we just missed the (seller's) realtor. She had a different time. Ugh!

And we only had 16 minutes left on our phone at this time!

Thankfully we have a wonderful neighbor at the new house who let us use his phone and we got the realtor to come back. Walked through the house... it felt really good!! This is a good home for us!

And then we were off to the closing... we were actually buying a house!!

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Our realtor's office was 40 minutes away so we just enjoyed the drive and talked about life. And then we were there, ready to get this done!

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(Fuzzy pic... oh well!)

They started by going over all the money. When they said the total (which I already knew) and then asked if we had any questions I slid the paper back across the table and said "I'm done!" I couldn't think anymore. After that I just followed Mike and did what I was told... I signed my name and signed my name and signed my name. I was getting close to having an artistically scribbled signature by the end.

After signing a fat stack of papers and my brain passing the mush stage they said "well, the only thing left is money from you." Mike pulls out the checkbook and lawyer lady says "oh... didn't they tell you that you needed certified money?"

Nope. No one has been telling us anything! *Bang my head off the table.*
(Mike just checked his email... apparently there was one telling us about this that came through less than 45 minutes before we had to go to the walk through. geez.)

So we were off to the bank to get a cashier's check and spend ALL our money. This is how we felt about that...

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Went back, check in hand and sealed the deal!!

I'm now a home owner! But I haven't been back to the house yet. I'm too tired. We'll take down some cleaning supplies tonight before I head to a meeting to get Jason signed up for his program (just remembered that I have that). Tomorrow the work starts... but this feels like the easy part because finally I am in control instead of having to trust people I don't even know to do everything while being clueless.

I don't feel so stressed anymore. I'm ready to conquer the house, make it mine and move in! I'll show you the house after I actually get back there.

(And while I wrote this the phone got fixed!! Woo hoo!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Should I Get Wisdom?

So... I started posting my wisdom series a few days ago and then life happened. I'm going to try to get the rest of it posted this week. If you are just jumping in now you can catch up with the following links:

Today I want to answer the question "Why should I get wisdom?"

Wisdom brings with it many, many blessings. But even more than that we are told to get wisdom because it is precious and without it we are fools.

Proverbs 4:5
“Get wisdom, get understanding, do not forget my words or turn away from them.”

Get wisdom!!

Proverbs 3:13-18
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. 

When I read "more precious than rubies" a while ago I thought to myself what does that mean!? So I started doing some google searches and this is what I found out about rubies...

A clear, transparent and faultless ruby of a uniform deep red color is at the present time the most valuable, precious stone known. The value of the finest ruby far exceeds that of a diamond of corresponding size and quality. A 1-carat ruby is worth twice as much as a 1-carat diamond.

I had no idea! If you aren't yet married you might want to consider asking for a ruby instead of a diamond! :) Who knew!?!

So we have rubies that are much more precious than our precious diamonds. But wisdom is even more precious than the ruby.

Get wisdom!

We also want to get wisdom so that we are not fools. A fool despises wisdom.
Proverbs 1:7 
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

We are told to get wisdom, fools despise it and it is more precious than rubies.

In my next post I'll share more verses and reason that we should get wisdom!


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