Monday, December 31, 2012

Photos

Yorkphoto has free shipping through tomorrow on orders over $15. I definitely have that much to order and since I spent yesterday at home by myself while Mike and the kids went to visit my family (I'm still not feeling super great) I figured it was a good time to get through some photos, edit them and load them up for an order. It's hard to beat 8cent prints delivered to your door!

Anyways... along the way I found some that I never posted and I love them. So I'll share them now. :) You're welcome.

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This next collage cracks me up. Jason always wore his "protective glasses" from his tool kit while swimming in the little plastic pool because he didn't have goggles. I love him.

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During one of our visits to my parents this summer the kids were excited to get to ride bikes with Papa. They just followed him around.

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My grandma has a beautiful flower garden...

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Another visit to St. Marys...

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Mom always says how she has to be careful what she does because she knows the photos will end up on the blog. :) I figured if I posted the super nice one of her that it would be ok to post this one haha... I just love it. :) It's such a great picture and I love that she will be silly with Liza and Jason.

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My sweet sweet Liza...

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Liza figured out how to ham it up for photos. It's always something now. :)

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Cousins chillin' and snackin' after a hard day of play!

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I think I made it through August in my photo order. Free shipping is good through tomorrow... better just keep going!

When is the last time you ordered photos?



Friday, December 28, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

I'm on a quest to find out how much chicken noodle soup one person can consume before becoming sick of it.

Not really... but it feels like it.

Last Friday I woke up with a sore throat. By the end of the day I was more than ready to get home from the Christmas party and get in my bed. Nyquil saved the night.

Saturday was spent in bed. Fever. I think I was awake for a total of only four or five hours all day. Slept all night again.

Since then I've been on the couch with a horrible cough and zero energy.

At some point Jason also got sick. Fever. Coughing. Poor boy. We did a lot of snuggling on the couch. Good thing I have a fat couch. Did you ever watch The Big Comfy Couch as a kid? I want one of those. For real.

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I'm still pretty miserable but I managed to sleep without Nyquil last night... was good because when I use Nyquil to sleep I might sleep but I don't ever feel rested. I need real sleep.

I've had chicken noodle soup at least once every day. Nothing sounds very yummy right now.

I've had to cancel all Christmas plans... or miss out as I sent Mike and the kids along. It's been a miserable week for me.

But Mike... he held things together here. He cooked all the meals. He cleaned the house. He took care of the kids. He bought me soup. He made me soup. He let me sleep in. He basically made it very easy for me to just lounge around on the couch all week reading books and watching movies.

Maybe it's because I got him a super awesome shirt for Christmas...

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Or maybe it's just because he's a really great guy.

I got out for the first time in a week today. I sat at Panera and ate soup and read... you know... instead of doing that at home. It just felt good to put on a pair of jeans! And to be somewhere other than home.

Hopefully this cough doesn't last for the rest of my life... I'm tired of it... and chicken noodle soup.




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas!

Yay! It's Christmas!!! And being that it is Christmas it totally makes sense for me to talk about my house. :)

Here's the deal... We planned to stay home today and it's a good thing. Jason was feeling better this morning but then the fever came back. Poor boy. I took a nap on the couch (for 2 1/2 hours!) and woke up to him snuggling there with me. Sweet boy. So sad that he is sick on Christmas. Anyways... we've been hanging at home just enjoying having nothing to do. 

I realized that I never got around to showing off my awesome red burlap wreath so I'm going to get to that today. :) Let's go back four months ago first...

This is the house when we bought it... minus the furniture...

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This is after two weeks of painting and cleaning...

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Then we moved our furniture in...

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And then I continued with some updates and added Christmas and here is what my living room looks like today!

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Changes...
*The top piece of the "thing in front of the fireplace" used to be gold. Mike painted it black.
*Fireplace from awful fake looking brick to white.
*Got rid of old tv stand (which was 1/3 of what it was ten years ago... we just kept getting rid of pieces). Mike painted a dresser from Goodwill. I love it!

Those are the main things. I'll figure out how to decorate the room once I put the Christmas stuff away. I have some ideas. I found an awesome clock that I just might hang on the mirror. We'll see. As for now I'll enjoy my wreath that I made. :)

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I need to cover the back of it in red burlap. I didn't factor in hanging it on a mirror when making it. And figuring out how to hang it was an interesting process as well. I was googling how to tie a nice bow. There is lots of hot glue and pins involved in the final product and I'm just happy it didn't fall on anyone's head!

I really enjoyed making my Christmas decorations. I have a few to add for next year but that can wait for next year. :) I love how everything came together and fit what was in my mind. 

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We did even though half of us are sick. And now I am off to each chicken noodle soup... again. Other than a pancake this morning and some meatballs and ravioli last night I have had nothing but chicken noodle soup and crackers since Friday. Pathetic! Good thing I like chicken noodle soup!





Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas IQ Test



We are sick. :( Liza has had a cough for the past two weeks. Friday I came down with a cold, spent Saturday in bed with a fever and yesterday I had fire throat. (I made that up but that's what it felt like.) I still feel like crap. Jason seems to have what I did. He puked all over the carpet today. Mike is so far the only one who seems untouched. Needless to say we are rethinking all of our Christmas plans. Visits with family just might have to wait because we don't feel that others would appreciate the gift of sick. :)

Anyways... So Friday evening was the Wick Christmas Party and my mother-in-law was in charge of planning the party this year. I helped out a little bit. I remembered this Christmas IQ test that someone passed out back in one of my college groups. I tucked it away in a file folder thinking "I'll use that someday." And I did. We passed this out to everyone and the person who got the most right won a beautiful wreath that my MIL in made. 

Here's the Christmas IQ Quiz. See how much you really know. :) I'll post the answers at the bottom so don't scroll all the way down until you answer the questions!!!

Christmas IQ Test
“Based on ‘The Christmas IQ Test,” copyright 1993 by Regina L. Hunter.”
1. As long as Christmas has been celebrated, it has been on December 25.  (True or False)

2. Joseph was from:
            A. Bethlehem     B. Jerusalem     C. Nazareth     D. Egypt
            E. Minnesota      F. None of these

3. How did Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem?
            A. Camel     B. Donkey     C. Walked     D. Volkswagen
            E. Joseph walked and Mary rode a donkey     F. Who knows?

4. Mary and Joseph were married when Mary become pregnant. (True or False)

5. Mary was a virgin when she delivered Jesus.  (True or False)

6. What did the innkeeper tell Mary and Joseph?
            A. There is no room at the inn.     B. I have a stable you can use.
            C. Come back after the Christmas rush and I should have some vacancies.
            D. Both A and B     E. None of these.

7. Jesus was delivered in a:
            A. Stable     B. Manger     C. Cave     D. Barn     E. Unknown

8. A “manger” is a:
            A. Stable for domestic animals     B. Wooded hay storage bin  
C. Feeding trough                         D. Barn

9. Which animals does the Bible say were present at Jesus’ birth?
            A. Cows, sheep, goats         B. Cows, donkeys, sheep   C. sheep and goats only     
            D. Miscellaneous barnyard animals     E. Lions, tigers, elephants   F. None of these

10. Who saw the “star in the East”?
            A. Shepherds     B. Mary and Joseph   C. Three Kings  
            D. Both A and C   E. None of these

11. How many angels spoke to the shepherds?
            A. One     B. Three     C. a multitude     D. none of these

12. What “sign” did the angels tell the shepherds to look for?
            A. “this way to baby Jesus”     B. A star over Bethlehem
            C. A baby that doesn’t cry       D. A house with a Christmas tree
            E. A baby in a stable                 F. none of these

13. What did the angels say?
            A. Joy to the world, the Lord is come        B. Alleluia
C. Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given     D. Glory to God in the Highest, etc.
            E. Glory to the newborn king      F. My Sweet Lord

14. What is a “Heavenly Host”?
            A. The angel at the ate of heaven     B. The angel who invites people to heaven
            C. The angel who serves refreshments in heaven
            D. An angel choir     E. An angel army     F. None of these

15. There was snow that first Christmas:
            A. Only in Bethlehem     B. All over Israel     C. Nowhere in Israel
            D. Somewhere in Israel     E. Mary and Joseph only “dreamed” of a white Christmas

16. The baby Jesus cried:
            A. When the doctor slapped him on the behind   
            B. When the little drummer boy started banging on his drum
            C. just like other babies     D. he never cried

17. What is “frankincense”?
            A. A precious metal     B. A precious fabric     C. A precious perfume
            D. An Eastern monster story     E. none of the above

18. What is “myrrh”?
            A. An easily shaped metal     B. A spice used for burying people     C. A drink
            D. After-shave lotion     E. None of the above

19. How many wise men came to see Jesus? (Write the number)

20. The wise men found Jesus in a:
            A. manger     B. Stable     C. House     D. Holiday Inn

21. The wise men stopped in Jerusalem:
            A. to inform Herod about Jesus     B. To find out where Jesus was
            C. To ask about the start they saw     D. For gas     E. To buy presents for Jesus

22. Where do we find the Christmas story in order to check up on all these ridiculous questions?
            A. Matthew     B. Mark     C. Luke     D. John     E. A, B, C & D
            F. Only A & C     G. Only A, B and C     H. Only X, Y and Z

23. When Joseph and Mary found out that Mary was pregnant with Jesus, what happened?
            A. They got married     B. Joseph wanted to break the engagement  
            C. Mary left town for three months     D. The angel told them to go to Bethlehem
            E. Both A and D     F. Both B and C

24. Who told Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem?
            A. the angel     B. Marys’ mother     C. Herod
            D. Caesar Augustus     E. Alexander the Great     F. No one told them










Answers:
1. false     2. A     3. F     4. F      5. T     6. E     7. E     8. C     9. F     10. E     11. A     12. F
13. D     14. E     15. C     16. C     17. C     18. B     19. doesn't say     20. C     21. B    22. F
23. F    24. D 


So... how did you do!?  What surprised you the most? I know I did terrible the first time I took it. So many things that we think are true are only assumed and added to our songs and stories. :)




Friday, December 21, 2012

Beauty




Soooo... I was strolling around pinterest when I came across a pin that claimed to be 10 Beauty Secrets To Adopt As Soon As You Get Engaged. I thought to myself...

Hmmmm... I wonder what they have to say? I wonder how they are going to tell girls to make themselves beautiful?

I clicked.
I read.
I hated it.

The world is telling women that you have to do "all these things" in order to be beautiful... and you want to make sure that you are beautiful because, well, IT'S YOUR WEDDING DAY!

And I get it. What girl doesn't want to look beautiful on her wedding day? I never met one that didn't. BUT... well... let me share bits of the list that I read...

The article starts with "You want to look your best on your wedding day, but serious beauty takes a little planning." And then it goes on to teach you how to overhaul yourself. Here are a few of their habits that you need to adopt AS SOON AS YOU GET ENGAGED!!!

1.  You need to fit into that dress and look good in photos, but exercise is the best beauty treatment around.
Yeah... exercise is good but I just hate the wording here... YOU NEED to fit into that dress. Yeah. They make dresses in all sizes people! I think the better advice would be to buy a dress in your size that fits your shape. The end.

2. Quit it: biting your nails. You need pretty hands as a bride. Everyone will be looking at your hands (show off that bling!) and they will be photographed for posterity, so they need to be in top shape.
I understand that biting your nails is a bad habit but oh my gosh... that's a lot of pressure about HANDS! (Everyone is going to be looking at photos of your hands FOREVER! Ohmygosh... that photo of me with my hands in the mud is going to be around forever too. Get over it!) It goes on to say that you should get a weekly manicure. Nothing like shouting "Hi! I'm a beauty magazine and I'm going to make sure all my beauty peeps get some more business!"

3. Problem skin? Go see the derm. Even if you have the worst acne known to man, modern medicine can make it go away before you walk down the aisle. It might involve needles and shots of cortisone to the face, but your skin will look better.
Wow! Needles? Cortisone shots in the face? And they go on to talk about trying treatments such as botox or fills. I'm not even... I don't even know what to say right now.

4. Then they talk about hair... Do you have to grow your hair out? Lighten it a little? A good stylist knows how to pace changes, or make sure things status quo.
Can I just say that I am so tired of people saying that you just might look better if your hair was a different color? If you like to dye your hair that's fine... but my hair is the color it is and that's that.

5. See the dentist. It’s also a good time to get your teeth whitened or explore orthodontia options, if you want to fix your overbite.
Fix your overbite!?!?! Hi. My name is Laura and I have a slight overbite. I did not fix it for my wedding! And no one seemed to care that my teeth weren't perfectly white. These are not the things that someone remembers about your wedding day!

 There are more tips. More ridiculousness. More telling us that true beauty takes hours in a salon, perfectly shaped eyebrows, a makup artist and a different hair color.

The article tells us that these habits are like major overhauls. Do you know what it means to overhaul? Here's the definition... to overhaul is to examine carefully for faults, necessary repairs, etc.

Girls, you don't need an overhaul to be beautiful. You already ARE beautiful! Don't spend your time and money looking for your faults. I know too many brides that worked so incredibly hard to look perfect on their wedding day and they spend the rest of their life wishing they could be that girl in the photos again. They are forever trying to get back to their wedding weight, their wedding look, etc.

Here is me on my wedding day...

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(LOOK! Mike had hair!!)

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And I have never found myself longing to be that girl in the photos because I AM that girl in the photos.

I had seven weeks to plan my wedding so I didn't have time to do an entire overhaul. Instead I woke up on the morning of my wedding and did my own hair. I didn't wear any makeup because I never wear makeup. I didn't have my teeth whitened or fix my overbite or have my eyebrows perfectly shaped. In fact I have never had my eyebrows done. My arms were slightly flappy. I didn't have a great tan. And I've never had a manicure. I hadn't exercised in forever either.

I was the same on my wedding day as I always am. I was me. And no one minded. I don't think that my guests were analyzing my fingernails and my eyebrows. I don't think they cared that my teeth weren't blindingly white. And I'm sure that as they remember back to my wedding day they aren't remembering the zit on my chin.

I guess what I am trying to say is don't get sucked into the trap. Don't work so hard for a false idea of beauty. If you like makeup and all that that's fine! BUT don't let your perception of beauty (especially your own!) be based on those things. Outward beauty is fleeting. Work on beauty that lasts... inner beauty that comes from the heart and character.

You don't need an overhaul... a careful examination of your faults... you already ARE beautiful.

BE PROUD TO BE YOU!!!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still Worth the Same

Yesterday wasn't an awesome day for me. Some things happened that left me feeling... blah. Mistreated. Upset. Angry. Hurt.

Everything was pretty fresh so I was still hashing it all out in my head and venting to Mike. It's how I process. (Poor Mike haha!) Anyways... Mike and I dropped the kids off at school and headed to Walmart to pick a few things up. We get out of the car and Mike says "hey! Look what I found!"

He was holding a wet, dirty, messy five dollar bill.

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This conversation followed...

MIKE: It was almost in the water grate. I wonder how many people didn't even see it!
ME: Well it looks like it's your lucky day, not mine.
MIKE: I'll treat you at Panera.
ME: That's nice. I feel like that five dollar bill... thrown down, run over and a mess.
MIKE: But it's still worth $5.

And isn't that the truth! So often I let how others treat me leave me feeling like I have less value. Like I'm all of a sudden worth less. Not as good. I let others actions toward me affect how I see myself.

But it's a lie... no matter how others treat me I am still worth the same to the ONE who will never treat me wrong. God says I have value... even when I'm in the mud puddle getting run over and overlooked... even then God says "I love you! I see you. You still matter to me. Your value in my eyes never decreases. You are still worth the same now in your mess as you were yesterday when you felt like you were on top of the world."

And that just turned my day around. :)



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Be the Answer

I know that many bloggers are taking a day of silence today in honor of the Sandy Hook victims and I think that's great. But that's not my way of processing and dealing with hard things so I hope you won't all judge me today as I talk.

Instead of remaining silent today I want to put a challenge out to all of you...

Be willing to be the answer to the prayers that you pray.

If you pray for peace in this world be a peacemaker where you live.
If you pray for comfort for others be willing to be a comforter to the hurting.
If you pray that the world would find Jesus then share Jesus with those you know.
If you pray for light in the dark times BE LIGHT.

Today
talk to the stranger you always walk by
smile at someone new
be kind
forgive
accept that person you think is odd
stop judging others
stand up for those that are bullied
have lunch with that person who is always eating alone
stop texting and actually dial the number and talk to the person
invite the widow over for dinner or coffee
give up gossip

Today, in honor of those that are no longer with us, those whose light was snuffed out way too early... in honor of them go out and make a difference. DO something that is beyond your comfort zone. You never know the impact you might have... it might just be the turning point for someone that was headed in a dark direction.

I know that it's not possible to be the answer to every single prayer that we pray but today I challenge you to be willing to be the answer to as many as possible.


Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Change Points

Change points are turning points. Things that happen in our life that change us. These things can be major or minor. The turning can also be intense or slight. Regardless of the degree of change... if something has changed you it becomes a change point in your life.

And when we hit these points we can either let them change us for better or change us in a negative way. The choice of how we let things change us is ours.

This morning I got to start my day in one of my most favorite ways... with 34 other women at a Butler Praise and Coffee meeting! We meet once a month and I always get so much joy from these meetings. The women are truly wonderful and I have met so many amazing people at every meeting.

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Today we had our first guest speaker... Billie Brink from Stonecroft Ministries.

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She shared about how she grew up in a home that was less than perfect. Her father was an alcoholic. Billie had a friend, Merna. Merna was a friend who could be trusted to not go around gossiping and sharing things that weren't hers to share. One day while Merna was visiting, Billie's father came home drunk. While the girls hid away in Billie's room Merna got out her Bible and was looking for a verse to share for the moment... like she always did.

Well Billie didn't like that so she yelled at her friend and threw her Bible out the window. Merna walked out of the house, picked up her Bible and headed home.

That is something that could destroy a friendship with hurt and unforgiveness. But that's not what happened this time. Billie walked to her friend's house and as she approached the house Jean Mock (Merna's mom) was watching her. Jean Mock embraced her and told her that she would be a safe haven for Billie. Merna gave her a hug and told her all was good and forgiven.

Change points. That was part of Billie's. Not long after Merna took her to church where she heard preached what she had seen her friend live. Billie gave her life to Christ.

Change points.
Turning points.
Moments that change the course of our lives.

We all hit change points throughout our life.
Life will always happen... whether we like it or not.

After Billie's message (which was obviously much longer and better than my quick recap) we split into discussion groups and can I just say that I LOVE this part of our Praise and Coffee meetings. I love hearing from the other women. I love learning from them. I love their life stories. I love how we get to encourage each other. We had a great discussion in my group this morning!

As we were closing up I had a picture of a pinball machine in my head. Hmm... I might need to talk this one through instead of writing it...
So there ya go... if you've ever wondered what it might be like to sit in a Bible study with me that's a pretty good representation... bizarre analogies that are crazily animated. :)
Anyways... go be someone's Merna or Jean Mock!

Were you at the meeting? What did you take home from it??




Friday, December 14, 2012

Debt Reduction Plan

I just spent a half hour trying to remember how to access my flickr account. I seriously want to punch the internet right now!

Anyways... today is Frankly Friday with the lovely Amy. :)





And I'm going to talk about debt. Hooray! Fun topic right there. (Holy sarcasm people!)

So, on Wednesday I wrote about the sad reality of my life. I bought a house three months ago and now for the first time in over four years I have debt again. Because I have debt I am a slave to the lender. The mortgage company insisted that we get more flood insurance coverage. If we didn't get it the mortgage company would get it for us and add it to our escrow.

Because of all that our insurance company (who was super helpful in the matter) is now charging us $400 more a year on our flood insurance.

I'm not so happy about that... especially since I don't think it is ever really going to flood flood around here. It would take rains like there were in Noah's day.

SO. In order to get that $400 extra OFF of our insurance we need to pay off our debt.

The problem with debt is that it is easy to forget about. It's easy to only think of it once a month when you write the check... or never if you have it automatically withdrawn. And when you only think of it once a month it's easy to forget to save your money so you can put extra on those payments and get rid of it faster.

If you know me you know that I always have a ridiculous plan to make sure I don't forget about things that I shouldn't be forgetting about. And I have one of those plans for paying off the debt. This now hangs in my kitchen for all to see...

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Every time we make a payment we will write the new number and watch our debt become less and less.

I don't care if it makes other people uncomfortable. I talk about my debt. It's a reality of probably 98% of people and no one wants to talk about it. I think we should face it head on. Admit our situations and hold each other accountable to making wise decisions. If you come to my house you will see that number going down more and more... and hopefully it will motivate you to kill your debt as well.

Let me show you something else...

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That friends, is $1,903. All my hobby money. Don't bother breaking in to get it... it's no longer here. It's all at the bank... ready to be put on my next loan payment.

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$1903... that's only $97 away from when I was going to allow myself to start looking for a new camera. Ugh! I was there! That $97 is coming in on new hat orders. Next week I would have been saying Merry Christmas to myself as I searched for my new camera. (And I've been wanting a new camera for probably close to three years now.) So close! But instead of looking for a camera with that money I'll be paying down my debt.

And I'll be dropping that number on the paper hanging in my kitchen by $2000.

I'm not gonna lie people... it sucks. Sacrifice sucks sometimes. Debt always sucks.

I was talking to my mom and told her that I wasn't buying my camera or taking my trip south. My mom is wonderful and just reminded me to remember to enjoy life some too. (Hi mom!) Truth is... it's really hard for me to enjoy life when I have debt. And I'm going to have to find ways to enjoy life without spending money for a while. It's possible... people used to do it all the time!

And the mentality that we need to treat ourselves once in a while is a dangerous way to think. If you have loads of debt or can't make all your bills you do NOT have money to treat yourself whenever you feel like it. When I have loads of debt (and I consider $50,000 to be loads of debt) I don't take vacations, I don't get camera upgrades, I eat out way less, I don't buy tons of new clothes. When I have loads of debt I need to stick to my budget and spend as little as possible so that I can put as much as possible toward my debt.

I have a 15 year mortgage but it is not going to take me anywhere near that long to pay it off. I refuse to take that long. My thinking is five years. Tops. That's my goal. And when I get set on doing something like this I often get called crazy and have people tell me how it probably won't work out. To that I say...

WATCH ME!







Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Slave to the Lender

I hate debt.
I hate it so incredibly much.

It was really really hard for me to buy a house because we had been debt free for over four years and to think of going from nothing owed to over $50,000 owed made me want to cry. But we knew it was time to buy a house and God had a place for us.

So we did the 20% down and got the fifteen year mortgage and started paying on it.

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People like to tell me things like "It's ok because you have a house now."

But really... debt isn't ok with me. Ever.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.
 
I've always known this verse but the other day it became much more real to me. Mike told me that he heard from our mortgage company and they say that we need to get more flood insurance. Apparently what the insurance company decided on for us isn't good enough. If we refuse to get more insurance? The mortgage company will purchase extra insurance for us and add it to our escrow.
 
We have no choice.
 
When we borrowed the money and acquired debt we also acquired slave status.
 
I hate this situation. It made me see the reality of being slave to the lender. Debt is no joke. And that's why today I have made a decision. Not an easy one. One I cried over and will probably cry over again. Sacrifices are never fun. But I have to think of the whole picture now and not just the moment.
 
I need to pay off this debt as soon as possible. Because of that I am once again putting off my camera upgrade... and likely a trip that I had been hoping all year for to visit family and friends in Texas and Louisiana. (Sorry friends. :( I really wanted to come!) 

I am only $250 away from my goal of when I would start looking for a camera. But it's more important to look out for my family. To pay off this debt. To be free once again.

I know that many will think that I am extreme and taking this all a bit too literally. I don't care. Debt is debt and debt sucks. When someone other than my insurance company can tell me what to do with my insurance... that's not a good thing. I need to be out from under that. It's not a good way to live.

Needless to say I also won't be fixing my floors or kitchen cupboards for a while and it may be a few years before I get my mattress off the floor.

Dave Ramsey always says "Live like no one else so that someday you can live like no one else." That's the plan. And for now that looks like sacrifice in order to be debt free.

I think I'll go cry a little more now.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Trinkets and Traditions Swap Link-up!





So... this was my first blog swap thing ever and can I just say how much fun it was!!! I mean... who doesn't love getting something awesome in the mail!? :)

We had an odd number so I sent a package off to Lauren at Teach*Pray*Love. (She has a really yummy looking recipe up for cheesecake brownies. Yum!) And I received a package from Sarah at Five In Five... umm... crazy woman had five kids in five years. :) Her post Christmas Has Been Violated had me cracking up. You should read it!

Anyways... on to the fun!

I got all giddy when I realized the package that arrived in the mail was actually for ME and not just another gift I had ordered for someone else on cyber Monday. I tore the thing open and it smelled sooo good because she packed some awesome smelling candles in the box. I'm going to have to start doing that! (At least, that's why I'm assuming it smelled so good.)

She also sent these candies...

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She shared that as her tradition saying she always knew it was Christmas time when Grandma busted out these candies. I don't know what it is about them but I feel like there is some significance there for me too. Maybe I'll figure it out in my sleep some night.

There was a recipe for stuffed shells that I must try sometime! I love stuffed shells but her recipe is a little different and I am excited to try it!

And lastly... my favorite part. The ornament!!

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How adorable is this thing!?!? And it goes so well with what I have going on with my Christmas decorations. I think I could fall in love with pinecones at Christmas! He looks so at home on a tree. :)

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So there ya go! Christmas Swap... Trinkets and Traditions style. I just might have to do this again sometime. :)

Thanks for the awesome package Sarah!

Link up if you participated in the swap!!

 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Wedding Spectacular!

So... our friend Dan... we met him in college and we have kept in touch all these years. He is our longest time friend. Dan and Mike talk on the phone a few times a year and Dan sporadically comes to visit. We always enjoy our visits with Dan... and so do the kids. He would often bring gifts for Liza and Jason and you would find him playing with them and telling them stories. They LOVE it! 

Something that was constant through all the years was Dan's desire to find love and a family. Mike would always tell me after their conversations how Dan just longed for those things. Once I started seeing him around Liza and Jason I would find myself saying to Mike after he left "Someone needs to find that boy a good woman and get him some kids!"

A few months ago Dan told us that he had met Andi and he was going to ask her to marry him. She said yes and he brought her out for a visit. We just loved Andi right from the start and knew that she would be perfect for Dan! 

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Yesterday was their wedding. :) And I have to say that this wedding will probably always be one of my favorites. There was nothing super fancy about it. It was a simple wedding. But the intensity of the love was practically tangible! 

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My favorite part??? When Dan saw Andi for the first time! (Like you didn't already know that that would be my favorite part! :))

You guys... He stood there waiting and before she even came in the room he had tears in his eyes! And when he saw her!!!! He just had a look on his face that was pure love and awe. He never took his eyes off of her. Seriously... beautiful moment! Of course... I was a guest and we had assigned seats because it was dinner/theater style so I had to settle for getting pics from where I was. 

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I loved the ceremony! It was so sincere and focused on God. The vows were said from a deep place in the heart. I think everyone was just so happy for Dan and Andi because they have both waited so long for this moment of theirs to come! Pretty sure that I have never been more happy for someone to get married than I was for Dan yesterday!

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And I've only met Andi twice now but I really look forward to getting to know her more over the years. So far the stories are about Mike, Laura and Dan... I look forward to building memories that are about Mike, Laura, Dan and Andi!!

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Anyways... I was only a guest but with all the Christmasy fun and love going on I couldn't contain myself. :) I had to take some photos! I'm super glad I packed the whole bag!

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Ok... I'll stop now. :)

But seriously! Favorite wedding ever!
(Other than my own of course. :))




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