Showing posts from October, 2011

Money Monday: Utilizing What You've Got

I used to have a thing abut Mondays. They were always such a rough day after having my husband home on the weekends and then losing him to the workforce. Just as we seemed to find a relaxing sort of rhythm, the weekend would be over and it would be back to the ol' grindstone.

I don't feel that way anymore. Part of it has to do with changing the way I saw Monday and allowing myself that day to "decompress" from what can also be a crazy, busy, hectic time. Let's face it, weekends with children are not really about resting up. If we're not careful, we can stay just as busy (and sometimes more so), if we don't consciously work against allowing this happen.

So, now I let myself wear those yoga pants as I catch up on laundry, get the dishes done, change sheets, etc. It's actually become a fairly nice day to be productive and a little lazy at the same time.

However, I have a new thing to look foward to with "Money Monday!" I'm always excited f…

The Nitty Gritty

It's pretty gritty.

Filthy, even.
It's my silverware drawer.
The crazy thing is that I have opened up this drawer about 20 times per day for literally months without seeing what was literally right in front of me.

I told you it was nasty.

I'm embarrased that it took me one second of full clarity to see what I've allowed to happen in grounds abound, crumbs that have fallen in from the counter above, and let's be honest...who knows what else lurked in there.

Our eyes lie...even if we have 20/20 vision. And actually, it's maybe not our eyes that lie, but our brain that does. I'm not sure if it tries to protect us and potentially shield us from becoming overwhelmed by so much that needs attention and adjusting. After all, seeing each and everything in all its state of gory (or glory) could be too much for a small human brain to take.

I don't know how or why it happens, but it does.

That's why I could take out (and infrequently put …

Money Monday: Making the Tough Decisions

It's you know what that's "Money Monday," and I get to update you on how the week has gone with our commitment to dump our debt and build wealth with Dave Ramsey's, Financial Peace University.

Before I get to what we learned in last night's class (week 5 of the series), I'll to share a couple of things that happened this past week during week 4: "Dumping Debt: Breaking the Chains of Debt."

As I mentioned in previous posts, we're in a considerable amount of debt. We have two high balances on "zero interest" cards and a home equity line of credit from replacing the roof on our house. When we finally put the numbers down and added them up, I was stunned.

And then overwhelmed.

And then felt hopeless that it could be changed.

I don't feel that way any more. Sure, the figures are still the same. But, my mindset has changed. True, the "bury our heads in the sand" approach wasn't going to last for…

I Breathe You In: A Tribute to Larry Dimond

This weekend, I'm grieving the earthly loss of a wonderful man of God (and just an all-around wonderful man), Larry Dimond, long-time missionary to Ireland and Zimbabwe, who passed from this world last night, Friday, October 21.

I know that Heaven is his gain and that Larry is lost in the glory of being in God's presence.

I know that.

I rejoice in that part.

But my heart aches for his beautiful wife, Ann, and his two adult children. Hannah and John Michael, and their spouses, Philip and Candace, and for his granddaughter, Haddie Ann. They are left behind (for now) to try to live a life without the man who was everything to their family.

That hurts my heart.

Yet, I know that Larry was not "everything," because their everything is really found in Jesus. I'm so grateful for this reality and that He can comfort them like no man can.

All I can offer to them is my profound sorrow and my profound joy.

It doesn't feel like it's enough.

But I know it's the on…

Caution: Women at Work!

My children amuse me.

They come up with the funniest things.

Last night as I was walking down the hallway to my bedroom, I noticed a sign posted to my two daughters' door. They frequently tape things up there (pictures, signs, etc), but I could tell that this one was new. And it looked special.

So I took a closer look and recognized my nine-year-old's writing.

It made me chuckle as I pictured my nine and six year old girls hard at work in their bedrooms styling their Barbie dolls, listening to their iPods, trashing their room, etc.

As I got busy doing whatever I did in my bedroom, I started wondering, I wonder why on earth she thought to write and post "Women at Work!" of all things.

So I asked her.

She got an embarrassed look on her face and said, "well, you know...cuz we do stuff in our room. We work."

Fair enough. And though I pressed for a little more detail as to why that particular phrase or the reason for using that wording (as opposed to "Girls…

Easy Peasy Chocolate Spread

I've had a long-standing love affair with chocolate.

However, my passion and appreciation for it soared to new heights when I lived in Belgium for 16 months after college. I was introduced to "real chocolate." Chocolate made without the wax we seem to use here for preservation. Chocolate with fresh ingredients -- no chemically inspired names. Chocolate so fresh that you had to eat in within a certain time frame or keep it in the refrigerator or it would spoil. Chocolate that was so decadent and luscious, you couldn't keep from moaning aloud when you consumed it.

I soon became accustomed to picking out one delectable piece when I would go down to the Grand Place in Brussels with my friends and enjoying it completely. You only need one when it's literally the best piece of chocolate you've ever had. You enjoy and savor it. It completes you...sorry....I was drooling.

One delightful Saturday, some of us went to a wonderful warm and charming restaurant/cafe calle…

Introducing...."Money Monday" - Part Two

Image my posts about Financial Peace University have been a bit more vague (about the actual principles) and more topical and applicable to me. I figure if I am going to give this weekly blog series a go...'Money Monday,' then I need to bring you up to speed a little.

So, by now, hopefully you know that Financial Peace University was created by Dave Ramsey, a well-known  author, public speaking and radio talk show personality. If you don't know him, don't worry about it. I didn't really either -- until our finances were so out of control, I went looking for answers. The FPU is compromised of a 13-week class that helps you "dump debt and build wealth" by his subscribed-to methodology. The class revolves around a video about that weeks' topic by Ramsey and then small group discussion time afterwards.

Something that is a bit hard to swallow at first is the cost. Most classes are about $100 -- which seems outrageous when 1.) you are poor and in debt,…

Introducing...."Money Monday"

Because so much of our life right now is centered up on our Financial Peace class and starting the journey to becoming debt-free by cutting up the credit cards and solely using cash, and because a few of you out there have asked me either how it's going and to share tidbits we learn along the way, I thought I should start a weekly update on how things are going.

Truly...there is so much info to share and so many amazing and providential stories, I want to make sure I have a place to capture it all and put it down for me...and yes, for you.

See...I figure that if our journey can be any sort of inspiration or example of God's goodness, then I'm all for that. And since Monday starts with "M" too...well, that's a no-brainer.

So, every Monday, I'm going to let you know how the week went, any insights or new things we learned in our class (we go on Sunday evenings) and any progress or provision we've experienced.

When I started to write this, I realized I …

Architecture and the Wrecking Ball

Right now, my two sons' favorite toy is an Imaginarium marble play set that my husband bought in a stroke of both genius and madness one Christmas. Maybe you've seen one. Our looks like this.

As you can see it's a kid (and adult) magnet with it's bright cheery colors and various plastic marble "troughs" that you snap together along with some colored plastic "tubes" to create a fun marble-riffic good time. As my son, Declan, will demonstrate.

See...any child's dream toy. And it is....'ll notice that earlier I said my husband bought it in a state of "madness."  Why madness? Well, for me, this toy is also the bane of my existence right now.

The plastic pieces are rarely nicely put away in their plastic bin. This is because Declan and his little brother want to play with it all throughout each and every day. They love to beg me to stop what I'm doing and come and build it for them -- which requires a lot of brain po…

Peace Like a River

I have fond memories of being a kid in church. Does anyone else remember the song,
"I've got peace like a river,I've got peace like a river,I've got peace like a river, my soul"and how fun it was to belt it out at the top of our lungs at Kids Church or Kids Camp?

I do.

Although I vaguely understood the metaphor (didn't give much thought to it honestly...the song was so darn fun!), I haven't really pondered the greater depth of it until later in my adult years. I'm pretty sure that's usually the case. We get older. We go a little deeper. We gain a bit more understanding. (At least that's the hope.)

Hmm..."peace like a river."

When I think of rivers, I think of a continuous stream of water that comes out of a massive source that is simultaneously in a constant state of being filled and constantly filling its tributaries. defines River as:
1. a natural stream of water of fairly large size flowing in a definite course…