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Showing posts from December, 2011

Money Monday: Give Like No One Else

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It's Monday again...and it's the last Monday of my series about my journey through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.
If you've been reading these in sequence from week to week, you might recall that I mentioned in last week's post that I would be combining the last two lessons in this post since I had missed (and then made up) a session two weeks ago entitled, Real Estate and Mortgages: Keeping the American Dream from Becoming a Nightmare.
However, after last night's amazing lesson, I decided that I want to end the series with it -- and it alone. So, if you are interested in what Ramsey has to say about real estate (and there is some good info there), you can find it on his websiteradio show, or when you take his class for yourself.
I hope that doesn't disappoint anyone, but since I'm the master of this domain (literally and figuratively), I figure that I can make that executive decision.
So....the last lesson, The Great Misunderstanding: Unl…

Rediscovering Christmas

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It's only a few days away from Christmas, and I desperately need Jesus.

Being out there in the great hustle bustle of shopping madness and hurry scurry of busyness has made me a bit melancholy -- because the prevailing sentiment I sense from those around me is one of lackluster fatigue and a "let's just hurry up and get this over with" mentality.

People are rushing around with lists and check marks, with payday loans and credit card transactions, with gritted teeth and a grin and bear it frame of mind.
A Christian friend of mine recently admitted to "hating Christmas." Taken aback, I asked her what she meant by that. She explained how this is her least favorite holiday of the year because of all the trappings and pressure to buy, do, and be. 
I understood....but my heart was heavy.
I understand how those without Christ can go crazy into materialism and the glitz of "the holiday." I can even overlook and forgive the sanitizing of Christmas into &q…

Money Monday: Getting Creative

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So, if you follow my Money Monday posts, you might have noticed that last Monday, I went AWOL. I went out of town over the weekend (and yes, I made up the FPU video I missed), and brought back the stomach flu. It took me (and select members of the family) until Friday to feel normal. So, I figured I would give myself a free pass and then make next week's post a double-header with last night's class and then the final session of this course.

My awesome news for this week...although my FREE coffee streak came to an end (I'm not complaining because that 6 or so weeks of constant freebies was awesome!), I hit a new one! Somehow I started on a streak of getting free offers at the bottom or store receipts for completing surveys. In one week I received either free items or a $ off discount to:

- Starbucks - free tall beverage
- Old Navy - save 15%
- Panda Express - free entree (I ended up with 4 of these total due to how the week went)
- Baja Fresh - save 15%

And yes, I ate out …

The Power of the Apology

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This past weekend, I ran in what was my fifth half-marathon event and eighth race since I started running a few years back. One of those half-marathons was Nike Women's Challenge in San Francisco -- a large venue of 25,000 runners (mostly women) -- and the largest I had run until...

...the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & Half on Sunday night.

Yes...you read that right...Sunday night. It was my first ever night run (awesome concept!) down and back the Las Vegas strip.

It was my first-ever terrible race experience.

I won't go into all the gory details (I feel like I have been reliving and rehashing it all in my head and seeing other people do the same on the race Facebook page), but here's a short list of some things that made for a crazy race experience and unsafe post-race conditions.
Overcrowding on the course with 40,000 half-marathon participants in the wrong start corrals and a street that was not big enough to handle the participants. Later down the cou…

Frugal Christmas Gift Tags

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I think I've established that I'm a Frugalista.

I'm always looking for ways to save money and to keep from spending our hard-earned dollars on things we don't need....or can make/use from items we already have or own.

Last year, I noted that I was going to use up the last of my gift tag stickers and that I would need to purchase more. However, since it was my soon-to-be New Year's resolution to try to be more frugal and use things we already had around the house, I tried to think of ways to avoid spending money on new gift tags.

I thought about making them...much like the one in the photo above. I have friends who hand-make tags from their own card stock, pens and printer ink, but that's too much time, forethought and still requires money spent on supplies for me at this point in my life. Plus, I plain just like the items of reclaiming items that are pretty much destined for the trash/recycle bin.

So, last year as I gathered up the bundle of Christmas cards we…

The God of Soap & Starbucks

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I have been a Jesus-follower since the tender age of seven. It was then that I finally understood the story of the Cross and His death and Resurrection and what that meant for me -- of course in my 7-year-old way.

However, it was real, nonetheless.

I remember finally "getting" how much He loved me (and the world....but ME!!). I marveled at the Bible stories of the miraculous. Need some money to pay your taxes? No problem...throw out your line and reel in a fish that just happens to have a gold coin in its mouth. About to starve and watch your son do the same? Simply be obedient and use the last of your oil and flour to make a meal for a visiting prophet and voila...never-ending bread buffet!

As a child, believing these stories as gospel wasn't a leap at all. Children are predisposed to believe in wonder and to not let things like "logistics" or "relativity" or "gravity" shake that belief.

But as adults, we tend to put on our "reality g…