Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Family Outing

I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to post pictures from a family outing a while back. We went down to Indianapolis to watch the Bulls/Pacers game.

Of course the morning of, Joshua woke up with the flu. He was willing to go to grandpa and grandma's house for the night and we are so thankful that grandpa and grandma were willing to take a sick child.

So, we headed to Indy with most of our family.

Since we were spending the night, we took a taxi from the hotel to the game. This was the kids first ride in a taxi. But it was a mini-van taxi, so according to Isaac we weren't in a real taxi.

During warm-ups we were allowed to sit court side, which allowed for some great pictures.

 Since we left one kid behind, we picked up another one while we were there.

Then before the game started, we headed up to our actual seats that were far, far away.

The halftime show were these jump-roping girls that were amazing.

Now I'm just wondering what to do with 6 Pacer Bobble heads?
I know there are only 4 in the picture, but I still have 2 in the box.

They were bad, so they had to spend "The Night in the Box."

Sorry, we watch too much Toy Story 3 at our house and I think of that line every time I hear the word box.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Servant's Heart

The last couple weeks for me have been very busy and long days. I get frustrated, I become weary in my work, I get down on my family. I am then reminded of one of my favorite parts in Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts.

When service is done unto people, the bones can grow weary, the frustration deep. Because, agrees Dorothy Sayers, "whenever man is made the centre of things, he becomes the storm-centre of trouble. The moment you think of serving people, you begin to have a notion that other people owe you something for your pains.... You will begin to bargain for reward, to angle for applause."

When the laundry is for the dozen arms of children or the dozen legs, it's true, I think I'm due some appreciation. So comes a storm of trouble and lightning strikes joy. But when Christ is at the center, when dishes, laundry, work, is my song of thanks to Him, joy rains. Passionately serving Christ alone makes us the loving servant to all.

"The work we do is only our love for Jesus in action," writes Mother Teresa. "If we pray the work....if we do it to Jesus, if we do it for Jesus, if we do it with Jesus......that's what makes us content."

As a wife and a mom, I need to be reminded daily that my work is to be done to Him. Not for me, not for my husband, not for my kids, not for my friends. FOR HIM! When my focus is on Jesus I will not become weary or frustrated, I will be reminded of what He did for me and I will be filled with Joy and Contentment as I am a servant of Jesus.

My List of Gratitude Continues:

517. kids who break out in random songs

518. questions asked about the things we have just prayed about

519. memorizing scripture with my children

520. snuggling on the chair with Isaac

521. communion with God

522. Christ is risen from the dead - He's alive! Music, scripture, sermons that all remind of this.

523. big Sunday dinner shared with friends

524. giggles

525. in-laws willing to take care of a sick child

526. reading our gratitude lists with the family

527. putting on my comfy pants at the end of the day

528. beef buns

529. root beer floats

530. a good sermon about the seeing the Glory of God through suffering

531. scrubbing pans

532. folding mounds of laundry

533. a to do list that never seems to end

534. a spontaneous coffee time with my sister this morning

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Biggest Financial Mistake

When it comes to our personal finances we often tend to think that every thing needs to be kept to ourselves.


Wouldn't it be helpful to hear others success stories?

Wouldn't it be helpful to hear others failures?

Then we can learn from them.

Today I want to share one of our failures. This happened 8 years ago and yet it is still fresh in mind and I want to kick myself every time I think about it! Looking back, the one good thing that came from taught us a big lesson that I will never forget!

A little over 8 years ago Brad and I found out that in order to have children we were going to have to go through a very expensive fertility treatment. We started finding money to pay for this. We cashed in a life insurance policy and sold my business. After doing this we found out that we could simply switch our health insurance through Brad's employer and this treatment would be covered.

Now we had extra money.

Were we wise with it?

I think you know where I'm going.

One day, we decided to go car shopping on a whim. Since Brad is a Ford Motor Company employee, we headed to the local Lincoln dealership.

We test drove a Lincoln LS. It was beautiful. It smelt so good. It had a sun roof, heated leather seats, and so many things that I didn't even know cars had! It was last years model, so there was a discount plus we got the employee discount, and 0% financing. I mean, c'mon! It was a steal!

Did I mention it smelt REALLY GOOD!?

So, we drove it down to the local Wendy's and made our decision over a fast food hamburger.

Yep, that's right, we really thought this one over. Can't you tell?

We drove off the lot with our good smelling car and a big loan.

One Word - STUPID!

But hey, we looked cool. To be honest with you, I never felt right in that car. As much as I loved that smell and that sun roof, every time I drove it I felt like I should not be in it. I did not have a peace about it.

Now mind you, I just sold my business, so I'm not working. Then a few months later Brad's job took away the time and a half he was making on overtime. Our income is cut again. Now this car payment has us a little strapped.

Then later that year, my fertility treatment works and I'm having triplets! Well, now that Lincoln LS is not looking so good. Where on earth am I going to put these babies?

Thankfully we found a buyer for the car and got from underneath that car payment. We found a nice, used, no-frill Ford Windstar to replace it that I still drive to this day. It does not smell good, it has no sun roof, but it also has no monthly payment and it runs just fine.

I'm sharing this with you, so that maybe you can learn from our stupidity.

Here are a few suggestions and things to think about before buying a new/different car:

1. Pray, Pray, Pray. Make sure that you are talking to the ONE who is in control of your finances and seeking what He says about it. Which also means getting into the Word. As I've pointed out in previous posts, the Bible has a lot to say about money.

2. Ask yourself, 'Why the new car?'  Looking good and the great smell are not good answers and means you should probably not buy a new car.

3. Really look at what you can afford and how much you want to spend? Just because you can afford that car payment this month doesn't mean you will be able to afford it in 6 months. If you are just making it by adding it to your budget, rethink it.

4. If you are taking out a loan, my suggestion would be to make sure your payment is low enough that you can make double payments or more to get from underneath that debt as quickly as possible.

5. I sell insurance and there is something called GAP Insurance. This stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection and will protect you if you get into an accident, total your car and your loan amount is now more than what your car is worth. If GAP Insurance is something you would probably have to purchase on that new vehicle, I would suggest thinking twice about actually buying that car.

6. Rarely is a car a steal or a great bargain. No matter how great the discount, the money you pay is still going to be quite large and let's face it, vehicles are not good investments.

(On a side note, since Ford Motor Company is the source that feeds our family, I suggest that if you want to buy a new car - Buy Ford!) Thank you ;-)

Read my other posts on Finances:


What Led our Family to Budgeting



A Few Great Resources

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Teeth, Elephants and Procrastinating

I am officially procrastinating.

I have 20 hours of Continuing Education to finish by the the end of the month. I only had 2 years to complete it. But I waited til the last month. Now I am blogging so I don't have to do it.

I will start tonight, I promise.

Last week Joshua lost his first tooth. Or maybe it was the week before that. A good mom probably would have written it down.

I have good news though. For the first time, the tooth fairy remembered. She was a day late both times Amanda lost teeth. I think it helped that she posted it on Facebook, so as comments came in it reminded her.

When I went in Joshua's room the next morning I was greeted by Isaac who announced, "Joshua got $100 under his pillow!"

What?! Are you kidding me?!

All these years Joshua has had a pillow that multiplies money and I am just finding out about this now!

Oh wait, it was still a $1 bill. Bummer.

If you notice in the picture, Joshua has some scrapes on his face. He came home from school Monday looking like this. When I saw him my first thought was, "Oh no! He got into his first fight!"

Well, kind of. It was with the gate to the fence outside of school and the gate won!

Now to the elephant part. I personally think drawing an elephant is really hard. I was quite impressed with my 6 year olds when they came home with these. Of course, I am a little biased.

On a side note, I ran outside today for the first time this year. Or at least I guess you could call it running. My motivation was Scotcheroos. I made some yesterday and they are DELICIOUS! I can't stop eating them! So, just a warning to you all. If you are enticed by the recipe on the side of a Rice Krispie box to make Scotcheroos, be ready to run to work off those calories!

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Thousand Gifts 500-516

My list continues:

women who encourage me and hold me accountable

stackable coupons

a leather couch when a you have a sick kid

the smell of French Vanilla Coffee

a husband who gets home really late but still brings the garbage to the street

a kiss goodbye as he leaves for work

a 1st tooth lost and a visit from the tooth fairy


the smell of Vicks

empty laundry baskets

a not so great phone call from the accountant

great conversation at breakfast with my friend Dori that included laughter and tears

ridding our house of stuff!

things the kids say that make me laugh

the Harvest Thrift Center

reading books with the kids

singing 'on top of spaghetti" really loud with the kids!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Few Great Resources

Sorry I did not post my usual Friday post last week dealing with Finances. We had some sick kids, plus I was in the midst of a couple good books that I didn't want to put down.

This week, I thought I would share with you a few great resources when it comes to money that I have read and that I like to read.

The first and foremost place that we should all be looking to when it comes to money is of course the Bible. We should always be seeking God's will and His word when it comes to how we should spend, save and give our money.

A few other good resources are:

The Word on Finances by Larry Birkett. I've mentioned this book numerous times and it will really point you to back to God's word with every subject under the sun when it comes to our finances.

Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book will really walk you through how to start budgeting, saving, and paying off debt. I really enjoyed this book but think that it definitely needs to be paired with Larry Birkett's book to really give you the right focus. When I started budgeting I didn't do that and it took me a year to realize that my focus was wrong.

Crown Financial Ministries Website also has some great resources. It has a bunch of different articles organized according to topic for you. So whichever area you have an interest in learning more about, you can click on that topic and it will give you a list of articles that they have written on that subject.

Redeeming Riches is a blog that I started reading recently. I love his insight on different topics regarding finances and how he encourages through God's word.

Money Saving Mom is another blog that I follow. She has a little bit of everything. Her family is very frugal and she shares a lot of tips, plus deals you can get, as well as stories from others how they are saving and paying for everything with cash.

Lastly, if you are looking for a budget worksheet, Saving with Pam has a down loadable worksheet. I don't personally follow her blog, but it looks like she has a lot of very useful information.

I hope you find these resources helpful in your journey to being a good steward of your money. If you have any additional resources that you would like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comment section.

Check out my previous posts on Finances:


What Led our Family to Budgeting