Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Let it Rain

My heart was so moved at choir practice at church tonight. There's a simple song, "Let it Rain," that brought tears to my eyes that I could not stop from rolling down my face for a few minutes. The words?

Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven. Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven. Let it rain, let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven. Let it rain.

4 parts are sung, and the repeated words ebb and flow and are written and played to sound like the intensity and depth of nature. The choir director asked us to sing it with meaning, and how he interpreted the song is that this is being sung in a time of desperation, hanging on in a tough time with one hand lifted up to God and begging him for blessings.

I cried because I thought of how desperately I want my mom to be healthy, and sang these words to God for a couple of minutes, begging him to open the floodgates and heal her.

After I got choked up about that for a while, I thought about my friend sitting one person over from me battling lymphoma and driving to Emory tomorrow for her fifth treatment. I watched the woman in front of me who lost her husband to cancer not that long ago and wondered if what I saw in her face was what I thought it was while singing this song. I thought about my best friend, whose FIL is very sick, my friend who desperately wants to have a baby, my friend who has children that struggle greatly with mental health issues, my friend who lost a child last year, my friend who lost her husband to brain cancer 6 months ago. My goodness...the list is not to be depressing...just reality. I felt so connected to these women and their sorrow and just imagined them/me flat on the ground begging for God to open the floodgates and pour down blessings. I am amazed that I know so many people with such loss and hard times, but then it helps me to see I am so not alone in any sorrow I may feel, and that life truly is an amazing journey. I am so very glad to be on it.

I am also hoping and praying for God to open the floodgates in our finances. We have a settlement for my car accident outstanding, and I am praying to be surprised and amazed! I am praying for God to open the floodgates in Tim's business and bless him with professional and financial success.

I must continue no spend month in some huge way the rest of the year! It will take lots more thought and planning. So much to do, so much to see, so many medical bills and financial burden on my mom, so many people hurting and in need. Chicken nuggets and starbucks just aren't worth a penny in comparison. Surely I can do without.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My husband is truly amazing. He is an incredibly brilliant man who graduated at the top of his UGA Law School class. He has his own law practice, where he works part time, and then stays home with our kids part time while I work. He is an amazing stay at home dad. He takes the kids to the library, conducts semi regular learning times, builds forts, reads tons of books, bathes them, dresses them every morning, takes them to Mother's Morning Out on tues/thurs mornings, and is constantly baking with them. They truly have so much time together, and it makes me fall completely in love with Tim regularly. This month, he has completely dumbfounded me. I have felt the burden of our debt and lack of savings and/or retirement with intense emotion for a while now. It weighs heavily on me, and I have tried to explain it many times. This month, Tim started a blog and an amazing journey to pay off our credit card debt this year. It's super inspirational and sacrificial and intense. I am so so so happy and grateful and lucky. I got a text from him today saying that he had decided he wanted to stop receiving satellite service and put that $55/month toward the debt. His other decisions include not spending money on himself this year. No lunches out, no coffee from drive thrus, no video games or music or graphic novels or any other form of entertainment for himself. whoa. It's kind of stunning. We have a few movie tickets and Netflix for the year gifted to us, and Tim is super grateful.

There's no way that I can match his sacrifice, and that is so cool to me. We're praying and working hard, and just might happen!!!!

My mom has always wanted to go to Disney World. I am extremely concerned about her health and life situation at the moment. We will pay off this debt this year and take our second trip to Disney World, where the kids are dreaming to return, sometime after. We will do it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I loved tonight. A fire in the fire place, my family, and no electricity put true joy in my heart. We spent time with friends at their house after church and then went together as a family to the grocery store. It was raining so very hard when we got out of the grocery store, but having Tim there to get the van and load it was such a blessing. The kids and I had been planning on asking Tim to make a fire in the fire place all afternoon, and Tim happily accepted the job. We got some free firewood from Tim's parents a couple of weekends ago, and I have been desperate to use it.

I used to dream of living in a house with a fire place. I grew up living in a mobile home. I had everything I ever wanted and certainly anything I needed, but we would spend time every once in a while walking through open houses. I would pick out my bedroom and big closet and dream of having a fire place one day. As I sat in front of the fire tonight, the warmth and the peace that came over me as I stretched out in front of it brought me so much joy. The kids asked to watch Space Buddies, our Netflix movie, and eat a homemade cookie they made with Tim yesterday. They had asked for chocolate milk at the grocery store, and although I did not buy any, we decided to see if we could make our own (without having to use high fructose corn syrup, that is). Cocoa, milk, water, and a little sugar later, and we sat down to our movie, homemade chocolate milk and cookies, and a fire in the fire place.

Before bed, Tim asked that the kids help clean the living room. Working on that as a family and hopping into bed seemed like a great end to the night. Soon after the kids got in bed, the electricity went out. Kendall fell asleep quickly, and Tim ended up getting lots of extra time spent with Isaac, as he was very fearful about the storm and the darkness. While Tim was with Isaac, I lit our oh so familiar candles from last month (lol!) and snuggled up in a blanket by the tiny tiny fire that was still burning with my book. Tim and I talked and read and had a great time with the stillness in the house for an hour or so.

The lights are back on, and I am so grateful to be reminded that I am living my dream. Not all of my life is a dream. There are certainly unexpected and unwanted components, but a lot of my life is what I dreamt of as a little girl. I am going to get in my bed under a warm blanket and do all I can to remember the warmth I felt from the fire and my family this evening.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


It feels close to the end of no spend month. Not spending money has truly been mostly perfect. Tim and I have not discussed what we will continue from this month, but I would love to keep our spending within very strict parameters for as long as we are able. Maybe we can only eat out if we are spending time with other people, but not just for convenience here and there and everywhere...or maybe I'll continue to have self control and not buy coffee and drinks and treats for myself for a few more months. I'll be thinking... It was VERY hard the other night to be sleepy and thirsty and driving home from Atlanta in the pouring rain...and not be able to buy a drink at the QT where Tim stopped to walk around and get refreshed a little before continuing to drive. lots and lots of victories...and money saved.

Funny thing happened the other day...I made plans to have lunch with a friend. The night before our lunch date, as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought, "oh my goodness! what in the world am I doing? I can not spend money on lunch." so...well...I called my old, close friend with whom I have not spent time in over a year and asked her to pay for my lunch. It was a little embarassing and lots funny, but, of course, she didn't mind, and we set up in the next lunch date in February...when I get to pay. :)

Nothing came about at my mom's appointment today. More talk about "complicated" and "didn't think that would happen" and "surprised the steroids didn't do anything" and "probably," but nothing that really brought peace or security...or better health, really. sigh. Next week's conversation may be a little difficlt, as I think I will address the possible need for/lack of urgency. I did hug the man today. I have hugged lots of people that were not expecting it. LOL!

I don't think I ever blogged, but Tim and I bought dinner at IKEA the other night when we were there with his parents as a part of a family day together (their christmas present). The whole process of how that happened is complicated, but ultimately our fault. It would have been VERY awkward to turn it around, but in the end, it was a choice we made. So...all the party poopers can get excited that we messed up now. $16 and change spent this month outside of bills and groceries. oh...and tim soent $10 for parking at Monster Truck Jam, but those tickets were bought and the trip planned in December...but if we're being totally totally honest...I thought I'd mention it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Stillness, patience, waiting, learning, blessings.

I have a painting in my bedroom by a local artist that says, "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." I think it applies to what I am experiencing with my mom as we continue to meet with the doctor weekly and look at all of the blood counts and listen to him speculate about what MAY be happening. He is trying something with her this week to see what happens and if the numbers improve, and if not, says he will send us to Emory to delve further into reaching answers and solutions. There are moments when it is really hard to just wait in the chaos and there are moments when I am happy to be sitting in the stillness.

Isaac seemed to have lots of chaos inside today. He brought home a number tracing/practice sheet from mother's morning out on Tuesday. It was blank, and Tim said that his teacher reported that Isaac did not want to work on it, which was totally fine with them. Today, Tim said that Isaac saw the sheet on the table and wanted to practice writing. He traced the "1" and practiced writing it on his own beside it, and then traced the "2" while seemingly happy. All of a sudden, he started scribbling all over the entire page and then got up from the table, opened the front door, and ran outside. He went outside to sit with his bird feeder, of which he is very proud. Wow. I love this little boy so intensely and it hurts me to think that he got so down and frustrated with not doing something well/not being able to do something. It is neat to me, although scary (you know...that he would run out the door) that he ran to try to find some stillness inside of him. We've seen this part of him for several years. He is just now able to hold a pencil correctly, although it's still very awkward for him, and his written name is just barely legible, with all of the letters being backwards most of the time. It's not his strength. He can cut nearly like an adult. He likes to practice cutting. He appears to need to gather up courage to practice writing. He has no pressure and tons of encouragement from us, and we will continue to guide him and lift him up and honor his strengths and weaknesses. I am positive he will not be a non-writer. LOL. He will learn to write. He will learn stillness and patience as well.

I have had some neat blessings this week. I had 2 friends take me to lunch this week and one taking the kids and me out tomorrow. I requested a refund for the $229 we paid for the emergency electrician we called based on Georgia Power's reccommendation only to find out that it was GA Power's problem after all...all on the night of my car accident. So this happened 11/16, and although I just got around to making the call and requesting a refund of the money almost 2 months later, they granted our request and put a check in the mail the next day. My mom's doctor did say that her liver is no longer enlarged and appeared normal on the scan. Blessings came. I am so grateful.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I am praying diligently to understand God's love for *me,* how he's truly on my side, and how he has great plans for me. I know and understand these things intellectually, but I think God has been trying to plant seeds of greatness in my mind and heart, and I immediately down play and minimize and settle for a barely get by sort of attitude. I am so excited and inspired by Tim's mission to pay off our debt, but I immediately get this feeling of "we'll do what we can do...probably won't be too much" feeling/attitude. How is that helpful at all? God wants me to have the desires of my heart, nothing is impossible with him, he blesses my faith, he has great plans for me...these are all in the Bible.

It's not just in the area of debt that I need to understand these things. I want to remember that in being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, at my job, everywhere! I want to know and be confident that God has great plans for me, that he can turn bad situations around...even if it takes a LONG time (like with Job). I am passionate and have great dreams, but my mind fails me and takes me back so far to the "I'll never get up when I need to," "I dream of doing this and this for the world, but that will probably never happen," etc. My mind is not set on great things happening, my eyes are not "fixed on Jesus." My faith is little. Hence, I am praying and changing...and excited about all of the great things that will happen this year.

Today was a great day. I got home from work at 10:30 and the kids were asleep by 7:30. So we had nine great hours at home. I got 100 pages of my book read as well as time reading my Bible at different times throughout the day while the kids played or watched TV. The kids ate a yummy picnic lunch in front of the TV while I ate and read my Bible and then made coffee for myself. We had a fun dinner together where the kids ate (get ready!) cheese tortellini and pesto and walnut ravioli with garlic and olive oil sauce. I cooked the frozen ravioli because I wanted to be able to use the sauce on both pasta dishes and have plenty to eat for lunches/dinners for the week. I was not expecting the kids to eat the pesto and walnut part, but Isaac loved it. I served the kids yogurt with dinner, like I usually do when I am not sure if they will eat what I cook, so they ate the yogurt and a full plate of pasta. Tim just ate when he walked in the door from court to a sleeping house, which made him "happy, but I do miss the kids." The kids and I had a dress up time today where Isaac and I took turns being the king and queen and "getting married together." Getting married means dancing for a long time in beautiful attire. I hope Isaac keeps his love of singing and dancing...and dressing up. Kendall was the princess every time, of course. Being a princess meant wearing some swim goggles along with the regular princess attire, which had Isaac and I both laughing. Isaac also performed a magic show and several puppet shows while Kendall and I watched and clapped.

Today truly was great.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Just coming to say hello to anyone out there reading this blog. I got together with some friends to discuss dreams and plans for the new year tonight, so between that and the raspberry tea I just made, I am feeling super faithful and happy. I was reading some facebook profiles and such from some old friends and acquaintances yesterday and started feeling like everyone had more money, kids involved in so many more activities, more trips taken, etc than we had. Again, I was absolutely amazed at how quickly I forgot about how much I love my life. I truly do have a great life, and I am positive great things will happen this year.

Tim is determined to pay off our credit card debt this year. It's his "mission," and in fact, he even started a blog. It's scary to commit to that and does not even seem possible at all, but I have all the hope in the world that it really could happen. I love dreaming. I love that my husband has so many hopes and dreams of his own and for our finances as well.

Not spending money has made me excited about what we are saving. I filled the bubble bath bottle with water to make sure I got every last drop of bubble bath in there, and the remains actually produced a ton of bubbles last night. Relaxing night, no money spent. I ran out of shampoo, but decided to use all of the many samples I have collected over the years before I buy new. (seriously people...take the good shampoos from all the paid for it...and they throw it away!) I love to see my tiny bottle of something fun and non matching when I get in the shower.

I am excited about the library events for the month. There are a couple of free documentaries being shown this month that will be great free dates for Tim and me. We also found 2 books of $1 theater tickets, so we may use those this month, but either way, we will have those to enjoy whenever.

We need to make actual plans to have people over the rest of the month. We are so very grateful to have great relationships. I love having people over, but usually just don't make it happen. Maybe I'll address that in a radical way one month.

I feel great about being home lots this week. I NEVER enjoy being at home more than one day in a row. I am changing my mindset...little by little.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

water fountain

I got a text from Tim tonight during intermission at Monster Truck Jam. He and Isaac and 2 other daddy/son pairs went together for fun and memories with friends. His text was that they had gone to the water fountain and gotten some really good water while they were waiting for the monster trucks and the friends to return. I felt so bad that they were packing dinner beforehand and then not buying any snacks or treats at the show, but this text made me laugh out loud. Water fountains are almost obsolete, it seems. How could you go to an event at The Dome and not buy several very overpriced food/drink items? Those were my first thoughts, and then as the minutes passed, I realized how very much I respect Tim for taking our complaining (wanted a drink...can't bring in outside stuff) 4 year old boy to the water fountain. Not spending money (the tickets were bought in December, by the way)while you are already at a great event does not lessen the great memories. We will not deprive him of these overpriced event foods for the rest of his life or anything. For this month/once, it is great for him to be able to appreciate the time and relationships...and the water fountain.

This week was great. I had to buy a tire to replace a flat...$61.50. No other money spent outside of bills and groceries. My aunt took my mom and me to lunch on Thursday, which was so generous and fun. I got several invitations to do things that cost money, but was able to figure out how to make it all work without spending...or not...and just decline. I went to a coffee shop with friends twice and just drank coffee from home. I love the dessert at this coffee shop, so I saved around $10 by not spending money on those two nights.

We had an entire Saturday at home today. Whoa. I can not think of the last time that has happened. We left at 5 to go have dinner at my mom's house, but all day was spent at home. We've had several days like that this month already. It's good. Good things WILL come from this challenge, for sure. I enojyed free coffee while I waited on my tire this week. I truly enjoyed it. It felt like a blessing that day to get coffee while out and then a soda for my drive to Commerce (work) when I dropped off something at Julie's house. I see little blessings all around me so far, and I am also feeling more confident about our financial situation just from the committment not to spend for 30 days.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I think and worry about money as if it is of super high importance...maybe the most important. Today, as I thought about Isaac, my 4 year old, and how much he values time and relationships and simple experiences together, I was reminded of how little control I want money to have over my life and feelings. Isaac asks for "things" almost daily...something he sees, something he thinks about or remembers, somewhere special he wants to go or do. Tim and I decided a long time ago when he was 2 years old and asking to go see a real castle, ride in a plane, on a train, go to France and China (thanks,, and all sorts of other exquisite things he holds in his amazing imagination, we would just say yes, that we hoped we could do that one day. We have both been so amazed by Isaac's dreams and thoughts of wonderful adventures. The best part about all of it, though, is that he truly does believe these things will happen "sometime." Now, at 4, he simply says, "we can go there sometime" or "I can get that sometime" I love that he just dreams and believes with the purest heart. I love that he doesn't have a care in the world about money.

On Christmas day, after opening and playing with presents for a while, Isaac asked if he could get a bucket and collect acorns outside. The implications behind this request has stuck with me. He has a passion for nature and simplicity...collecting, the cold air, open endings. He stated that his favorite present from Santa was the one that cost $2.99. His response to "what did Santa get you?" this week has been small items from his stocking mostly. Money does not impress him.

I was sad that I was going out for coffee last night and was not going to be able to buy anything, but I did not miss out on anything important by drinking water while there. The relationships were the most important...of course...I was sad that it bothered me at all not to be able to buy something.

Kendall cried wholeheartedly when we reminded her we would not be going out to eat this month yesterday after church. She begged not to go home and instead to "go to lunch." It was great to hear Isaac console her. I want my kids to value voluntary simplicity, eating at home together, eating simple, whole foods, what is important to our family. I can explain all of these values when the kids ask why we are not spending money. I usually leave out the explanation of the debt and Isaac has declared he only wants to eat "food that makes me grow."

I want to be more like Isaac.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The No Spend Life

January is our month to not spend money outside of the essentials. We will pay our bills and buy gasoline and groceries and any essential health/house items, but we will not be going out to eat, grabbing a treat here and there, or picking up any good deals at the goodwill store or target. No movies or dates that cost money.

We spent the day with Tim's family celebrating Christmas and cooking and eating a big dinner. Tim's brother had been sick on Thanksgiving and was out of town for Christmas week, so today was a great day to cook our meal together, eat it all up, and open Christmas presents. After everyone left, Tim suggested we take down the Christmas tree. Funny idea since it was sitting in the place where the television formerly lived. I was so happy to see the Christmas bins going into the attic and the simpleness that seemed to magically appear in the house again. I can not say that I am happy to be looking at the big machine with several other little machines all around it that look out into the living room now.

Well...Happy New Year! I am actually not feeling happy at all right now, but I really want to take control of that and just chose to be happy. You would think my Christmas money would make me very happy, but it actually has made me feel overwhelmed and a little sad today. I need clothes. I want the broken blinds in the house replaced. I was planning to get a really nice french press, but Tim expressed he would not be interested in using it over the plastic drip pot ( doesn't have many qualities that make me happy besides the coffee producing ability), and he usually makes the coffee, so I don't think I want one now. I want the big dent out of the front of my new van. I want shoes, but have pairs that will do. I would love a new piece of pottery. I could spend a night in a hotel with Tim, which I love to do. I want to get family passes to Stone Mountain with it. I want to just forget it all and put it towards debt. And then...that leads to...oh you don't want to know...but there are people who need it badly. Then I ask myself why I can not be content with the clothes I have, etc. Truly there is something wrong with me. This is why I will have this Christmas money in May when my birthday rolls around. By then, I will have a little more and feel able to spend a little of what I have now. It'll get spent certainly will. One of these days I am going to shock everyone and actually not spend it. At the end of this month, I am going to be truly amazed that I did not eat out at all. I can't wait for the victory!