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Posts from the ‘Everyday’ Category

Operation “Get Life Together:” Mini Financial Update

When we began our journey to financial freedom….well….it is kind of like a diet, we never stick to it and instead of losing a lot of weight, we triple our weight.

Tis the life.

I believe, though we have broken that bitter cycle because we are seeing MASSIVE improvement in our finances.

Are we still living paycheck to paycheck?  Yes.

Are we still doing a zero based budget?  Yes.

Do we flub up and eat out because we spend most of 2 weeks in a nursing home, funeral home, ER, and hospital?  That’d be a big ol yes.

BUT

I sat down today (it is payday) and I got out all our envelopes and my notepad ready stuff those biweekly envelopes and see how much money we have left to pay on our van.

Our van has a payoff of 3 yrs.  It was a 5 yr loan.  We have been paying on it for 2 yrs.  The minimum….cause that’s what you do when you buy a lot of nonsense and do not know where your money is going.

We started our ZERO BASED BUDGET back in September 2017.   As it stood, then, we had:

Van payoff 2020. 

A student loan payoff of 2027. 

An equity payoff of 2022. 

And a house payoff of 2037 (I think it was 20 yrs…might have been 15….or was it 30….you get the idea though).

Right now, on October 13, 2017…due to LOTS of sacrifices, selling an exercise bike, Big Daddy working overtime and taking control of our money again…this is where our payoffs stand.

Brace yourself.

Van payoff will be DECEMBER 2017 

Student loan payoff will be DECEMBER 2018

Equity payoff will be DECEMBER 2019

House payoff will be DECEMBER 2022

Can you even?

CAN.  YOU. EVEN?

I mean COMPLETELY debt free by 2022. Now, of course, this does not account for any surprises, but most of the surprises, we have take out money for in our zero based budget plan.  We call it a “sinking fund.”  Anything that we perceive to be needed or could happen, in the future, we are saving for…plus we have a little emergency fund that we can rely on.

Even if we have to delay being debt free for a couple of years….we are still WAY ahead of the year 2037….that is a 20 yr difference.  That is saving interest and not paying a boatload more in interest rates.

God is good…..even through my last hellish 3 yrs….He is good.  We are trying to be obedient and, yes, we are making sacrifices because we are not choosing to serve two masters anymore.

 

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Where to Go From Here

Today is Friday….Friday’s are typically spent with my Lady.  I would head over to her house a little before lunch and we would either eat there or go out….that began our day together.  Once we were done eating, I would get some laundry started or get started on her “Brandi do” list.  Don’t get me wrong…I love to organize and I love her and I would do anything she asked me to do….and I did LOL  Once those little things were done, we would head to her chair and I would head to mine and we would sit……..we would talk……I would cry……..she would pray…..she would teach me.  I would head home about 4, get supper started and then head back over there to bring her supper.   Somedays I would eat with her and somedays I would drop it off and head on home.

Now.

I sit here, at my table, eating a salad……alone…..

We buried my Lady yesterday.  It was a day we were all dreading but we knew that that is what she wanted…to be with her hero and her Jesus.  We all know that she would never come back to this fallen earth….that she would simply wait till our room was ready and she would meet us at the pearly gates.

Her service was beautiful.  I was honored that I was asked to sit with the family, though I am not blood.  This family took me in, like their own and loved me.  I am thankful for her boys Joe David and Doug.  I’m thankful for their wives Esther and Luanne.  I’m thankful to the two grandkids that I have met Devon and Chelsea…..then there is Caden, Abigail, Colton, and a new one on the way.  I had the privilege to meet her brother and his wife and her nieces and nephews at the funeral.

Her precious friend did the service and he did exactly as she asked.  Make it a celebration of life and not a free for all cry session….oh, and be sure you talk about the plan of salvation.  Her constant prayer was that everyone come to know her friend, Jesus.  She was pretty special like that.

Our friendship was rare…..so many people have “acquaintances” but that is as far as it goes.  We had a closeness that cannot be described.  She knew my EVERYTHING and I knew her EVERYTHING.  She caught me by surprise one time, during her hospital stay…a nurse asked a standard question and she answered it in a way that I was not expecting.  Once the nurse left…I got all up in her stuff and I said “Faithie….are you sure you did that, for that long?”  She smiled and said yes but she was not proud of it.  I asked her how I never knew that and she said that that was something I did not need to know LOL.  You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.

Our relationship shifted a bit after her stroke in 2015.  I did more of the housework and I took care of her needs a bit more, but that did not diminish what she did for me.  She taught me how to live life to the fullest.  How to love my husband and my Jesus without reservation.  How to parent and make cornbread.  How to get out stains like a beast.  How when she called and said “Brandi…when you have time….” I never heard the rest of the sentence.  My kids knew if she needed me, I would go.  I’m blessed to have older children who can watch the younger children.  I’m also blessed my kids loved her so deeply and she loved them.  I would always tell her, I’m on my way.  I would always try to hide my grin or my gaping mouth when I would walk in and see what it was that she needed….once she flooded her kitchen LOL….what was she thinking????

Everything I did for her…..I did it with joy in my heart and love.  Whether it was hauling her somewhere, filing her toenails, cleaning up, sitting with her…so many sleepless nights.  It was absolutely and honor and a joy to be in her presence.  It was always and will always be my pleasure….there was never an I’m too tired, I’d rather not, can someone else do it, it can wait…”  I just did it because she needed it.

I will never have another relationship like I had with her.  I have close friendships and I treasure them…..but she was my everyday.  There will never be another Ms Jo, Josephine, Faithie, my Lady………….

There is a giant hole in my heart……..one that will never be filled.  Jesus did good when He allowed our paths to cross.  He knew I needed her and He knew she needed me.

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Relaxation 101: Tip 2

I mentioned the other day, my beginning of a little series on relaxation.  This is my second tip, but this one can either be FREE or it can cost some money.

MASSAGES

Peoples of the internet world….if you have never gotten a full body massage, you are missing out on a little slice of heaven in the real world.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

I have fallen asleep, instantly.

I have woken myself up, during my massage, drooling.

I have also woken myself up snoring.

The music.

The quietness.

The smells.

Sigh……………….

Sometimes, I barter with a friend.  My service for her service.

Sometimes, I pay for it.  Cause it is worth it and so am I.

Sometimes, I lay on my floor and have a kid walk on my back.

Sometimes, I lay on floor and I have them rub my back, or use a torture device to get out the knots.

It is glorious.

When I pay for or barter for a service, I usually get an hour, full body.  I like a deep tissue massage…the more you “hurt” me the more I enjoy it.  It works out all those stress knots that I have accumulated.

Stop.  Get almost naked.  Drool.  Snore.  Enjoy.  Repeat.

You are worth it!

Let Me Get This Straight

This is a convo that I had, the other day, with my 13 year old son.

Me:  D, did you take the dogs out?

D:  No.

Me:  Did you feed and water the dogs and cats?

D:  No.

**it was after lunch at this point….chores are usually done by 9 am**

Me:  Can you name me each of the major wars from as far back as you can remember, in order?

D:  Rattles them off PERFECTLY beginning in the year 1754 with the French and Indian War.

Me:  Can you tell me who was involved in each of these wars?

D:  Rattles the names off PERFECTLY.

Me:  How is it you can remember these details, but you cannot remember the same chores you have had for 7 years?

D:  I like wars.  I do not like chores.

Touche’ little fella.  Touche’.

The beauty of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder.

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Relaxation 101: A Beginning

I live in the land of stress.  It is not a nice land…..lots of moles, vermin, sewage issues, etc. My Lady fusses at me all the time about my stress level and how much I take on.  I mean, I care for her (I see that more as a privilege), I have 7 kids (one trying to find love and a job in her field; one just left love and is heartbroken….as well as going to college; one in military school because of her behavior; one who is finding himself as a “man” and beginning to drive; one with FASD and depression, along with learning disabilities; one who is hearing impaired; and one with OMS).  I have my counseling I do, when I have the time, I have parents who I think/worry about, sibling issues, work issues, Big Daddy’s health stuff…..blah blah blah blah.

So, in this little series (as I think of it), I’m going to discuss ways that help me to relax. Some may cost a little money, some may cost a lot or some could be totally free 🙂

The first one, I experienced tonight!  The weather is starting to turn, so it isn’t too hot and it isn’t too cool.  My favorite times of the year.  I love love LOVE to have my windows down when I drive.  To hell with the snot that flings out my nose and hits the child in the seat behind me.  To hell with the bird’s nest that resides in my hair and I cannot get a brush through it.

Exhibit A:

SAMSUNG

This is what happens when you get the bright idea to be a girl and curl your hair…using LOTS of hair products.  This happens to be the same day that your daughter has therapy and it is one of those glorious cool/warm days when I drove 40 miles to the therapist office.  I got out of the car, with my daughter who never said a word.  I walked in to a room full of clients who are staring at me.  My first thought was “I am on fire today and I look like a girl and they are all being jealous.”  I smile…I go to sign the register.  The receptionist looks as me and gasps.  I smile and say “yep, I know you never see me looking all nice with my hair curled, so yes…it is still me…just with my hair done.”  She gives me this weird smile.  We sit.  Daughter does her school work and I decide to run to the bathroom…and this is what I found.  This was the result of freshly fixed hair, lots of product, and my obsession with the window being down.  “It’s All About Mary” came to mind.  I about died.  Died.  I just about died.  There was no laying this sucker down.  Short of me sticking my head in the toilet to wet it…..I just decided to embrace it.

As we were driving home from a family movie/dinner night…we rolled the windows down and I just sat there, with my eyes closed and the wind blowing in my face….I was at peace.  I couldn’t hear the children because of the wind in my ears (and hearing loss LOL).  I couldn’t see anything around me because it was dark.  Just glorious wild wind.  I’m glad Big Daddy was driving so I could enjoy the full scope of it all.

Try it sometime…..but carry a brush with ya 🙂

New Purchase

Yes….I’m determined to get out of debt.  Yes…..we have a doable plan that will take us *forever* but still….we will get out of debt.

That being said, sometimes you just need a little something something to help the monotonous days seem a bit brighter.  I saw this hashtag  on someone’s social media (yes, I’m a stalker) and I thought “wowzer, I need that tattooed on my forehead and plastered all over my walls.”  There are days when I feel like I’m entering the 7th level of hell and it is just me and a water pistol.

There are days that I am overwhelmed.  Looking at these PILES of books that I’m trying to get through because I’m doing the kids school planning is OVERWHELMING me.  Seeing the pictures I have taken off the walls and not put up yet is OVERWHELMING me.  OMS is OVERWHELMING every inch of my person.

I am not defeated.  Jesus is still on the throne.  He has already laid out His plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  I’m just choosing to be all up in the flesh instead of depending on him.  Well………..not today, satan.  Yes, I ordered this shirt.  Yes, I may wear it everyday till it falls off my body.  Yes, I may get one in every color.

When I wear this shirt, I know that it is not just me in the 7th level of hell with a water pistol….it is He who shield me and stands to either side of me and in front of me and behind me.

So….with that being said….click on this link ZXZY Women Cotton Short Sleeves Not Today Satan Letter Print T Shirt Blouse Top and get yours too! We can be twins 🙂

Our Family, Friends, Church, and Community

During the last few weeks…we have seen our family, friends, church body, and community come together to bless our family in a very difficult time.  There is no way I can express how loved we feel and how blessed we are to have complete strangers stand in the gap for us through prayer, financial donations, building a ramp, providing suppers, providing groceries, carting kids around, buying necessities, and so much more.

We are, generally, the givers and doers…the hands and feet of Jesus…so this is all new to us.  This is not the path we would have chosen for our family, but it is what it is and I will not love Jesus any less for this trial we are walking through.  I do not say “why us”…I say “why not us.”   Who better to walk this path than our family.  We are being taught great things.  We are being blessed right and left.

We are humbled by the graciousness and love.  We would love for this illness to just be a season of our lives, but it may be our new way of normal.  We hope that, one day, when we get used to our new life, that we will be able to serve others in the way we have been served.

 

Here is part of the Marshall County Ramp Ministry Team.  What a blessing.

 

Ms. Marcella founder of Marcella’s Kitchen.  She and her team of volunteers are an amazing blessing to our family….they have graciously fed our family for a month while I was gone and when we got home.  They even brought it to my house 5 days a week…..for free…….

God is good!

My Dirty Little Secret

I.  Love.  Popcorn.

Not just any popcorn.

Air popped or stove popped popcorn.

Not just any air popped or stove popped popcorn.

Stale popcorn.

With a schmitz of butter….a pinch of garlic…some white cheddar powder…some nacho cheese powder and smothered in parmesan.

I eat this, alone, in my bed almost every night…….

It is freaking glorious.

Now, back to your regular lives.

A Hiatus from My Hiatus

Well, after taking a blogging break in 2016 (with the exception of the many great giveaways)….I am back 🙂  I have realized that writing is very healing and therapeutic for me, so I am determined to get my blog rolling again.

Our New Years Eve was good….we made a bunch of soups and finger foods, because I didn’t want to “cook.”  I had all 7 of my kiddoes, with one of my bonus girls and my oldest daughter’s person.  We also had some friends over, who have 4 kiddoes of their own and we ate, laughed and played games.  It was so nice to just enjoy the company and the good food.

2016 had some incredible highs.  Our family spent 10 days traveling to the east coast.  My kids got to see the Atlantic Ocean.  We adopted our 7th child.  Our oldest had a big year, graduating college, getting a new car, getting a new job, and getting engaged.  Our second daughter finished high school and did fantastic her first semester in college.  Our oldest son is flying through his sophomore year and he has had the opportunity to work with a friend, who is a contractor, so he is been able to earn money, save it, and spend it.  Our second oldest son is reading so much better and he is doing so much better in school.
We were able to get him an official dx, so that has helped to guide us through his education.  Our next son, has blossomed in sports (baseball and basketball).  He was approved for a bone conducted hearing aid, so he will have that surgery at some point this year.  And our baby is growing like a weed…he is such a joy.  We have also found our forever home church wise.  And to top it all off, my Lady is doing wonderfully!  There have been lots more highs…but that is just a beginning.

There have also been some significant lows….one of our daughters is still struggling and we have had to make big decisions regarding her future.  It has brought lots of hurt and tension to our home.  Our adoption of our 7th child did not come easily and the circumstances around his adoption are still tender.  My daddy had a stroke this past summer…thankfully, he is doing well.  We had to put 2 of our beloved pets down, Sadie and Little Buddy. That is always difficult.

This year is full of promise.  Full of intention.  Full of purpose.  365 days to make a difference for the Kingdom of Christ.  I do not make resolutions because, frankly, I think they are super stupid.  I do, however, make some changes and more times than not, I stick through them and then they become a habit.  This year, I plan to stop making excuses for myself or my family. I plan to start saying no.  I plan to stop apologizing for who I am and how I do things.  I just want to live.  I realize that 1/2 my life is over…done….I cannot get that part back.  Now, what do I want my second 1/2 of life to be like?  I want to love my family without abandon.  I want to be intentional with my relationships with my siblings, nieces, nephews, parents, husband, and children.  I want to love my husband more and submit more to him.  I want to dig deeper in the Word and see what new jewels Jesus is waiting to show me.  I am going to plan a wedding 🙂  I’m going to send a kid off to a school that can help her.  I want to get involved in our church.  We are going to Hawaii, so I need to plan for that plus our family vacation.  So many possibilities and so little time!

365 days….what are you going to do with your new year?

 

Are You Comfortable?

What does “comfortable” mean?  According to Websters Dictionary it means affording or enjoying contentment and security.  Okay, so what does “contentment” mean?  It means feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status or situation.

That is the world’s view.  So, according to the world, I need to be secure (home, money, job) and I need to feel satisfied by my home, money and job, in order to have the possessions that I deserve.  A sweet little life where it is all wrapped up, with a pretty red ribbon.

Is that the answer?  Is that the answer to a good life?  Great job, making great money, buying great toys and bigger houses…..2.5 kids, a dog, a cat and a fish…a manicured yard, well educated/rounded children and peace wherever you go?

If this is the life that you want….then stop reading and good luck to you!  If you want more out of life, more than money can buy, then keep reading on!

God does NOT want us to be comfortable!  He wants us to be up and moving and going.  We need to sincerely pray to Him and ask Him to send us where He is working…then when something comes up, all you have to do is GO.  He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips those whom He calls!

My husband and I have lived an interesting life.  We married young, had kids young and we fought, oh so much.  He wasn’t walking with the Lord and I was walking very slowly.  He was saved at an older age and even though the fruit wasn’t very big…it was there and it was growing in God’s time, not mine.  I learned very quickly that I was not my husband’s personal little Holy Spirit.

We have walked through several fires, with little grace and forgiveness.  Moreso, we wanted to hurt those who hurt us and we allowed that bitter fruit to penetrate every ounce of our hearts.  I’m sure that devastated God.

We’ve gotten older and we’ve learned to lean not on our own understanding, but to lean on God and remember that His grace is sufficient.  We are currently walking through some hot fires….we have lost so much, over the last 2 mths.  We have lost loved ones, we have lost respect towards some people, we’ve experienced a loss of innocence and we’ve had our eyes open to many many truths.  Every day, there seems to be a new thing.  One where we are now not saying “God, you aren’t funny”, but we are standing there, shaking our heads, knowing that He is continuing to refine us.  As painful as it has been, we have drawn closer as a family unit and as a couple and we have most definitely drawn closer to our Lord.

I have more peace than I’ve ever had and my circumstances have gone from “comfortable” to “chaos”.  It seems as if we are standing in the middle of a field and God is getting us with some pretty good zingers.  We are standing strong in His Word and we are hanging onto His truths and promises.  We aren’t trying to independently walk through this world “I do it myself” mode, but we are hanging onto God’s belt loops and we are following our Daddy through all this muck.

Comfortable, in my terms….is an unmanicured yard with weeds and dead plants, everywhere; 4 dogs that shed horrendously…our cats are living in the house, our pigs try to escape and our chickens refuse to lay eggs more days than not; a scary job, making little money, raising 7 children..all with their own needs.  Leaving a place that we thought we’d never leave….to go towards the unknown.  We are no longer detail oriented people. We are simply trying to follow where He leads.

If you don’t know the Lord as your personal Saviour….please savor these next steps and  pray with a yearning heart.

We ALL deserve death.  That’s why Jesus came, to save us from our sins and be the ultimate sacrifice, on the cross.  Please know the plan of salvation and what my God can do for you and how He can change your life.

Salvation is really simple.  Admit that you are lost; Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, 100% human and 100% God to die on the cross with your name on His lips; Confess that you are a sinner, separated from God; Repent, turn away from your sins; Ask God to come into your heart and you will be saved.  Baptism would be next, but baptism does not save you.  It is done in an act of obedience to what Jesus did and it is a public profession of your faith, to show the world of your decision.

Please, don’t put off tomorrow what can be done today.  Our days are numbered and you can take this moment to ask Christ into your heart and reduce the number of hell by 1, as well as, securing your mansion, in Heaven.

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