Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Debt Quote Tuesday, No Regrets

Like all emotion, regret can be used constructively and destructively, but the wholesale dismissal of regret is wrongheaded and dangerous. "No regrets" doesn't mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life.
-Brene Brown, from Rising Strong

Are there any statements in your life that somehow solidified a place in your mind, like each of these simple statements have their very own shelf where they sit on display inside of your head?

My first ever moment of body shaming, that I can recall, that meant anything to me at all was when I was sitting in the front seat of my parent's car. I must have been wearing shorts or a skirt and my dad was sitting in the drivers seat when he said to me, "woah, your legs are hairy!" He may have said something like, "gross," or "you should shave." I could not have been older then ten. I've had very dark hair for most of my life but still I know that it was little girl peach fuzz type hair that I had on my legs at the time. There was NOTHING about the hair on my legs that I should have been embarrassed or ashamed of but I was mortified in that moment.

My dad is definitely an antagonist and I'm certain he must have made the comment in a mean joking way but that one comment has shaped my life. Actually, I hate to admit it but as long as I can remember I have been ashamed of my legs. There have been years worth of time when I've gone without wearing shorts or skirts shorter then ankle length and I wonder if that one comment that has stuck with me for so long has anything to do with it. It's not the comment itself that hurts but the intense feeling of shame and ugliness that overcame me when he said it.

There are things my mom has said to that always come back in certain moments. Not necessarily negative things just random little statements. The funny thing about some of my mom's comments, certain ones that have their very own shelf in my mind, I've repeated a few to her in the past several years and she's actually said, "I never said that." Then this absolute truth, truth enough to be solidified on it's very own shelf in my brain is suddenly null and void? Gee mom, thanks for randomly telling your young daughter something so important that you never actually meant!

A friend of mine once told me that he, "never regrets anything!" He's a pastor of a church now and while we're not close friends and I don't remember why he was so adamantly not regretting anything there was shame in his statement. Every single time I find myself feeling regretful I think of him having said that and I feel bad, like I need to do away with my moment of regret. For some reason his No Regrets comment has had a very prominent place on display in my mind for a long time.

Having just read the above quote I am filled with delight. I have tried for close to fifteen years to "have no regrets," but I completely agree with Brene Brown. Do you know that after losing our cat a little while back I started to feel regrets. I think regret is an emotion felt by almost every single person after a death. It's completely normal. But as I was feeling this horrible loss and thinking, "I wish I would have snuggled her more. I wish I would have spent more time with her. I wish I would have responded every single time she meowed," (she really only meowed when she was talking to one of us about something) I just tried to bury the regret, ignore it, push it away. I kept thinking that I needed to use that regret constructively to spend more time with my puppies or be a little more attentive to little Abe but then I was scared of the regret and felt shamed thinking, "oh she's gone now, I can't give her what I should have, how dare I feel that I should use this horrible feeling to love my dogs and son more." No, I should use it to do just that. "To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life."

Same exact thing goes for the financial situation we are in. I regret having used credit cards like toys before my husband and I were together and then with our "excellent" credit both of us having used credit cards like we were living some sort of monopoly game for several years when we were first married. I totally regret that. But I do not let that regret shame me. It is fuel. It is motivation. It is absolutely constructive in helping me to say "no!" to non-necessities and try my darnedest to follow the strict budgets I draw up.

No regrets? Nope, I have regrets and I am using them to fuel gorgeous blazing fires!

If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.
Psalm 94:18-19

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Numbers are in

Our average daily spending for 2015 is $18.23 a day

October was NOT a good spending month.
November was better but still not good. Right now, the past is in the past so I'm not going to dwell on it, make excuses or complain. I'd like the average daily spending to be lower then what it is right now but all is not lost. I've put in a lot of hard work this year. The average isn't as low as I'd like it BUT it could be SOOOOO much worse. And there's a whole month left in the year.

I've reworked the numbers a little on the spending chart I made for the rest of the year. As it stands I only have money left for spending in three categories and reasonably I shouldn't need to spend outside of those three categories. I don't have much left for groceries though and there's only a $46 cushion outside of the figures on this chart if I want to come in under $18 a day (at $17.98 a day avg.).

Average daily spending for November is $18.89 a day

November averages and Spending categories:
Groceries $400.46 avg/ $13.35 a day
Food out $4.84 avg/ 16 cents a day
Pets $74.74 avg/ $2.49 a day
Stuff $28.62 avg/ 95 cents a day
Toiletries $17.16 avg/ 57 cents a day
Clothing $11.50 avg/ 38 cents a day
Gifts $11.44 avg/ 38 cents a day
Cleaning $17.96 avg/ 60 cents a day
Christmas $4.84 avg/ 16 cents a day

The average daily spending for food groceries is exactly $12 a day for the year (well it's actually $11.99792) My average spending so far in 2015 on food groceries is $12 a day.


November 2015 Total: $566.56
Groceries $18.01    11.30
Laundry det. $3.99    11.30
Dish soap $3.99    11.30
Shampoo $7.35    11.30
Dish rack $7.98    11.30
Groceries $3.79    11.29
NO SPEND day 90    11.28
Groceries $10.69    11.27
NO SPEND day 89    11.26
Stuff $5.92    11.25
Groceries $70.34    11.25
Groceries $5.97    11.24
Groceries $8.48    11.23
Christmas marshmallows $3.78
NO SPEND day 88    11.22
NO SPEND day 87    11.21
Soap $1.94    11.20
Clothes for Abe $11.50    11.20
Groceries $50.09    11.20
Dog food $26.00    11.19
Wrapping paper $1.06    11.19
Toy $4.48    11.19
Groceries $6.12    11.19
Shampoo $3.99    11.18
Toy $4.48    11.18
Groceries $10.16    11.18
Hair ties 42 cents    11.18
Groceries $15.07    11.17
NO SPEND day 86    11.16
NO SPEND day 85    11.15
NO SPEND day 84    11.14
Groceries $78.87    11.13
Cat food $3.20    11.12
Bins $5.34    11.12
Groceries $12.67    11.12
Lunch $2.95    11.12
Pop $1.89    11.11
Groceries $14.03    10.10
Toothpaste $1.89    10.9
Groceries $30.52    10.9
NO SPEND day 83    11.8
Baby shower gift $11.44    11.7
Groceries $9.92    11.6
Groceries $30.68    11.4
Wipes $1.99    11.4
Laundry detergent $3.99    11.4
Swimming reward $14.30    11.4
NO SPEND day 82    11.3
NO SPEND day 81    11.2
Laundry detergent $5.99    11.1
Groceries $25.05    11.1
Dog food and tartar stuff $45.54    11.1

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Forty Five Minutes of Christmas, Permission Slip

I recently checked out a new book from the library that an incredibly dear friend [Pieliekamais] recommended. The book is Rising Strong by Brene Brown and I'm LOVING it! Apart from feeling like I've just undergone a several hour long therapy session, the author presents incredibly useful ways to confront, embrace, and work through emotions that we've buried or ignored or have been denying but none the less emotions that are deep rooted and that control the way we interact with people and go throughout our lives.

This book has been VERY eye opening for me and I'd recommend it to anyone for that reason. Mostly through writing my eyes have been opened, over the past few years, to really deep hurts that are ever present in my life. I've slowly been praying through these hurts and keeping a look out for them but I have been without the tools to really confront many of them or haven't known exactly how to work through some of them. This book is helping identify ways to confront many of my yet healed wounds so that I can begin to heal and grow from them instead of just noticing that they are there without knowing how to really address them.

All that said (because I'm really enjoying this book) one small thing that the author touched on was setting too high of expectations. Disappointment comes from having too high of expectations. I am a perfectionist. Perfection is unattainable. So this is an oximoron of sorts, I'm a perfectionist, striving for perfection while knowing that perfection is unattainable. Seems like something needs to change, right? I mean, essentially I am always setting myself up for failure.

December is an incredibly stressful month for me. I love the Christmas season but I want to make it perfect! Ah ha, but I can't make it perfect. So I'm going to slowly drive myself insane all month long and end the Christmas season with that all too familiar feeling of having fallen short? What a great way to enjoy the holiday's right! I'm not completely sure how to fully escape this dilemma (which I've written about here before, so this is nothing new to many of you) but I am going to write myself a permission slip right now. I'm not sure this is exactly what the author of Rising Strong meant when she talked about writing emotional permission slips but it deals with my emotional issues so my permission slip states: I will spend 45 minutes a day on Christmas. Anything that doesn't get accomplished in the 45 minutes doesn't need to be done. Whatever gets accomplished during the 45 minutes of Christmas is perfection.

Baking, decorating, Christmas crafts, Christmas cards, presents that I'm still planning to make, the Christmas cookie get together at our house that I really want to host, all the parties that we'll be attending, shopping (I think we've very little shopping left), Christmas books and scripture reading that I have planned each day for my kiddo, the holiday parade... I'll likely spend more than 45 minutes a day on certain days, like party days or parade days, but 45 minutes a day is all I need to get in. (I hope that doesn't sound like a lot... that doesn't sound like a lot to me) That's really only about 18 hours from here on out and I probably spent close to that just on Christmas cards last year.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Tree, 2015

This year our tree included:
Nine leaves for family
Three leaves for friends
Our garden
Stella and Sam (his favorite TV show)
Our house
Reading books
The bouncy place
Bay and Peppy (the horses that Abe rides)
Chocolate milk
Honey bees
Tubby time
My toy robin hood
Digging for worms
Bird songs

Once again we had fun making our Thanksgiving tree. I imagine I'll leave it up until after Christmas just like I did last year. I love having this on our wall and I love that me and little Abe made it together.

On Thanksgiving day we feasted with my husband's family. Today we enjoyed spending the afternoon with my family. The pecan pie cheesecake did not end up making itself as I had hoped but all the time spent in the kitchen yesterday and today ended up being worth it. This was probably my favorite cheesecake I've made yet! Super sweet but incredibly delicious. Thanksgiving turned out great. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Let's get Christmas started!

I have terrible procrastination issues. I always have. This year however, and yes I am doing a happy dance right now, I have TWO very time consuming Christmas presents finished BEFORE Thanksgiving. 

This one I was scrambling to get done by Thanksgiving and I actually did it. I really didn't think I was going to get it done but I did. It's just a tiny little quilt for my nephew, about the size of a large pillow. I've made one for each of his three sisters so this year he'll be getting his own. The back is the cloud print fabric. It's sloppy (because I can't use a sewing machine to save my life) but I love it!

Now onto the next gift!
(The other gift I have finished I'm choosing to keep a secret because I'm really proud of it and the recipients mom reads the blog so I'm keeping it under wraps)

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Yesterday while my son was off playing in another room, he had his toys set up the way he does so that little knights were fighting a dragon, a dinosaur, or riding their horses, he called to me to say, "mom, sometimes I hear Deedee meowing at heaven in God."

I replied, "I know honey. I do too."

My husband and I picked the little Siamese colored patchy runt of a kitten out from the humane society right after we got married. She was our first baby. For thirteen years I've fed her, cleaned her litter box, enjoyed her snuggles, listened to her tiny meows and for thirteen years, for our entire marriage she's been a part of our family. She's always been in little Abe's life. She's always been his beautiful, softest in the whole world kitty.

Cats are very easy to tend to. Our dogs require considerably more attention. I am far from being a morning person and I can tell you that I regularly find myself going through the morning routine with several deeps sighs, maybe a few grunts, and the occasional, "gosh I need a vacation from life."

In the morning everything needs to be done all at once: feed the dogs, let the dogs out, feed the cat, get them all fresh water, feed the kid, make sure he's got pants on (my son would be a nudist if we let him), make my coffee, get myself ready for work, and shortly after waking up my husband arrives home from work and generally wants some sort of dinner. I've never been able to prioritize my mornings. Everything needs to be addressed right off.

For the past week and a half I lament not having to feed the cat every morning. I should be happy that I've one less chore to clutter my morning right? The few times I've taken out the trash I've almost teared up at not needing to clean the litter box out before bringing the trash to the outside bin. It's not that I miss cleaning the litter box exactly. But I'd rather have to clean the litter box for 100 more years and still have her here.

This morning while deciding if I should feed the dogs first or start rolling out some pizza dough for the pizza my husband requested first thing I almost let out the normal morning sigh, "oh so much to do." Then I realized that I am so thank-ful I have to feed the dogs. That simple chore just means they are still here, that our lives have been blessed by them. I'll gladly feed the dogs every single morning for 100 more years and have them a part of our family. (for the record "feeding the dogs" is one of little Abe's chores that he does pretty often but even then a great deal of supervision is required on my part (or he'd starve one of them) and it's still work)

It's like this with so many things in life. I mean, how many horribly annoying things does your husband (or wife) do on a daily basis? I bet you'd miss every single one of those annoyances if he or she were gone. I would. What chores do the furry kids or the rambunctious two legged kids require that you wish you could just hire out for? I bet you'd be glad to do that chore just one more time if you suddenly had to say good-bye (for whatever reason).

On this Thanksgiving I'm choosing to be thankful for all the annoyances, truly. Because I'm VERY thankful for the blessings in my life and I think of great deal of our biggest blessings come with a handful of annoyances. Those people at the family gathering today that bug the crap out of you (I may be speaking for myself here) wouldn't you be sad if you weren't to ever see them again? I'm going to try and be a bit less bugged today. I'm going to try and realize even more all that I am truly thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Proclamation

An excerpt from President George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.
Every year when I read this it just makes me smile so much:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor… Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next (1789) to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

All glory to God! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Working on Christmas presents.
Working on Christmas presents.
Thinking about making food for Thanksgiving.
Working on Christmas presents.

If I think hard enough about making the Pecan pie cheesecake do you think it will just make itself?

Turning off the computer now...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Debt Quote Tuesday, It's Tuesday right? Is it Tuesday?

Between this being a holiday week, last week's emotional fog, and my husband being off work for eleven days straight just before that I have lost all sense of days of the week and time. The winter is just beginning right? I have moments as I watch the snow melting where I'm thinking spring is around the corner. Oy vey!

I'm in the middle of reading "Happier at Home" by Gretchen Rubin (as well as several other books). The book is interesting; she writes about goals and projects she goes about implementing in order to increase her happiness in life (and more specifically at home). I feel that it reads a bit like a very well organized blog. The book is very upbeat as she writes about this and that accomplishment and how it did or didn't affect her state of happiness.

To be honest I'd read about half way through and it was starting to feel a little too upbeat to me. I mean, I make new goals almost as a profession but am I able to complete half of them? No. Here she is marking this off and working on that project and I half started to think, "this woman is too good to be true."

A little over half way through she hits a wall so to speak and I'm like, "HA! I'm not so much a freak as I was starting to feel." Smack dab in the middle of the book she writes:
 "Around January, my emotional energy flagged. I felt trapped in a kind of Ground Hog Day of happiness. When I looked back at my Resolutions Charts from previous months, I saw rows of X's on certain pages; the same resolutions defeated me, over and over. I wasn't making much progress." 
She goes on and on like this for about five pages. This, in the middle of a pretty upbeat, go and get em book about happiness. And then the book returns to it's normal pace. This little "I'm feeling defeated" moment in the book stuck out like such a sore thumb and yet I am still feeling a sort of relief from her having put that in there.

When I was a kid I was so fascinated by Paul's rant of sorts in Romans chapter 7:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (vs. 15-25)

I used to read this over and over as a kid. I was confused at how this man who wrote a good portion of the new testament which is all, "do good, be good, turn away from evil, love the Lord," how could he all of the sudden be struggling so much? What in the world was he failing at/ not doing that he wished he were doing that would cause him to write such a passage filled with that much turmoil? I was fascinated that life could really be that hard for adults too. I mean, it was SO difficult for me in middle school and high school and I wasn't even working full time, paying bills, raising kids, running a house hold... but adults were supposed to have it all together. I mean, they had grown up. I was just utterly fascinated by this passage.

I still am really. It's like a beacon of hope. "No mam, even people who write a good portion of the new testament don't have it all together." People who write books about happiness even have to put that downer moment in the middle. Being an adult doesn't mean having it altogether.

Okay, pep talk done.

Now that the holidays are upon us I am starting to feel very overwhelmed. I want the holidays to be spectacular. Christmas only comes once a year. But I have a hard enough time feeling that I accomplished taking care of my home, my family, my kid, paying the bills, keeping everyone fed, and making it to work and back on a daily basis. Throw the holidays in there and, well, this year I'm starting to panic a little. I write all this to say, "no panic necessary! Adults don't have it all together. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and well, I seriously need to get more organized." But really, it's okay. I'm going to try my hardest and everything will be just fine.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Snowy Saturday

In truth I was rather mopey today but I tried my best to seize the day, to not let the mope get the best of me. One bright note was these sad truffles. I've been wanting, been meaning, been planning to make some sort of chocolate truffle for ages. Today was the day. These rum truffles (<the recipe is here) turned out fabulously delicious but they needed a little more chocolate chips in them as they didn't set up right. I halved the recipe to make just a few and the lack of chocolate was my fault due to poor halving. Either way, yum and FINALLY I tackled a task I'd been dreaming of.

The second bright note was all the beautiful snow. I REALLY didn't want to leave the house but little Abe insisted and we had a really fun time. We made a very jolly snowman named Peany. Little Abe made several snow angels. We threw snowballs at each other during a game of chase. And my obviously very "only child" found that throwing snow in his own face was not only superbly delicious but great fun. I can't say I've ever seen a kid throw snow at their own face before (for like 20 minutes at that). He thought it was hilarious (it kind of was) and to him it was a creative way to eat lots of snow.

Yes, him throwing snow at himself captured on camera. Ha!

And lastly: a literal bright note, a beautiful card in the mail. A card hand crafted by a dear friend. A card that traveled over an ocean. You know when you open the mail box and see a different envelope, one that's shaped like something meaningful, different then the sterile envelopes of a bill or a solicitation? You can spot it instantly between the ad flyer and the credit card offers before even pulling the mail out. It sticks out like a flower in a junk yard. I found such an envelope in my mail box today and you can only imagine my smile.

Yes, I was rather mopey today but there were many, many smiles. The mope did not get the best of me. It was a pleasant snowy Saturday indeed.

First Winter Snowfall

When I'd mentioned yesterday that I hoped to go nowhere today,
I'd envisioned myself not leaving the house.

The snow began sticking to the ground this morning as this little one watched out the window.
He asked at least 700 times if we could go out now.
It was really perfect snowman snow. What could I say?

"What's it taste like bud?"

"What do snowflakes taste like?"
"Like BRRRRR!!!"

Friday, November 20, 2015

Deep Sigh

I survived the week.
I don't think I have a tear left to cry.
Thus I declare, "let the weekend of therapy now begin!"

Starting with stove top hot chocolate, fresh whipped cream and Christmas sprinkles, of course. Accompanied by Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."

There shall be no bedtimes, no rules (well maybe a few), no chores, no check lists/ no to-dos, no cleaning (okay, I will run the dishwasher and pick up the living room). We will snuggle the pups with all our might and I hope to venture out nowhere, absolutely nowhere!

(Apparently I've never seen "White Christmas" before. I adore older movies like this one. I thought I'd seen it. Shame on me. I've watched probably a third of it now (while the kiddo was sleeping/ had to take an intermission to make dinner) and I'm in love, absolutely in love. This particular clip caused me to laugh more than I have in a very long time.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thank-you for thirteen years

It was different this time. The vet said kidney failure.
In most people's eyes we said good-bye to a cat on Monday. 
But Deedee was our baby girl. Our family has never been without her.
She was our first love (our first kiddo), the most beautiful cat that ever lived; 
so much more than just a cat. Our home feels so empty now. 
I will love you forever baby girl, forever.
Thank-you for thirteen incredible years.

Thirteen years ago (almost to the day)

Sunday, November 8, 2015


My husband has had the past week off from work. He's been really stir crazy. A few days ago he say's," Let's do something."
Little Abe say's, "Let's go to the bouncy place!"
Hubby say's, "No, I mean like go for a walk somewhere."

He decided that we should drive 45 minutes south to a really nice little town on the water (yes, we live in a really nice little town on the water) and go window shopping. Little Abe was convinced that there were going to be amusement park rides or something equivalent. He's delusional.

So we're down there walking past all the little shops, it was a really lovely day, and little Abe popped a squat on the first bench we passed. He totally acted like it was the coolest thing he'd ever seen. "WOW, look at this awesome chair! Mom, look, look." My husband and I giggled at him and went along with his glee and delight. We didn't rush him but almost as soon as he'd gotten up he spotted a set of chairs and rushed over to sit in each of them. "This one is my favorite color... oh, look at that color." 

I'm pretty sure he "tried out" every single bench in town. And he ooh'd and ahh'd over each one of them. I thought the whole ordeal was so funny that I started to take photos of him sitting on all of the "cool chairs". We all had a lot of fun, him sitting on all the neat benches and hubby and I watching him try out all the seating down town. He made a few older men laugh as they were sitting on neighboring benches, I imagine waiting for their wives who were in the shops actually shopping. They'd probably never seen anyone so excited about benches. My kid is very dramatic. I don't think anyone believed that he "LOVED" all the benches as much as he was letting on but he was certainly having fun with the game and it was very funny to all who watched.

When he saw the red bench with the flowers (in the last photo) he actually gasped and said something very close to, "Oh mom! It's so lovely! This is the most beautiful chair I have ever seen" before he rushed over and jumped onto it. (He looks less than thrilled in the photo but he was concentrating on drumming with those two sticks when I snapped it) We certainly didn't go to an amusement park like he was hoping but a long afternoon strolling through a quaint little town with very adequate out door seating made for a very amusing time.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

2015 Spending goals chart

Two posts back I wrote about my spending goals for the rest of the year. I broke down each of the eleven spending categories that encompass the average daily spending you hear me going on and on about here and I assigned each category an end goal. I've left myself a cushion because boy oh boy do I need one. Now I am just going to try my hardest to stick around the plan.

I do all of my budgeting, try to budget out for about a year ahead of time in Microsoft Excel so of course I've made an Excel spread sheet to track the category spending for the rest of 2015. I have the appropriate formulas plugged into each column so that I don't have to actually do any math myself. Believe it or not me and numbers aren't actually buddies. This spread sheet is super handy because now each time I make a purchase I just plug it into the appropriate column and I can see how much I have left in that category for the rest of the year.

The numbers at the very top of each column are the goals I set for remaining spending in each category for the rest of the year. The bottom numbers in red show how much is left to spend. The numbers in the middle are what's been spent since I sat down and set the goals in place.

As you can see, three of the eleven spending categories are already maxed out. There's a good chance I'm going to have to put some of the allotted "toiletries" budget into the "cleaning" column. Some of the remaining "stuff" monies might end up in the "groceries" category. We'll see. I'm cutting it really close with pets and probably with Christmas too. I know I'm cutting it close with groceries but a goal is a goal. I'm just trying to put something out there to aim at. And right now this is it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Another Day

Today I’m thankful for another day. Another day to spend loving my son and picking on my husband; another day to watch my beautiful nieces and nephews learn and grow and know that they’re being cherished by my siblings; another day to see the seasons change, wrap up the summer gardens and wait for the winter snow; another day to snuggle the pups and sit for a minute with the cat, to read or listen to music, or chat online with friends… Life ends so abruptly and don’t get me wrong I eagerly await Revelations chapter four but I’m thankful for every day here to live this one of a kind life that I’ve been given.

I cherish the wrinkles I see coming (I really do), the freckles that only increase with age, and every single stretch mark on my body. I don’t wear make-up (even though I always look tired as a result) because this is who I am, this is what I’ve been given, and every single part of me reflects the life I’ve lived. I’m thankful for every day, even the exhausting ones, and today I’m thankful for another day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2015 Spending Goals

All year I've been tracking my totals and average daily spending broken down into eleven different categories. Today I've looked over those numbers and set spending end goals for this year for each category. The numbers on the left are what I've spent so far this year. The numbers on the right are my end goals. The numbers in the middle are how much I have left to spend in each category in order to meet the end goals.

My main goal for the year is to end with an average daily spending under $18 a day. The end goals I've just set would put my daily spending average at $17.65 a day. That goal leaves me with a nice cushion should I have a moment(s) of splurge.

Groceries $3522.86 - $12.02 a day                 $600.49                       $4123.35 $11.55 a day 
Food out $398.91 - $1.36 a day                      $11.64                        $410.55 $1.15 a day
Pets $331.35 - $1.13 a day                             $79.20                        $410.55 $1.15 a day 
Stuff $239.79 - 82 cents a day                        $27.96                        $267.75 - 75 cents a day
Toiletries $237.28 - 81 cents a day                 $30.47                        $267.75 - 75 cents a day
Clothing $231.44 - 79 cents a day                  DONE                        $231.44 - 65 cents a day
Gifts $184.62 - 63 cents a day                        $11.73                        $196.35 - 55 cents a day
Christmas $73.47 - 25 cents a day                 $122.88                      $196.35 - 55 cents a day               
Cleaning $104.34 - 36 cents a day                 $13.96                        $118.30 - 33 cents a day
Garden $43.25 - 15 cents a day                      DONE                        $43.25 - 12 cents a day
School/ kiddo crafts $19.47 - 8 cents a day    $16.23                        $35.70 - 10 cents a day

Total: $5393.15 avg. $18.41 a day (296 days)  $914.56          $6301.34 - $17.65 a day (357 days)

This leaves a $71.40 cushion for $17.85 a day
or $106.81 cushion for $17.95 a day

$914.56 for the rest of the year - 8 weeks left

Today's 31 days of Thanksgiving post: The first mission trip I signed up for evoked all these comments of “this is really going to change you,” from various people who I told I was going. “Yeah, sure… nah. I know what to expect.” Truth be told I was the one going on the mission trip but they were the ones who were right. I’ll be honest in saying that I have no idea how much of an impact I made on the world through my travels but I changed a lot after four different trips to Guatemala. I left a large part of my heart in a part of the world that previously I hadn’t known existed. I became somewhat of a minimalist no longer wanting or desiring stuff, really of any sort (still very much am to this day). My life was given a new perspective with which I use to look at the world and everyday situations all the time.

My heart grew and my eyes learned a new way to see. I hope that through my time there and through many prayers that have been prayed since that I have had an impact on a country I love dearly. I know the impact it’s had on me. Today my thanks not only go out to Guatemala and its really beautiful people but to the people who I traveled with and met while I was there, my Guatemalan family. When something so life changing happens the people you share the experience with become a very important part of one’s life. I'm thankful for them all!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Four Questions

Have you ever noticed those people whom you see jogging day after day? They are the ones who seem not to need to jog. But that's why they are fit. Those who are wealthy work at staying financially fit. But those who are not financially fit do little to change their status.
- Excerpt from The Millionaire Next Door

Chapter two of The Millionaire Next Door outlines four basic questions that all Prodigious Accumulators of Wealth Millionaires can answer yes to. (The only exception being older/ retired Millionaires on question #3 because many of them have actually reached the majority of their long term goals).

Under Accumulator of Wealth Millionaires on the other hand may have inherited their wealth or earned it through very high paying salaries (and spend as quickly as they earn), i.e. movie stars/ athletes and while they are in fact millionaires they have considerably less net worth then they should have and will not generally answer yes the the following four questions.

  1. Does your Household operate on an annual budget?
  2. Do you know how much your family spends each year for food clothing and shelter?
  3. Do you have a clearly defined set of daily, weekly, monthly, annual, and lifetime goals?
  4. Do you spend a lot of time planning your financial future?
I've been reading through this book very slowly. It's a very fascinating book that I'm glad to finally be reading but there are a lot of number examples and charts which makes it more difficult for me to concentrate on reading through it for a very long time. It's been a VERY up and down read emotionally. One moment I'm thinking "Yes! I'm really doing this money thing so much better than I'd thought." Then a few pages later I'm like, "oh, no I'm doomed."

There was a long description about how the majority of first generation millionaires in America are actually immigrants. Specifically Russians who come here do really well in accumulating wealth. On the other side of the spectrum it noted statistics that say the longer your ancestors have been here the more likely you are to live a very average life/ not ever accumulate wealth. 

I think the lesson to be learned from these statistics is that people get lazy. People who travel here from overseas with virtually nothing to their name and very little money in their pockets are more likely to live a super frugal life, take extraordinary risks, and attain an overly ambitious goal through hard, hard, grueling years of work. Whereas people who grew up here are much less likely to step out of comfortable living to do what it takes. Uh oh, a great deal of my ancestors have been here since the pilgrims (but Sluggy is doing pretty good and a good lot of her ancestors have been here for centuries as well so I still have hope. Thank-you Sluggy).

Back to the questions. This was one of the portions of the book that made me really hopeful. Since starting this blog I can pretty easily answer yes to all four of these questions. The only one I really struggle with is number 3. I make a lot of goals but I get overwhelmed and distracted and lose focus really quickly. "What, did she just say she's scatter brained?" Yeah, anyone who's read this blog for any period of time knows this full well. Do I have a clearly defined set of goals? Yes. Do they change by the hour. Pretty much. I do need to work on that. Number 1, 2, and 4 on the other hand are resounding yeses and I'm really proud of that because it took years of very hard work and focus (not a strong point) for the answers to be yeses. 


Thankful for my Husband

Ever had a crush on someone for years? But it’s kind of a silly crush, the kind of crush where you don’t really expect to end up with the person; like they’re so different from you that it hardly makes sense. Then suddenly (four years later) at a music festival six hours from home this person says how they’ve liked you for ages/ had a sort of silly crush for years that they never expected to go anywhere. A little over a year passes and you’re driving to Georgia to get married. And after 13 years of marriage, you’re both fully aware that you wouldn’t want to do life with any other single soul on the planet; that likely there’s no chance any other person alive could deal with each other’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. We drive each other completely insane and I’m totally okay with that. There’s no one else in all of space or time… I’m very thankful for the man I married, my other half.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Traditions

This is the second year we've made a Thanksgiving tree. Little Abe and I took a walk around the neighborhood to collect pretty fallen leaves. Then I pressed them in a book. I had him paint several sheets of newspaper with some old white paint we had on hand. I taped the painted papers together and then traced a tree onto them. Last year I used some old poster board I had in the house to hang up the tree but this year I cut up a box to use as the back ground. It wasn't really big enough so I ended up taping a few pieces of box together. I like the way this completely FREE craft turned out despite the random scavenged materials. I love having it on our dining room wall.

Each day until Thanksgiving I ask little Abe what he's thankful for, what he wants to put on the Thanksgiving tree and then I write that on one of our leaves and stick it to the tree. This is such a fun activity and even though we do talk about what we're thankful for every night before bed (often it's the same things) it's fun watching him come up with 31 different things throughout the end of October and most of November. 

I loved our tree last year and making it together. I'm excited for our tree this year. This is a new tradition that I'm very much looking forward to partaking of for years to come.

(It's really much bigger then it looks in the photo)

We collected leaves about a week before Halloween. I quickly realized that we looked like deranged trick-or-treators.
He was wearing his dino sweatshirt and I was carrying a plastic bag as we walked through the neighborhood together on the cold evening. We got a few strange looks before I realized we totally looked like we were trying to trick-or-treat a week early. Haha!

My day five thankful: There is this book. I’ve read it cover to cover several times. It’s filled with darkness and light, beauty and filth. Some of the strangest things you’ll ever read are within it. No matter what I’m going through or where I am, no matter how hurt or scared or confused I might be, no matter what spot I open it to I read a new message, a new story (you can read the same story 20 times and find a new story with each read), a nugget of truth and revelation that picks me up, sets me back on my feet and tells me exactly what I need to hear. I find myself within its pages, whether that be a good thing or bad. Call me crazy but I am thankful for the Holy Bible in ways I could never express. It is my guide book for life and it is alive. I believe the Bible is God’s Word because I hear Him speak to me every single time I open it and I’m eternally thankful for that!