Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Final Countdown

Tick... tock...

It's so hard to believe that after all this time, the day of quitting my job will finally be here tomorrow! It's been a long road.  If you don't have anything going on tomorrow at about 5:10, join me online to watch the countdown ticker on my sidebar finally reach zero!  Can't wait!!  :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Are You Reading It?

This book will keep you from sin... or sin will keep you from this book.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Frugal Friday: It's Catching!

Frugality is contagious. I have the proof.

Among other things, my nephew gave me a heart necklace for Mother's Day (see it in the above picture??). When he gave me the necklace, he proudly announced that the original price was $40.00... it was on clearance for $11.99... he had my $10.00 JC Penney coupon with him (which he had claimed as his own and put in his wallet the moment the coupon arrived in the mail!)...

...and so he got a $40.00 necklace for $1.99!

He thought that this deal was worthy of a Frugal Friday post, and I wholeheartedly agree! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Mother's Day in Pictures

My Smoochie and I :)
My mom and I :)

My "nieceter" and I :)

My "nephson" and I :)

The tearjerker...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Three Years Ago Today....

Three years ago today, my Smoochie graduated from high school. To say that it was an emotional time for me would be an understatement!! I'm a bit over attached, you could say. :)

My baby boy. I LOVE this picture so much. I remember what a strange feeling it was to see my (then) 18 year old bearded son wearing his cap and gown, holding a picture of his former baby faced self graduating from Kindergarten twelve years before. :')

What a difference twelve years make! Steven went to the same small Christian school for all thirteen years: Kindergarten through 12th grade. Sarah, Steven, and Desiree are the only ones who were there together for all thirteen years... so, of course, we just had to recreate the picture from their Kindergarten graduation, twelve years prior. :)

This post would not be complete without this red-eyed, splotchy-faced picture of my "nieceter"! My son graduated from a small Christian school, and there were nine students in his graduating class. Since the graduating classes are so small, they're able to do a really personalized graduation for each student, which includes each student's own slideshow of pictures of him/herself through the years, set to the song of each student's choice. They also have a tradition called "the rose ceremony". Each graduating senior (one at a time) takes roses out to the audience and gives them to those people who are particularly special to them. She had NO IDEA that Steven was going to come out to the audience and give her a rose, and when he did, she burst into tears and cried for the remainder of the graduation ceremony! Afterwards, she said what has remained one of our all time favorite lines ever: "My feelings were touched." :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Frugal Friday: Viewing Saved Money as Income

Operation Penny Pinching has begun!  My last day of work is two weeks from today (!!!!), and so I am really focused on making some last minute changes to our budget. 

This week's progress: 
  • I called the cable company (which provides our phone, internet, and cable services) to get various quotes on lowering our bill.  The customer service rep was more concerned with keeping our business than giving me quotes, and before I knew it, she had given us a $20 monthly discount for the next six months.  :)  I will be calling back in the next few days for the quotes that I'm needing, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the thought of saving $20 per month!
  • I signed up for our electric/water service to be put onto an equal monthly payment plan.  This doesn't save us any money, but it's ideal for people (us!) who need to stick to a strict budget and don't want any surprises when getting their bill each month.  (We already have our gas bill set up this way.)
  • Since we won't need to rely so heavily on having two vehicles after I quit working (and therefore don't necessarily need full coverage on both vehicles), we are making adjustments to our car insurance policy.  This will decrease our monthly car insurance premium by $64.61.
Amount cut from our monthly budget so far: $84.61.

I read something recently on a frugal website that really struck me...  "When you save money, it's tax free."

I realize that's pretty much a no-brainer, but it really struck me:  I can regain some of my lost income (tax free!) by cutting costs.  If we cut our budget by $84.61 per month, that is equal to me having a net income of $84.61 per month. 

Another example:  Let's say that due to my current busy lifestyle, we are spending a hideous amount of money on fast food, eating out, and convenience-type foods. (Yup, sadly this is a real life example!) If, for example, once I'm home full time with extra time to put into grocery shopping, bargain hunting/couponing, and cooking more from scratch, we're able to cut our normal weekly spending by $100 per week, my "net income" just increased by $100 per week!

Viewing the cutting of expenses this way has really helped me have some added peace of mind over the upcoming loss of my income.  :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The World is Ending and I'm a Hypocrite

My nineteen year old nephew believes the world is going to end in 2012.

Or does he?

Last night, I asked my brother-in-law to drive him to a class that he is court ordered to attend.  On the way to the class, my brother-in-law asked him if he truly believes that.  He responded very enthusiastically and told him that he believes it completely.

But does he really? 

Last week, he talked to me about not knowing if he should pay cash for a car, or if he should get a car loan so that he can build up his credit.  If someone truly believes that the world is going to end in 2012, that person is not going to care about building his credit.  Why worry about your credit if the world is going to end in two years?

We also discussed his legal troubles, and his anger about the possibility of being a convicted felon who wouldn't be able to legally own a handgun.  But who cares about not being able to own a gun in the future, when the world will be ending in two years??

Obviously his actions don't match up with his beliefs.  You might even come to the conclusion that he doesn't really believe what he says he does.

Seems pretty silly, doesn't it?


Until I start thinking about how my actions don't always match up with my beliefs.  And then it suddenly becomes very sobering.

If my nephew were to die today, he would go to hell.

The majority of our extended family would join him.

Am I on my knees daily, crying out to God to save my family members?  Am I sharing my faith?  Sometimes.  But not always.  Why not?  Do I not believe what the Bible says will happen to the unsaved?

We have a lot of drama and sinful situations in our extended family.  There's always SOMETHING crazy going on.  Am I bothered by their sins because it's offensive to God, and because if they die in their sins they will go to hell?  Or am I selfishly being bothered by their sins because of the way it affects me and my life?

In less than three weeks, I will be leaving my job outside the home and entering a new phase of my life as a stay at home wife and homeschooling aunt.  Am I trusting in God to provide all our needs?  Or am I too busy panicking over the thought of losing 54% of our income, rather than believing His promise that He will take care of us?

Please pray for me that I will be consistent in living what I believe, and that my life will be clearly lived on the right side of the fence, rather than appearing to straddle it.