The Nitty Gritty

     So here we are one week (or so) after my last blog entry.  We are still all aboard this call we feel God has put on our lives this year and are actually excited about the fruit that is going to be produced from it, both in our own family and possibly others as well.  I have come to realize that this isn't just about our debt, though it is a big part, it's about a much bigger picture of obedience and an un-clinching of our fists with our finances and truly giving it over to God...and that is what I'm most excited for.  Ok...now to the nitty gritty of what we're doing.  Why?  I don't know. I just feel like I need to.
     Let me first say that this blog is specific to our journey.  I am in no way claiming to be an expert in finances, in fact I am just the opposite.  If you don't agree with something we're doing, too bad.  It's our journey.  Go get your own.  I mean that in the most loving way possible of course!  Second, let me just take a minute to thank all of our very supportive family and friends who are walking with us through this.  We will get you all very nice home made cards for your birthdays and hand deliver them so we don't use stamps.  HAHA!  Maybe I'm going overboard.  Maybe not.  On to "the gritty"....I will consider the last paragraph "the nitty."
     The gritty of what we're doing is not spending any money on almost anything this year that is not an absolute necessity.  "What does that mean exactly," you might ask?  Well I'm not entirely sure.  I take it to God to see what I can spend on things like our annual heart shaped dinner we do for the kids on Valentine's Day...btw that is $20.  $20!!  It means no coloring my hair, no road trips (if you know us at all you KNOW how hard that is going to be for us!).  K had a hunting trip that he went on and I have a trip planned to Portland in February.  Those are our two "things" for the year.  We might fit in a camping trip and we have some miscellaneous gift cards left over from Christmas that are like gold now.  I'm saving my Macy's one for a possible freak out moment. :)  I am telling whoever is reading this blog all of this for accountability and also so if you see me out on the street in a new dress just assume I had my freak out moment and used my Macy's card.  I plan on being very transparent and if we mess up I'm going to talk about it...or blog about it I guess.
     So there you have it.  The nitty gritty of what we're doing.  I know it probably doesn't sound super clear to you or exciting, but it's not for us either.  We're taking it step by step and praying a lot along the way.  Thanks for journeying with us!


The Year that God told us to suck it up and kick our debt in the face

So here it is, 2014.  A new year and a new start.  I haven't written anything on this blog since I think June of 2012.  HAHAHA!  This year is going to be different.  I am going to be journaling/sharing our journey that God has us on this year through this blog.  Why?  Because I feel called to do it and let's face it, I'm not using it for anything else.  Let me start with a short back story…..
Here we are! Thanks Bethany Skinner for the amazing photo!
     Neither myself nor my husband were financial people. If anyone knows me at all you know that I get simple addition problems jumbled in my head.  I think I have math disease.  It's real, I just know it.  Anyway, we were always able to get a long just fine until we took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course through our church, The Stirring.  Our. Minds. Were. Blown.  Suddenly we had a plan!!  We knew exactly how much we were spending on everything every month!  It was MADNESS!!! And something we should have always been doing, but that is beside the point.  Getting back to my back story, we have been doing great ever since. We have never strayed from the cash system and were even able to save up some emergency fund and had an envelope full of Christmas money when November came last year.  We were doing amazing!! Or so we thought.
       This time last year we had zero credit card debt. We had our mortgage and my car loan. That was it.  Then one of our two HVAC units went kaput.  We decided to replace both because the other one couldn't be far behind it at 24 years old, and then found out that all of our ducting was just the worst ever and blah blah blah…it ended up costing us $14,000 of which we didn't have.  Que two empty credit cards sitting in the safe.  But, we thought, it's just the perils of owning a home!  It's (and here's the kicker) "justifiable debt." We can't be without HVAC!!!  Oh no!!!
     Fast forward to July 2013. We sat down to have our committee meeting (all you Dave Ramsey peeps know what I'm talking about, if you don't know it's just a meeting to discuss financial goals etc. in short.) and realized that we had way more debt than we wanted. $22, 300 to be exact, with my car loan and a new camera I had bought (more "justifiable debt." It's for my business!!!!).  Fast forward again to January 2014…the 3rd of January to be exact. New committee meeting, new debt total!  $22,400.  Wait, that can't be right. Five months have passed and our total has not only not gone down, but UP by $100!?!?  Snap.  That meeting confirmed everything that God had been speaking to me during the month of December.
     Finances were on my heart all through December, I couldn't figure out why. We were doing so great with our money, in my mind. haha!  We had a trip fund started, anything we wanted to do we had an envelope for it.  "Is that being a good steward of what you've been given?" The Lord would ask me.  Of course it was!  We were saving for things, and we were budgeting fools!  Sure we had that pesky debt still, but it was "justifiable." "Unavoidable." Then came the Given series at church and it seemed like every single week Nate was just preaching to me and no one else.  "Stop looking at me Nate!" I would think in my head, even though he wasn't.  Then came my friend, Rebecca Gafner's blog entry about God calling her to not buy anything for herself for the whole year.  THE WHOLE YEAR!!!! You can read about her journey here.  When I was reading about what God had spoken to my friend, he spoke to me. "Can you go a whole year being content with you have?" I must not have heard you right God. That would mean no thrift stores (my fave), no yard sales, no yarn, no fancy coffees.  That can't be right. I wrestled with God about this for about a week or two before I decided to spring it on my husband that the word wasn't just for me, but for both of us!  Nice, right?  Good thing God gave me a verse the very next day to confirm everything or we might have bailed.  Just being honest. :) Proverbs 3:9-10 is what I opened right up to. It says, "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine." Well, I don't drink wine, but that all sounds pretty good to me!
     So, fast forward to today, the 14 of January, 2014, Kris and I both are committed to not buying a single thing for ourselves this year and throwing every last penny at this "justifiable debt" because let's face it, debt is debt and it's still preventing us from giving to causes that we would like to or helping friends in need etc.  Debt is bondage. Debt is an unnecessary weight that many of us carry, especially the "justifiable" stuff.  We are super excited about this year and what God is going to do and teach us through this.
     Oh!!!  Side note!  After we had calmed down and given ourselves to this word for this year, we got the most random (but not random) phone call from Shasta College asking for Kris. I answered and said he wasn't home thinking it was a telemarketer.  She said who she was and then I had to eat my words and say oh yes he is home, he's in the back burning (go figure).  After some profuse apologies on my end for my out right lie K got on the phone.  They had found his half done application for being adjunct faculty from a year and a half ago and were wondering if he was still interested in helping with their overcrowded EMS/Fire program!!!!  WHAT!?  So nuts.  Just more confirmation that God isn't going to call you to something without providing every step of the way.
     One more side note, one of our goals for this year is to pay off that $22, 400 in debt by the end of this year.  Yep.  By January of next year we will be debt free except for our mortgage.  It's going to take a lot of sacrificing to get there, but I think that is the point.  It's supposed to hurt and be uncomfortable. The journey to most things worthwhile usually is.
     If you made it to the end, thank you for reading!  I know it was long.  My subsequent updates will not be as long.  Feel free to share our journey with anyone you know that might be struggling with this.  If we can help motivate anyone else, like Rebecca did for me, that is amazing.  So here's to 2014 and a debt free 2015!!!!!