Saturday, September 24, 2011

Praise Report

Early this summer I noticed that I had broken two stones in one of my favorite rings. When I saw it, I vaguely remembered accidentally hitting it on something, but looking down at the ring at thinking it was ok. It must not have been, and I just hadn't looked closely enough, because sure enough two stones were severely damaged. I took it to the place we bought it and they estimated the repair at about $300. Ouch! I took it to a wholesale place and they said they couldn't fix it because I didn't buy it there, but they recommended another place. That place wound up being even more expensive. So, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to pay to get this fixed because I really didn't want to spend $300 on it, but it really bugged me every time I wore it and saw the broken stones.
Well.... being the Groupon queen that I am, I got an email this week about a Groupon for 50% off at the SAME jewelry store that I bought it at and the one that quoted me $300 to fix it. Not only was the groupon available for the $300 amount, but it was also valid on services (like repairs-I called to confirm!), not just new jewelry! woohoo! God knows my desires of my heart. He knew I wanted it fixed, and He opened the door for me to get it fixed for half off!  I am super happy and super blessed! I am making plans to drop the ring off next week and get it repaired! I am really happy!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't hide your light!

My husband and I had something really exciting happen in our lives this week.
We paid off the mortgage on our home! I was super excited the day I put the check in the mail. I had a hard time containing my excitement because I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but yet I didn't know if that was the 'proper' thing to do. I did call my mom though and gave her the great news and she was super-excited for us. She even told me it would be a good idea to share that information with our kids (I hadn't thought of that yet) as it would be a good way to talk to them about diligence, saving, being responsible, and working towards a goal. Another way to show them that living within one's means, instead of in debt, or paycheck-to-paycheck was how we should strive to live our financial lives and that we were setting that example for them.
As I said earlier, I was so incredibly excited, I really wanted to just blast it out to everyone. I was so darn happy!

But then a couple days later on Sunday, the congregation was asked for any praise reports. My first thought was, "oh yeah! this is worth praising!" and I wanted to share. But I don't have a spring attached to my arm so it didn't pop up there immediately, so several other folks started sharing first. As I was listening to them, and rejoicing in their good news, and praising God for all their goodness, I started thinking that my good news... well, just maybe wasn't good enough worth sharing. Which is weird because just two days earlier
I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the rooftops (and did shout a little to a few people, praising God all the way), but as I listened to the wonderful praise reports of God healing cancer from someone's body, or lining up new jobs for someone, or someone coming to Christ and starting their journey of giving their heart to God and therefore living for God...I started to think my 'report' maybe wasn't worth reporting. I didn't realize at the time that ALL of God's good works are worthy of praise. Instead I started to discount His work in me. Which was wrong. I shrank down so low in my feelings of worthiness that I almost didn't share my praise report. If it weren't for prompting from my hubby, I might not have (sad as that is to say).

But if I don't share it and shout it from the rooftops, then I am NOT giving HIM the glory for its accomplishment! And it truly is HIS accomplishment. It is through His direction and guidance through the years that allowed this to happen. It is not because of what my husband or I did ourselves, it is from what God has done through us in our lives.

I had to realize that by not sharing it freely, I was stifling His work. I was hiding it. If I won't let His light shine through me at every opportunity then how can I expect to keep that light burning? We sing the song "This little light of mine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine", but if we don't let it shine, then we are not being a disciple for the Lord. So no matter how that light is shining through you right now, whether it be from your body being cured of cancer, or a new job prospect you received because of your faithful prayer, or your spouse that has now come to the Lord (Praise God!), or that through your faithfulness, you are now mortgage-free and therefore that much closer to being debt-free and not "a slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7), REJOICE! And Praise God!

They are ALL examples of His light shining through you. Share it! Share it in such a way that you give all the glory to God! He is the one who deserves the glory, we are simply just His servants doing His work.

So I write this to publicly repent for almost hiding, or covering the light that God has put in me. I can't worry what other people think (as Pastor Chris reminded us Sunday), I only have to concern myself with being a good servant and steward for God. It is He who I am trying to follow and He who I am trying to emulate, and therefore, He who I look to for guidance and approval. I know He would not want me to downplay or hide His Glory. Therefore, I repent to Him for not shouting His glory and praise when given the chance.
Lord, I love you and I thank you for all that you have done in my life. I thank you for my husband, who started me on the path to you. I thank you for my parents, who did not instill a spend-thrift mentality in me. I thank you Lord, for your patience, as it took me years to hear you, but now that I do, I pray for my ears to be continually open to listen to your guidance and do your will in all aspects of my life. I love you Lord!
I PRAISE GOD for His faithfulness! AMEN!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting out of debt

I just wrote the check for the mortgage that will bring our balance down to under $20,000!!! (Granted its still nineteen thousand, but its under twenty!) I am excited!

I love paying off debt.

I get giddy and really happy when I get to do this.

And.... I haven't been able to do this for awhile so I am really excited to be closing the gap on one of our two final debts.

I remember the excitement (just like now) that I had when I paid off our first student loan. It felt so great to be dropping that check in the mail. In fact, (I normally brought my mail to the office to mail it from there instead of making a trip to the post office), and I remember bringing that envelope and announcing to my co-workers that it was my final check to pay off our student loans. That announcement was met with a small round of cheers from my happy co-workers who could understand my excitement.

A few years later we bought some new vehicles and we had been saving up for quite some time so we were able to pay all three vehicles off within a year. (We had intended on paying cash at that point for car purchases, but HADN'T intended on purchasing THREE within a six week period, so we didn't have enough saved to pay for all of them at once. I paid the first one in cash, then had to carry some debt for about 10 months or so  (which wasn't so bad considering one of the vehicles was supposed to generate income for us, but that's another LONG story itself that I'm not going to go into  that here). But suffice it to say, I was excited to be able to be debt free from car loans. In fact, since that time (2004) we have not bought another vehicle without paying for it 100% in cash.

The reason I share all this background is to explain why I am so excited to FINALLY be able to pay off (or get close to paying off) some debt. As you can see we didn't have any more 'small' debt to pay off. Only our mortgage and a business loan remained. So we have been working to pay these off for about seven years, and now it is almost upon us. Now I am getting giddy with anticipation because we are just around the corner from becoming MORTGAGE DEBT FREE!   YYYIIIIIIIPPEEEEEE!!!!!!!  I am really looking forward to writing that last mortgage check and dropping it in the mail. I LOVE the feeling of doing that, and as you can tell I am excited for it to happen. I guess I'm even more excited about eliminating this debt, than others, because its been almost 7 years since I've been able to write one of those "final checks", and I'm also excited because its our mortgage! Which obviously is typically a "forever debt"  or one that you normally can't get paid off till you are very close to retirement. And even though my husband keeps trying to retire  ;)    we aren't retired yet, so this is pretty cool.

I share all of this to hopefully provide inspiration to those reading this, that it CAN be done. Put your mind toward tackling any debt you have and work on it whole-heartedly. Don't get caught up in spending all your money, it is much wiser to save it (which also happens to allow you to not get into as much debt, i.e. you can pay cash for purchases instead of getting loans for them).

Our society has gotten us into an economy right now that makes it even more difficult to carry debt, which is all the more reason to be frugal, so that you can survive with these tightened job markets and increasing gas prices. The less debt you have, the less money you need to make ends meet, which is very helpful if your income decreases due to this economy.

Proverbs 22:7 says "Just as the rich rule the poor, so is the borrower a servant to the lender".

Try to be debt-free so that you are not a 'servant' to your debt.
Interest is the biggest waste of a resource in my opinion. I hate to pay interest on something, because I look at that interest charge and think of all the things that I could have bought with that, if I wasn't paying it to a company on debt. I guess its just ingrained in me to feel this way, because it really bugs me down deep. I know not everyone feels that way (but those people usually also wind up living in debt, because the interest doesn't bother them. They see it as a cost of living.) I don't see it this way. I see it as a waste of money. But before I dig too deep into that portion of this topic, let me get back on track and just say how excited I am. If you don't know me personally you may not know that I am definately a 'debt-free mentality' person. This blog has talked a lot about finances but hasn't had many posts on debt. I've found some interesting blogs that follow people's path to becoming debt free in their lives. If you would like to read that type of "hands on, how do I do it too" type of blog, check them out. They are listed below.

And who knows, maybe I'll finally start making some more blog posts about debt and share ideas on how you can avoid it and get out of it faster :)
Until then, have a great day, and follow my motto "If you can't afford it, don't buy it!"
P.S. charging it on a credit card is 'affording it' ONLY if you pay that credit card off in full every month ;0