Saturday, February 28, 2009

baby steps

Well we started our second month of budgeting on our journey to becoming debt free! It's been a good month, and surprise surprise we actually didn't spend everything we budgeted for. My personal challenge was really sticking to a very planned grocery list. By very planned I don't mean detailed in an excel sheet, but just taking the time to sit and think through the upcoming weeks meals and writing a grocery list with that in mind. I also wrote how much I thought each item would end up costing so I could add up the weeks list and see if it fell within a certain amount I budgeted for. (we budgeted a total month sum for groceries, I divided this down to work out to so much per week) It was actually kind of fun to come under the amount I calculated for. 
I also browsed the sales flyers between several stores to find the best deals. I have found it can be worth it to shop at different places instead of sticking to one place. 
Overall, I think knowing how much I was going to spend, having my list (with estimated $ by each item) helped me stick to my list. I also noted as I shopped if something was more/less. This provided a very accurate and budgeted way to shop.
We came under this month too! Wow, amazing considering I never thought we could come under. So we are now onto the next Baby step (you follow baby steps in this program) and excited to start paying down our 'debt snowball'. 
I know Jonah is excited about this as we spent some time working out our budget for the month, and he can see the numbers change as we input them. I know there are going to be some hard times ahead, but I'm excited and determined to get out of debt.
Would I recommend this to anyone? I think I've already recommended it to everyone I talk to!

Friday, February 27, 2009

a new challenge

Starting up a 'business' to shoot portraits and such. Here are some photos I particularly enjoy.

Friday, February 20, 2009

a movie night

Last night Jonah and I finally watched Fireproof together. We have talked about watching it since it came out. But after watching it I have to say it was pretty good. We both liked it. Granted there was some cheesiness to the acting, the emphasis was of course on the acting. We found ourselves laughing and really enjoying it. It was just really good.
If you haven't seen it go rent it! It's so nice to see such a positive and encouraging boost to marriage. What a beautiful and special relationship marriage is.
I am so thankful for my husband and that God blessed me by bringing us together.
The movie kind of gave me a 'push' in my heart to really stop and think about what I can do to love my husband more. It really doesn't come down to what I feel, but what I do.
I realize that God can give us the love we can't find within ourselves, a love that is greater than any human can posess. I think He did that for a that we do come to His throne to experience a more intimate relationship with Him.
I am reminded of the illustration I heard in Sunday school since I was a little girl. In a triangle diagram, it shows you on one side, your husband on the other and God at the top and the closer you get to God the closer you become to each other.
Jonah and I are on definitely on a new path this year as we journey down the long road to become debt free. With that comes a decision on both our parts to be commited and faithful along the way....kind of like our decision when we made our vows.
Doing this together has been great for us because it's opened up avenues for us to talk, to dream to just learn more about each other, and I feel like God is working in each of us in a very different special way.
I am so thankful that God speaks, loves and listens to me in all my piddleings and ponderings. Sometimes it just takes doing one thing different that makes the difference.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ministry serving ideas

I have been praying about starting a teenage girls ministry.....but I am also seeing a real need for so many other ministry opportunities in our church such as a young married ministry. People reaching out to each other like Jonah and I. People that share goals and struggles, just like us. Right now Jonah and I are the most involved in our teen ministry which has been a great thing, but we are definitely not meeting people our age.....which leads us back to the sad realization that there really aren't a lot of people our age in our church.....apart from the 'school teacher' group that attend church because they teach at the church school.
Our church is not bringing in new younger families that decide to stay and join, and I wonder if that is because there really isn't much for them to become involved in getting to know other families their age.
So my question is what does your church do to reach these young couples and families? What ministry is working. Are you involved in one in particular? I'm just wondering what is lacking here......What is working for others?

Monday, February 9, 2009

on the road to freedom

Well it's officially been over a week since I have been blogging. I took a much needed break from facebook and blogging. I spent the extra time on more important needs in my life- time with God and time with my husband, and just some time to think.
We are facing a new challenge together. We started listening to Dave Ramsey's AM radio show, and if you don't know who he is, he has written several books to help you get out of debt. I don't usually buy into something someone's selling, but this time it was different. Jonah and I have come to the decision to become debt free!
Dave Ramsey offers an online course you can 'enroll' in, but it also offers free budgeting charts to help you. The purpose of his course teaches you how to pay off debt in the 'debt snowball', a little at a time, but with a huge pushed effort so that you pay it off quickly.
The sacrifice of course is keeping it in as short a time frame as possible. What pushed us to do this? Listening to the stories of so many other families, couples, and individuals going through the same thing, with the mentality that debt will always be there and it's part of life.
One story encouraged me, a husband and wife had $90,000 (wow) in debt, but were able to pay it off on a $50,000 salary and while having two kids, in 4 years. That's impressive.
The biggest thing we carry is our student loans and having those sitting there really prohibits us from freely living, serving and giving. Thinking about not having debt but paying for things with cash give you a sense of freedom to dream!
We purchased the book 'The Total Money Makeover' and what is neat about it is it teaches you how to think differently, not just to do something and fall back into the credit card rut. He actually encourages not owning a credit card at all, but saving your money and buying everything in cash.
I will update our progress as we get further into the process, but we are so excited to do this early in our lives.
We both have the desire to travel more, but also to be more available to serve God, if it requires traveling, we can do that...looking ahead.
That verse in the Bible that says Owe no man anything....(Romans 13:8) is pretty clear.
I'm excited about this huge decision, but I do ask for prayer as we embark on this together. I know it will require a sacrifice from both of us, to give up the extras now, so that we can have freedom later.