Some Days

Some days I ache to be a mother. After trying for so many months, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep from slipping down a path of sadness and defeat. It isn’t easy. And I won’t begin to pretend like it is.

Some days I wish I could go back to December (see previous post I Was Pregnant) and do things differently. Eat better, exercise more, drive safer, pray harder… But I have to know that part of my story (as written by God) was to not be a mother yet. Its not my time. Again, this isn’t easy. And I won’t pretend like it is.

Some days I sit around and watch Netflix until my brain turns to mush. I get on pinterest and look up new things to do. I bake a tray of brownies- not for eating, just to make the apartment smell nice and to get the oven on and warming the place up. This isn’t productive. And I know that.

Some days I pull out my laptop and start typing. For no apparent reason with no clear direction. I just start. Its a similar exercise as writing in a diary for me. It makes the dreariness of a cold wet day seem less dreary. Makes the loneliness of being home alone fade. This isn’t the same as real social interaction. And I know that.

Some days I begin to think introspectively. I pick at myself or build myself up. No rhyme or reason why I go one way or the other. Just being a girl I guess. Some days happy, some days sad. Some days pretty, some days not my best.

Although these are some of the feelings I experience on my “some days”, they are not my every day. Negativity, sadness, and unproductive behaviors are a choice. And although some days I slip up and choose them… the everyday is what’s most important.

The everyday choice, despite sadness or laziness, to be the person God has created me to be is important.

The decision to see joy in these days because, despite sadness or laziness, they are a gift from Him is important.

The choice to live with joy is what is most important.

So, on this some day, I choose embrace my Netflix binge, bake the brownies without eating them, cry a little, smile a little, enjoy the company of my puppy, and accept the ache and pain as a not-yet mother. I choose to rejoice in my sufferings, knowing that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5)

The Big 5-Oh

Sunday was the big day! The day I coordinated my 50th wedding 🙂

It feels like I have been doing this longer than I have, but wedding coordinating for the past 6 months has been so great. It has taught me so much about different people, different cultures, different seasons (at least half the seasons!).

So in honor of my 50th wedding, I figured I’d make a list of the things I have learned in this job.

1. Different cultures have different superstitions. I assumed everyone would think the way I did- things like the groom can’t see the bride until she is coming down the aisle. Some people do first looks, some won’t let brides take part in rehearsals because it is bad luck, some people jump over a broom at the end of the ceremony, some have to have the guestbook in the chapel, some in the reception area.

2. There really isn’t such a thing as “Traditionally” anymore. All families are different. All couples are different. All opinions of “traditional” are different and because of that, there is no “traditionally” that will work for everyone.

3. People’s faces when we bring wine to the chapel are priceless. At our venue, its not a church, just a chapel for the ceremony. But the number of people who drop their jaws and giggle when we bring wine in or some slips a curse word is pretty funny.

4. As a coordinator, you will get hit on by drunk groomsmen. And sometimes sober ones.

5. The groomsmen will be embarrassed that they hit on you when the realize  you are already married.

6. “Bridezilla” is a condition like the flu. It lasts 24 hours and the beautiful bride is back to normal. Most brides just have moments. And most of those moments are because they are stressed out. And most of the stress comes from really silly things- bridesmaids haven’t altered their dresses yet, they haven’t decided on their favors, their photographer complained to them about the amount of sunlight during the photo time… Most snap out of this. Most.

7. It is more fun for me when I know the couple. Show me engagement photos; tell me how you met; I want to know what you do for a living, where you from, what your families will be like when they all come to town. That is a connection that friends have and I like coordinating my friends weddings!

To be honest, I have learned  much more than this on a day to day basis but this is what has flowed from my fingertips to the keyboard. Its been such a fun time working in this job and I will continue helping couples to the best of my abilities!

Wonder what I will learn by my 100th…

Debt Free!

Debt Blog Pic

So by now, many of you have asked and are wondering how we did it. How did my husband and I pay off $24,000 in student loans in a year.

I’d like to start by giving credit to the one who made it all possible. God. It is because of our Heavenly Father’s care and persistence with opening our hands, hearts, minds, and wallets, we would not have been able to conquer such a lofty goal. It’s safe to say, without Him, none of our goals would be possible.

That being said, the Lord showed us several ways we could be responsible with our money and flow of money.

Several things influenced our decisions. First, Dave Ramsey. I had read other blogs about debt payment plans and we did buy his book: Total Money Makeover. To be totally transparent and honest, we did not read the whole book (which made me feel like we were to a great start- spend money on a book to make you manage money better and never read the book you spent money on…). Without reading it, we did get a good understanding on a few of his key points.

1. Keep $1000 in your savings account for “safety”- in case of a car accident or unexpected medical bills- we altered this a bit and also opened a CD account through USAA for our “house fund”. The CD account was one we could only add to but were not able to tap into at all until 6 months after opening it. It accrues money at a much higher interest rate. We still kept this account low because we were focusing on the debt.

2. His snowball method. This was the part of his plan that made the biggest impact. The first thing we did was line up all the debt in order from smallest debt to largest debt. Because I had taken loans out each semester, they were broken up into 5 parts ranging from $3000-$7000. You then pay the minimum amounts for each of the debts except for the smallest, which you put all of your “Debt Payment Money” towards. Once the smallest debt is paid, you put all the remaining money towards the next smallest, and so on. Eventually, the amount you are paying towards each individual debt “snowballs” to a larger and larger amount.

3. Deciding how much our “Debt Payment Money”, we looked at our monthly income, subtracted all our necessary bills (rent, phone bill, average electric/gas/water, groceries, etc.). Basically took our monthly income and subtracted our cost of living. Then we put EVERY bit of the remaining money towards debt. In order to stay diligent and on top of things, I made payments every paycheck rather than once a month.

I’m a numbers person so in case you are like me and want a visual, here is the “math” behind what we did (for example purposes, I am using arbitrary numbers):

Monthly Income ($5000)-Cost of Living ($3500)= Debt Payment Money ($1500)

Loan 1: Smallest Debt Amount ($1000 with minimum payment of $100)
Loan 2: 2nd Smallest Debt Amount ($2000 with minimum payment of $200)
Loan 3: 2nd Largest Debt Amount ($3000 with minimum payment of $300)
Loan 4: Largest Debt Amount ($4000 with minimum payment of $400)

Debt payment money-$400 for Largest Debt Payment= $1100
$1100- $300 for Second Largest Debt Payment= $800
$800- $200 for Second Smallest Debt Payment= $600

$600 is how much you put towards the smallest debt amount $1000. You’ll notice that that is 6 times the amount of the minimum payment and you would pay off the first bill in 2 payments! This helps tremendously because you will accrue less interest!

Once the first debt is gone, you do the same process, just putting the remaining amount of debt payment money towards the new Smallest Debt Amount:

Debt payment money-$400 for Largest Debt Payment= $1100
$1100- $300 for Second Largest Debt Payment= $800
$800 is the new remaining debt payment amount that you would put towards the loan “2nd Smallest Debt Amount”

Its pretty simple from there! Mathematically speaking. It is not however “easy”. We were on a very strict budget for quite some time because we were paying off so aggressively. This was hard and at times extremely stressful. We did learn little things about ourselves through this venture; things like it was necessary to put into our “Cost of Living” a small “date night fund”. This was just important to our marriage as it ensured that we made a very intentional effort to go out to treat ourselves and spend quality time together.

The other portion of debt payment that is really important- make sure you take tithing money out of your “Cost of Living” first! If you don’t, it makes it that much harder to live with open hands financially. This was HUGE and key to our success. We had to be open handed with our money and FULLY trust the Lord to take care of us.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I am very transparent and open about more “serious” matters so if you read this and have questions or are confused, let me know! I’d love to walk you through it or help. Please just be sure that you are praying about it and asking the Lord to lead you in a responsible way!

That is all 🙂 Happy Monday!