Category Archives: thankful

Cash Monies

Fun little fact about me… I hate debt.

I know. I know.  Shocker.  But it’s true.

Although I am sure that no one really likes debt, based on the analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data the average US household carries more than $7,200 in credit card debt alone.  And if you only look at those houses that are indebted, the average credit card debt among these homes totals over $15,600.  According to another source, the worst part is that these averages have stayed roughly the same for over three years, meaning people appear no closer to paying down credit card debt than they were back in 2010.

All of this information tells me that… like it or not, we’re carrying a whole heckuva lot of debt around with us.

And for me, the kicker is this:  according to a creditcards.com poll conducted in early 2013, 85 percent of respondents said they were unlikely or somewhat unlikely to talk with a stranger about credit card debt — a subject more taboo than religion, politics, salary and love life details.

Not only are we in debt, but we’re too ashamed to talk about it.  If the debt were caused by unforeseen medical bills or sudden loss of employment, would we really be quick willing to sweep it under the rug?  I can’t speak for others, but if there were some seemingly legitimate reason, I wouldn’t be so ashamed by it… so in a giant assumption, it makes me think that it’s not something of this nature that’s causing us to rack up credit card after credit card.

According to a TIME article referencing a survey released by the financial monitor Bankrate.com, 28% of Americans have more credit card debt today than they have in a savings fund. That means that if one quarter of Americans even wanted to use their savings to pay off their debts at this moment, they wouldn’t be able to.  And that’s NOT a good place to be.

Something that I found fascinating while looking up some of these statistics was also from creditcards.com and it said that those without credit card debt reported having savings nearly three times greater than average households with credit card debt.

Craziness.

So to me, this points to a pretty good reason why there is such a gap between those with credit card debt and those without – and it seems to be savings.

This may seem like a “duh” kind’ve thing, but think about it… having savings vs. having credit card debt.  Both tend to grow.  Both lead to higher numbers.  Both mean “more” and “bigger” and the only difference is that one is a growing cushion, while the other is a growing deep, black pit.

Anywho – I only brought up any of that, really, to start talking about our current situation.  As I stated at the beginning, I hate debt.  Hate debt.  And I refuse to be one of the statistics and I listed any longer than I have to.

When Studly and I first got married, we had a good bit of credit card and revolving debt.  It wasn’t crazy, but it was probably somewhere around $12,000.  The bulk of this (if not all, frankly) came from paying for our own wedding and honeymoon and also setting up our first home (though we only bought a couch, a mattress set, and a dining room table… the rest of purchased from friends we knew that were selling things).  Regardless of the reason, it was there and we were stuck with it for a while.  Due to our income levels at the time, it took us almost 2.5 years to pay it off (and that included a few situations where we had to add to it because of finances being tight some months).  We had been able to buy our first home during that time as well, but only because of the Hezekiah fund which helped us do so without a down payment (a fact that seemed perfect at the time, but we later regretted).

Needless to say, the day that we paid off our last dollar, I was beyond thrilled!  We went to dinner to celebrate and felt SO free.  I can remember back to that time… it was glorious.  I can’t truly explain to you the feeling, but it really was weightless and so freeing.

From that day forward, we swore we’d never get back into debt like that.  And we did really well!  We saved saved saved and paid for everything in cash.  Anything we put on the credit card, we did so to get the incentives and then we paid hose purchases off the same month.  It was glorious.  Fun fact:  we even paid to fully renovate our kitchen completely with cash.

It.  Was.  Amazing.

And interestingly enough, we were much more choosy with our purchases when we were using cash.  Funny how debt all starts to blur together and you are less frivolous when you are actually pulling cash out of the bank to pay for it.

Then…. this past year happened.

The home that we purchased back in 2008, we lived in until 2013.  Short version: we had some extreme neighbor issues, and decided that we wouldn’t continue to live in the situation, so we rented out our home, and found a rental not too far away.  Preparing the house for tenants after spending a good bit of savings to get into a rental hit our savings pretty hard, but knowing that we wouldn’t be miserable every. single. day. made all of that worth it.  Plus, we knew we’d be able to build our savings back up without too much trouble.  So with little to no savings remaining and now some credit card debt back on us, we set forth to pay the debt down and build the savings back up.

Unfortunately, since we knew we’d be able to do so pretty easily, we also thought that buying a couch was “necessary” because of the layout of the house we now lived in and needing seating for the second living space.  We didn’t go crazy and buy anything stupid expensive, but in retrospect, we should have waited.  This all happened at the end of 2013.

Enter 2014… we discovered that we would finally be moving to Texas and decided that since our tenant’s lease was coming up, we should try to sell the house and get just start over in our new home without any financial ties to the area.  So that meant more money just to wash our hands of the place… we had to prep it to show and sell.  Also, our “awesome” tenants took it upon themselves to do things around the house without asking and/or telling us.  And they were full on proud of themselves for it, too!  What is wrong with people?  The sucky part, we didn’t catch much of this stuff until after we’d said they’d get their full deposit back because we, ourselves, had to do the walk-through since our property management company at the time was absolutely terrible.  So we were stuck footing the bill for everything, which included painting, fixing their deck-staining job and having to suck up the now dented stainless steel refrigerator and carpeting that was “patched” with a piece of non-matching carpeting.  WHO DOES THAT?!

(sorry… movingrightalong)

Then came time for our house-hunting trip.  Due to all of our spending, we knew that we’d take a significant hit with trying to get into a rental in Texas, what with needing to pay a security deposit, application fees, and first months rent all at one time.  But fate intervened and we couldn’t find a rental anyway.  The market for rentals here is so crazy that (and I kid you now) people put in applications on houses without even seeing them first.  Good and notsogood houses, that is.  And we just could not compete with that.

So one day, after quite a rough patch of house hunting… I decided to just have some fun and worked with our realtor to set up a viewing at a house that was for sale.  We had discussed buying and both said we wanted to learn the area better first, so this was really just going to be for fun.  We went to see a house that was way bigger than we would ever need, very nice, and thanks to the Texas real estate market, still somehow within what our budget would be.

And of course… we fell in love.

Enter the cost of buying a home.  Since we weren’t planning on buying, we didn’t really have the money to do so.  But since we were struggling to find a home, period… and since we fell so in love with this house… we figured we would pull from one of our credit lines (which we normally never touched, mind you) to just make it happen.  With our pay not decreasing as we moved into a state without income taxes, we knew we’d have excess money and be able to recoup pretty quickly.  So we made it happen.

Something like 3 short weeks after we move in, Pup got injured and then came the $9000 in vet bills.

We. Were. Strapped.

Neither of us had ever been so strapped for cash.  Not even back when we were single.  And to top it all off, we had already agreed to host Study’s family for the holidays and didn’t even have enough beds for them OR enough chairs for us to even be able to eat together.  So as we slowly started to make the littlest dent in what was now around $28,000 in debt, we’d have to spend more money to uphold something we’d already agreed to (and tickets were already purchased, so there was no backing out, now).

It was really tough.  Very stressful.  And having known what it felt like to be debt free, it was all the more disheartening.  We suddenly felt the weight of it all over again after it snowballed out of control in less than a year.

We made a plan:  buckle down, cut out unnecessary spending, and only get the bare minimum to meet the needs or our impending family visit.  And we stuck to it (which pained my hostess heart, though I knew it was what would be best for us).

Well here we are.  It’s the beginning of February and we’re already had a MAJOR major win.  For those of you who get paid every two weeks, you are more than familiar with he 2 months every year that you get a 3rd paycheck.  It’s a glorious glorious time and it always seems to hit at just the right moment.  Well, for me one of those months was January.  Last month.  And holy goodness did it help.  And to top it all off, I found out that I would be getting a bonus from work as well.  SO unexpected and so so so beyond amazing.  A $1200 bonus, to be more clear.

To recap, in a single month, and the first month post-back-breaking debt culmination, on top of what I would call our “normal” monthly funds to now be put toward debt payoff, I was getting a full extra paycheck AND a $1200 bonus.  GOD IS SO GOOD!

Early in the month of January, we also learned that Studly was getting a raise starting at the beginning of February.  AND I would be getting a 1% increase beginning in February as well.

Guys – I seriously cannot express to you the level of awe we have been in.  God, in his loving and total faithfulness, has met us in this difficult situation.  He has provided for us in such unexpected ways and in a situation that we SO do not deserve.  We got ourselves into this situation with poor planning, the need to instant gratification, and without fully thinking things through from a long-term perspective.  And yet, here we are.

And today I can say with no real way to convey our true feelings about it… that we have officially paid off one entire line of credit, with a value of $5000.  EEEEEEEEEK!!  That combined with our being able to make payments pre-Christmas expenses and by minimizing costs in preparation for everyone coming, we have brought our debt down to $21,000.

There’s still a LOT to pay down, but oh my goooosh it feels so good!!  That’s one huge pile of debt and one entire bill that I can cross off the list.

Our plan going forward is to just continue using a “Debt Snowball” method to knock the rest of it out.  That means, we’ll pay minimum payments on everything except for the smallest total balance, and we’ll apply all extra finances toward that bill each month, now including the minimum payment we would put towards the bill we just paid off.  Then stand back and watch it all dwindle down.

It’ll take time and patience… along with some self-control.  But we’ll get there.

So how’re you guys doing? Any opinions on debt?  Any lucky ducks out there that are living debt free?

~Hope

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Pushing Through

Today I’m feeling awfully bummy.

And not just because I’ve somehow cracked the code and managed to wear my pajamas all day, but also because I’m in a mood.  Back when I started telling you about our desire to grow our family, I mentioned that although most of the time I go through my days with plenty of pep in my step and without obsessing or focussing on the fact that I’m not “there” yet.  But today… a lot of things are weighing on me.

It started out as a great day, just like most.  When I got up this morning, the sun was shining awfully bright (putting a break in the string of yucky, rainy days we’ve had lately), and I had plans to finally start fiddling with my new Silhouette Craft Machine, which I can’t wait to tell you about.

But as the day went by, I just started to feel more and more weighed down.

It’s not as simple as one might think.  I don’t always know exactly what’s bothering me or what it is that’s making me feel that way, and it doesn’t always start to pile up.  But today it did.  And after spending some time reflecting and doing some evaluating, I think I’ve pinpointed several of the things that are fighting for attention.

First, and most glaringly, our lack of children.  I’m still not allowing myself to obsess over it, but it’s still there.

Then there’s the lack of friendships in our new home area.

And also the fact that we haven’t yet found a church in the area.

Also, not feeling like I have a grasp on everything that we want done in this house, or like I’ll ever realistically pull the trigger on any of the hundreds of projects I daydream about on a regular basis.

This is starting to sound like a lot of whining.  I’m sorry about that.  It wasn’t my intention.  I did, however, promise to be real here.  And that’s really all this is.  The truth is that there’s quite a lot that seems to be getting to me today, and although any of these things on their own wouldn’t be enough to shake me… having all of it seem to creep up to the foreground at once is more than enough.

So today, I am shaken.  I am sad.  I am weighed down by the things in my life that I am less than thrilled about.  And it won’t go on… I can promise you that.  I will let myself have this day and then I will pick myself up by my bootstraps, brush off the glum, and carry on.

(source)

I will be happy.  I will be satisfied with my daily life.  I will be content in the season in which God has me, and I will be grateful for all of the blessing… the ridiculous amount of blessings in my life.  Because that’s what really matters.

(source)

I guess I just feel that sometimes you need to allow yourself to acknowledge the things that you don’t like so that you can get past them and move on.

(source)

How are you all doing, today?  And be honest.  I’m not one of those people who asks and hopes to just get a simple “fine”… I’d rather know how you’re really doing and smile and laugh with you when you’re doing well, cry with you when you’re not, and pray with you through it all.

~Hope

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts

I heard about this book by Ann Voskamp over and over for years, it seems.  To be honest, I’m not even sure how long its been available, but it feels like it was years, anyway.

I always meant to read it and just never got around to it.  And by “got around to it” I, of course, men when I was finally looking at buying books, I never could remember that I wanted this one.

Am I the only one who does this? Resolves to do something and then only remembers at THE most random times, and never in a situation where it would make sense that I would recall such a thing?  *sigh.  This is my life.

Back to what I was trying to say… (sidetracked much?!)

I finally bought the thing.  And it was in a moment where I had randomly remembered it and was just so annoyed that it had taken me so long to finally remember it that I think I just pulled out my phone and bought it off of amazon right away.  Didn’t even give myself the chance to forget again.  Just knocked that sucker out!  Done and done.  I would now finally own “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are” and could check it off the list.  Boom.

When it finally came in the mail, I unpacked it and set it on my night stand.  And it sat there.

And sat there.

And sat there still.

Until finally I picked it up one day, and it wrecked my world.

It was like I had started reading something that I should’ve read YEARS ago!

So much of this book was filled with things I had grown up hearing, but never really heard.  Then again, I don’t think it had ever been spelled out quite so clearly to me before.

Full disclosure, I’m still not even done reading it.  BUT unlike most books, this is one that I read in spurts, rather than trying to get through it all at once.  And in this case, that’s been best for me.  I mean… this book is pretty heavy.  It’s not the kind of book I can read in an airport while people are coming and going and things are noisy and such.  It’s one where I need to really focus in on it.  But that’s really just because it is so spot on for me.  It’s hitting me right in the gut each time I open the thing.

I can read it and be so hit, right where I am, and then go several weeks or a month or two without reading anymore of it.  And then pick it up again on some random day and in a completely different situation and then be absolutely hit right in the face yet again.  It’s incredible.

So I should probably get to the gist of it, right?  Alrighty. Touchy touchy. 😛 Here goes.

According to amazon, here’s the “back cover”:

Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!

I don’t even feel like that does it justice.

It’s about gratitude… sure.  But it’s about a kind of gratitude that I haven’t really strived for before.  And I’ve always been one of those people who tries to be sure I’m grateful for the job I have and the house I live in and the people in my life.  Say thank you for even the little simple things people do for you (opening a door, etc) and making sure to seem genuine.  All of that is great, but it’s still not the kind of gratitude that this book talks about.

It’s about a deeper, completely heartfelt gratefulness for what you’ve been given in your life.  Everything from those I mentioned above (job, car, etc) to things like baby giggles heard down the hall, or sunbeams peaking through curtains on a quiet Saturday morning. Everything.

Ann has a blog (you can find her over at www.aholyexperience.com) and started out years ago challenging herself to list 1000 gifts, or 1000 things she was thankful for by a certain date.  And what she came to discover through this process was so much more life-changing then she ever imagined.

I’ve gotta admit, I’m starting to discover the same myself… and I’m not even finished reading the book!  I feel so strongly about it that I can’t even wait until I finish it to recommend it.  It’s THAT good, y’all!

So there you have it.  This book is incredible and I absoFREAKINlately recommend it to anyone in search of peace.

Peace is something I’ve been actively pursuing since picking up this book and it’s the only thing that seems to have brought me any progress.  Turns out I needed to evaluate what it is I even though peace was and daggum I was WAY off!

Please do read this book.  You’ll be glad you did.

~Hope

Dear Birthmom

You don’t know me right now.  In fact, there’s a chance that you may never know me.  And that’s okay.

Right now you could be anywhere.  You could be sitting in a restaurant laughing with friends or loved ones.  You may be alone somewhere… by yourself.  You may not be pregnant, yet, or even close to becoming pregnant.

But at some point in your future, your life will change dramatically.  And it will happen very quickly.

The next thing you know, you’ll be part of a story that you never intended to be a part of.

And that story will lead you to me.

I can’t imagine what your life will be like during these hard times.  I wouldn’t even begin to pretend that I am able to understand your life and your situation… but I can promise you that I will try my best to be understanding.  I will not judge you.  I will not hold any ill feelings toward you.  Because through your great struggle, you will bring an end to mine.

You see, I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  When other young girls thought of future careers, I never counted one out, but I always thought of the children that I would raise and the man who I would raise them with.  I’m not one to obsess over the idea of motherhood, but it’d be a lie to say anything other than the truth – that it is never far from my mind.

I’ve watched many women go through situations similar to yours, though I know better than to say they were the same.  And I’ve also known many women to go through situations similar to mine.  There’s no normal way to be in either of our shoes.  And yet we are both here.

Two women on opposite sides of a great struggle.  Within those struggles we will one day become liked together… and we will be linked together for the rest of our lives.

I don’t know what that story will look like for us or how much a part of each others lives we will be from that day forward, but I will never be able to truly express to you how grateful I am for your journey.

You did not plan for this, and this decision will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make in your life, but choosing to place your child with an adoptive family… with us… will be one of the happiest days of my life.

On the day that you become a mother, you will make the most selfless decision a person can make… and on that day, you will make me a mother.

Nothing will change your status as a mother when you make this decision – no one can take that from you.  And you will do with that whatever you wish.  But on the day that you make me a mother, you will be making my family whole.  This is something that I will never be able to forget.  Because with you… without this great struggle… we wouldn’t be just that – a family.

Until that day… the day that we both become mothers… I will pray for you.

The journey before this day is one that neither of us can imagine.  It will be hard.  It will be harder than hard.  And there will be times where you want to make a different decision.  Times where you will want this to end differently.  Sooner.  And on those days, I pray that you find an overwhelming and unexpected peace.

Today I thought of where you might be.  And the truth is, based on typical timelines, you are probably far from the day when you will become pregnant.  And even further from the day that you choose to give us the gift of parenting and raising your child…. and make them ours.  But on this day, I pray that you feel joy.  I hope that you are somewhere safe… and warm.  And that you are happy.  The strength that you will need to get through this great struggle will come from somewhere deep within you, and that strength will grow from days like today until the day that our lives become linked.

So right now, more than anything, I wish you nothing but happiness.  Because one day… that is exactly what you will bring us.

~Hope

The Beaming Heart

Last week, I finally finished putting together a gift box for my longest, dearest friend in the world.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years (no… seriously!) and she and her fiancé moved to Hawaii just a couple of weeks after Studly and I arrived in Texas.  We’ve never been far apart for long, and have never been THIS far apart ever.  I miss her terribly!

It’s both comforting and heartbreaking to have her going through the same things I have been since moving.

It’s nice to know, with regard to many aspects, that I’m not alone.  And that I have someone I can talk through these things with.  And not just someone, but… HER!  Someone I love, and adore, and miss terribly, and want only the best things for.  She and I have been through so many different stages of life together and now this is no different.

So I decided a while back to put together some things for her and ship it out her way, but it took me a while to get it all together and actually mail it off.  But it finally happened, and my heart was BURSTING!  Ladies, if you haven’t had the opportunity to surprise someone with something, even just something silly and insignificant, then I can not tell you enough how much of a difference it will make in your heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I may need to pause and take a moment to share something with you:  I’m not telling you any of this to get kudos or to flaunt my creativity, or write a “yay me” blog post.  That’s not what the intent is here.  Not even a little bit.  The intent of this post is to just show you how much this can truly change you and only for the better.  Now… back to the point. 🙂

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I not only wrapped up some fun things like a witch-hat headband for Halloween, some fuzzy socks, a robe, pajama pants, and a funny tank top along with a super hilarious turkey hat for Thanksgiving (most of which was in the dollar section at Target, FYI), but I also sent her a book I’ve been telling her about (can’t wait to tell you guys about it, too!) along with a gratitude journal that I started off with a very personal letter and on the last page wrote her one of the most amazing quotes (because she and I share deep, introspective, word-driven hearts):

May your days be filled with small, sacred moments of awareness.

May you set side your hurry, your pulling, your wishing for different.

May you linger over meals and take walks with slow steps.

May you hold books with pages, mugs with steam, and hands who know your secrets.

May you settle in, right where you are, refusing to wish for something different.

Enjoy your time, friends.  Live your moments – live them full.

~Vicky Westra

I just think that is so beautiful and can’t think of any better way to put it.  And on top of it just being an amazing wish (mine for all of you, at that), it is just so timely and spot on for what my dear dear friend and I are going through right now.  SO it was absolutely perfect!

As I was grabbing the final things for her package, I also grabbed quite a few (way too many, really… I have a problem!) blank sets of note cards and hoped to get back into the habit of sending random notes to my loved ones and friends on occasion.  So when I finished packing up and wrapping her package, I grabbed a few of the note cards and jotted a quick note for my mother and older sister.  And my heart just continued to grow and grow!

Again, I cannot express in typed words how much joy I felt as I anticipated them receiving these note cards and feeling a distant hug around their necks from me.  It was so so thrilling!

And I do have to give a shout-out to a bloggy friend Elisha over at Waiting For Baby Bird for the final push to get my butt in gear and finally get back into sending these little surprise notes.  She mentioned in a post last week that she did the same and it sparked that flame in me again. 🙂  Thanks, girl!

Anywho, here’s the grand finale – the package that I sent to my dear dear friend was set to arrive tomorrow, and I honestly had all-but-forgotten about it for the weekend when I got an alert on my iPhone that she posted a picture and tagged me in it.  I didn’t jump to check it right away because we were watching a movie and I figured it was just a flashback kind of picture from when we were young… but boy was I off base!  She’d gotten the package a full day early, somehow, and posted a collage-pic of her holding the bright-pink wrapped box on her balcony, and few shots of the inside package.  I was so excited!  She also wrote the sweetest note with her post and I. Was. BEAMING!

There’s just something that happens in you heart when you do something for someone else that gets you absolutely nothing in return… it’s just…  It’s amazing!  And you know what’s funny?  Up until writing this paragraph, I didn’t put it together, but the message that we heard at church today actually touched on this topic as well – there have even been studies done to find what it is that makes the happiest people, well… happy!  And you know what they found?  It was the most generous people who were the happiest.

That’s really all… I just wanted to share with you all how giving a little, very little, something can make SUCH a big difference in your week.  AND in that of a very dear friend.

So go out this week and do something for someone.  It’ll swell your heart until it almost bursts.  It’ll limit any kind of funk you may be in and it’ll quickly become something that you’ll want to do again… even if you hear nothing from the recipient.

Trust me… give it a shot and let me know how it goes!  I want to hear ALL about it.  Bring us the deets!

This week, Hope is Trying to make someone smile…

~Hope

Special Delivery

Made it safely to visit with my baby sister and meet my precious baby nephew!

He’s absolutely perfect. I wish I could post the millions of pictures I took for all of you to see. I was being a crazy lady with the camera, but Babysis was glad that I did and that I got her some super cute close-up shots of his adorable little teeny features – feet, eyes, hands, wrinkly knees and armpit. Haha

I don’t have much time to write, but Babysis got to come home from the hospital about 5 days after giving birth. She’d been induced at 36 weeks after suddenly being diagnosed with severe preeclampsia when he went to the ER with severe headaches and intense sickness. She even ended up with a pneumonia diagnosis after delivery and BabyBug got a nice week long round of treatments just in case.

His lungs were still a little weak at that point, but he is already past getting oxygen and finishes his last rounds of antibiotics tomorrow. That means he’s coming home on Sunday. Wooooot!!

We are taking regular trips up to the NNICU until then, and I’ve already gotten to get quite a few snuggles, diaper changes, and feeding time with him.

I’ll keep you guys posted and hopefully get back to some other fun stuff on here soon, but for now – I’m going to go love on my little Baby Bug for a as long as I’m here. It’s going to have to last me a while!

Hugs and Love to all,
~Hope

Extra Ketchup

Holy Moses…. has it really been months since I last posted?  As in plural?  Like… with an S?
 
Yikes.
 
Sorry, guys.  Things have been turned upside down in my life, lately…. but in an altogether GOOD way.  🙂  Either way… time to play catch-up!
 
There’s just SO much to update you guys on… where do I even start??  How about I just get RIGHT down to it:  First of all, we are now officially residents of the Great State of Texas. (can I get a YeeHaaaawww?!)  And second of all, we bought a house!!  Yes… you heard me right.  We BOUGHT a HOUSE!
 
 
This whole journey has just been one crazy turn after another, but that’s what makes life fun, right? 
 
 
All along, in preparing for this move, we planned to rent for a year or so… just to learn the area and decide where we’d really want to live and put down roots.  Well, the rental market here is INSANELY ridiculus.  I mean… people will put in applications on a home without even seeing it.  How can anyone compete with that?!  It was quite the emotional roller coaster.  There were a few times where we actually went directly back to our hotel after having seen a house only to get a call saying that it had already received an application.  GAH!  Pure ridiculosity.
 
One day, just for funsies… I set up an appointment to view a home that we fell in love with while day dreaming through houses that were for sale.  It was a huuuue house (WAY bigger than anything we’d need), high-end/custom everything, and it was just over the minimum amount of land we’d ever consider purchasing.  So I surprised Studly with setting everythign up to see this house.  We walked in just as another potential buyer was walking out of the house WITH offer paperwork in their hands.  Studly and I looked at each other and instantly felt defensive… “no no… this is our house!”.  The more we looked around, the more we just felt it… this was our house.  How could we NOT buy it?
 
So we did!  We put in an offer and after a little drama with the appraisal and settlement dates, we closed on the hosue and moved in.  Oh man oh man – it’s awesome!!  Granted, we already have a laundry list of things we’d like to do to the place, but that’s the fun of owning a home, right?  Getting to do that kind of stuff over time.  And I can not WAIT to get started!
 
But first thing’s first… we’ve got to unpack.  BLECH!  Least. Favorite. Part. EVER!  And I didn’t even have to do the packing!  THANK YOU EMPLOYER-SPONSORED MOVING COMPANY!!
 
 
Slowly, but surely, we are working our way through the boxes.  I even came into work late today just to knock out a huge chunk of the kitchen… and boy did it feel good.
 
 
In other news – just a few short weeks from now, Studly’s sister is going to come and live with us.  Remember how I said that the house is way bigger than anything we’d need?  Well, that combined with her desire to go to a University here in Texas – it just all makes sense.  Am I looking forward to it?  Yessir.  Am I nervous?  Heck yes I am.  It’ll be a learning experience for all of us, I’m sure, as we try to figure out what this will look like for all of us.  But honestly, I’m sure we will make it wok.
 
 
Well, I’ll try to do a better job if keeping you posted, now.  We are slowly getting settled into the house and into our new lives here.  Still church hunting – haven’t quite found our church home, just yet, but still eagerly searching.  And still feeling things out at work in our new offices.  But all-in-all, things are phenomenal.
 
 
And hopefully – this weekend will include lots and LOTS of paint.  😀
 
 
Wish us luck!

Whoa!

When you read the title of this post, you have to read it properly.

And by that, of course, I mean as though you were watching an episode of Blossom. (remember that show? Those were the days)

I don’t even know where to begin.

The sanity check that I posted last time? Yeah… I had no idea what I was in for. The last couple of weeks have been CRAZYtown!!

There’s so much to update you on, that I couldn’t possibly do any single thing justice… So here’s a concise version:

– We finally listed our town home for sale. We got word that an offer is coming in (tomorrow?) so pray pray pray that it’s a good one that we can work with.

– I went on my work-sponsored house-hunting trip this past week. It was amazing! Not just the house-hunting, but getting to see Studly after being apart for two weeks, as well as getting my first glimpse of our new home city, and how could I not mention…..

– We found a house! Well… that’s the understatement of the day. We found THE house! And I’m pretty sure that I mentioned previously that the plan was to rent for the first year, in order to get used to the area and find where we’d really want to live and actually put down roots before starting a family, BUT…. Then we found this house. Holy Moses it’s amazing! I never in my life thought that I’d get to live in such an absolutely gorgeous house… It’s a dream home! I’m still pinching myself, really. If I wasn’t such a weirdo about putting personal details on the interwebs then I’d post pictures, but oh MAN oh man… It’s just…. Unbelievable!

– I leave in two weeks. TWO. WEEKS. Movers and “the truck” are due to arrive in just over a week (finally confirmed the dates), and that’s it. I’m moving clear across the country with my stud and my pup and that’ll be that. It’s really happening!

I’m not sure that I can really express through a blog just how much this move means to us… Or just how much we’ve longed for such an opportunity. So just know this – if I could sit across from you and tell you this in person, I’d probably end up crying. I’d be beaming… And I’d more than likely go on and on for quite some time.

Thanks for your support, blog buddies. Can’t wait to share more with you as things happen.

Oh…. And SO sorry for keeping you in the dark for so long. I clearly left out quite a bit of detail on these things, so ASK QUESTIONS! It’d be much easier to fill you in without forgetting things that way. 😉

~Hope

Thankful Thursday

This week’s post got me wanting to focus on something I often take for granted:

My Job.

There are so many times that we find ourselves frustrated or stressed or even just having an off day and we tend to blame our job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who lives to work, but if I’m honest… I do LOVE my job.

Overall, you could say that I’m in Mission Management/ Operations Coordination. It’s one of those jobs that is never without surprises, there never really seems to be any lag time, and I’m relied upon pretty heavily by people of all different levels – from entry level to senior management. It’s a great place to be!

With that being said, there are definitely days when I wish I could just… well… not be there. Days where I wish that I DID have some lag time or slower moments just to catch my breath, rather than seeming to be perpetually behind. Being in such an important office and doing work that makes such a big difference in people’s actual lives… let’s just say that it’s pretty typically a high-stress environment.

All-in-all… I love my job. I love most of the people I work with and I love working in a place that I feel really makes a difference in people’s lives (even though they don’t really notice).

I’m so grateful to have the job that I do. Even while hoping to one day be a stay-at-home mom, it’s always been important to me to have a job that I love… So I’m so thankful to have found that for the past several years, and hopefully all of the professional years that I have to come.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thankful Thursday!

I’m hoping to make this a “thing,” but like any great “thing” you must start simple. Right?! Right.

So today I just wanted to say that I’m thankful for so so so much right now, but that wouldn’t be a fair way to start, so I’ll start with this:

Technology.

I’m so glad that I live in a time where technology is so widely available, at least in our part of the world. Although sometimes it can be quite the distraction to what’s important, today I was reminded how much of a difference it can make.

This morning, I wasn’t feeling fantastic and decided to go into work a little late. So I picked up my smart phone, called in to work to let them know when I’d be in, and turned over to go right back to sleep – all without leaving the warm comfort of my bed.

I set an alarm with the same smart phone, to ensure that I didn’t lose track of time and go in later than promised.

Then I slept… With my heater running and my ceiling fan spinning, circulating the air in my room to keep things from feeling stagnant.

I awoke before my reminder alarm went off, flipped on the light switch in my bathroom and turned on my running water to brush my teeth.

Technology. Is. Everywhere.

These days we use it without even thinking! But he biggest reminder came just a few short moments later, mid-teeth-brushing. Now… I am one of those people that seems to forever have their phone on silent, so keep that in mind…

All of a sudden my phone starts going CRAZYtown! I promise you that it sounded way louder and waayyy more obnoxious than any other phone sound I’ve heard. It scared the bejeebers out of me, but when I looked down, I saw the reason for it all, and two of the saddest words blinked on my phone and it yelled and screamed for my attention:

AMBER ALERT!

My heart just broke. It was an alert that was sent out for a town very close to us. I immediately started to pray over the situation, but then was suddenly struck with just a sense of gratitude. How amazing is it that we have the technology to alert everyone within a specified radius IMMEDIATELY upon the issuance of such an important alert?!

Years ago, someone could easily go about unnoticed with a kidnapped child in tow. Nowadays?! Not so much. And I am so so grateful for this progression in our technology. Also, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never in my life been so intensely observant of the other cars around me as I drive… I was hardcore looking for the specified vehicle.

For those wondering, the child is still missing, at the moment, but I’ll try to remember to update as soon as I hear that things have changed in that regard.

So today, I’m thankful for Technology. What are you thankful for?

~ Hope

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