Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Psalm 119 for this year.

Happy New Year.  It is 2014 !!!

On the eve of the new year, for many years, I commune with the Lord for a scriptural direction in my life.  Because of many things that I've been dealing with around me, I have been desiring to be in His word daily.  Sadly, this has not been my habit, nor my desire lately.  Just being honest.   So as I was enjoying my NYE sauna, I was led to Psalm 119.  He is so faithful, as this scripture really spoke to the desire of my heart.  So as I walk through this, I'll try to share what I've learned here. 

Blessings for the New Year :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Don't Miss It

Recently a friend of mine wrote a blog article about how her ex-husband has missed so many of their 4 children's life events, big and small.

It made me think ... a lot!  I have been parenting by myself since 1997.  My children are now 19 and 23.  I was there through EVERY event, big and small.  And you know what?  I was not able to enjoy everything!  Sad, I know, but let me explain.  When you're sitting at your son's basketball game or your daughter's volleyball game, or watching and helping your daughter get ready for prom, or dining with your son at his prom dinner (because his date backed out), your (my) mind isn't always just in the moment.  In fact, it's hardly in the moment at all. 

I've spent so much of my children's growing up years trying to figure out how to balance life, wondering how I'm going to put gas in my car so we can travel to the next activity/game/church, making sure I have a little extra to buy groceries, etc.  My children learned the value of shopping thrift stores (we still do), and how to make many, many meals from 1 whole roasted chicken. 

I wonder whether my memories would be different if I hadn't needed to concentrate on everything else, and just be able to enjoy the moment.

We did make many great memories, though!!  My kids can tell you that ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It started with horses

This was my view today ... the woods behind my home and a perfect deer run.

I've been interested in purchasing a pair of snowshoes for awhile now.  It just so happened that I have some friends who had some that they haven't used for a long time.  They were gracious to loan them to me, so I could decide whether I wanted to invest in a pair for myself.

Today, after receiving an additional several inches of snow, I decided to try them out.  I didn't go far - just along the perimeter of the woods behind my home.  But let me telllll youuuu IT WAS A GREAT WORKOUT!!! 

Over the years, I had come to dislike winter.  Here in Minnesota, that's not really an option.  Well, I guess you could continue to dislike winter, but you end up inside for many, many months.  As I've grown wiser (haha) I've learned to enjoy being outdoors, no matter what the season.  I admit that I do hunker down when the temps are below 10 degrees, though.  I'm not a downhill skier, and have yet to try cross country.  So snowshoeing was my way to get out. 

It all started with horses ... my desire to be outside in all kinds of weather.  It's a blessing :) 

What's yours?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Money Makover ... Totally !!!

I was blessed to have all of my tuition covered by grants and scholarships while I attended community college, and also an expensive private college. Here's the kicker --- I was encouraged/coerced into taking student loans and graduated with about $30,000 in student loan debt, which now has a balance of $50,000 because of interest.

 I began community college at the age of 28, just prior to my daughter's 2nd birthday. (I was in a serious relationship with her dad ... we talked about marriage.) I was a member and officer of the honor society, and graduated from the community college with honors. I was also pregnant with my second child (same dad). I was accepted, and transferred, to an expensive private college, which I started attending when my son (2nd child) was 3 months old. I attended this school because I had applied for, and was given a full scholarship.

A few months prior to the birth of my second child, my partner purchased a larger home, in a nice neighborhood, within a fabulous school district. It was a great place to raise our children. Marriage was still being discussed (all the while he was cheating on me). The household bills were a lot, but he had a good job as a postal worker, and also owned nightclub with his brother, and a small janitorial business. I worked for him cleaning offices at night, without pay, so I could help with the household finances.

When I started at the private college, I found out, and made the mistake of telling my partner, about the ability to take student loans for personal reasons. He convinced me that we needed that money ... after all I was living there for free with the 2 kids, and needed to help financially with the household. I succumbed to his 'suggestion'. He said he'd pay the loans off, after all. So for the next three years I took out student loans and handed them over to my partner, who made every attempt to sabotage my college success, by the way.

I graduated in 1997, Cum Laude, with a double major in Elementary Education and Women's Studies. We broke up just after graduation - surprise, surprise. Among other things, he used 'my' money to purchase and rebuild a Mercedes. The tires alone were $5,000. Smart girl ... really dumb choices!!! But it is what it is. Since graduation, I have worked in education. I am in my 12th year as a teacher in the Title I program. I work part time - 5.5 hours per day, 140 days a year, and make $25,000 per year. Having this job enabled me to raise my children - seeing them off to school each day and being with them at the end of their school day. I didn't have to pay for child care. Now my children are grown - my daughter just graduated college, and my son obtained his GED and is working on culinary training.

Because of my low income (with no benefits), I have been able to obtain low cost medical insurance through my state. (If I'd had to purchase medical insurance through my school district for my family, it would have cost me more than $500 per month.) Also, my daughter was able to receive Pell and other grants, and my son has been able to attend Job Corps, for free, to obtain his GED and trade training. He just started there this past August. My daughter, however, has had to take out some student loans to cover tuition that her grants would not.

Because of my low income, I have been unable to pay back a single cent of my student loans. They are currently around $50,000. I have been looking into graduate school for myself, so that I am more marketable in the teaching profession and could work full time. I have pondered this for 2 years, and can't even bring myself to apply. I can't bear the thought of taking on more loans to cover what my financial aid might not.

So, here I am, beginning The Total Money Makeover, so I can DO something with my life. My take home pay is around $2,200 per month (September-June ... I AM NOT PAID OVER THE SUMMER), with rent being $970. There are other credit debts I'm paying, as well, including a small ($115) car payment. I have to scrimp and save in order to survive in the summer. I have taught summer school, which has helped, but have have mostly saved and used my tax returns as summer income. I am looking at downsizing to a one bedroom apartment when my lease is up. I've only kept the 2 bedroom I'm in so that my son could finish high school (last June). By the way ... in the last 5 years of being in this apartment, I have not had my own bedroom! When both kids are home, I sleep on the daybed in my living room. I don't even own a couch :)

I know what it is to sacrifice. Wish me strength :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's been a long, long time

I haven't written in so very long. I guess that's what happens when life happens.

I have just survived my first week back to work, and more importantly, my first week without having my kids home. My daughter's all moved into her apartment in the town where she's attending college, and my son has been living on campus where he's attending trade school. Weird ... the only time I've ever been completely alone for any length of time is when they've been away at church camp.

I can't say that I'm enjoying it, but I don't hate it. Takes some getting used to, that's for sure.

The blessings, albeit shallow -- I don't have any one else's mess to deal with. I have very few dishes to wash. I don't have a mess to vacuum. Not that I totally minded those chores, but it's nice not to HAVE to do them.

Blessings to you!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I met a woman named Laura the other day. Laura is bald. She's even lost her eyebrows. She has been through months of chemotherapy in order to keep her breast cancer from growing. The chemo has worked and now she'll have a double mastectomy. Please keep her in your prayers. Here's the thing I wanted to point out about Laura - SHE'S PROBABLY ONE OF THE HAPPIEST, MOST OPTIMISTIC PEOPLE I'VE EVER MET!! The spirit in that woman is one that you almost never see, especially in people who are not fighting cancer and possibly staring death right in the face. She acknowledges the Lord in everything, and I think that has made all the difference. I'm blessed for having met her! Be a blessing!