Thursday, January 17, 2013

Living Like No One Else, So Later We Can Live Like No One Else

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. Proverbs 22:7

"That's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown"
This Sunday, $53,000 was given by 90 people/families/couples to outfit an orphanage in Kenya. It was all part of a challenge called Advent Conspiracy. The money was raised just by taking the commercialism of Christmas down a notch. Imagine how we could change the world if everyone took control of their finances. 

The prior Sunday, Patrick and I divulged some very personal information about our lives in front of a few hundred people. I contemplated including the video in this blog, but I was there. I remember my voice cracking and my hands trembling I don't really wish to see it from your perspective. So instead I will share what was said with a few more details.

Most people are familiar with the Proverbs passage above. We've lived it and we're getting out!

Patrick and I had the average american debt. School loans, cars, and a couple very small balances on our credit cards. What really got us into trouble was the year leading up to our wedding. At any given time one of us was unemployed and relying heavily on our credit just to get by.

We started out in our relationship knowing that we have very similar ideals and goals, even in regards to our finances. However, there was no plan in place to get us anywhere desirable. I was left frightened and hopeless as it seemed no matter how hard we worked we just became more enslaved to our debts. Patrick, I imagine felt a bit defeated as he really desired to know how to take care of his wife.

After a year of marriage and never ending frustration, our church announced that they would be hosting a 13 week class called "Financial Peace University." We knew this was our answer but weren't even sure we could afford the $90 dollars to attend. Once we knew we could make it happen we made a promise to do whatever Dave Ramsey and our facilitators told us to do, we had nothing to lose.

We were pleasantly surprised by how much we laughed and how entertaining Dave makes the class. We were also surprised that he doesn't make you feel bad about yourself, your financial status or the choices that you've made to date. But rather he encourages you to get angry about the lies society as a whole believe about credit & money... so mad that you take action.

As a result of this class we've had 4 great accomplishments in the past year.

1. We stopped accumulating debt and cut up all our credit cards.

2. We have the money to pay cash for emergencies.

3. We live on a budget within our means.

4. We've paid off almost a third of our debt. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

This year hasn't by any means been easy. We've had to say no to our friends when they go out, even though there's nothing more we'd rather do then spend time with them. We've even waited essentially until it was an emergency to buy clothes or shoes. But we know its temporary, they are choices we are making to "Live Like No One Else, So Later We Can Live Like No One Else." 

But Financial Peace is not just about getting out of debt and building wealth. It's about relationships, it's about being a responsible steward of the gifts we are given. It's about a plan that generates HOPE! 

If you are still skeptical here are some sobering facts. The average American has an income of $52,762* but has an average debt of $83,500* with average credit card debt of  $7, 271*. There is a trend in the numbers that the higher the income the more debt as well. We started out pretty average; last year we had a joint net income of just under $50,000 and started with a debt of $55,026.90. We are not so average anymore because we paid off $14,113.74, which included medical bills, four credit cards and a car! That's almost a third of our debt and because most of our smaller debts were the ones with higher interest rates in the coming year we'll be able to pay off even more!

Start your journey to financial freedom and join us tonight or find a class near you by going here. If you absolutely can't make a class check out his free content here or get one of his books to get the ball rolling. Trust me, your future is worth the investment!

If you've gone through Financial Peace, I'd love to hear your success story too! 

*2012 stats from the US Census Bureau

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

That little princess I'll never forget...

      A few years ago I was working in the France pavilion at Epcot. A man walked by me carrying his daughter who I guessed to be around the age of  4. He was clearly not happy with her and had no filter on his mouth even in a family friendly park. As he was walking her shoe fell off and she began to cry. He had no idea what happened but her tears set him off even more. I quickly scooped up the shoe and chased after them, "Princess, princess you lost your shoe." Dad stopped in his tracks and set her down. I put on her shoe and told her that she was too young to be trying to attract a prince just yet. Her father scoffed at me and said "she's no princess." Never taking my gaze off his daughter I reassured her, "You'll always be a princess." 

She'd be in school now, probably about a third grader. I think of her from time to time and pray that she remembers what I told her that day. 

This memory was provoked by a pin I saw on pinterest that is worth sharing.
I hope that little girl knows how much her heavenly father loves her. And when she is old enough considers this...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

#6 Do Six Things I've Never Done Before: Part One

At nine in the morning the sun was shining on our faces but there was still a gentle breeze to keep us cool. It was still early enough that there weren't too many people around to distract us. Instead there was a nice distant sound of joyous laughter and crickets chirping. We dug our toes into the grassy earth and had our first Yoga class in the park. 

As tough of a workout as it is on your muscles, when all is said and done you feel completely relaxed and ready to take on the day! I wish I could start everyday this way!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Recipe #1 Spicy Pita Chips

#15 of 30 before 30; Learn 15 New Dishes

Disclaimer: All new recipes have been approved by my husband's appetite!

After a Seder served at my family's church we inherited more homemade pita than we knew what to do with. We decided eating sandwiches in a race to beat the expiration did not sound like fun. I stumbled across this amazing recipe that made the pita disappear quicker than I ever imagined!

Spicy Pita Chips
Makes 4 Servings

1/4 cup tomato juice
1    tsp onion powder
1    tsp dried oregano leaves
1    tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Four 2-ounce pitas

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray. 

2. In small bowl, combine tomato juice, onion powder, oregano, oil, garlic salt, pepper and salt. 

3. With pastry brush, brush both sides of each pita with an equal amount of tomato juice mixture. Cut pita into eights; place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn oven off; do not remove pita. Let pita remain in oven until cool and crispy.
WW Points: 3; 174 calories, 2g fat, 2g fiber

Dani's Modifications
Normally we do not have tomato juice in our pantry. Salsa was an amazing substitute that provided a little extra kick.  My favorite kind is the hot salsa you find near Giant Eagle's deli, that is made right in the store.
Paired with my homemade hummus it was a great snack or meal!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Recipe #2: Roast Turkey Stew

#15 of 30 before 30; Learn 15 New Dishes

Disclaimer: All new recipes have been approved by my husband's appetite!

The first new recipe I tried was gobbled up long before I could remember to reach for my camera.  So let's start with recipe #2! :)

Roast Turkey Stew
Makes 4 servings

2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cups halved large or whole small mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions
12 ounces skinless boneless cooked turkey breast, cut into chunks
2 cups baby carrots
1 cup frozen baby onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup canned brown gravy
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp diced rosemary leaves
1/2 cup frozen peas

1. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil; add mushrooms and chopped onions. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes, until liquid is evaporated and vegetables are golden brown.

2. Add turkey, carrots , baby onions, celery, gravy, broth, wine, salt, thyme, pepper and rosemary; bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

3. Stir peas into turkey mixture; simmer 10 minutes until peas are heated through and tender. 

As with all recipes I modified it just slightly. I am not fond of mushrooms so I substituted frozen corn; cooked with the peas. Serving over mashed potatoes makes it extra delicious!

   WW  Points:  6 per serving; 8 with 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
   280 calories, 7g fat, 3g fiber

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Amazing Egg Timer Trick

Now that I have written about all the things I want to do... what about the mundane tasks of daily life that nobody really wants to do?

My love of reality shows on HGTV and TLC have produced one great thing in my life. This cute little guy! The three dollars it cost at my local Marshall's to adopt him was the best investment I've made to date. 

Niecy Nash, host of Clean House, helped out a husband with Adult ADHD conquer his inability to focus on the task at hand with an egg timer! A few days ago John Tesh confirmed on his radio show that this trick works and here is why.

Our brains are naturally wired to procrastinate. We work best "under pressure" because we have to. Those tasks that seem too overwhelming and that have no real deadline can be conquered 10, maybe 15 minutes at a time. 

Have a giant stack of boxes to unpack or an unending dissertation to write? Set the timer for 15 minutes. When it dings, get up and stretch your legs, go for a walk, get a drink. Then reset the timer. You'll be amazed how much you can accomplish in a few minutes when you trick yourself into thinking that is all the time you have!

If you don't have someone holding you accountable to get something done now, why not a cute little egg? If eggs aren't your thing, don't worry there are plenty of options out there!