Monday, September 16, 2013

Madly in Love


At the beginning of the year, I mentioned that we had one BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) as a family this year - as of Saturday, we achieved it.

Not a day goes by that I don't feel blessed and that God is good...all the time.
But since moving back Stateside I, no, we have been tremendously blessed.

We were hardly perfectly practical while living abroad; in fact, we were not practical at all.  Poor financial decisions (pun intended) were made and we were recklessly barreling down the road to lifelong debt, a jeopardized future, and constant instability.  In other words, no peace, financial or otherwise.

Upon our return to Texas five years ago, we chose to take a different approach to money - to walk an alternative route.  That decision has led us to learn.
Learn new skills.
Learn to say no.
Learn to live on less.
Learn to lean on God and each other...instead of credit.

Tightening our belts, turning down invitations, making due with what we had instead of buying new, weren't always the easiest or most fun choices - and we still didn't always make the right ones.  

We had to choose the path not taken so as not to pay the price of convenience. Many times we had to say no to our friends, our child, ourselves, or each other.

No one ever told us that it was going to be easy - and it wasn't...yet it was.
It was easy to think of solutions but not so easy to implement them.

In no way do we think that we singlehandedly pulled ourselves out of the very expensive hole we had dug.  Blessings came our way, obstacles were cleared, and support was given in numerous and unexpected ways.

God made a way for us every step we took.  Our efforts alone could have never resulted in such a quick (and relatively painless) finish.

Our parents have been amazing.  It was Engineer's parents who introduced us to Dave Ramsey and my parents who constantly prodded us into thinking ahead and looking to financial freedom in the future.

We took a Financial Peace class where the enthusiasm of the session's leaders was infectious.  We took the class after having already gone through the Total Money Makeover and feeling a bit weary from years of slogging our way out of the mire of debt we had created.  That jolt of energy was what we needed to solidify our plan and finish strong.  What a blessing!

Engineer.  My dear, faithful Engineer.  He has worried and fretted and number-crunched and sweated and now, his hard work has paid off - literally.  As the sole earner for our household AND the payer of bills AND the maker of the budget, all things financial begin and end with him.  He has kept us (mostly) on track and has worked diligently to make sure our needs were met and headway was made so as not to be in economic bondage.  I know that's a hard unrelenting thankless burden and I so appreciate him shouldering it.

And as for that BHAG...

Saturday morning Engineer and I had an appointment in Tyler...
...with a banker...
...to hand him our final mortgage payment.

1-4-3 EM because as for us in our (no longer the bank's) house, we will serve the Lord!
This is part of GratiTuesday.

8 comments:

  1. Fabulous! And I suppose I will forgive you again for not stopping by while you were in town ;-) Congrats on seeing the fruits of your labors!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words...and the forgiveness. :)

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Engineer worked very hard to make that a reality.

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  3. Oh my goodness!! This is so exciting!! You are such an inspiration. I've heard of a lot of people having success with Dave Ramsey's program. I have a hard time changing up our financial routine because my husband loves our credit card that earns us free miles. Money is such a difficult thing when you're not in agreement. But I think I'll check his program out again. I feel like things are finally calming down and I'm inspired to get things back in control.

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    1. It is exciting Ms. Marie! :) Thank you. Getting into debt is fun and easy. Getting out of debt is not fun nor easy but it does strangely give a sense of peace, or at least it did for us. We highly recommend Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace" or "Total Money Makeover" but as in all things, you have to do what works for your family. My dear friend Cricket @ ThriftyTexasPenny.com manages to stay financially responsible even though they almost solely use credit cards for purchases. So it is possible for people to use credit responsibly; we just knew we weren't those people. ;)

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  4. I am so happy for you! We became debt free in 2003 and handed in our last mortgage payment then. It was so freeing. We didn't learn through Dave Ramsey, but through the book The Coming Economic Earthquake. It helped us to finally take our finances seriously. We were a family of 6 living in California on one income of $40, 000 gross. It sure wasn't easy, but through much prayer, perseverance, and constantly learning how to save and stretch money we paid off our last debt, our house. We also saved $23, 000 to adopt a baby from China in 2010. Had we not been out of debt, our income would not have qualified us to adopt our precious little girl. God is so good! Blessings to you and your sweet family.

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    1. Thank you Ms. Laine! I haven't heard of that book but am always looking at good financial literature and will have to check it out. What an amazing testimony you have! Thanks for sharing. :)

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Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.

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