Thankful Thursday

I have learned that there is no way that I will remember or have time to post each day even on Facebook what I am thankful for, so I am going to attempt a weekly post for the month of November. My list of  things I am thankful for this week…..

1. My personal relationship with Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.  I am also extremely grateful that he understands that I need reminders that he loves and cares for me and is involved in every part of my life.

2. My husband. We have survived high school twice already so things have to get easier the next three times.

3. My job. I am blessed to be working in the professional field that I love and be able to help support my family. I am also extremely bless to at least work at achieving a work home life balance.

4. My kids… yes all 5 of them.  I seriously thought about using them to fill up the rest of my list but decided I could needed to find more things to be thankful for. I am still very blessed and thankful to watch EACH one grow and mature. They are special in very unique ways.

5. My new van. I really enjoying driving a vehicle that I trust to get me to and from where I am going. I am also so grateful for the little extra like sunroof and heated seats that I would never placed on a list but they are awesome.


June in Review

Blogging:  Goal: 15 per month Goal Met!

Weight: Goal:  Met and maintain weight of 175. This goal will be considered met each month that weight loss is achieved and once this weight is achieved, each month maintained is considered achieved.  UGGH! I know it can not have anything to do with the fact that I stress eat nor that I have not been exercising regularly! Ok so it is my fault for this one!

Spiritual-  Goal. I want to spend time reading and or studying the Bible at least 5 days a week for the year. Fail again

Financial Goals-
1.  Pay off all debit by December  2015, except for mortgage.    This goal is actually meet in one sense but not in the big picture. Part of my refinancing the house helped to speed  up the goal.  Currently, the only two debts that we have are the new mortgage payment and starting in September a car payment. I will be eliminating this goal in July because it is no longer a goal.  I am very comfortable with both the house and car payment.  I mostly like will change this goal to funding all budget categories for the month starting in August. Any better/other ideas?

2. Emergency Fund to $2000.  Met. Added $100!  Remember it is baby steps!

. 3. Groceries: Spend $700 a month .Goal Met After much discussion and debate, I increased by grocery budget to $700 beginning in June. I “think” that I am right on target however, I have no proof. I accidently deleted by budget app during a swim meet and was unable to retrieve the information.  We did end up cancelling our Zaycon order for ground beef due to the change in delivery date, which if I am remembering correctly was more than my overage but I can’t be sure.  I do know that in July, I am planning to start restocking our freezers and this will include a trip to the local meat processing plant.  With our new budget in place, this should become a more realistic and achievable goal.

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month with any remaining to be move to Auto fund for repairs.  This is a huge FAIL!  I had a costly repair on the car and van this month. I am not sure how badly I failed as the budget app was the most accurate record.  Another change is that we are reducing this to $350 a month which I may drop to $300 in September. I explain the rationale for this here.

Disney- No progress. This will change in July!

June was one of the most stressful months that I can remember in several years., but as Matt said we survived and even the last several day are starting to calm down.  I hope to be able to focus on our budget more in the next several months and avoid any major new expenses as well. If I learned anything in the month of June it is “God’s timing is always perfect, and much better than mine!”

Mortgage Refinance- COMPLETE!

Background– I have lived in this house for 22 years as of next week. The original house mortgage was at the interest rate of 9.99%.  This mortgage was sold and re-sold so many times that I lost count. The last company that we ended up with was called “OCWEN”. When interest rates headed down in 2007, we decided to try and lower our interest rate.  At that time, we were told, by the mortgage company, that the only way we would qualify for a lower interest rate was to allow our mortgage to become 3 months behind.  I did some checking and because of my previous bankruptcy, the fact that I was a stay at home mom, and Matt work history of less than 5 years, it would be very difficult for us to qualify for a regular mortgage/refinance without a significant cost of $3 to 5 thousand dollars. So we did allow our mortgage to get  90 days behind and were able to lower the rate to 5.99% with a whole new mortgage of 30 years. This has turned out to be a costly mistake.  As you know interest rates have dropped significantly again in 2010, however our credit showed a 90 day past due on the mortgage so we were stuck in a not the best mortgage.

Now to the start of the process, we had decided that once we were able to get out of consumer debt except for our mortgage that we would have a significantly higher chance to qualify for a re-finance or new mortgage. I have been watching our credit scores over the past year and had a goal of  attempting a re-finance in January 2016. For some reason, or in my opinion, God’s timing, a piece of mail caught my attention the first of May. This was an advertisement for re-financing at a rate of 3.5% and it stated we had already qualified. After some quick checks on the company on the internet, I decided to give them a call. My honest thought was that there is almost nothing worse than Ocwen where you spend 10 to 20 minutes a month trying to pay your bill.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was true, we did qualify and we started the process.  On Friday, the process was completed at least for the most part when we received an wire transfer of most of the equity that we had built up over the years.  We are still waiting on our escrow money from Ocwen. I am not going to say it is completely finished until this is received. One other piece of information to keep in mind as you read the numbers is that we did build an 800 square foot addition to the house which is currently our master bedroom suite. We did not finance this addition so most of the equity was gain by this 3 year project.

The new interest rate is 3.85%(a drop of greater than 2%), on a conventional  mortgage.  The mortgage term is 15 years, which is down from 24 years that were left on our current mortgage. One of the biggest surprises was the appraisal value of our house which came in at 140,000. .  A decision that we made to withdrawal 20% of equity is probably not one that everyone will agree with. However for us, it has allowed us to have a complete reset of our budget.  A final change of plan that occurred during this process, was our very apparent need to purchase a new van. After prayer and number crunching we decided  to use some of the equity as a down payment which allowed us to achieve a manageable payment on a very nice family van.

My plan is to share our new budget that will start July 1st in addition to  making some updates to my yearly goals/monthly goals during this  next week. I hope you will stay around to watch this chance for us to position ourselves in a much more stable position in regards to our budget and savings.

Money Update- God Provides

Gensis 22:14 “Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

I can say that I know how it feels when God provides for our every need. One of the hardships associated with Zach’s scheduled surgery for the end of the month was the financial aspect of it. I used all of our Medi Flex for the year to cover the dentist portion of the bill. I was told up front that we would in addition receive an anesthesiologist bill in addition to the bill from the medical center for the facility use.  On Wednesday, I was greeted by the anethesiology bill and it was one that took my breath away. My medical insurance would cover half after meeting a separate $600 co-pay, all total $881 is the expected amount to be paid prior to March 21st in order for the surgery to occur on time.

Today I sat down to pay our regular bills and then started looking at just how and where this money would be coming from. I did have to pull most of it from our Emergency Fund but it was not the end of the Emergency Fund, it still has 1/4 of our first amount or $250 left.  I have paid this bill and feel really at peace with the whole process now.

I am so excited because God has again provided abundantly!

Things I am Thankful for!

This week the line “I will praise you in the storm.” has come to my mind several times. Things have gotten a  little crazy over here with my work and the kids activities but I honestly don’t think our family is in the middle of a storm. But still the need to be thankful is a good things so today, I am going to be thankful!

  1. I am thankful for 3 children happily playing together outside on the trampoline!
  2. I am thankful for the bright sunny almost warm weather that we have today that is allowing Matt to work on my car.
  3. I am thankful for Matt, he is my friend, lover and partner in crime. He also is an awesome cook and not to bad at fixin things either
  4. I am thankful for God supplying not only a job that I enjoy but also the extra income we need through Matt’s website business.
  5. I am thankful for a church family that is encouraging and support but also very unique and different!
  6. I am thankful for being able to go shopping at Walmart and not have to count each penny as we spend it!  I am still sticking to my budget but know that by choosing to pick up Oreo cookies and Cheese Doodles we still have money to cover our expense is a blessing.
  7. I am thankful for my parents, who continue to support and encourage me even as an adult.
  8. I am thankful for several freezers and a pantry full of food that is available to eat.

Care to join me?

Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • My house is really really quiet at 8:17am!!! Why? Because this week our church is having Vacation Bible School. The kids spend from 9-12 for 5 days at church learning, doing crafts and playing games. This year the theme is “Jesus is My Rock”  Haley is the official nursery person and a general helper. Matt is in charge of games. On Monday, they had 116 kids!  From everything I have seen and heard is was awesome. All the kids were singing new songs first thing this morning.
  • This week has also turned out to be one of the busiest of the summer. In addition to VBS, Monday Lily had cheerleading, I went to pick tomatoes. Tuesday Matt has a meeting tonight at church. Wednesday we have to mow our jungle aka yard and pick tomatoes again.
  • My brother is gone with his church on a youth trips so he suggested I come over and claim as many tomatoes as I wanted. Yesterday, I picked 8 gallons. I am so excited about this because we  now have 15 cans of diced tomatoes in our freezer. By the looks of the vines, I probably will pick another 5 gallons on Wednesday, with the plan of a another batch of Salsa. I need to check again on Friday,if I can pick another 3 gallons then those will be used for more diced/stewed tomatoes.
  • We have several answers to prayer this week, first we received out of the blue a check to cover the purchase of VBS t-shirts, and the above tomatoes are another. I have been praying for some extra tomatoes, I have even debated on purchasing some  to freeze. We typically use at least one recipe a week that calls for 1-2 cans of diced tomatoes. My goal this summer was to get a stock pile in the freezer to save this cost.
  • The food co-op ended this week, but I was able to add a batch of salsa and another 4 ears of corn frozen. We will be using some of the corn this week as side dishes as well.
  • I will be updating on my Grocery Store Challenge tomorrow, but to be honest it has been a little bit difficult for me. I currently have a list, of items we are completely out of and my goal is to stay under the budget and purchase all the items. If I were not doing the challenge, I definitely would have already gone and purchased these items because I consider most of them staples. So the challenge is working, but not as easy as it sounds.
  • Nothing new is happening with the renovation simply because we don’t have the time. I am being to wonder if it will be finished before my week of vacation or if it will become the way I spent my vacation?

His Timing not mine

Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and Wait for the Lord.

You know that I don’t like to wait for stuff, or should I say I don’t mind waiting for stuff as long as I know there is a plan on the when and the how. But it seems that God is saying to me time and time again..Wait for me… my timing is perfect..wait for me…I have a plan and a purpose for your life. This week and even today, I am seeing proof that his timing is perfect and I need to Wait. Today, we arrived home just as God intented and because of that a blessing was provided not only to us but someone who has a greater need. More importantly than the blessing itself, Haley was able to see that it is better to give than receive. My heart has memorized and clings to Jeremiah 29:11 and 12
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to
harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and
pray to me, and I will listen to you.

But for some strange reason, I still think he needs me to write out that plan and not wait, so I am still learning. Over the past 18 months, I can honestly say that I am praising him for his plan, but that doesn’t make the process any easier. I KNOW his has a plan ….. I am trying to wait….trying not to worry… trying to praise him but alone I am not able. I need Him! That is the answer. Now that I have written it maybe I can remeber…