Saturday, June 30, 2012

Where does the money go?

What exactly do I spend my our money on? 

Remember? I only made it through one week of adding how much we spent eating out.

Just yesterday, I went to buy one new pair of white scrub pants (truly necessary after getting rid of the half dozen pairs that no longer fit) and came away with two stethoscope IDs, two scrub tops, and no pants. I find money in the bottom of my purse, in pockets of uniforms, on the bedside table, on the kitchen table. Not much, but dollars and cents add up.

My husband is better at controlling spending than I am. Frugal, but in a good way. Bless his heart (If you're not from the South....anything can be said about any person without offense, as long as it is followed by Bless his/her heart. Comes in handy. Try it.). He recently booked hotel rooms for us and my boss on a business trip. They were 44.95 each. My boss' reaction, "Are we renting by the hour?" The owner of the company had him send out the hotel info., so everyone has to stay there from now on!! Frugal. Frugal.

But like most men, he strives to give baby girl and me everything we could ever want. So frugal doesn't always apply. Without him though, I always lived paycheck-to-paycheck, even though I had an above-average income. Together, we are saving, paying off debt, learning new habits.

So starting today, I am writing down every cent I spend until July 31, 2012. I've done this before, and the results made me shocked, nauseous, a little proud, and very spoiled.

Shameful spending habits to follow!

Friday, June 29, 2012

With Thanksgiving

Even at the near-lowest volume, the TV seems so loud in  the middle of the night.

Baby girl, in her room down the hall can sleep through anything after sharing my bed all these years I've been on call. No ringing phone, no converstion, no movement wakes her up. My husband, in the next room over, stirs at the slighest movement, fully awake with any noise.

I can spy on her withot ninja skill. Just stand next to her bed and touch her cheek, how much I love her, literally stops my breath in my chest, so that I shudder a little when I finally exhale. How God made her, so perfect for me, is only one of his many miracles. Proof that God can bring light from any depth of darkness.

Watching him requires more stealth, minimal movement, all the while waiting for him to raise his head and open his eyes. Loving him was effortless. Believing that he chose me, that he saw the woman I could be, not the past I had, that he loved me, took all my faith and all his patience.

But here in this house, in the hot pink and zebra world that is hers and under the bedspread that he picked out for us are the gifts that God has given me. One year ago, I could not imagine being a wife, could not imagine that my child would share her mother with anyone. But the Lord gives us the desires of our heart, even when we don't realize we have them.

Lord, remind me when I am tired, when I am lazy, when I am angry that you gave me the chance to be her mother and his wife and that no other earthly position is more important.

Money, money, money, money!

I was eighteen years old when I got my first credit card, a college sophomore, living an hour away from home. It came to my PO Box in the campus mailroom. It was blue. It gave me $5,000.00. I was hooked.

I could, can,spend money with the best of them. That little blue card...I eventually got several more of them and debt in staggering amounts. So staggering that I had to ask to have them paid off twice because I could not even meet the minimum payments. All those cards and all that money and I had absloutley nothing to show for it. I was storing up what I thought were treasures. But they were meals out, clothes, shoes; and they came at a very high price.

Spending should have been last week, but my first bout with real dental issues, a root canal, have left me on the couch for the better part of five days. So I have wallowed and whined and missed a week of my life somehow.

I like to look at our bank account online. I like that there is money in not one, but two, checking accounts. I am comforted by our modest savings account.

I am so wrong to put my faith in finace.

I know that no matter how much we ever accumulate, money won't buy my family health, happiness, safety. So why do I think about how much money we can save? So why when I really want something does saving money never enter my mind? Why do we not use more, some, any of these incomes the Lord bleesed us with to help someone? Shouldn't our giving be more than just our tithe?  It is cliche, but we can't take our money with us.

Lord, what is it you would have me do? Why do I place such emphasis on money? I'm afraid of what I need to learn from this.

But I'm more afraid of not learning from it.

Here it is my WEAK with MONEY experience.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I don't know why I have let them sit here for 2 entire weeks, a fortnight (a word baby girl sprung on us over lunch), but sat they have: the start of my clothes purge two weeks ago. [Please don't remind me that this means no one has used this chair in over two weeks, and that I could probably get rid of it too!] But today, today was it.....

After only two hours, the amount of clothes-all mine-to be given away more than tripled!

Clothes week, closed! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don't tell my dad, but.....

I have a lot of stuff....clothes, books, shoes, clothes. And I feel like I am pretty good at ridding myself of excess now, or at least better than I was before Katrina (That's how our lives are stamped now.....everything occurred before or since.). I could have easily been a hoarder, one of those souls on cable channels buried within the piles of her possessions. I kept every piece of clothing my child or I had ever owned, every scrap of paper, video....and then one day it was all piled in the yard in front of what used to be my house.

Don't get me wrong, I am far from minimilist but I have much less stuff than I used to, and I had already lost every possession once. What was it God wanted me to learn from this week?

I knew it immediately. I was in the bed, and it came to my me, and I wanted to ignore it. But I did what I always do when something important occurs: I text my husband. (One day I will tell you our love story. But believe me when I say that God, as always, gave me so much more than I could have ever imagined in that man.) I outlined the plan in a series of 7 texts, asked him to help me, hold me accountable, and then told him what it was I felt the Lord was trying to teach me:

{Oh, please don't tell my father this. Don't call him; don't email; don't facebook....please, please do not let him know how right he was the past 30 + years.}

 If you want your stuff to take care of you, you have to learn to take care of your stuff.

I have always been a someone else will clean-it-up-fix-it-make-it-right kind of girl. I hate it, but I was am. Someone else always cleaned, repaired, "upkept" all of my stuff. Until this week.......I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a grown-up. I need to take much better care of the stuff I have, treat it like I am proud of it, want to keep it, and want it to do whatever its intended function is.

I think I wish the Lord would have asked me just to get rid of a few hundred items than confront this truth.
But he didn't, and it is now out there. If you see me, ask me if I am taking care of what I have been blessed to have. Remind me that all things take effort to maintain and that I am capable and should maintain a lot of my stuff (car, home, clothes) myself.

I am thanking you in advance!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wasn't Katrina enough?

It was covered in sewage, raw, strong, dank. The armchairs in different rooms, the refrigerator blocking the kitchen door, so that I climbed over it, like a child scaling his pillow-built mountain. No lights, no air, bugs trudging on every surface. Bloated fish bodies scattered about. My little yellow house, drowned in the waters of Hurricane Katrina. The Mississippi Gulf Coast devastated, hours/days before the levee gave way in New Orleans bringing the tragedy to national attention. In Mississippi, we still thank Robin Roberts for always mentioning on-air that Katrina hit Mississippi, that we needed rescue efforts too. I take the first piece out to the road. My friend Tammy comes to help me, brings Lee Anne, who I have only met one time. Hours we spend pulling debris from the muck only to pile it by the roadside. My baby girl's elmo couch, her toy bins all gone. There are closets so swollen that they will not open.

In the end, about 8 hours later, I can't do any more, one room is completely untouched, and it will be razed with the house. A SUV pulls up, and a lady stops to ask what she and her family could do. "We're done, but thanks." They are from some other state, came to help, offering water and food. I take it, too tired to even explain that I'm OK, I have plenty at the nursing home where I work. I just take it. She notices the child's stuff and asks how old my baby is. "Two and a half." She gives me a bear to give her. It is start her collection over, she tells me. I thank her. They drive away. Tammy and Lee Anne find something else to do while I sit in the road and cry.

I am lucky. My baby girl is safe and clean and hours away with my parents, who after nearly 40 years, lost all their stuff, every picture, every tangible memory they had, thirty miles West in another Mississippi Coast town. I have no idea how to start a life over at 29; how can they even begin at 58?

I lost all my stuff and none of my people. I am lucky.

Does God really want me to look at how I view my possessions this week? Didn't I learn this lesson, up close and personal already? I'm afraid the answers are no and yes, but not in that order.

Summer of 7 continues.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nearly Naked :)

We were standing by the front door, wating on baby girl, and my husband looked strange. At first, I thought it was the lack of collared shirt.....both of our married trips to the ER, collared shirt; hosing sick child vomit off the driveway at 1 am, collared shirt; weekend trip to the baseball game, collared shirt.

But I put my hand on his shirt and realized NO UNDERSHIRT!! This is akin to him being naked, real naked. Where is your undershirt, I exclaimed (true story, EXCLAIMED, and put my hand to my forehead in true Scarlett O'Hara fashion).

His reply, "I didn't know if it had to be counted in my seven."

Love this man!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Clothes and my man....

This will be a breeze....I'm a nurse, scrubs 5 days a week. I'm jeans and t-shrts the rest of the time.

So tell me why I lay awake for hours trying to figure out what I'm going to wear?! 5 days of uniforms is 10 pieces of clothing, not to mention 3 to 4 pairs of shoes. Weekend outfits, church, what I wear at home...

It was quiet this girl (she's 9 and 5'2"...but my baby) asleep on the couch where she drifted off last night, hubby asleep beside me. Quiet, except for the apartment groundscrew outside the window :) And all  could think about were clothes. How could I wear the same uniform top every day? Even two? a t-shirt to church? We are casual, but a vacation t-shirt? Everyone would notice if I keep wearing the same 2 uniform tops! I would notice if they did, if it didn't match, didn't fit, had a stain.

I love my husband. He is logical, calm, a planner. He washes dishes, open car doors. He is patient when I am not. Reassures when I panic. He knows me and chose to love me anyway.

So it was no surprise that when I woke him up, out of a dead sleep, he had the best answer and didn't bat an eye when I asked would it matter if I wore the same 2 scrub sets all week. No, not at all. So why don't I want to? You care about your image. But your image isn't really how you dress.

Logical, calm. Right.

So here's my list of sort-of 7:

1. Scrub set
2. Scrub set
3. flip flops/tennis shoes
4. t-shirt (maroon with print)
5. Jeans
6. T-shirt (green with print)
7. shorts/t-shirt

Not quite seven, but limited.

This week I also will given away 14 itms of my clothing and 14 items of my daughter's clothing. I will also pare down my scrubs.....A LOT.

Building on week one....THO7: In the Rounds: 1. Brining lunch to work daily
                                                                       2. Two trips to the store, weekly budget $120
                                                                       3. Eating out one time per week (budgeted in)
                                                                       4. Volunteer at local group who runs a free
                                                                           meal service twice a month

Food and clothes??? Join us!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Crunchy Wannabe

I want to be a crunchy mama…long legs and flowy dresses. Cloth diapers hung on a line in the yard, delivering up recipes that involve the words kale, cracked, and almond; I want to can and preserve and ferment. Walking to the farmer’s market with my reusable bags, my nine year old skips ahead, examines the flowers at roadside only to turn back and wave to her step-dad and me, holding hands each carrying a perfect cherub faced twin boy in a ring sling.


Only I have existing commitments with junk food, work, and Kroger. My nine year old likes her IPod and would quite possibly snarl if asked to skip. There are no cherub cheeked twins (YET), no ring sling (do they make those in plus size?), but my husband and I do hold hands, and my mini diva will laugh and smile with us, even as she is very much a tween.

So in addition to food, I think TSO7 is about not wasting the life we have, the life we’ve been given while wanting what seems ideal to us. I think it is important to grow, to make positive changes, and strive to improve….equally important, is not missing my life for what I PERCEIVE another’s life to be. That crunchy mama, I know her. She’s my friend, and I love her. She loves me: enough to confess that my ideal isn’t really her reality (not anyone's, she laughs), either.

I will never have long legs; I do own a flowy dress or two. I have visited a farmer’s market, do buy 90 percent organic produce (at Kroger), and have reusable bags in my trunk, though more-often-than-not they never make it in the store. My husband holds my hand every chance he gets and my daughter will crawl sleepily on me, lying with me when she is ready for bed. This is the mama I am meant to be, here and now, and it is ideal.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

No Tomato, No Lettuce!

"Lord, help me to desire you the way I do a Wendy's #4 combo."

I remember it, sitting in my room at my parents' house, a teenaged junior colleger, wanting to seek God like the things I wanted most.
I believe God has a sense of humor and that He knew my heart was in the best place it knew to be, BUT

FOOD is my issue. There are lots of reasons why (another post? another day?), but even to darken the door of FOOD....a major issue.

Like I said, I believe God has a sense of humor.

People are doing TSO7: Food challenge in several ways.

I knew I could easily live off 7 foods (bread, ham, cheese, milk, tortillas, pepperoni, pizza sauce) if nutrition wasn't a concern. But what would be a challenge for me?

It started with a plan to cut $40 off our weekly (family of 3) food budget and only make two (because the deli was closed and I forgot my daughte'r milk {dairy allergy}) trips to the store.
It has evolved into an honest look at how much we I spend eating out.


It is my mind to add up the total amount spent eating out for the months of April and May. I stopped after May 12.

I haven't been unanimously victorious this week: I ran by the store for chips and paper towels. We made a drug store stop for milk. And I consoled myself with a drive through meal, but I got back on the horse. My homemade lunch is coming with me tomorrow. We've spent considerably less this week, and I feel better!

I want to carry this over to our next week: CLOTHES. Let this be The Summer of SEVEN: In the Round...never loosing the first verse just building on top of it!

Join me?

They tell me this is a blog hop: I don't know what that means or how to do it. Comment if you can help me :)