Monday, December 30, 2013

Typical End of the Year Feelings

Oh December we meet again. A mere 2 days until another new year. I find myself at the end of the year always wondering where the time went? What did I really accomplish this year? But most importantly, I want the next year to be better. I haven't been very good at accomplishing this the past few years. I have mostly been content to stay where I am physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, etc etc etc. I don't want to be like that. I want to change and make myself better. I want to not be content with what is but be happy with what I have. When I actually write it like that it sounds strange and maybe like those two things don't even fit together. But I want them to. One thing that I have been able to make progress on is in our financial life. Though we haven't stuck strictly to a budget we have been able to cut spending significantly and even start savings. There have been a couple times when we had to use savings for various things but for the most part we have at least a little money in there. In 2014 we are going to do a few things differently which I will talk about in another post probably. But other than finances I feel kind of stuck. We started trying for a baby in September and I was doing really well tracking my cycles and paying attention to ovulation signs and then after a couple months I got frustrated and sad. I know there are many women out there who struggle with infertility and I feel bad saying I got frustrated after a couple months (my best friend tried for 2ish years before they got pregnant with their miracle). But it is how I feel. And so we decided to just not try and not prevent which in reality is still trying I suppose. I guess this was more my decision than hubby's. I stopped tracking just watching for a late period. They have been late a couple times and I got all hopeful and then was crushed seeing the negative test. I never thought I would be like that I thought I would be content with what happens but it makes me worried that something is wrong (even though I know on a logical level this is very unlikely at this point, it has only been 3 cycles of trying, a drop in the bucket for people who have struggled with infertility). I repeat I know that we are just starting and these things can take time but my impatience seems to really shine through in this aspect of life.

Christmas has come and gone. I started this post before Christmas and have yet to finish it. I have these jumbles of thoughts in my head about where I want to be at this time next year and what I need to do to get there. I want to be on our way to being debt free. I think that is definitely #1. It is something that has weighed heavily on me for the last half of this year and I am delving even deeper in the new year. Getting organized for that, celebrating Christmas with family and just mentally preparing for that ball drop is what occupies my time as the year comes to a close. It may seem strange I have to mentally prepare for a ball drop but each year it makes me feel more and more like a failure. Which I know I am not. The last few years I haven't made resolutions partly because I didn't want to let myself down and partly because quite frankly I was lazy and didn't want to try and achieve anything. That is sad but true. This year I still don't necessarily want to make New Years resolutions but I want to have goals to strive for throughout the year. I need to re-prioritize my life. My main goals this year are going to be financial but I also want to take baby steps in other areas. I want to start exercising, make more time for friends and family, and start volunteering. I want to do good in the world and take more time to try new things and things that I enjoy. I want to organize my house and get rid of clutter, seeing as we don't have a little one on the way might as well make time to better prepare my home for a little one when the time comes. I have so many ideas, it is hard to pin them down into a list. I have created a list of financial goals for the year so I will include those here but hoping to create lists for the other things I want to do as well at some point in January. Running out of time to finish it before the 1st but it will be done.

2014 Financial Goals
  • Have $1000 in Emergency Fund
  • Save $1000 for Vegas Vacation in July
  • Save $1000 for new car fund (currently 1 car family as Matt's car is once again overheating)
  • Pay off both of our credit cards (Combined balance of $4551.96 as of the end of this month)
  • After credit cards are paid off, make more than the minimum payment on all other debt.
  • Do not accumulate more debt (this one depends if we have to buy a new car)
  • Tithe 5% by the end of the year (Starting January at 1%)
I plan on posting about our new way of handling finances hopefully this weekend and sharing actually how much debt we have eek! Scary but I need to be accountable even if it is to the unknown blog world (and the couple of friends who read this). Well I need to head to work (yes at McDonalds once again as we have only one car)

Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nov 2013 Financials and New Years Resolutions

In the name of accountability and starting a new way of living financially I wanted to share some of the numbers from November for our budget. One of my resolutions for the New Year is going to be analyzing our financials at the end of each month to figure out where we are messing up and can improve. Making the budget for December, I realized how much tighter things are going to actually be around here and Matt finally realized it too. We went to the movies today and sadly it may be the only fun thing we get to go out and do that costs money this month. Thankfully December is a month of family get-togethers, meals, and general fun in our families. Yes most of that happens at the end of the month but anticipating it is half the fun. This year on Christmas Eve for the 25th year in a row (yes that is my whole life) I will gather with my Mom's side of the family for Mass and dinner and presents. There are no longer any small children but somehow we still have a night filled with laughter and joy and with a little one on the way it once again feels magical. Matt and I get to wake up on Christmas morning with our 2 kitties and our (overgrown puppy) dog and then go to my parents for cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, presents and comfortable happiness. We will also spend the weekend before celebrating with Matt's parents and brother and sister, the weekend after celebrating with the extended family on my mom's side and with my dad's family, and the following weekend with Matt's extended family on his dad's side. So much family in so little time. I love it. Couldn't ask for anything better. To let go of the old year and bring in the new one surrounded by these awesome people God blessed me with in this life.

Here are the numbers(bear with me on the formatting, too lazy to do a screenshot but still wanted a table):
total spent



groceriesdining outgasMisc

Now let me point out that we have other categories in our budget, these are just the monthly variable ones that we struggled with the most. 

The thing is for the most part, we have cut way back on groceries, so still being close to $200 over kind of shocked me. But hopefully the groceries I bought at the end of November will mostly last until a couple weeks into December and we can make up for it. Because of this overage though I did add a $50 dollar cushion for December. Here is a look back at grocery spending the last few months:
October: $406.51 (again could be higher as I fell off the wagon at the end of this month)
September: $441.64
August: $455.69

Dining out is also something we have cut way back on. Lets take a look back:
October: $215.78 (fell off the tracking wagon at the end of that month so it may have been higher). 
September: $323.07
August: $388.51

Gas. What can I say, we didn't really plan very well obviously. My husband and I both commute ~30 miles to work, so ~60 miles round trip, 5 days a week. As I mentioned before though we have started car pooling when possible to cut back on miles. This is one of our categories that is hard to cut because we have to work. For December I added $110 to this category. Another look back:
October: $491.40 (probably higher as I fell off tracking wagon, may have to figure out closer to actual numbers as this is a pretty big discrepancy)
September: $579.10
August: $736.46

Misc. This is where we put all that random stuff that doesn't fit anywhere else. Stops at the gas station, newspapers, cash for Matt for work snacks and other stuff. This is a category where Matt does a little bit more spending than I do. I drink coffee from home in the morning and normally eat something for breakfast as well. Many times Matt doesn't think about caffeine or food until he is out the door so he will stop. He used to do it without even thinking but now that I have shown him how much money it actually is, he gets cash out and uses that until it is gone, normally a week to a week and a half. This has helped tremendously as evidenced by these numbers:
October: $188.45
September: $825.51 (Note: This is when I was just expense tracking and so many more categories are probably included that I have since further divided using Pear Budget. Goes for the next two months as well)
August: $530.81
July: $353.19

I guess what it all comes down to is for us the budget thing is definitely still a work in a progress. The last couple months when I set it up I thought I would be at least close to what we would actually do and that hasn't happened so much. So I keep starting over. For December I have changed some of the numbers and categories. I lumped stuff into a smaller amount of categories for the variable expenses as well.  Here is what the December Budget looks like:

Regular Expenses=$ Spent Per Month
student loan=$330.00
credit card=$145.00
car payment=$251.00

Irregular Expenses=$ Spent Per Month

Variable Expenses=$ Spent Per Month
dining out=$25.00
car gas=$500.00
Saturday, November 23, 2013


Scary. Nerve-racking. Stress and anxiety inducing. Just some of the words I would use to describe how I feel as we start the process of Matt filing for bankruptcy. I feel like I have been on a roller coaster the last couple of weeks and that there isn't an end to close in sight. Part of my problem is the fact that I have been reading so much on bankruptcy and how awful and terrible it truly is and that it should only be a last resort. I have questioned over and over if it is really at that point....and at this moment I am 99.9% sure that it is. If you would of asked last weekend I would have said only 50%. My emotions and brain have varied that much and fought with each other constantly. I would definitely call it a war against myself. Matt and I have talked about it a lot but I have spent even more time reading from all sorts of sources, government websites, legal websites, blogs, articles, newspapers, and the list goes on. I still plan to do more reading once I can get to the library. I want to move on and recover from this as quickly as possible.

Started reading a Dave Ramsey book and a book by Wall Street Journal about recovering from financial blows. The Dave Ramsey book I believe is from the 90s (slim pickings at the local library) but it is more about his philosophy and I figured it was a good place to start. I want to take control of our finances and not let this bankruptcy thing ruin our lives. I found in all my searching of the internet via Google, other various search engines, and even Pinterest that there was very little about bankruptcy from a personal perspective. People are, in my own opinion, afraid to admit where they are in life and what that means. Sharing something like "I am declaring bankruptcy" seems like something shameful which is another thing I have felt on my roller coaster of emotions. But I don't necessarily think that it is something shameful, in this economy especially. It just seems scary to me that Matt and I both work full time and there is no other real solution to this problem. The debt just hangs there. 

In our case we decided bankruptcy was the best option for the following reasons:

  1. Unreasonable collections agent. We tried multiple times to work with this lawyer who was trying to collect the debt on behalf of the finance company where Matt had the loan for the truck that was repossessed. He was completely unreasonable even though we showed him point by point there was no more money than what we were giving him. He proceeded to take further legal action after reaching a judgement without ever contacting my husband. So we could either get an attorney and fight it out in court (spending who knows how much on legal fees), try debt management (where the payments are completely ridiculous for years on end) or file bankruptcy and have the debts settled and make some ridiculous payments for a smaller amount of time.
  2. Only Matt has to file. I know this may seem like I am putting the blame on my husband and if you think that you are totally misunderstanding what I mean by this. I just mean that at least one of us will still have (semi) decent credit in case of emergencies. Everyone makes mistakes, mine were different than Matt's. He made stupid financial decisions, I made stupid decisions about who I spent time with and what I was doing with my life. And my stupid financial decisions are part of the reason bankruptcy is the best option as well. All of my debt that we are able to pay but no other money to pay his debts. My husband is willing to bear this mark on his credit so that we can have a better life in the future. To me that is true sacrifice and one of the reasons I love him.  
  3. Wanting to move past this. I understand that bankruptcy will affect us for years to come but in all honesty we were not planning to buy a house for at least 3 years. Yes we may have to extend that out further now. But we don't know where we want to settle and in this case it is best we don't make a big decision like that quickly. I have done tons of research and know what will need to be done to bring his credit back and we are willing to go through that together. 

  4. For some people these reasons may make no sense whatsoever. In all honesty that kind of bothers me. That is the judgement people place upon those deciding to declare bankruptcy. People can think what they want but going through this brings me to a better place and makes me more understanding of those in dire financial situations. I praise God that Matt and I's situation is not worse and I know it could be far worse. 

    Right now we are at the point in the process where we have given the attorney all of the financial information and waiting to see if he qualifies for Ch 7 (total bankruptcy) or Ch 13 (where part of the debt ends up bring repaid in installments). This depends on where we fall with the median income in Michigan. We have to get copies of a couple more things to the lawyer then we will hopefully know when he will be able to file. We are shooting for December because we want to stop making payments to the collection agent without causing too much trouble.

    Currently in the process of overhauling our budget once again as well. Have learned we spend more on gas than I had originally thought plus want to reconcile budget with number we gave to lawyer. 

    Pray that we have peace through this journey....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sometimes Staying On Track Isn't What is Most Important

What I was writing started earlier this(which has now become last) week as an update as to how I was doing on changing my lifestyle and getting healthier. Well when I weighed myself (last) Tuesday, I at first thought I had gained the 4 lbs I lost back but then realized that I was in much heavier clothes. I maintained. Which isn't a failure by any measure but I was slightly disheartened. Which also describes the way I felt when I took a pregnancy test on Friday and it was negative. I know that I should not feel this way yet I can't help it. 

And now that I have moved into and almost out of this week, I never did weigh myself except maybe on Sunday and I was up a couple of pounds. My focus has been all over lately. At work it is hard to concentrate, at home I just want to sleep, and I just can't find the same amount of motivation I had 2 weeks ago. Wanting to be healthy for our future family should be enough. It is enough. I was about to type "but." I don't want to make excuses, I want to make changes especially since period is in full swing (cramps and all) and I am definitely not pregnant this cycle. I need to walk a few times a week, eat more vegetables, eat less crap and drink less caffeine. Let's go back to these original goals:

Lifestyle Change Goals

  • Track what I am eating everyday no matter how junky. Hold myself accountable. When I have a bad day, don't let it defeat me and start over the next day. Have totally fallen off the wagon on this one....not sure if there is a better way to do it or what. It's just having to figure out calories in recipes and measuring gets very old very quickly for me. For this reason I have seriously debated trying the 17 Day Diet. Where I am given a list of foods I can have and how my meals should look instead of tracking calories.
  • Take the stairs more. Even just going down them. Face it going up them in my shape might kill me. Again kind of fell off the wagon, everyone I work with uses the elevator so when walking out with them I feel bad. Which isn't really a great excuse but it is truth. I need to find other ways to move. Like playing outside with the dog, doing exercise DVDs and maybe being a mooch and going next door to walk on treadmill when weather is awful.
  • Park further out in the parking lot even if the front row spot is available. The parking lot is about half a block from where I work to begin with so I don't feel as bad about falling off the wagon on this one. But I do need to park further out when I park at stores and such just to add a little more movement. I want to be able to at least do light exercise if get pregnant so I should be in those habits now but I am not pregnant yet so still time to add in these habits. 
  • Invest in some sort of activity tracker in the next month or so. So I can see how much I am moving and challenge myself to do more. We have had some financial stuff going on in our household that is probably going to prevent this from happening anytime in the near future. Will touch on this in financial update.
  • Walk the dog at least 3 times a week. No excuses. Even if just for 5 minutes. With my utter hate of cold weather this is just not going to happen this winter. I do hope to be outside with the dog a little more, play some fetch, run around with him and such. 
  • Be under 300 lbs by the end of 2013. (Baby steps I know but I have to start somewhere) This is still the goal, still have just under 2 months to lose about 10 lbs (at least I weighed 310 on Sunday so I think that is what I still weigh)
Looking at this list and thinking about how I felt when I made it (hopeful, determined) and how I feel now (completely unmotivated) makes me wonder what has happened to make me this way. To make me content with being fat and unhealthy in general and not want to achieve goals. I worked to graduate high school, I worked to graduate college, I worked to find a job (though towards the end of that journey I felt utterly hopeless and worn down as I kind of do now). Why can't I find the drive to be healthy? Been spending a lot of time in prayer (on drives, at work, at night when I can't sleep, really any time I stop and actually have to think about things) because life overwhelms me and I have to pour out my heart or it will become too heavy. 

Part of the reason for this heaviness is our mess with debt lately. We have come to rely on credit cards when money runs low, when really we should be planning so that money lasts for what we need , not what we want. I will point out that one week into November the budget is working out very well. There was extra money in the checking even before Matt got paid today and it was a really wonderful feeling. I was able to pay bills this morning without a struggle. But over our heads hangs some debt that Matt has (from before we met) that we have no ability to do anything about. And recently a truck that he had repossessed (like 7 years ago), they have started trying to collect on the debt. The lawyer initially sued but we set up a payment plan to have a judgment issued, but now more aggressive action is being taken. This prompted us to consult with a lawyer and look at our options which led us to come to a decision that has ups and downs. There is no real right solution in this case in my opinion but there is a solution that moves us on into the next phase. Matt is going to file bankruptcy. I never thought this would be a part of our lives, I thought we could make it work but in reality, we just are not in the place financially to deal with it and they want action now. So depending on how much we have to pay to start that process, our budget may take a slight hit but I am going to work to stay on budget as much as possible. Hopefully we will still be able to keep on track for our goals though one or two may have to be extended out if additional money is needed for bankruptcy filing and such. To have this burden lifted from our shoulders will be really helpful I think for our relationship and for Matt especially as he has always felt guilty about bringing this into our lives. I have told him over and over that, this is where we are and people make mistakes and sometimes things are out of our control (the other chunk of his debt is medical bills because of being dropped by insurance after having cataracts surgery).

Sometimes I feel like our struggles in this life and our work to overcome those struggles is just utterly meaningless which might be why I am struggling to find motivation. But I know on the other hand that if what we do is trust in God and let other people see that, we are witnessing to others just as God has instructed us to do. Now that this post has taken me twoish weeks to write, I feel I should probably post it. Even though part of me still wants to write more and explore more, I guess that is for next time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Goals Part 2 and Update on Other Goals

First an update on the goals I made last week:
  • Track what I am eating everyday no matter how junky. Hold myself accountable. When I have a bad day, don't let it defeat me and start over the next day. I tracked everyday except Sunday! Quite proud of myself and probably going to consider Sunday my free day from now on (even though from the looks of my food diary, a couple other days were also free days eek.) Definitely made me realize how many calories I am consuming and made me feel a little gross. Hoping to watch the amount of calories I consume fall this week or at least meet my goal.
  • Take the stairs more. Even just going down them. Face it going up them in my shape might kill me. The first few days I did really well making an effort to move more. But towards the end of the week I didn't do so well. Got tired and just plain lazy. Going to try and start momentum up again this week.
  • Park further out in the parking lot even if the front row spot is available. I have been parking about in the midpoint of the parking lot so walking a few more steps than I was.
  • Invest in some sort of activity tracker in the next month or so. So I can see how much I am moving and challenge myself to do more. A work in progress still....budget kinks being worked out....more on that next.
  • Walk the dog at least 3 times a week. No excuses. Even if just for 5 minutes. Didn't even attempt this one. Getting colder here in Michigan and I am hating it. Started Vitamin D and hoping that helps my energy and mood, may have to get some B vitamins as well.
  • Be under 300 lbs by the end of 2013. (Baby steps I know but I have to start somewhere) As the scale in the picture shows(So far away because I am tired and don't feel like figuring out why it won't move.) I am down 4.5 lbs :-D. Decided to make the goal 15 lbs by the end of the challenge with my friends which should be around the end of 2013.
  • New goals for this week: 
    • Do not eat 2 hours before bed. 
    • Dedicate 30 min to exercise this week.
As I eluded to earlier some of our household budget kinks are being worked out. Since Matt and I moved in together in 2010 we have pretty much said what's mine is yours. We got a joint checking very early on, mostly because Matt's credit was so bad, he couldn't get one on his own. I married a man with bad credit but I said for better or for worse and money problems happen to everyone so didn't really phase me. We have dealt with these things pretty much since the beginning. We are making steps to help improve his overall credit but there is only so much you can do. You have to live. Rent, food, gas to make a living etc etc are necessities not things we can cut the budget for. But our spending in the last couple years has been out of control for lack of a better term. Now in the grand scheme of things we have not done that badly. We have been able to pay our bills and other expenses but there have been months when we just made it, with no extra. We haven't thought about the future. About the family we are working on starting and what that means financially. In recent months I have spent hours scouring the internet for financial advice. For ways to budget, expense track, save money, spend less etc etc. I started by looking at our checking account for a month in June and was blown away by how much money we were flushing down the toilet on gas station stops, eating out and random impulse buys. The next month I took it a step further and actually saved receipts and tracked expenses more specifically. Same story. I continued that for a couple months and then decided I needed to take it a step further and start to use a budget. So began my search for the perfect excel template because this seemed to be the easiest way to do it. This is how I tracked our expenses but the template I had found for that didn't allow me to include an actual budget and see what I spent against what I budgeted. I finally found it in Pear Budget .

Pear Budget began as an excel template a few years ago and has since developed into an actual web based application. I have only used the spreadsheet template so far but I love it. It lays everything out clearly and allows you to create your own categories divided into regular, variable and irregular expenses. Here is a screen shot of what a month looks like:

I used this tool in October and again realized we spend too much money. So Matt and I decided together to change some things. We are going to start using cash for groceries, fun money, misc and eating out. Once the cash in that category is gone, we are done spending money in that category. I am hoping this will curb our impulse buys when grocery shopping especially. I want to focus on paying down debt. We also decided to car pool to work as many days as possible (hence I am sitting at McDonald's writing this as we speak at 7:45 AM). This has proven a little more difficult now that we have a dog. My husband has to be to work at 6 AM and I start around 8:30 AM so we are gone from 5 AM until about 5:30 PM. I feel bad making Ace hold it that long so we carpool on days when someone can let him out (days my sister has off or like this week my parents were gracious enough to help out). My husband also has school two nights a week so those nights are out as well. So our goal is once a week if we can do more, we do. But onto the actual goals part. Here are my financial goals for the next 6 months:
  • Pay off one credit card. 
  • Stick to a budget throughout the month of November (barring extenuating circumstances) and continue to adjust according to needs and new findings about things that work for us.
  • Build a savings of at least $500
  • Start to tithe at least 1%. By the end of 6 months be tithing 5%. (This may seem very small but I have always struggled with the concept of tithing. I am happy to give money to my church and those who need it but giving away 10% of my income has always scared the bejeepers out of me. Praying I become more comfortable and that God moves me to give as much as possible.)
  • Keep Matt more involved in our finances. (I have no problem taking the reigns with paying bills and balancing the checkbook but I want my husband to be more aware of where we are financially. Financial issues have caused some strain in our marriage the last few months and I really don't want it to be something that puts a wedge between us)
  • Use our tax return to pay ahead on car insurance and pay down debt. If enough, use small amount for something fun. (April falls at the end of the 6 months since I am starting them from November, should have our tax return by then as long as the government doesn't shut down again or some other crazy thing happens, you never know I suppose as it is all in God's hands)
I forgot how much I love making goals and how much I love accomplishing them. This last week accomplishing just a couple of my goals for the most part really gave me motivation to continue on my get healthy journey which is a work in progress as well. Still not making the greatest nutritional choices but trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits and drink more water. And added new goals for this week. 

Also starting to fall in love with writing again, as evidenced by this post. And starting to fall for blogging......this getting up early thing makes me feel so much more accomplished. Time for work!!! Happy Hump Day! (And happy Friday to me, yay for 4 day weekends spent with the hubby, even if we aren't doing anything super special besides spending time together.)

Until next time!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pulling Myself Back Up

Here we go again.....I am down, feeling low, can't seem to be happy but for brief moments. Time to make changes. Do things differently so that I don't feel pathetic, worthless, in general like a giant blob. Life isn't about sitting around waiting for things to happen. If I want to feel be happy I need to go out and change my day to day life.

So I have decided to make goals to improve my spiritual, physical and mental well being. First things first, time for a lifestyle change.I am convinced that I feel like crap most of the time because that is what I eat most of the time. Junk with no nutritional value. Started a weight loss challenge with a couple of friends to help keep motivated.

Lifestyle Change Goals
  • Track what I am eating everyday no matter how junky. Hold myself accountable. When I have a bad day, don't let it defeat me and start over the next day.
  • Take the stairs more. Even just going down them. Face it going up them in my shape might kill me.
  • Park further out in the parking lot even if the front row spot is available.
  • Invest in some sort of activity tracker in the next month or so. So I can see how much I am moving and challenge myself to do more.
  • Walk the dog at least 3 times a week. No excuses. Even if just for 5 minutes.
  • Be under 300 lbs by the end of 2013. (Baby steps I know but I have to start somewhere)

This is where it begins..........

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friendship Defined

I realize I have been writing a lot about change and moving forward and growing up etc etc etc and this I feel pertains to that in ways as well. I am truly starting to realize what it means to be a friend. It isn't always about how much time you spend together or even necessarily knowing every single thing about a person. Friendship can be defined in a multitude of ways. I feel like I have always had different types of friends. In high school I had friends I talked to pretty much every single day. I had friends who I said hi to in the hall aka acquaintances. I had friends that I hung out with at sporting events and dances. But I had one friend who I spent pretty much 75% of my time with outside of school. And I loved every minute of it. There are days when I sincerely miss high school (which if you know me says a ton) just because it gave me the opportunity to see my best friend everyday and to truly share our lives. She became part of my family and to this day still is along with her husband and son. But today I see this friend once a week during a good week and talk every two to three days. That doesn't mean that our friendship has weakened but that life has moved on and we have other obligations and responsibilities. But we still love and support each other. We have had ups and downs but we are still there for each other.

Some of the other friends that I was very close to in high school I am still friends with today but in different ways. I don't really text or talk to them on a normal basis. I see them once a month(ish). But again that doesn't mean I don't love them. It just means that life moves us all in different directions. There are days when I have a hard time relating to my single friends and I know there are days they have a hard time relating to me and where I am in life as well. As we grow older keeping friends becomes much more difficult. Keeping that relationship where you are hanging out with a close knit group pretty much every weekend and then slowly that stops happening, On one hand this is sad and on the other it is exciting because it means we are living our lives. Not that friends become less important when growing up but because we start to build our own families, careers, and adventures.

Life isn't about quantity, it's about quality. Such a cliche but so much truth there. I don't have an abundance of friends by any means. The girls women who stood up with me at my wedding are the best group of friends I could have ever asked God to bless me with. There are 5 of them. Jess who is the friend I was referring to earlier, I wouldn't know what to do without her. Linds, who can make me laugh through anything and I see her way less than I would like. Meag, my hair stylist and one of the sweetest most caring people I have ever met. Andrea, who I have been friends with since middle school the one who I can not see for months and our relationship picks up where it left off who has a heart of gold.  Even my sister who is flaky and self centered at times but I know she loves me and wants me to be happy. All of my friends have flaws as do I. My sister's are just more evident the last few years and have hurt me especially around my wedding. This is why I mention them now. But I have changed directions.....

I have been writing this post for a couple of weeks at least. I always sit down to do it and get distracted. Plus writing it for me is a little bit touchy. I love all of my friends and there have been issues between some of us recently and putting it in words has been difficult for me. But I have come to realize these are more growing pains. Figuring out how to relate to those you care about most as their situations change. (I really feel like I am repeating myself lately but the same thoughts have been plaguing me for months) I pray and pray about ways to bring us back to where we were but then realize I don't necessarily want to go back where we were. We have grown as people and made mistakes and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes people don't realize they are hurting those around them and there is something wrong with that. Finding the words to tell your best friends that they are being hurtful is truly difficult, so I pray to find those words. I am still struggling with it.

On a somewhat related note I have been feeling a strong call back to church as well. Matt and I have attended only a couple of times this entire year. We have let the call of our bed on Sunday mornings deter us from attending regularly and I believe as a result our marriage has struggled. We have really been fighting off demons lately. And I can't help but feel that not being in the Word has contributed to this.

As I seem to have gone off topic again and can't concentrate to bring this post to a full conclusion, I think I will end it now and hope the next post is more centralized and cohesive.
Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Growing Pains Continue

No, I'm not referring to traditional growing pains that you experience as a child/preteen/sometimes even teen years or the show but instead to that feeling you get as life moves on and people move in different directions, grow in different ways and with different people even. When I told one of my best friends how I felt she used the term growing pains to describe it and it really resonated with me. Ever since graduating high school, my friends have moved in different directions and through different walks of life. I love having friends who have varied interests, backgrounds and paths in life. Keeps life exciting but also sometimes makes you question your own path which can be painful and helpful. I have friends who are married with children and I see the joy (and the exhaustion, hard work, and selflessness) that goes into being a parent and watching this child that came from two people's love and was created lovingly in God's image grow into their own person. I want that. No question in my mind.

But then I have friends who are still single or dating or whatever the case may be who also have fulfilling and happy lives in different ways. I am a firm believer that everyone should follow the path they feel is meant for them and spend a lot of time in prayer and contemplation if they are not sure what that is. I know this may be TMI for some but Matt and I had completely unprotected sex for the first time the other night. Without going into too much detail, we just got caught up in the moment and it was beautiful, truly making love the way God intended. Afterwards I remembered that my ovulation test for that day had been positive meaning that I was pretty much as fertile as I could be. And I got excited and scared all in the same minute. I know that there is only a chance that I am pregnant and no guarantees, but knowing that there might be a tiny human growing inside of me right now fills me with joy. And with fear. Spending time with Matt's best friend and some of his band mates and friends Friday night made me kind of miss that feeling of going out to the bar or wherever and just being silly. With or without alcohol lol. I just missed the carefree feeling of it all. I had to go to work in the morning and really didn't want to, I wanted to spend more time in that place. Feel that way a little longer. I found out they went to breakfast and talked about the stupid funny things that happened the night before and I felt like I missed out. I know that leaving that part of my life behind will be such an immense blessing in the long run but I just feel a little sad about it. Just a little bit like the carefree (ok somewhat stupid and naive) girl that I was is truly gone. It has been years since I have really "gone out" on a semi regular basis and really I should have had this feeling a while ago. But there are days when it just hits me, especially now with a big change coming to our lives, hopefully soonish.

This post has been in the works for a little over a week now I believe. Have felt like there is more I want to say and express but not sure exactly how to put it into words. It doesn't help that I have been physically exhausted with no energy. Not sure exactly why. Might be PMS. Might be something else though at this point the pregnancy test is saying no at 10 days post ovulation. We shall see what God has in store. This weekend has been re-energizing, spending time with family, doing some much needed housework, making plans, reading, and just enjoying being at home. Hoping to have another relaxing day with the hubby tomorrow before we head back to work.
Saturday, August 3, 2013

Growing Pains

For some reason I feel as if the past is repeating itself. I feel people slipping away again and time marching on. For reasons of my choosing and for reasons that are out of my hands. A friend I thought I could depend on and that we were really close has really shown herself to not be the type of person or friend I want in my life right now. I am hurt. Deeply. I feel it more deeply than I have felt much of anything in a while. I feel torn between being the bigger person and loving her through it and being petty and treating her as she treats me. I am trying to find the balance of loving her and letting go. Because a (not so) long time ago when a boy cut my heart deeply over and over again ( some of this being because I allowed him to continue returning to my life time and time again but I digress) I had to learn the hard way to let go, because that didn't mean that I was giving up but moving on and continuing to love the person from afar where they couldn't hurt me so deeply. There are deeper betrayals then not responding to someone or failing to get back with them or not making time in your life for someone who is supposedly important to you but they are hurts none the less. For the time I am choosing to stay away from the situation and see if my absence makes a difference which is still putting my faith in someone that at this point I don't feel I could trust. In the midst of all this change weighs once again heavy on my heart. To watch my friends change right before my eyes in various ways is hard sometimes. But at the same time, Matt and I are planning some big changes in our life. Talk of babies and puppies is what fills our house. Especially babies. It is just about that time, to start trying to make babies :-D I am so excited and thrilled to start a family with the love of my life but deep in my heart I have fears about the growing pains it will cause in my relationships, especially with friends. Having kids changes EVERYTHING. I am prepared for most of the changes but from past experiences I am afraid of a few of those changes. Friendships move down a little on the priority list when you have a little one and that is perfectly natural, it is the order of things. It doesn't mean your friends are less important, just that communication changes. Texts and phone calls are more frequent than visits and there is nothing wrong with that. But when people don't understand or don't even try to understand it makes things difficult.

No matter what stage in life you may find yourself, learning a balance is difficult. Time, money, resources, energy, and so many other factors have to be taken into consideration and balancing family, friends, work, kids, housework is taxing but in the long run there is such a pay off to living a fulfilled and balanced life. BUT mistakes happen. Life happens. You can't stop it. None of us are perfect and none of us should pretend to be. Apologize when necessary. Make amends. Move on when there is nothing more to be done or when the pain becomes something that need not be part of your life. Pain should not be synonymous with any relationship.If I have learned one thing in my relatively short time here on earth it is that. Letting go and Letting God is vitally important to staying balanced. If there are people in your life who stand by you and make you want to go on and be a part of their life no matter what. In the good and the bad, for better or for worse, never let those people go. That shouldn't just go for marriage but for all relationships.

"...Alice kept thinking about that passage from one part of life to another. She kept thinking, Is this it? Will I know if it is? Will I be ready?Will I make it across? Will I chicken out? Will I know when I'm saying goodbye? When I look back, will I still be able to see what I've left behind? She thought she would know when it happened.But now, as she looked around, she wondered if it was really like that at all. Maybe it happened in a million different ways, when you were thinking of it and you weren't. Maybe there was no gap, no jump, no chasm. You didn't forget yourself all at once. Maybe you just looked around one time or another and you thought, Hey. And there you were." Ann Brashares, The Last Summer (of You and Me)
Saturday, June 22, 2013


Running into old friends can really make you think sometimes. About where you have been, where you are and where you are going. I ran into someone I was very close with not all that long ago while grocery shopping and boy has she changed. It made me a little bit sad and nostalgic in a way. This girl had become like a sister to me and some things changed and we kind of just stopped talking. On Facebook and in text messages, we have said hey I miss you and we should get together when you are in town but it never happens and it probably won't ever. We won't be in that place in our lives again. We were friends who weren't meant to be forever but just for a passing moment in time. I miss her. I didn't realize how much until I saw her but also seeing the changes made me see why we hadn't stayed close. There are other people in my life who I know will be there no matter what and for a very long time, hopefully. Though I guess in reality, we don't ever fully know.

In a half hour, it will have been a year since I married my best friend and the best thing that ever happened to me. A whole year! Sometimes I still can't believe that this is my life, no matter how much I sometimes complain or don't say thank you to God enough, this is my very blessed life. We have a home with two kitties whom we love and can't get enough of, even if they drive us crazy. We have been on the hunt for a dog to adopt because we would like the dog to be used to us before we introduce a baby into the mix. Speaking of babies, September has been the decided on month to start trying for a baby. I am excited and nervous and a million other things all at once. I have been doing research on trying to conceive and learning how to use the website so that I can easily keep track of my ovulation cycle. I want to be informed and do what is best for me and baby. I have lost 12 lbs and feel good about it but stress is starting to creep in from finances and just life so my eating habits have slipped a bit parts of this week and into this weekend. Need to get back on track and be more serious about exercise habits. I need to get up to at least 30 minutes three times a week before September because I don't want to have to quit exercising because I get pregnant.

Well getting late and we are getting up somewhat early to go to zoo tomorrow to celebrate our anniversary :-D Also we both have Monday off so we can relax an extra day before heading back to work, so looking forward to some R&R with my superman!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Back to Busy

♪Working nine to five, working nine to five♪
This song runs through my head on a pretty much daily basis as I make my way to work where I work 9-5 lol. It has been such a blessing to be able to sleep a little longer than I was able to with my last job. But when you get home at around 6, you have little time to do much else for the day. Finding a routine has been a little tough, just with taking care of things around the house, appointments and such. Plus money has been a huge stressor for us lately. Being on unemployment really set us back financially, we are pretty much scraping bottom at this point until my paychecks start coming. Once we get back on track, it will be time to buy another car and set ourselves back again lol. If it isn't one thing it is another, I guess.

Matt and I are going to start trying for a baby this late summer/ early fall :-D. I am so excited to start a family. Though I just went and picked up my prescription for prenatals and they were rejected by insurance so I need to double check that prenatal care is (eek!) covered. I don't know why it wouldn't be. I don't want something else holding us back but I also have to think about the decisions we make and what it means for us and our future child/children. (Side note been writing this for like a week now lol)

I have also been bit by the forum bug, I joined a ttc(trying to conceive) community and have started talking to a few women who are planning on starting to try around the same time as Matt and I. I am still up in the air about when exactly to stop taking my birth control. Because I would like to start tracking my cycle and on birth control I rarely ever get my period so that may make it difficult. But we shall see, been discussing it with the hubby but he is not too keen on wearing raincoats again (lol I know tmi). I guess we could just leave it up to God for a month or so, really leaning towards stopping birth control at the end of June, so my cycle can regulate.

In other news, well there isn't much to say as that is mostly what me and the hubby have been talking about :-)
Monday, April 29, 2013

Making Progress

Unemployment has been both good and bad. I have loved having free time, making my own schedule. But I have hated feeling useless and ineffective. I was offered a job last week. No more contracts or lack of benefits. A full time position with benefits!!! I am beyond elated and feel so utterly blessed. I have worked for this for 7 years. Through college and job hunting and interview after interview and my contract work, this is what I have waited and worked for and it has paid off. It is such a feeling of accomplishment to receive this job offer. I am set to start on Monday, working 9-5. Looking forward to following a schedule again but definitely going to miss my free time. I am trying to get some stuff I have been meaning to do around the house done this week.

Getting to the title of the post. Today I looked around and realized, what I am doing with all this stuff that just sits collecting dust, for when I someday need it? I do not want or need this clutter. So I am making a conscience effort to reduce it. I have been holding on to some reference books from college/high school and most of that information is available on the internet, so why keep them? It isn't like I write research papers on a regular basis anymore. They have served their purpose for me, time to move on. Also I have a decent supply of scrapbook supplies, namely paper, stickers and other various items but I have not dedicated quality time to scrapbooking for quite a while. I want to find people who can use what I don't have time for right now. I am going to keep some things, like my Cricut and a few other supplies for small projects but I don't want them sitting around my house making me feel bad for not dedicating more time to something that isn't a priority in my life right now and doesn't need to be. So I am currently exploring options for new homes for some of those things. I also need to go through my clothes and our spare room/storage area to see what we don't need.

I think another place this comes into play, meaning the whole idea of clearing up space and moving forward is when it comes to starting our family. I want to bring a child into a happy, healthy, uncluttered home with room for him/her to grow. I want to stop filling my life with stuff, I don't need it. I have been trying to get back to devotions and reading scripture and filling my life with more of that. Church has not been a huge priority for Matt and I either, but our faith never waivers. We need to be more proactive though, I want my children to grow up knowing Jesus, really knowing him so they can spread the gospel instead of wandering as I did. Though I know that was part of my journey and wouldn't be who I am today without things happening in my life as they did. Because my job offers benefits and more stability than we have felt for most of our relationship, talk has turned to babies again. I am going in for my annual physical in May and will be talking to the doctor about my health and if there is anything to be concerned about if we want to start trying. I do want to lose some weight because I know that will be a concern and want what is best for a baby but in order to do that I need to do better for myself.
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Writing and Reading

"It was a long time before I realized that you don't have to start right, you just have to start. Put pen to paper, allow yourself the freedom to write badly, to get it wrong, stop looking over your own shoulder." -Abigail Thomas, A Three Dog Life
I just finished reading this book and though I didn't really enjoy it all that much, this quote struck me for some reason. Maybe because lately I have been really missing writing and journaling. In high school I remember writing constantly as a way to just say the things I didn't feel comfortable talking about with other people mostly. And it really helped me get through some tough times in my life (well actually what I viewed as tough times but what amounted to overblown teenage drama and hormones lol). I have a whole trapper keeper full of poetry and things I wrote and a couple more journals on top of that. It isn't a definitive chronicle but it paints a pretty clear picture of who I was at that time. These days what I write doesn't paint that clear of a picture. Between this blog and a couple snippets of writings I mostly seem like a woman too wrapped up in herself to really see the big picture. To see that I have not made enough time for people in my life. Not even enough time for my husband. We try to spend time together but normally we wind up wrapped in our own little world. One of us watching TV and the other on the computer or tablet or wrapped up in some other task (coupons, video game etc). That isn't quality time, it is just time passing. I find myself spending most of my day staring at a computer screen either looking for a job, figuring out the financial situation or doing other mindless tasks and I turn around and Matt is home and I don't know what happened to the day. Sad.
I have a job interview tomorrow and I am really hoping it goes well so my days can go back to having a rhythm and what felt like a purpose though I will miss the option of planning my own day, my way. I can not depend on something to change if I stay the same. Even if I don't get this job, or I do or whatever happens, my attitude needs to change. I guess I really just don't know where to start. I have been reading and reading and reading lately. At least for me it would be considered that. I have read 5 books this year which may not seem like a lot but seeing in 2012 I read about 4 total by December (and had only read 1 by October!) that is pretty awesome. I finished A Three Dog Life and started Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica which so far has made me feel not so alone. The man who wrote it had 3 jobs before he was 30 and then ended up being a waiter with a college education and felt completely disheartened by the entire corporate system. You can read a full review from Goodreads (which is AWESOME if you love to read) if you follow the link, the same for Three Dog Life. But there are just times when having a college education seems useless or pointless because of all the political corporate crap and that is kind of how this guy felt, not exactly but sort of. I guess what I really want is connection. Connection to something outside of myself that gives me hope and I am trying to find that in a book. 
Also writing makes me feel like my thoughts make sense even though I feel that this post is losing its point lol. 
Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I really miss writing, expressing my feelings in a constructive way that helps me really sort out my feelings. Not just updating the cyberspace world about the stupid goings on in my life but really expressing my feelings through poetry and journaling. Working through my emotions and feeling a catharsis when I step away from the paper or computer. I am currently finishing out my work assignment through a temp agency. After Friday I will be unemployed and I thought I had faced it and understood what that meant. But today it has hit me, I will have no job as of Monday. I will not have to wake up early and be somewhere. It scares me. I feel the sadness creeping in. I feel lonely already. That loneliness is what led me to terrible places in my life before. Matt and I have been struggling to deal with the changes going on around us lately. We are moving and all that entails, we will have less income, and to top it off, Matt's best friend's dad passed away this last week and Matt is taking it pretty hard mostly because he (actually both of us) are really worried about our friend, he doesn't have many close friends and lives alone except for having his kids occasionally. The shortness of life, wanting to live here and now, spend my life doing something meaningful. The lack of a plan doesn't help. I had a plan until I graduated college than the plan goes out the window in an economy that was struggling and is now making a painfully slow recovery. With disappointment after disappointment it is hard to keep the faith. I had an interview a couple weeks ago and I was so excited and hopeful until I got there and they tore me to shreds and made me feel worthless yet again. I am worthless with a college degree and 18 months as a lab technician gaining experience. I have held a job pretty consistently since I was 15 and yet no one wants to hire me. I don't want to go back to school but I am starting to feel it is my only choice so that I can feel worth something. Matt and my family and friends try to help and give me hope and it helps temporarily but then I am alone and the thoughts creep back in. The fear. The hopelessness. The loneliness. The need to curl up in bed and sleep it away. No matter how much you sleep, you have to wake up and you have to face life. You have to face the need for income. You have to face the bills. You have to face the ache in your heart to start a family and the million reasons you shouldn't but the one that means more than the rest. Expanding the love in my heart. I love Matt so much, I want to expand and compound that love by making a baby with him.  I am so blessed. I have a place to live, food, money to pay bills, family, friends, a husband who loves me and would do anything for me and blessings beyond anything I deserve. And yet....I sit here and act like everything is soooo terrible but in reality it isn't. In reality, my life is good. God loves me and pulls me through. I want these feelings to float away and never return. My heart and my head have different ideas. This world and my faith have different ideas. Everything conflicts. 

Bottom line: I am scared and lonely and feel no way to really express it that is constructive. Besides a need to keep going and make the best of what is in front of me.  
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The usual

I can't believe January is almost over. I say this every year yet time keeps marching on. In June, Matt and I will have been married for one year. In July I will turn 25. In September, Matt and I will have shared our lives for 4 years. In November, my best friend's little boy that she waited so long for will turn 1. And in December I will once again wonder where the time has gone. Matt and I continue to work and try to make decisions about our uncertain future. Our lease is up in March and so is my contract with the company I currently work for. Do we stay or do we go? Is it time to move out of this apartment that so often drives me nuts? (Needless to say after growing up on a dirt road where the closest neighbor is 1/4 mile away and surrounded by corn fields, I am not cut out to have neighbors within a few feet) Or do we stay and enjoy our love nest another year? The problem is at this point we can afford the rent we  pay but will we be able to next month? The questions that life always seems to be full of. I have started applying for a new job and getting the feelers out but have yet to have any feedback. I dread ending up that person I was toward the end of my job search last time. I was full of anxiety and stressed out beyond belief. Matt continues to work as a temp and go to school part time. He is burnt out. 

On top of job and life craziness, we continue to feel our conversation steer toward babies and family. We are both in a place where we feel this is the next step but a more permanent job for one of us would really help me feel more comfortable making the decision to bring a life into this world. We haven't started trying officially but my birth control is 80% effective and we hardly ever use a condom, a few years ago that would have never been an option, I would have been anal about it. I know that things will work out no matter what happens. I don't live in a world of sunshine and rainbows but I live knowing there is a God who will always provide for us. The other thing holding me back is my weight and being out of shape. I want my children to have a good role model, which I believe I can be no matter how much I weigh but I would love to have more energy to chase the little ones around. I always say I need my baby fix, but lately just holding babies isn't enough, I want more. I want to hold a baby I carried inside of me for 9 months, to wake up at all hours of the night to feed him/her, to rock him/her to sleep, to see Matt hold our precious child in his arms. That is what I want most to give my husband something he has longed for and had taken away from him so many times. That pure joy that I saw on my best friend's and her husband's faces the day after they had their son.

Three nights I week I spend 3-4 hours alone, contemplating life and trying to figure out ways to not think about the future because once again I am scared. I try so hard not be, to believe in myself and the future but I always slip on those three nights. When Matt isn't here to tell me it will be ok.  

I know in my heart that everything will work itself out. That God has every part of my life planned and knows where I need to be even if sometimes I don't.

“The will of God concerns the present moment more than the future; it deals with our motives as well as our actions; it focuses on the little decisions we make every day even more than the big decisions we make about the future. The only time we really have both to know and to do God’s will is the present moment. We are to love God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.” Jerry Sittser