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.