A theological question

I find myself feeling more and more ignorant about a particular theological subject and would like to know your opinion on it, so please feel free to respond.  I’m not looking for an argument, I’m not looking for a “your right, I’m wrong” response.  I honestly want to know what exactly I am missing, because I feel like I obviously must be missing something.

Most of you know our project but for those of you who dont: We  are building a farm/homestead in order to provide food for people.  Good, nutritious, whole foods at reasonable prices, and what we don’t sell we are giving away to food banks, homeless shelters, etc.  I’m not telling you this to make myself superior in any way, It’s just what we feel called to do.  We have been poor to the point where we couldn’t fed ourselves and we don’t feel that anyone should have to do that, ever.  We are still what society would call “poor”, we would qualify for food stamps if we wanted to, but we have more than enough food to feed ourselves so we don’t need to tap into that resource.  We know that people look down on us for being poor and we have come to terms with that.  We started this project after watching people exploit their employees time and time again for their own gain and realized we needed to be the change.

Now on to my question.

So many Americans have the claim that America is a “Christian Nation”, so my question is this:  If we are a “Christian Nation” why do we not only allow but encourage greed and pride?  I know that’s a super loaded question that begs the answer “we shouldn’t, these people are wrong, blah blah blah”, but our words and our actions are totally different, so here is what I mean.  We encourage, promote, and give money to people who openly steal from people, whether that be time, money, or resources.

We come across this scenario far too often.  It’s a classic Christmas Carol scenerio: A person is the owner of a large company.  This is a company where the employees do a lot of traveling and hard labor.  The business is very successful, allowing this person to live a very lavish lifestyle, yet they still yell at their employees on a weekly basis for “stealing money” from him because they don’t work fast enough, yet he forces massive unpaid overtime on his salaried employees, reimburses them for only a portion of their travel (and they travel a lot), and is constantly discussing his superiority as a Christian.  This person is also a highly regarded member of his church.

Or how about the Waltons who are known for having the most employees on welfare, yet they are the richest family in America.

Or how about this: The owner of Papa Johns owns a freaking mansion with a BAT CAVE yet he upped the price of pizza because he was being forced to give more of his employees healthcare.

These are just a few examples, there are so many more.  Why do we back these people?  Why do we allow these people to not only be in positions of power but to be respected members of the church?  Aren’t we supposed to call out fellow Christians who are not following Christ, not praise them?

Shouldn’t we, as people in general but I’m asking as a theological question so I rephrase and say shouldn’t we Christians WANT to help our employees by giving them a living wage, or healthcare, or even supplying a business credit card to be used for travel so travel money isn’t taken out of your employees pockets?  Shouldn’t we as Christians call out our fellow brothers and sisters who are acting like Ebeneezer Scrooge?  Am I missing something?  I really do want a REAL answer because I’m frustrated and confused.

First World Problems

It’s amazing the things in life that we take for granted.  We are so lucky to have power in our home, clean running water, the choice of how we want our children to be educated.  I am visiting this topic because yesterday our cistern ran out of water (or at least I thought it had, it ended up being a malfunction with the pump which was easily fixed) and it got me thinking about how much we as Americans take for granted.  We are so wasteful and many of us dont even care.

It’s funny, it’s almost as if this is my form of fasting.  It’s a way for me to become closer to the earth and to the things God gives us so that I don’t take them for granted.  I am blessed to have these things at my disposal, it’s my job to not be a glutton to them, and to be thankful for them everyday that we have them.

Some of what we do comes from being so poor for so long, but most of it comes from our views on the environment and how we should be treating it.  So here is a brief look at the life we live.  We have about a 300 gallon cistern under the cabin we are renting.  Until we get the rainwater collection set up we are relying on filling the water tank whenever it is empty.  It takes us about 7-10 days to empty the cistern.  Lets look at this critically.  We have six people living in a household that uses 300 gallons of water in a week.  We can run 3 loads of laundry, take about 2 showers each, 2 baths, and wash dishes every day.  How can we do this in a time when most households use 100 gallons of water per person every day?  Technically we should be refilling the cistern twice a day.  We have changed the way we do things in order to conserve more water.  i wash my dishes with a soapy dish towel before i rinse them off.  The water is only on while i am rinsing.  We take short showers.  When the kids take a bath we use the same bath water.  The washer uses less water than other washers.  We also don’t wash our clothes after every single time we wear them (unless they need it, like diapers or underwear).  I have some people who call me gross, I have some people who have stopped being friends with me after finding out how we use our water, and that’s fine.  We have been conditioned over the years to believe that showering everyday, washing your clothes after every wash, etc, was more “sanitary” and that “normal people” do it.  These things have actually been shown to not be better for us, or for the fabrics in our clothes, but we have been conditioned by those who benefit from the profits of us doing these things (shampoo companies, laundry detergent companies, etc).  The one thing that I do is wash my face everyday and the places that i sweat a lot, but i do this with a washcloth.  I don’t care what people think because this is the life I want to live.

We also spend about $200 on groceries every month, nothing is packaged, we have very little food that we waste and what is wasted gets fed to the dog or the chickens.  We throw away 2 bags of trash a month, and hopefully soon we will be down to 1.  Most of what people throw away is some sort of packaging, both food and non food.  If you reduce the amount of packaging you buy you reduce the amount of trash you have.  I feel much better about adding 1-2 bags of trash to a landfill every month than i did tossing 3-4 a week.  We reduce the food waste too by only buying what we need.  Yes, by the end of the 2 week pay period our fridge is looking very bare, but it should.  I find if it doesn’t we tend to not eat certain things that end up going bad.  This way we are forced to figure out how to incorporate these things into our meals, or just not buy them again for a while.  Once our garden is up and running we also will be spending much less on food.

We conserve electricity too.  We don’t keep appliances running during the day except the ones that have to (like the fridge).  We almost never have the tv on.  We also make sure to turn the lights off when we leave a room (or at least try to, our 10 year old is terrible at this).  Although part of what helps is that we are almost never home.  I find that we get cabin fever even if we are home for a few hours with so many of us in such a small space.

All in all our footprint on the environment is very low and we want it that way.  We are always looking for more ways to cut back without compromising on our heath and well being.  I have trained myself to stop and ask “what is the least wasteful way I can do this”.  I recommend trying it sometime.  It really does make you appreciative of the things you have.

Time to get back to work

I love my job.  It’s work, and it forces me to be motivated, but when I am working I love it.  For those of you who don’t know I am a Mary Kay consultant.  I have been for over 9 years.  I was a director for a period of time until my son had major surgery and I stepped down to take care of him for 4 months while he recovered and we adjusted to his new lifestyle.

After my son’s surgery I had a hard time bouncing back.  It’s almost as if I felt defeated.  Like I wasn’t good enough to remain a director while going through such a tough time, and that’s ok.  It’s ok and perfectly valid for me to have felt that way, but it’s time for me to go back to work.  We are having trouble putting aside much of anything for the build because C’s job pays all our bills and enough money for gas and food with a little left over and that’s it.  If i go back to work as much as I was for the several years before i became a director then we can put aside a lot more.  It’s not even full time work and I can still be basically a stay at home mom and run a farm, especially since I am getting really good at time management.

So what would that look like?  I just hired someone to watch the kids two days a week for 3 hours each time (that’s 6 hours a week).  That time will be spent networking, meeting new clients, and catching up with existing clients.  I would then spend 1 hour a day the other 3 weekdays contacting clients and doing paperwork stuff, then i would hold 3 selling appointments a week totaling 3 hours each (1 hour for driving and 2 hours for the appointments).  That’s a grand total of 18 hours a week working.  When i am working like this I typically bring in $800-$1000 a month.  i know my numbers, i know my stats, and now i just need to get working.  I need to see 30-60 clients a month which is totally doable when i am holding that many selling appointments.  it’s not about people buying stuff either.  Some people i see will buy $300, some will buy nothing, that’s not a big deal.  The individual numbers don’t mean much, it’s the relationships i am building and the number of people i am servicing every month that matters.  LETS DO THIS!!  LETS BUILD A HOUSE!!

Grocery Shopping

We totally overspent yesterday.  We knew we would, and I know it’s going to save us a ton of money in the long run, but it still sucks.  How did we overspend?  Thanks to some awesome friends of ours (you know who you are!) we discovered a restaurant supply store right next to Cs work.  This is where C bought the 50lb bag of flour for $14 the other day.  we bought butter, 10 lbs of flat iron steak, 10lbs of ground beef, 10lbs of pork chops, a huge jug of the good Worcester sauce, 3lbs of Mozzarella, and a large piece of Parmesan cheese, oh and enough olive oil to last us about 6 months.  We spent about $145.  I just about had a heart attach, but after thinking about it a LONG time i realized we are actually saving ourselves a lot of money.  If we send $20-$40 every month on meat we will be buying at least 10-20 lbs of meat, will have a huge repertoire of meat to chose from, and we will only be buying veggies at the grocery store (that is until ours come in).  We currently have about 10 weeks of meat in our freezer.  that’s pretty darn good i would say!! Plus we wont be buying more meat until next month.  our freezer is so full.  We need to get the deep freeze from Cs mom soon, especially before our 25 chickens are slaughtered.  We have enough food to feed us for over 3 weeks.  I’m pretty excited about all this, and NOTHING is from a box or “processed”.  It’s gonna be great once the veggies come in.  We will be spending probably about $50 a month on food if that.  I don’t think we have ever had this much food before.  ever.  We had trouble closing our freezer.  It felt pretty darn good.  Just to think that only three months ago we were striving to live on food stamps.  God is good!  We have a long way to go but we are so much better than we were when we started.

Fundraising

I set up a GoFundMe account yesterday.  This should be the only time we need one, but this will prevent us from having to stall the project for 5 -6 months.  I realize that it’s a long shot in getting anyone to help us with our project, but I figure even if nobody donates anything it should at least help us get the word out on what we are doing.  The account is http://www.gofundme.com/0tohomestead.    Please check it out, if you can’t donate (or don’t want to, and that’s ok too!) at least share with your friends!!  Thanks!!

dirt pile

The silver lining of biodiesel

No matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, there really is one thing I can rely on.  The God works in mysterious ways.

As much as I wanted to get a car first, as much as I really wanted us to have 2 cars as soon as possible, things are working out the way they need to.  As I’m watching this weekend unfold I am realizing this fact.  Am i scared C wont be able to find a vehicle this weekend?  Yes, but he really has until wed to get one and we may actually have one.  We have a truck that the service department has to look at and possible fix some things on Monday if the truck we are looking at tomorrow doesn’t work out.

But that’s the small fish.  Here is the big fish:

If we had followed our original plan I would have been the next to get a car, probably at the end of the month and it would have been a jeep commander.  Why a jeep commander?  Because it can seat 6 and in the rare occasions after the baby is born when we have all of us riding in one car we need a 6 seater.  Of course I was having that fall on me even though it really isn’t the most earth friendly economical option.  About 4-6 months after getting the jeep C would have gotten the truck he is currently looking for, and I would have then realized my mistake and been stuck…

Why would I have made a mistake?  First off the truck gets about the same mileage as the commander, but possibly better.  Second, it fits six so we would have had 2 six seater vehicles for those rare occasions we need it. Third, and the real reason I would have been upset…The truck is a diesel.  Ever since college I have wanted a diesel vehicle so I can have it run on homemade biodiesel.  C wants that too apparently (because we share the same dream, duh).  So here we would have been with one biodiesel vehicle and me being jealous.  That’s a sad story.  It’s so super easy to make your own biodiesel too.  We plan on getting a diesel generator for the house for “just in case” emergencies and running that on biodiesel too.  To make biodiesel you convert used vegetable oil (usually from fast food places that would otherwise have to pay to have it disposed of) into biodiesel using one of these biodiesel fun filtration/ conversion kits.  The cost starts at about $1500 and goes up from there.  The one in the picture makes about 40 gallons per day for about $1 a gallon.  The most awesome part about it isn’t the saving money part, which is really nice.  It’s the fact that once we make the switch we will not be tied down to the oil industry at all.  We complain about these giant companies that have monopolies over our lives, we complain about the fracking destroying our environment and contaminating the land, yet we rejoice when gas is below $3 a gallon.  I feel like a giant hypocrite.  Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to live in America without some sort of vehicle, unless you live on the east coast but even then it can be tough.  We are cutting our ties to big power, cutting our ties to the water company, and now as soon as we can we will be cutting ties to big oil.  Now if only there was a way to do this with cell phone companies and internet, but unfortunately we can’t make those ourselves.

Sooooooo… Here is the NEW plan (thanks God!).   C gets his truck.  I still need a second car in the next month, but he says he is working on that so i’ll trust him to figure that one out.  I guess i have to, although I also have to admit that i’m super jealous that he gets a car before I do, but such is life.  Anyway, as soon as we can get his credit up (which should happen fairly quickly now that he has no debt except for a car payment he makes every month), we are going to get me a diesel SUV type car.  I have been looking around and it looks like a jeep (I love jeeps) liberty will be the best way to go for us.  We will also need to refinance his truck at some point this year too, but we’ll cross that bridge after we have 2 reliable vehicles.  I have to say, as upset as I am that we STILL don’t have 2 vehicles I am happier about this plan, and far more excited about it, than I was about the original plan.  I guess things really do work out in God’s timing.

We are officially moving!!

We got the word last night that we have been approved to move into our friend’s cabin that is about 10 minutes from the property!!!  It’s a really nice, large cabin that’s probably close to the size of the house we are currently living in.  This is perfect for us because we wont have to drive as far to work on the property and our rent is significantly lower than we are currently paying, meaning we can put more towards the build.

Currently we are spending $750 in rent with about $200-$300 a month in utilities.  ($950-1050/ month and close to $1500 if you include property cost)

With the new place we will be paying $460 for the property and $450 in rent utilities included.  ($910/month)

We are so excited.  I guess it’s time to start the packing process.  We also have an ok to come out and start measuring for blueprints and such.  I am so excited.  I cannot wait.

Last night as we were leaving our friend’s place C mentioned to me how this is like climbing a mountain.  When we were talking about climbing the mountain it was so exciting because the mountain was so far away, but now we are about to head to the base of the mountain and it’s a bit more scary now.  We are planning our route, figuring out how to plan for miss steps and avalanches, packing our gear, and the mountain is so high.  It’s still really exciting though, but it’s one of those things where you just have to catch your breath and take that first step.

The next step is to sign the paperwork and hand over the $3000.  I was looking back at our plans and it’s so crazy, we went from needing $5000 by may to needing $3000 by March and we are doing it!  We still have cutbacks, sacrifices, and a lot of hard work ahead of us for this next month but it’s really happening!  Right now we have $1100 put aside which doesn’t seem like much but with 2 of Cs paychecks and my work there is no way we aren’t going to make it.  This month is really the turning point of our lives.  Come March 1st everything is going to be different.

Breathfarmer adin

Here we go!

What life means to me

It seems that as we get closer and closer to our goal I realize more and more about what we are doing and why we are doing it.  At first it started out as us wanting to finally be self sufficient.  We are at a place in our lives where we can’t be living like this anymore.  We can’t be living paycheck to paycheck praying that we can feed our children, pay for gas, or constantly asking people to help us with things.  I FEEL like I am taking advantage of people.  Whether or not I actually AM isn’t the point, I feel like I am and I don’t like it.  We should be helping others more than asking others for help.  I’m not saying we should never ask for help, that’s silly.  Everybody needs help at one point or another, it’s the fact that I feel like I am constantly asking for help that upsets me.

During this process we made the decision that we were going to use our resources to help others become more self sufficient and confident in themselves.  We know how it feels to be in that situation.  How tiring it is, how down on yourself you get, and how hard it is to get out of it.  We want to show people how they can.  We want to have excess food to give to people, we want to teach people how to cut down on their monthly spending, become better members of the global society, and we want to give away our excess income to aid others.  This is something we are very passionate about.

One thing we don’t want to do is boast about it.  I honestly believe that real charity asks for no praise.  Most of the charity we do is anonymous,  It’s between us and God.  Nobody else has to know, in fact most times I never see the response to my charity.  There is a part of me that wants to, but I know it’s best for me if I don’t.

The sermon at church today was about just this, which is what has spawned my post today.  One of the things he brought up was that it’s ok to consider ourselves saints.  We have such a stigma on the term “saint” from the Catholic church, but (if I have this right), we are actually saints in that we are sanctified by Jesus.  As much as I may agree with this sentiment I will consider myself sanctified but I know myself better than to consider myself a saint.  Not that I am not a saint, because by this definition I am, but because once I start to consider myself a saint I will start to think more highly of myself than I should.  I do not want to put my actions on a pedestal, I do not want to mentally pat myself on the back for doing good, or boast about my actions to others.  I know that I need to separate myself from this in order to remain humble.  I do these things because I am no better than anybody else.

He also spoke about our own personal ministry.  How we minister to other people.  To me, this project is my ministry.  Now don’t get me wrong, C does not share my religious ideas, this isn’t a “we are going to make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t share our religious beliefs” kind of project.  Not in the least.  C is agnostic, I was a Buddhist for 11 years, some of my family is Muslim, we have friends of every religion, we love everyone.  Am i going to hide my religion from you to make you feel comfortable? No.  Am I going to push it on you and tell you that you are going to hell for not believing in Jesus, or that you don’t deserve my love?  Never, that’s absurd.  Before i converted to Christianity someone from my old church, while trying to convert me, asked me how I will feel when my son comes to me someday and asks me why i’m ok with going to hell.  my response was 2 fold: 1) Buddhists don’t believe in hell and 2) No child of mine will ever tell another person that they are going to hell.  No matter what religion they chose it is their job to love other people, leave the judgement up to God.  I still strongly believe in the later.  I also believe that Buddhists don’t believe in hell, but I’m not a Buddhist anymore.

There are 2 things I will not hide from you.  The first is that my love comes from Jesus.  I love you as Jesus loves me.  The second is that no matter what religion you are, or non religion, I feel it’s important to find people that keep you grounded.  For years I went to church even though I wasn’t a Christian because it kept me closer to the person I wanted to be.  I reminded me that I am not perfect and that I needed to put others before myself.  Without it I become selfish and egocentric.  I lose my peace, and I don’t like myself.  I urge you to find people to talk to, find a place to worship, find what makes you a better you.

We want to help others find their peace.  It’s so easy to become caught up in the craziness and constant hurry of life but there is so much more to life than that.  We need to step back and find what makes us happy, what helps us breath.  That to me is life.

It’s not about you

I know I have mentioned this before, but I get frustrated at people very easily.  It’s a huge flaw, a giant flaw, a flaw that I really try to work on.  As I try and work through this flaw of mine I have come to realize that I get frustrated at the selfishness of other people.  I just want to yell at people, “it’s not about you”.  The world isn’t about us.  I know its easiest to put ourselves first in this world, but when you think about it we are a blip, each and every person is just a tiny blip in the history of the world.  We should be striving to make the world better instead of trying to make the world serve us.

Don’t get me wrong, i am no saint, i am far far from being  saint.  I am not perfect.  I will never claim to be perfect.  I made a realization a long time ago that I could never be happy if I continued to think I was the center of the world.  I searched a lot for the peace that I felt I needed to be happy and in that search I found the teaching of Buddhism.  I am now a Christian, I have been for about three years, but I still cling to many of the Buddhist philosophies that are actually the philosophies of many religions that have been forgotten or passed over.  The thing that really struck me was that in order to be at peace you need to put others first.  I learned to ask several very important questions, like how are my actions effecting those around me?  Will my actions hurt those around me or hurt myself? is what i want congruent with what is best for the world?  Will I be hurting the Earth? Questions like that.  My answers always came in the form of this; if my actions are hurting myself or my environment then i need to change them, if they are hurting myself then i need to find an alternative that does not hurt others, or perform those actions and take the suffering myself.   It is not in my power to decide that someone else should suffer for my own well being.  I apologize when i have wronged others despite my own pride, and that hurts.  Going against your own pride is very painful.  It’s also cathartic.  The one that I have not been able to get past though is not expecting things from others, or not being upset when others disappoint me,  I think this is where my frustration towards others comes in.  I think I expect everyone to ask themselves these same questions and come up with these same answers.

How has my life changed because of this? I try to be very careful about the things I say about other people.  Do i succumb to mindless gossip?  Oh heck ya.  There are people who annoy the crap out of me and I would love nothing more than to tell everyone about why I don’t like those people, but I know better than that.  I also know that if i did I would have to apologize to them at some point, so I keep those thoughts to myself because I am not ready for that.

I also have dietary restrictions.  They aren’t life threatening, I don’ have an allergy, i will not end up in the hospital, so when I am with other people and they are offering their hospitality in the form of food I forgo my dietary restrictions for their own comfort.  I get upset when I spend time and energy on meals for other people only to have them not eat it for various reasons, I know how much it hurts me and I would never wish that on another person.  I follow my dietary restrictions when i am home but I will never force them on another person.  When people come to my house though they can be sure that 99% of what they are eating is preservative free.

I have very strong beliefs on how the world should work, and how other people should treat each other.  I believe that you should care about yourself and what you put on or in your body.  I do not believe that your own personal beliefs should cause harm to those around you.  A fellow business person caused me to lose quite a few of my clients over a personal belief that she had which she chose to share publicly, not even considering how it would effect my business.  Due to her actions I chose not to purchase from her business.  Do i tell others not to?  No i would never do that.  I know this hurt, I know how it feels for people to take away business and I would never do that to another person, no matter how much I want to.  I also know that someday I will purchase from her again, because I know that it’s what is right, but not while the wound is still fresh.  I don’t need an apology from her, i need to forgo my own hurt pride.

When C started working at his other job, the one that screwed him over, one of the first things he did was get raises for the workers under him because he felt they needed it and deserved it more than him.  They had been there longer and were getting barely over minimum wage.  He could have taken the raise himself, he could have done what other managers have done and take the hours himself and cut his coworkers hours when it got slow, but he didn’t because he knew what was right, and I know that God works things out. if we follow his will and put others first we wont forgo suffering, but He will cover us somehow, and He always has.

Lastly I try to make sure that my own personal beliefs do not damage the environment.  I recycle as much as I can or purchase things in reusable or recyclable containers.  Our family of 4.5 (one is a part time child) produces 1 bag of trash (kitchen bag, not 33 gallon bag) every 2 weeks.  I started looking at our trash and what we were throwing away and realized that I was throwing away a lot of things that could be reusable.  We use cloth diapers for our children.  It takes more energy for me to clean them, but I am not adding to the diaper waste in landfills.  It also only adds an extra $5 of water a month to our bill.  I also don’t wash them in bleach.  I wash everything in a washing soda, borax, and dawn mixture.  It is amazing.  My clothes have never been so clean.  I also clean the house with hot water, white vinegar, and dawn.  We haven’t bought paper towels in over 2 years.  I have a stack of small washcloths I use to clean with.  I also have a stack of softer washcloths i use for baby wipes that i wash with the diapers.  Our milk comes in glass jars, i typically don’t put vegetables in the plastic bags at the grocery store unless they are small and i have to.  We buy very little packaged food and what we do buy the packages are recyclable.  We compost everything that we can, including our Christmas tree once we take it down.

This is where my annoyance for others come in.  I know it’s wrong, I know it’s actually selfish of me to feel this way, but it gets me so aggravated.  I have my personal beliefs, and they are my personal beliefs.  I frustrates me when I watch other people say they share in those beliefs but they do it in a selfish way.  They force others to compensate for those beliefs, they make others feel inferior for not sharing those beliefs, or they only follow the beliefs that directly pertain to themselves and their own well being.  I want to tell them that they missed the point.  it’s not about you.  it’s never about you.  It’s about doing what’s best for the world around you.  You can’t say you love others and in the same conversation put them down or make them feel inferior. it’s a half-assed attempt to do what you know is right.  Have faith that if you do what is right things will still work out in the end.  It will at least bring you peace.

Christmas Miracles

This time of year has always been really tough on me.  It’s a combination of winding everything down, paying for gifts and all the other Christmas who-ha, my birthday (which is really more of a hassle than anything else, especially since the lovely state of Kentucky likes to make your car taxes and tags due on the last day of your birthday month.  Happy birthday!  pay taxes), stressing about money we don’t have, and wrapping up all the business stuff for both of our businesses.  We usually spend almost the entire month of December looking forward to the next year and how much better IT will be because it must be better than this year.  This year hasn’t been much different, in fact, this year has probably been the most stressful year we have had yet.  From what I understand many people are in the same boat we are in.  From hours being cut, surgeries (which kept me living at the hospital for almost 2 months), stepping down from my position at work, the wedding, kids, being pregnant with our fourth, dealing with breaking down and getting government aid, and adding this project on top of everything (which has really kept us sane), I don’t know how I haven’t completely imploded.  Somehow I have survived.  Not only have I survived, but this has been the best, most productive December in a VERY long time.

I have been losing a lot of sleep in the past two months.  All of the stress of everything, mostly money, has kept me up from about 3-6 most every night.  I pace the house, watch tv, blog, and work on the budget during that time.  Oh, and have massive heartburn.  It’s not pleasant and i wouldn’t wish this sort of insomnia on anyone.

About a month ago I wrote a list, i like lists, i tend to write a lot of them.  This was a different list than I have written before.  It was a “Things that keep me up at night and stress me out” list.  I wrote down everything that I need to have resolved by the end of the year.  This was the list:

Things that keep me up and night and stress me out:

  1. The divorce (my attourney sucks and has taken close to 2 years to finalize my very uncomplicated divorce)
  2. Get our marriage license (we NEED to file taxes as married next year)
  3. C’s job (either make more money or get a new one)
  4. file for partial unemployment
  5. SNAP benefits
  6. Fix baby girl’s insurance

As of Christmas eve EVERY SINGLE ONE of these things had been taken care of.  I wrote a very nasty email to my attorney about how she had assured me multiple times that the divorce would be final by the end of the year and (at the time) there were only 16 days left, half of which were holidays and I needed to know what she planned on doing about it.  I hate being stern with people, or threatening people,  but sometimes you just have to grow a set and take care of it.  Three days later the divorce went through.  The following day we went and got our marriage license, and on Christmas eve the certified license arrived in the mail.  C had a second interview on Christmas eve and got the job which is such a relief for the both of us. We received our SNAP benefits which allowed us to eat for this month.  C applied for partial unemployment, which he only has to take advantage of for the month of December.    Lastly I spent about an hour talking on the phone with 3 different people to fix baby girls insurance.  She should be able to see the doctor again after the 1st of the year which is a HUGE relief for us.

Every time something got checked off the list we would joke about how it was a “Christmas Miracle!!”.  I told C today that it was a God thing.  I know that not everything is going to work out for us, in fact looking at our track record nothing should work out for us.  When it does I give praise where I feel it is deserved.  We also have to thank our friends and family that have helped us along the way too.  We couldn’t have done it without them.  We still have a really long journey ahead of us, but this gives me hope.

I know I have said this before but I’ll say it again, stress IS NOT healthy.  A small amount of stress is healthy, we need it, but not the kind of stress that I was suffering from.  Don’t let yourself go through this.  Making that list of all the stressful things in my life has made a HUGE difference in my mental and physical well being.  I think I am going to continue to do this.  Make a list of the six things I need to have completed by the end of the month and work towards those.  Please don’t let stress get to you like it got to me, figure out how to break your stress down and work on it piece by piece.  We are told at work “eat an elephant one bite at a time”, and it works.  it’s so much better to break things down instead of looking at the giant picture.

Also we currently have $700 saved towards our goal.  I know it’s not quite our goal for this month but it’s better than $400, and based on how this month has gone I’LL TAKE IT!!  Plus we have 5 days left, and 5 days is a long time.