Depend – a change of seasons

Inspired by a friend’s commitment, I’ve determined that for one week I will “show up” here every day, just to write…anything. I’m dropping the notion that it has to be perfect and just letting it be.

Things have changed around here a lot in the last while. My husband and I have both effectively become self-employed, and I went back to work as a Barista to ease the uncertainty of that.

We’ve been learning a lot. I’ve had a lot of preconceptions about how my life was going to go challenged…and that’s for the better, really. It’s not easy, by any stretch, but there’s that whole pressure-makes-diamonds thing that makes me grateful for it anyway (hey, I DID learn something from my little Thankfulness exercise…wait…was that the last time I wrote?! Well I guess there was that artist thing…)

Best lesson so far? Learning that calling myself “strong and independent” doesn’t actually make me trying to be self-reliant any better. I’ve had to depend so much on God, on my husband, on other people…but I’m finding that that’s okay. Really, that’s what we’re meant for. There’s physically no way to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and the same goes for the rest of life.

Also, this whole spending the last couple years learning how to manage our finances well thing? REALLY coming in handy right now. I’ll talk more about that later.

Anyway,  all this to say we’re okay. Thanks to God. We’re okay.

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Wrestling

Sorry for the month-long absence. I’ve been pretty drained of energy both physical and emotional. Had to say a difficult goodbye, have been dealing with some difficult toddler phases, and have been pretty much burning myself out trying to keep up with the house (and now it’s landscaping season to boot!)

I’m also wrestling with some different callings on my life. Obviously one of my first callings is to honour God in my family life. This has been taking and will always take first priority as far as how I manage my time (thus the drainage right now, see above). The other two callings I’m feeling right now are my photography and this growing passion for educating people about their money. I know, to some that last one seems a little weird for a Christian. I used to balk at thinking about money because I thought that would be wrong of me, but it’s not. That’s the subject for a whole other post (in my drafts, hopefully done soon), but the point is I really want to be sharing about it.

You see, I remember how it was to not understand money, and I was even ridiculed for not understanding it (by the very people who really should have been teaching me about it instead), so I was just plain afraid to deal with it. I really feel that there are a lot of women especially who feel that way, and my heart just breaks for them.

So…there’s that one explained (a little). You’ve already heard some about my photography, so I won’t drag you through that one again (for now).

Anyway, right now it’s all about attempting to wait patiently for the Lord to open the right doors. The photography doors haven’t been opening as quickly as it seemed at first, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a while before I really see anything happen there (though I may still do a fast-track program for it this summer…we’ll see what God says about that). Maybe this other path will lead somewhere?

In the meantime you, dear readers, will just have to be my guinea pigs.
Stay tuned for a money post.

Now for your viewing pleasure (and so that this post looks good on the iPad version of my blog), here’s a glimpse into the not-so-stressful part of parenting: fun in the backyard (finally!)

If you’re wondering, no, there was no reason for my son to be wearing a dragon costume except that he wanted to (when he tired of it, his sister tried it on too!). When his daddy tired of throwing him around, he stood on the tiny rock “wall” in our garden (really barely more than a border) and said “come on mommy! Let’s go fly to the clouds!”

I love how imaginative my kids are becoming…and yes, the dragon thing might be very much encouraged in our house, what with all the fantasy buffs around here (well, two anyway).

Swiftly Shared

I have only one short thought to share tonight (to make-up for the length of my last post).

Don’t underestimate the impact that small changes can make. Financially, put $25 into a savings account, cut back on your cellphone plan, skip the trip to the coffee shop. It may seem like such a frivolous amount, but if you sit there and think, “whatever, it’s not going to make THAT big of a difference,” you’re not going to get anywhere at all, are you?

Let me be really frank: there are ALWAYS going to be hard times. It’s frustrating as all get out…I’m having “one of those days” myself, when I just want to give up (which is really why I’m writing this…to remind myself more than you). But don’t stop. Keep going anyway. And be prepared.

Keep your budget tight during the months where there is plenty and plunk the extra in a High-Interest Savings Account you can’t access from your wallet the next time you’re at the mall. Do it as soon as that bonus or extra paycheque comes in (if you’re on a two-week pay schedule you’ll have two months out of the year where you get three paycheques…use them wisely!) Once you have an emergency fund (aim for $1,000.00 at first, then make your next goal 3-6months of expenses) THEN you can make some extra fun money out of that bonus.

Write down every trim you make to your budget.  Heck, don’t even do the trimming yet, just make a THEORETICAL list of the things you could cut back and how much. One coffee a week. Fewer services on your phone bill (even caller ID is a WANT not a NEED! Sure, it’s convenient, but so is having an Emergency Fund.) Do the math. You’ll be surprised.