Posts Tagged ‘money’

Random Rambles

It’s FRIDAY!  Do I really need to say anything else?!

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I love to see the gifts in my children become glaringly obvious.  Sweet Sawyer is such a little administrator.  It takes one to know one, perhaps.

Wryder has a crush on a cute little high school girl and the minute he saw her last fall, he’s been telling her (and everyone else) that he was gonna marry her.  He and Sawyer have made plans for him to live in the playhouse with his new wife, with a sled for a bed.  Sawyer has been busy planning his wedding for months and this week, she got their wedding clothes done.

She made notes and designs in her notebook and would check off each piece as she completed it.

Her designs...

Her designs…

Her main construction materials were paper towels and washi tape and they look surprisingly good!

The dress and "gail"

The dress and “gail”

Wryder's tuxedo shirt.  Note the red rose and the bow tie...

Wryder’s tuxedo shirt. Note the red rose and the bow tie…

I feel like we’ve fought their obsession with this project for quite some time.  I do love that they love the concept of marriage and how joyful it truly is.  We must be doing a little something right…

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Sawyer has her first 4-H meeting this weekend.  We are so excited for her and she is so excited for herself!  Wrex and I’ve done a lot of talking this week about the joys and advantages of a slower pace of life.

Everything that he is today – from follower of Christ, to husband, to father, to cattle buyer – all of the things and people that influenced him most, took place before he was 15 years old.  It wasn’t high school…it wasn’t college…it was the things he got to try and experience during his most formative years that shaped his being.

I am so grateful that I get to be a stay-at-home mom…that I get the opportunity to spend more time with them than anyone else…that we get to encourage them and teach them and train them and provide them with opportunities and experiences that will translate into their futures.

We were watching Duck Dynasty the other night and one of the older kids was pursuing his dreams as a musician and just watching his mom’s reaction made me sappy, of course.  There are times when it feels like those days are so far down the road, but we all know they’re not; they’ll be here in the blink of an eye, just like everything else.

It made us wonder what our kids would be doing and pursuing…and we pray with all of our might that at the heart of whatever it is, that it’s Jesus.

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The neighbors didn’t have school on Monday so we loaded up for a midday play date.  Sawyer got to ride in the go-cart and thought that was pretty fun stuff!

Bye, mom!

Bye, mom!

Wryder went over, looked at it, tried the helmet on and then settled for the porch.

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This cute little booger is just joy in every way!

:)

:)

She was a little fussy for the babysitter on Tuesday night and has had a few bouts of that with us lately so we assumed she must be getting a tooth.  Yesterday, Wrex was playing with her and saw the monster coming in on the top.

Lately, she’s really been pursing her mouth and that must be why.  Not sure what explains all the nose crinkling but I LOVE it.

Cute toot!

Cute toot!

Seriously, she’s the cutest thing E.V.E.R.

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We’re hoping hoping HOPING that the guys get our barn and shop finished this weekend.  They’ve been working weekends and the wind hasn’t helped their cause much….or the fact that they don’t ever get here until 10 am.  *ahem*

They have the shop all done but are still working on the barn.  I promise to post pics when they are done.  I know it’s going to look so nice but there’s something I’ll miss about the chippy old barn…

A few winters ago...

A few winters ago…

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Wrex is still sporting the mutton chops.

Yeeeeaaaahhh...

Yeeeeaaaahhh…

Extroverts are so funny.  I spend most of my days not wanting to be seen and he’s putting himself out there front and center, with radical facial hair no less.  Cracks me up.  Here’s to hoping they’re gone by Monday…sure hope that razor doesn’t zip up his face in the night!  ;)

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It’s Fun Friday around here and today is errand day.  We’re gonna run to town and take some checks to the bank for daddy and get some cash for our Dave Ramsey envelopes and take a cupcake to a special birthday lady and get some birthday cards to send to some other special people (PaPa and RaRa!) and if the wind stops howling, we may stop at the park to burn a little energy (them) and calories (me).

Whatever you find yourself doing today, I pray that you choose and find joy in all of it.

Random Rambles

The  snow is finally starting to melt a bit around here.  There’s no telling how long I’ll be dealing with mud instead.  I’m not sure which is worse when it comes to keeping kids and shoes and floors and cars clean…

It's everywhere!

It’s everywhere!

I’d say we had about a foot of snow but some of the craziest drifts we’ve ever had.  In our almost five years here, we’ve never had to have the neighbors rescue us but we had to call in the big dogs this time.

Thankful for such wonderful neighbors!

Thankful for such wonderful neighbors!

The high winds have blown even more snow around and our road has blown shut at least four times.  Needless to say, we finally got out today to buy groceries and run a few errands.

The kids have sure had a ball playing on the big mounds daddy made, though!

King and queen of the mountain!

King and queen of the mountain!

We also took time to make some snow ice cream!  We made a picture scavenger hunt for the kids using our cell phones.  We’d text them a picture of something in the house like this:

??

??

and they’d have to figure out where exactly it was.  There, they’d find an ingredient needed to make snow ice cream!

YUM!

YUM!

Making memories

Making memories

She LOVED it!

She LOVED it!

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You know those friends who don’t feel like friends at all?  The ones that feel like you’re long lost sisters or, at the very least, sisters of the heart?  Yeah.  Those.  I’m quite fortunate to have a few of those in my life and it saddens me that none of them live close to me.  My head and heart have yet to reconcile how the Lord can so lovingly plop someone in your life and then makes you live so far from each other…..

My friend Emily is one of those friends.  I met her at a trade show when we were in Denver and there was just that instant connection.  She is so kind and spunky, a marketing maven and an event planner extraordinaire…and she has red hair!  (Just a wee bit jealous, I am!)  She has the sweetest husband and parents and kids!  Oh, and if you wanna build a house and have it decorated to the hilt, call this girl!

We had the privilege to attend a Super Bowl party in their new digs – SO. MUCH. FUN.  Their house is BEAUTIFUL and so warm and inviting and she IS the hostess with the mostest.

She had a photo booth and games for the kids…

CUTIES!

CUTIES!

Wryder giving it a try...

Wryder giving it a try…

Sawyer's turn!

Sawyer’s turn!

We had food out the wazoo and everything was sooooo goooood!  I made a few of these guys…

Be still my sweet tooth

Be still my sweet tooth

The kids LOVED Emily and her family!

Two of the sweetest girls I know!

Two of the sweetest girls I know!

Wryder took a special liking to Papa.  They shared bowls and bowls and bowls of caramel corn and stories on the couch.

SO sweet!

SO sweet!

The night only got better with that Bronco win!  These guys had a ball and looked cute doing it!

Not sure she REALLY knew what was going on...

Not sure she REALLY knew what was going on…

But this guy did!

But this guy did!

As did this little fan!

As did this little fan!

THANK YOU, Justin and Emily for such a wonderful night!  I’m voting with the kids that we just move on down to Wild Horse, too…

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Someone has joined the thumb-sucker ranks around here.

EEP!

EEP!

We fought the battle hard with Wryder and thankfully he just sucks his thumb as he goes to sleep; not ideal, but at least it’s not all day, every day.

Sayble has surprised us.  She’s a closet thumb sucker……but it’s so. darn. cute.

Tell me that's not cute?!

Tell me that’s not cute?!

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Sawyer was looking so cute in a little outfit the other night and I wanted to snap a quick pic of her.  Of course, she pulled out all of her poses….  Good grief, I love this girl!

IMG_7221IMG_7220IMG_7219IMG_7218****************

Wrex and I have been teaching a Financial Peace University class at the local community college on Tuesday nights and it has been SO cool!  Dave Ramsey’s directives helped us get out debt and we wanted to share the wealth of knowledge we’ve amassed and give others some HOPE for their financial situations, too!

I firmly believe the Lord had us teach this so that we could further our journey to even more financial freedom, wealth building and extravagant giving.  We feel so renewed and reinvigorated regarding our finances.  Bring it on, 2016!

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For my “midnight” snack last night, I had some almonds and a fruit and veggie smoothie.  I’ll be the first to admit that it didn’t LOOK very appetizing.

Hmmmmm

Hmmmmm

I used spinach, kale, blackberries, chia seeds and a little unsweetened almond milk.  Even though it didn’t look very tasty, it really was!

Wrex humored me and took a little taste.  He choked it down but swore it wasn’t as good as the frosty he had at lunch.  Oh, to be able to eat 8,000 calories a day and still be at my fighting weight….

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Sawyer’s been wanting to sew lately, so we got out her little sewing machine yesterday and she went to town!  She made these shorts for Wryder.

:)

:)

They ended up a little small but her decorative elements made up for it, don’t ya think?!

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This family of mine is just the bees knees.  Days with them are the best days……

Random Rambles

A dear (and beautiful) friend checked in on me yesterday.  She had noticed my lack of blogging and wanted to make sure all was well in Phippsville.  Indeed, it is.  We’ve just been in a season of feeling like we were just keeping our heads above water with all we’ve had going on.  It’s been GOOD stuff, just lots of it!

Today’s blog is an attempt to catch you up on the past 6 weeks of our life…most likely in no particular order because oh, my brain….

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Sayble turned 7 months old and went in for her 6 month old check up. *ahem*  (Re-read the first paragraph…we’ve been a little busy).  She weighed in at 19 pounds and was 29 inches long!  She was terribly fussy yesterday – not usually her style – and lo and behold there was a sharp little nugget of a tooth pushing it’s way up!

Cute as a button...and bald as a cue ball!

Cute as a button…and bald as a cue ball!

She started eating baby food and LOVES it.  Kid is eating about 16 ounces a day and would eat more if I’d let her.  She’s still just as sweet and smiley and bald as ever.  It’s gonna grow.  Really it will.  Soon, sweetie…soon.

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We got new carpet! YAY!  That’s what happens when your adorable 6 month old starts the barrel-rolling/crawling phase and she’s wrapped around daddy’s finger and he thinks the old carpet that was here when we moved in needs to go.  Hey, whatever it takes!  ;) 

It. Is. So. Soft.

It. Is. So. Soft.

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One of Wrex’s dreams came true and he got a pony…with a cart.  His name is Ernie and he’s about as wide as he is tall.  He’s 12 years old and is actually quite broke and talented.  The kids ADORE him and they can’t wait to ride him in a local parade.  Keep your eyes out for us!

Ernie and crew

Ernie and crew

Taking Wryder for a ride

Taking Wryder for a ride

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I had the honor of hosting a baby shower for one of the sweetest girls I know!  She is expecting a baby girl named Mesa Rae (isn’t that gorgeous?!) in January so we showered her with lots of love and gifts and (soup and cupcakes)!  It was a fun afternoon of celebrating mommy and baby to be.  There’s just something about a first-born girl…

Ali and Cliff

Ali and Cliff

Gifts!

Gifts!

The guest book

The guest book

Centerpieces

Centerpieces

Advice for momma

Advice for momma

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Sawyer has been DYING to have a Barbie Pop-Up Camper.  I mean, they are pretty cool.  I had the Barbie RV AND the Barbie Dream House when I was growing up so I get where she’s coming from.  ;)

Wrex and I had pretty much finished her Christmas shopping and had gone back and forth on whether to take something we’d already gotten for her back to get this but that just didn’t set well with us.  She has a dollhouse that she plays with and we felt like the Pop-Up Camper would be similar and that she’d enjoy some of the other things we had already purchased a little better.

Pop-Up Camper was ALL we had heard about for quite a while and we just asked the Lord for wisdom on what to do.  She doesn’t have to have EVERYTHING she wants…this is the just the first thing she’s ever REALLY asked for by name.  People always ask her what she wants for Christmas or her birthday and she has no clue, so this was definitely different…we just didn’t know how to navigate it.  He answered.

She woke up last week and said she had an idea for us.  She wanted to know if she could cash in her piggy bank and then do chores to work and earn money to pay for the rest; we were definitely behind this plan!

The chore chart

The chore chart

Girl had $64 in her bank!  Thanks, sale barn buddies!  We created a chore chart and she’s been working outside and moving chickens and picking up trash and doing laundry and dishes to beat the band!  We saw it in Wal-Mart today and that added to the excitement.  I’m so proud of her for having a goal and working for it!  That will serve you well, sweet pea… 

Checkin' it out...

Checkin’ it out…

She did say she wasn’t going to buy it until AFTER Santa came because if he wanted to buy her one, she’d save her money for something else.  She’s a smart one, that one…

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Speaking of Santa, we went and saw him Monday evening in town.  He left a little to be desired in the santa looks department (no offense, sir!) and Sawyer was a little skeptical.  She told us afterwards, “He doesn’t talk like the santa we saw last year.  I’m pretty sure one of this is just some guy dressed up as santa…”  She’s a smart one, that one…

Skeptical about Santa

Skeptical about Santa

Ready to watch the parade

Ready to watch the parade

Sayble snuggling daddy

Sayble snuggling daddy

Shopping with Sayble.  I'm sure this is safe, don't worry...

Shopping with Sayble. I’m sure this is safe, don’t worry…

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We met up with the Phipps side of the family for Thanksgiving and the three youngest cousins got to meet each other for the first time!  These cuties were all born within about a month of each other.  We took somewhere between 50 and 100 pictures and I’m thinking this is one of the best ones we got!  Three babies plus a house full of people trying to get them all to smile equal chaos…

Saylor (8 months), Chase (7 months), Sayble (7 months)

Saylor (8 months), Chase (7 months), Sayble (7 months)

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Sawyer sold her first show heifer this past month with some help of daddy and her good friend John Tucker.  She got her check in the mail and opened her first checking/livestock account this past week.  My baby is growing up, it seems.

She picked out checks with horses on them and is so generous, she wanted Wryder’s name on them, too.

Signing her paperwork with our sweet friend, Katie

Signing her paperwork with our sweet friend, Katie

Sawyer and Corn Cob

Sawyer and Corn Cob

Even cooler than the checking account, she tithed off of her income to a ministry our church runs and supports called CARE Uganda. I helped host a fundraiser for them this fall and she’s as bought in as the rest of our family is.  So proud of my girl…

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In the midst of all of the busyness, we have had so much to be thankful for.  We have entered this Christmas season at a slower pace and a purposeful turning of our hearts towards Jesus.  We’ve spent our mornings with our hearts and noses in our advent readings and have worshiped through song before bed every night.  He is so worthy of it, friends…

Random Rambles

Up until I had kids, I much preferred “fall backward” over “spring forward.”  I mean, who wants to lose an hour of sleep?!  Well, with kids, spring forward works waaaaaaay better around here.  Since that happened a few weeks ago, Sawyer has been sleeping until 8 and Wryder until 9.  Wrex and I have been trying to at least be IN bed by 9 every night so I’ve been getting AT LEAST 10 hours of sleep at night.  It’s.  Been.  Glorious.

This Tuesday, Sawyer and daddy had teeth cleanings in North Platte that we had originally scheduled for 10 am.  His sale got cancelled so the dentist graciously allowed us to move our appointments until the afternoon…for the sleep factor, ya know?

We slept in, ate breakfast, got around and got to town in time for Wrexy to eat at his favorite Chinese food buffet.  :)  Sawyer saw this sign in the bathroom and was just incredulous at its meaning…or what SHE thought it meant.

What the heck?!

What the heck?!

She said, “Pssh.  Mom?  What does that sign even mean?  Who would go to bed in the bathroom?”  Hysterical.  Love that girl…

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She and daddy were both cavity free and got new toothbrushes and lots of compliments.  The dentist just thinks Wrex has the most wonderful teeth.  Sigh.  I’m sure I’m just a wee bit jealous.  Prior to his first visit six months ago, he hadn’t even been to a dentist in 12 years.  YEARS, people.  He still only had one cavity.  One.  And I know how much pop he drinks and how often he brushes.  He’s a dental marvel…  He told me last night that he’s pretty sure he had the same toothbrush all four years in college.  I almost threw up…for lots of reasons.

Sawyer getting her cleaning

Sawyer getting her cleaning

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We’re head to Nebraska for Easter weekend so we’re going to do our little family Easter celebration this weekend.  Yesterday morning, we took some time to color and decorate some eggs.  This was Wryder’s first time and it went pretty much like I expected it to.  ;)

Gosh, she's gorgeous...

Gosh, she’s gorgeous…

Gettin' a little help from daddy

Gettin’ a little help from daddy

Sister's an egg dying pro!

Sister’s an egg dying pro!

Wryder just needs a little more finesse ;)

Wryder just needs a little more finesse ;)

Double dipping

Double dipping

After we got them dyed, we decorated them with stickers and hair and pipe cleaners…

Cute!

Cute!

Daddy getting in on the action

Daddy getting in on the action

He really liked our morning project!

He really liked our morning project!

A lot of his turned out like this:

Oops

Oops

but that’s ok!

Our little egg creatures...

Our little egg creatures…

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Sawyer helped me sort some M&M’s yesterday morning.  We’re working on stuff for Wryder’s birthday and I needed yellow, green and brown only.  She was FAST!   I was quite impressed with her sorting skills…

IMG_2656Wryder did his part by eating anything that sister snuck him or we dropped on the floor.

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I got some new Jams in the mail this week – some unexpected!  I decided it was time to take the time to do mine again.  (We did Sawyer’s Monday).  I love ALL of these – so cute!

Adorable, yes?!

Adorable, yes?!

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A few years ago, one of Sawyer’s sale barn buddies gave her a two dollar bill and a 50 cent piece for Christmas.  I LOVED the sentimentality behind this gift because it was something my grandparents and uncles were always prone to do for us.  In fact, there was a number of years that I was positive a 50 cent piece had my Uncle Danny’s picture on it and I referred to them as Uncle Dannys and I would use ONLY Uncle Dannys to buy my school lunches.

Last night, Wrexy brought home a set for Wryder from this same gentleman.

Too cool....

Too cool….

It’s a sweet, sweet thing when people show love to your kids…

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It’s Fun Friday and we’ve got some innocent mischief to get into!  I pray you enjoy your weekend – it’s supposed to be a pretty one!

I’m Trying

A friend of mine from high school just lost her sweet four year old baby girl.  She had a bacterial infection that turned septic and is now in the arms of Jesus.

I found out last Friday night and was so shocked and dumb founded.  I was breezing through Facebook and I saw her post and thought it was going to say her daughter was having a birthday or was getting a new sibling or something…anything but that.

Having a sweet little four year old myself, it hit me pretty hard…as most things dealing with death or mommies and babies often do.  I sat weeping in my chair for a good ten minutes, crying out to the Lord on their behalf.  How incredibly, ridiculously unfair…

One of my biggest fears is to lose my babies…especially too soon.  How soon is too soon?  Would there EVER be a good enough amount of time that it would be ok for them to go?  No.  Not yet, Lord.  Not yet.

I often feel like I’ve led a decently charmed life.  I grew up in a home with two parents, even if their love and marriage wasn’t perfect. We never wanted for much and my parents did everything in their power to make sure that we were more than provided for.  They were never sick or seriously injured, nor was my brother or I; we didn’t face any catastrophic childhood diseases or lose a parent before we were married.  I wasn’t bullied, nor did I struggle in school with making friends or with academics or with extracurricular success.  I married a man that is so much more than I ever dreamed or imagined.  We’re out of debt, have 2.6 beautiful, healthy, happy children.  We don’t want for much and are blessed more than we even deserve.  We haven’t experienced a devastating loss or blow or catastrophe…

When you hear stories about kiddos dying or you turn on the news or venture out past your own front porch…you start to wonder…when is it gonna be my time?  When will I be the one holding the cards of doom?  When will it be my family that’s going through the agonizing pain of loss?  Because, isn’t it due me???

Do you ever feel that way? The defense system in me rises up to be prepared and to take all the steps necessary so THAT doesn’t happen…but that’s not even remotely possible.  How do we shield ourselves and our family from every kind of evil or every bacteria or virus or every freak accident or every decision of everyone around us?  We can’t.  We’d be exhausted.  We’d be spent.  We’d be dry and weary and empty.  Don’t ask me how I know…

These precious people I get to call my family are just far better than I ever imagined they’d be.  In my wildest of dreams, I couldn’t have designed a better group of people to share my days with; they are just something else…and the thought of losing any or all of them makes me physically ill.

I am continually dragging myself back to the foot of the cross, laying my family down again and again and again.  I KNOW He loves them more than I do (so hard to really grasp that, isn’t it??) and I have to trust that He will protect them better than I ever could…or believe that I could.  It’s a process.  And it’s going to continue to be a process for me.

Part of the “laying down” is going to have to involve more than just my family, more than just “my arrows.”  It’s a laying down of what I think my life should look like.  If I truly believe He is sovereign and good and that His ways are best, I have to choose to believe that whatever story gets written for me is good and best.  I’m not quite there yet, I’ll be honest. How in the world can losing your little girl be His best for someone??  For anyone??

I don’t want to find out.  And that’s the crazy part, isn’t it??  That His best might involve loss, yet we hold on so tightly because we don’t want to have to walk through the bouts of sometimes agonizing pain that are sure to come just to see the other side.  Is it worth it?  I don’t even think I want to know… 

And not that His best always includes THAT kind of loss…but there’s always a loss of something; something we have to lay down for our own good…for His best.  That’s part of following Christ, isn’t it?  We can’t keep holding onto the same old sinful things and expect life to be different.  To live your life you’ve got to lose it…

I ran across this post from a friend of a friend who has struggled through more than her fair share of loss in the past two years.  Her strength and resiliency and faith have moved me and astounded me more than I can put into words.  She wrote this on January 1st of this year; the timing of her writing and my reading was not lost on me.  Maybe it’s time for something new…

It was appropriately titled – Lay It Down.  (Full credit to Lindsey Dennis of vaporandmist.wordpress.com…my hyperlink button isn’t working)

My rights to how my family may form
My rights to watch a little baby grow up
My rights to what my life “should” look like

Lay it down
he says
Lay it down…
lose your life and you will find it.  – Matthew 10:39

It is often not until the expectations of your life come to a crashing halt
disappointment ensues
that you realize you had any expectations at all,
that you were holding on to your life.

It is the privilege, the blessing of the sufferers,
the disappointed
the broken hearted
to learn to lay it down-
to wrestle in the laying down-
to know HIM in the laying down.

And the laying down gives us room –
Room to dream.
Room to breath.
Room to hope,
to hope in the one who is the author of hope
to hope that all will not be as expected,
it will be far greater
it will be true living
when we lay it down.

To know that he knows the way we take. -Job 23:10
He directs our steps. -Proverbs 16:9
And He knows, He Knows, He KNOWS…
The why of the blessing that has come in a form you never thought would be the way he would ask you to take…
The blessed to be a blessing.

We were blessed with two daughters in the past two years, but for a moment.
To be a blessing both now and to come.

And I’m laying down the “to come”
Because just as this year I anticipated a different path to joy our lives would take,
a baby in our arms, in our home…
I could never have written what unfolded.
It was and is broken and beautiful.
And still the grace that has been given in the broken pieces is finding a way to feed our souls,
To direct our steps
To be multiplied into the lives of others.

I want to plan this next year,
anticipate,
hope
for the blessings I think best.

Lay it down
he says
and
I will give you ALL.

The blessing has been Him. ALL him. Always him.
We just sometimes can’t see it or want it to be different or think that the fullness of joy can’t really come from simply just His presence.

“No good thing does he withhold from him whose walk is blameless”
-Psalm 84:11

The goodness is Jesus, redemption, rescue, grace.
Jesus in the pain. Jesus in the joy.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

“I count all as loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
-Philippians 3:8

That’s how good it is to know him.
I see it more in the loss,
in the laying down.

“And suffering produces endurance
and endurance produces character
and character produces hope.
And hope does not disappoint.
-Romans 8:3-5

The kind of hope that comes from the love of God
poured down
                       poured in
                                      poured through
                                                     poured out.

Lay it down.

It’s the only way to love, to hope, to joy…
the kind we really want,
the kind we really need.
the kind that will pour out blessing upon blessing,
not the material kind-
the eternal kind.
The blessings that matter.

Lay down your rights,
your dreams,
your hopes,
your expectations

To the one who Loves. Who is LOVE. Who pours Love out and in and through and around…
and covers us with his love in more ways then we could imagine. -Ephesians 3:20

And let him rebuild
renew
restore
with dreams far greater
hopes unexpected
JOY found in the most unlikely of places.

It comes in the suffering
the trials
the broken pieces
the mundane places

This is where we either lay it down, or clench our fists.
This is where we learn to hope or walk the bitter path.

It is a constant, daily, moment by moment surrender.

It is a life of laying down our lives… to the one who laid down his life for us.

It is a life where beauty is found in the surrender.

Oh Lord, let this be a year of laying it down.
Of counting all as loss compared to knowing you.
That I would know more deeply what the Psalmist says:
                                       “In your presence there is fullness of Joy.” -Psalm 16:11

It is you Jesus. Always you.
And tomorrow when I forget,
and I clench my fists and hold on to my dreams,
remind me to lay it down.
That YOU are where life is found.

I’m trying, Lord….

Financial Freedom

Ok, so if I thought yesterday was a big day at the Phipps house, I was completely and utterly wrong.  Today’s events have been much, much more significant.   Are you ready for it??

Outside of our home loan, we are 100% DEBT FREE.

That is something to celebrate, people!!!  I’m going to get pretty personal with numbers here…and I feel no inhibition in doing so.  This has ALL happened at the hand of the Lord so to Him, we give every ounce of credit and glory!

When Wrex and I got married, we had a little over $100,000 in debt between the two of us.  Yes, you read that correctly.  $100,000.  YIKES.  (That honestly makes my stomach quiver now…)

How did we have that much, you ask?  Well….

  • We both had vehicles that we were still paying on…
  • He had bought a trailer house to live in during senior college, that promptly lost over half of it’s value once it turned 10 years old…
  • We both had student loans…some of which were for out of state tuition, which isn’t cheap…
  • We both had credit cards that had been used frivolously and whose balances were at their max…
  • We had signed up for a buyer’s club of sorts that was designed to rob young adults of membership money under the guise of savings lots of said money as they made big purchasing decisions…basically, an incredibly unwise decision…
  • We were simply living beyond our means…and had been for a few years…

I distinctly remember our breaking point…and it was ugly.  It came on the heels of a bad weekend anyways and it only got worse.  Long story short, Saturday night we ran to McDonald’s to get a quick supper, only to have our card declined.  Yeah.  It was that bad.  We couldn’t even afford to eat off of the dollar menu.  We.  Were.  Broke.  And?  Wrex still had to get to work Monday morning with a diesel truck that was sitting on E.

The Lord provided even in the midst of all of that reckless living.  I had won employee of the month at my job for the past two months and had been rewarded with “Downtown Dollars” – money that could be spent at any downtown business.  Thankfully, there was a Safeway grocery store downtown and we purchased gift cards with my “Downtown Dollars” and took those to a different Safeway that had fuel.  It wasn’t a very fun weekend.

It was, however, the turning point in our financial situation.  Wrexy had lots of windshield time between driving to work and driving the tractor, so he had been listening to Dave Ramsey quite faithfully.   (He’d been listening to Dr. Laura, too, but that’s another gag-inducing story).  He had come home several times telling me about the “debt snowball” and he thought we could do it, or should at least try.  I was quite hesitant because our situation just seemed plain hopeless to me.  I hadn’t even been tithing regularly because “we couldn’t afford it.”  (I remember conveniently leaving the checkbook at home on multiple occasions because the thought of handing over even more of our paycheck was terrifying).

After a lot of Scripture reading and a lot of pushing from Wrexy, we decided to do it.  What did we have to lose at this point??  I remember sitting in the pickup and listening with him one day.  On Fridays, people get to call in and tell about how they got debt free and they get to scream, “We’re debt freeeeeeeeeeee!”  I bawled at all of them because it seemed like such a wonderful goal…but one that was so far away…

To get started, we sold his old gooseneck trailer for $800 and paid off one of our smaller credit cards and then the snowball started.  We reigned in our spending and eating out and started tithing regularly…and it felt GOOD.

We moved soon after we started this process and the people he was working for provided our housing and utilities as part of his pay.  With this new situation, we opted for living off of my paycheck and paying off debt with his.

The Lord was soooooo faithful during this process!  Some things were cake to pay off and others felt like we were working for years…and we were.  We were dealing with the consequences of years of irresponsible living.  It hurt to think of all of the things that the money we were paying out towards debt could’ve been used for…

We took a break from our debt snowball when I was pregnant with Sawyer.  We only had Wrex’s largest student loan left and we went back to paying minimum payments for a number of reasons.  We had private health insurance and at the time, since we had gained enough financial freedom for me to quit my job and start the journey as a stay at home mom.   The state of Colorado didn’t require private insurers to cover maternity claims, so ours did not.  We knew a $10,000 – $20,000 hospital bill would soon be staring us in the face in a few short months.  (The Lord TOTALLY provided but that’s another story for another day.  Are you seeing a theme here??)

Soon after, Wrex left his job in an obedient leap of faith and we were soon jobless and homeless so the minimum payments continued.  Then, we found a job, found a house, made lots of improvements, had another baby and never really finished….until today.

The Phipps’ are DEBT FREE.  And?  You better bet your bottom dollar we’re calling big Dave on Friday! 

I’m not sure I can fully express the freedom that comes from owing no one.  The Bible talks consistently about the borrower being slave to the lender and it is so true.  When you are strapped for cash and saddled in debt, you can’t do the things that the Lord calls His people to do!  We love to give, and give abundantly, but when the money’s not there because you owe so many people, you can’t do that.  You can’t stash away for emergencies…you can’t bless people on a whim…you can’t afford a car breakdown or birthday gift or a broken leg…you just can’t.

But when all of those unnecessary expenses are gone and you budget and live within your means, you’re able to save for the future and you’re able to give in abundance and you’re not blindsided by unexpected expenses.  Your whole lifestyle changes!  Your thoughts shift from your bank account and “how in the world am I gonna pay for that??” to “what is the Lord asking me to do with this excess now?”  Financial issues are one of the top five reasons for divorce but when there is financial security, there is FREEDOM.  You don’t have to think about money all of the time…you can think about each other.

The benefits to being debt free far outweigh the sacrifices you have to make to get there.  Of course there were times when we just wanted to throw in the towel and call it good enough and just go buy a new car or go on vacation…but we knew we didn’t want to go back to living like we were that fateful Saturday at McDonalds.

The Lord’s heart for His people is FREEDOM…and that includes financial freedom.  He took our measly efforts and our $800 trailer check and helped us blow the door wide open on our debt.

I’m so thankful for my husband’s obedience, yet again.  Getting out of debt has changed our family forever – we don’t even own a single credit card – and we are MORE THAN FINE WITHOUT THEM.

I say all of this one, to brag on the Lord.  It is only by His hand and His provision and His prompting that we are here and two, to encourage you!  If you have a mountain of debt and it feels insurmountable, may I just say that IT IS NOT.  We have unburied ourselves from over $100,000 in a little over seven years (thanks to that two year sabbatical).  It can be done. 

If you have questions or want to know more or want help with a budget or a plan, call me, message me, track me down – we are more than willing to help!  Financially free IS the only way to live…

Next goal?  Ten year house payoff – ow ow!

Now show us some debt-free love, would ya!?  WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!

How in the World Did We Get Here: Part 4

To catch you up to speed…Wrex stepped out in faith and quit his job and got a new one that required a move and the search for a new home and community.   That lands us outside of Holyoke, Colorado…….

As we drove into town, there was the cute little vet clinic sitting off to the south, so Wrex went in to get the needle. While he was in there, he visited with the staff and asked them about houses for sale/rent in town.  The vet tech told him about a house outside of town that sat on seven acres and had a few outbuildings.  Well, obviously that piqued our attention, though we weren’t sure we’d even be able to afford it (or want to), but we got the guy’s number, called him and he agreed to meet us that evening, after we met with the realtor in town to look at a few house inside the city limits.

The town of Holyoke itself had nothing we were interested in and we had mentioned that we were going to look at this place outside of town.  The realtor seemed pretty skeptical of the whole situation, because she thought that something out in the country with acreage for the price he was asking would 1.) already be gone or 2.) must have some major problems.

We were kinda bummed and cautious but went to check the place out for ourselves.  The minute we got there, I was already sort of in love, as was Sawyer.  The gentleman selling the house was incredibly kind and Sawyer immediately wanted him to tote her around, which he willingly did.

The house was a cute, typical old farm house.  It had four bedrooms and one bathroom with  a lot of improvements – new stucco, windows, water well, pressure tank, septic system and furnace.  There was a mudroom (a necessity for rural living), small basement (have I mentioned I hate tornadoes??), a detached garage, two barns and a chicken house (that might’ve sealed the deal).  Nothing incredibly fancy but it had all of the things we were looking for:

1.) it was far from civilization.  We didn’t really live IN town when we were in Brighton, but close enough for our taste.  We had both grown up seeing the value of rural life and had always hoped to raise our family in that setting.  Wrex and his family had lived in town for a while growing up and they all so desperately wanted to be back in the country.  After six years of saving and scouting and waiting on the Lord, they finally got the opportunity to build a home outside of town.  When they moved in, they heard coyotes howling in the night and he and his sister proclaimed, “We’re finally home!”  (How cute is that?!)

2.) it had room to roam.  We wanted a place where the kids could go out and play uninhibited; a place where they could learn about nature and crops and animals while eating dirt and not worrying about HOA’s and road traffic and high crime.

3.) it had buildings and pens for livestock.  We have huge hearts for production agriculture and regardless of what the mainstream public believes, it is the backbone of this nation.  There are many valuable lessons to be learned in caring for a creature and we wanted our kids to be able to experience that firsthand.

4.) it was well within our price range.  We didn’t have plans to buy a house for fear of living under the slavery of debt.  Maybe that’s why we hadn’t even really considered anything on an acreage, as they’re often not affordable for a one-income family.  This one was.

It was everything our little hearts desired, but that we had never even asked the Lord for during this process.  He just knew…and He likes to give good gifts to His kids…should we jump?!  The guy had several people that had already looked and several more coming, so felt a sense of urgency (on several different levels) but we couldn’t make a decision just then.

We left the property feeling more confused than ever.  We really liked the place but were so unprepared to buy anything, so we left; we just packed up and went back to Texas with our heads spinning.  We spent a week in prayer and on the phone and seeking counsel and getting pre-approved for a loan.  I remember sitting in bed one night just holding onto the details of this situation (have I mentioned I struggle with control and wanting solutions to problems quick-quick-quick?!) and feeling so tired and stressed and I just said, “Lord, you are gonna have to do this; it is beyond my capacity.  If this is the place, you want us to live, then you’re gonna have to take care of it.”

After continuously thinking that this place just seemed to good to be true, the Lord firmly showed us that HE is good and true and that He loved us and that He chose this place for us.  What else did we need?!

That sealed the deal for us.  We called the home owner and asked if we could come look one last time.  We drove up and looked again and we signed a contract over a home-cooked lunch with our new neighbor and his wife!  They even allowed us to move in earlier than the official signing date so that we could begin painting and making improvements.

Our home is nothing fancy but we love it!  It’s comfy and peaceful…

We love that we can raise our kids out in the middle of nowhere and teach them about livestock and farming and a slower pace of life.

We love that we have totally made the home ours, in every little fun, innovative and quirky way possible.

We love that we have made such good friends with the sellers.  They are our most trusted friends and neighbors in the area, hands down, and our lives have interwoven in beautiful ways.

On the practical side, we love that we didn’t break the bank and could sell it today for more than we paid.

We love that we bought it on a 15 year note at 2.5% interest and we pay less for our mortgage than any rental around.

We love that for as old as it is (we’re talking almost 100 years, people!) that it’s incredibly energy efficient and comfortable.

We love that it still has lots of promise and possibilities for changes and growth…just like our family.

The Lord took our obedience to Him and just blew our lives wide open.  He has answered so many of the desires of our hearts through this process.  Our family needed more time together and this job has definitely given us that.  Our relationships with each other and our relationships with the Lord are stronger because we have time to learn about, and be with, Him together.  We have a home that we love that was gifted to us by Him, that we pray we use for His glory.  Now that we are on the other side, I have a husband who can speak to the sin of workaholic-ism and to the blessing of finding the right priorities and balance between family and careers.

The night we moved in, the Lord really brought me full circle in the whole process in an incredibly sweet way.  We had been in Denver getting more of our things and we pulled into our new home about 10 o’clock that night.  I had gotten Sawyer out of her car seat and we were all standing on the sidewalk stretching when we heard the howl of several coyotes in the distance.  Wrex and I just looked at each other and said, “We’re finally home!”

We are indeed….

More Than Worth It

I love my kids…something I think you all know by now, yes?!  I love them enough that I don’t want to leave their futures’ up to chance in the event that something should (God forbid) happen to Wrex and I.  As NOT fun as it is to talk about, I’m a firm believer in being prepared so we spent the day meeting with a lawyer and drawing up our will, naming guardians, estate executors, etc.

The very thought of any of this actually having to happen just about makes me ill but I also know how very important it is.  We’ve been witness to a couple of situations where the parents were not prepared and the children ended up with guardians that weren’t desired, huge legal bills were incurred, the children were pawns in a money game…ugly, unnecessary things.

  • If you haven’t drawn up a proper will that is legal in your state, I highly encourage you to do so.  (Unfortunately, making your wishes known on a piece of paper shoved in your fire safe doesn’t stand up in court, even if notarized.)  It literally took about two hours to get this drawn up, signed and printed; time well spent.
  • Take the time to pray and ask the Lord who you should name as guardians of your children in the event you both pass on and have your spouse do the same.  The Lord will not impress something on one of you and something different to the other.
  • Find someone you know and trust that will have your family’s best interests at heart to act as the executor of your estate and a financial genius to act as your trustee.
  • Invest in life insurance.  For you younguns, a million dollar term life policy for someone in good health is running about $1 a day…TOTALLY doable…so do it!

We had put this off long enough and I have sooooooo much peace that this is done.  My plan is to be around for a long, long, long, long time and have a few more babies…but we’re never guaranteed tomorrow.  We did, however, want to guarantee that our children would be taken care of to the best of our abilities in our absence.  These {sweet, cute, kissable} faces are MORE than worth it!

kids

Those People

The Phipps family is heading to Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family in the faith and we are soooooo excited!  We’ve made a few quick trips now and then but this time we’re going to have four solid days with some really solid people.  Wrex has to work Friday in Wyoming – HUGE BUMMER.  In an effort to save money, we’re only taking one vehicle which leaves me transportation-less on Friday.  So?  I put out the all-call on Facebook and we were humbled and blessed to have so many friends respond with offers for us to borrow their cars/trucks/vans.

The first friend to reply is such a dandy.  When I called her back, she said she’d leave the carseats in and that we could borrow the vehicle all weekend if we needed.  She said, “Heck,  come in, eat a meal and have a party at my house if you want – I don’t care!”  She and her husband are THOSE people.  You know, the ones that send you home with way more than you came with…the ones who feed your kid snack after snack and drink after drink and let them take the cup home…the ones who upgrade their things and bless people with the earlier version instead of selling it for a little pocket money.  They are those people who really get what our stuff is all about and Who it really belongs to.

This house we live in?  It’s the Lord’s.  The car I drive?  It’s the Lord’s.  The car I borrow?  Also the Lord’s.  The paycheck my husband draws?  The Lord’s.  These kids of mine?  The Lord’s.  The clothes in my closet and the shoes on my feet?  The Lord’s.  The animals in our pasture?  The Lord’s.   He’s allowing me to borrow them, to care for them and to use them for His glory. 

Every. single. thing. we. “own.” is the Lord’s.  They are not ours.  When we regard them as His, we tend to hold them a little more loosely; we don’t put our hope in them, we don’t idolize them, we don’t hold them with selfish ambition.  When we know that these things were provided by THE Provider, we gain a mindset that acknowledges His provision.  It’s an understanding that pushes out that orphan mentality that makes us snatch up our stuff, hold it close to our chest and shelter it from outsiders; the mentality that tries to convince us that we better not lend them out because “what if?”  What if something happens and they are damaged?  What if something happens and they aren’t repairable?  It’s the mentality that tells us that the Lord will never provide again; it’s the mentality that puts the something above the someone.

But, when our faith isn’t in an object, a funny thing happens.   When we release our grasp on these “things” and share them more freely…when we are willing to open our hands to give them away…

hands our hands are now open and ripe for the receiving of the blessing that lies in giving.  When our fists are so tightly clenched around our stuff…stuff that moth and rust will destroy or that thieves can steal …we can’t possibly receive any of the blessings and goodness of the Lord; our hands just can’t contain it. 

He is a giver.  He doesn’t withhold good things from His kids – why should we withhold our things from our fellow brothers and sisters?  He will provide.  He always has.  He always will.  And sometimes that provision comes in the form of our being willing to share what we have been given with others.

Thank you, sweet friends, for living a life with hands wide open.  I pray the Lord blesses you; blesses you with His presence, His goodness and His grace…and with even more for you to give away.

Everything We Need

We got our propane tank filled a week or so ago…and the rest of my hospital bill (from when I had Wryder) came in the mail Monday…and we’ve made a few trips to the doctor and the pharmacy lately, so today was budget day.  Always a good time, yes?  No.

I got out the computer and the bills, and opened our online bank account and my budget spreadsheet and went to work.  I am so thankful for Wrex’s job.  I’m not sure my words could ever adequately describe how it compares to our previous situation.  Night and day, people!  (In a GREAT way!)  He loves it and he’s darn good at it and he has a lot more time at home than his former job.  Is it the highest paying job on the planet? Nope, but we have an income – that’s more than a lot of people out there.  Plus, he’s always finding little ways to make a few more dollars for our family.  Every chance he gets, he’s out doing something extra to support us.  He is a great provider and would work four jobs before we were ever left in want, this I know to be true.

So, I sat there with the bills and the calculator and my spreadsheet and was doing some  inserting and deleting and adding…and a lot of subtracting…ahem.  I was trying to figure out if we could pay those big two (propane and hospital) without transferring money from savings (because that money is off limits in my mind) but because it’s a big, yearly purchase like that, (propane) I just couldn’t make it work.  And I hate taking money from savings.  Ugh.  And I feel like we’ve had to do that a lot this year…for all sorts of random things…as we don’t have a ton leftover at the end of every week/month.

We’ve revisited the budget a lot since Wryder was born and it can be depressing.  We’re to the point where there just isn’t money for eating out on Sunday’s after church or for grabbing a pop when we go to town or for going to Denver every other month to see friends…it’s just not there.  Tithe and formula and diapers and groceries and check-ups pull rank, ya know?  And Wrex and I both have generous hearts (if I do say so myself).  We love to give and bless and surprise and come alongside and help…and we haven’t been able to do that kind of stuff (outside of tithing) as of late…and we miss it and long for it.

So, I’m sitting there with my head swimming with questions about what to do and how to make it all work and what we need to cut back on so that we can not steal from savings and so we can give more?  I’m kicking myself for spending money going out to eat and on a pop now and then.  My heart is screaming about the injustices of it all; that American mentality of entitlement that tells me I deserve certain things in life.  Why CAN’T we eat out on Sundays??  Why CAN’T we grab a pop now and then?!?  Why CAN’T I buy a few things at a thrift store?!?!  And the tears started to come, because it’s a weird place to be in and it feels unfair!

And then…

My sweet little, stuffy nosed girl comes in the kitchen and hands me a paper leaf for the thankful tree.  She said, “Mom, can you write on this for me?  This one is for Wryder.  He said he’s thankful that we have everything we need.”

BAM.  Brought back to reality by a wise beyond her years 3 year old.  “We do indeed, sweet girl.  We do indeed.”

As I wrote those words and stuck the leaf to the tree, my heart softened and my attitude of gratitude swelled.   Lord, I have so much to be thankful for.  Thank you for reminding me of that, again.  You have always provided for us.  Even in our darkest hours and driest of bank accounts, you have always provided.

I’m thankful we even have a little kitty to dip out of…I’m thankful my husband has a job PERIOD and with a great company, no less…I’m thankful our insurance hasn’t changed, even with this Obamacare crap…I’m thankful that my family is healthy and whole…I’m thankful we have a roof over our heads and some room to roam…I’m thankful I even have a family and that I’m not still waiting on Mr. Right or waiting for the Lord to open my womb to have children.

We have everything we need.  Help me not to be a slave to a bank account, Lord.  You are everything we need.

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