Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ahh ... money

A year ago, I would have said that I HATED having a budget; what I really meant is that it was hard for me to stick to a budget and not be consumed by it. I knew it was good for me (blah, blah, blah) but it was hard for me to find a system that worked, and I had tried.

Over the first part of this year, it became clear to me that I wasn't "in control" of my finances. Sure, I made more than I spent but that wasn't on purpose, it was just how it worked out (probably mainly 'cuz I dislike shopping). I knew I wanted a better sense of where my money was going and how I could save more. I was getting motivated. Then, I got engaged and was planning our wedding (and how to pay for it) and my roommate, who's rent was going directly into my savings, was going overseas for several months. I had heard of Dave Ramsey ... my brother is crazy about him and over a weeks time, several friends began talking about the envelope budget system.

In June, I started with the envelopes and took a good look at Ramsey's baby steps. The first few months of the envelopes were difficult, I'm not going to lie, but I did learn how to shop better and less and I adjusted the budget once to make things a little easier. Now I am very close to being back to what I had intended to spend each month when I started over the summer. It is really helpful for me not to be consumed by where the money goes (counting receipts and whatnot) but instead, knowing I have a certain amount for each category a month, or week as I mentally separated my grocery budget into a weekly amount.

I was able to make my goal for savings, which I now think was too conservative but I did make it. I also ended up saving money from the envelopes, which really surprised me. This money went into a "honeymoon fund" and that envelope is now bulging. I am not sure what exactly we will use it for, but I an sure it will be fun. For this coming year, I am going to be more specific - maybe have it be a Christmas presents fund or for a special occassion.

For this coming year, I want to make larger goals. I think it was good for me to start small, now I know exactly how much money I have to play around with and where it all goes. And I am motivated to make larger changes. It is good for me to realize how my attitude has changed towards money and that makes me excited to see what comes next.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dreamin' of a White Christmas

I felt like a kid last night.

I went to sleep wearing new pajamas (thanks Kristi!) on our new big/queen bed (thanks Mom and Dad!) with a new comforter (thanks to the Brenna's!). It wasn't til I was almost alseep that I realized that I had basically collected my Christmas gifts and was literally sleeping with them. =)

Meanwhile, snowballs are falling from the sky in the "wintery mix" the weather men call it and I want to go home after work today. It is somewhat odd working the holidays because even though every one - patients and staff - addresses it, it doesn't really seem like Christmas to me until I am home. It is nice that spending Christmas Eve with Chris' family qualified as being "home," in a sense. It was fun watching the kids (7 and 9) open up their gifts and seeing their unrestrained enthusiasm - especially over the wii. =) I am blessed to be joining such a wonderful family and certainly feel welcomed and loved. I was touched by the little things ... I got Russian tea and mint chocolate in my stocking and Chris' mom saved some mint brownies for me, which are my favorite. (It is possible that she just had some left over but I prefer to believe that she saved them for me ... i didn't ask)

Still, I am looking forward to being home and seeing my family and the dog and eating some heavenly chicken soup, which my mom assures me that there is enough left over for me. =)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

sometimes, it's the little things ...

Last Friday my roommate moved to Texas. When I came home from work I parked closer to the center of my garage than normal, which does make it easier to get in and out of my car in my small garage. I got the mail, a task that my roommate Lindsay does with a lot more regularity than I. I walked into her (basically empty room), closed the blinds and shut the door. I ate the vegetable soup that really looked like mud that she made the day before. And I reflected on God's provision, faithness and goodness.

Then I looked in an empty closet and thought of the games we will put there when Chris moves in - in one month!!!! And I found the dog treats in the bottom of the other closet. And a package came in the mail ... gifts for his neice and nephew for Chirstmas. All reminders of what is to come.

Today I am thankful for the little things (number 109) which make me thankful for the past, excited for the future and remind me of my many blessings.

Friday, December 11, 2009

getting over one hundred

94. Christmas lights,
95. Christmas music
96. and a christmas tree put up by two little elfs
97. the sound of kids scampering around upstairs
98. a warm hand in mine
99. a beautiful, huge evergreen tree dusted with snow
100. safety in the first winter snow (i'm not counting the snow from October)
101. the comfort of a long friendship
102. news and pictures of a friend's brand new baby girl
103. football ... a packer's win and a vikings loss
104. 38 days til we say "I do"
105. a clean tea kettle
106. and the knowledge of how to clean it courtesy of my friend/roommate
107. acceptance
108. reading what others in the gratitude community are thankful for at a Holy Experience

Thursday, December 10, 2009

my (pleasantly confused) patient: "where is my husband?"

me: "he just stepped out. he will be back soon."

my patient: "that sounds like what some people say before they kill you."

my words: "no, he will really be back in a minute. you are in the hospital, i am your nurse" etc, etc
my thoughts: "yes, it kinda does"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I am thankful for change.

I don't really like change and it's not normal for me to say that I am thankful for change during it. It probably helps that this change is the best kind for me, anticipated, planned and a whole lota fun.

My friend and roommate is moving out. Her stuff and furniture was picked up today. I expected to feel a bit sad (afterall, not only is she moving to TX but she is going to Togo for about nine months) but instead we talked about God's faithflness and provision, for both of us and for those we love. The timing, while it wasn't planned by us, has been perfect and, for me at least, has lead to closure. And we know we will still be friends when there is an ocean between us; we have practiced that for the last six months.

And now there is space in my house. Space that will be filled with books and things. And my life will be filled with a neice and a nephew, two sister in laws, a dog and a husband. a husband.


And we talk about other change ... moving, him starting doctoral school, me starting a new job. This change weighs more heavily on him than on me.

And during this change, I want to be mindful of God's provision and his faithfulness. I want to be excited about living with my new husband and settling into the house, our house. I want to prayerfully consider how I can support him. I want to enjoy and be thankful for my friendships. And I want to allow myself to enjoy the still quiet moments.

my blessings overflow

77. Talking about love languages with my friends
78. A cousin home from Iraq for a couple of weeks
79. Using every plate, fork and knife in my house to make a nice dinner for our friends
80. God's faithfulness
81. Safe drives to and from family
82. dinner with extended family. Thanksgiving dinner or any kind
83. Christmas lights!
84. Being welcomed and loved by my future in-laws
85. grasshopper pie and cranberry pudding
86. eating dessert for breakfast. WHY does this seem acceptable at grandma's house?
87. 48 days til my name changes
88. a lovely shower with both sides of my family there. (the gifts literally overflow)
89. my house
90. anticipating making my house our home
91. the warmth of a little doggy sitting on my lap
92. piano music
93. Change

It has been encouraging and fun to read what others are thankful in the gratitude community over at Holy Experience