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Archive for the ‘HSLP’ Category

The Greatest Story (I’ve) Ever Told

This is story that you have all been waiting for.  That life changing moment that occurred last week.  The monumental event I hinted at on Friday.  It starts off a little sad but gets amazing fast- I promise!

Last Monday, I went through the day not knowing that my life was about to be changed.  In fact, I had a bit of a budgetary hangover.  Relaxing for the weekend in Sonoma was wonderful, but it also cost moolah.  Dinners out, zip lining, etc… add up…  especially when you leave your favorite tasting room with this:

Yep, that's a lot of wine! (I have good news about this expense, too, but that comes later...)

I had done an okay job over the weekend in relaxing and not thinking too much about all the changes loomed ahead of us, but, in coming home, reality hit me in the face.  While trying to stay calm about our finances over the last few months, I had done what I knew to do and then put off thinking about the details.  Knowing exactly where we stood wasn’t going to make the problem go away.  This is what my desk looked like:

Holy schmoly- that's a desk? Yep, there's a bra there...

Some of that stuff even had to do with us GETTING money, yet I still ignored it!  It’s not like I was handling the situation remarkably well, but…

I did the only thing I knew to do.  I just kept praying.  Honestly, there was nothing else I could do; I was looking for a second job, as was Chris.  We had cut back on expenses and were pretty diligent on not spending extra.  I truly didn’t know where the money for the impending HSLP was going to come from.  We had enough to get by; how were we going to get more?  So on Monday, just like many days before, I faithfully asked God to help us.  I did this every time I thought about our finances.

On Tuesday, my prayer was answered.  Have you ever seen the Publishers’ Clearing House winner receive their prize?  The morning of my birthday was a bit like this:

There were no balloons or camera crews or suits.  But there should have been.  I was in my pajamas, opening birthday presents with Chris. For my last gift, I opened a series of envelopes, each nestled in each other like Russian dolls.  It seemed as if it would never end, but the final envelope held a card and a check filled in with a VERY large number.  (It was a number many, many, many times larger than I had ever written on a check, that’s for sure!)  This check was intended to pay off our debt- ALL OF IT!

  • Chris’ student loans- PAID!
  • Em’s student loans- PAID!
  • Dental bills- PAID!
  • Credit card we used Aug-Oct while Chris was job hunting- PAID!
  • Chris’ upcoming braces- PAID!
This is how absolutely incredible God is:  The number on that check, once I added up our debt, was $336 dollars more than what we owed.  No one knew what the total of our debt was- not even me!  Yet God heard my prayers and worked in someone who chose to do what he asked and sent a check that would pay off every penny that we owe.
Honestly, I don’t even know how to tell the story to do it justice.  To top it all off, Chris received an unexpected quarterly bonus on Wednesday.  This paid for all that wine I showed you at the beginning.  Score!

I’m really excited to share this with you because it shows that God answers prayers.  He is the one to be praised.

Now to Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we request or think about, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus unto all generations forever and ever. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20-21, WTJ)

Amen is right!

Over the next couple of days, I had to work on two things:

  1. Recognizing that God had answered my prayer and being thankful.  Who was I to tell him that it was too much?  That I didn’t want it in the way he answered?  Or to feel guilty or undeserving?  He had answered exceedingly above what I requested, so the appropriate response was thanksgiving.
  2. That I should allow people to give to me.  I don’t like it when I try to do something for someone and they won’t let me, so why should I do that to someone else?

The last week has been remarkable, because now that our debt is gone, we are ourselves again.  We now see that God really is as big as he says he is- and he’s talking to us!  With that realization and free from the burden of debt, we are now able to look up, to dream, to plan.

And that is what this blog will now be about!

TV in 2012

This is why I subscribe to Hulu Plus.

Portlandia is a witty, clever, and light-hearted take on the urban, hipster landscape, and I enjoy it via Netflix (Season 1) and Hulu Plus (clips of Season 2).

We don’t watch TV in the traditional way.  Instead, we have a nice TV (thanks, Mom) hooked up to our Playstation3 (thanks, Davey) and Wii (thanks, us), and we can watch shows and movies via streaming internet or on Blueray from the local video store.  Yep, we still have a video store in our neighborhood!

If we were a little more savvy, we could even use the antenna that we bought last year and get all the basic cable stations for free in HD. We are not those people, though, as I found out on Thanksgiving when I tried to watch the parade.  Obviously, our plan is not perfect.  But, it does allow us to watch TV on our computers and on the iPad when we are on the go and not just sitting in our livingroom.  It is pretty handy all around.

PLUS (and the reason we did it in the first place), it saves us a good chunk of money each month!  A cable and internet package would cost us $80/month.  Netflix, which is nonnegotiable with Chris, adds an extra $8.99  With our concoction, we pay $55.  That’s $34 bucks to use toward other things.  Yeah.

Here’s the breakdown:

Service Cost
Netflix streaming only- available for PS3, Wii, Roku, etc… $8.99
Hulu Plus- available for PS3, Roku $7.99
Comcast Xfinity internet $38.00
Total $54.98
Comcast internet and basic cable subscription $80.00
Netflix $8.99
Total $88.99
Savings $34.01

Are you putting these new technologies to use in your home?  What has worked for you?  Not worked?  As we are trying to cut back further to deal with the impending HSLP, we’d love to try some of your tricks!

Debt is Debt. God is God.

Throughout adulthood, I have held the belief that some debt is good while other debt is bad. While that may be true, it turns out that it feels the same when you have to pay for it each month. Ouch!

We’ve amassed debt that I consider to be worthy of the sacrifices we now have to make. Some of it was for health purposes, but the majority comes from student loans. My wonderful husband finished college in August. This was a huge accomplishment, and it helped him to land his dream job as a game designer. Yeah!!!

It also landed us with a Huge Student Loan Payment. HSLP’s notice showed up at our house this weekend and sent me into a little bit of a tailspin. Instead of wallowing, I decided to change my mind and trust God. This debt was not caused by irresponsible spending, and I know God will provide to meet our needs.

Matthew 6:25-33– Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.  Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.  Are ye not much better than they?  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We are going to be diligent to pay down this debt, and we’re going seek God while doing it. It’s nice to know that He’ll take care of us along the way.

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