First off, hello! How are you all? Life has been good...hectic...but good. Corey is working crazy hours still while they work to fill the other position in his department (they hired one guy who is being trained, so yay for that).
I finished Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book and now Corey is reading it. So good. Seriously has changed the way we see money, credit cards, debt, etc. We start the Financial Peace University in two weeks at our church, and we're actually really excited. I wouldn't say we have racked up a ridiculous amount of debt. I'd say we're average. We just get in that whole cycle of finding ourselves with unexpected bills and no savings (or not enough) to cover the bill. So it goes on the credit card. And there might be a little snowball affect from that...and pretty soon we've got a decent chunk of credit card debt. We work hard and pay it off. And then something else happens, and we've been working so hard to pay off the debt that we don't have much savings, so the cycle starts over. It's a vicious one. And we're tired of it. So we're completely revamping our finances thanks to Dave! It's funny because for a long time, we both thought he was a total gimmick .."give me your money and I'll change your life" type thing. In all honesty, he needs a marketing revamp. His stuff all looks like something that would compare to Joel Osteen...hence the reason we thought he was a gimmick. But he is far from a fake. And we're really excited to put his practices to use! We've started using the Gazelle Budget Tool online and have implemented his budgeting techniques for each month and each paycheck, and what a difference it makes! It's SO nice knowing where every single dollar is going...I don't have to avoid looking at our bank account balance because I don't want to know how much we have (or don't have) left. I can look at it, reconcile it with the budget plan we set up for that particular check to make sure it all balances, and be happy and satisfied that everything is accounted for and we are doing just fine! The biggest thing has been going back to the cash system. It's something we did when we were first married, but we got out of the habit. We use cash for all food, entertainment, "pocket money", gas, eating out, clothing, diapers, hair/skin care, etc. And it's awesome. Once the envelope is empty, you just have to tough it out and make due until the next paycheck. No dipping into other funds. No using the credit card (we've taken all credit cards out of our wallets and plan to cancel every single one as soon as all are paid in full). It's hard to change the way we do things since we've done it the "wrong" way for so long...but it's freeing at the same time. We can be guilt-free in our purchases because we are paying cash. And paying cash also causes you to second guess what you spend your money on and how much you spend. Handing over dollar bills has a totally affect than swiping plastic. You are PHYSICALLY seeing the money leave your wallet. Anyway. I won't ramble about it anymore. But it's awesome. I feel like this huge weight has been lifted. And I'm really excited to see our lives/finances transform.
I've mentioned previously that we had switched churches the end of last year. But I never said what church we are going to now. For obvious reasons, I will not give the name of the church we left...but I think I was afraid of being judged for the church we're attending now. And I'm not sure why. It gets a bad rep sometimes, and there's been a lot of controversy about it. I guess that's why. We actually really looked down on this church before attending because of the bad things we'd heard about it from other people (namely the people at our previous church, pastors included). But I'm here to say that those bad things we have heard are not true or valid or are blown out of proportion and taken out of context.
You may have heard of it because it's kind of a mega church (another thing we never saw ourselves doing was attending a "mega" church...funny how God works things out). It's called Mars Hill Church. And it's pastored by Mark Driscoll. NOT to be confused with Mars Hill in Michigan where Rob Bell teaches...we do not agree with or support Rob Bell, and the Mars Hill we attend has zero affiliation with the Mars Hill in Michigan. All you have to do is google Mars Hill, and you'll see the actual blogs dedicated to hating on our church and its practices, the various controversies and news articles and CNN interviews. It's intimidating and would make most people want to turn and run. But let me set the record...Mars Hill Church is healthy and legitimate. Pastor Mark teaches the Word, and we absolutely LOVE it. We are in love. We are involved. And we are connected. I look forward to community group every week. I can't wait until Friday mornings roll around so I can go to my Women's Bible study... These people are so real and honest and open and vulnerable. It's so refreshing to be a part of Mars Hill. It's truly amazing and such a picture of what I believe the church should look like. There is no superficial front. I have just been so incredibly blessed, and I have no doubt in my mind that this is where the Lord has us right now and for the foreseeable future. I can't wait to see what He does in our church and in our lives through this time. Please don't believe the nonsense you hear or read or see about Mars Hill. You know why Mars Hill has such bad press? Because they are a Jesus loving, bible teaching, scripture following church. They are hardcore and sold out. And that doesn't bode well with the general American population. If you think I'm crazy or we've gone off the deep end, do yourself a favor and just listen to one of Pastor Mark's messages online. I promise you won't be sorry!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I'm about to cozy up with a hot cup of tea and some delicious flour-free, butter-free peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and do a little reading. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!