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Friday, December 10, 2010

Money

Warning.  This is going to be another one of those long and rambling posts about my current thoughts.  It's more a mental spew to clear my head and allow me to go back to cleaning and productiving.  You are under zero obligation to read it.

I have a love-hate relationship with money.

On the one hand, I love playing with numbers.  I have a pretty detailed spreadsheet saved to my computer with our budget.  I love going in and figuring out how much money we have to spend, how much goes to what bills, how much is leftover for just… whatever.  I love figuring out how much faster our mortgage will be paid off if we paid this much every month, or that much. If we gave up this luxury, we'd only pay it off a month faster, but that luxury would pay it off a year faster.  I love the challenge of living within a small paycheck knowing it's for the greater good...

… sometimes.

Other times I hate it.  I hate having to save for months and months and months for a new washer and dryer, then realizing that money would be better served on upgrading BJ's laptop.  Since that is where our extra income comes from.  And then starting to save up again.  I hate seeing projects I want to do, but knowing that I don't have the budget for it.  I want to scan all of my pictures so I can get rid of the physical copy and clear up space in my closet.  But our scanner doesn't work, and even if it did, I don't have the time it would take to scan, crop, and color-correct all of my pictures.  I'd really love to just pay someone else to do it.  But with what money?  I would love to buy organic when I can, but my grocery budget is too low to allow for that.  Speaking of groceries, I realized the other day that winter is much more expensive for groceries, because I have to actually buy my produce (minus the little bit I was able to can.)

I love paying a lot on our mortgage.  I love saving money every month for various long- and short-term goals.  I love watching our mortgage shrink and our savings grow.  It makes me giggle and squeal inside.  But for everything that doesn't fall under those very limited categories, I hate money.  I hate seeing those large sums of money going to something that isn't want I want Right Now.

I feel very, very blessed for having the income that we do.  I know it's a really hard time to find jobs right now.  I know so many people who are struggling to make ends meet.  I feel so guilty being sad about not getting a new washer and dryer right now when I know people who have to use the laundromat, especially since our current washer and dryer work just fine.  (Well, if drying everything at least twice counts as "fine."  Which it probably does, if I'm honest.)  I thank God every night for our abundant blessings.  We really have so much more than we need.  We try to give, and often.  I honestly don't think we'd be worthy of a good income if we didn't give to those with less who have more need.  We try to make that a priority.  Really.  We are blessed.  I am grateful for what we have.  I'm grateful for where we are.  I'm grateful for where I know we're headed.

But sometimes I lose sight of that and decide I want something… and hate money.

And you know what's weird?  I'm actually quite grateful that I hate money.  I'm glad I grew up poor so I could learn that I can be happy without the best of everything.  I'm glad I was forced to work growing up so that I could learn how to garden, knit, crochet, sew, cook, can, etc. I'm glad I paid my way through school so that I could gain the value of education and money.  I'm glad I had to take out student loans so that I could feel the burden of debt and know that I never want that again.  I'm grateful for a mortgage so that I can learn how fast I can pay it off and how much money I can save by sacrificing now.  And hopefully I'll someday be able to use that knowledge to save money for our next house to buy it in cash and not have to pay interest.  And so that I can teach my children the importance of interest and saving.  I'm glad I have to do without, even though I hate, hate, hate it.  Because then when I do get something, I appreciate it a lot more.  I respect the value of frugality and quality.  I'm learning how important it is to simplify.  I've noticed a lot lately how the plague of Entitlement is sweeping our nation.  I've seen it hit people I know well and care about very hard.  I've mourned for them.  I see it in myself.  I have been weakened by it.  But the fear of debt is much greater than the longing for Entitlement.  I am grateful for struggling, for overcoming, for hindsight so that I can look forward and do better.  So that I can budget, save, and still have money to splurge and enjoy life.  I'm so grateful that we have the money to provide for our family and still have plenty to help others.  I'm glad that my current monetary struggles are of my own making.  I live on a dime, not because we're struggling, but because we're focused on bigger and better goals.  And I don't think we would have ever gotten to the point of being willing to sacrifice now in order to not have to sacrifice later if it hadn't been for the struggles.

And with all that said, I can't wait until we get our tax return.  [crosses fingers that we'll actually get a tax return]

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Going in circles

Though the title of this blog could quite possibly be referencing my mental state of mind, it's actually referring to Kessa. Remember how she started walking recently?  Well, she didn't really do much more walking for the next several days.  The last day or two, however, she's been doing it more and more.  Today (maybe yesterday?  My brain is shot) she started walking on her own.  Meaning, without any assistance from us.  Before that time she'd start walking by holding our fingers, or at the very least we'd stand her up and she'd start walking.  But in the last day or two, she's started standing herself up and walking without any prompting from anyone else.

Tonight was the funniest ever.  She kept going for probably at least 10 minutes after we turned off the camera and had been going for several minutes beforehand, too.  It cracked me up.  Love it.



And then we end with a kiss.  Fer cute. :D

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Simple Acts

BJ found this nifty little site today on lds.org.  It appears to have only been up for a month or so.  I think it's a pretty nifty little thing. Utilize the vast population of the church to do little things here and there to finish huge projects. I worked in digitizing family history books for a long time and we'd get lots of senior missionaries to come help us do the little things, and it made a HUGE difference. It saves the Church, no doubt, millions of dollars a year in paychecks alone when people are willing to volunteer and serve in the little things.

I've been working on Compare Paragraphs. It's hard because I'm comparing German texts, but it's also kind of satisfying. But word to the wise: don't do it when your eyes are tired.  :D

Simple Acts Logo

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Step, step, step

Tonight BJ and I donated blood at the Red Cross.  We took Kessa with us so we wouldn't have to find a babysitter and just took turns donating blood.  She was adorable.  While I was donating blood, BJ would bring her over to where she could see me and she'd wave and say, "Hi!"  So cute.  She also kept trying to crawl under the Christmas Tree.



Then we switched and Kessa ate snacks with me.  Then she kept wanting to crawl over to Daddy while he was giving blood, and I just didn't think that'd be a good idea.  Sanitation and all that jazz.  So I distracted her by going back over to the Christmas tree.  When we turned the corner, the tree was on the far side of the room.  She was walking while holding my finger, so I pulled my finger out, figuring she'd take 2-4 steps then fall and crawl the rest of the way.  Because that's what she's been doing for a month or two now.  But to my surprise, she just kept going.  Walked the whole length of the room!  We played with the tree for a bit (she's learning the words Ball, Star, and Heart from our ornaments, so I was asking her, "Where's the ball?" and she'd point to the nearest one.) then went back and told Daddy about her newest accomplishment!  He was duly impressed. Then we went back to the tree and she walked the length of the room again!  I was much more excited than she was, I think.

I let her walk towards Daddy several times so that he could see her, then I'd just stop and drag her back when she got too close to the donation room.  When BJ got done, we had her walk to him several times.  Then we decided to take a video.  Because we have an iPod and can do that.  (Hence the lower quality than usual for picture and video.)

video

Isn't she just so cute?!  I love watching her walk and tumble at the end.  She won't stand up after a fall yet.  She'll just keep crawling.  And she only walks if I stand her up first.  So she's still got a little bit to go before I declare her an official walker, but as far as milestones go, I'm going to totally count this one.