2015 Year End Reflections

I found this idea from Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides on his twitter account today. So here goes.

10 Highlights and Accomplishments in 2015

1. — In January 2015, I was brought on at Red Maryland as a citizen journalist.  Even though I didn’t write much this year, two of my articles made it into Red Maryland’s top 30 stories of 2015! Numbers 15 and 19 are all mine. Pretty awesome, especially since I only wrote 6 articles this year.  That means one-third of my total contribution to the site made it to the most popular list!  I’m impressed.

2. — The kids needed new laptops for school work. So Tony found a great deal, picked up 3 laptops, and I got them all up and running.  There were some hiccups, some calls to tech support, and one of the machines had to get replaced (under warranty!) due to a bad hard drive.  But I got it all figured out.  Then 9 months later, I updated all three of their systems plus my own to Windows 10, and helped Tony with his.  Updating my computer involved researching my programs, updating some stuff, and making sure everything would run smoothly.  Tony had a hiccup with the update that I helped him research and find the fix for, and the kids all had to get updated, setup, and running again.  This doesn’t even count all the times I’ve helped mom fix her various issues with electronics.  So yea, my mad skills with computers (primarily on the software side of things) and my google-fu routinely combine to be a source of accomplishment.

3. — Joined the board of the Marlton Swim Club for a month, and helped expose the mismanagement that had driven the organization into a point of bankruptcy.  I loved my time on the board, even if it drove me and everyone around me batty.  I had to resign because I was not comfortable either tying my name to the massive amount of debt the club was in, or chasing government funds, funds that the government does not have, to keep the pool afloat.  In the end, the management of the club was changed, and the government supplied them with enough money to keep afloat.  They are planning to open again next year. We shall see.

Dime Bank Montage4. — I brought home another piece of family history in April. I found a dime bank made by my great-great-grandfather back in the early 1910’s. This neat little gem was added to my small collection of pocket calendars, a product catalog, and the one match holder I’ve been able to get my hands on.  Great-great-grandpa H.B. had his own novelties business. He went from selling magazine subscriptions to support his family, to owning a very successful advertising business, to Mayor of Linden, to bank president.  It’s been fun learning more about his life from the archived newspapers and articles in trade magazines, but it’s even more awesome to get my hands on things that he and his company made.

5. — Became the permanent co-host of The Swamp podcast.  Unfortunately, BigGator’s tablet crapped out during the holiday break, and he needs that to record the show.  So until we find an alternate method of recording the show, or get picked up by Red State Radio – which would be amazing! – we are on indefinite hiatus.  If you want to help us get back on air quicker, you could always donate to BigGator’s Patreon.

6. — Took a trip to my uncle’s beach house this summer.  Took my mom and the kids up there to hang out with mom’s side of the family, who we rarely get to see due to distance.  I was also to both show off some of my family history collection, as well as gather new information, and talk to people.  The trip didn’t go as planned, but it still ranks as a major accomplishment for the year, because driving that far is darn near impossible for me these days.

7. — Got an article published on Dana Loesch’s website. Considering how big Dana is getting, it’s a pretty big deal to me that she picked up my article.  I was also a caller on her show, discussing autism and the second amendment.  She’s mentioned me often, and I’ve called in before, but this time it was more like an interview, and she spent a good long time talking to me about the issue.

8. — I was way ahead in my homeschool planning this year.  I felt like for the first time since we started this crazy homeschool adventure, I was prepared for the start of school!  It was an amazing feeling.  I followed that up by getting all my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping done early this year.  Go me!

9. — I reached out to my mother’s Uncle George in the course of my family genealogy research and discovered he lives about 45 minutes away!  I took mom on a little road trip and got to meet with him in person.  Awesome.

10. — I made it through the holiday season yet again.  Unless you’re new here, you know that’s a huge accomplishment for me.  If you’re new here and wondering what the heck I’m talking about, the TL;DR version is that all four of my miscarriages, my father’s birthday, the anniversary of his death, and all three of my children’s birthdays are sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the 2nd week of March, with most of it coming before New’s Years Day.  So yea, the holidays are a rough time emotionally.  But I survived.  We all survived. That’s all that counts.

**Bonus Awesome thing — I met Ms. Kestenbaum online via Ancestry.com, and she has helped me track down so much information about my grandmother’s life just before and during WW2. It’s been amazing! I can’t thank her enough.

 

10 Disappointments or Utter Fails

1. — I fell down an escalator, because I am nothing if not a grade A klutz.  Still having trouble with my left big toe because of it too.

2. — I broke the truck. Still not sure how I did it, but I did. It rolled away from me in the driveway, and bent the door back completely.  Thankfully the insurance adjuster decided that since it was so close to Christmas, and obviously a well-cared for vehicle, that he’d eat some of the cost on it so that it wouldn’t be considered “totaled”.  So that aspect of the situation was another undeserved blessing.  It’s all fixed now, but still… what an epic fail.

3. — I crapped out on my Photo 365 challenge before the end of January. In fact, I barely took any photos at all this year.  That’s just odd for me.

4. — I tried to get involved in my homeowner’s association and the local civic league. Sigh. But neither hold regular meetings. Honestly, there is a whole lot of “I don’t care” and apathy towards both organizations.  It’s pretty frustrating, but considering the politics of most people in the area, and the ideas of the folks in charge, it’s probably for the best.

5. — The beach trip didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Let’s just say there was some family drama, and leave it at that.

6. — I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the local governments here.  There are so many layers of complexity and corruption, I’m just not nearly as involved as I’d hoped I’d be by now.

7. — I didn’t get nearly as far as I’d hoped with writing my book. I think the biggest problem I have is that I love the research too much!

8. — I gained weight.

9. — I didn’t get my room painted & fixed up, or get nearly as far through the list of home improvements as I’d hoped. At least the kids rooms got done.

10. — I didn’t blog nearly as much as I wanted to.  Seriously, I can’t tell you the hundreds of posts I wrote in my head, that just never made it to the keyboard.

** Bonus frustration — I got totally frustrated with my homeschool group coordinator and her constantly shifting goal posts.  Wound up calling HSLDA for clarification, and they became a mediator to sort out an agreement of what’s expected from me, at least for the rest of this year.

 

3 Game Changers

1. — My hubby had a health scare. That will change your perspective on life in ways you can’t imagine until it happens to you.

2. — My oldest son started 10th grade at age 14.  That means he’s only 2 years away from graduation.  That’s a scary thought.  Even scarier – In about a year, he’ll be old enough to drive.

3. — Family Drama.  ’nuff said.

 

3 Things You Focused On

1. — My children’s education.

2. — My book research, both into the genealogy and the history.

3. — Politics.

 

3 Thing You Forgot/Didn’t Get Around Too

1. — Keeping track of my weight and food.  Doing this always helps me lose weight, or at least maintain the status quo.  I forgot to do this on a consistent basis this year.

2. — Starting my own homeschool group. I’ve been contemplating starting my own group, getting the church to back me up, and getting it approved as an umbrella school, just so I don’t have to jump through the ridiculous hoops I do now.  But I just haven’t found the time or energy to figure out how to go about this.

3. — Photo 365 & scrabooking, or even blogging.  Pretty much did nothing this year in terms of recording memories.  Sigh.

 

So that’s it from me.  All in all, it was a good year.  Crazy, but good.  Can’t wait to see what next year holds.

Asperger’s Syndrome, The Second Amendment, and The Value of Life.

I went on The Dana Show during the second hour of the radio show, which is now broadcast on TheBlazeTv, to talk about Asperger’s Syndrome.  Once again, Asperger’s has been thrust into the national limelight under the worst circumstances.  I’m not even going to link to any of the myriad of news articles all screaming “The killer had Asperger’s! OMG! He wasn’t taking his medication!” As I explained to Dana, it’s all a load of bull-puckey.

I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is NOT a mental illness, it is a neurological difference.  There is no medication for Asperger’s Syndrome.  Let me repeat that.  There is NO medication for Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is often co-morbid with other issues that would be medicated, but Asperger’s Syndrome has no cure.

(Check out my “Not weird, just wired differently” line at Cafe Press)

Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of high-functioning autism.  Technically, after the latest updates to the DSM-5, Asperger’s is no longer an official diagnoses, but I digress. Typically, what separates an Aspie from a higher-function autistic person is their language skills.  Aspies can talk, quite well. Aspies tend to be very literal, and have to learn sarcasm.  They don’t generally look people in the eyes, often because the amount of emotion and input in the eyes is overwhelming.  Aspies also don’t pick up on social cues, things like body language and facial expressions, which makes them generally outcasts or targets for bullies.  Some Aspies pace, or flap their hands, or clap, scream, or whatever when overly emotional or over stimulated.  For me personally, I close my eyes to talk to shut out other stimuli so I can concentrate on what I’m saying.  I also tend to use headphones and music to block out the world when I’m overwhelmed or need to shut out distractions so I can stay on task.

I also struggle with depression. Depression is just one of several issues that can coincide with Asperger’s Syndrome.  I am well aware that Depression lies. In my case, I’m medicated.  My “Happy Pills” help me to keep my emotions level.  I’m blessed to have an amazing support system.  My husband picks up the slack around the house when I’m struggling to keep myself together. He’s always there to talk me through the worst of it.  A few weeks ago, I hit a rough patch where I just had too many feels.  He let me rant, rave, and cry.  My mom is amazing, and has talked me through some tough spots, and reminds me that I need to take care of the one that needs me most at the moments, and sometimes, that’s me.  My family has always been ready to pitch in and lend a hand when I need them, just as I do for them when they need help.

When I see people declaring that we need restrict the rights of the “mentally ill”, I get concerned. Ya’ll are talking about me. As I told Dana, I believe the real conversation needs to be the value of life. America no longer values life. As long as we continue to treat life as disposable, these types of tragic events will continue. 

 

Moving Tips From a Former Military Wife

movingtruckMoving is never easy.  Most people think of the word “move” as a four letter curse word on par with the F-bomb.  Moving with the military, while still no fun, is easier than moving on your own.  Unless you are doing a DITY (Do IT Yourself) move in the military, they will send a crew out to box up your life, load it on the truck, transport it, and unload the boxes on the other end. You just have to clean the old place for your check-out inspection, handle all the paperwork involved, and unpack in your new place.  The military movers even make an inventory list of everything in each box, so you can easily find the can opener on your first night in the new place.

Moving without the military is a whole other animal.  Suddenly you are responsible for packing, loading, transporting, and unloading all on your own.  None of that includes the paperwork, arrangements for utilities, and everything else involved. However, there are somethings you can do to make it easier on yourself.

The first thing to do – declutter your home. Anything that you do not NEED or WANT to take with you needs to go NOW. One of the things I learned years ago from FLYLady – if you don’t need it, if it doesn’t make you smile, get rid of it. Decide what you need to live, decide what you want to keep, and toss the rest. You can take things to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army if you have time & the desire.  If you don’t, just throw it all out.  This serves two purposes:

  1. You don’t have to move all that crap you didn’t really want anyway.
  2. Studies show that a decluttered home will be easier for potential buyers to visualize their own stuff in the house. The more cluttered up with knick-knacks and whoziwhatzits, the harder it is for potential buyers to look past all that and see the home.

Decluttering is not a process you need to complete before you start packing. You can declutter while you pack. For instance, as you pack your movies go through them, weed out the movies you didn’t like, don’t watch, and don’t really want to hang on to, then throw them out or donate them somewhere.  Presto! You’ve just decluttered and packed all at the same time.

Second thing to do is to number your boxes & create an inventory.  I did this in a spiral bound notebook, which my husband then put into Excel. I took this a step further as well by listing where we had stashed each box.  I also went beyond that with our books. Being a family of readers, we have a lot of books.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our books. I created a “collection” for each box I packed.  That way, if my kids wanted to read a specific book, I knew exactly which box it was in.  Then I could consult my inventory list SmashedBurritoto find out where that box was located.  When we moved, I changed the location notation to the new location – attic, storage room, closet #1, etc.  While I unpacked each box, I changed the name of the collection on LibraryThing to reflect the new location of the books in the new home.  So now, if my son wants to read My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce, I can tell him that it is supposed to be in the living room.  If he’s moved it, that’s his problem.

Another thing – don’t mix rooms when packing. Living room stuff goes into a living room box. Kitchen stuff stays in a kitchen box.  2Men&ATruck have a good list of other packing tips here.

When it comes to packing, I highly recommend getting your boxes from your moving company – we used Uhaul.  At the very least, get a whole bunch of the same sizes from the same location.  It will help when packing your truck if your box size is mostly uniform.

One thing to keep in mind while packing – whenever possible, never leave your boxes out in a main area while showing a home.  Always hide them in the basement, attic, or closets.  Potential buyers don’t want to see your boxes, and you don’t want them to feel like you are about to abandon the home before they decide.  I packed all my figurines and books early on in the process, hiding the boxes in the attic & master bedroom closet. It helped to make the home seem larger and less cluttered, but at the same time, it was still a warm, inviting space.

So now you’ve started the decluttering process, and you’re making your inventory of numbered boxes while packing.  But you still need to keep track of everything – your conversations with your realtor, your mortgage company, and every thing else.  Remember that spiral bound notebook I kept my inventory in?  Yup.  Everything was in there.  My list of things I needed to do, my records of phone calls & conversations with my realtor, credit counselor, mortgage company, everything.  I made lists of the utilities, and notes about when to cut off things.  I researched truck rentals, and kept track of prices.  Receipts and business cards were stapled to pages in the notebook so they would be easily found when needed.  Phone numbers of people I needed to call, play date schedules so the kids could say good bye to their friends, you name it, it was in the notebook.  It became a BIG help because whenever I needed to refer to anything, it was in the notebook.  DH wanted to know what still needed to be done – check the notebook.  Where was that rental agreement? check the notebook.  Whenever we researched something like the procedure for licensing the dog in the new state, it would get written in the notebook so we could refer back to it.  Gun laws for safe transportation and storage in the new home – in the notebook.  That notebook became invaluable.

So the notebook is a great help.  But still – when are you supposed to do stuff like notify the post office, etc?  Well, I used the Moving Checklist at Upack.com for help with alot of that.  There’s another good moving checklist at Mayflower.com.  Upack.com also has a great list of things to do when packing your truck. Honestly, I left that aspect to DH.  His years of military experience packing helicopters & air craft helped him maximize space and pack the truck like it was a giant game of Tetris.

So there you have it.  My biggest tips for making moving easier. The biggest takeaway from this though should be the inventory.  That right there saved my bacon and made life and unpacking so much easier.

What’s your best moving tip?  Let me know!

Just a Pain in my ….. Hip.

princessbride-painI try not to complain very often…  but today… I hurt.

Pain in my right hip is at an all time high time. Vicodin barely takes the edge off, and only if I keep the joint straight. As soon as I sit down or bend my hip in any way, Ouch times a thousand.

But I can’t just stand all day because of the pain in my feet.  Seriously…  it feels like I am walking around with a tiny, sharp rock just under my heels all day.  But there is nothing there – no bone spurs, nothing.

lionking-pain-in-lifeI also can’t lay on my left hip, or that will start hurting in a matter of minutes.  And I can’t lay on my back for an extended period or my back pain flares up.  Which leaves me with the only position that even remotely relieves my hip pain — kneeling on my left knee on the dining room chair with my right leg extended straight out, while leaning over the table, resting my elbows on the table.  But even this position is not the best, as it’s causing my shoulder pain & knee pain to flare up – but hey, at least in this position my hip isn’t trying to murder me.

The one phrase that always comes to mind in times like this is from one of my favorite movies, Long Kiss Goodnight.

“Life is pain. Get used to it!”

So because I’m very cranky, despite the Vicodin, I’m going to do something I haven’t done here in a long, long time.  I’m going to Fling Dishes.

Things to Fling:

  • Maryland Homeschool Law. It was much easier & less paperwork intensive to homeschool in Virginia.
  • Obamacare & Maryland Health Connection. Because Obamacare is the driving force behind my husband’s hours being cut.  Also, since mom lost her job, I’ve been going around and around in circles with the numbnuts at the Maryland version of Ocare, trying to get her some healthcare covereage.  We finally had to go to Social Services in person.  But now I’ve got to ’round and ’round with the idiots again to make any changes needed to her coverage.
  • Stairs & Hills. Because Ouch.  Like seriously.  Ouch.
  • My children’s bad or apathetic attitudes toward school. Because. Pretty sure every teacher in America, whether you teach public, private or home school, has had to deal with this.
  • The distinct lack of Caffeine Free Diet Dr Pepper at every store in a 20 mile radius. Because this is my soda, yet it is no where to be found locally. And yes.  I know this is totally a #FirstWorldProblem, but I’m tired & cranky.

LifeIsPainAs always, a list of things to fling must be followed by a list of things not to fling, just to give me better perspective.  So here goes.

Things To Keep:

  • My kids. Because even though they wear me down, they are the awesomest kids in the whole, wide world.
  • My mom. Because when I’m having the worst day ever, she shows up with a peanut butter-y treat and a hug to make it all better.
  • My Husband. Because he keeps sane when I feel like I’m spiraling out of control.  He’s my rock, and he does so much around the house trying to keep things clean and maintained.  Also, he randomly brings me Reeces just because he loves me.  And the best part – he does laundry! Because God is my witness, I can never remember to swap the loads over.  Plus, in our new/old home, laundry = stairs, and stairs are the bane of my existence.
  • The Lego Movie. Because Everything is Awesome.  DUH!

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 4.

If you aren’t caught up yet, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 – then come back here.  I’ll wait.

While we were waiting to hear from our lender not just about approving the sale, but also about how much of the deficiency we would have to pay back, we got a call from my Uncle.  He sent us a check to help with moving expenses and let me know that the final settlement from my Grandmother’s estate would be coming through in a few days.  Wouldn’t you know it, the settlement check covered the truck rental exactly.  Yet another blessing from God, we had the money to move, without drawing more out of our meager savings.

Tony put in a transfer request at work.  In yet another blessing, one of the two stores he requested responded within the hour that they were desperately in need of a furniture guy, and when was the earliest he could get there? We were planning to move the second weekend of May, but knew there was a lot of repair work to be done once we got there, so we gave the start date of June 1.  It was accepted and our plans continued to move along so smoothly that it could only be the hand of God.

Then we got the letter from the lender, about 5 days early.  Not only had they approved the sale of the home, but they had also completely forgiven the deficiency!  It was a miracle from the Lord!  We had become only the second client of Advance Short Sale Service to have the deficiency forgiven by our particular lender. We would be walking away from the house debt free.  Let me say that again.  DEBT. FREE.

I cried when we got that news, or I would have if crying didn’t give me a migraine. It was such a relief, like a 50 pound weight being lifted off your back after you’ve carried it uphill for weeks on end.

We got word that Closing wouldn’t actually happen until the end of May, but proceeded with our plans because we had already lined everything up, and mom had already gotten a couple of guys from the church to help us unpack the truck.  Thing was, we couldn’t schedule the utilities to be shut off.  Instead, the buyer agreed to switch the utilities into his name, meaning we would NOT have to pay disconnect fees, & he wouldn’t have to pay connection fees.  Win for both of us, so of course we said yes.

In the end, we made our way to my mom’s house, and spent a few weeks making it home.  There’s still some work to be done, but we continue to be blessed. With the move, we gained an amazing church that support special needs kids amazingly well, and really listens to the kids and the families.  The store management has already recognized my husband’s hard work and has taken steps to get him the maximum hours allowed.  We also got much closer to my middle sister and her kids, who love to play with their cousins.  Mom got a membership to the local pool, so the kids are finally learning to swim.  And in the midst of it all, I had a problem with my website, and a good friend who works for my new hosting company, Arvixe, looked out for me and moved my site to a better server.

Throughout this whole process, everything went so smoothly, and all of the pieces just clicked into place so easily. It could only be the Hand of God, directing us, and leading us all along the way.  While the living situation isn’t the most ideal, and it was hard to lose the home we had poured our blood, sweat, and tears into for seven years, there is no doubt in my mind that we are right where God wants us for whatever reason.  There is no other explanation for the shower of blessings that got us here.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped us and prayed for us throughout this whole ordeal.  God is amazing, and He can work miracles. He did for us many times over.

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 3.

Quick recap – we were losing the house & almost broke, but we had a place to go and a great realtor who we trusted.  However, we had no showings, a poor housing market, and a bad economy.  But the blessings God had in store for us were just beginning.

Original image from West U Methodist's website.

Have you tithed this week?

One day in late March, a discussion about tithing broke out on my Facebook Debate Club group. While defending the practice to a young man who thought it was all a scam, it dawned on me.  When was the last time we’d tithed? See, we weren’t physically attending church due to various sensory issues and work schedules.  However, we continued to “attend” by watching sermons and tithing online.  We’d usually tithe a few weeks at a time, so I asked Tony to check.  Turned out, we were overdue.  Tony logged in and paid up our tithe right away.

About a week later, we got the phone call we’d been waiting for! Finally, a showing! Considering the house down the road hadn’t had a showing in months, this was great news! I didn’t want to get too excited, but still, a showing!  Two days later, we had three showings in one day.  That night, we had three offers! It was a miracle!

The best offer was for a few thousand more than the appraised price of the house, but the buyer wanted us to pay closing costs.  We weren’t financially able to do so, despite the hefty tax refund that had just come through.  So, at the advice of our realtor, we sent a counter-offer. The buyer would get the house at the appraised cost & pay closing. The total came out to about a thousand more than the buyer had offered.  Then we waited.

Malachi 3:10

Malachi 3:10

The buyer accepted our offer.  Now we just had to wait for our lender to approve the sale, and find out if they would come after us for the $80,000 difference. We had been informed that our particular lender had a reputation for demanding repayment of the difference. This was concerning because there was no way we’d be able to help mom with our part of the bills, pay off the difference, and save anything to try to get back on our feet.  The guys at Advance Short Sale Service warned us that they’d only had one other client with our lender who’d had the difference forgiven.  The most they’d been able to get from our lender was 50% off the difference. So while we prayed for the best, we prepared for the worst, and waited to hear from the lender.

The buyer had asked to close in just two weeks. We still hadn’t heard from the lender, but time was running out to get a truck rented.  So we once again stepped out on faith.  We rented the truck and made final preparations to move to mom’s house on the second Friday in May. God had already poured out so many blessings on me and my family, but He wasn’t done yet.

Stay tuned for Part 4.

Read the whole story:

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 2.

our VA Home  It wasn’t easy to face the fact that we would be losing our home.  Believe me, I fought it.  I begged the mortgage company to reconsider, I applied for work to try to help make ends meet.  The more I fought it, the more anxious and upset I became.  So I prayed.  We prayed then discussed it, and decided to stop trying to fight it.  We decided on a Short Sale, and made plans to move into my mom’s house with her & my sister & brother-in-law.  The instant we came to that decision, a sense of peace filled me.  It was such a relief after weeks of fighting the inevitable. I know we were blessed to have a place to go, but the blessings didn’t end there.

We needed a realtor, and fast.  I knew the woman who had sold us the house was no longer a realtor, but we figured she’d know someone we could trust.  Laurie Wagner had been amazing when she helped us find the house, and really trusted her.  A quick google search found her new contact information, and phone call later we had a referral.

Buck Heffernan was an answer to prayer.  A former Navy guy, and a solid Christian, he had such a calming influence from the moment he stepped in the door.  He let us know what we would need and who we would need to talk to to make this happen. He was a God-send. If you are in the market for a realtor in the Hampton Roads area, I highly recommend Mr. Heffernan.

Thing was, the housing market in our neighborhood was dismal. Not much had sold in the past 2 years, and there were houses on the market for over a year.  We needed to sell quickly.  It wasn’t looking good.  Then the state government enacted the tolls, and the city council made noises about raising the water rates again and other market-killing moves, and it seemed like all hope was lost.  But despite that, I just knew the house would sell.  I felt like we’d be out by the end of April – an impossibility considering the market and the amount of hoops and paperwork we had ahead of us, but still, I just had this peace about the whole thing.  So we put the house on the market and stepped out on faith.

February passed, and no showings.  March was almost over without a showing.  I started to doubt just a little.  I started thinking, maybe June? Hopefully? We kept praying, and trusting God to make this happen.  I researched truck rentals and started packing boxes.  The books were first.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our large book collection, so I used that to mark which books were in what box.  Before long, most of the books and everything else we could live without was packed up. Now there wasn’t much to do but wait.

We’d already been blessed with a place to go and a realtor with connections to make this happen.  But with no showings, things were looking bleak. On top of that, our mortgage hit the 7-year mark and our payment increased. Would the blessings continue?  Was this a test of my faith? Stay tuned for part 3.

Read the whole story:
Part 1

Blessed Beyond Comprehension. Part 1.

What a difference 6 months can make.

Found online somewhereIn January, we were informed by our mortgage company that despite all of our best efforts to reduce our bills to the lowest possible, cut our spending down to nothing but the necessities, and do everything we were supposed to do…  the economy had taken it’s toll on our finances.  We were given two options:  Wait it out until our bank accounts were completely dry and our credit wrecked then go into foreclosure, or we could try a short sale.  (If you don’t know what a short sale is, check out this YouTube video, I’ll wait.)

What a lousy choice. Either way, we would be losing our home.  It had been our home for 7 years, the longest we’d been in one spot in our entire 15 years of marriage!  This was not easy to hear.

For what it’s worth, I meant it when I said we had done everything we were supposed to do. We had worked hard and paid off both cars while the military was providing housing.  When we paid off a car, the payment went into a separate bank account so we could “pay ourselves” and build up a nice savings account.  Our credit was excellent.  We paid off our credit card every month and were never late with a bill payment.  We even planned well when we bought the house, so that our mortgage payment would equal what we knew DH’s military retirement check would be – that way the mortgage would always be paid.  DH got a full-time job at JCP when he retired from the military, and we continued to save what we could.  When JCP started to decline fast under Ron Johnson, DH was a casualty.  He got laid off from his full-time position.  We immediately took measures to cut our bills to the barest minimum possible.  Then several Obamacare regulations kicked in, including the one that effectively reduced part-time hours to 29 a week instead of 39.  DH was able to find a part-time job with Big Lots, thanks to a good friend.  But you can’t support a family of five on 29 hours a week.  So we cut every penny out of the budget that we could, and started enforcing strict energy & water usage rules.  Then the City Council raised our property taxes and our water bill by 10%.

We filed a hardship packet with our lender, and in the process spoke to two different credit counselors & walked them through our budget.  Both were blown away by how tight we’d managed to make our budget, and neither could find a single thing to cut or reduce any further.  We were done for.  We’d already burned through so much of that nice savings accounts, we would be lucky to make it another 6 months.

I can already hear you asking, “But, where’s the blessing in this? You’ve lost your home, you’re pretty much broke, how is this good?”  Stay tuned for part 2.

That is NOT the Way to Make Money!”

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Two teeth gone!

Last night was a busy night for the Tooth Fairy at our house.  At various points in the day, both PinkDiva & Capt740 mentioned they had a loose tooth that was bothering them when they tried to eat. After dinner, I pulled out my Dentist Mom hat & took at look at Capt740’s mouth first.  Sure enough, he had a tooth that was translucent and really loose.  With a little encouragement, it popped right out.  He was happy and ran off.

Then about 5 minutes later, he came out and said, I lost another one! Sure enough… 2 teeth gone! He said after I pulled the first tooth, the other tooth felt loose. When he wiggled it to see how loose, it came right out in his hand.  It quickly dawned on him that this meant he’d get two dollars, and he got even more excited.  I checked the rest of his teeth because, dude, that is not the way to money!

If that wasn’t enough, PinkDiva also had a loose tooth that had started to break apart while still in her gum. It needed to come out ASAP, but she HATES getting teeth pulled. I tried to explain this to her, but she freaked out. Tony talked to her & calmed her down. She let me get in there, and within a few minutes the tooth and all the pieces were out.

The little guy then chimed in and said that getting his teeth was payment enough. Then the three of them laughed about the fact that in our house Mommy is Santa Claus & Daddy is the Tooth Fairy.  Daddy’s wallet is little bit lighter today, but at least no one is complaining about pain when they eat anymore.