Tuesday, December 30, 2008

This is a must read

I ran across an article on Conservative Oasis' blog titled "Top Stories of 2008". I love the humorous overview of the year. For example:

US auto giants GM, Chrysler, and Ford come a calling to Uncle Sam, with hands out. Problem is, you can’t ask for billions from “America” if you are flying Lear Jets to the meeting. OK… this one got blown WAY out of proportion. America then got sidetracked onto Executive salaries and perks, ignoring the fact that the real glutton of this situation is the UAW. Even if you fired all three CEO’s and never flew another damn plane with them in it, their combined salaries for a year wouldn’t run one of those companies for a month.

America needs to wake up, and stop letting unions hijack themselves right out of work. Jobs race overseas for a lot of reasons, but one of them is because labor here is overinflated.

In the sequel, they three tripped to DC in economy hybrids and such. 10 hour drives. In cars that are being discontinued due to poor sales. Brilliant. Seriously, these are the best and brightest?

I object to them making that kind of money based on them just appearing stupid.

I found myself laughing out loud alone in a coffee shop. Please go read and make me feel validated! :)

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Like This Game

This week marked my first direct deposit into my savings account. Between that disbursement and depositing some of my Christmas money, I am now only $307 from my emergency fund goal!

I'll have another segment deposited at the end of the month. I also think I can sit down and scrounge up enough extra funds from the budget to make the goal by the end of January! Hopefully in February I'll have completed one baby-step and starting the second!!

I am hoping to bring in a little additional income through selling photography. I've got a few items for sale on my Etsy shop, but have several more that I just haven't gotten around to putting up. Check out the link above and keep lookin- more stuff will be added soon!

Here's to an exciting, closer to debt-free, new year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Change in Lifestyle

While at home over the Thanksgiving break I started reading my dad's copy of Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. I couldn't put down the book, and thought it was insightful and funny.

As a result of reading that book, I've started the Total Money Makeover. Dave (we're on a first name basis) outlines a series of baby steps, and I'm on number one! This means that I need to save $1000 in an emergency fund before I begin Baby Step 2- The Debt Snowball.

I also created a pretty decent budget and outline of where my money should go every month. I've tried to be strategic about using direct deposit to help with this. For example, I have two checking accounts and two savings accounts. One of my accounts is at a bank in KY and one is here. I've set it up so that certain things go to the KY account that is used far less often. My auto insurance, travel and gift funds all are directly deposited in that account monthly. My auto insurance is automatically paid monthly from that account. This way, I'm not keeping a wad of cash all year until I need it to travel, and when I do need it I can easily transfer it to the other bank, or just use that debit card. Plus it's far less tempting to dip into those funds, since I kinda forget that account is there. I've also set up a recurring deposit to my savings account from my paycheck. My money is managing itself!

I'm going to blog about my process through this makeover. If you are interested, you can track my progress through the interactive chart on the right!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Waddy Wonderland.

Glorious Shelby County. "Shove that up your pipe and smoke it Louisville."

Thursday, December 11, 2008


"24" by Switchfoot resonates with me today. I want to share the lyrics with you.

Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I'm not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

Twenty four reasons to admit that I'm wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I'm not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now

And You're raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I wan to be one today
Centered and true

I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
You're raising the dead in me
Oh, oh I am the second man
Oh, oh I am the second man now
Oh, oh I am the second man now
And You're raising the dead in me

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You're raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.
I'm not copping out. Not copping out. Not copping out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Week 1: Patience

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near! ... Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know we consider blessed those who have persevered … The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
-James 5: 7-11

There seems to be a running theme of patience in my life right now. And, the irony that I’m writing this reflection while waiting for a flight that has been delayed 3+ hours is not lost on me. It only adds poignancy.

I recently read the passage above and was struck by the imagery of the farmer, waiting. I once heard a pastor talk about what it might look like if a farmer took the same approach that we often do. Imagine a farmer planting an apple tree, adding a little fertilizer and water, standing back for about five minutes, and then becoming confused and frustrated that the tree is neither visible nor bearing fruit. A true farmer knows that this process takes time, often years, for the tree to bear fruit. Farmers know that there is a lot at work beneath the surface, which often is unknown to the human eye.

While the inpatient farmer image may draw laughs, I know I often approach life with that same perspective! I expect that things will happen within my timeline- Quickly! I am sure that our microwave, DSL-internet world is no different. Sadly, I take the impatient farmer approach with far too much of my life. Whether that be expecting student issues to resolve quickly, or relationships to be what I want them to be on my own timeline. I certainly am no farmer.

I’ve bend drawn to the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth found in Luke 1:5-25, 2:57-66. Zechariah and Elizabeth are best known as the parents of John the Baptist, and Elizabeth was an older cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus. Luke 1 paints a picture of an older couple that wanted to have children, but never did. Despite this great disappointment they were both described as “upright in the sight of God”, a title that implies faith, discipline and contentment. While the two had clearly written off the idea that they might ever be parents, the story paints an image of a couple who did not cease to pray and do what is necessary for their desires to become real.

Ultimately, as implied by their role as John’s parents, the couple was blessed with a son. But, it was certainly clear to Zechariah and Elizabeth that it was “the Lord” (Luke 1: 25) who brought about this blessing. Their barrenness, and ultimate blessing played a big part in God’s glory and the coming of the Messiah, but the timing had to be just right. This equals years of heartache and pain watching other children for this righteous couple.

I think Zechariah and Elizabeth are examples of the patience that James referred to above. While he specifically mentioned Job, I’m sure that James may have had this couple in mind. James the writer is often believed to be the brother of Jesus, so Elizabeth would have been his distant cousin as well. No doubt he grew up hearing the story of what God had done for his relatives. James also was poised to see the glory of God in not only their story, but the selflessness and love of his Brother.

In Luke 2: 65-66, it is said that the neighbors of Zechariah and Elizabeth were in
“awe, and . . . people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it asking, ‘What then is this child going to be? For the Lord’s hand was with him.’”
It is clear that God’s hand was in the waiting John’s parents experience, the timing of his birth, and his ultimate purpose on earth. It was a timing and glory that only God could have foreseen. Things were being done underground, the seeds had to be planted and nurtured, before the tree could bear fruit.

I’ve found myself wondering what God is doing beneath the surface that I’m trying to rush. I am confident that there are situations and relationships where God is working for His Glory in and through my own life. Ultimately, God will be glorified, but it certainly won’t be on my timeline. It may very well be after I think it’s a lost cause. The key is to be patient and content in trusting that the work underground is being done. Wait is an active word that requires us to be content and patient with where we are, but be willing to take the steps necessary for God’s glory to be revealed. I pray that in this season of Advent, God might reveal within my heart what that means in my life, and yours as well.

Soundtrack of My Life

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