Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 in Review

Where to start? It has been a crazy-blessed year! I guess I should start at the beginning.  Although I do realize that I blogged this summer so that will provide some other angles about this beautiful year...

The things that I remember most about the beginning of the year is John and I starting Financial Peace University.  We started in January with about $7,000 in debt (mostly used on a vacation from the previous summer, some final adoption costs, and a few odds and ends).  What was crazy was we had been debt-free before (twice actually).  The problem was is that John and I were on two different wave lengths about money.  We didn't really fight or have problems, but I didn't want to have any debt and for the first time John didn't like the monthly check that we were sending to Mastercard.  Its amazing how defeated we felt every time we sat down to write that check (or pay it online).  Something that was supposed to give us freedom (a line of credit) for whatever (emergency, a great bargain, a spontaneous opportunity) was making us feel more defeated and broken.  So we took the $100 Christmas money that we got from John's mom and bought our package to be a part of this 9 week course.  If we didn't fight about money before.  This class was sure to cause a fight or two.  We were both wrong in how we had handled money and we both had to admit it, work through it, and follow through with a plan.  We did the before mentioned and by mid-April we were debt free! Crazy! I know! Thanks to hard work, cutting our budget to almost nothing (actually we cash flowed a budgeted $1,000 vacay while we were in the states for some training!!!), used John's school stipend (thanks to some of John's military service benefits), sold some stuff, and had a tax refund.  To get through debt (and a small vacay) in almost 3 months was unbelievable and I will say that we totally believe in this radical program!! Not only that but we have been able to cash flow two mission trips this year and we are at 42% of meeting our 3-6 months of emergency savings goal (can you tell who is the nerd in the relationship?)!!!!!!  We are not the same couple a year later.  I have heard it said that this is supposed to be financial training, not marriage counseling, but this program did both!! ;)  We still have a little way to finish our goals, but with the right tools and being on the same page we will get there!  God has been providing for us for so long, but I feel like for the first time we are being such better stewards with the money he gives us and we are able to be even more generous!! WHICH WE LOVE!! :)  Soli Deo Gloria!!!

In February our church sent John and I to a youth pastor and volunteer conference in Indianapolis, Indiana! :) It was a total blessing!  I got to spend a few days before and after with family since we flew in and out of St. Louis!  I got to see my baby sister almost 9 months pregnant (I get to meet my sweet nephew and she is expecting again so whatever her second child is this summer!!).  I was able to spend time with most of my sisters and a brother (and a niece) which was such a sweet blessing since we have little physical time together!!

March. My sister had her baby. I helped host a marriage conference with almost 100 couples which was awesome!  I turned another year older (yay)! And that's about all I remember ;)

April brought about the typical spring break trip for our teens, extra time with all 3 kiddos, and we became debt free! Wahoo!

May. Henry turned 3!  Hannah had a dance recital (I think- laugh. Its the way my brain works these days). John and I celebrated 9 years of marriage! :)  I sure love that man! John's mom came to visit and that is always a treat! I am so blessed to have a great MIL!

June lead us on another trip to the Philippines. This time as a family and we loved it!! Also we had been in Oki for 4 years so we had some of our first students that we saw enter Freshman year here and Graduate as seniors! It was pretty cool! :)

July. Uh. I had a blast with all three kids being out of school and we did all sorts of mischievous things.  The beach, new pools, sleep overs, etc! Hayden did have summer school for a few weeks, but it was still a great summer!!

August was VBS! :) Fun and exhausting! School started back up and I sent two kids off to school!  Ah what a change it has been!  What would Henry and I do all day?  Well.  I started back to school part time and have loved (most of) it!!  Henry and I had some great one on one time!  And the school routine went into full swing.

September was a blur.  I have a feeling that a lot of early mornings and not enough coffee have added to the blur of this time.

October.  Hayden turned 9 (how is that possible?)!  We enjoyed the fall like weather, which we don't have much of, but we did this year!

November I took an impromptu trip to the Philippines to visit friends :)  Came back had Thanksgiving with the family and enjoyed a day of rest!

December was filled with Christmas parties, generosity, and a trip to the Philippines as a family over Christmas!  It was truly memorable :)

2013 was a great year and was a immense blessing, but I expect even greater things from 2014!  God is faithful.  He is just.  He is sovereign.  John and I are starting the adoption process again (this time from the Philippines) and we can't wait to see what God has in store for this step of faith!!