Thursday, January 30, 2020

Grace Upon Grace

I didn't mean to leave you all hanging last week, really, I didn't.  We just were waiting for final steps and wanted to be sure all ended well before sharing.  Some of you might remember the huge crazy of 2017 when we sold our house on day one, then it unsold in a day, and then it sat on the market for another three months while we lived in an AirBNB for three months.

Praise the Lord for his mercy- this time around was much better.

Our "forever" home went on the market the morning of Friday, January 10th.  We had FIVE showings scheduled for that day in a few hours.  I took the dog on long walks, and sat in our car a lot.  Because he is 15 years old and I had a horrible cold, we were both done by that night.  We finally got back in the house by about 7.

Saturday morning started with a 10:30 showing that lasted until 11:30. More walking the block with the dog. We ran back into the house for a potty break and then went to the park for a picnic lunch.  We stayed there until 3.  Praise the Lord for sweet friends who joined us to pass the time and keep us company.  We headed back to the house hoping the 3:00 showing would be quick and done.  NOT.  They left at 4, we hopped in for a potty break, and left again for a 4:30 showing that stayed forever.  In case you are counting, that was three showings PLUS the open house that had over 75+ people come through.  By the time we got back in at about 6:00, we were all tired and brain fried and I was pretty sure the dog may not wake up the next morning.  (He is still with us, bless him!)

Sunday resulted in another showing and...4 offers!

All were strong, all were pushing for a pretty quick process, and all tugged at my heart!

By Monday the 13th we accepted an offer.  Inspection was a few days later, appraisal soon after, final walk through was on Tuesday, and we officially close today- three weeks, start to finish.  The new owners are allowing us to stay in the house for a few more weeks, but we begin the moving process on February 10th and should be in Prescott by the 14th.

Crazy right?

Want to up the game of crazy?

My girls move into an apartment this weekend, Riley has been in Scotland for the last week, and Clarke will not be here the week of the packing and loading due to his job. Oh, and the people who bought our house did not step foot into it until the day of the final walk through.  Seriously!  They saw it via Facetime from Minnesota!  Told you- CRAZY!

Want to see the hand of God- look at the little details of your life, my friends!  God is in the details!

  • After DAYS of raining, yes it does rain in AZ, the sun came out the day the house pictures were taken
  • We had FIVE showings on day one!  
  • We only had to leave our house for three days for showings!  Ya'll, this is BIG for a homeschooling family of six with a dog!  If I had had to continue that pace, I would have lost it!
  • The contract was easy, the "fixes" minimal, and the buyers have been gems to work with!
  • We have a realtor who turned out to be a great friend, that held our hands the whole time, cheered and encouraged us, and did a remarkable job of selling this house.  Coming or going- Lisa is your gal when buying a house!
  • I found a rental house for us in Prescott over a matter of days and it will be available February 3rd so Clarke can begin to move a few things up as he commutes.
  • The girls found a place to live in one week that splits the difference between their jobs.
  • We were able to get a moving company on short notice to move us. 
  • So many friends have checked on us and sent sweet messages of encouragement.  Thank you! 
And it just goes on and on.  As a dear friend said recently, just more confirmation that we are on the path the Lord intended.  Grace upon grace!

But just because it is HIS path does not mean it is all rainbows and ponies.

Moving is hard.  Leaving friends and an amazing church is hard.  Letting go of a beloved house is hard.  Moving away from my girls is HARD!

Don't be fooled- behind the smiles and the excitement are some pretty intense emotions and fears for us all.  But we are determined to walk this path as best we can- knowing that the Lord has paved the path and is leading the way!


Monday, January 27, 2020

Race to the Finish

I love finished projects!  There is something so soothing about erasing things off your to-do list, and therefore out of your brain.  It is one of the reasons I strive to live as simply as possible- a huge to do list and half finished projects lying around make me crazy.  They weigh on my mind and distract me from things that are far more important.

These two quilts are a good example.

This one I started making 20 years ago.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I started taking a class on hand piecing back when we lived in Florida right after Riley was born.  It was a sweet time of once a week for a few hours where my hero husband took care of the girls while I had some time away.  Unfortunately we moved before it was completed and other things took up my brain space.  I have carried it around for YEARS.  While my color palette of choice has changed, my love for this quilt has not and so I took it out a few weeks ago, added the final border, and will be shipping it out to be quilted.

The next quilt is one one that I have carried around the fabric for a while and not done anything with it.  I am a fabric girl, you all, and just could not resist those colors!  I finally sat down and put a simple top together so I can have it made for our living room in our new house.  This, too, will be sent to be quilted, as I just do not have the time or energy to do so in the middle of another move.  Pick your battles is my motto these next few months.

Jack, 15, decided it was good enough for him!

As for other projects, the only thing I have sitting in my to-do list project wise is scrap booking.  Because I am a woman possessed, I am almost there!!  I have a few spaces empty here and there, but the end is in sight and I keep plugging away.  When I am done, I am sure you will hear me shouting from the rooftops!

How about you? What project do yo have that you would REALLY like to see finished?  What is stopping you?


Friday, January 24, 2020

Monday, January 20, 2020

No-Spend Tricks and Tips

If you read our original post about No-Spend January and our follow up confession just a few weeks in, you know that we have good intention, but are no means perfect when it comes to not spending money in any given month.

Take today for example...we went to lunch on a gift card and went slightly over with an extra child eating with us and tipping the waitress.  We did however spend much less than normal and because of that I will call it a win for now.

I have loved hearing how some of you are following along and how some of you have tweaked No-Spend January to fit your family.  Let's face it, there is no true one size fits all and finding what works for you is the key to success.

That being said, I have a few ideas on how to better save, so here we go!

Don't shop!  Stop giggling, please.  I am serious.  Let me tell you- the fastest way to spend money is to wander down the aisles of a store.  Target, anyone?  These marketing people are good at what they do, ya'll, just saying.  We used to tell our kids to hide their eyes when we saw something we thought was inappropriate.  (yes, we are THAT family!)  People- HIDE. YOUR. EYES.  Don't go in a store when you do not need anything- it is just too tempting!  This includes Amazon!

Make a list! If you MUST go in a store, go in armed with a list and STICK. TO. IT!  Again, I am serious!  Do not deviate from the plan.  Buy only what you want and get out fast!

Use coupons and gift cards!  I use to love to use coupons in the grocery store.  It became a game to me and I loved the challenge.  Hey, I had little kids, I needed some entertainment outside the house.  But it works and combined with sales, you can save a lot of money.  As for gift cards, if you have them, use them wisely!  Look at menus ahead of time, know what you can afford, and then go and enjoy!  Thanks to a sweet friend, our meal out today cost us very little.

Avoid sales!  OK OK, yes, buy stuff on sale when you can, but DO NOT just go looking for sales.  If you do not need something, buying it on sale is NOT saving money.  I know a lot of people with stuff piled in closets that were bought on sale.  Not being used, not being enjoyed- just taking up space "in case" and a complete waste of money.

Practice self control!  Ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"  Better yet, write it down and see if in a week or two you still feel that you need it,  Often times when we remove ourselves from the immediate "I NEED that" moment, we see the value in waiting or even passing things up.

Stay strong!  Yes, sometimes we just need to make a decision and stick to it!  I had a Stitch Fix delivered last week- in the middle of my No-Spend month.  I do not usualy go out to clothes shop as it makes me a wreak, so this is a way I often buy clothes.  Huge praise that for once only ONE item called my name.  I quickly put the others in the return envelope and left the magical pants, which fit like a gem, on the top to consider.  The following morning as I stood considering them again this is what came to mind... you said NO SPENDING!  Surely you can do this, don't be a wimp.  Surely you have better self control.  As quick as I could I stuck those pants in the bag and sealed it, and sent them on their way.  It might seem like a small thing to you, but I am telling you the more we deny ourselves and show some restraint in random spending, the easier it gets. You can do it!

One more week to go- we can do this!  And I can't wait to see how much money we have indeed saved!  How about you?


Monday, January 13, 2020

No Spend January Confessions

Yep, it is only the 13th of the month and already I have confessions to make.

Let's start at the beginning.  January 1st, our family began a self imposed (read, MOM imposed) no spend January.  This was to include no clothing, entertainment and house hold items, with the exception of 4 Sunday after church meals, using gift cards for two meals and spending under $10 per outing for the other two meals. (You can read the full No-Spend January post!) I convinced them, sort of, that it would be a good way to save some extra money, maybe get to bless someone else at the end of the month, and be a good way to practice patience and self control.  Not to mention, we do not NEED anything.  Seriously!

So confession number one-
It was a bad idea on my part to try this the month we are trying to sell a house!  At the very least, it makes it more challenging.

Which leads to confession number two-
We had a last minute showing the first day on the market and had to head out of the house at lunch time.  Yes, I bought lunch out.  As cheaply as possible, but spent money none the less.  Because I was ill prepared gathering the dog, straightening the house, and getting one child off to work on time led to a crunch. I thought things our better the following day and we had a picnic lunch at the park- a story for another day.

Confession number three-
Our first lunch out cost about $10.38ish.  (I cannot find the receipt to save my life!)  But hey, I was pretty proud of ourselves- 5 people ate for just about $10.  Today our lunch costs us a little over $15, so about $5 over.  We probably could have changed a few lunch choices and hit our mark, but overall it could have been a lot worse considering what it usually cost to feed 5 of us.

Confession number four-
My family is not overly excited about my whole plan, and with an anticipated February move, I doubt our experiment will last past this month.  Move time is stressful and I do not want to make things worse.

It's certainly not over- so I will keep you updated. And wow, there are some big things on the horizon around here- can't wait to share!


Monday, January 6, 2020

Ready, Set...Go!

Years ago, out of a desperation to maintain some semblance of sanity in my life while my husband was deployed for a year, the concept of 34 Weeks of Clean was birthed.  While it has gone through a few changes over the years, the basic concept is still the same- clean, declutter, and organize your house, one week at a time for 34 weeks.  Simple!

This year is going to look a bit different for our family.  Our house goes on the market this week and we anticipate moving two hours north of here, hopefully by summer.  I am ever so grateful we have done the 34 Weeks of Clean program for several years now, as getting ready for the sale of the house has proved fairly easy.  There has been little to weed out and not much to do.  A little staging here and there and our regular cleaning is all it has taken.

Read this NOT as a brag on our part, but a personal testimony that 34 Weeks of Clean can and does work!  It is NOT a fix quick, it does take some time and energy- but it is most definitely worth it.  I promise!

While I will not be blogging on the system much this year, I think our time will be taken over with move and building a house posts, we will be following along as best we can and are always here to answer questions and cheer you on!

Grab a friend and work together, or at least spur each other on.  Accountability goes a long way for motivation!

We always start with Christmas decorations, but if you have already taken those down you can jump right in to week two, or consider yourself ahead and enjoy one more week off.

Remember- slow and steady wins the race.

One. Week. At. A. Time!

Trust me on this one.  If you work ahead you will wear yourself out and never finish.  Our homes did not get in their current shape in a will most certainly not fix the problem in a few short days!

One more piece of advice- make it your goal to simplify your life- you will not regret it.  Stuff all over our homes clutters our heads and our hearts.  I have written a short series called Clearing Out the Clutter on that note that I encourage you to read if this is a struggle for you.

Good luck and Happy New Year!  May this year be full of love and joy- and a house that reflects the peace of God, inside and out!

Start here with reading the INTRO post that will help explain the process and answer some FAQs!

Your 34 Weeks of Clean schedule-

Week 4- Fridge, Freezer and Floors
Week 5- Recipes 
Week 6- The Stove and Loose Ends 
Week 7- The Dining Room 
Week 8- The Living Room 
Week 9- Books 
Week 10- Bathrooms  
Week 11- The Foyer
Week 12- The Family Room and DVDs 
Week 13- Pictures and Scrapbooks
Week 14- Arts, Crafts and Hobbies 
Week 15- The Master Bedroom  
Week 16- The Master Closet 


Start off the New Year with my friends at Timberdoodle Blog!

My friends at Timberdoodle are back at it- this time some Spring Cleaning is happening!
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You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Thursday, January 2, 2020

No Spend January (And Beyond!)

We have done a no spend plan before and really benefited from it before, so we (read MOM) decided to try it again!  For sure it will include the month of January.  Depending on how it goes and if the troops haven't jumped ship yet, we may extend into February.  And maybe March, but don't tell!

Why you ask?  Well, for several reasons really.  One, after just coming off the Christmas season and lots of gift giving, I cannot imagine there is anything this family really needs!  Wants, maybe, but needs, certainly not. Two, we follow a budget plan based on Dave Ramsey but during the holiday season tend to get a little loosey goosey with it.  Now is a good time to get back on plan and reestablish good habits!  Thirdly, we are getting ready to move so we do not need to bring anything extra into our house.  And last, saving money is AMAZING!  There is nothing like getting to the end of the month and having a visible sign of your good choices in not spending!  CASH!

In the past we have done different things with that extra money such as adding it to our vacation fund and even blessing a few people along the way.  The jury is still out for what we will do this year, but I have a few ideas in mind!  Stay tuned.

Here is the game plan-

We only spend from the necessary budget categories.  House payment, utilities, groceries, gas, tithing, insurance, etc.

Household, clothing, personal "allowances," and entertainment budgets are locked!

Yes, you will see us out for Sunday lunches as normal.  We have a two gifts cards we will use for two of those days and are committed to spending only $10 for each of the two remaining Sundays.  SAMS Club and Little Caesars it is! ;)

Public shaming for those who break the rules is allowed.  Just kidding,  Mostly.

Will our two oldest participate?  (I am tackling questions I know you will ask!)  Good question!  I am not sure at this point.  But this momma will not be aiding and abetting them for sure.  I do know they have prepaid Starbucks cards and gift cards from Christmas, so I feel sure they could manage.  I will let you know!

Not spending money takes commitment.  It isn't easy and often means saying no when you really want to say YES!  I like things, I get it, friends!  But the decision to live simply, even if only a few weeks or months helps us to refocus on what is important, while saving some money along the way.  It is a great way too regroup and refocus!

Who is in?


 Joining my Timberdoodle loves for a blog hop- read all about their 2020 goals and visions and a few looks back!

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Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Word of the Year

A new decade.  How did we even get here?  This year has flown by for us.  So many good things, and yet we anticipate many more exciting things on the horizon.  I am not sure why we are ever surprised, but the Lord is always gracious to hold us close and bless us beyond belief.  Even in the hard times, He is faithful and good.  If you don't know him as Lord and Savior, we would love to have that conversation with you!

As I have done for the past 6 years, I have been contemplating choosing a word of the year to reflect and focus on.  In the past, choosing was relatively easy to do.  The word just jumped out at me, often weeks before the end of the year. 

2014- GRACE
2015- JOY
2018- VISION
2019- RENEW

This year, that was not the case.  At. All.

This post was started and then sat blank and quiet, with no words- or WORD- written.  I pondered more than a few scriptures but just did not feel like the Lord was saying, yes- that is it!  It was getting a bit distressing, honestly.

And then a few days ago I saw a Facebook friend post about her word and I knew I had found it!  It was beautiful and it spoke right to my heart.  With her permission, I have adopted her word- but let's face it, it is GOD'S word!  And I am ever so thankful He used a fellow believer and friend to put it in my path and on my heart!

So this year my word is- Hineni

Consider this explanation from the site One For Israel- is a way of expressing total readiness to give oneself – it’s an offer of total availability.

When God called out to Moses from the burning bush, Moses replied, “Hineni!” And you know what assignment he was given, and what happened next. When God approached Abraham to ask him to offer his only son as a sacrifice, Abraham responded, “Hineni!” not knowing what God was about to ask. God called out to the young boy Samuel three times before Samuel finally responded, “Hineni! I’m listening!” Many hundreds of years later, when God asked who would go for him in Isaiah 6, and the prophet willingly offered himself with a cry of “Hineni!” Send me!”

As my friend put it- “Hineni-whatever it is you are asking of me, I am already in agreement of it."

As many of you know, our house goes on the market next week and we are moving AGAIN.  It will be our 17th move in 27 years.  The first 16 were no surprise due to our military career.  But this one is a bit different.  We retired to Arizona to our "forever" home.  We planned on staying- forever.

One should NOT use that word, because one never knows what the Lord has planned.


That is the cry of my heart- send me- in TOTAL availability and TOTAL agreement.

But this is about more than a move!

Shouldn't that be the cry of our heart every single moment of every single day?  After all, our days are given to us my the Lord and He determines our steps.  Control is a thing for me.  Anyone else?  I love plans, and calendars and sticky notes and more plans!  

But I want to LOVE God more.  And be ready at any point to say Hineni- send me and I will go. No whining, no questioning, just trust.  Knowing that the God of the Universe only asks of us what He knows is best for us.

To God be the Glory!


Joining my Timberdoodle loves for a blog hop- read all about their 2020 goals and visions and a few looks back!
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter