Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Anonymous said...

how much does Dave Ramsey charge?

I don't mean for my blog to sound like an advertisement for Dave's program but the question was asked. So I answer.

His book is for sale on his website for $10.00. I went to the library and got it for FREE.

His radio show is nationally syndicated or you can go to his website and listen to the show in real audio or media player. Again FREE.

I subscribe to a forum on his website (personal choice for me) that allows me to chat and interact with others in the same program. These folks are in the same boat as I, some are way ahead and some are counselors. They give great advice and motivation. That costs me $8.95 a month or you can prepay for a year for $89.95. There is a FREE trial period on the site. However, there is also a FREE forum for TMMO and it is FREE is good.

He is leading a ministry against credit abuse. He does NOT take credit cards on his site for you to purchase his products. Only a debit card. He says the ideas aren't his it's the same stuff your grandma would tell you.

You can buy his software, but there's lots of FREE spreadsheets on the web you can download.

He has a program called Financial Peace University. There is NO CHARGE for the classes, but you do have to buy the materials for this 13 week program. Right now it is on sale for $139.00. I have not done the FPU, I want to. These are usually sponsored by local churches.

He's not really teaching us a lot at the beginning of the program that we already didn't know -- he's just a great motivator. The investing information and advice is where I will need the help.

Just plain old common sense. Sometimes I don't tend to have a lot of that. Guess I'm smarter than I am savvy.

Want to know what sucks? I think I have actually lost my debit card. Aaaarrrrrggggghhhh!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What Lifestyle Change?

OK -- So ya'll know that we are doing the Dave Ramsey Total Money Make Over thing...

So here's how it is going so far...

Arrears Caught Up & we have a Budget
DONE - $1761.86 - 2/9/2007
Baby Step 1 (Emergency Fund)
DONE - $1000.00 - 2/15/2007
Baby Step 2 (14 SNOWBALLS to throw - totaling approx. $22,000)
Snowball 1 - $413.00 - Thrown 2/16/07
Snowball 2 - $167.04 - Thrown 2/23/07

Now for some things that I have learned about myself and our family heirarchy in this process.
  1. This program tells you to live on what you make or on less than you make. We have been doing that all along, BUT for only 1/2 of the month when we ran out of money. If you've heard the old saying there's not enough paycheck left at the end of the month. Or as my Granny would ask "Is that money burning a hole in your pocket?" "Don't spend it all in one place." We'd spend it all up, because hey if there's a few bucks in there, we can use it. We lived for the moment. Now we are living on what we had to live on at the end of the month (why not we were already used to it) most of the time. In so doing, we have excess and we are able to put that towards our debt. Know what? It isn't miserable -- it is refreshing, it is great, because we know that the load will be off of us quicker.
  2. We've had to sacrifice a few things, but it is probably for the best anyway. Seems that a lot of the things we are giving up are convenience items and vices. I quit smoking back in November, that saves a considerable amount of money. You wouldn't realize it but buying J**** cartons of cigarettes at a time versus by the pack saves $30.00 a month. We have stopped eating out except on Thursdays. J**** takes his lunch and the majority of the time, I don't eat out at lunch time. I am worst on this point than him. I've stopped buying sodas except for J**** to take in his lunch - this also saves us more than $50.00 per month. J**** has stopped playing poker every weekend - this saves another $45.00 per month. We have put off buying a new couch until we can find a good used one that we like. When I buy groceries -- I shop the flyer and the sale items, unless it is a necessity I WILL NOT pay full price - family of 5 and we are paying less than $100 a week for groceries and eating good.
  3. I am having a hard time saying WE. It seems like I have trained myself to sole take ownership of the family finances. In part because of J****'s alcoholism (76 days clean and sober--hooray) and it is also my personality to be very independent. I actually started this post by saying I am doing the Dave Ramsey Total... and had to go back and change it to We are doing... J**** is getting more involved in the budgetary matters and he is taking an interest and getting more on board each day. I get a little territorial and try to make all of the decisions, but then I remember what Popaw J*** told me, marriage is 100/100, it is not 50/50. This not only goes for someone not pulling their weight but also for someone being too overbearing in an area. So the money is not all my responsibility it is OUR responsibility. Hard for me to let go SOLE ownership.
  4. I am an ENABLER. Not just an enabler to the traditional types of addictions, but an enabler to poor money management. I have a hard time telling people NO when they ask for money. When the money is asked for and I know that the only reason they are in need is because of their OWN poor decision making and lack of planning I must say NO. I've listened to Dave's show and realize that this is enabling -- it is enabling to keep cosigning loans for a family member not able to pay their bills, it is enabling to keep lending them money when they do NOT have a budget or a job. One woman called in and had filed bankruptcy on $95,000. $80,000 of that was NOT her debt, but was debt that she had cosigned for a family member. I would feel SO betrayed. But, I have in the past enabled this sort of behavior.
  5. I have regained hope and am optimistic. We can do this. I want to have the money to pay cash for my children to go to college. I want to be a millionaire when I am 65. I want to be debt free. I want to be a good steward of those things that the Lord has given me. I want to give freely to the church and to those around me in true NEED without it causing hardship for myself and/or my family. I want to raise my children to respect money and to understand how to use that money, not to love it but to use it as a tool.
I placed one of them little quizzy things that you take to tell you where you would be at 65 if you follow Dave's plans in my sidebar. It says that if I follow his plan I will have saved $3,054,000. WOW!!! Just to think it is possible is unfathomable. But, hey it is worth a try.

Growing up is hard to do.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Just Ask", she said.

I made the comment to BHP the other day that when it comes around to things that need to be done, I shouldn't have to ask. She said "why not? He can't read your mind, he doesn't know what you may be expecting of him. " Yes, men are different than women, and yes, you have to ask. How many times have you heard a man say? If you had just asked I would have gotten that for you.

The topic was even mentioned in church this morning when this passage was read,
Mt 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
I guess if I have to ask God, then I shouldn't be so surprised that I have to ask J**** for things that I want or expect from him.

So it is Sunday morning, and we have been going as a family a lot here lately. So this morning no one really had the gumption to go, but my wonderful mother called and goaded us on our way. J**** says that he doesn't want to go, that he thinks he'll stay home and relax. So I ask. He grumbles, growls, hollers, stomps his feet, acts very immaturely, but he does end up going.

Here was my take on it. If he's not going to go and help me keep them in line in church, then he should do something productive and not get a mini-vacation. I don't get the alone time and have to do nothing. I demand (hehehe) equity. Please?

He says he just went so he wouldn't be expected to clean house. That sort of hurts my feelings. I regard church very highly as a way to mentally refuel myself. He also seems refreshed after being with other Christians. He throws this fit each time. Then, he ends up going with us each time. I wish there could be a little less drama each week.

So, back to the just ask...Why? when he huffs, stomps, pouts, makes snide remarks? I'd just as well do it myself.

On March 16 we begin Marriage Counseling with BHP. Oh, I've got plenty to say, but - what will I do when she tells me I need to adjust my ways too? Guess I'll just huff, stomp, pout, and make snide remarks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drug Du'Jour

Cymbalta made me nutso, cuckoo, crazy.

So Ol' Doc H took me off of that and put me on Citalopram (Celexa).

So far so good - just a little nutty but that is to be expected with a new medication. I feel like I am on speed or something.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cymbalta is NOT in Africa

Okay --

BHP cancelled our appointment on Friday and we've rescheduled for the 22nd at 1:00 p.m.

The first doctor's appointment resulted in the following:
I told him that I didn't want to go back on the Prozac because it made me not give a damn. I didn't care about the finances, the house, I tolerated a whole lot more than I should. I DON'T think that I am depressed. I think that I have a lot of stress. I think that I am overwhelmed.

It does work on the pain -- but boy oh boy -- I've had folks explain to me what it is like to be on a cocaine buzz -- well baby today I was GEEKING. Funny since my profession is Geek. Hehehehehehehehehe.

Here's what this medicine is doing to me:
  • I speak like I'm an auctioneer
  • I am constantly moving
  • Lots of energy for half the day
  • Major sleepiness like kerplunk rest of the day
  • I really don't give a damn
  • My comment filter is turned off -- I'll tell it like it is right now baby.
  • The nausea is about gone, the severe diarrhea is not -- supposedly it will constipate you, but not me -- always expect the opposite from me -- I know -- ewwww.
  • The thought of food disgusts me. Ewwww.
  • The headachy part is over -- but day one and two -- I was sick as a DAWG.
  • The pain in my joints is lessening -- so that part is working.
  • I still can't figure out the trance like states that it puts me in - I had one last night that lasted about 1 1/2 hours and driving to work today -- well, I just kept going and was way off course.
I was going to stop taking it, but decided I'd do one week and see if the symptoms subsided. A lot of folks that I've read their reviews on sites have said that it does work if you can get past the initial week or so... We'll see.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Stuff I've got to do - but really don't want too-

Pay bills
- utilities, deliver J****'s final fine payment to courthouse - it's a good feeling to be able to pay these bills and have a little bit left over. We are still working the "plan", but we are weaning ourselves into it, so this month we are adjusting our budget to our needs and personalities, in March the real snowball starts, so watch out at the bottom of the hill.

Doctor's Appointment 1 -
- I have an appointment in the morning with my family doctor. I'm tired of not feeling well. Here's my symptoms: depression, fatigue, tingling/numbness in feet and hands, painful knee and ankle joints, on the rare occasion dizzy spells, difficulty swallowing, chest pains, constipation (I know ewwwww), some bad gas, gained a bunch of weight. I feel like shit and am just plain ol' tired of it.

Here's two diagnosis I've got from friends - 1) fibromyalgia (mother in law and best friend), 2) thyroid. Then there's my diagnosis and daddy's - you're just too damned fat.

I do need to get serious about weight loss -- so I'm going to give myself some behavioral rules to work on... like my Money Makeover -- I'm doing these in baby steps. Baby Step 1 for me will be to not eat when I am doing something else. To stop what I am doing and go to a designated snacking place if I want to eat. Therefore, if I am working on the computer and want a snack -- I have to go upstairs and sit at the table and enjoy my snack, or at work go to the break room and enjoy my snack. But no more sitting and watching TV, driving, etc and eating. A designated eating area will be my new rule for me.

So, why do I think this will help? Because, I can sit here and read blog posts and eat an entire bag of chips, because I'm not thinking about the food I'm consuming.

Next week - I'll modify another eating behavior.

Doctor's Appointment 2 -
-BHP in the afternoon. She has said that J**** is welcome to come along. I think that maybe for half the session he can come in, but half of it is mine, mine, mine. She wanted me to write down why I am angry at my Daddy.

I've thought about it and here's my answer:
  • I'm not angry at what he did when I was young - it made me the person that I am today, it made me a little crazy, but it had to be horrible being him too.
  • I love my daddy very much. As, I've said before, I miss not knowing him better and not being able to communicate with him.
  • I guess what I am angry at him about, is that we are never good enough. I don't know when he has ever been complimentary to us. He'll compliment us to each other, he'll tell me how strong Sis is, and how organized she can be, etc. he'll brag about the SON and his music career, but he won't say it to us.
  • I am angry at him because I see him in me, I see his actions coming out in me and then he has the nerve to constantly put my parenting skills down, to say hurtful things to me, yet he wasn't a perfect father by no means. I sometimes stop myself and am shocked when I have more or less told my child that "yeah that's nice, but it could be better." I never felt that anything I did was good enough for him.
  • I am angry at him because to this day, all I want is to please him. But, since I know that I will never totally make him happy, I will defy him and buy the damned house that he didn't like. I know a Daddy will never think any man is good enough for his daughter, but stop putting my husband down.
  • Oh, he tells me I'm pretty all of the time. I KNOW that he is proud of me. He loves my children, he wants to be there to help, I can see it in his face and his actions how much he loves the three of us, but...he makes me so angry.
I guess it all comes down to - I want him to be satisfied with who we are, and who he is. None of us, by no means is a failure. None of us are addicts, or alcoholics, we all support ourselves - sometimes we pay "Stupid Taxes" but for the most part we are responsible adults. I want him to let us know - hey kiddo, you did fine, then maybe we'll stop being so damn hard on ourselves and our kids. I'm tired of being afraid of letting them down.

It's hard wanting to be Daddy's little girl.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wow!! Almost a year ago, in April I filed for divorce because J**** was severely abusing alcohol, now he has been sober for 62+ days, this blog has been a chronicle of those times. He wasn't working, now he's going on his fourth week of work. Keep up the good work J****. He has even attended church with me each Sunday that we have been able to attend this year, to me this is a very special weekly family event.

J****, I am proud of you on this Valentines Day.

He asked me this morning what I wanted for Valentine's Day. How could I ask for more? This picture here shows all that I have ever wanted from him ...... a clean and sober husband, provider, and father that loves his children very, very much. Thank you J****. I love you on this Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Two Ol' Yellers

J**** and I have become two yellers. We yell about this, we yell about that. We yell at each other, we yell at the kids, we yell at the dog, the cat, and the hamster. We yell just to be yelling. When like the commercial we should be gelling. Sorry bad rhyme.

With J****'s recent clean and soberness, things are different at our home and a new type of stressful. He still has cravings and a new job with new routine to get used to and I still have my issues of coping and adjusting. Poor F,G,& D. Hope this article helps me be introspective...

Orange is me thinking it out and bold are some points that I think stand out.

How to Stop Yelling
Kids drive us crazy more often than we care to admit -- but screaming at them solves nothing. Try these stay-calm discipline strategies from top experts.
By Leslie Lampert

How to Stop Yelling

It's bedtime at my house -- but you'd never know it. One of my children is on the computer, another is watching television, and the third is whining that she's not tired. I, however, am exhausted -- and about to lose it.

First, I issue a stern warning: "Let's go, guys. It's time for bed," I say in a tough but controlled voice. Then I turn up the volume: "Did you hear me? Get up to your rooms right now!"

Finally, I explode: "Doesn't anyone listen to me? If you're not in bed by the count of three, there's no TV for the rest of the week . . . no playdates . . . no using the computer . . . no . . . no . . . no . . . " Irrational screaming at that, threats you know that you will not keep, just blathering to be blathering.

By now, I'm a contender for the cast of Scream 3 -- and the sound of my voice is scaring even me. I'm not exactly proud of my outburst, nor do I think it's particularly effective. So why am I shouting like a madwoman?

"Yelling is a response to intense frustration," explains child psychiatrist Lyndon D. Waugh, M.D., author of Tired of Yelling (Pocket Books, 2000). "Parents often scream when they don't have more effective tools for disciplining their children."

Of course, we all know that yelling isn't an appropriate way to deal with kids; in fact, it generally raises the tension level in the household and creates more problems than it solves. But the challenge for many of us is learning to control this reflex. Below, meet some yellers and hear what experts say can help quiet them down.

The Morning Yeller I married a morning yeller.

Mornings make Donna LaMarre, of Haverhill, Massachusetts, want to shout. With three boys, it's tough getting everyone out in time to meet the school bus. "We get up around 7:00 a.m., and I'll say, 'Let's have breakfast,' but no one wants to eat," LaMarre explains. "Then I'll say, 'Let's get dressed,' and the boys will dawdle."

LaMarre gets so frustrated by her boys' lack of responsiveness that she frequently starts shrieking at them, putting the entire household in a state of chaos. And before she knows it, the bus is honking outside -- and no one is ready. "Sometimes I feel as if my head's going to explode," she says.

The Solution

First, LaMarre needs to figure out why her kids are so sluggish in the morning. Are they tired? (If so, they need an earlier bedtime.) Are they being distracted by toys or the television? (If they are, she should institute a ban.) Or are the boys slow starters? (If that's the case, she needs to wake them up 15 minutes earlier).

Next, LaMarre should map out a morning strategy, Dr. Waugh suggests. During a calm period in the evening, she should discuss the agenda with her children and tell them what's expected of them. (She could say, for instance, "After you wake up, I want you to come downstairs for breakfast right away.") She should tell the boys that if they do not follow orders, there will be consequences, such as not being able to watch a favorite TV show later. She could even ask the boys to help choose an appropriate punishment for noncompliance.

Finally, LaMarre needs to become conscious of her tendency to yell and then try to refrain from doing so. "When you force yourself not to react immediately, you give yourself a chance to think," Dr. Waugh says.

Instead, LaMarre should use a phrase such as "I'm serious" to signal that she means action. Then, in a swift, no-nonsense fashion, she should help the boys put on their coats, tie their shoes, and gather their backpacks. Her goal should be to remain as unemotional as possible. "If that means occasionally keeping the bus waiting for a few minutes, it's worth it," Dr. Waugh says.

I have noticed that when we yell at them, they don't hear. It is like they have become desensitized to the loudness. Like they have turned off their ability to hear anything at that decibel, but if I speak softly and calmly they hear. An example of this was tonight, J**** had to punish G***** when I left the house for a bit. When I came back he told me with her what happened. She said, "I didn't hear you Daddy." He said, "I yelled it at you three times to stop." G*****, "I didn't hear." I believe she didn't hear him. We watched that Super Nanny lady on TV one night and she made that point that an adult standing over a 6,5, or 2 year old screaming is very intimidating, scary, fight or flight syndrome. The adult should stop and get down on the child's level, make eye contact and talk to them, not at them. We both need to work on this.

The Home-From-Work Yeller Me

Even though Benjamin is only 2 years old, his mother frequently finds herself yelling at him at the end of the day. "When I get home from work, I'm so tired and he's so active," says Rachel Smith, of Cincinnati. "I guess we just clash."

The toddler has a knack for finding trouble at every turn. "Yesterday I was home for less than five minutes, and he pulled over the trash can and spilled garbage all over the floor," Smith recalls. "I started yelling at him, 'Ben, why did you do that?' Of course, he didn't have any idea that he'd done anything wrong. I realize that shouting doesn't do any good, but I can't seem to control myself." Hehehehehe, sounds oh so familiar. Energetic 2 year old, tired Mommy, trash can, why just tonight...

The Solution

Smith's frustration is not with her son's behavior; she understands that his actions are totally age-appropriate. Rather, Smith is so worn out by the demands of her job that she doesn't have any energy left to deal with a toddler by the end of the day, says Robin Goodman, Ph.D., a psychologist at the New York University Child Study Center.

Dr. Goodman advises Smith to implement a plan for destressing before she begins dealing with her son. "This could be as simple as pulling into the garage and sitting for ten minutes and reading a book or getting a book on tape to listen to on the way home from work," she says.

Another suggestion: Smith could take Benjamin up to her bedroom and give him a picture book or some blocks to play with while she gets out of her work clothes. "When you have to switch gears quickly, sometimes the pure act of changing your clothes -- taking off your hose and putting on sweats -- is all it takes to make you feel like a different person," Dr. Goodman says. Unwinding can help both mom and child decompress. "Play a tape of nursery rhymes as soon as you get in," Dr. Goodman continues. You'll be amazed at how calming that kind of activity can be.

The They-Won't-Listen Yeller Poor J**** has said this many a time.

Kris Evans, of Yardley, Pennsylvania, has two strong-willed children, John, 7, and Julie, 4. "They just do what they want; they can be so defiant," she complains. Mine get that from their mother (beaming proudly.)

As a result, Evans finds herself yelling all the time. "I yell at John for getting dressed too slowly, and I yell at Julie for pulling boxes off the shelf in the grocery store," she says. "I yell at both of them when they're fighting in the backseat of the car, and I yell at them for yelling back at me." Yell, Yell, Yell, Yell, Yell -- AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH.

The Solution

Evans is blaming her kids for the fact that she yells, but she's contributing to the problem too. Dr. Waugh says she may simply expect too much from her children. "She needs to look at how often she's issuing commands to them and then deliberately cut back," he says. "With young children, it's important to pick your battles. If you back off a little on the smaller issues, the larger ones will stand out." They are kids for goodness sakes, sometimes we have to remind each other -- ahem, if you were five years old and Mommy/Daddy just brought home bunk beds -- wouldn't you too be climbing, jumping, screaming, giggling, and not paying attention. You would be excited. Kids are kids and their honest reactions shouldn't be stifled for our convenience.

Next, Evans needs to explain to her kids the importance of following her instructions. If she wants, she can give them a chance to explain why they don't want to listen, and if the objection seems reasonable, she may want to relent. "If, however, she decides to stick with her original request, she should repeat her command," Dr. Waugh says. If the children still don't comply, Evans should issue an immediate punishment, such as turning off the television or sending them to their room for a time-out. "When your child sees that he will not get off the hook and that you will have the final say, he'll tire of going through the process and eventually learn to do what he's asked," Dr. Waugh says.

The Bedtime Yeller

I'm still struggling to keep my cool during my own nightly ordeal of getting the kids tucked in. I'm well aware that my exhaustion is prompting me to scream; I rarely raise my voice at other times of the day. What can I do to get my yelling under control?

The Solution

"Bedtime would run more smoothly if parents understood how hard it is for kids to stop what they're doing when they're enjoying themselves," says Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., a Chicago psychotherapist and coauthor of Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person (Harvard Common Press, 1999). "Put yourself in their shoes: Why would anyone want to turn off a great television show or stop playing a computer game to brush his teeth?" This reminds me of a little boy (not J****) that would play so hard and so long that inevitably he would come running 90 mph to the house to go to the bathroom and not make it. He didn't want to stop having fun.

To ease the transition to bedtime, it's wise to give your children a good half-hour notice that they'll have to stop their activities and then lure them to their rooms with a fun -- but quiet -- activity. "Get some tapes of stories or lullabies, and have the kids listen to them in bed," Dr. Pieper suggests. "You'd be surprised how readily children will put on their pajamas if they know they'll be doing something enjoyable."

I've also decided to do something restorative for myself immediately before starting the bedtime routine. I figured that I'll handle it better if I'm not so wiped out. So these days, I've been sitting down with a good book and a cup of tea for half an hour before I attempt to usher the troops to bed. And when I do, I find myself feeling a lot more patient -- and less frazzled.

And you know what? When I'm more relaxed, I'm less likely to scream and shout.

I know things will get better. J**** and I need to work on communication and handling the children as a united front. When he was drinking/using I felt as though I was the main caregiver, now I have to share that responsibility and respect his ideas/opinions. He too mine and he needs to understand that they are children not adults with little bodies. They really are great kids. By the way -- new pics on flickr account.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Baby Step 1 - DONE

We have $1,000 in savings. Happy Dance!!!!!

We are no longer past due on any bills. Big time Happy Dance - Electric Slide -- Tango -- YeeHaw, slap your thighs Dance!!!!

In this Money Makeover plan thingy we are trying -- again common sense - duh. Before you start paying off the debt with a passion you need to have an Emergency Fund AKA Baby Step 1, just in case you need some money to pay for something. The Emergency Fund is $1,000. It is saved -- here's other things we are budgeting for savings --

  • A gifting fund - $65 a month going to savings
  • - for Christmas and Birthdays
  • A House fund - - $20 a week to savings
  • - for household repairs, paint, furniture savings, lightbulbs, etc...
  • Insurance -- $50.00 a month going to savings
  • - we pay this quarterly - now it will be equally distributed instead of one big chunk

By the way -- we did get the bunkbed, and F**** is thrilled, and D***** is sleeping soundly on the futon portion. We have our bed back. Another happy wiggle.We are fine-tuning the budget and trying the envelope system.

Again -- Discipline -- and tightening the belt. Here's what is going to be the hard part...
"When it's gone, it's gone. Once you've spent all the money in a given envelope, you're done spending for that category. If you go on a shopping spree and spend the $100 in your clothing envelope, you can't spend any more on clothes until you budget for that category again. That means no visits to the ATM to withdraw more money!"
So WHY? Why am I subjecting our family to this rigorous get into financial shape routine.
  • J**** is working and we need to use that money to trim down the debt and get ourselves in good shape. Many doubt him, and say "He won't keep this job for long, I give him a month and he'll quit." Well, I don't believe he will quit. I have reminded them, that this job is with a temporary service, so it may not turn out to be a career, but he has been trying to impress so that they will hire him full time. Because it is with a temp. service we are trying to get as far out of debt while we can.
  • We are tired of living paycheck to paycheck and being slaves to interest rates and loan companies.
  • We want to teach our children how to manage their money and how to live on the money that they make.
  • We want to be good stewards of what the Lord has given to us.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Debt, Debt, Debt

I don't like being in debt. I like to spend. A way of coping with depression (for me) is spending and eating.

Well, I'm trying to follow this Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Plan -- it will work, but oh my goodness, you have to be disciplined and you have to know how to tell yourself and others' NO.

Here's what I WANT to buy - nothing expensive:

1) Bunk beds for Ms. F****'s room - I saw a set on Ebay for $99.00 - pick up.
2) Entertainment center -- nice one at Wal-Mart on rollback for $78.00
3) DVD Recorder -- a friend told me she just bought one at Wal-Mart for $79.00
4) I NEED a new living room suite -- not brand new, just new to me - I'm watching craigslist for this.

If we stick with the plan we can be completely out of arrears and finished with DR's Emergency Fund by the end of this month. But boy oh boy -- I'd like to partially fund the Emergency Fund and buy some of these things.

The bunk beds are a must -- the boy is in bed with J**** and I and well he needs to move, but he'll need to move to one of the girl's rooms -- the other bedroom is downstairs. I'm not ready to be downstairs and them all upstairs -- not until they are older. None of them are ready to be alone downstairs -- they are still big chickens. So -- I thought hey, buy bunkbeds with futon on bottom and D**** can sleep on bottom futon and F**** can use it for quite a while. Okay, I talked myself into that one, I think. J**** agrees with the purchase. There is extra blow money this month -- so this will work with the budget.

If all goes well - I should be completely debt free by the end of 2009 except for my mortgage.

It is a liberating feeling/idea.

I guess what got me going was how stupidly I have spent money on automobiles...

Watch this videoI mean it is all just common sense, but instead of using my head, I was too worried about "keeping up with the Joneses."

I'm going to try to do better. People will read this plan and think as I did -- how can I deny myself so much and start living in a manner where I don't use credit? Well, I think that many of us, myself included, are living that way anyway. Paycheck to paycheck because we have used all the credit that we can afford and there is nothing left after paying the minimums on the bills.

I hate to say it but, I should have listened to my Daddy. I remembered - I was about 12 -- we went to see a friend of his "Sonny." Sonny worked the same job as Daddy. Sonny had two new cars, a boat, a trampoline, an AKA registered dog, a motorcycle, a nice big house in town. We had an old farmhouse, a rusty pickup, a jon boat with a trolling motor, an old car, and five acres. I said, "Wow, Daddy, look at all the stuff." Daddy said "yep and ain't none of it his. It all belongs to the bank. He lives paycheck to paycheck and if something happens to him then all this is gone."

I had a bill collector call me and I nosily asked what is your opinion about credit -- he said, "If it ain't dirt, I don't finance it."

Well, we're tightening our belts and hoping to be debt free so we can "live like no one else, later you can live like no one else."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It is Okay to be Angry.

I went to see BHP (my counselor) on Friday.

She said it had been almost six months since I had been to see her and wondered why I decided to return? I told her how I was feeling - see my post "I Should Have My Ass Kicked."

I opened up to her and let her know about my angry outbursts at J****. My angry outbursts are outrageous, F**** tells me that I am mean. This weekend (I tried really hard to control them) but I would just seethe with anger when he was doing absolutely NOTHING and I was torn three ways between the kids and trying to accomplish something.Here's how it happens. Scenario is a floor covered with toys, etc. J**** just sitting there. Has been home all day (yes, I understand third shift, but he can do something during the day since he says he doesn't go to sleep until 11:30 am.). Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, he's watching sports, I'm doing homework with two little girls -- he will help if we ask him too, but doesn't take the initiative to do so himself. The tension builds, and builds, until KABOOM I blow up, scream, cuss, call him names, etc...

One major problem is communication. The only way that we communicate is reading what the other writes in a journal. In me, this stems from my always being a peacekeeper in the alcoholic family, and J**** I believe was the clown in his.

But, I found out it is harder after the partner sobers themselves. I have been through my studies of trust, grudges, and drama on this blog and have scolded myself for those feelings. But, BHP says it is okay to be angry, it is understandable to be angry. So -- let's see what we can find out from others...

An article below -- my notes in orange...
Quotes from (click link to read the entire article)...

Al-Anon helps families cope with alcohol scars

"Alcoholism is one of the few diseases I know of that consumes the entire family," said Kathy, whose has seen three generations of her family scarred by alcohol. I too am a child of an alcoholic married to a recovering alcoholic and we have children, 1,2,3 generations.

One of the main messages is to quit being an enabler, or one who unintentionally helps the alcoholic continue drinking. Take care of yourself, members are told, but demand that the alcoholic take care of herself or himself. I'm afraid my anger is going to give him reason to start drinking again, so I believe I suppress it until the rage builds and I cannot contain it anymore. But, then in some sick way, I wonder if I burst out in rage to push him over the brink, because it is somehow easier to live with the alcohol as an excuse for my problems, to blame my inadequacies on someone else. I tend to not take responsibility for my mistakes. Which makes me laugh to think that the Boss said the other day something to the effect that "All of us make stupid mistakes, except for hehehehehehe." Wonder if he was being sarcastic?

Members are encouraged to identify suppressed emotions, accept responsibility for the way they feel and communicate freely. Do you know how hard this is? I've trained myself to stuff it all into the back of my head, file it away and forget about it. Every day, growing up was a new day, clean slate, we forgave Daddy and acted like it never happened. Shhhhh.

"It wasn't until I went to Al-Anon that I realized how crazy I had been acting," said Lonnie, also a local member. "And I wasn't the one who had been drinking." heheheheheh -- true, true.

Children who grow up in alcoholic homes are taught not to feel, not to trust and not to talk, said Kathy. I am trying to break this cycle - but right now they just think Mommy is mean.

"Every time I got angry, someone else got angrier," Dorothy said, "and it wasn't worth it. So I stuffed my anger, but it comes out anyway by damaging my health in different ways."

"When one person is alcoholic, I believe the spouse becomes more ill than the alcoholic just to hold things together, to make a family a unit rather than being devastated by the disease." I really don't feel good, and I am thrilled deep down that he is clean and sober, but I am adjusting and it is hard. I have lived with alcohol my entire life and that is the way of life that I know. This is a new way of life for me. It is scary.

Anger was a tension running through their household.

"My dad was angry, my mom was angry at him, and I was angry at them," she said. BHP has asked me to write down all the reasons that I am angry at my Daddy. She was shocked at the range of emotions that I carry for him: sympathy, anger, the need to protect him, love, fear, the fact that he intimidates me so, yet my extreme need to want to scream at him. All the things I want to tell him but can't. Ya know what I mean?

That behavior carried over into adulthood, where she married an alcoholic who had stopped drinking several years before, but who hadn't changed the behaviors that lay behind his alcoholism. Changing their behaviors that lay behind their alcoholism. J**** is going to have to identify these himself. BHP has said that she will work with him. I hope he can look deep inside himself and see that just being clean and sober doesn't make him a man, there's a whole lot more to being a father, husband, and a man than just being conscious and coherent.

"My obsession was making sure my alcoholic was OK," she said, "because that meant that me and the children were OK too."

Since her husband had quit drinking, her children grew up in a household in which there was no alcohol. But one of her sons became an alcoholic anyway, Kathy said. My greatest fear.

"That was my catalyst to begin a program of recovery," she said. "And now my son is in recovery too."

"Many of us in Al-Anon live with an alcoholic or the dry product and have very rewarding, peaceful lives, in spite of what is going on around us," she said. I have been to some al-anon sessions, but can't seem to make the time or justify it. Again, shhhhh, don't talk about it, stuff it in the back of your head. I don't want all that stuff making me feel bad, just forget it. blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I can see it working, but I'm still making excuses...

"I don't love my husband any less, but his disease has destroyed much of what a marriage is about." I can't top that statement.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Please Help My Cyber Friend

I am a member of an online forum of folks trying to follow David Ramsey's plan Total Money Makeover. We're all trying to get out of debt.

When I joined the forums one of the first people that commented was this lovely lady. One day I logged into the forum and found out that their house had burned. She has six children.

Please click on this link and go to her blog.

The House is on Fire

Married 15 years. His and hers former military. Two polydactyl calico cats, currently in foster care. Unschool. Self-employed. Used to live in a house built in 1913. Six kids. 13 yo girl. 11 yo girl. 8 yo boy. 5 yo boy. 3 yo girl. 18 mo boy.
From reading her posts on the forum and from reading her blog, I know it is hard for her. Please help them out by donating $2.00 -- if we all do - maybe they can get back on their feet.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

How I Got My Job

February 1 today is my 6 year anniversary at my job.

I had been unemployed since May of 2000 and the reserve money was dwindling down. F**** was born at the end of May 2000 and I was thankful for the opportunity to be home with her for that amount of time. But the time had come to find a job.

I have always been taught and believe Matthew 6:

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
We were moving into a duplex, I had to sell my house. Ms. F**** was 9 months old and had just started to walk. I had applied for this job and several others. I had received correspondence back from this agency saying "Thank you, but you are over qualified." So, I was still looking. I had interviewed with the agency for another department and was runner up to an in-house person looking to transfer. So, still looking. We had the phone installed and were moving in on January 30 - my Mother-in-law had just plugged in the phone and walked down the hall. The phone rang...we just looked at each other, hmmmmm. I answered it and it was this agency calling, in fact it was the same person that sent me the Thank you, No Thank you Letter.

Here's how my starting here worked out:

Employer: Hello, you just interviewed for such and such position. I was wondering if you would be interested in an equivalent position in my department.

Me: Why sure, when would you like me to come in for an interview?

Employer: Well, the committee that interviewed you for the other position was impressed with your skills so if you are interested, when can you start?

Me: (silence, in shock) I can start right now if you would like.

Employer: How about this? You come in tomorrow, fill out all of your paper work and start on the first. That is the beginning of our pay period.

Me: That would be great, ummm, I know this may sound petty but how much will I be making?

Employer: It starts off with a salary of $32,500 is that okay.

Me: Oh that is just fine - I'll see you tomorrow.

God provided me with a job to take care of my family, with a job that allows me to be flexible with my time to put my children as priority, God has provided me with two caring supervisors that I am also proud to call my friends.

I had faith in God that he would provide me with a job and the means to maintain a home. But, the passage says that the Lord knows WHAT you NEED. I didn't know at that time that I needed more than a job and a means. God knew that I needed flexible, caring individuals. He knew that I needed friends that trusted him as I do - my coworkers. He put together four individuals who have all faced the same problems with family members and addictions, with al-anon, with coping, and growing up.

The good Lord provides - for that I am thankful. Thanks M*** for reminding me that it was going to be my anniversary. Thanks to S**** for being bold and saying "Hey - hire her."

To God give the praise, and I thank Him for my job.