Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fifteen Years Ago...

Fifteen years ago, this morning, I was getting ready to say my vows. A flurry of hairspray and special friends, dresses and makeup...Lots of preparation for such a big 'day.'

I have heard many times since (and I would concur) that all the preparation that goes into that big day is somewhat stressful and way over rated. I do not want to diminish the value of that special day for I am as girly as they come. Feeling princessy and beautiful is one of my favorite things to do...and it happens too few times in our everyday life. BUT, the same everyday grind is so much more important in the grand scheme of things. Our everyday little, insignificant, everyday choices are a composite picture of who we are.

After fifteen years, 9 different homes (not including that dump of a temp location in FL), 8 cars, 3 dogs, 2 cats, 4 kids (dogs and cats are gone, but we liked the kids!), 14 fish (easy pets), career changes, church changes, times of plenty and times of want, homeschooling, and more...

I love my husband and the life we have built. Our struggles and the choices made have shaped our character and by God's grace, we have learned and grown from them. By todays standards, fifteen years sounds like such a long time but I hope that we can put those standards to shame. I looking forwards to countless more years with my Mr. Wonderful.

Happy anniversary honey, I love you very much!

**yes, I did take pictures of my wedding pictures as scanning is a technology that eludes me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Recurring Dream

In our uncertain economic times, there are many families tightening their belts and eating more beans and rice. The prices at the grocery store are truly frightening! How can we continue to eat AND pay the bills and maintain our standard of living?

These are probably new questions or some, but I am familiar with those concerns. For some reason, money and I...we don't get along. We have always scrimped and saved, scratched and clawed to have a little extra, only to frequently end up in the hole. We don't live extravagantly, we love shopping at thrift stores (and OH, how I miss all my thrift stores in FL!!) and though it is a very difficult discipline for me, eat at home as often as possible. I have tried...and failed at couponing. I do try to shop the loss leaders and buy produce in season or at the farmers market. We don't carry (much) extra credit debt. Basically, our month to month expenses are just to survive and pay the bills!

The point of all this depressing money talk is that it weighs on my mind. Like a pesky, overbearing and nosy neighbor the thoughts are always with me. They mess up a night out with my husband (Can we afford to eat out? Could we get an extra dessert?). They rear up when the seasons change and my kids need new clothes or shoes. They show up when someone mentions a good cause I could really get behind and support, if only we had the extra funds.

They are with me, even in my sleep...

I do not generally dream. I know some people say that everyone dreams, and perhaps that's true. As a general rule though, I do not remember dreams (except when I was pregnant. Those were some doozys!) if I have them. But this one, it is so funny and when we are stressed about finances, I wake up with these pictures in my head.

As a homeschooler, we take frequent field trips as a family. We go do fun things together as often as possible. It's one of the reasons I have chosen to homeschool, to encourage a family bond and build unity. In this dream we are visiting an orchard. There are rows and rows of beautiful trees. The air is crisp and cool. The guide is wearing a flannel shirt and overalls is explaining the various kinds of trees growing there, only he sounds strangely like one of the teachers on a Charlie Brown cartoon. As I am listening, my daughter keeps bringing me pennies. Bright, shiny new pennies. The thought crosses my mind, "Surrounded by nature, hmmmm. An odd place to find so many new pennies."

A strong gust of wind causes the trees to rustle and the sunlight explodes into a thousand copper rays. As the brilliance dances in every direction, I realize my boys are shaking the trees...and pennies are falling to the ground like a drenching summer rain. (who said homeschooled children are always well behaved?) The realization hits me, THESE ARE MONEY TREES! I begin to run towards the children, yelling as I go, "They're not ripe yet!! Don't pick them! Wait for them to bloom into dollars!"

Unfortunately, this is where I always wake up. If only I could manage to sleep long enough to get DIRECTIONS to that lovely place as well as when the trees would be in season. Ahhh, I wish the answers to all our money woes were that easy...

In other news, according to my e-mail in-box today, I may have won the Irish Lottery. With two red-headed children, perhaps our Irish ancestry is paying off.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Perhaps I'm underpaid...

Is THIS what they are paying babysitters these days? My goodness, babysitting is a virtual goldmine!! What does it come out to in your neck of the woods?

My son (Red Cross Certified) has a bright future ahead. Anyone need a sitter?