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Limbo

Kiawah Island SC

We are in limbo with regards to permanent addresses.  We pushed the reset button on our finances and moved out of our apartment in Ladson.  I finally realized that we need to learn how to live on my income alone, and not depend on any sporadic income from Katy and her substitute teaching. This allowed us to stop paying 700.00 worth of living expenses that we were struggling to stay on top of.  We stayed at InTown Suites for two weeks.  I am so glad we are out of that place.  The room was nice but the walls were closing in on us.  The beds we were sleeping on had paper thin mattresses which means that we did not do a lot of sleeping.  We were lucky to sleep for two hours before our backs woke us up.

Fast forward to this weekend, and we are now out on Kiawah Island.  We will be here for three months in a snow bird rental, until we can fix up a condo that we found over by Northwoods Mall.  A friend of mine has this condo and it has been unoccupied for some time.  I will need to do some make ready work in lieu of a security deposit which is fine with me.  The living room needs painting and the linoleum in the kitchen is starting to curl up at the edges.  Hopefully a hot glue gun will fix that problem.  In the 90 days we are here we can take care of our final electric bill so that we can have electric turned on at the new place.  We can also check out Charleston water to make sure we are good to go with them and pay any deposits.  The first thing we will have to do is buy a king size bed.  We are going to want to buy that one new so we will probably go to a Mattress firm outlet and buy it on time.  After that is done we can start going to Goodwill stores and finding a kitchen table with chairs and other items we might need.

So, we are going to rebuild again for the second time. The first time we did this was in August of 1997 when we had a huge yard sale , sold most of our stuff and then loaded the rest of it with our three kids into two cars and headed to Atlanta Georgia.  This rebuild project is going to benefit from the knowledge we gained from our first experience.  Luckily we do not have three small children and we are not traveling from Texas to Georgia.  The good news is that this place is gorgeous and we are coming into the Fall season.  I am looking forward to being close to work.  I can drive to work in less than 10 minutes.  I also plan on getting back into the habit of walking on a regular basis.  We are about 5 minutes from the beach and beautiful nature trails.  We are going to view this as a working vacation.

I am looking forward to taking Willow (our lab and rescue dog) on trips to the beach.  I know she is going to love the water.

What about you dear reader?  Do you have any stories where you feel like you were in limbo and in between places or stages of life?  I would love to hear them.  Be sure to leave a comment.

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Love of money , root of all evil?

It seems that no one likes this particular topic but I know it is near and dear to our hearts. This particular thing is one of three things that can destroy a marriage. This thing I speak of is money. We have all heard that money makes the world go round. We certainly understand how it affects us when money is in short supply. The bible states that the love of money is the root of all evil.

As I sit here and contemplate that biblical principle I wonder if the love of things is the root of all evil.  Money, in and of itself, is fairly worthless until you leverage it to purchase things or services.  Money certainly does not purchase love or peace of mind.  I have never been out of the U.S. as an adult, but I have spoken to several folks who have made mission trips to third world countries.  They have shared with me how they have to pray and ask God to soften their hearts when they come back.  After you spend time with people who have nothing it is difficult to not see the differences between the “haves” and “have not’s”.  Do not get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having things or financial resources.  Having things or resources is not bad.  What we chose to do with those things or resources can create imbalance in life.

In a third world country you may find entire families that live in card board boxes or crudely built shacks made out of cardboard.  Most of the houses have dirt floors and there is no such thing as clean running water or plumbing. Clothing, food and medical services are things that are not readily available.  It is hard to believe that people live that way.

As I look around my home I realize that we have all our needs and everything else should be considered a want. Do we need a flat screen TV and cable television service or high speed Internet to survive?  Do we need leather furniture to survive?  Do we have to have closets that are full of clothes that we hardly ever wear in order to survive? Do we have to have ….. You fill in the blanks.  I think that we all have more than we need.  We live in a “get rich quick” and “instant gratification” society.  How do we get sucked into this mess and more importantly how do we get out of it?

In order to find balance and sanity in the midst of this materialistic madness maybe we need to take inventory of our hearts. What is driving us to want more stuff that is better and faster than before?  Are we allowing ourselves to get hooked by all of the marketing that we see, that is telling us that in order to be successful we must be better than the Jones’s down the street?  I think that once we look around and take an honest inventory of where we are at, we will realize how blessed we are.

Maybe we can find contentment in where we are, and figure out how to bless others with our extra stuff.  At what point do we become hoarders and get entrapped by our own desires for stuff?  The Bible tells us that when we covet things that we put those things on a throne and we worship those things more than God. That turns into idolatry which is a sin.

As parents what are we teaching our children about money?  When they grow up and get out on their own will you cringe to think that their financial success may hinge upon what you lived out in front of them?  Our children are sponges and they learn about life from what we do and not so much from what we say.  Sure, you can tell your children one thing and do something exactly the opposite but what is that teaching them?  It is teaching them that you are not following your own advice. Making mistakes is all part of life and even though some financial mistakes can take a life time to unravel it is an awesome platform from which to teach.

As a parent I have sat down with my adult children and I have said this.  I may not be able to tell you how to become a millionaire or a successful money manager, but I can tell you what not to do.  I believe that part of our legacy as parents is to help our children to learn how to not make the same mistakes that we do.  You tell them, I did this and this is what happened.  These are the consequences of my/our financial mistakes.

I realize that perhaps there are people who are reading this that may be successful money managers and they received good foundational teaching about finances from their parents and this is not an issue.  I also realize that my wife and I are not alone in that there are going to be people out there that need to hear this.  Yes, financial mistakes can be painful.  Making a bad financial decision or mismanaging your resources does not make you a bad person.  It just means you made a mistake and you need to learn from it.

The good news is that there is still hope.  You can learn from your mistakes and you can ask God to give you the wisdom and knowledge you need in order to make better decisions.  Over time you can overcome those bad decisions and build a better future for you and your family.

No one is born with all knowledge.  It is up to us to find those folks who do know how to make the right decisions and learn from them.  Maybe it will be your parents or grandparents.  Another resource could be an older couple at church, or one of the folks in church leadership.  Maybe Dave Ramsey would be an excellent starting point.  The important thing is to stop making the bad decisions and to put a plan into action that will make your financial future a brighter tomorrow to look forward to.

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