Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I am the proud owner of...


Sounds crazy, I know. Maybe it is, but I'm thrilled to say I own the hood of my car and before much longer I'll own the whole durn thing ;) Yeah-I'll explain.

Last night NewSpring Online had financial speaker Joe Spangl, host an online workshop. He was great and really inspiring (to me at least). He spoke about how he and his wife became debt free in 14 months, and no he doesn't make a killing either. He spoke about why it's important to be debt free and how it can enrich your life. I've always had a fairly good handle on my finances. I get that from my daddy. He made sure to teach me about finances at an early age, which I appreciate, I think it's the reason I don't have more debt than I do now.

At the beginning of this year, you may recall, I made a new years resolution to get an even better handle on my finances. I did, to a certain extent. I have kept up with my worksheets and graphs that I made. I'm glad I did, because this actually made things easier for when I sat down with Joe's worksheets.

So, how exactly did I figure that I own the hood of my car??

Joe has a crafty, little, nifty spreadsheet that he designed:

Ta-Da...a car. This little car has 435 squares in it. You just take what you owe on your car and divide it by the number of squares, this then gives you a price that each square is worth. When you make a payment, you get to color in squares.

This may sound and look a bit silly, I realize this, but it's exciting for just play along ;)

I colored in squares today and I am the proud owner of the entire hood of my car. haha.

Joe has numerous little graphs like this one, you can find them here if you want to make your own little "color in the debt" picture:

I've worked fairly hard to get Sev and I down to a car loan, truck loan, student loan and home loan. I realize that still sounds a bit hefty, but we're able to pay more than we owe each month, on each loan. I've decided to knock the car loans out asap, they are the highest interest.

I honestly want to be debt free. I don't want to owe ANYONE anything! I want to have financial stress relief. Now, luckily I don't have to stress much over money as it is, but I can't even explain how cool I think it would be to work each week, bring home a pay check and keep every single bit of it!!! (well, minus utilities...but that's life, and they aren't much. I could wait tables on the weekends and pay those).

I have a strong desire and urge to travel...far and for more than the typical "one week vacation a year" seriously boring is that?? "weeeee, it's the summer, we're hitting up the beach!! FUN...weeks over...see you next year....back to the grind" yuck. Nope, not for me. I want to go to Haiti and see my sponsored child. I want to go to other countries on mission trips. I want to drive across the USA. I hear Paris is nice. I wouldn't mind an authentic taco from Mexico ;) I also want to sponsor more children through compassion. I don't want to work a 8-5. I want to do whatever I feel like doing and having the freedom to do it. Why can't I?? I live in America. Well, I can't right now because I have debt. However...I won't have it forever...nope...because today...I already own the hood of my car!!!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I got my child sponsorship packet today!!

I have already written Love twice, via the internet. Basically, you go to the Compassion website and send an "email" to your child. The email actually goes to the compassion team in Haiti (or wherever your child is located) and they translate the "email" into the childs language on a piece of paper and give it to your child. I was getting antsy, so I had to go ahead and write her. However, I got my official "child sponsor" packet this morning. It had little Loves picture in it (a hard copy, I already had one online). It also had a bit of information about her, what she likes to do, how she spends her free time, what chores she has(I say "has" because what kid "likes" to do chores-even in Haiti, I'm sure little Love does not like doing chores, ha!) to do, how many brothers and sisters she has, where exactly in Haiti she lives. The packet also included a "getting to know your sponsor" card. It asks you specific questions, questions that compassion has discovered the children like to know about their sponsors, like; your full name, your birthday, you spouses name, his/her birthday, what you like to do...etc. It also has a spot to attach your photo and then on the other side of the card, it is left blank (for the translator). I'm filling my card out today and will hopefully have it in the mail tomorrow.
I'm soooo excited to get to know Love. I have decided that I am going to visit her, when God tells me the time is right. I've also decided to dedicate my cake money to my sponsorship and hopefully future visit. I am really feeling called to do more work for others and specifically in poverty stricken countries. I will let you know as soon as I hear from Love, that is a day I'm anxiously waiting on :)

In other news-Sevy's b-day was yesterday!! His big 27th b-day. We spent the day with his parents at Table Rock national park. We went for a little boat ride on pinnacle lake and took a small hike around the base of Table Rock Mountain.

My love for God is growing stronger and stronger every day. I've been reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan and I've really been feeling a tug at my heart. My mother just purchased his second book for me...I'm excited to dive into that! Keep Severyn and I in your prayers, I really feel God working in us. We are excited to finally have found not one but actually a couple of places that we may be calling our church "home" in a couple of weeks. NewSpring has its official "first Sunday" on the 27th of this month and a preacher that actually preached at the Church that we LOVE in North Rock Hill is starting a Church here in Columbia, we hope to visit that Church this weekend. I'm excited...I can't wait to find my place in a Church home!!!!!
**edit to say: I don't mean that we're looking for more than one church, lol, I mean..we have more than one to visit and consider and try to find our place that God chooses for us :)

Oh-I'll post a pic of Love soon. I can't copy it from my online profile with compassion, so I'm going to actually have to take a photo of my photo to share on here. I will soon, promise.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Child Named Love

So, I've started listening to 89.7, our family friendly Christian radio station, here in Columbia. Last week they were talking about sponsoring a child from Compassion.

At first I thought nothing about the information provided, or the things that they were talking about on the radio. Honestly, I was hoping they would hurry up and stop talking and play some music!! I got to work on Monday morning. I got in my car for my lunch break later that day and here they were talking about it AGAIN! I started listening to the stories and the testimonies of the people who have sponsored children from this organization in the past. Something started to tug at my heart. If you know me...I'm not even a "kid" person. It would be more like me to bawl my eyes out at "Old Yeller" or "Where the Red Fern Grows" as opposed to any movie (see I can't even recall the names of any) about a poor, starving, sad child. SAD, I know!! However, I really started hurting for the children these people were talking about. I decided to do a bit of research about the organization. I asked a few people if they had heard about Compassion or if they had ever sponsored a child. I realized that Compassion was more than just a company that took monthly payments from people and then used a small percentage to give to the needy and then made a profit off of the rest. I looked them up on BBB and read all the information I could find. 85% of the monthly contribution goes directly to the child you sponsor (in the form of food, health care, clothes, school supplies and tuition). The other 15% does go to the organization, to keep it going...and after researching and praying, I have no problem with this, because these people are serving the Lord. I am very sceptical and tend to keep a guard up when it comes to spending my money and who gets my money.........notice I said "my". After really praying and listening all week to, the week long rally, the radio station was doing for suddenly hit me. It is NOT MY money!! Every single penny that I have in my bank account is God's. He provided me with what income I do have. It may not be much and at times it may seem like we're stretching pennies...but we've got all that we need and God has been sooo good to us! It also hit me that I've been blessed with a talent (that I may not always think I'm GREAT at, but others sure do!) making cakes. The more I thought about it and prayed about it, I knew this was something I wanted to do. I will use my cake profits to support a child!! I have been making cakes like crazy and I'm sure I can keep it up or at least make a cake a month that will help support my child.
I went home on Tuesday evening and told Severyn. I asked him what he thought and if we could support a child on our 5 year Anniversary. I didn't want to give gifts this year, I just wanted to do something for someone else and for God's glory. We prayed about it together. Severyn got online and actually found the little girl we decided to sponsor.
Here is the cool part (for me anyway): Our little girl is from Haiti. She is 5 years old (one year old for every year Sev and I have been married). Her name? Love. That's right, I couldn't make this up. Her name is Love Woodshaina K Joseph. We became sponsors of Love on our 5 year anniversary. Here is the thing I love about Compassion. They are Christ centered. They focus on not only getting the child out of poverty and giving them what they need but they focus on telling the child about God. They provide church activities and services for the child. They hold vacation bible school for the children in the area. They give the children bibles and make sure they have a way to church. Love will be able to hear the word of God because of a small monthly contribution that Severyn and I have decided to give. Severyn and I can even visit Love! We hope to do this on one of our anniversaries in the future. I promise you, after doing all of this research and praying, my heart was broken.
I highly suggest anyone to look into Compassion and consider sponsoring a child.
It is $38 a month and this is actually until the child turns 18 or 22 (depending on the program your child is in). You can cancel, if you need/want, at any time...but I have faith that God will provide a way for Severyn and I to continue sponsoring Love until she is out of the program.
You and your child will become pen pals, they will write to you and you will write back :) I am sooo excited to get my first letter from Love. You will get pictures and send pictures. You will also have a name and a face of someone that really needs your prayers. You will have a translator that will read your letters to your child and will translate the letters your child writes you. If you get the chance to visit your child, the translator will also be there to help you speak to your child. I guess some people do it because it is a tax write off, but I didn't find that out until after the fact.
If you decide to sponsor a child through Compassions, please let me know :) I would love to hear about your child!! I know it's not for everyone, but I just wanted to share our story and our anniversary gift to one another!!!

I will post a picture of Love as soon as I can, I currently have one but I need to upload it!! Feel free to keep Love in your prayers :) I will also update my blog when I hear from Love or receive information about her.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Where does the time go??


That's right, Sevy and I have been married for FIVE years today! Wow. I won't sugar coat it, marriage can be soooo hard but man it can also be something pretty sweet. It doesn't feel like it's been five years. We still are not sure what we're going to do to celebrate our 5 years together. We do have exciting news though!!! We have decided to support a child in Haiti and this is something I am VERY excited about. I'm going to work on a post to blog more about that asap.

I love you Severyn Robert.