Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Good News......Bad News

Good News: We're debt free!!

Bad News: Now we can afford the membership at the healthclub! Just when I thought the hard work and sacrifice was over! 2 days of cardio and abs and I think I torn my spleen in half or somehthing that has created a constant soreness and pain in my stomach! Brandi had an interesting first experience in her SPIN class. But, I'll let her start her own blog to give the details. Do those spin machines come with seatbelts? :) (No sugar tonight...)

I already see a difference in my energy level. Even with shift work and school, I have a little extra pep in my step and no help from "Red Bull." Does that stuff work?

We're excited about getting in shape, it seems to be the next thing God is guiding us to do. The old gray mare, he ain't what he used to be. But, there's hope! Can't wait to see what my shoes look like without looking in a mirror! (That even things out boo? Oh well, I tried.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lost... we are officially hooked!

So, we're visiting some good friend of ours from high school who just had their 3 little one and we're sitting in the living room, watching the tourney (Final Four). They have Season 1 of Lost on DVD and asked us if we've ever seen it. Well, with Brandi working hard at her new job, me working shift work, going to school, and Wednesday night service, we never caught it.

So, we take it home, no big deal. That was a Friday night. Saturday about 2-3pm, we're sittin around doing nothing and decide to pop the first DVD in........... WOW!

We went to bed around 1am!! Then, Sunday we put in another 4-5 hours catchin' up! This show is one of the best TV series I've seen in a while.

We then were directed to iTunes where we can download each episode for $1.99 or the season for $35. We just watched "The 23rd Psalm " Episode 10 in season 2.

Now, I hate it that we're investing so much time into this TV show, especially after posting about how Americans are now watching 8 hours per day TV. But, it's a good show.

So, what can I say? Brandi needs a break from NUMBERS and I need a break from Rural Sociology, Sociology of the Family, Islam in South Asia from 711AD and Early Christian Church History.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Real World

One of the purposes for creating this BLOG was to share the experience that Brandi and I are going through and hopefully help others realize that it is not weird to go through struggles. I think we shutdown and isolate ourselves during struggles because we fear what other people will think about us, our struggle and how we are handling it. Many times, we see it as a weakness to even admit we have struggles.

In case you haven't noticed, struggles are real, they happen, and if you haven't had one yet, here's a heads up: It's On The Way!

When we are mentoring a premarital couple, we have made it a point to convince them of this: there's no use working to get around or avoid struggles, it's better to learn how to work through them. Why take that approach? Because almost 60% of marriages fail in America today, most at the 2 year mark. Yes, the 7 year itch has advanced to 2 years.

It's REAL! So, we feel it's better it's better to prepare engaged couples for the struggles that are definately coming. The last thing we want to do is tell them, "Everything is going to be fine, you love each other, go in peace to love and serve the Lord!" Then, when REAL LIFE happens, they are lost.

So, we have made the decision to share this and many struggles that we go through. This will help people know that they are not alone and others have traveled this road. Hopefully, they will have to tools to learn how to work through them before it happens, because, when you are in the middle of a struggle, your basket is full and it's hard to stack on top of all that time and effort to learn. It's way better to get the learning and understanding before the struggle, when disappointment, fear, anger, aggrevation, regret, bitterness & hopelessness is not present. The learning atmosphere is much better.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Personal Finance & Marriage

This has been something I've been really interested in since last June. Last June, I read the book, "The Total Money Makeover", by Dave Ramsey. He also has a AM Talk Radio show on 1150AM in Baton Rouge. 7pm to 9pm, I think. I listen to his podcasts from the internet.

Now, many books like this sound flaky and you'd think he'd want you to buy some marketing package or starter kit for some harebrained money making scheme. But, I was surprised at the content of this book. This is good information from someone other than banks, credit card companies and mortgage companies. Just a few examples of what he teaches:

1. Have a written plan. (Do a budget)
2. Live on less than you make. (duh)
3. If you can't pay cash for it, you can't afford it. (versus the concept, "How much down, how much per month?")
4. Get out of debt.
5. Personal finance is 80% personal behavior and 20% finance.

Simple stuff right? Well, we weren't doing any of these, except saving for retirement. He doesn't ask for anything else after having you read this book. No starter kits, no nothing. The rest is up to us.

Anyway, many studies show that the #1 cause of divorce in America is money related. I can say that since we've got on board with his concepts, there is little money disputes me and Brandi have. We do the budget, agree on where to spend our money and stick to the plan, no problems. We do compromise on some things we disagree on, but it's very rarely a heated discussion. We see the big picture now, we have long term goals that we know when we're old, we'll be glad we've made.

We are involved in the premarital and marriage ministry at our church and we believe getting couples on the same page financially would really help marriages. We are planning to get certified as Financial Counselors by Dave Ramsey in Tennessee and provide free financial counseling through the church.

If you are tired and stressed out about your financial situation, I really suggest reading his book, or anything by Larry Burkett or Crown Financial Ministries. We'd also be more than happy to share our situation and help out in anyway we can.