Friday Facts: Introduction

I am going to start this series, and this new formulated long-term goal accountability, with a brief introduction of what the heck we’re doing and why.  Feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

I have our plan through to April 2022.  I know where we currently stand financially.  I believe we are generously blessed with intelligence and entrepreneurial spirits.  I know we as humans were never meant to go through life alone.  I know that more change is ahead and that my plans can be derailed at any time.  I also know to trust in God because every step off the course I foresee is actually a step on the path He’s laying out for us.

The Short Version – Housing

We now have three properties.  All three properties need some serious work.

The plan is to sell the smallest property as soon as possible (re:  flip it) because it needs the least amount of work and there’s no debt attached to it.

Then we plan to use the proceeds to do the necessary work on the house at the farm we inherited from the BHE’s father; it isn’t a farm yet but a very old house in desperate need of renovations sitting on a big ol’ chunk of beautifully wooded land.

Once that is complete, we will move our little family and our pared down possessions into the farm house so we can begin the serious work on the big house where we currently live.  So much is already complete but there’s still much to be done and much to be redone (think:  serious repainting).

Once the big house is sold and the remaining debt on it paid off, the equity, the cash in our pocket so to speak, will go back into the farm to build up our dream, to complete the house, to finish the barns, to create the pastures and paddocks, to purchase our first chickens, cattle, and goats, or whatever we plan between now and then.

Recap:
Small house– fast work on the windows, gutters, carpet, and yard- on market ASAP- sold by August 2017– proceeds to Farm house
Farm house– quality necessary renovations like gut of kitchen and upstairs, redo of wiring, addition of outdoor wood burner and a water filtration system- ready for move in April 2018, on the BHE’s birthday- completely empty the Big house
Big house– complete all major renovations like the foyer and stairwell, repaint each room, refinish downstairs wood floors, update the curb appeal- on market by June 2018– sold by the time the Angel starts kindergarten

The Short Version – Farm

My husband’s father bequeathed to him a renovated 1800s schoolhouse on an acre of yard surrounded by almost 35 acres of woods.  From before I was ever a figure in his life, the BHE had grand plans for this house and property.  All through our relationship, he has discussed ideas and dreams for what he’d do with all of it if it were to become his.  A very serious conversation over 7 years ago between my husband, his father, and his sister about estate planning included the discussion and eventual documentation of my husband becoming the heir to the property.

Now we have it. 

It needs a ton of work.  The house, the yard, the woods, everything needs some serious TLC.  Or slash-and-burn, depending on if you’re asking me or him.  But the dream, folks:  the dream is a farm.

“Deich Mile Feirme” is our name for the farm that is ten miles in any direction to the nearest anything, our home in the country, our dreams coming true.  Here we will raise our children and our livestock, plant our roots and our vegetables, and grow in our faith, love, independence, and dirt.  This farm will hopefully be off-the-grid and organic, self-sustaining and supportive of our lifestyle as well as our families and communities.  This is where we will create and cultivate.

Planning and blogging and blogging about planning


The Short Version – Career

The BHE has never wanted to work for The Man.  He is fiercely independent, and he wants to work with his mind and his own two hands to build something to honor God and family, the earth and the community, free of someone else’s yoke.

I have always looked forward to entering a workplace each day, prepared to use my considerable brain and strong initiative to make changes for the better but with the assurance of first-world niceties like bi-weekly paychecks, business attire, one hour lunches, paid time off, and the like.  I would feel much more confident in my parenting skills if I knew my children were being provided with health insurance and regular dental check-ups.  Plus, I like getting out and about, interacting with people, trying new things, and getting feedback from peers, customers, community members, and friends.

Now that the BHE has left the workforce (for good), he can focus on his “career” of Christian, husband, father, farmer, and maybe even house-flipper.

Now that I am returning to the workforce, I can focus on honing my skills and developing a broader network, or a network of networks, to help us reach our major goals regarding a village to support ourselves and our children and a financial cushion that will enable us to live free of debt, to give and give some more, to leave a legacy for our children’s futures and our church, to never again worry about making it to the next paycheck or if we can afford the necessities or even our reasonable wants.

I don’t know – can’t know – what will happen with my current job.  I can see how it is potentially a long-lasting career or even the doorway into a long term career with the Church.  I can also see how my work could one day be “done” and there be another employer on my path between comfortable income and benefits to confidently independent farmer.  I will always have a passion for libraries, I will always have a passion for the Church, I will always have a passion to do better and help others more. 

I will always be looking forward.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Truth about Liars

Being untruthful hurts the speaker more than we realize, especially when we are lying about another person.  Where we think we are harming the person the lie is about, the truth is that we are placing ourselves in a position we will not be able to get out of.
We corner ourselves with our untruths, both in this life and on Judgment Day.

But we know that.  What we don’t recognize is the truth about liars that makes their lies so hurtful.

Their Co-conspirators

It isn’t the person being lied about who suffers the most.  It isn’t the liar who suffers the most.  It is the people who either believed those lies and helped spread them or knew what was untrue and did nothing to stop it.

The co-conspirators suffer the most damage.

The individual who chooses to accept gossip or a rumor to be a truth, or who chooses not to quash the lie swiftly, is worse than the liar.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.  But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.  For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
-Matthew 12:35-37

From the Bible

We have received guidance for how we are to react to lies and deceit.  We have been told that there are ramifications for our willingness to listen and repeat lies without taking the time to discover if they are true just as we have been shown what will become of those who stand aside and do nothing in the face of dishonesty and destructive words.

For instance:

  • Your heard that lie, you knew it to be a lie, and you did nothing. You let those words tear down a person you know, a person who called you a friend.  You listened to the liar but turned a deaf ear to those who welcomed you into their home.  You said nothing to the liar when he bombastically proclaimed ridiculous things to the crowd.  You chose to give no reaction as he waved his “proof” in the air.  You listened to him, and even if you didn’t repeat him, you supported him in your non-action.
  • You who repeated it, though…. You who chose to believe something so unbelievable and accepted your role as a co-conspirator to spread the lies.  You helped her repeat it again and again until it became a truth in your mind, until you could live with what you had done and not done.  She said such hurtful, ugly, and downright unbelievable things, but you were so mad you embraced the lies.  It was a conscious choice to believe the worst of things.

By Your Words You Will Be Acquitted

Choose truth. Choose justice. Choose the righteous path and you will be acquitted. Standing with the liars, or not standing against them, is how you will find yourself condemned. 

Find those you’ve hurt and apologize. Respond to those speaking untruths with the truth. Whatever your reason for being a co-conspirator, end it now.

I, too, need to end the cycle. I don’t want to carry the anger any more than I want to be subjected to the pain.  I do want to forgive and release the ill will.  I get so tired of the destructive nature of lies worming its way through daily life.

I will read this verse time and again to remind myself that my words do matter; whether I keep them as bottled up thoughts or share my angst, God is listening and I am being affected by my words as well as the lies told by others.

A Good Man Brings Good Things

It is never “just talk”; if it can hurt someone, do not say it.  If it doesn’t help anyone, if it doesn’t teach anyone, if it doesn’t solve anything, do not say it.

Is-it-True--800x671

Words can be weapons or they can be tools used to build.

If you say it, make sure it is building something beautiful.

Momentum Monday: Last Week of SAHMing

This week, I plan to complete the typing and inputting of our steps and goals into the spreadsheets I’ve created to keep us on target.  The path is laid out in front of us, complete with deadlines, and I need to start putting together the dollar figures to find a doable budget.

This week, I plan to take a day to shop online and around town for capsule wardrobe* pieces to bring my wear-to-work options up to par.  There’s no way I can continue wearing my yoga-pants-and-cardigan uniform, complete with messy bun of unwashed hair, as I reenter the work force.  Speaking of the hair, I could really use some guidance on what cut and style will work best for my hair type (uber thick and ridiculously frizzy with lots of short hairs from the new growth associated with childbearing), face shape (I honestly don’t know, and that’s after taking beauty magazine quizzes), and lifestyle (fast and easy—don’t take it out of context).  Help!

This week, I plan to finish everything to do with my father-in-law’s estate.  Well, everything possible, like filing his income taxes and setting aside money for his property taxes.

This week, I plan to wrap up everything to do with my volunteer position as treasurer for the non-profit that will be holding its annual meeting this weekend.  I also need to prep my house for out-of-town guests.  These two things alone will take up a bulk of my time.

This week, I will start setting my alarm AND ACTUALLY GETTING UP to prepare my mind and body for the return to work.  I also hope to guide the BHE through routines with the kids, to show him how I do it, to explain the kids’ needs and wants in more detail, to remind him I have faith in the job he’ll do with them, and to promise him I will try my best to reign in my control freak.  I have already drawn up a list of what aspects of our household running I plan on keeping, sharing, and giving over to him; I figure we need to communicate these things or we’ll end up resentful and living in a filthy house with no food.

This week, I plan to secure care for my children for two days a week to enable my husband to be more than a SAHD but also our very own contractor, the guy who will fix things and plan things and buy things and get things done.  There’s just so much and he can’t do everything in the time we need it done if he’s busy with our children.

This week, I plan to stay calm, trust in the Lord, be thankful for every blessing and road block, and accept with grace and gratitude all that comes to us and at us.

*Capsule Wardrobe sources:  Efficient Momma, Unfancy, Be More With Less

Murphy Momentum: Plans and Thoughts

So much change in so little time…

We are still reeling from the changes of the past year.  Our path has been altered so much, yet we are still able to see how we must and can move forward.

After the deaths of three of the most beloved people in our lives, we became inundated with grief…and their stuff.  We accepted furniture and dishes, we inherited a house and property, we have had to reimagine our dreams and redesign our goals, and we now feel confident about this new path we’ve been set upon.

Forward Thinking

All our hopes and dreams seem within grasp now.  It will not be easy.  The steps we see laid out in front of us, the process we’ve created to handle what comes our way, the plans we have developed to see us from this point to the fruition point are all thoughtfully sought and spiritually guided as we rely on our Maker once again.

We have been through hard times, and we have always been surrounded by bountiful blessings.  Now that we recognize them, we see where we have been blessed, we know how to be thankful and less fearful of the future.

Where We are Now

Yesterday morning was greeted with a lot of excitement and a little trepidation as I phoned my new boss to inform her that I would accept her offer of a position.  I will be the Communications Specialist for the local diocesan office.  My “vast skill set” and “impressive education” have landed me my dream job!

We worked hard to get to this point, but this is merely one step.  Much work will still need to be done.

The BHE will be stepping up around the home as he steps out of the traditional role of breadwinner.  Shortly after I got off the phone, he called his boss to deliver his two-weeks’ notice.  The BHE is now a SAHD!

That’s right, folks:  my bearded, hardworking, dedicated, driven, intelligent husband will be caring for our children day in and day out.

But what about the projects?!  We have so many projects between the three properties we now own that, yes, the BHE is going to need some help.

We discussed at length how we must set aside our control-freak natures and accept the assistance of others.  We must tamp down our pride and stubbornness to get ahead by asking our friends, family, and neighbors for help.

Assistance and Accountability

I’ve been working diligently on 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year plans to show us each step of the way to our goals.  I have been plugging projects into a spreadsheet and constantly jotting down ideas that I toss at the BHE and he tosses back at me.  I am researching ballpark figures for what we want to do, where, and when.  We even had a realtor come out to give us some advice.  Yes, folks, we are moving forward like a steam engine, chugging along but aware we need to slow well before the curves.

The first thing I believe we will ask for is help with the children.  When I enter this 8-5 M-F office job, the BHE is going to need someone to rely on a few days a week to care for our babes.  He can’t get work done with two toddlers!  We figured with the Angel starting PreK in the Fall on MWF, it would be best if he was SAHD those days but a friend or neighbor watched the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Evenings and weekends will see me back in my Mommy role when he can get even more work done.

What is that work, you ask.  Well, that’s where the Accountability comes it.

As much as we would like physical help, like people to paint or build or mow or roof or watch the kids or whatever, we also need to be reminded where we are on our path.  It is all well and good if I print up a pretty checklist or create a spreadsheet that we look at from time-to-time, but we need to be reminded to check things off and follow the steps we have laid out.

When I complete my projects list, when I finish those long-term plan sheets, I will post them here for you to see where we are and where we are going.  I keep thinking something cheesy like Friday Facts to share what we’ve completed and learned then Momentum Monday to explain where we hope to go next.

For instance, this week, I’ve built up our inventory on the eBay site and accepted a new job; next week, I will complete my father-in-law’s taxes so we can be (almost) all caught up on the clean-up of his estate and take a day to myself to prepare my body and wardrobe for the return to the workforce.  This week, the BHE made serious progress on finishing the final bedroom upstairs at the big house and made some dough taking a truckload of cans to the recycling center; next week, he will complete that bedroom and order the replacement windows for the little house.

See?  I’ve told you what we are doing.  Now I feel like I’ll be letting you down if we don’t do it.  That’s how this accountability thing works on my end.  On your end, you get to share in our triumphs and pick us up when we falter.  Thank you, dear reader, for agreeing to be part of our village.

That’s What Friends are For

I look forward to not only getting stuff done but getting connected to my village as we complete projects, move forward, and stay on our thoughtfully sought path towards our dream goals.  In return, I will learn more about you so I can find opportunities to assist you where you need it.  Networking is a powerful tool.  Apply it correctly and we all see our goals come to fruition.

Where are you on your path?  Do you need some help getting up and moving forward?  Do you know how you can help others in your village to do so?

Thoughtful Thursday: Christian Environmentalist

The evidence is irrefutable.

If you are a Christian, you are an environmentalist.  You must be concerned with the state of the earth and our environment.  Scripture states that we are stewards of the planet.

The quotes below from the Bible are ones I return to time and again when so-called good Christians argue with me that Jesus does not want us to worry so much about the earth as we are to care for the people of the earth.  This argument gets under my skin, so I have my selection of God’s words to remind others where we truly stand on the planet.

If you find yourself unconcerned or unwilling to make changes for the betterment of our planet, you are not a thoughtful Christian.  If you think the destruction around you is part of God’s plan and that you need play no part in protecting or bettering the state of the oceans, landfills, ozone layer, etc, you are not paying attention to the Scripture you reference.

Do not say to me my focus shouldn’t be on the condition of the earth while invoking the Lord’s name in your reasoning.  That’s asinine.  We are to care for the earth, for all of its inhabitants, for the Lord’s creation.  I care for the earth as much as for the people upon it, and that’s what makes me a Christian.

“Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
Genesis 1:26

We humans, above all of God’s creations, were chosen to be stewards of the earth and all He put upon it. God wants us to take care of what He created and yet there are people who claim to be followers of the Bible who say we can do as we want because we were given “dominion” over it.  Owning something and caring for it are two different things; we were not given such an honor and a gift to exploit it or destroy it.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”
Psalms 24:1

If we are harming the earth, then we are saying we are more powerful than God.  If we pollute, overuse, waste, or drive a species to extinction, we are showing we can destroy that which He created, implying we can use this earth for our own ends rather than for His glory.

“Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth.”
Psalm 96:11-13

And what does He find when He comes to judge?  Not only are we harming God’s creation with pollution, we are harming ourselves.  When He comes to judge the living and the dead, and we have polluted our bodies and wrecked the planet He gifted us, I fear God will not rejoice in what He finds but rather see us in our sinful, destructive pride.

“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
Revelation 11:18

Well, if that isn’t pretty cut-and-dry, I don’t know what is.  Seriously, folks, take care of the planet.  All Christians ought to be environmentalists; all of us need to be aware of the daily harm we are doing to the planet.  We were given this great, big, beautiful, bountiful gift, and look at what we collectively have done to it.  Is God really happy with the earth, with how His greatest creation is treating all His other creations?  Or will we eventually, all of us, be cowed in fear as God destroys us for destroying the earth?

“The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth, and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, and broken the everlasting covenant.”
Isaiah 24:4-6

The Bible clearly states that God created and blessed the earth then made a covenant with Man that we would protect and care for it and all the creatures upon it.  Scripture says that if we do not treat the earth right, He can take what He has given.

“And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.”
Jeremiah 2:7

How dare we?  How can we keep on with denying the changes our consumption and selfishness have wrought?  Why are we not, on a global scale, calling Christians together to make a change to bring the earth back to a healthy, stable position?

“How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.”
Jeremiah 12:4

Changes have been occurring for centuries.  The histories tell us how, time and again, climates have shifted or rains have stopped or floods were numerous.  Each of those times is part of God’s plan, just like the issues facing our earth today are part of His plan.

That does not mean we continue blindly on with our destructive behaviors and our habits that clearly show poor stewardship of the earth.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
Psalm 24:1

God is the Great Creator.  We merely inhabit His planet.  Everything under Heaven belongs to God.  It is time all of us started behaving as such.

What changes will you make in your daily routine to lighten your destructive impact on the earth?  Where on your thoughtfully sought path will you make a difference for the planet’s health?

Thoughtful Thursday: Pray for Each Other

Deeply personal stuff here, folks. 

This is part of a letter I once wrote to the person who has done the most harm to me.  She destroyed my life… because I let her.  I let her sickness twist me.  I lashed out, and I was so far from being a good Christian that day.

Since then, I have seen more evil from that woman.  I clearly haven’t stopped letting her behaviors twist me.  Each time it starts to overwhelm my thoughts, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and her.  I ask that she be brought back to the light. Each time, I reflect on the verses in my letter to her.

To her, directly, I wrote these words:

As I lay here, sleepless though exhausted, I know I can write out a better apology than I could ever speak. Please read my words and feel my sincerity.

When I’m upset, my words come out wrong. I am sinful and allow anger and cursing to rule me. I lash out and do wrong. I am Ephesians 4:31, “Get rid of your bitterness, hot tempers, anger, loud quarreling, cursing, and hatred.”

I am sorry. I was wrong. I said hurtful, hateful things that I cannot take back but wish I could and pray I’ll never say or think again. Psalm 51:3, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.”

Please forgive me. Romans 14:19, “Therefore, let’s keep on pursuing those things that bring peace and that lead to building up one another.” I believe that both of us need this now more than ever as we feel so isolated and ignored.  So much damage has been done around us and because of us, so please recognize how we both must embrace Proverbs 14:9, “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

Because, like was said at James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

Please, let us seek peace between us for ourselves as well as our family.  Please, don’t shut me out.  Please, stop with the hurtful words, the ones you are spewing in the ears of our loved ones, who have joined you in your efforts to tear me down.  Remember those things which the Lord hates:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill innocents
a heart that plots evil,
feet that are quick to rush into hate,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the family.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Lord Hates

I find solace in this as well as a chance for introspection.  See, this one used to be such a finger-pointer for me.  I can see so easily in others when they do the seven things the Lord hates.

There are six things the Lord hates— no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.
-Proverbs 6:16-19

But I am guilty, too.

I have looked down on others, put myself above them with my education or morals or work ethic. I have told fibs, which I may believe to be harmless but could possibly hurt others.  I do not consider myself a liar and hold quite tightly to the belief that I am one of the most honest people, even to a fault, that I know.  Which takes us back up to the first point.  While I have never committed murder with my hands, I have hated in my heart, which Christ said was another way to kill someone.  Isn’t that a freaking eye-opener! I am not a vengeful person.  I do not plan revenge.  I do not race to do wrong but there are times where I should have raced to do good.  I should not stand back as often as I do and wait to witness the falling out of those who plot evil.  I do not lie nor have I slandered, but I have been a victim of such and know how it feels, how it hurts.  When discord was sown in my family, I am guilty of not pulling everyone together to put an end to it.

Introspection hurts, folks.  What are you thinking on this Thoughtful Thursday in Lent?

I can tell you that the main reason this is one of my favorite passages is that I find solace in knowing that behaviors from others which hurt me so deeply are behaviors that God abhors.  I do not need to seek revenge.  I do not need to lash out against those who sow discord, lie, plot evil, find joy in causing drama and dissension, or even commit murder.

Want to know why?

Because the Greatest Judge takes umbrage with these as well and He will take care of all His people as He sees fit.

So part of me is a bit vindictive when I say that whether in this life or the next, the evil will get their due.  But mainly, I know that God put these people in my path to teach me something, about the world or about myself.  I do not claim to fathom His goals and intentions beyond expecting me at my best, seeing me at my worst, and empowering me to empower others.  And to lead, when I can, the haughty and the liars and the family members seeking to cause harm, away from that which the Lord hates.

What verse helps you stand up straight in the face of those who would drag you down?