Monday, October 08, 2007

Shut Up and Wake Up

Yesterday, I realized that I was in a “funk” of sorts. It all started when my husband and I actually took ten minutes to discuss that most loathsome of subjects…our finances. When we realized that our debt was not moving despite our efforts to keep our credit cards at home in a drawer, we decided that our only options to release the stranglehold of the credit card companies immediately were drastic at best, and not going to be popular with the kids in the least.

Of course, the most desirable option for us as a couple would be to sell and move out of state. I paid a fraction of what my house is worth now, and even with refinancing and a home equity line of credit, I could still pay everything off and have plenty of money leftover to purchase a home and put security in the bank. Plus, from the research I’ve done, we could have a house twice the size with 10 times (or more) the amount of property. However, in doing so, our kids would have to leave their suburban, Abercrombie & Fitch high school and try to adapt themselves into the John Deer Institute of Agriculture and Levi’s. Not a popular option.

None of our other options have them doing the happiness jig, either. They range from not going on our annual family vacation to Lake George to selling our house and renting another in the area until the kids graduate. Although the latter would be overwhelming, it has thus far been the only option that anyone has even considered. However, trying to find a house to rent for half of what we spend every month on our bills and that’s large enough to fit a family of six has proven quite impossible. What’s a person to do?

Well, I decided to go to church. In regard to the aforementioned funk, I was beginning to feel sorry for myself and to question if God was actually even hearing anything I’ve had to say in my prayers. I felt stressed, I felt option-less. I figured if I was going to find an answer somewhere, it would probably be in the House of God. Or at least in the parking lot.

…Which is where I started to come to some pretty sad conclusions about myself upon walking towards the entrance.

Earlier that day, I read of a fellow blogger whose grandson was facing cancer head-on, enduring all sorts of painful tests and procedures, and coming through every one of them like a trooper. All this kid wants to do is go to school with his friends, and yet he’s stuck at Ronald McDonald house for weeks at a time. I thought of this brave boy and his amazingly strong grandmother as I walked through the rustic lot, wood chips crunching beneath my feet, and the fresh smell of cedar filling my nose. This awareness suddenly brought feelings of gratefulness and shame at the same time before I even walked through the church doors.

You see, I was alive to smell those chips. To feel the light breeze on my skin. To hold my husband’s warm hand and acknowledge his constant supportive attitude toward my needs. I started to realize that God had heard some really big prayers of mine in the past few months. Even though I’d been worried over my finances for years, they won’t kill me. Ovarian cancer could have, however, and although it was in my family history, God answered my prayers for health. How dare I complain about Chase or Citibank. I was healthy, and I was present. I had one good ovary left; I had my hair.


Shame on you, Lisa.

Appropriately, the pastor gave a sermon about our words…how strong the small orifice of our mouth is, yet how the words that come out of it have the power to hurt…or to heal. At the end of the service, he handed us little cards that we were to use as a tool for the upcoming week. This piece of thick paper, called a “mission card”, had the week’s objective on top: “Shutting up.” Underneath the title, it had a small list written next to the word “Stop:”

A. Complaining
B. Lying
C. Gossiping

Underneath that list was another:

Each time you mess up, you will:”

A. Start the month over

or

B. Give one dollar to charity

By the time I had gotten to my car on the way out, I was up to three dollars already. Two gossips and a complaint, and that happened in the church lobby.

In those moments, I decided that, for at least this week, I am going to try to speak more positive words not only into other people’s lives, but into my own as well. What good is it if I’m positive towards others around me, but I can’t seem to convince myself that I’ll ever be out of debt? And what good is it if I’m never grateful for the things that I have been given for longer than five minutes? Perhaps my debt is in lieu of something much worse. I’m sure that my fellow blogging buddy would take ten million dollars in debt if it meant that her grandson had perfect health. I think we all would.

So in other words, I’m shutting up.

…Wish me luck.

42 comments:

Shimmerrings said...

Lisa, you are a wonderful spirit! You actually give a darn and think deeply on things... and really strive to make changes within. For myself, I find that I believe strongly in cause and effect... action and reaction. In other words, I will always suffer the end result of a poor decision. Sure, there was something good that came from the original decision; however, there are sometimes other results from that same decision that do no always turn out to be so positive or beneficial. The most I can seem to do, in those moments, when I find that my dream did not turn out squeeky clean, is to gather the strength to keep on trucking through the thick forest, until I can see the light of day... and ask for the wisdom and guidance to make better decisions in the future. Our wants, needs, and desires change, as we change... and sometimes we have to live out the end result of the first decision, before we can move onto the next one. I am sure you will walk out of it and not bog down, with her perception and insight. I think it's wonderful that you take the children's needs into consideration, too, and not force them to go cold turkey. There's a right way and a wrong way to do everything. After all, they didn't get to where they are, today, without allowance into that place. You are a good mom. I still struggle with guiding my youngest, who is now 24, and still not self sufficient. He likes to live a certain lifestyle that he cannot afford... nor does he seem to want to do the hard work that it takes to build stability. I have to look at myself, however, and see that perhaps I did not teach him stability, when I left my 15 year career to join my ex-husband overseas, in his own career. Since that time, and after we divorced, I have not been entirely self-sufficient, ... things having gotten even worse when my last husband died, while I was trying to re-establish my independence. Now I find myself in a laid-off position... but, with the chance to start over. This may also be the starting point for my son getting on his own two feet, since 'mama' has run out of money. His car is on it's last leg and he will be forced to do some crunch time, as I had just spent a thousand dollars, in the last month, trying to fix his car... money which I had received through a loan, for extensive dental work, before I became laid off. Now I have no dental insurance, so that dental work has come to a screeching halt. I had offered to set some of that money aside, for my son to get started back in college, until he can receive grant money... and he has chosen not to go that route. I guess, for me, this is a reality check. Time for him to fly. But, things could be worse. I am grateful for the chance to start over... and that I was able to help my son, while I could. Now, all I can do is be patient and give thanks!

Kacey said...

It makes me feel really sad to think about being young and in debt. It isn't easy raising a family and it is so hard to make the decisions that are so necessary to keep your head above water. I love watching Suze Orman on T.V. --- she is so real and tells it like it is about what you can do about debt. Check her out on Google and you can even ask her questions about your particular issues. We are past the stage where the kids are a problem, but retirement has it's own set of bugaboos. I wish we all would take your advice and take our problems to The Lord and leave them there. The trouble is --- we drop them on God and then pick them back up at the door as we leave church. I guess it is a matter of faith and believing that God will take care of us in any dituation. Perhaps, you need to sit down as a family and lay out your income, outgo and financial abilities. I don't think the kids would grouch as much if they knew everything facing the family. Sometimes we have to pull together for the big picture. We never want to move teenagers from their schools, but how many people are still really good friends with people from high school? However you decide to handle things, hyou will do a great job, because hyou are a super person.

Matty said...

Ah Lisa,
Thank you for the wonderful words of support & encouragement. I wish I was as fabulous as you make me out to be.
I'm very fortunate that I was never a material person. I am fortunate to be bringing up my grandkids in a small village and thankful we have a roof over our heads. Now that the mortgage is paid and I got rid of one more credit card I can sleep at nights. I find that women today are beating themselves up if they don't give their children anything and everything. How much is too much?
Do we really owe our children designer clothes, top schools,dance, art & music instruction, travelling... at the risk of serious debt and the stress that comes with it?
I'm sure that kids everywhere want the fine things in life..but would rather have you in their lives. When is it too much? Who are we competing against? What exactly do we owe our kids?
As long as you know when you go to sleep at night that you are doing your absolute best with the tools you have....then you know it's enough!
It wouldn't hurt to include the kids in a discussion about money and lifestyle. Kids aren't stupid..they know what's important. As Kacey mentionned... Get them involved...their insight might shock you.
Kids can be selfish..till they know the whole picture. Have a family meeting...and ask for their input...you just might get the surprise of your life!
and know whatever you decide will be in their favor.
Have a good week!

Matty said...

Lisa,
I had a 'money' talk last week with both my grandkids. Finances are tight right now...and both kids shocked me.
Mr. T offered to sell his video games to help out...and my Maggie May (9) offered to get a job after school walking dogs! She is terrified of dogs...but it goes to show when you're honest with kids, it brings out the compassionate side. When you ask kids for their honest opinion..they really want to help out.
Of course I told Mr. T we are not that desperate yet..but they have to brown-bag it for awhile...and both kids are 100% supportive.
Kids are never too young to understand....they also know when we are financially hurting...so share your concerns with them. You might get a pleasant surprise!

Lisa said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I believe the problem I have always had was that things were usually handed to me, and I got used to wanting to be comfortable. But let me explain:

My mom and dad were from the WW2 era (they would've been in their eighties now). Very traditional and old-fashioned; my dad worked, and my mom kept up the house like the white glove. She never really pushed for either my brother or myself to help out, because she took pride in her home. We weren't rich, and I didn't get everything I wanted, but back then, I really didn't want for much because it was much different than it is today.

I got married to a man who made good money. Although I wasn't a shopper (at all, I was never extravagant like that), I was always able to buy whatever I needed without worrying, whether it was groceries, clothes for the kids, etc. The problems started once I was a single mom.

I was able to purchase a home with my settlement, which was very important to me at the time because I felt that money my father had given to me and my brother upon the sale of his own home years ago helped me and my husband to buy our first home. Why should I rent? Of course, with owning a home comes responsibility for every appliance and fixture in that home, as well. In the first four years, I had to replace every appliance I had with the exception of my hot water heater (I can still remember standing in Sears and hearing my young daughter telling me not to cry when I had to purchase the cheapest washer and dryer they had. My repair man told me that he could no longer fix the machines I had, as they had reached their life's limit). Guess where all that money came from? My credit cards. Guess what I used to buy my kids and myself clothes (and I'm not talking designer duds, either...I'm talking Target)? Guess what I used to pay the oil bill if it was out of my budget?

I'm ashamed to say that since I had been in the mortgage industry, I took advantage of refinancing more than once to pay off debt. Not being able to afford to live here, and not wanting to admit it, I would get myself right back into debt and be stuck in the same situation. Good credit was extremely important to me, and I would borrow from Peter to pay Paul all the time (meaning my credit cards, not other people, although I did do that once and paid back the debt. Actually, I did it twice, but I never paid back my ex when he lent me money, and I don't even know if he remembers, he makes so much right now)! So this is how I got in debt. They were necessary choices at the time, but now I'm paying for them (just recently, I had to put a car repair on a credit card because I just didn't have $500 floating around).

Also, my mortgage payment has just gone up $400/month because of the bank's inability to keep up the escrow with the rate of increase that my county constantly charges for taxes. My taxes were $5400 ten years ago, and are now $9000.

So the best thing you can probably do is give your son a little "tough love" and throw him out of the nest. I've started to do this with my kids, because the last thing I want is for them to be in my position. Although my ex makes loads of money, he's still responsible enough to make my daughter pay for her insurance, her gas, and her social life. My son and I were discussing job options for him now that he's 15. Your son will have to learn, as I did, that mom can't always be there to help out. It's a tough lesson, but I pray that he comes out of it better than I did!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Kacey,

First of all, how are you?? I hope you are feeling better every day! You had quite an ordeal, and I'm sure it hasn't been easy for you. Hope your DH is doing well with his surgery, also!

Anyway, the problem that my husband and I face is the "battle of the exes"! If our kids were just "ours", we would've been out of here YEARS ago. Unfortunately, we have the other spouses to worry about, and we can't just up and take the kids (both my son and my daughter said that they were willing to move as recently as last year, so they really weren't the problem. My stepdaughter, who has much less stability in her life than they do, is another story. She just wants to stay put; it was enough for her to leave her previous school and come here to begin with, and now that she's made all sorts of friends, she won't go anywhere). As I mentioned above to Shimmerings, most of my debt accumulated by trying to live here in the first place as a single mother.

I will check out Suze Orman today...I just applied for a debt reduction program, but they told me that my credit will have to go the wayside for a while...not something I'm really relishing, as through all of this, I've managed to keep great credit scores, and it's the one thing I'm proud of. But the agent asked me, "What means more to you...your credit, or getting out of debt?" It was a good question! Of course, I told them "Both!" but that answer, I guess, is a fantasy.

I'm trying to keep a positive outlook...the time has come where I'm really determined to do something about it, so I know I'll get SOMETHING accomplished...I may not like the ride, but I'm sure I'll love the destination!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Matty,


You, my dear, go above and beyond. You're just used to it...but the rest of us wonder how you do it everyday. You're obviously doing a fantastic job, because your grandkids understand how to be human beings.

My son was always very good about being concerned about my finances, even when he was younger (he's 15). When my daughter was younger, she was annoying as all get-out. Now, at almost 18, she is starting to learn the value of a dollar (she's not completely there yet, but she's definitely on her way). However, my stepdaughter is right smack-dab in the middle of the nonsense, being that she's 14. We're hoping that she begins to understand in the near future that it's not about how tan you are or where your clothes come from--it's about what's inside. She gets angry when we explain the money situation...how "her friend's parents" seemingly buy them whatever they want, why do we have to be poor, why can't we have better jobs, etc. It's disheartening how shallow she is behaving, and she's actually a sweet kid when she wants to be (although it doesn't sound like it from what I've just said). Besides the fact she's gorgeous (and I'm not just saying that-she really is; natural olive skin, long thick hair, tiny body, big boobs, beautiful face), and still says she doesn't feel good about herself. Is it any wonder? A tan can't make you feel good for longer than five minutes. But as I said, my daughter was horrible at 14 also, and my husband and I are hoping that with a little "tough love" she'll start to "get it". She is very influenced by the media, as well, but does she really have a choice? We don't even have HBO, only "family cable", and why they call it that is beyond me, because with shows like "Dance Off, Pants Off", what hope do we have for "family" programming(my cousin just introduced me to that five minutes ago...it's sad, and it's sick)? It's very hard to be a parent in this day and age. God bless all of us...

Take good care,
Lisa

Shimmerrings said...

Hi, Lisa. You are right, I know. I started out, like you, a single mom. Well, after the divorce, that is. I was working making fairly good money, for a single mom, but it was still tough, because I had two boys in the home. Yet, I was still supporting myself and my two kids, with no child support. Don't ask. I remarried. It was a whirlwind rebound marriage. Not a good marriage. All wrong. I was convinced I was in love. What I really was, was insecure, and looking for security. To try and save the marriage, I made a very bad decision to quit my job and move to Germany, with my ex. I ditched my career, in order to stay together, while he followed his own career. I had hoped that being away from his family would make our marriage a success. I didn't wanna admit I had made a big mistake. I cashed out my retirement (2nd biggest mistake of my life) in order to pay off my bills and make the move. Oldest son married, youngest opted to remain with his dad, to graduate with his class and continue with his football. Meanwhile, overseas, my ex's drinking worsened. We grew further apart, instead of closer. I carried deep guilt, the entire length of my overseas stay, that I had left my son with his dad. I felt like a bad mom. He had been given the option and chose to remain close to his friends. I didn't blame him, he was old enough to decide. Lots of families split apart and live miles and miles away, I told myself, and life is good. Life was not good. I made frequent trips back home, and my son came for a summer visit. We were in constant contact, via instant message and telephone. My mom lived close by, to him, and kept my extra ATM card, and I had an account with his name on it, in case I needed to transfer money. His stepmom, who promised to treat him just like he was her own did not live up to her end of the bargain. My mom became his mom. When I came back home I wanted to pick up where I had left off. I had not been through with mothering, you see, when I had left him 2 1/2 years earlier. But, 2 1/2 years later, he was 2 1/2 years older. What was missed was missed. What was lost was lost. All his life there had been disagreement with his dad, on how money was spent. His dad came from an entirely different socio-economical background and could not even allow himself to dream of the things that had been common to me, and I had been raised up middle class, nothing special. After we had split up, he would berate me for buying my son clothes that I could and/or would afford, because he could/or would not buy them for him; therefore, he did not want me to buy them, either. To me, this was ridiculous. What was really wrong was having married someone from such an entirely different background, to begin with... which made for a very strange life from the way I had grown up. Seems my son grew up caught between those two entirely different worlds. He retains a portion of both. Anyways, when I came back from Germany I began again, alone. I met my last husband and experienced true love for the first time in a very long time. It was entirely different from any love I had ever known. He was divorced, too. We began our new lives, together, slowly building stability, just like kids starting out. Sad, for that, and all that had been lost or wasted, over the length of our lives. My youngest had begun college and moved back in with me. I was soooo happy to be mom again. My oldest son split from his wife and moved in with us, too. He had been a problem child, growing up, and had not graduated. I tried to help him, financially, in his split, and encouraged him, again, to complete his education, while he was with me. He opted out, and went back with the wife. The husband didn't last. He died, you know, the suicide. It was horrendous, emotionally, for all of us. The youngest flunked out of college, lost his grant, and continued serving tables in restaurants. Anyways, before my husband died my credit was perfect. He left me holding the bag, with all the bills in my name. I couldn't afford to live alone, anymore. I was offered a place to stay at my son's girlfriend's grandma's rental, for little of nothing. I still couldn't afford it. I thought a credit card, offered to me, during Christmas season, was the answer to my prayers, but what did I know, caught up under the dark depression that had filled me. I tried to rotate my bills onto that credit card, with the idea that I would make a huge payment each month, and be able to continue adding car payments and utilities on. It seemed like a plan, till the new car taxes came due, and I could not make the huge credit card payment. And then I could no longer even make the small rental payment. My mother had a small silver utility shed that she had turned into an art studio. Most of my stuff went into storage and my youngest son and I moved into that shed, with a room divider separating his bed and dresser from my bed and desk. I can't believe how much stuff we had in that shed/studio apartment. Oh, it was a cute little place, cute curtains, air conditoning, and telephone. But, no running water. It was pretty darned cold making the walk across to my mom's in the winter time, each morning, to get my shower and use the toilet. Or having to go out to the faucet to get coffee water and wash a few dishes. Eventually my son moved out. Eventually I moved out. My son and his fiance broke up. He just moved back in. My significant other says to let him walk or hitch hike. He just started a new job and has to look nice. And I know that if I don't help him, my own mother will. His father never will. It seems, to me, that I wasn't able to teach him how to fly, because I wasn't able to fly, myself. What a lousy bunch, caught up in the aftermath. I do hope your own can and will understand that life is not always what we want... but, a joint effort, between those who love one another, in a family unit. I wasn't suggesting that you spoil them, Lisa, if it sounded that way. I was really just happy to know that you do consider their happiness, too. There are things that kids bounce back from... and there are things that they hold against you, forever... or use as leverage. I think my son holds nothing against me. My son is a good kid. I take responsibility for part of his confusion. I want him to succeed, therefore I do not believe that I am through being mom. We are close. We have long talks. He's the type that will call me, from a football stadium, while I am at the beach, just to tell me that there is a double rainbow coming up out of the middle of the football field. There came a time, with my oldest, when I knew that he was a frown man and no longer my little boy... and his mistakes would be his own, from then on out. I have not reached that point, with my youngest.

Shimmerrings said...

ooops... that's a 'grown' man.

simply me said...

Dear Li - wonderful blog and so very heartfelt. I know so well the struggles you speak of which have led me to make decisions about the future which I probably would not have made if I had not been in your shoes.
You are working in a direction that will lead you to freedom in many ways. Don't give up.
Where ever you end up - it will be OK because of your efforts everyday as a wife, parent and a good person.

me

Lisa said...

Dear Shimmerings,

Wow. I don't even know what to say. That was single-handedly the most powerful comment I've ever received on this blog, and by far, the most moving.

I don't know why it is that some people seem to always have that little (or large) black cloud surrounding them, no matter how hard they try to make everything "right". Sometimes I choose to believe that it's some sort of test that God hands to people who He feels are just so strong, deserving and powerful...even if they don't know it themselves. I don't know if that's true...nobody does. But when nothing else makes sense, and you believe in a higher being, then sometimes thinking in that way is the only thing that gets you through your struggles.

You are so lucky that your son understands the pure importance of a double rainbow, J. Or the smell of the air after a rainfall. Or the sunset through the stick trees on a winter's day. YOU gave him those gifts, and no matter what happens in this world, even if we all end up with nothing, those of us that can appreciate the pure beauty of a sunrise while listening to the melodic sounds of the birds singing will truly be the blessed beings on this earth. Really think about that.

I think that gift is worth more than all the material things and all the money in this world. You should be very proud of yourself. And if you believe strong enough, and keep setting the example that you do with your younger son, your older one will come around eventually. Everyone's on a different timetable; keep the faith. There is hope.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Maria,

I know what you went through, and if I can make myself even half the success that you are, I will be blessed.

Thank God you have that beautiful retreat to go home to whenever you can. Your dream right now is really a reality that's only a few short years away. I know it's tough now, but at least your "dream" is tangible! Mine is still in the "dreaming" stages. But I will make it a reality. I feel it with every ounce of my being. And you set the example for me; thank you for that.

xoxo,
Lisa

sunshineworks said...

Wow,
Not much to add to that as far as comments go. Just wanted to say, "Hang in there."

My family has been struggling with exactly the same money/credit/debt/mortgage junk that you speak of.

I totally can relate to that funk. My wife is constantly reminding me to be thankful (as I write this at 11:00 pm from my 2nd job).
:)
(thank you God for that 2nd job)
Anyway, here's to "fighting" for our freedom. And being greatful for the arena we play that game in.

Chris Wondra

Lisa said...

Dear Chris,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I enjoyed your moment of "thankfulness"!

I do try to appreciate the fact that I am alive to experience all that life has to offer, but I would be lying if I said that I wished to stay in this rut forever. It does seem to cause a whole host of other problems within the family, mostly due to stress! I will most likely be in that "second job" boat fairly soon.

I keep my eye on the prize of one day getting out of here, and living the true life I feel the desire to live...a little more in tune with nature, and not so much with nonsense. ;)

Take good care,
Lisa

Shimmerrings said...

Oh, you made me cry. And it's almost as if you read the posting that I have hidden in draft form, till I can finish it. (I just returned home from 42 hours of firing a wood fired kiln and can hardly move)... anyways, thanks for your beautiful words and I hope all your troubles will find end in a wonderful solution.

Lisa said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I'm sorry!! I didn't mean to make you cry. Eeks, I promise I didn't read your draft, LOL!! I told you, we're both on the same wavelength with some things, this must be one of them!

Wow...42 HOURS?? I don't even know what firing a wood-fired kiln entails, but it just sounds exhausting! I hope you were making some more of your beautiful sculptures. You're very talented (I'm an artsy person myself, but I do nothing with my gift...now, THAT's sad). I should learn from your example!

And may all of our most pressing issues resolve themselves peacefully and to our satisfaction. We may not get the gold ring, but I bet we can come pretty darn close!

Take good care,
Lisa

Guilty Secret said...

Brilliant post. It sounds to me like there was definitely a reason church was calling you that day.

I'm going to think about this in my life today. I love the little image: words can hurt or heal, what did yours do today? I'm going to pull that off and use it on my desktop!

Loving Annie said...

Good Thursday morning to you, Lisa.

I'd say there is a difference between complaining and exploring your options, between not liking the available choices and simply whining.

You are doing the best you can to see what is viable for your family.

Yes, you have your health (thank goodness !) and others have it much worse. And you are very much aware of that fact, and grateful for what you have in its blessing.

That doesn't mean that you have to be PollyAnna about what you wish could be different though.
You're just speaking your mind and trying to find a way to make things work financially when it is anything but palatable.

*big hugs*
Loving Annie

Lisa said...

Dear blogging friends,

I'll be in PA for a few days and will answer everyone when I get back! I'm in a rush, as usual. ;)

Take good care,
Lisa

Mark said...

Lisa,
Sounds like you have a good plan, albeit not the one which will make the kids jump up and down for joy. In the end life for all will be better.
Focus on abundance, express gratitude for all that you have and I am sure that abundance will start to come your way.
Be in peace!

Desiree said...

A truly beautiful and delightful post Lisa! Our biggest challenge in life is indeed our humanity!

Carine said...

Lisa,
Yes, financial woes aren't fun, but when you think of our mutual wonderful friend and her grandson, it does put things in perspective, doesn't it?
My own daughter is having quite a serious time w/ her finances. Out of work for over a year and her husband as well, they have a second child on the way and have yet to regain footing financially from the first go round. They're in the mortgage industry, my son-in-law holds his breath that the job he has now is one he'll get to keep.
Their troubles are so alarming and we don't have the finances to pull them up and help them out.
It is scary, but Lisa, you are a wonderful, solid person-I know you will make the right decision for you and your family.

Big Dave T said...

Nice blog. I like the way your pictures illustrate what you're writing. That cow picture was too funny.

Just having got back from vacation, you reminded me that we met a couple from South Carolina. They bragged about how wonderful it was to move there, particularly how much cheaper it was to live there than where they were before--the New York City area. I had to think about you when they said that.

I dunno. Everything's relative, for sure, but I don't think I'd give up on your financial situation just yet.

Lisa said...

Dear Guilty Secret,

That is a great little saying, isn't it? Makes you stop and think a bit. I think everyone could always use a reminder to think before we speak--you know, ask ourselves those questions: Is it true? Is it nice? Will it hurt someone? etc.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is well with you!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Loving Annie,

Of course, you are right. Sometimes I am a bit "Pollyanna-ish", although I will admit, I have no idea who the heck she is!! But I've heard the expression, and I know what it means. I do try to be fair and reasonable, but I'd be lying if I said I never got down about things. I just came back from a lovely weekend away at a friend's house, and got frustrated all over again because of my situation and my lack of control over it. But I do spend a great deal of time trying to reason things away that are out of my control...sometimes, that's the only thing that helps me survive.

Hope all is well with you, and I'll try to get by your blog tonight!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Mark,

My husband and I, to my knowledge, do spend too much time talking about leaving here. I think until it's a definite reality, we should just "shut up", so to speak...I don't think the insecurity of what we're talking about helps our kids to feel stable.

They'll appreciate a country home once they're out living on their own and working hard...it'll be their little "escape" from their harried lives! That's what my husband and I need to aim for in the future, even if we wish it was tomorrow.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Desiree,

How nice to hear from you! I hope all is going well on your end, and that your situation with your daughter is working itself out.

Life is not easy. I guess we will all have some road blocks or stumbling blocks along the way...and I think our success in dealing with our situations clearly depends on our attitudes. It's not always easy to be positive, but it probably helps any situation more than being negative!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Carine,

Thank you so much for the complement. I hope your daughter and her husband find a solution to their financial problems. They're still young yet; there are probably so many options for them in the future. Sometimes I worry for my husband and myself, being that we're not so young anymore. The future is sure scarier when it's ten years away, not thirty! I wish them the best of luck.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Dave,

I loved the cow picture, also!

Hey, I have relatives that moved to SC who are in their late 50's/early 60's...ya think it could be them?!? It certainly is hard to live in the metro area. As I said, if the kids were younger and they were all our own, we would've left YEARS ago.

Hope you had a great timeon Savannah, and I'm looking forward to hearing all your "haunting" tales!

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

oops, "time IN"...sorry, rushing as usual.

Loving Annie said...

Happy Monday the 15th to you, Lisa ! Hope that all is well - and that you are well-loved :)

Paul said...

True. Seems like we all have that instant tendency to compare ourselves to those doing better than we are instead of with those doing worse.

Lisa said...

Dear Loving Annie,

Happy Wednesday to you!! Hope all is well on your end.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Paul,

Of course, you're absolutely right, but I guess that's what has driven progress over the years...wanting more, wanting better, wanting easier. However, the trick is in finding the inner strength to make the vision a reality. In my case, I tend to hit brick walls in that area. I've been working on believing in myself for a while now...it's not easy for me, and I'm not really sure why!

Thanks for visiting!

Take good care,
Lisa

annie said...

Hi Lisa.
I enjoyed reading this post.
I can say that our situation with Isabelle has really changed my perspective. I think that the challenge was a great one. I will remember that one.
blessings~
Annie

Paul said...

I see. Yeah, it makes a difference whether the emotion is just spinning the wheels or motivational energy.

Lisa said...

Dear Annie,

I can not imagine walking in your shoes, and when I try, I literally could cry. Just this morning as I was waiting for my son to have blood taken, I read an article about Natalee Holloway's mom and how she was moving on and all she's had to accept...and I promptly started to cry.

When I start worrying about things like money, I have to remind myself to appreciate all that is good in my life. Today I was blessed enough to go with all of my children to Madison Square Garden to see Joel Osteen. We had a great, inspirational time. Things may not always be perfect, but I am so grateful for my blessings.

Always remember that faithful people like you help to teach others like me...and it's an amazingly valuable lesson. Thank you.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Paul,

I'm trying to motivate myself to use my God-given skills...I've had several opportunities to do so, but I get overwhelmed with "what if I can't do it", or "what if they don't like it"...you know, all that self-defeating nonsense. That's my biggest challenge; not the money.

Hey, I couldn't find definitions to two of the words you used in your Kermit poem...I'm starting to think you made them up for fun! Either that, or I need a new version of Word. ;)

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

First, that church of yours sounds appealing. I will take on the word challenge along with you, and I can tell it's not going to be easy!

I've always been really uptight about money- I've had boyfriends criticize me for it. But the only debt I have is my mortgage and due to prepayments, it'll be gone in 8 years. My first inclination was to tell you not to worry about your debt, until I realized that I have no business saying that, having never experienced debt myself. And I remember reading about the toll it takes. I don't remember what book I was reading, (it may have been one by Debbie Ford) but it went so far as to claim that living beyond your means feels really bad because it's like living a lie. At that time, I was living in a beautiful Victorian in the downtown neighborhood which I'm always raving about. I was so struck by that book that I decided I had to move to a cheaper house. Even though I did not have debt problems, I truly felt that I was living beyond my means. I sold the house.

I'll never know if that was the right decision. Now I'm living cheaper, but coveting the old neighborhood. And in your case, the debt was not caused by living beyond your means. Yet I bet the burden of the debt is just as heavy nonetheless, and you probably have a gnawing sense of things just not being right.

Your children stand to learn a great life lesson from this, no matter what you choose to do. It will be a huge gift- they'll possibly never have to live with debt.

And I agree about Suze Orman being a great resource. I followed her advice a long time ago about the best retirement vehicle being the Roth IRA, for example.

Thank you for this thoughtful and valuable post. Watching our words is just what the doctor ordered.

Hugs,
Betty

Lisa said...

Dear Betty,

So good to hear from you! I think it's wonderful that you are a single mom and not in debt...I know Simply Me can tell you how it feels to be in my shoes, but she did something about it (and she was NOT happy about it at the time). I know now that she believes she did the right thing.

The only option we have is to sell our house, pay off the debt, purchase (way) cheaper in another state for tax purposes, and rent here until the kids are done with high school. If they were all our kids, we would've moved years ago. But we have ex's to worry about. If we did this, we could pay off our debt, pay less every month for rent and utilities, and most likely save money in the long run. We'd also have a house that we can go to on the weekends and on school vacations, and ultimately Al and I can move into it once the last kid graduates. It would be a place where our kids could come to escape...and if they wanted to live with us, that would be fine, too.

Sounds like a plan...or a huge fantasy!! Hey, it has worked for others...

Paul said...

I tried to talk him out of being so verbose. Just remember, he's the loquacious, desultory one, not me...

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Paul,

That Kermit...he's a wily, garrulous little green thing, isn't he? Sticking words in that adults like me can't understand just because we stopped contributing to public television...