Saturday, June 28, 2014

Week 4 - Financial Freedom

Needs vs. Wants

1. How do you treat your money?
  • Ignore it (which is a form of laziness or fear)
  • Actively manage it

 Proverbs 6:6-11

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
 It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
 yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest
 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man

2. Good stewardship requires attention

3. Debt is a natural consequence to in attention.

4. How do  you live with your money?
             a. paycheck to paycheck
             b. feast or famine

5. How can this pattern be broken?   BUDGETING!

Having a budget helps you prioritize.

You tell your money where it should go!

6. You have to take a LONG look at needs vs. wants.

            a. What is a need?
            b. What is a want? A want is not bad but you have to have perspective.
            c. How can you tell the difference?
            d. Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to what is what?

Having a budget gives you a reason to say NO to certain things. For example, I am sorry but I cannot participate in such and such because it just isn't in the budget this month.


           a. Calculate how much money you earn in a month after taxes (net pay). Include tips, supplementary income, side jobs, investments and any other thing that brings income in to the home.

          b.  Calculate expenses (save receipts, check on-line banking and your expense log)

          c.  Divide your budget into basic categories.

          d.  Make three columns next to your list of categories.
         e.  Fill in the blanks with your numbers.

         f.   Once everything is budgeted, subtract your expenses from your income. This gives you the
              unbudgeted money that you can use to pay extra on debt, save, give or spend how you see

8.  Some things to take into account when budgeting

          a. Remember to account for and save accordingly for expenses that may not come every month.
               (For me that would be water, Irish Dance, soccer).

         b. Sometimes your income could change and so you budget should reflect that also.
  • Don't look at your good months as an excuse to splurge (Guilty!) 
  • You need to be even more vigilant when tracking/spending money.
  • Being debt free is even more important and harder to do.
  • Your budget may change more often.
  • Keep your budget tight in order to avoid overages.

9.  Budget Maintenance (Once a month)
           a. Work often with your spouse.
           b. Re-evaluate your budget at least every six months.
           c. Don't neglect maintenance.

  • Track expenses
  • Write out your monthly expenses - including bills you will pay throughout the year.
  • Set up a basic budget with your spouse. Think of this as a rough draft and we can work on refining it next week.
  • Check to see if your budget is bigger than your incoming money.
  • If you run into issues setting up a budget, ask for help.

So I worked on this a little bit this week. When I hear the work BUDGET, I feel sick. When I sat down to write out the three columns, I felt a panic feeling because now I have to do math. But the youth Pastor's wife called me and talked me off the ledge for about 15 minutes. This is what it should look like:

Bill Name                        Ideal                              Actual                       Difference

PECO                             $100                                $84.11                      +15.89
Verizon                          $350                                 $331                         +9.00
Gasoline                         $300                                $386                          - 86.00
Oil                                  $224                                $224                           0.00
Auto Insurance             $195                                $195                           0.00
Boat Insurance             $21.66                              $21.66                        0.00
Groceries                                                               $671.00
Meat                                                                       $422
Pork                                                                        $131
Fast Food                                                               $68.56

Ah look here. We are eating all of our money away. We don't typically eat at fast food places. Panara is considered fast food. I bought a lot of gift cards in the month of June for the teachers. Our meat and pork come from my friend's farm (Rohrbach Farm). These are not monthly charges. The meat is a quartly charge. The pork was a bonus!  The $671 that is listed as "groceries" could also be house hold items such as laundry soap, toilet paper, cat food, etc (things that are not consumable).  Some of my classmates suggested that I try shopping at a cheaper store like Aldi or Bottom Dollar.

Hopefully I will save money when I buy less boxed items.

The BLUE above is our goal, I believe.

I struggled through making the budget but I don't feel good about it. I need another class on Tuesday to feel more confident about what I am doing.

But it's a beginning. How are you doing?

The one thing that was said that has been going through my brain, sort of a wake up call is this:

Treat this like a business. If I was the bookkeeper and mismanaged the money, I would be fired. So why is this different? Why is my personal finances not being treated with respect? Could it be laziness or fear?

Well I am tired of my money controlling me. A budget does not mean less freedom. It's just the opposite. A budget will allow us to stay within boundaries and free us from credit cards debt.

I didn't mention credit cards. I have one. It's a Disney Visa that earns points. It is at $597.63.  I also have a Lowes card that I have been using in preparation for Amanda's party. I don't use the others often or on a regular basis. Those are JCP & Macy's.

Again, how are you doing? Are your finances in charge of you or are you in charge of your finances?



Thursday, June 26, 2014

FED UP - Day 10

Wednesday was my last day of doing the Fed Up Challenge. I feel wonderful. My food cravings have completely, yes completely, gone. I was dishing out ice-cream yesterday for Daniel and didn't feel like I need any. I didn't feel like I needed to lick the spoon or sneak a bite once it was in the bowl. I thought to myself "this must be what normal people feel like". This feeling is UNBELIEVEABLE.
I am an addict. We are all addicted to something...cigarettes, alcohol, shopping, reality tv, porn, money. You name it. We all have something lacking in our lives. (If you don't, good for you!) My addiction is anything sweet...cookies, candy, cake, pie, smores, COFFEE, SWEET COFFEE.
I thought that I was a good eater. I ate fruits and vegetables. I ate Newman's Own products. I ate rice cakes. When everyone else was eating cheese steaks and wings, I was eating salads.
But in the last twelve days I have found out that the food industry has been lying to us all. They have been adding sugar to things that already have sugar. How do I know this? I have been taking the time to read labels.
For example, Polaner jams/jelly has sugar in it. It's fruit. It's natural. When you look at the ingredients however, sugar does not appear there. That's a good product. You are still getting sugar and have to watch how much you take in. But you are not having ADDED SUGAR.
When the HELL did we give other people permission to add stuff to our food? What if it wasn't sugar they chose. What if they splashed a little rum in to all packaged items? Do you think you would have a problem? An addiction maybe?

Yes, salsa. Yes, spaghetti sauce. Those two really get me. When you make salsa (or maybe you don't) the recipe does not call for sugar. It's just tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno pepper, lime with salt & pepper. SO TELL ME WHY THERE IS SUGAR IN A PRODUCT THAT IS LABELED ALL NATURAL?!

OK, coming down off my soap box. It's your choice. My eyes are wide open. If I want to eat sugar, I want to determine how much I am getting. I will eat cookies if I want to, now knowing that my other foods are not containing that hidden sugar.
No wonder no one can lose any weight. We can work out, walk miles, exercise until the cows come home but if we are not taking charge of our food, then the food is taking charge of us.
I am sincerely FED UP!

PB&J Irish Porridge

This looks more appetizing than the above.

Cheese burger, pickle and mustard on Nature's Own bun.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hello Summer!

Today kicks off the first REAL day of summer. Amanda had two days off last week and Daniel had one but this is the beginning of our first week!

So here are the ground rules/schedule/routine, or whatever you want to call it.

They can sleep until 9 if they wish (and Amanda does). Daniel can watch t.v. until 9 am.

Then it begins...

  • Devotions
  • Math
  • Reading
  • Chores
  • Lunch
  • Friends and/or screens

I have chosen Keys for Kids. They can listen to it and follow along. This is great for Daniel because I really believe that he is an auditory AND visual learner. I prefer this type of learning as well.

After that each child had five questions to answer.

  1. What sin where the boys committing?
  2. How long was Blake away?
  3. If you ignore sin it can take _______of your ______.
  4. According to Blake's Dad, each time you do 2 things, sinning becomes easier. What are those 2 things?
  5. What was the other boy's name?

  1. What 2 scriptures are referenced?
  2. How do you get the devil to flee from you?
  3. What is today's "key"?
  4. What animal will devour you if you are not sober, vigilant (alert)?
  5. Where in the Bible does it say God cannot be tempted with evil?

While Amanda completed her five questions, Daniel and I walked the dog with Robert.

These are the chores to choose from:

  • empty the dishwasher
  • take the junk upstairs that is sitting on the steps
  • pick up your bedroom floor
The room is clean in my eyes if the floor is clear of junk. Pile it high on a dresser but get it off the bloody floor.

  • mow the lawn
  • empty the waste cans
  • take the garbage cans and recycle to the curb
  • water the garden and the flower beds
  • walk the dog
Neighbor chores while they are away:

  • feed the fish
  • collect the mail and newspaper

Daniel completed everything in about an hour. Amanda is a little slower but she had it all completed...eventually, I think.

The reading has not begun because we didn't get the books yet.

It's a start. It's a very ambitious start. I have "hang out" dates planned, Dollar movies, and Free Bowling (shoe rental not included). I will allow myself grace when things don't work out. But at least it's a start.

Financial Freedom - Week Three

Here are the notes for the third Financial Freedom class taught at NVBC. The first class (click here ) was taught by the Pastor and the youth Pastor's wife. The second class (click here ) was taught by just the Pastor.

The third class was taught by the youth Pastor and his wife. Only three of us attended that class. It was just perfect however.

I did my homework and had a discussion with Curtis. Every time I wanted to talk about money, he would roll his eyes and sigh. Then he would say "We don't have any. There we talked." So I prefaced it by telling him how much we bring in monthly and that the talk is "good news".

With the children out of the house for at least an hour, I pulled up the tracking system (Mint) that I use. Then we talked. It was a good talk. It was a short talk. Here it is and this is what we need to do. He was happy. I was satisfied and then we watched Deadliest Catch together.

Here are our goals:

  • Pay off the house in four years.
  • Have an emergency fund with 3 months salary
  • Resume the college fund.
  • Pay the credit card off each month.

Finances & Relationships

Reviewing Biblical Principals
  1. It's God's money.
  2. It's our responsibility.
  3. You should be pursuing devotion to God together.
  4. "What are our financial goals in light of God's purposes?"
  5. "What is the best way to pursue these goals together?"


  • Problem #1 - I don't trust God.
  • Problem #2 - I don't trust my spouse.
  • Problem #3 - I'm selfish.
  • Problem #4 - Old habits die hard.
  • Problem #5 - We don't know how to communicate about money.

Path To Healing

1.   Talk to God.
  • Ask Him to search your heart.
  • Ask Him to bring healing in those areas of struggle.
  • Pray for your spouse

2.   Talk to your spouse.
  • Set a day and time to talk.
  • Pray together before you start talking.
  • Express your love for and commitment to one another
  • .No raising your voice/yelling.
  • No accusing. "You always...I never..."
  • Take turns talking.
  • Lay it all out.
  • Ask for and give forgiveness.
  • Embrace your spouse's financial past.
  • Discuss your financial goals in light of God's purposes.
  • Make an action plan.

Money & Other Relatives

  1. You have a responsibility to care for your relatives.  1 Timothy 5:3-16
  2. You are especially responsible to care for your household. 1 Timothy 5:8
  3. This responsibility ends at needs; it's not about wants.
  4. Don't make loans to family.
Are you being a bad steward who is helping someone to be a bad steward?

When Husband & Wife Disagree

  1. The husband has the authority to make the final decision. Ephesians 5:22-24
  2. This is also true for unbelieving husbands.  1 Peter 3:1-6
  3. Such decisions must be made with love and understanding. Ephesians 5:25


Spouses - Have a discussion; set financial goals.
Singles - Continue to seek a financial accountability buddy.
Everyone - Write down and bring a list of monthly expenses (including things that are paid every 3 to 6 months) and a list of incoming cash flow. We start budgeting next time.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


A month ago I was at the GYN's office and I weighted 128 (I asked them to note in my chart that I had just eaten a piece of pizza). I thought how ridiculous that was since I work out just about every day of the week and watch what I eat (for the most part).

I love sweets; cookies, candy bars, cake, ICE-CREAM, cream and sugar with a splash of coffee, Starbuck's. Get my point? But I am not eating fried foods. I am not eating hoagies and cheese steaks. I am not eating cheese fries. But I am going out to breakfast once maybe twice a week. I am drinking a protein shake a few times a week. I will just have to cut back.

Or maybe the scale was wrong?! Hopeful thinking.

No, it wasn't. It was 128 right her in my bathroom. Boo!

Now that's not over-weight or anything. I am 5 feet nothing. My ideal weight range is between 105 (wedding weight and pre-babies) and 128. I remember after Amanda was born weighing 116 and thinking that I just wanted to be 110. Then I was 120 forever and thinking that I just wanted to be 116. Then I was 128! I wanted to be 120 again. And I was after Daniel went off to first grade and I started working outside the home.

But how did I get back up to 128 when I have been working out and walking more in the last eight months? I eat rice cakes for crying out loud!!!

I didn't weigh my self on Sunday because I was retaining water. Hormones. But I did weigh myself mid-week and I was 124. Wow. I lost 4 pounds. Since when though? Let's just go with May 20th because that's roughly a week after the GYN appointment.

Today I am 121.8. OH MY GOODNESS. I am not even trying!

This week's lunch and dinner menu (re-cap)

Sunday: Rice & Beans and Pork Chops
Monday:  Spinach Salad and Tacos 
Tuesday: Salad and Pasta
Wednesday: Salad and Pork Stir-fry
Thursday: I don't remember?!
Friday: Rice & Beans and Steak Sandwiches
Saturday: nachos and cheese burger
Sunday: Chicken salad and chicken sandwich

I am not depriving myself. THIS IS NOT A DIET. This is just a new way of looking at things.

Today I made this yummy recipe!  I didn't follow it exactly because I never write anything down before I go to the grocery store. So I forgot the lime. I don't like to add onion to anything so I skipped that part also.

It was chicken (canned, yes I do eat that stuff), 1/2 avocado, a little PLAIN Greek yogurt, salt, pepper and garlic powder. One can made enough to make about 4 wraps. I ate 2 wraps and a plum for lunch. I was satisfied. Someone was handing out cookies (I was at the church picnic) and I passed.

Like it was nothing!

You can do this. YOU. YES YOU! Just give it a try.

Caprice Salad

Before - kale

After - baked kale

chicken breast, avocado and fresh basil

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Seven Days Without Sugar!

So I have been doing this "FED UP" challenge that I saw on Facebook. What it basically is, is meat, fruits and veggies. I have been eating certain packaged food items as long as they did not have sugar in the ingredients. Sugar is usually listed in the first five ingredients. High Fructose Corn Syrup is sugar. Splenda, Aspartame, Equal, Stevia, etc (fake sugar) is not giving up sugar. "Diet" sugars are worse for  you than the real thing!

The first two days were very hard. I had a raging headache for the full two days. I was also exhausted. I mean totally exhausted as in "the moment Robert is asleep I am on the couch horizontal" exhausted!

But by Day Three I was good to go.

I have not had any sweet craving in the last seven days. Everyone ate ice-cream last night. I did not. I did not feel deprived either.

Actually, that was a lie about not wanting something sweet. Today I was at a birthday party and I WANTED a piece of cake. But I had grapes, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon. The craving passed.

I said to Curtis today, I don't think the U.S. wants us to be healthy. It would lose too much money.

My eyes have been opened. I really feel lied to by Paul Newman. All his "natural" stuff has added sugar. Why would you add sugar to salsa? When you make salsa do you add sugar? I don't. And don't get me started on Snack Wells.

So are you wondering what I have been eating for the last four days since I haven't posted pictures? (My memory card for the camera I was using is not compatible with my computer).

HB egg and half an apple OR a smoothie

Smoothie Recipe
1/2 cup PLAIN Greek yogurt (3 grams of sugar)
1/2 cup 1% milk (6 grams of sugar)
1 tsp. Smucker's Natural PB (serving size is 2 TB which has 1 gram of sugar in it)
1 banana

The American Heart Association recommends that we have between 6 and 9 grams of sugar a day. THAT IS OUTRAGEOUS!

There are 35 grams of sugar in a 12 oz. Coke.
There are 36 grams of sugar in a Milky Way bar.
There are 35 grams of sugar in unsweetened grape juice.

There are 43 grams of sugar in 1/2 of raisins (but it's not added sugar.) It's still ridiculous however. I will not be eating raisins.

There are 9 grams of sugar in a banana.

What's my point? There is natural sugar in some foods. Why are we adding sugar to stuff? Don't we get enough already but just eating fruit?

This is not a fad diet I am on. This is awareness. This is me taking control of what I put in my mouth. I have lost 4 pounds in the first part of the week. I feel like I may have lost those 4 pounds around my middle. I call it my Special K inch (you know, the pinch an inch test). I am not over-weight. I never have been so this is not about weight. This is about my health. I am forty-six and I feel like I am in the best health of my life time. I want to prevent diabetes (which runs on my mom's side). It's about Prevention!

Rice, beans (black, kidney, white), salsa, spinach, cheese, sour cream

That's pretty much my standard. I am sure I have eaten other things but without the photos, I don't remember (hence the title "photo journal").

Steak sandwich OR Pork Chops OR Pasta

I serve vegetables and fruit (and brown rice) at dinner every night.

My snacks are usually fruit. I HAVE NO CRAVINGS FOR COFFEE OR DESSERT. It really is unreal. Did I say that already?

Hello My Name is Theresa and I am a Sugar-holic. It's an ugly addiction that not even Curtis knew about. I was telling him last week how bad it has become and he said "I didn't know that". We hide those ugly parts of us that we don't want anyone to see.

This may sound like a daunting challenge to you. But just try it. I had no time to prepare for it. I read the challenge notes on Sunday morning when I decided to do this. So I could use that as an excuse. We can always find an excuse can't we?

Seriously, try it. You have nothing to lose (except weight) and everything to gain (better health). The way I see it, the only thing standing between the old habits and the new is you!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fed Up Challenge

Last week someone posted something on Facebook called "The Fed Up Challenge - Sugar Free for 10 Days. Hey, I love a challenge, I thought. So I joined the group.

On Sunday morning I actually go to the link to see what this is all about. OH MY. I am shocked about two things. The first is what I actually have to give up. The second is how everything packaged basically has added sugar.

I decided to take photos of what I am eating. It's much easier than writing it down. And I figure I am only going to do this part of the challenge for 10 days. Click here, here and here to see the last three days.

I am tired. I have had a headache. But I have to admit that I feel better. I have not weighed myself but I do intend on doing that tomorrow.

It's truly amazing how there is so much hidden sugar in our packaged food. I am not eating anything with a label if I can help it.

One thing that really motivated me was the thought that I do this to myself. I choose what to buy at the grocery store. I choose what I put in my mouth. Well, I am choosing better.

In the one video, it is estimated that our young people will be a generation that dies younger than any other. I watched the middle school children walking home. I was amazed at the amount of children that are classified as "obese". I am not talking chubby kids. I am talking obese. It was so sad.

My hope is to change so that I can be a positive role model for my family. My hope is that that motivation will be contagious.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Day Three - Food Journal



Second snack



Monday, June 16, 2014

Photo Journal - Day Two


Not a great snack


Better choice of a snack



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Picture Diary - Day One


Morning Snack

Looks like a lot of peanut butter

This is what I did not eat.


Father's Day Dinner

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Relay 2014

We completed our NINETH consecutive Relay for Life under the name The Journey Begins Here. Jeannette, Curtis, Amanda, Kayla and I relayed in Carlisle in 2002 and 2003 on a different team.
 In 2003, a tornado swept through the area. We didn't know it. It was pouring the entire time. We just kept walking. We thought that since cancer doesn't take a break in bad weather than neither should we.
Yesterday, a flood warning was given and the entire relay evacuated. It wasn't even raining! Everyone filed in to the elementary school with The Journey took down our camp site. We walked to the van and all eight of us hung out until it blew over, which was about 45 minutes. I said "this too shall pass" and kept referring to the entire "panic" as light weights. That is why we brought rain gear!
There was a lot of changes this year that we were not happy with. Therefore, when you want something changed, you have to become part of the change. We will be joining the committee next year. It will be the Tenth Anniversary for The Journey Begins Here.
I am excited!

It could be a Christmas card photo!

My boys make an appearance before the camping trip.

My first Relay was when this kid was in my belly!

Love of my life!

New and very cool feature.

Daniel and Mom

Daniel said he would walk a lap with Mom Mom!

Yes, Christmas card!

Love these two!!!!

Friends for THIRTY FOUR years!

Relay reason, "First place Grace"

Sisters. I have nine of these pictures.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Look Who is SIXTEEN Today!

June 13th, 2012