Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Living Like No One Else - How We're Surviving a Financial Crisis and Learning to Trust

When a financial crisis hits, what can you do to prepare for whats ahead. 5 great tips to help you get through the rough times.


I know I've been absent in posting recently.  This past month has been a difficult one. We found out that we had two weeks until my husband's (already meager) side job was going away and the work that we have scheduled for our recording studio seemed to be in a constant delay, thus delaying any future payment. You see, we are self employed and rely on irregular income flows.  That means that when the harvest is great, we have to store our income for the lean times. This little side job was supposed to be the meat, and all the extras the gravy, but we suddenly found ourselves scrambling for what to do next.

We were reaching the end of our 'stored' income and are already scraping the bottom of the barrel as it is.  I'm talking, rolling quarters for groceries kinda tight! We found ourselves in a moment of despair, so what did I do?

Honestly?
I cried..... sat in my room and cried. 

It happened like this:  One day, when my country boys were playing in the creek across the street, my youngest (aka Raucous) pushed the oldest (aka Rowdy) into the water wearing his one and only pair of shoes that fit him. Completely soaked and ruined - at least I thought at the time. It had escaped me in that moment that the shoes could be saved with a wash- however... at that moment

It was THE proverbial back breaking straw.

Now some of you know that I tend to breed little giants. Okay, not really, but almost.  My eleven year old was just measured at 5 foot 7.

five. foot. seven.
eleven. years. old.

And dressing him has been quite the chore. Feeding his ever growing body is also a chore. He is in between all sizes and with every sneeze, I swear he's grown even more.

So back to my story.

I was managing through the ups/downs/what ifs of our recent financial dilemma and really truly thought I had placed my trust in the "Thy Will Be Done" -- until the great shoe debacle. I am a busy bee and a habitual planner and when I saw that we were about to hit the rock and our ship could sink, I started trying my hardest to bail out the water...only there was no water there.

I had focused so much on the what if, that I had worked myself into a frenzy and an unstable emotional state. I couldn't see the logic in those simple pair of (washable) shoes.

I silently walked inside and laid in bed and cried, too upset to come out for the rest of the night.  I fell into despair - over shoes. My mental diatribe was relentless. How was I going to afford to clothe my children? We are already counting each penny living on the less than median salary and our tax payment was due, the car insurance bill had just arrived, two of our tires needed patching, and the vacuum cleaner just broke. I was done. In my distress, I called to the Lord. 

Did I get washed with peace?

no

Was I able to harness the patience that's already been given to me in abundance?

nope

All I received was one clear word, over and over again.

WAIT

Wait? What do you mean wait? Hello - we are on fire now and I have to wait? When you are in the middle of the storm and see the tornado coming, instinct tells you to run to safety, not stand there and wait.

I'm telling you - that word was everywhere.  The days following, every phone conversation with my friends - it was there. Talking to my Mom, it was there. It seemed that everywhere I looked, everyone I spoke to, there was that word, like a blinking billboard with a giant arrow.

WAIT

I didn't like it. It goes against everything I am; planner, doer, detailer, multi-tasker.
Jen doesn't wait, Jen..works.

Bottom line, I didn't trust.  Didn't trust myself to remedy our circumstance, didn't trust my husband's ability to find more work, and ultimately didn't trust God to get us through this.

Then it happened.

SHAME

Stinging shame. How could I lack trust with such a small thing while I have friends facing loss of loved ones, battling cancer, infertility, abuse and unfathomable things that I'm not fighting? And yet I didn't trust. They are championing their battles and I'm wilted and crying...over shoes.

How many times have I been in a hard place like this and I fail to trust? How could I be so beaten down for this small thing while others face much harder battles? Then it dawned on me -- 

I can, because this is the path I'm supposed to walk right now.

Yes, others are hurting, and yes, comparatively, their problems may be more difficult than yours, but please hear this.

It doesn't make your pain any less real.  

Your struggle is real for you at this moment, and it is purposeful in whatever the outcome will be. Just because it isn't measuring on the catastrophic charts doesn't mean that you aren't hurting. Somewhere along the way, we've learned the "well at least I'm not facing that" type of rubric for counting our blessings in times of trouble.  Counting blessings shouldn't be a comparison to someone else's woes.

Counting blessings is taking full inventory with a grateful heart of what you do have.
[click to tweet]

So when the pain comes, it's real, and it's right where you are supposed to be at that moment. Stand in the spotlight and face whatever your battle is, big or small, and own your struggle. Discounting it against someone else's pain may make you lose sight of the lesson you need to learn.

One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis.

"God Whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but SHOUTS to us in our pain. It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." C.S. Lewis


Being on unsteady ground has sparked a lot of soul searching, penny pinching and drive to make changes.  These are tough times and they will come again, so how do I manage our situation?

1. Be Thankful

I know that sounds counter intuitive to where you are, but from gratitude comes grace, from praise comes joy. If you are stuck in the pity party pit, you will never see the clear skies ahead. Find something to alter your focus and look for something that gives you joy and give thanks. With an attitude adjustment, you will me mentally prepared for what's ahead.

2. Take Inventory

Looking around at what you do have can help you gain perspective. It could be a great time to find things that bring you happiness, like an old photo album or your favorite song. It could also be a smart time to find things to sell. If you haven't used something that doesn't have sentimental value in over a year, get rid of it and make a profit while doing it!

3. Make a List

My go to plan is to make a list of what I can do, but sometimes that creates stress. I had a dear friend challenge me on how to make my list. Instead of making a list of the jobs I'm capable of doing, make a list of what I want my days to look like. For us, I really want to continue homeschooling our boys, and every job possibility would alter that, so I made a list of how I want my days to go and from there, try to find a job that fits my lifestyle.

4. Get Control of What you Can at This Moment

When life seems out of control, find something beneficial you can get control of, like exercise, or diet. Organize your closets, weed your garden, clean your garage - anything to give you a temporary reprieve from that reeling feeling.

5. Budget, Budget, Budget

How do I budget without income coming in? Even in dire circumstances, you can look at your expenses and find ways to cut corners.  For us, our Christmas budget had to be placed on hold, as well as entertainment and eating out. Taking a snapshot of your bills helps you to reevaluate your purchases. Can you cancel your cable? Cut back on cellular usage?

These are some steps you can make when tough times hit. Being patient for the next thing may not sound logical, but it could ultimately lead to your happiness. Just recently, we found out that we have a small extension in our crisis, so waiting was the right thing to do. God already worked this out for us, and the great shoe debacle was just a passing bump in the road. We learned that this had helped us focus on what we can do before the entire thing crumbles.

Hopefully these tips will help you when you are facing a financial crisis. I'll be sharing tips on how we cut our budget in a few days, as well as how we are trimming our grocery budget with meal planning and grocery stretching techniques.  I'll also share how we plan for those big expenses on an irregular income.

Subscribe by email, so you don't miss the follow up posts on budgeting and money saving tips.


You can also find me here:

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  photo instagram_zpsa69a0f97.png


For more $Money$ savings tips, check out these posts:

SAVE MONEY ON PIZZA  HOW TO STOP WASTING FOOD: Money saving tips everyone could use to stretch their grocery budget.


Friday, May 8, 2015

$25 Project: Faux Succulent Garden

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

Times are tough and budget is tight, but I've worked my budget out to allow myself $25 each month to spend on something creative. This month I'm featuring a DIY faux succulent garden that I was able to complete for just under $25!

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

Here's what I started with:

An old storage jar that the lid had busted, making it unusable in the pantry.
A box of unused homeschool science supplies with rocks, sand and soil.

I have always wanted a succulent garden and saved this container specifically for that. Unfortunately, I just found out that I'm terribly allergic to mold. That means that houseplants, amongst other things, are not on the friendly list. 

So I went to Hobby Lobby!

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

Hobby Lobby had a great deal on their greenery and I snatched up various types of fake succulents. I was able to purchase 9 plants for $21.50 plus tax - much cheaper than real plants that run about $5 each.


I had a huge box of leftover homeschool supplies that we never used, but held onto just in case. I'm not the science-y type so we don't always do every experiment (shh), plus we were given duplicates by mistake, so I had quite the excess of gravel, rocks, soil and sand.

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

I started layering the jar with the large gravel.

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

 Next I layered the course sand, 

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

fine sand, 

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

and finally the soil.

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

I think you could use anything you have one hand to create a similar affect with minimal expense.

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

I topped everything with some pebbles from an older project and started placing the succulents.

Noting Grace: $25 Faux Succulent Garden

I love how they look! Since succulents naturally have a rubbery look, the faux plants are an excellent copycat.

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

I placed the jar on one of my favorite pieces in my house - a chest from my great, great granny, and my DIY Painted window sign. 

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

It's sitting nicely next to a photo of that great great granny -- bonnet hat and all.

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

The vintage surveyor stick came from the dump. 

We're so country that trash pickup isn't an option unless you fork out a hefty fee for independent pickup, but then we wouldn't score treasures like this stick for free!

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

Don't let bumps in the road, like tight finances or allergies, stop you from creating something you've always wanted. Find another way to create that something for yourself - you'll be so glad you did!

Noting Grace: DIY Faux Succulent Garden for $25   Allergies prevented Jen from having a real succulent garden, but that didn't stop her dreams. You'd never know these plants were fake!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  photo instagram_zpsa69a0f97.png


For More Pallet Projects, check these out!

  



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Master Bedroom Reveal, for now.....

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

We totally transformed our Master Bedroom suite into a beautiful sanctuary that makes both my husband and myself happy! In my previous post about planning and making over this room, I touched on the fact that my husband really wanted to be included in this room with touches of masculine here and there.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

Once the hardwood floors were installed and we completed painting, he really stressed the fact that he wanted to be included in the design process, which I thought is so cute! The rest of my house is my territory and he allows me to decorate it how I wish, but this domain (and our recording studio) were his - he staked his claim!

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

I completely respect that and after all, that is what marriage is about, compromise and coming together as a team.

Our bed was the main focal point of the room.  We purchased it 10 years ago at American Signature Furniture in Brentwood, TN and it was our first (and maybe only) splurge purchase.  Trent and I are both tall (he's  6'3" and I'm 5'10") and we needed a bed that would allow him to sleep comfortably. 

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

I added this painting my father in law painted for me with my favorite flower, the hydrangea. I paired it with a hope chest that came from my great grandmother, but this is just temporary. I have another piece that is being used elsewhere that I will eventually place there.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

The huge bed is a gorgeous masculine statement to the room, but I added a feminine touches with matelasse bedding.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.


Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

Lighter walls make it seem brighter, but the darker curtains bring back in the touch of masculinity. They are a shiny silk with adds that balance of boy vs girl.

Using curtain clips, fold over longer curtains to keep from having to hem them to fit. A great way to reuse what you have.

We are reusing the curtains in this space from our previous home, since new curtains weren't in the budget. The curtains were too long, so I used the rod clips and folded them over until they were at the desired length.

You can't even see the fake hem.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

So I have to address the faux floral arrangement.  I'm usually not a fake flower kinda girl, but the space was bare due to our future plan for that wall.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

On the other side of that wall is our stairway with a hidden bathroom that is poorly placed in the house. We are going to gut the bathroom and close the existing door on the other side.  Then we'll open this wall and create a second master closet which will hopefully increase our home value!

Spray painting door knobs and hinges and changing out dated outlets and light switches is an easy and inexpensive way to bring a house up to date.

Spray painting door knobs and hinges and changing out dated outlets and light switches is an easy and inexpensive way to bring a house up to date.

Spray painting door knobs and hinges and changing out dated outlets and light switches is an easy and inexpensive way to bring a house up to date.

Spray painting door knobs and hinges and changing out dated outlets and light switches is an easy and inexpensive way to bring a house up to date.

Trent also spray painted our floor vents as well - and they look so handsome!



Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

His nightside drum table is simple with an vintage cobalt blue and pewter jar that was in his house growing up. 


My side has more feminine touches with a candle a a sweet picture of my boys when they were little.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

From dark and dreary to bright and welcoming,
Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.
from dated and dirty to fresh and clean,
Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.
and from yellowed trim to white and fresh.
Noting Grace: Master Bedroom Makeover A beautiful transformation from dated 80s to today with a mixture of masculine and feminine decor.

We love the transformation and I have a few more touches here and there that I'd love to add down the road, but for now, it's peaceful and serene and both of us are happy!

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  photo instagram_zpsa69a0f97.png


Check out where this post has been featured:

Follow Me Here

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket  photo instagram_zpsa69a0f97.png