liveHislove — love your family well through the eyes of your kids!

You and your kids stop after school one day at a fast food restaurant. As you are waiting in line, someone cuts in front of you. How do you react? Do you immediately ostracize the person with arm flailing in a fit or rage or do you kindly tell them that you were waiting as well and suggest they probably didn’t realize that 🙂 ??

The ramifications of your reaction will help to mold how your children react to similar situations of conflict in their lives. I want mine to react to others in a kind manner, even if they are not given the same response. We are to model Jesus in our daily lives, and that sometimes requires taking the high road (and goes against our gut reaction :-).

As I mentioned Wednesday, we are followers of Dave Ramsey and his teachings related to money and the bible. His daughter, Rachel Cruze, also teaches along side him, but more related to kids and parental relationships. I love one of her tag lines, and I think it is an important ones for parents to adopt, “More is caught than taught”. Even though she is generally referring to how parents interact with money, it can be applied to most aspects of parenting and the role models we are for our children.

you're the greatest!

I want to be a parent who is remembered more by her actions, than her words. I truly do believe that “more is caught than taught”.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

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liveHislove — the week of loving your family well…with green!

developmenT-3

According to the IDFA (Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis), 22% of divorces are a result of money issues. That is downright scary! I want to make my marriage as strong as it can be, so we are taking steps to ensure our financial success. That success includes having a plan with our money. Bye bye stress!!!!!

If I had to grade our financial planning during our 15 years of marriage, we would be a C. During these 15 years we have saved in our work 401K’s, so we have some money for retirement. However, that is about as far as our planning has extended. We make a decent family income, but we felt like at the end of the month, we had no idea where our money went. Our money was managing us, not the other way around.

Last year, God called me to pick up “The Total Money Makeover” book by Dave Ramsey. My sister had given it to us many years before and I just hadn’t felt the strong desire at that time to implement it’s principals. Now, I WAS SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED! Where was all of our money going? We made a great income, but I felt like we were living paycheck to paycheck. Quite honestly, this was causing me more stress than my spouse because I was managing the majority of the bills. He had his own checking account and I had my own. We were living financially separate lives. It just wasn’t working for me and I needed a change.

Thankfully my husband was open to changing our situation too. We now have combined accounts, agree on a budget each month and we have paid off $15,000 in debt in the last year (we are now debt free except for our home) and are well on our way to having an emergency fund in place. Financial freedom is now a part of our lives.

I’ve been wanting to write about this for some time, but just couldn’t find the right time until now as part of my “loving your family well” week. Being financially responsible means loving your family well.

Proverbs 13:22 says:

 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…

I want to be able to leave this earth and leave my children a financial inheritance.

The teachings of Dave Ramsey are what have lead us to where we are now and I am very thankful for that. If you are unfamiliar with Dave, he is an evangelical Christian with a financial background. He has written numerous books and has a 3-hour radio show (The Dave Ramsey Show) everyday (available for download for free on podcast download). His show also runs 24 hours a day on I-Heart radio. In churches, businesses and schools throughout the country, his financial classes are taught. Through church, it is called Financial Peace University.  After growing extreme wealth in his 20’s, losing it all and declaring bankruptcy, he looked to the bible for financial direction. This lead him where he is today, helping millions and millions of families get out of debt and win with money. (I’m receiving no compensation for this plug, I simply just love Dave Ramsey and am dying to share his principals with others). His principals are really just common sense, but that seems to be lacking these days 🙂

There are over 800 verses in the bible that relate to money. The bible urges us to be debt-free, be savers and not be worshipers of money. Here are a few examples:

Worshipping money

Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

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Debt

Romans 13:8
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

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Saving

Proverbs 21:20
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”

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Have a plan!

Proverbs 21:5
“The plan of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

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If you are interested in becoming debt-free and having a plan for your financial future, here are the 7 steps in Dave Ramsey’s program as shared from his website (www.daveramsey.com)

$1,000 to Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!

In this first step, the goal is to save $1,000 as fast as you can. Go through your storage boxes and sell some stuff. Work an extra job. Do whatever it takes to start saving money. Once you have it, open a checking account that is separate from your regular account and put the cash there. When a car battery goes out or a baseball meets a window in your house, you won’t have to go into debt to fix it. You don’t want to dig a deeper hole while you’re trying to work your way out.

2. Pay Off All Debt but the House
List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.

This step will make a huge difference in your everyday life. You’ll use the debt snowball to knock out your debts one by one, from smallest to largest. Pay off the first one. Then add what you were paying on it to the next debt and start attacking it. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you’ll see results and stay motivated to dump your debt. As each debt is paid off, your cash flow will increase and the bigger debts will be gone sooner than you think. Before you know it, you’re debt-free!

3. 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings
This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most, that’s between $10,000 and $15,000), and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.

According to Money Magazine, 78% of Americans will have a major negative financial event in any given 10-year period. Most people lose momentum after Baby Step 2 and don’t push to complete their emergency fund. This pile of cash will make sure you aren’t caught off guard by a job layoff or a leaky roof. Keep your emergency fund in a simple checking account or money market account with check-writing privileges. That way, you can pay the doctor or wrecker service on the spot.

4. Invest 15% of Household Income Into Retirement
Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.

This step is all about building long-term wealth. Take 15% of your gross household income and invest it first into matching company 401(k) plans and then Roth IRAs. If your company doesn’t offer a retirement plan or match your contributions, then go straight to the Roth. Spread the money across four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international. Even a couple hundred dollars a month invested now can make you a multi-millionaire.

5. College Funding for Children
By Step 5, you’ve paid off all debts but the house, and you’ve started your retirement savings. Now it’s time to save for your kids’ college expenses. College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.

Two smart ways to save for your kids’ college are 529 college savings funds or Coverdell ESAs (Education Savings Accounts). These are both tax-advantaged savings vehicles that let you save money for your kids’ education expenses. As with retirement, you can also spread the money across the four types of mutual funds: growth, aggressive growth, growth and income, and international.

Both 529 plans and ESAs allow you to save money in an individual investment account. But do your homework first! Depending on your income and what state you live in, a 529 might be better than an ESA. All that’s left then is to get started!

6. Pay Off Home Early
There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt—paying off the mortgage. Baby Step 6 is the big one! Can you imagine life with no house payment?

Any extra money you can put toward the mortgage will result in tens of thousands of dollars of interest saved and months (or even years) of not having a payment hanging over your head. If you currently have an adjustable rate mortgage, interest only, or even a 30-year mortgage, consider refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage and pay off your home faster. It takes the average family five to seven years to pay their home off early. This journey to debt freedom is a marathon. Stay focused and intense, and keep a steady pace. And don’t forget to celebrate each little victory along the way.

7. Build Wealth and Give
This is the last step and, by far, the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! And it’s all because you had discipline for a few years. Now that’s leaving a legacy.

It took perseverance and good habits to get you here. Keep setting goals and budgeting every month. Stay intense and have fun along the way! You started investing 15% on Baby Step 4. Now you can max out your 401k and IRA so you can continue to live and give like no one else in retirement.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to help!

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Can you give up your net?

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me, ” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

Have you ever thought about the significance of the net in this verse? Simon/Peter and Andrew dropped more than just a physical net that day. They left their jobs, their friends and their place in society, just to name a few. They trusted God to take care of them and it changed their lives for all eternity.

What is your “net”?  What do you need to let go of in order to devote more time and energy in your walk with Jesus?

There are too many “nets” for me personally to list, so I’ll list my top 3 :-).

net

1. Entitlement:

1 Timothy 6:6

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment

Bottom line: a sense of entitlement has prevented me from experiencing contentment. Let me explain.

I graduated from pharmacy school after 6 grueling years. The thought of a handsome salary at the end of my tenure was what kept me studying on those long nights at the library, as well as the thought of a nice new car and the status that would come with that. Stupid, I know. Unfortunately my sense of entitlement didn’t stop there. I had worked so hard in school to achieve this nice salary that I felt I was entitled to nice vacations and a nice home. But I was missing out on the big picture. I was always wanting more and more and not allowing myself to become content. It wasn’t until we found ourselves in credit card debt and living paycheck to paycheck that I said enough is enough. I remembered a Dave Ramsey book that I had in my closet that my sister had given me a few years back. I dug it out and read it in one day. That book gave me hope that I could gain control of my money. You see, money was starting to control my life, not the other way around. We now live on a written budget that my husband I have agreed upon. I still have money to spend, but within a controlled environment and I don’t have to worry that I’ve overspent each month and there won’t be enough left for groceries. I have outgrown this sense of entitlement and traded it in for contentment and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve traded in fancy dinners on Friday nights for our weekly family movie night. We all look forward to this night and the memories that we are creating together. I’ve dropped my net of entitlement in exchange for a Godly life that only one with a content heart can appreciate!

  1. Disorganization

Bottom line: When I don’t have a plan, it doesn’t happen!

I know the devil is at the root of this one; telling me that I’ll have time later or that something else is more important. I posted last Monday on ways to start and stick to studying the bible. I admittedly need help in this area. Every week my work schedule is different, which doesn’t help my cause. I really like these 3 strategies in sticking to a bible study plan: Prioritize your study, pair it with something you already do every day and plan for it! I would like to throw my “net” of disorganization into a fiery pit!! It frequently stands in the way of me and my alone time with God. Using the 3 P’s above are key for me.

2. Fear

I hate to say it, but I’m a little scared of being pushed out of my comfort zone. I know God has big plans for my life, but what if they make me feel uncomfortable? If I start listening to my “God voice” and it urges me to do something I’m uncomfortable with, what will I do? Trust God; that’s what I’ll do. After all, He’s got my back! Admittedly I struggle in this area, but I’m learning that God will equip me with what I need to accomplish the job that he wants me to complete. My son has ADHD. Dealing with healthcare providers, counselors and school educators has pushed me well out of my comfort zone. I hate confrontation of any type, but God has given me the words to use in each situation for the betterment of my child, while retaining a Christian attitude in the process. I am a much more confident parent because I have trusted God in these personally fearful situations.

Is your “net” made of thoughts of entitlement, disorganization or fear of the unknown? Maybe your “nets” are completely different than mine. Please know that you are not alone in your struggles to put God in the center of your world. Trust Him with whatever net you are holding onto. He can make “fishermen of people” out of you and me….regardless of our tattered nets.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Monday motivator: Sell it all?

matthew

I registered for everything! It was addicting. I’m talking about the scanning machine that they give you when you complete your wedding registry. We scanned everything from board games to camping gear and it was exhilarating! Starting married life together is exciting in many different ways. Getting presents on top of marrying the love of your life is just icing on the cake!

15 years, 2 kids, 2 dogs and several goldfish later we are still happily married. Some of the items that we registered for back in that blissful period of time have not weathered the journey quite as well as we have :-). One such item is our collection of stainless steel silverware. A few teaspoons have fallen victim to the garbage disposal monster and a few have been accidentally tossed in the garbage by our children. Needless to say, our collection is hobbling along on crutches!

As some of you may know, we have been following Dave Ramsey’s financial principals for a good 6 months now. It has been a blessing in our marriage, both financially and relationally. Dave jokingly says that in an effort to pay off debts with “gazelle-like” intensity, “sell so much stuff that the kids think they’re next”. We have done just that. This brings me to our before mentioned silverware.

I decided to sell off our silverware on eBay as we no longer had a complete set. May sound like a simple task to you, but to me,  there was emotion attached to it. We had gotten it for OUR wedding. How could I part with it?

As I stood in our kitchen pondering the idea, I was reminded of Matthew 6:20 (NLT):

      Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.

It was decided. I have began to sell it off, and like all of the other stuff that we have sold, there are mixed emotions. I know however, that it is getting us one step closer to financial freedom. Working together on this financial project has made our marriage stronger too and that’s something that a collection of silverware in a drawer can’t do.

If you have a desire to learn about Dave Ramsey and his financial principles, I encourage you to visit Dave Ramsey at www.daveramsey.com or feel free to message me ( livehisloveblog@yahoo.com ) with any questions. I’d be happy to help.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

Disciple of Dave

money

Does money ever exhaust you? It does me. Last summer, I woke up one day and decided I was tired of our current state of financial affairs. As I was getting dressed that day, I glanced at my bookshelf and noticed a book that I had received several years back, Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover . I had flippantly read it back then, and that’s where the journey ended.

I decided to pick the book back up. I knew Dave was a Christian, so I was interested in what he had to say about money. I re-read the book in just a few days and I couldn’t get enough of his teachings. I scoured the internet for more information and discovered that he had a podcast. I downloaded it and I. WAS. HOOKED.

If you aren’t familiar with Dave Ramsey, here is a quick synopsis from his website www.daveramsey.com:

 Ramsey knows first-hand what financial peace means in his own life – living a true rags-to- riches-to-rags-to-riches story. By age twenty-six he had established a four-million-dollar real estate portfolio, only to lose it by age thirty. He has since rebuilt his financial life and now devotes himself full-time to helping ordinary people understand the forces behind their financial distress and how to set things right – financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Bottom line: Dave teaches you how to be intentional with your money and the foundations of his teachings are biblically based. He teaches how to take control of your money using 7 “Baby Steps”. They start with building an emergency fund of $1000 and end with the last step:  Building wealth and giving. Who doesn’t want to do that??!!!

In preparation for this blog, I scoured the internet for bible verses relating to money. Apparently God has given us over 800 scriptures relating to money!  Obviously, God has a plan for our (His) money. Did you catch that? Yep, it really isn’t our money, is it? It’s God’s money and we are to be the managers. That puts a whole new perspective on the green stuff that we call money.

Money itself is amoral. It is how we interact with money that gives it “life”. There are extremely wealthy people who use their money for the betterment of society and there are wealthy people who think of no one but themselves. The same can be said for non-wealthy people. People bring money to life either positively or negatively. This is supported by 2 different bible verses:

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1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…

(notice here that its the interaction of loving money that makes it evil)

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1 Timothy 6:17-19

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

(notice here that we are “not to put our hope in wealth”, but to “be rich in good deeds”)

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Being more intentional with my money means I am a better money manager for God. I feel a sense of peace with this intentionality. I have an intense desire to make it to the last step of Dave’s financial plan “Building wealth and giving”. I know that freely giving of my money will be equally important to me as it will be to the receiver.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy

What is your gift?

puzzle3Yesterday I picked my children up from school. On the way home, my 9 year-old son says “Mom, why does everyone in my class play sports but me?”. I should tell you that he has played many sports in his short life, and somehow, he momentarily forgot that he runs cross country and likes golf. I do grow very weary, however, and I’m sure he does too, of the pressure that society puts on boys, in particular, to both like and play sports. Have you ever observed the pajama section at your local clothing store for young boys? Approximately 90% of the selection involves sports. (end rant :-))

The question posed by my son was one of those parental moments where you pause and say a quick prayer for the right response.  Then it came to me. I said, “God gives us each our own special gifts. None of us were created exactly the same. You are gifted in the area of music and art and your sister is gifted in dance, for example. If we all had the same talents, wouldn’t life be boring?”. He was much comforted by my response and I was thankful that God gave me the right words to use in that moment.

Romans 12:6 tells us this: In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

For some, their Godly given talents are apparent at a young age. It may be because their parents were gifted in that area and genetically they are too (like the Manning dynasty). It’s taken me many years of figuring out what my gifts are. I am a natural optimist. It was after listening to hours and hours of podcasts from Dave Ramsey (founder of Financial Peace University, author, speaker) that I began to think more deeply about what MY gifts are. That really is the reason that I started this blog. My hope is to use my optimism and love for Jesus to inspire others to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others.

Want to figure out your Godly given gifts? First, I would suggest that you pray about it. I asked God to reveal to me the gifts that he has given me. I figured my maker knows best! Secondly, ask your friends, co-workers and family (although they may be a little biased) if they can list a few words to best describe your positive qualities.

God wants us to use our gifts for the betterment of His kingdom here on Earth. We all have a piece to contribute to the puzzle of life.

-Remember to liveHislove,

Missy