A Change of Financial Perspective

The few months before our wedding were a complete whirlwind. Not only were we secretly engaged, but Kyle was laid off in February and took a new job in Dallas in April. Because I had no idea where I wanted to work once I got here, I was left completely dependent on another person (and another salary) for three months.

After college, I had been working and living on my own, with roommates, for three years. My money was mine to do with what I pleased. It took me a very short amount of time to realize that what I wanted was to pay off my student loans, so I did. All $16,000 of them. I had extra money to shop and play and dine and drive and create. What was mine was mine.

There’s a strange thing that happens when you’re dependent on someone else at age 27. There was a huge mind hurdle I had to jump through to understand that mine is no longer mine, but that his is ours. I felt weird and guilty and lazy and bad every time I had to spend money on something. Until I didn’t any longer.

I learned to spend and be fine- we needed what we needed, and I stopped feeling bad about the extra $3 on the Target receipt for dark red nail polish. Sometimes I bought things from the store that I wanted, even if Kyle didn’t want them. I was becoming liberated. Now? I’m earning a paycheck, small as it may be for the part time I’m working, but suddenly I’m having to shift again.

So what’s mine is mine, and what’s his is ours. Right?

Wrong.

Learning to share in Kindergarden is one thing, but learning to share in adult life is even harder. The last few months have been a struggle as we work to undo years of independent living, independent households and cars and belongings and habits. Some days I still feel like I should write my name inside all my books or under my dishes, just so I will remember that they were once mine.

We continue to struggle through sharing so many things: emotions, belongings, time, holidays, last names. We’re working to find a balance between who we once were and who we are together. One book at a time.

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On Decisions

If you haven’t noticed (and with our at-times-ridiculous-stream-of-consciousness writing style I don’t know how you couldn’t have) we tend to write about what’s happening at this very moment in our lives. We tend to live like that too. Plan next week’s menu? It can wait. Save money for Christmas presents? Don’t start before December 15. Next year’s vacation? Excuse me?

Granted, it’s not the best way to live your life and financially we’re becoming better planners but it seems in all other matters the urgency of “right now” is the primary catalyst for anything innovative or creative. See: writing this post at 11 PM more often than not…not that we’re saying it’s creative or anything J

So you might be asking, “how in the world do you ever make decisions or get anything done?” Or you might not be, in which case we encourage you to keep moving in your world wide web meanderings. There are digital newspapers to peruse and farms in Farmville to be cultivated. If you are asking though, here you go. Our decision-making usually goes something like this (this was an actual conversation):

Me: “Hey, you want to go to a preseason hockey game between two random teams tonight at the American Airlines Center”?
Her: “I don’t care, I mean I DO have a job now so I might be tired tonight.”
Me: “Hmmm…ok…well…wait, was that an answer?”
Her: “Whatever, we can go to the game if you want. Your call.”
Me: “Uhhh…OK…so you’re not just saying ‘it’s your call’ when really you have an actual opinion and it’s possible that I can make an incorrect decision?”
Her: “Nope…I mean yep. Wait, what does that even mean?”
Me: “Awesome.”

We (as humans) make so many decisions on a daily basis the aggregate weight of their outcomes can be staggering. For example, I’ve been going back and forth about going to this game all day and that’s one of the smallest of the hundreds of decisions I’ve been presented with. My yes’s changes to nos with each lap of the clock’s small hand.

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received (and I’ve received it from multiple people) is this: make a choice and move on. Transfer to Oklahoma State for my Sophomore year after coming within one game of the D-III College World Series my Freshman year? Sure. Turn down an informal offer from the Houston Astros to play many many games of flag football go to graduate school? Not my favorite decision but it worked. Throw a surprise wedding in a barn even though only a handful of people knew we were engaged? Duh.

It’s a waste of time, energy, brain power, and (most importantly) creative process to lament over past decisions. Make one and move on. Make one and move on. Oh…and always consult with your spouse.

About that hockey game…….

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Saturday Rups (round + ups = Rups)

[Starting clockwise from the top…you can click on the pictures OR the links below]

Our new favorite Dallas blog is a series of letters one girl writes to her husband and many other people/things she loves. We’re begging you to look at it.

A good evaluation of how hipster-ness, for lack of a better word, fits in to today’s Christian culture.

Think South America sounds sexy? This article tells you how to go there on a budget…somewhere Dave Ramsey is smiling.

Photo Attribution: Typewriter | Hipster | Plane

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Painting With A Twist

I had so many doubts about moving here. As if God were usually wrong. But Dallas offers herself to me in a new light, yet again. Intro: Painting With a Twist.

One painting. Two hours. 35 dollars. Whatever friends you want to invite. And a unique piece of art to take home at the end of the night. It’s a brilliant business model, but an even better way to stretch your creative abilities and consider yourself an artist. They pick one painting, teach you to paint it step by step, and voila, you’re Van Gogh. Here is my finished product:

The Congress Bridge in Austin, bats and all. It will hang in our home and people will ask where we got it. I will then reply, “Oh I painted it, of course.” And then we’ll giggle to know secretly that it wasn’t nearly as hard as it looks. But it will live forever as something I created, with love, in Dallas.

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To Have a Friend

Moving to a new city proves to be more challenging in some areas than others. I’ve decided which supermarket I like best, I know how to get to my favorite thrift stores, and can even go most places without a map. Our apartment is shaping up, the days are proving to be much less mundane, and I’m starting to feel more at home all the time. However, we keep coming back to this one tiny issue: We really only have a few friends here.

When we left Stillwater, we were in the middle of everything. I worked for a church, which connected me immediately to 150 volunteers, 9 staff members, their volunteers, and every person who came through our doors on a weekend. Kyle had great community within his work. Our weeks would usually be full of softball or basketball games, coffee with friends, evenings at the church, or great conversation with roommates over dinner and wine. And while we knew a few people coming into this great city, it still provides a stark contrast to the fellowship and friendship we had in our recent past. Here’s a synopsis of our friend making so far:

–       We see a fun looking couple on the street walking their dog. One of us says, “Ooh they look really cool.” The other agrees.

–       We drive by an old woman working in her garden. I say, “Oh Kyle I bet she’s so sweet. I want to be friends with her.” She keeps digging. We keep driving.

–       We shake hands with people sitting next to us at church. But only on the weeks they make us. We make eye contact, sit back down, and one of us says, “They look like a fun couple to hang out with.” The other nods. End of discussion.

–       One week at church Kyle leaves to use restroom. Comes back with fly open. Negates everyone who sat close to us that week as possible future friends.

–       The next week we arrive at church and I realize I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth. Knocks out another 10-12 fun looking couples. Almost literally. No discussion that week.

And the list goes on. We find ourselves surrounded by possible community and fellowship everywhere, and yet it seems very out of reach. So we continue to play “I Spy” with unsuspecting Dallas residents while we wait for small groups to start at church in September. And hope that none of them sat by us for examples 4 or 5.

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Tourists in Our Own Town

There’s something I’ve always loved about the notion of being a tourist in your own hometown. Right now we don’t have an option: we are tourists. It won’t feel like home for quite some time, so for now, we explore. But it’s easy to become familiar with your surroundings when you immerse yourself in the same environment every day. So today, we challenge you to this: Visit one “new to you” thing every few weeks. Pick one new shop, one new park, one new historic building and check it out. Your town is much cooler than you think it is. Promise.

This weekend, we chose the Bishop Arts District. Here are a few things we found:

Soda Gallery in Oak Cliff

The guy who ran this place was one of the most intriguing people we’ve met in our time here in Dallas. Part salesman, part entrepreneur, part soda lover, he explained to us how he started his business over 4 years ago. He and his partner now sell vintage(y) sodas for $2.50 a pop. Pun intended. He also explained that they sell online and host various parties and events. The wheels in Kyle’s head were spinning faster than he could ask the guy questions. I thought he was going to offer to serve sodas and M&Ms for minimum wage at one point. We promised said business owner that we’d link to his website. Here it is.

Wanting these props for our kitchen...
Cream soda + orange drink = love
Yes, there are things you can't buy at Wal-Mart...

The best part about going to fun places like this can’t be found in the eccentric stuff you can buy or look at it. No, the best parts are the ideas and creativity gleaned from being immersed in such goodness if only but for a short amount of time. We were completely silent on the way home (save an NPR story or two) as both of us got lost in thoughts of business, entrepreneurship, making, creating, giving, selling, and living. Sometimes production comes of those thought sessions, sometimes not, but we always love getting there, to that state of dual solitude. It makes marriage seem mysterious and magnificent even when it sometimes isn’t.

Oh, we'll be back Bishop...we will be back...

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Roundin ‘Em Up

It’s rainy here in Dallas this weekend which means baseball games have been rained out and thrift store trips have been cancelled. Instead, we’re staying in, baking, muffins, drinking absurd amounts of coffee, writing blog posts, and reading articles, stories, blogs, tweets, facebook threads…basically anything we can get our hands on. Here’s a solid collection we think you might like:

Kyle
I had a conversation with one of my best friends on Thursday afternoon, we were talking about how sick and disgusted we were with the LeFestivities and yet we both admitted (sheepishly) that we were drawn in, fascinated, that we would both watch “the decision.” It should have been called “the derision”…here are two great articles summing up what sport has become to us, the Y generation. The second one is one of the best articles I’ve ever read. Enjoy…or don’t. LeBron I | LeBron II

Yesterday I posted about a girl who has an amazing blog about motherhood and life. Here’s her husband’s blog, it’s even better…and his posts are a LOT shorter than ours.

Jen
I was crushed when I found out Domino, the greatest magazine of all time, was shutting down. Here’s a semi-similar digital mag called Lonny. Clicker beware, you could get lost for hours.

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Southbound 35

Dallas and I are trying to become friends. One day at a time we’re getting to know each other a little better, but I’m leary of new friends and really attached to old ones. I love almost everything about the south, but here there seems to be a lack of open range and way too many shopping malls.  We forget there are stars for lack of seeing them, and the only dirt roads are the ones being dug up for construction. There are few things that can replace the feeling of being at home, but my old soul finds solace in some very interesting places. Ice cream, the Bible, and hippie little towns. Obviously not in that order.

Intro: Austin.

There’s something very spiritual about living a simple life, about listening to southern rock while wearing vintage clothing and laying barefoot in the grass. That’s what I picture Austin to be: miles apart from Dallas, a sort of Chris Robinson to an Emily Gilmore. And so this weekend, as we travel to this great city, I pay tribute to my new state capital. Some fun things I only wish were happening this weekend in Austin:

Renegade Craft


ACL


South by Southwest

Do something hippie this weekend. It’s very patriotic.

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