Thankful (or trying to be…)

Some weeks I don’t feel as thankful as I should. This week is one of them. To combat the cranky, mean, stinky, bad attitude, here’s a list of what I’m really thankful for lately:

That we’re both gainfully employed. I’ve never quite understood the term “gainfully,” but I think our jobs are that. Even when we complain that we’d like more vacation time or that we’d rather be doing something else. The alternative to employment is much less exciting.

Non-stick cookware. Even though we still create mondo-messes in the kitchen, cleaning up represents the fact that we have food to eat and that it could take much longer to clean up. Shout out to grandma for the non-stick goodies.

The dogs that live above us. This one is a stretch since I really find no enjoyment in the animal kingdom whatsoever. But the scratchy paws on the wood floors and the yips and yelps mean we have neighbors when we could be living all alone. Yelps trump loneliness. Must… remember…

A $2,300 bill. This large payment was a smaller portion of a much larger sum created by yours truly while at university. While making the final payment hurt a little, it felt good to know we had rid ourselves of a $16,000 debt and now we’re free. Thanks, Dave.

Family. Sometimes family can feel like a repetitive poke in your eyeball. We can only say this because Kyle and I are often the pokiest. But when it comes down to it, we have two of the coolest families around. Holidays, here we come.

Not having a kitchen table. I know we’ve discussed this before, but sometimes it seems like our house can only be clean for ten minute increments, then it’s back to the chaos. But in all reality, creativity is what keeps us alive, inside and out. And God. But you already knew that.

What are you loving about today?

PS: Don’t forget, it’s not too late to win the Amazon gift card from yesterday!

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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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Mo Money, Mo Problems?

We claim to be simplistic people. We appreciate the small things, we love our tiny apartment, we drive semi-old cars and really still like them. We think it’s because we’re simple at heart, but isn’t it really just because we don’t have any money?

Last night we were walking around some local neighborhoods, and while our apartment building is small, most of the houses aren’t. We’re talking old money plantation style homes. We passed one that legitimately looked like the White House minus the Obamas. They’re incredible. So naturally we start talking about what we would buy if we won the lottery.

DISCLAIMER: We don’t buy lottery tickets and don’t promote doing so.

But for the sake of this post let’s say we won $120 million. It’s all ours. It’s easy to say we’d give it all away and buy clean water for every country in northern Africa and mosquito nets for all the ones in the south, but would we really? Our kids (all 7 of them) could have their college paid for. We could buy homes for our entire family, go anywhere in the world for as long as we like, and pretty much have every luxury at our fingertips. You name it, we get it. If we were presented with the opportunity to never work again in our lives, support our families, start whatever small business we please, and never have to worry about money again, would we really give it all away? Really?

We hope so, we really do. We hope we would support 39 Compassion International kiddies and buy a modest house and plant a garden and live off the earth. We hope we would create sustainable small businesses that would affect people’s lives in a positive way and we hope we would even adopt a few of those 39 kiddies.

However, when we challenged each other to pick 3 things (6 in all) we would buy if we won that $120 million only 1 had anything to do with giving something away.

So at least we know what we have to work on…

Here’s $120 million. What are you really going to do with it?

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Saturday Linkage

Today we have friends staying with us. They’re sleeping in our spare bedroom (the living room) on a fancy air-o-dynamic bed (an air mattress). We’re making sour cream pancakes and coffee, and having the kind of conversation that only early mornings can bring. Enjoy the links below and happy weekend.

New music we love: Quelqu’un M’a Dit. The album is in French so we have no idea what she’s saying, but we think it’s better that way.

The pentagon lost track of billions of dollars that were supposed to be used for reconstruction in Iraq. How, you ask? Check it out. We don’t even think they know.

We don’t have an iPad, or TV for that matter but, wow, it seems preposterous that this isn’t fake.

And of course we saved the best for last.

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