ways you can support our family, most of them aren't things that directly have people giving us items or money. Shop at Giant, and you can help us earn reward points that we can use to buy stuff we need. If you're buying a book anyway, do it through our Amazon affiliate links and we make a few cents for the thing you bought at the same price you'd have paid otherwise. Need a website built? Let me know, because I do those at reasonable rates.
Would I love it if someone mysteriously slipped us an Amazon giftcard, a Paypal payment or a Giant giftcard? Er, sure! That'd be awesome. But those aren't our deepest needs.
We are very blessed. We have a roof over our head, food to eat, and a car to drive. (More on that in a minute.) We have warm clothes. We have each other (sappy, but true). We have great friends and a church that just might maybe be starting to feel like home. We all enjoy relatively good health.
So when I see Jessica's posts, I'm always thrilled and a little in awe at the generosity of humanity. But I don't look around and feel like I have things to add. God is providing for us, but in ways that are really hard to write about coherently.
Today, though, I want to try. Because I am blessed, and I am happy, and I have so much to be grateful for. So here are a few of the latest random pieces of goodness that have come our way.
Oh, the carThe car. Chris and I have one between us, and it's a 2003 Ford Taurus with about 120,000 miles on it. I waxed poetic about it on the personal-finance blog I write for professionally. But, uh, it's got its foibles. Like how it kinda didn't run except in a putt-putt-putt way this weekend, while my best friend and I were 50 minutes from home. It's had some problems all year, and we almost were ready to part ways, but the fact is, we need to not have a car payment, and this is a decent vehicle most of the time.
So here's the blessing: My best friend's husband changed all six of our spark plugs - at no charge - and it runs MUCH better. There was still some work to be done at the garage, but over three trips (you can't leave the car there long when it's your only one, you see), our total bill was under $150, which is pretty much unheard of. AND we have new wiper blades that don't squeak.
All this is a blessing.
SchoolI got a note today from one of the teachers at Sarah's former public school. I had a message for one of her family members, actually, but had her contact info and asked her to pass it along. Anyway, she sent me a quick note back and said she'd do so - and asked how Sarah was doing with homeschooling. And she said she reads the blog when she can to keep up with what we're doing!
To me, that's a blessing - a teacher who cares about students even when they're not "her" students. Her short note made my day, because it reminded me how many people have really helped us out on our educational journey.
Friends and funI mentioned that I'm going scrapbooking this weekend with a group of ladies who are truly my best friends. My very very best friend and I went last weekend to a smaller retreat.
That I can do these things is a huge blessing - and that I have transportation (and MULTIPLE offers of it) so that Chris can keep our car is awesome! (Bonus blessing: The photo prints I ordered, which said they'd be here the day we leave at the earliest, came today, as I had secretly hoped they would. Yeah!)
Meanwhile, Sarah has made two new friends - the daughters of some online friends of mine, also unschoolers, who are about her age. These three girls are on Google Talk or chatting by email or webcall daily and then some. These are people who "get" Sarah, who are into the things she's into, and who she absolutely just is thrilled to connect with. And I'm thrilled, because Sarah doesn't have a lot of female friends, and until now, she didn't have any friends who understood our lifestyle of staying up late, unlimited texting, and all that jazz. Even her best friend locally would have to tell her, "Uh, Sarah, stop sending me messages, I have all this homework." So it's GREAT for her to connect without reservation to these girls, who are just amazing young ladies.
Oh, and when our travels kept us out of church for two weeks, the kids' program sent Sarah a "we miss you" postcard. It made her day!
Yep, these are blessings too.
WorkOur financial situation is interesting. Those who don't know us, I guess, think we're doing quite well - we have a big house, our car is paid-for, we have two steady full-times jobs, and several steady part-time streams of income. We ARE well-off in so many ways. The bills are all current, there is always grocery money, and we have some leeway for other things.
But what you wouldn't know (unless you read the much-larger-than-this-one website where I put the ugliness out there) is that we're on a quest to pay off almost $90,000 in non-mortgage debt. It's essentially a five-year plan that we've worked hard to get down to four years, and we'd like to cut it down even more here as we start Year Three.
So lots of money comes in - but LOTS of money goes back out to get these balances down as much as humanly possible. We actually try very hard not to have much disposable income - because we want to take every extra cent we can and hit the debt.
To do that, we often try to spend less for things. But we also try to earn more. We LIKE the work we do (at least most of it!) and we like being able to do it even in our free time.
In great news, today, I finalized an agreement to help revamp one website for a friend and convert it to a new platform, and to do some updates on another site. That's great - and will help us pay down the cards even faster. I've got two other projects in the works as well, and again, it's just so awesome to be able to earn money doing something I really enjoy, and to have people who think of me when they need quality work done.
THAT is a huge blessing!
So those are just some of the "intangibles" that God has provided for us lately. We truly do believe we're blessed - and we're trying hard not to take things like new clients as a boost to our own egos (yes, I'm talking about me). Good things come from God - and while I'm good at what I do, He's a whole lot better at what He does. :)