month five: blessings abound

Five months down and forever to go!

I really, really, really LOVE my husband.

This is at our rehearsal dinner, aren't we cute?

He's my best friend. He's been my best friend since we were in high school...when we were dating other people. He's one of those friends that (still, four years later) calls me everyday, just to tell me a random story or check to see if my day is going well. He's one of those wonderful people who are easy to talk to all the time. And I get to be with him for the rest of my life! I apologize to all the girls who don't get the pleasure of being married to the best man ever. Though I'm sure in your disillusion you think your man is the best ever. : )

He's the Spiritual Leader. As much as I (regretfully) fight for this position in our family, it seems that it's always him to lead us in prayer. He's the one who came home one day and said, "We're giving more to our church." Despite the small dose of financial hardship we're currently experiencing (read on for a financial update). And he's the one who got up at 5:15A.M. yesterday morning for his first men's group meeting.

He's the patient one, the kind one, the forgiving one. Why does he always have to apologize so quickly-I didn't even get a chance to chew him out yet! Why can't I have a moment to be mad at him? Why doesn't he ever yell and get raging mad?

He's my claim to fame. Call me proud but it is just fun to say, "My husband play bass for the Anthem Band." "Oh, yeah, the red head, that's you're husband? Cool!"

This month, our marriage has been a blessing because of him. Thanks, Bryan.


We're doing alright spiritually. I've actually been experiencing some spiritual warfare as well as struggling with several different situations all at once. It wouldn't be prudent for me to share it all but prayers for protection against the enemy are welcomed.
Bryan just started going to men's group on Thursday mornings at 6am.
We're both enjoying our connection group very much! God really blessed us big time with a great leader and 3 other young couples, two newly married and one engaged. It's such a perfect fit.

You may have read about the car repairs. Our dreams of making a dent in our debt were further crushed when we found out last Friday that Bryan's hours were getting cut at the bank. Again, we're going to be fine financially, but it was a little overwhelming at the time.
To be honest, I'm starting to feel that all of this financial crap has been much more of a blessing then a burden. It sometimes feels like a burden because God's plan can be harder then my own. But overall, I'm stretching and growing into a more Christ-like LisaGrace and I'm really loving the slightly-new me! God's plan is always better then my own...

Here's what I've been up to:
Lot's of work on the machine...

These are some curtains I just whipped together. I need to hem the bottom and their just the back curtains. The front set will match the black and white pillows below.

PILLOWS! I'm pretty proud of these babies.

Just a little wall art.

If you thought I was proud of the pillows, let me TELL you about this little treasure. I did this. Yep, me. I free-handed with bleach and created this! I. am. amazing.

Trust me, all of the above is cooler in person. COME SEE US!


menu plan monday

Monday: Pizza Balls & Salad

Tuesday: Scalloped Potatoes & Sausage

Wednesday: Taco Quiche & Corn

Thursday: Meat Loaf & Green Beans

*Bryan has yet another retreat this weekend, so I'll be home trying to eat up all the leftovers!

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Chicken Caesar Salad

I'm very excited for this weeks menu, yum-town!

I'm going to post a few recipes soon, hopefully my mom will give me permission to post her amazing meat loaf recipe!

i really hate a change in plans

The Frustrating Situation
Let's just say, Bryan's car better not break for a LONG time. I feel like we fixed everything that could have possibly gone wrong with the car. And yet, the brakes still need to be replaced and it needs at least two new tires.

Enter me: I'm a worrier, and a planner, and a control freak, lacking in faith and bearing my own burdens. Bryan's car had been in the shop since Wednesday, September 30th and I've been freaking out for the last week and a half.

My mom thinks that I'm not trusting God. I told her, "I know! Of course I'm not trusting in God!"

It's just that we've worked so hard to get so close to paying off ALL of our debt. We paid off my car in August, we paid off our wedding rings in September and by the end of September we had paid off over $5,300 of debt over the course of 4 short months! We only had $2,600 to go and we were going to have that gone by the middle of November. We had a PLAN, and I just don't like it when my plans get messed with! My pain is understandable, right?

We got the bill today. And we charged $2,620.68 to our credit card today. Just saying that HUGE amount makes me squirm.

Provision from the Father
Maybe you're even starting to see the way God is working in all of this. But it took me a little longer to realize just how perfectly this all works out...

The $2,600 I mentioned before is all that we owe Bryan's parents for his car. No interest, no due dates, no decrease in credit score if we don't pay it off right away. We've been blessed from the beginning by their generousity.

The bill? Yeah, only $20.68 over what we had already planned to have in our checking account by the middle of November. And guess when our credit card payment is due? Yep, you guessed it, November 16th.

How amazing is that? I'm almost in tears at the way God provides for us!

Sin Issue Revealed
I honestly never doubted that God would provide for us, after seeing over and over again his provision in our lives. It was more that I was and am struggling with anger that it can't be done MY WAY. My way was to have zero debt by 2010. I hate debt! I really do. I wanted to be done with it and I, of course, did not want Bryan's car to break.

But God desires to draw me closer to Him and make me more like Christ. That's God's way.

While I know I tend to struggle with control and carrying my own burden rather then laying them before the Lord, I didn't really notice I was acting in the same way towards money.

I have been finding a lot of my security in money.

Lesson (in the process of being) Learned
I'm still struggling with putting my faith in a plan and finding security in our finances. We've been blessed. And it's truly difficult for me to praise God in the midst of blessing. But I'm feeling a heavy flow of conviction at this point, and I'm ready to see God change my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The New Plan
Ultimately, my plan is to trust God with our money.

I'm not going to look at our budget and bank account 3 times a day anymore. (You have NO idea how hard that's going to be for me) I'm not going to obsess about having enough money in May 2010. I'm not going to try to plan each and every financial detail of our lives through the next 3.5 years.

I am going to look at our budget each month. I am going to pay our bills on time. I am going to take out the cash we need for the month and stay under our budgeted cash amounts. And I am going to remain responsible with our finances.

I don't believe that trusting God with our finances means that I throw out our budget, do not watch what we spend, refuse to have a schedule to pay off our debt, and take out loans for school. King Solomon encouraged wisdom with money, and I'm still determined to be as wise as I can be regarding our finances.

So, in the mean time, we do have a plan so that we can stay wise and be responsible with the money God has entrusted to us:

In the following order, we plan to:
  • Stick with our budget, cutting corners when possible and saving any extra.
  • Fix the brakes and tires with an "extra paycheck" I'll get in December.
  • Refill our emergency fund back up to $1,000.00 as soon as possible
  • By the end of this year, save up $1,200.00 for the first Iowa State Tuition payment to come out January 20th, 2010
  • Slowly, but surely, re-pay the last $2,600.00 we owe to Bryan's parents over the course of 2010.
While we're committed to paying off our debt as soon as possible, we're still going to pay cash for college so it's going to go a lot slower then I've planned. And speaking of plans, I'm not going to have a schedule to pay off our debt. I really don't want to make the same mistake twice by putting my hope in the date which we'll be debt-free. We are going to work hard and whatever extra we have at the end of each month will immediately go to our debt.



i love my brother.
you know how sisters never call their brothers by their nicknames? like when everyone else called the neighbor boy "stinky pete" but the polite girl called him "peter."*

anyway, my brother's "nickname," if you will, happens to be markduvick. everyone calls him that. even bryan, my husband and mark's brother-in-law. bryan seriously says to me sometimes, "i saw markduvick today..." really?!?!

yeah, well, it's possible i need to jump on the bandwagon of calling my OWN brother by markduvick before there are some serious mix-ups. here are two examples from the last week and a half.

lg: well, yeah, he's been hanging out with mark.
a: mark arant?
lg: noooo, mark, my brother.


lg: if both bryan and i died later on in life, i'd probably give my kids to mark.
p: mark arant?
lg: um, noooo, mark, my brother.
p: oh, that actually makes more sense.

bahahahaha. well, i guess the moral of the story is that no matter how famous my little bro is, mark arant is still MORE famous.

*that is actually a reference to famed childhood stories my dad used to tell us when we were kids. i, obviously was always the polite kid. : )


menu plan monday

well, we DID end up eating last week! : )

we had a date night at cafe milo on tuesday, chicken ceasar salad on wednesday, grilled paninis on thursday and chicken alfredo pizza with spinach on friday. not bad!

here's what's on the menu for this week:

can i just say how excited i am for cooler weather? i LOVE soups and baking. 'tis the season!

MONDAY: White Chili & Corn Bread
TUESDAY: Enchiladas & Leftover Corn Bread
WEDNESDAY: Spinach Apple Salad & Pita Bread
THURSDAY: Stuffed Manicotti
FRIDAY: Leftovers
SATURDAY: Escape 22 Connect Event Meal

happy fall!


october's getting off to a great start!

quoted from a previous blog, here's what i want the month of october to look like:

"not sure if [streamlining] is the right word, but basically i want to "deal with today's problems today." and have a life that is somewhat predictable and efficient. ok, so that sounds incredibly boring when i put it like that. but i want to "streamline" my home so that things don't get so piled up. i want to have systems in place for the laundry, the mail, meal times, and things like that. i feel that this will both honor my husband and keep me from going crazy."

this blessed first day of october got off to a rough start! my plans of getting up earlier and starting my day off right were crushed by yesterday.

it all starts with car repair: bryan's heater was broken so he took it in. well, the joys of vehicle repair would have us shell out $2,000.00 to get it in good running condition. alright, cool. (i'll write later on how this will effect our financial goals of 2009)

we did leave it at the shop to get almost everything fixed, save a few things. so we were, and are, a one car family. last night i had escape and bryan had to practice for salt so bryan came early with me to escape, i got a ride home from jasey and bryan kept the car so he could drive home from practice. just so you know, he also kept the car keys with him...which also had my set of apartment keys, see where this is going?

so, as soon as i exited jasey's car, i realized i'm not going to be able to get into our apartment. and i didn't exactly want to sit in the hallway from 9:30-12:30, so i asked jasey to take me to me parents house. she graciously did and i waited there for bryan to get done with salt practice.

so, we both had a really long day yesterday. and we consequently got up a little late. today, october 1st, will probably be another long day. but we always continue to feel so, super, incredibly blessed by the hand in life God has graciously dealt to us.

i'm so thankful we have food in our bellies, clothes on our back and a roof over our heads. praise Him! and happy october!