december financial update

you've heard it before, the holidays are expensive. between gifts, postage, traveling, cards, eating out, and the like, one can really break the bank.

i've prided myself on being over-prepared financially and mentally for the holidays months in advance, but even i failed to stick to our budget this year. i'm a little disappointing in myself, but i refuse to beat myself up about it. because we've been extremely blessed and we're doing just fine.

in the midst of overspending, we ended up borrowing a small amount from our savings.

2012 financial goals:
  1. fill all of our essential dump funds as fast as possible. these dump funds include:
    • auto insurance
    • home insurance
    • auto tax
    • home tax
    • pest control
    • eye exams
    • eye glasses
  2. pay off our student loan
  3. fill all of our non-essential dump funds. these dump funds include:
    • christmas
    • clothing
    • vacation
    • birthdays
  4. save and pay cash for a second car
  5. fully fund our emergency fund (6 months of expenses)
percentage-wise, we're 6.26% completed with our 2012 goals. 

i think i can be excited about being 6.26% ahead of schedule, so i'm going to be!

happy saving!



while i usually don't reach all of my goals, i love setting them. i love seeing what i can accomplish and challenging myself. it's really fun for me. and mostly, i love crossing thing off of lists.

some essentially immeasurable goals
be more hilarious. i personally think i went above and beyond on this one
[by writing intentionally humorous blogs mostly]

be more adventurous.
[by traveling spontaneously at least once this year]

be more creative.
[by having 'craft time' once a week] while i didn't always blog about it, i was way more crafty than i have ever been.

be more ambitious. i think i was definitely more ambitious this year, but i didn't start a novel quite yet
[by starting the rough sketch of my novel idea]

be more shrewd.
[by having products and a business plan for an etsy shop by the end of the year]

some more measurable goals
complete one craft-project a week

blog 3 times a week [156 blogs in 2011] this one makes 200!

send birthday cards to everyone in my [immediate] family i think i forgot my brother-in-law, but i came close!

have a party of people over once a month

complete a bible read-thru plan [still haven't accomplished this one in my lifetime]

read 20+ books

make dessert twice a month

make adorable christmas stockings

learn photoshop

drink more water [as opposed to the barely none that i drink now]

well, in many ways you could say i'm a failure. there are a lot of things i didn't do on this list. but i still feel successful. i think i grew and accomplished a lot in 2011. here are some other accomplishments from 2011 that i can be proud of:

we saved and paid cash for a little under half of bryan's tuition this year!

i learned some new things, like how to make felted soap bars, how to pipe, and how to crochet.

we cleaned out our crap and made over $225 by selling some of it!

and, possibly the most significant accomplishment of 2011: i now own the taylor swift speak now cd.

peace out 2011.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you suddenly find yourself with not one but TWO grills.

[thanks Robinsons, we'll miss you!]


haiku tuesday

vacation draws near
west coast christmas adventure
i am quite antsy


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

your neighbor [who also lives in a trailer, obviously] says: "i'm assuming your bathroom is in the same place ours is?"


felted soap bars

what the crap is a felted soap bar?
why did this crazy girl make her soap brown?
does the brown one look more like poop or hair that you've just pulled out of the shower drain?
what is the purpose of a felted soap bar?

all good questions, my friends.

a bunch of my favorite people in iowa city got together on wednesday night to craft! my friend kaylee orchestrated this fun, sudsy little project for us. so onto your questions:

a felted soap bar is simply a bar of soap which is covered in felt.
felt is simply wool that has undergone a significant amount of friction

so to make these felted soap bar, we covered delicious smelling soap in wool, slipped it carefully into a stocking [or knee-high as i like to call them] and scrubbed our little hearts out. we were all covered in suds and our hands felt a little dry, but we had these beautiful creations to show for it!

i happen to really like brown, okay? i know it kind-of looks like hairy nastiness, but the heart is cute right?

in the end, we all have a felted soap bar that we can use as a loofa and a bar of soap all at the same time!


haiku tuesday

almost twenty four
husband, bass player, red head
bryan alsbury


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

this is the view from your kitchen window and that frisbee has been there for the past year and a half.


slaps in the face from Jesus

have you ever had one of those moments where you just wanted to shake someone and tell them everything they've ever done in life is wrong? and the main reason you want to chew them out is because you know they wouldn't listen to a word you've said yelled?

i've got to admit, i have had more fake conversations in my head with those people than i can count. and none of them have ended well. even though they were completely fictional conversations, they left me feeling incredibly bitter and angry. and of course, all of this is unbeknownst to them. they're in their little tra-la-la land all happy and thinking they are perfect and such.

the voice of a super wise man named pastor tom rings in my ears every time this happens. "bitterness only hurts you." he would say.

how true is that?!?

this is a lesson that Jesus has to teach and re-teach me almost every day.

and He does. He is always trying to get me, a supreme lover of justice, to understand that i am not right and i need to love people, no matter how crappy those people are.

the interesting thing is that Jesus is so inventive with His teaching methods! seriously, He's not shocked that i still haven't learned this, and He's ready with a bunch of lesson plans and examples and slaps in the face.

so guess how He's teaching me to love (and not be bitter at) crappy people this time around?
you'll never guess, i'll just tell you.

He's showing me tons of other people who actually do want and respect my opinion. weird, isn't it? i've been realizing that while i'm so caught up in focusing on what i can do to get people to listen to me, that i've been missing out on people who actually seek me out for wisdom.

it's really weird actually. i've been convinced that nobody likes me and everyone thinks i have nothing to offer. i've been just itching to shout to all of them, "i've got something to offer, just read my blog you idiots!" (i just made myself laugh out loud with that one) but hopefully you know what i mean.

meanwhile, people are actually asking me for advice and seeking my counsel on stuff. where did these people come from?!

it's really left me confused. should i try to get these idiots* to listen to me? or should i stop trying so hard with those people and hang out with people who actually think i'm cool? hmmm, such a tough decision. *slapintheface*

did i mention Jesus not only has lesson plans written up entitled "lisagrace on bitterness" but also huge slaps in the face for me?

so, here i am, humbled that God has enough grace even for people like me. and even more humbled that people actually do take my advice seriously. may God get all the glory for being able to use me to help others because you know it's definitely not my doing.

*hopefully you caught the heavy sarcasm there, they're not really idiots, i just make them out to be idiots in my head and i realize i'm being totally insane.