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Okay extra points if you can guess what movie my title is quoted from? :)

Nobody puts me in a corner or makes me feel like I am worthless, but that’s what I felt like when I was forced to sell my house. I felt broken, incomplete, and foolish. How did one lose their house?

How did one recover?

And more importantly, would I learn the right lessons from this financial calamity?

The short answer is yes. The longer answer would be, yes but it took some time.

Being forced to short-sell my house was definitely an a-ha! moment and not one that I would recommend. But it did force me to confront some awful truths:

  • Banks are not your friend.
  • We shouldn’t have purchased a house that in hindsight, was really out of our price range.
  • We should have saved more. And then saved even more after that.
  • Recessions suck. So do paychecks where your commission has significantly dropped.

But joy comes in the morning, right?

Going through this tumultuous time, opened my eyes to the world of personal finance. Who were these people talking about money online? Isn’t talking about money a taboo subject? People are actually writing about their money mistakes and using their real names and everything?

*Pretend you hear angels singing right now*

I found a community where I felt accepted for my faults and where I learned to save more than I spend. It is where I realized that people actually have grocery budgets and we all commiserate about how we go over them more often than not. ;)

My biggest money a-ha! moment was losing my house. I can stand proudly and say that.

I know that it changed how my husband and I view money. We try to live simply and try to figure out how to best utilize our dollars.

Do we still mistakes? Yup, no one is perfect.

But we dust ourselves off, and learn from yet another mistake. That is life.

I am so thankful to the personal finance community. They saved me even when I didn’t realize I was drowning, didn’t realize I was disheartened, and didn’t realize that I was… in need.

Linking up to The Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival. Thanks for allowing me to participate, Shannon!

fin_lit_carnival_2014

 

No, I haven’t moved there just yet. But…

I went up there last week to get the lay of the land and find an apartment. Those two things, checked off the list! Woo hoo!

Also on my list were to meet up with Kathleen and Melanie. We had a great time, and I am so happy that soon, I get to hang out with these gals more often! Seriously, if you haven’t met up with them yet, book your plane tickets and head on up :)

My husband and I, along with our adventurous daughter, explored Portland and saw some great sights:

Portlandia!

Portlandia!

Seeing this in person was just so cool! I mean, wow…

All things Portland

All things Portland

Cool sign…

Mmmm....

Mmmm….

We looooved their doughnuts! My daughter said, “My doughnut has candy on it!” They were sprinkles… Same thing, right? ;)

I want to go there.

I want to go there.

I had been talking to my husband for months, about going to this bookstore. Seriously, I’ve been going on and on about it! For someone who loves to read like yours truly, I think that I landed on the mother ship. This store is all kinds of awesome!

The detail is awesome!

The detail is awesome!

One of things I love about Portland is that there is just so much history and architecture, and of course statues!

So my love affair with Portland is in full effect, yo. I am seriously counting the days till I move there!

Cause and Effect

At the juxtaposition of life, I felt the crossroads on my back. The money slipped through my fingers and I felt heavy with remorse. Pieces of paper, green in color, felt dark upon my heart.

Shopping while in the throes of emotion, was a battle I chose to fight, but knew that it was one I would ultimately lose. I felt my moods dictate my direction, my limits… my wallet.

Bad days and credit cards were a harsh mix, and I played a dangerous game of roulette. Red or black… Even or odd… I went for it. I spun that wheel and teetered on the edge.

And I didn’t care.

Emotional shopping was a wound that continued to fester. There wasn’t a bandage large enough, to cover my openness. This wound that continued to make me sick, no matter what I bought, just would not heal.

I would come home from my whirlwind of plastic euphoria, and there would be nothing but emptiness. What was in these bags that I just dropped on the floor? What did I buy?

What did that receipt say?

Shopping while wearing your heart on your sleeve is dangerous.

I learned this lesson the hard way, and I paid for it bitterly.

Credit card companies don’t care that you bought two pairs of shoes because you had a bad day. They don’t care that you studied your behind off and your professor gave you a bad grade anyway, so a trip to the mall was in order. They don’t care that your job sucks, and you have thought about quitting for the umpteenth time, so instead you went to the MAC counter at the department store, and lost your mind.

They don’t freaking care.

Emotional shopping is like a bad hangover that won’t go away. Until I gave up that proverbial bottle and stopped imbibing on plastic dreams, I did not realize that I was strong. I did not realize that below the surface, I was capable of conquering the “shopping while emotional” demons.

I fought it. I refused to give in. Though there have many a time I have been tempted, I will not be defined by the chaos that comes with the carnival of emotional shopping.

I am a fighter.

All The Books

Even though last year I had a goal of reading 36 books in a 12 month span, this year I didn’t really set a reading goal for myself. I am truly a voracious reader, but I knew I would be quite busy with all that entails a move out-of-state.

So, I have not read as much as I would have liked, but here is what I have read so far:

  • Proof of Guilt by Charles Todd
  • The Everything Budgeting Book by Tere Stouffer

IMG-20140116-01121

  • No Graves As Yet by Anne Perry
  • Shoulder the Sky by Anne Perry
  • Angels in the Gloom by Anne Perry
  • Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd
  • Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

IMG-20140217-01146

  • At Some Disputed Barricade by Anne Perry
  • We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry
  • Question of Honor by Charles Todd

Right now, I have 3 books that I am trying to finish. Who reads 3 books at a time? This girl, apparently!

Have you guys read any good books lately? Any recommendations? :)

 

No more strength to the conqueror,
we shall avert our eyes.
To your outrageous claims of solidarity,
to your whirlpool of lies.
Your thoughtful sensitivity
was nothing but a farce.
Your scheming and your lying
were just par for the course.
As you sit behind your desk made of
the bones of the weary;
your long spindly fingers
caress your pointed chin, so clearly.
Your plan is working,
Ha! What a brilliant stroke of luck!
Look at the throngs of people,
begging you for a buck.
Your greed and your madness
leave all of us weeping;
as you sit laughing to yourself
while the world is sleeping.
Well, we won’t have it, we’ll fight back,
we are stronger than you think.
We are taking up our cause,
we will not be pushed to the brink.
Oh, you money-hungry ones
with your grubby little hands,
counting coins you stole from the souls
of the hard-working man.
No more strength to the conqueror,
no more tears shall fall from our eyes.
No more strength to the conqueror,
no longer shall you hear our cries.

Change

Pretty flowers from my backyard!

Pretty flowers from my backyard!

One word, but it encompasses so much.

Change.

Here we are in the midst of February, and I realized that I still hadn’t formulated any goals for 2014. What did I want to do this year, what did I want to accomplish? What areas of my life could use some contemplation?

For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with concrete ideas. I would think of one, but it would disappear into a puddle of anxiety, and I moved onto another idea. This process would continue, until here we are: we are practically halfway through this month, and I still have nothing to show for my ruminating.

But there was one word that kept weaving in and out of my thought process: change. Big changes, small changes, just changes all around.

And I slowly realized that this year, this year I am not going to focus on a list of things that I feel I must accomplish because it’s a new year and that’s what one ought to do.

I am just going to change. And embrace it.

Of course the biggest change happening in my life this year, is my impending move to Portland in a few months. Moving to another state is one of the biggest changes one can make.

I want to just let the other changes in my life happen slowly, not something to mark off my list. I plan on writing more, reading more, being more intentional with my time. But these are things that don’t get crossed through with red marker on a piece of paper. I plan to be better with my time and be open to the changes happening in my life.

And after the tumultuous summer I had, I am open to all that life has to offer. I am all about second chances, wishing on stars, and tears of happiness.

2014 is all about change and I am ready.

We sail through our youth, impatient at the pace. The pace of time, not fast enough for small hands and gangly limbs. Bruised knees, grass stains on jeans, sticky fingers, with residue jam, long ago eaten.

Partake of the sweet innocence, running headfirst at the clock that seems to be ticking so slowly. We swing higher on the swings…up…up…up. Higher, let’s go higher. There’s more than our immediate surroundings, there’s so much more.

Definitively walking with a purpose, an adolescent swagger, youth is for the others. The others who don’t know what it’s like. Friendships, make or break, life or death, double dare you, though I don’t mean it. What happens on the blacktop, secrets shared, the trivial forgotten.

Because youth, in its essence, is a mirage. We believe in pinky swears, but want something stronger. We want to be older, better. Not so awkward, not so clumsy. But before the bell rings, before the sound of pencil hitting paper, let’s dream of our youth.

Let’s look back fondly on pigtails and heads-up 7-up, because this time, this time we will never get back. We fly through our childhood at breakneck speed, paying no attention to the stop signs, briefly resting at caution signs, but getting right back up to leave our youth behind. Running faster and faster, till your chest hurts, and butterflies feel like they are multiplying in your stomach.

We sail through our youth… because it’s easier.

We sail through our youth… because the alternative is something not to consider.

We sail through our youth… because we promised we would.

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