Saturday, August 27, 2011

Money make$ the world go round...or doe$ it?...

This post has been in my head for a long time, but not written on paper, or spoken aloud, in case someone could hear.  Money is a funny thing.  It's not the easiest thing to talk about, yet everyone deals with money problems at one time or another in their life.  Sometimes the people having the most problems are the ones you would never know about, the ones who's life looks seemingly perfect from the outside, but is imploding on the inside. You have to be careful when you look at someone and make a snap judgement about their life--you might be surprised to find out what struggles they actually have, especially when it comes to money.  When you look up quotes on money, it's funny how true some of them are--and how ridiculous some are too!  Here are a few that I found interesting to ponder:
"Early to bed, early to rise, keeps you healthy, wealthy and wise." - Benjamin Franklin
I have already blogged about this one--HERE.  I still think it's a load of crap--but maybe my problem with the early rising is that I am sitting here blogging at 2 a.m. instead of peacefully sleeping! You think?  (In my defense, Todd is on a campout--and I can't sleep without him here--something about 18 years of having him next to me in my bed--my routine gets all screwed up when he's gone).
"For I don't care too much for money, for money can't buy me love." - The Beatles
Now this one is true to a point, however, I think that sometimes my husband buys my love--in the form of treats, or gifts, and I see nothing wrong with that!  Hint Hint.  Just kidding.  Well, maybe.  Well, okay not really--I do love my husband to buy my love once in awhile! 
"Money, if it does not bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort." - Helen Gurley Brown
Now, I don't know who Helen Gurley Brown is...but can I say AMEN sister!  I agree that it's not money that brings happiness--but the lack of money sure can bring frustration, stress, and anxiety to say the least.  There certainly has to be a balance where you have enough to meet your needs, (and a few little wants, c'mon who are we kidding), but there is probably never a point where most people will say they have "enough", which is where the unhappiness comes in.  We need to shoot for a happy medium people!
"If you want to know what God thinks about money, just look at the people He gives it to." - Dorothy Parker
Okay, this one made me laugh out loud!  You do have to admit that most of the super, ultra wealthy people out there don't seem like people I would want to be friends with (just sayin').  Plus, look at the greed it takes to get to the top.  Again, happy medium.
 "My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income." - Errol Flynn
HA!  Mine too!  This is where the B-word comes in.  In our house, BUDGET is sometimes a 4 letter word!  It's something we have never gotten quite right.  We have managed our resources pretty well for the most part--but sticking to a budget has been hard for both of us!  We are still trying--and lately we have pretty much been forced to stick to it, so that makes me think that this challenge with the funeral home and the lawsuit is meant to teach us to take better care of our money, and to be careful who we trust.  Good lessons, but hard lessons nonetheless.
"Money is the opposite of the weather. Nobody talks about it, but everybody does something about it." - Rebecca Johnson
Isn't that true?  How often have you started out a conversation with, "So, I'm broke, how 'bout you?" or "Man, we are really having a hard time paying the bills this month".  People would look at you as if you were insane!  Yet, I have found that it has been so helpful to have conversations with people about our situation--and I really believe that our misfortune has caused many of our family members and even some good friends to learn lessons they may not have learned about taking care of their money, and the importance of making good investments, and again, watching who you trust!  You're welcome!  So happy our situation has benefited SOMEONE.
"Money will come when you are doing the right thing." - Mike Phillips
Well, true and not true.  I believe that prosperity will come to you, blessings will come to you, and good fortune will come to you when you are doing the right things.  That doesn't mean that you will always have money.  There are some VERY good people who are never wealthy as to things of this world.  Look at Joseph and Emma Smith.  They seemed to never have enough money, and yet made things work despite that.  The Lord blesses us in many ways--not always with money.  You have to open your eyes and look for those blessings--they are there!
"The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any." - Katharine Whitehorn
The hardest thing for me is to have my children go without something.  Stupid, I know.  Children should be taught that going without is okay--and that the most important things are NOT just those things you can buy.  It's sure hard in this material world that we live in to teach that principal though, and tightening the belt and living on a budget does help them to learn that the world does not owe them anything--they need to get out and make their way.  The last thing I want is to have spoiled, entitled children--so sometimes going without is a blessing in disguise.
"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." - Will Smith
This coming from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air?  Wha??  Actually, I totally agree.  The "Bigger and Better Bandwagon" has gone far enough--time to get off.
"Money is like love; it kills slowly and painfully the one who withholds it, and enlivens the other who turns it on his fellow man." - Kahlil Gibran
I'll tell you, as we have looked back over the years, the money we have regretted spending was on purchases that were frivolous, or meaningless.  The money we have always been glad to spend was money to help someone, even if we didn't get it back.  I can truly say that is the best money we ever spent--and it always has given us such a feeling of satisfaction when we have been of help to someone. The best way to help is in SECRET.  It's the best feeling in the world to leave them guessing. I believe it will always come back to you 10 fold.
"The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means." - Sir Henry Taylor
Totally agree--but we are going to try two degrees this time around, so that if one degree wasn't enough (or someone screws you), you have a little more of a nest egg-- thank you very much!
"Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one." - Benjamin Franklin
And vacuums SUCK!  (HA!)  That's that Bigger/Better thing--again, we need to reach a happy medium and be CONTENT!  Easier said than done, I know.
"The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money." - Thomas Jefferson
Ummm...Mr Jefferson, if you ever actually ran out of money--the glow of one warm thought will NOT put food on the table--I'm just sayin'. 
"Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the Kingdom of God - the rest will be given." Mother Teresa
What a wise woman indeed!  I love that!  And finally, here's my favorite:
"A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man. " Lana Turner
I'm not sure who this Turner woman is either, but I think we could hang out!  HA! 
There--was that so hard?  We can talk about these things--and we should.  You might be surprised at how good it feels to let it all out!  Phew!  In many ways, we are starting from scratch in our situation, and I feel like we are being given a chance to show Heavenly Father that we can do a better job this time.  I am looking at the business, the lawsuit, the move, all as a clean slate.  We are being allowed a fresh start.  When I write my story this time--I want to be more careful about how I think about, talk about, and perceive money.  It truly is a gift to be able to have enough.  I will not take it for granted again.
Back to my title--So, does "money make the world go round"?  Actually, I think that quote is one of the stupidest quotes I have ever heard.  The world goes round because God designed it that way--duh.(And if Emie was awake in these the wee hours of the morning--she could explain the physics of that answer to you I'm sure--but alas, she isn't available--so just google it if you're curious).  Now aren't you glad we got to the bottom of that age old stupid question?  Well, you're welcome!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

About Trust...

It has been one of those weeks for me this week, where I just wanted to hide.  Sometimes, the problems are too much, and I just want to go into a dark room and shut them out, pretend my life is back to normal and free of worry.  But it's not.  The kids are back to school, and the house is quieter.  There has been less to do (YAY!), but more time to myself to think and worry (Ugh...).  There has been more bad news than good, and it was getting to me.  I made it to the temple this week, after I dropped Jack off at preschool on Thursday, and I really needed that for my peace of mind.  Things lately have gotten to the point of desperation.  We have been trying to sell the house, to no avail.  The lawsuit is going as slow as humanly possible, justice, indeed moves at a snails pace (and at an expensive hourly rate no less).  Todd is working on getting back to work, but that, too, is a process that won't happen overnight.  We have sold pretty much everything we can, just to make ends meet, the cars, the boat, the timeshares, anything worth anything is just gone, and with it, my hope was nearly gone as well. As I sat in the Celestial Room, I poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father, desperate for an answer, any answer.  As I sat there pondering, I picked up the Book of Mormon, opened it, and started to read.  I opened up to Helaman Chapter 12, which begins with, "And thus we can behold how false and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men;  yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in Him."  I don't care what anyone says, anytime I open the scriptures and just start reading, it is not a coincidence that the scripture that I find is the one that I NEED.  Each time, I am amazed.  But really, I have always known.  He is there, He cares, even when He can't fix everything for us, people have their free agency after all, He is aware of our situation, and He cares.  When you read the rest of this chapter, it is a powerful rebuke of the people, for they have become wicked, and unrighteous.  The prophet is warning them, and letting them know that they need to change their focus, and rely on the Lord.  I think, for me, it was a little bit of a wake up call.  I think many times throughout this year and last, my trust and faith have wavered.  It wasn't that I ever thought that God couldn't fix our problems, I know God can do anything.  I was just frustrated that God wouldn't fix our problems, not in the way I wanted Him to anyway.  Not MY way.  Not in MY time. The church down the street by our house had this quote on it for the last month, and I got to drive by it a bunch of times, so it stuck: "God is not limited by our circumstances."  I love that.  Something that I have struggled the most with is just trusting Him, and letting Him have control.  I am not good at handing over control.  Never have been.  Not as a child, not as a wife, and certainly not as a parent. Verse 6 describes me perfectly:  "Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them;  notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that He should be their guide."  Ouch. How foolish am I to think that I know better than my Creator for crying out loud?   It goes on to talk about God's great power, and how he can do ANYTHING he wants to do.  God is NOT limited by our circumstances!  Why do I refuse to put my trust in Him?
When I got home, I texted Todd and told him we needed to change the price on the house, to get more people to come and see it. Selling the house is really our last hope to have the money we need to start a new business, pay our bills, and see this lawsuit through.  We had maybe 5 people come look at it all summer--and no interest whatsoever.  They changed the price, just bringing it down a little, and within a few hours, we had 4 people call to see if they could come and see it.  Friday, we had a realtor call us, and their clients had seen the house 2 years ago, before we bought it, and she said she was sending over an offer, before they even came to look at it again.  Much to our surprise, the offer was for the full price we were asking.  We have received offers before, but they were $150,000-200,000 LESS than our asking price, and nowhere near where we needed to be to be able to pay the bills and debt that we have racked up in this lawsuit.  They came to see the house later Friday afternoon, and said they were even more excited, because of all the remodeling (you can see the before & after HERE--we did a TON of work on this house) and wanted to close in a month.  Can I just tell you what a miracle a full price offer is in this market?  It's a reduced price, for sure, and we are surely losing money on the deal, but still--it is a miracle.  Yes, the Lord is aware of us.  We just have to be patient--(which is not one of my strong points), and sometimes...even at the last possible moment, a tender mercy will come.

We are not out of the woods--but a tremendous weight has been lifted, knowing that by selling the house, we will have the means we need to support our family.  It doesn't fix everything, but it helps.  There will be some hard moments ahead.  The thought of packing, and moving, again--(the 140 boxes of food storage alone) is tough.  I have a knot in my stomach just thinking about it, even though I know that it's the right thing to do, in fact, the only thing we can do.  We put so much of US into this house.  It was supposed to be our last, and I will miss it.  I'm not looking forward to trying to get used to a new home, or a new ward.  This move might be the hardest, since in so many ways we are starting over from nothing, and it's the first time we have HAD to move, not wanted to move, or chosen to move.  It is a hard pill to swallow, losing everything that we've built over the years.  And yet, haven't I promised that I would be willing to do just that?  Give everything up if I had to?  After all, they are just things, I have to keep reminding myself.  Just things--the  house, the car, the boat, even the business, they are things.  My family is still the same, my children are all OK, and that is what is important.  No, it will not be easy, but we will work through it.  We are strong, even if I have moments (or whole weeks) when I waver in my heart, when I question the plan, when I wonder if it will all work out, deep inside I know that  I am strong and my testimony is intact.  We have been through so much to make it to where we are, a little bump in the road, (okay--maybe a BIG bump in the road, but still...) isn't going to kill us. And what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger, right?  I sure hope so. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ashlie is a HAPPY CAMPER!...

This was Ashlie's first homework assignment that we were to complete together.  I don't remember doing many of these with my parents--but then, I don't remember a lot of things (like what I had for breakfast this morning, or my kids' names, or where I put my toothbrush, or...well, you get the point).  We had a lot of fun decorating her little person.  The theme was "Happy Campers in the First Grade".  This is what we came up with:

And we even turned her in ON TIME!  Usually group homework projects are done on mom's spare time--which means they are inevitably LATE!  Isn't she darling!  Love it!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All Wiped Out...

This picture was taken on the first day of school.  These girls came home, had a snack, and then pretty much collapsed onto the couch and fell asleep watching "Say Yes to the Dress".  Oh how much they miss summer already!  Poor teenagers!  This is Emie's friend Taylor and Erin.  Don't they look comfy?  Love these girls!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Jack's First Day of School!...

It's official!  I now have ALL my kids in school!  Well, Tuesdays and Thursdays anyway, from 9-12!  What the heck am I going to do with myself for 6 hours every week?!?  Some might say I should volunteer in the other kids classrooms, or work on housework or laundry, but I am thinking I just might take some time for ME!  Selfish much?  Uh huh!  Tell me when in the last 15 years of child rearing have I ever gotten 6 hours a week for ME?  I am just a little excited, can you tell?  HA!  Actually, I am looking forward to getting to the temple every week, and taking some time to actually feel some peace & quiet in my life on a regular basis.  I really need it right now.  Peace has been hard to come by with all of the trials in our life at the moment, and Quiet?  Are you kidding me?  I have 6 kids--there is no such thing!  Sad thing is--when I do finally get to the temple, all that peace and quiet is sometimes too much to handle, and I totally zonk out!  ZZZzzzzzzz.  Oh well, at least I'm there right?  I'll keep telling myself that!
Jack was so cute when I was taking his picture--he just wanted to GO!  He was very concerned that I take a picture of his awesome Spiderman backpack, though.  Very cool.  Here is a story from his first day at preschool that his teacher, Dawn Spier (who I LOVE) put on Facebook yesterday:
"Here's a funny: I was reading "No David" to my 3 yr old class...and if you haven't seen this book, the kids laugh so, I was on the page that shows David with his finger up his nose, and his mom says, "no David," and most of the kids said, ewe, or yuck...but one of my 3 yr old cuties, said: "I do that all the time, and then I eat them!" Oh my goodness, you had to be there! I LOL!!!"
Oh wow.  How I hope that wasn't my son!  Sounds like him though--I catch him on a regular basis digging for GOLD, and then tasting his find. BLAH!  Sad thing is, I don't scold him much.  By the 6th kid, you know it won't kill them, and it's just a phase.  In Kindergarten, if you're still eating your boogers--other kids will let you know, in no so polite ways--that that is GROSS!  You learn a lot that way in Kindergarten!  :)  Love you Jack!  So proud of you, my BIG BOY! 
P.S.  You might remember this post HERE from the first week of school LAST YEAR, when I was trying to potty train my boy.  Well--that didn't last long...  He wasn't ready (surprise).  But I am proud to say, as of this week--he is finally starting to catch on, just a YEAR later--and I will finally be DONE changing diapers once and for all!  Can I get a HOORAY!  :)

 This is him giving me his KILLER wink that he gives all the cute girls he flirts with!  Love that my 3 year old still thinks I'm the coolest mom ever, and that I am WINK WORTHY!  He'll figure out sooner or later what a mess I am, but for now--I ROCK!  And so does he!  :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First Day of SCHOOL! 2011....

This year, the first day of school came WAY too fast for me!  Although I'm sure the kids were ready to go back, I'm not sure I was ready to let go of them quite yet--and I'm quite sure I was not ready to let go of my 9-10 a.m. summer wake up time quite yet!  Alas, school begins on schedule, and we have to get going on schedules, and carpools, and homework, and sports, and practices, and---well, you get the picture!  CRAZINESS ensues when school begins!  If all goes well, it will be an "organized chaos" (really?  is there any such thing as that?) I guess it's up to me to figure it all out! 
Emie and Erin were the first ones off--A hour is bright & early at 6:30 a.m. (OUCH).  Yep, Gilbert public schools is TOTALLY into the torture of teenagers!  These poor ladies have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn--then, in December and January, they have to leave while it's still DARK outside to go to A hour.  I feel so sorry for them!  Most of the time, my sweet husband takes them, and I stay in my warm bed until at least 7:30 when the other kids have to be out of bed.  That's the JOY of having an early riser in the house!  The hard thing is when I am up blogging at 2 a.m., and he is up by 5 a.m. and in bed by 8!  Sometimes we don't even talk in a day!  But the girls usually get to spend their quality time with Dad in the morning, and he is so sweet to make sure they get a bite to eat and say a prayer before going into that MADHOUSE they call school every day!  Here they are on the 1st day of school:
Emie:  Sophomore Year, 15 years old

Erin:  Freshman Year, 14 years old

The little kids get to sleep an extra few HOURS, and don't have to be at school until 8:30!  Lucky them, and ME!  They were all so excited for school--they have been waking up at this time all summer, mind you, so this was not a real shocker for their system!  Actually going to school WAS however, as evidenced by their moods when they got home, and the fact that they were snapping at each other, crying for no reason, and generally rotten.  They were pooped when they got home! I have to try to keep in mind that it is still 110 degrees most days in August, and boy does that wear on you when you're not spending your whole day lounging by the pool!  Gotta love those summer days!  Reminiscing already?  Yes, I miss it already!
Abby:  6th Grade, 11 years old

 Josh:  3rd Grade, 8 years old (and I am amazed I actually got a SMILE out of him for once--and not a goofy face!)

Ashlie:  1st Grade, 6 years old (and no--her hair isn't all chopped off, it was in a cute braid!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

24th of July in the Gila Valley!...

This year, we decided to spend the 24th of July with my parents in Thatcher.  Todd stayed at home to work, but the kids and I had a great time at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  My dad (a former driver's education teacher), was able to take Emie out a few times and do some driving.  She learned several things--including how to come to a complete STOP, which my Dad thought I had neglected to teach her.  Ummm...I guess I teach more by example than I thought I did.  HA!  When I remember going driving with my dad, I remember two things:  1.  The driver's ed car had a brake on his side, that he could slam on at will.  I remember him slamming on the brakes more than once, when I thought I was doing just fine.  Now, I realize how many times I would do the same thing while driving with a teenager!  In fact, we all make fun of Todd when he drives with Emie--(or even with ME), because he slams on an imaginary brake when he thinks she should be going slower or stopping.  Instinct, I guess!  2.  I remember a lot of times that my dad would try to teach me something, and I would roll my eyes and totally ignore him because I thought he was just trying to nit pick things I was doing wrong.  Now, I realize that you really need to listen to the person who has been driving for um...30 years!  They really do know more than you do!  My poor Dad!  Anyway, what I don't remember is this nicer, gentler, kinder man that my children call Grandpa!  I am always telling them, "You don't know the same guy I knew growing up!  He was MEAN!"  Now he is just a nice old man, trying to get into heaven!  Bless his heart--he has changed a lot!  Love this guy!

This year, the 24th of July Pioneer Day festivities were in Thatcher, so we just had to go down the street for all the fun!  We had a great time at the parade, and then went over to the football stadium at EAC for the festivities.  Had a great BBQ rib dinner, and concert, then watched the fireworks.  We passed the time waiting for the fireworks by taking self portraits--aren't we all adorable!  I hate how I can't take a self portrait without the double chin effect--I tried, but it wasn't happenin'.  Oh well.  I'll blame it on my camera angle, and not the 20+ pounds I have put on over the summer!  HA!  Maybe that HUGE bag of kettle corn has something to do with that!  That bag was as tall as Jack!  :)  We had a great time in my old stomping grounds, and even saw some old friends!  Love this place--it will always feel like home to me!

 Back at Grandma and Grandpas we had a great time!  The kids got out the umbrella and enjoyed playing in a rainstorm.  It always makes me laugh at how much Arizona natives enjoy themselves in a rainstorm!  The kids get giddy when you hand them an umbrella--like they have never seen one before!  They were out there singing and dancing having a great time!  Because of the rain, there were plenty of frogs in the yard enjoying the wet weather.  The kids caught a few and terrorized them a bit while we were out in Grandpa's hot tub.  I'm sure the frogs didn't enjoy my children as much as the children enjoyed them!  Emie was cracking me up--she had no fear whatsoever, and even being 15 1/2 jumped right in and caught them for people to hold them.  You go girl!  I haven't raised a sissy girl!  HA!  You can see, Erin is a little squeamish--I wish I had video of her screaming when Emie threw one at her.  Hilarious! 

Thanks Grandma and Grandpa Metzger for such a GREAT time!  It was a fabulous way to spend the 24th, and a great way to round out the summer with a vacation!  YAY!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Erin is 14--YAY!...

Since I went down memory lane a few weeks ago with Abby, I was a little nostalgic & dug out some of my favorite pics of my Erin and scanned them in.  Erin was born on July 17, 1997.  I remember the night before she was born, we went out with Todd's family to Native New Yorker, who had 10 cent wings back then, so we had a cheap dinner of hot wings & lots of soda.  I think it was the spicy food that got my contractions going.  I was actually overdue, so I was so excited!  We dropped Emie off with Todd's parents, then headed over to the hospital around midnight.  I remember crying on the way to the hospital, feeling bad that Emie (only 21 months old) didn't know what was coming!  Poor baby wasn't going to be the center of our universe anymore!  How could I possibly share my time and love between two babies?  Wouldn't you know it, by the time the doctor came in at 6 a.m., my contractions were few and far between, but we begged him to break my water and let me stay anyway, and he did.  5 hours later, this beautiful baby was born, weighing in at 8 lbs. 11 oz..  As soon as I saw her, and held her close to me, I knew that I had plenty of love to give another beautiful baby.  Todd chose the name Erin, since I had chosen Emie's name, and it fit her just perfectly.
And what do you think I was hungry for after I had her?  Well, ice cream of course!  Are you sensing a pattern here?  YUM!
Erin's blessing day--6 weeks old.
 Emie loved her little sister--sometimes way too much!
 She's going to kill me for this one--but c'mon--isn't she the CUTEST!  4 months
 Erin was ALWAYS smiling!  She still has the most beautiful smile!

Halloween, 1 year old
 My favorite, at Luna Lake, 1 year old

Oceanside, 3 years old

This girl has always been the life of the PARTY~!

 It sure has been a JOY to raise this little girl!  Erin has always been a happy, loving, caring child.  The other thing this girl has always been is a little bit (or a LOT) of TROUBLE!  From the earliest age, she was always getting into mischief, although her redeeming quality has always been that huge grin she gets across her face when she gets caught doing something she knows she ought not be doing!  One thing that's amazing about Erin, though, even when she gets caught, she is honest to a tee.  She has never been deceiving, or tried to lie to cover herself.  She is always straight forward, and she is who she is, and that's what she expects of others too.  One thing Erin can't stand is someone who's fake.  She is genuine, and real, and wants friends who are too.  I am glad she has found some of those!  Including her cousins--who she just LOVES! 

We started the morning with Erin's QT donut birthday cake--and since it's close to the 4th of July, who needs candles, when you have SPARKLERS!  Note to hand a 3 year old a sparkler, and not tell him it's HOT is not a good idea!  Jack grabbed the flame part of it and burned his thumb and forefinger right after this picture!  OUCH!  Poor little guy!
Erin's birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so we went to church after breakfast, and there wasn't much fanfare--but two of her sweet friends, Cole and Tyeler came over that night to give her her very own HUGE pizookie, and a darling bracelet!  Also, we had David, Karin, Traci, and their families over for the little birthday party.

Plus, Erin will LOVE that I got video of her spanking machine this year!  I think Traci got the best of her, but she was a pretty brave girl to go through this thing!  (I refuse that dang spanking machine every year...I am a WEENIE!)  Erin is nothing if she isn't BRAVE!  Love this girl!  Happy Birthday Princess!  We love you SO much!

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