All In

My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Could You Do It?

The thing I hear most often when people find out that I’m a foster parent is “I could never do it.” They think they would be unable to love a kid and then give the kid back to family or wherever the state decides.

Yes, it is hard. But every relationship we are in has an end-date. Think about it. Your spouse, your children, your friends….Although you may not know when that end date will be, your relationships can end through death (yours or theirs, whichever is first), unresolved conflict, or simply growing apart. Really, the only difference in your relationship with a foster child from your relationship with your own child, is that there is a more definite end date.

But, I promise you one thing: You will get through. It will take time, and you are allowed to mourn when your foster child leaves, but you will be okay. And that child will have been able to experience your love when they go through what is possibly the toughest part of their life, being ripped away from their parents and thrust into the arms of strangers. It is not something they asked for, but they still deserve just as much love as any other kid.

Recently, I have been reading the book “Believing God” by Beth Moore. Definitely a good book to convict you and bring you closer to God and to believing what he has said about your life. Anyway, the following excerpt from the book struck me:

Agape [love] is not only exercised when it feels like it, it is exercised when we choose to extend God’s love as an (often sacrificial) act of our will. Sometimes our only motivation is obedience to God. When we’re willing, we’re succinctly told in 1 Corinthians 13:8 that love never fails.

God calls us to love when we don’t feel like it, and that when we extend that love, it will not fail. Showing love to a child who may not have ever experienced it (or some people may feel doesn’t deserve it) will not fail. It may be hard, they may not appreciate it in the moment, but allowing God to work through you can make all the difference.

I truly want to challenge you to consider if foster care is for you. Pray about it, talk to God about it and follow His leading. Foster kids have done nothing wrong, most of the time they were stuck in bad situations due to their parents actions. You can be the difference in their life and the only glimpse of God and His love that they may ever see in their life. Is this part of God’s plan for you? Pray and trust Him with your life and His plans for you, whatever they may be.

As always, feel free to comment below and have a blessed day!

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2017 Goals

Last year, I set some goals that I wanted to stick to throughout the year. You can click the link if you would like to read more about my goals last year. Obviously, due to the fact that I posted nothing after April of last year, I didn’t do too well at sticking to those goals, especially since one of them was to post on the blog each month. I was hoping I would stick to a track-able goal, rather than doing New Year’s resolutions that tend to fail after a few months. If you would like to see how I did on all of my 2016 goals (I actually completed a few of them, just not the blog one), I may post an update on that, but this post is for my 2017 goals. So, here goes:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – I keep telling myself how great it would be to have extra income for savings or a vacation or whatever. I keep reading blogs that have great ideas for legit side jobs (photography, selling on Amazon\Ebay, creating crafts to sell, etc.) and I tell myself those things are so easy and that I should do them. But year after year goes by and I am just sitting here, not doing that stuff. So this year, I want to try out at least one side hustle and hopefully get it to where it can have a consistent income stream each month from it, even if it is little.  I think I will try selling on Ebay or Amazon because that is the easiest to start out. I can sell some junk that I already have sitting around, which can hopefully provide enough income to buy more stuff to sell (that is where it will get tricky: deciding what to buy and how much to upcharge my cost while still selling at a reasonable value so people want to purchase). Also, my sister-in-law and I have been considering making and selling soaps & bath bombs. We have made a batch of soap and she has made a batch of bath bombs, but we want to see how far we can take it. The only problem is getting our schedules to work out to find time to make anything.

Earn $100 extra each month – Last year, I had a goal to earn $50 extra each month. Although my job limited overtime for a few months, they are allowing it for the time being. I think between earning overtime and getting a side hustle going, $100 will be a reasonable number. It will be enough that it isn’t too easy, but not so much that it is unattainable. Down the road, we want to own a few rental properties for some (mostly) passive side income, but we just aren’t at a point that we feel comfortable having more than just our own home mortgage without a hefty amount of savings in place for possible emergencies.

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year – Last year, we paid off one of my husband’s student loans. He only has 2 left, and the lower one is around $2,000 right now. I definitely feel that this is an achievable goal for this year. I hope to be able to pay off a decent chunk of the other loan this year as well and have them both paid off by the end of 2018 (if not before). He graduated in 2011, so I would say getting those loans paid off in less than 10 years is pretty good.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – I was going to just name this goal “Grow Our Net Worth by 20%”, but without putting a real number on it, I didn’t want readers to think I was one of two things: 1. an extremely rich person with no problem exploding my net worth or 2. someone who is setting goals so unattainably high that I will never hit them. Through a combination of a variety of things, I hope that this is a goal that we can meet. We actually grew our net worth by $10,000 last year (which was 25% since our net worth is currently at the small number of $50,000.) First, continuing to pay of debts should help this out, as less liabilities mean that your assets show more. Last year, we paid off over $8,000 of our debts, so if we can keep up the momentum, then I may have to actually up this goal mid-year. Second, my 401(k) is figured into our net worth (it is actually nearly all of our net worth….without it our net worth would look pretty even, like assets minus liabilities equals zero, lol). My contributions go in bi-weekly at 6% of my paycheck, and my employer contributes 3%. I may decide to up this by a percent if I think we can swing it, but we will see. As long as the markets don’t eat up all that money, I am hoping it can continue to grow. Lastly, I want to put more money into savings. Mostly, I need to build up our emergency fund and save up for our next vehicle when ours finally crap out, but still, it is cash in hand until it is spent. Hopefully with the combination of those things, growing our net worth by this number will be an achievable goal. We can always re-evaluate these goals mid-year and adjust if needed.

 Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – I tried to do this one last year. After our foster son was placed with us, I just couldn’t find as much extra time to read. And if I did find extra time, I took the lazy way out and watched TV to unwind. This year, I really want to spend more time reading than watching TV and I want to get through the whole Bible this year.

Write at least two blogs post per month – I plan on writing goal updates monthly, so that will be one blog post. Then I just have to post one more time each month. If I do more, great! I want to get in the habit of posting consistently so that I can eventually earn money from the blog, but I need to really get it going first.

Read 13 books – This year, I have joined a reading challenge! The blog “Young Wife’s Guide” is doing a reading challenge (for more info, click here). The goal is to read 13 Christian books in a variety of categories, none of which are fiction. I was able to complete my goal last year of 5 books, so I thought upping the number would be good. Then I heard about Young Wife’s challenge and figured it would be just right for me. It’s more books than I read last year, and definitely enough to keep me challenged. Also, I think I will find these books more interesting than some of the fiction books I read last year (I think I’m not into romance books, even Christian ones….too sappy or predictable or something). Plus the reading challenge offers recommended books in each category. My problem with knowing which books to read is often that no one has recommended any, so this will be great!

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – I really do put my walk with God on the back-burner, assuming I will eventually do my part….someday. I am hoping the books in the challenge (above) can help plunge me deeper into the word. And since I want to read the Bible in a year, I am hoping that being in the Word more will allow me to form a deeper relationship.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month –  Often, our relationship goes on the back-burner as well, especially now that there is a little one in the house. I need to be more intentional in ALL my relationships, but God and my husband are the most important relationships to me and I really want to work on those.

Keep Our House Tidy – I hate how cluttered our house looks most of the time, but yet I have no desire to spend time cleaning….so then it gets worse until I can’t stand it and spend an entire day cleaning. If I would just stay on top of it, I know that it would take less time, so I really want to focus on that this year.

Well, there you have it! My 2017 Goals! Some of them will be harder than others, but I am excited to see how I have done on these at the end of the year. I will also be posting monthly updates to make sure I stay on track. Do any of you have goals or things you want to accomplish in 2017?