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My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

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?


Goal Progress – March

“A goal is a dream without a deadline” – Napoleon Hill

The Rival
Photo Credit: Katy Wrathall via Compfight cc

Well, it is now April. One quarter of the year is over!! Crazy! How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions or your goals for 2016? Since I have given myself goals to meet this year, rather than resolutions, I am going to track my progress and see whether I am meeting each of my goals this year or not.

Make $50 extra dollars each month – 

I was not able to do any overtime this month, but I did receive my annual bonus from my job, so it worked out. Also, I was able to earn $30 at again. So, I didn’t earn $50 through Swagbucks or overtime, but my bonus more than brought the total to $50 this month. Not sure how I will hit it this month if overtime isn’t available from work, but we will see.

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year

COMPLETE!! Woot woot!! We used a portion of my bonus to completely pay off the smallest student loan, which was around $700. Now my husband has two student loans left, and we are going to work on paying extra on those until they are gone as well. I don’t think we will have another one gone before December, but we will definitely be chipping away at them.

Personal Goals:

Finish reading the entire Bible

I am still not reading every day like I wanted to, but at this point, I have read Genesis-Leviticus, Jeremiah-Malachi and 28 chapters of Numbers in the Old Testament, as well as 1 Thessalonians-Revelation, Mathew and 8 chapters of Mark in the New Testament.

Write at least one blog post per month

Besides posting a goal update, I posted 2 other blog posts in the month of March, so A+ on this one! Hopefully I can keep this momentum going the rest of the year.

Graduate with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration

This one isn’t really a monthly trackable goal, but I am doing well in my classes this semester so far. Also, I emailed my advisor in  March to make sure that I am taking the right classes to graduate in December. It turns out, I needed a few different classes than the ones I was planning on taking, so I am glad that I reached out. At this point, I am registered for my Summer and Fall courses and as long as I pass them, I should be able to graduate December 2016!!! Woohoo!!

Read 5 books that I have never read before

Before March, I had finished reading  Amongst the Flames by T.K. Chapin, Paper Towns by John Green and  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I began reading Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer in February, but life circumstances made it difficult to find time to read. I don’t think I read any of this book at all during March. In my defense, we are foster parents and just received our first placement at the beginning of March and he is a toddler. Adjusting to this change did not give me much “me” time, and the time that was available when our placement was napping or playing by himself was spent cleaning, doing homework and laundry and catching up on sleep. I still plan to complete my goal by the end of the year, I will just have to adjust to this change and find some time to read.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month

My husband’s birthday was last month, so we went out to eat at his favorite restaurant. I still feel like I should do more to focus on him, especially now that there is a little one taking up some of my attention, but hopefully I can focus on this more this month.

What about you? How are your resolutions or goals going? We have gone through one quarter of the year already! I can’t believe it! Comment below how your goals are going.

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Tithing Your Time

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It is customary in the Old Testament for people to tithe, to give a tenth of everything they own to the Lord. I was thinking of the concept of tithing and the things we value in life these days and something stood out to me.

We value time.

Think about it. We give only a certain amount of our time and we put a price on it as well. Most people know exactly how much they make in an hour, right? And working more than the dreaded 40 hours a week is just awful!

But, do we give much of our time to God?

An hour or two at church on Sunday compared to the 110 other waking ours in the week (assuming you get 8 hours of sleep each night) is hardly much time focused on God.

Even if you spend an hour each day reading your bible, that pales in comparison to the hours we spend on other things.

There are a variety of ways to spend time with the Lord, such as volunteering, studying your bible, fellowship with other Christians, and many more.  Maybe it’s time to think about spending a little more time focused on God and what He wants for our life, than planning out our own paths and spending our days without Him.

What do you think? Should we tithe our time? What would your life look like if a tenth of your time was spent with God?

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Goal Progress – March

“A goal is a dream without a deadline” – Napoleon Hill

The Rival
Photo Credit: Katy Wrathall via Compfight cc

Well, it is now March. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions or your goals for 2016? Since I have given myself goals to meet this year, rather than resolutions, I am going to track my progress and see whether I am meeting each of my goals this year or not.

Make $50 extra dollars each month – 

In February, I was able to work a little overtime and ended up with $112.63 extra after taxes. Not too shabby, but so far, not much overtime has been allowed in March, so overtime will probably not earn me as much going forward. Also, I was able to earn about $31 last month doing surveys and what-not at I am continuing to focusing on bringing in extra money, so I give myself an A on this one. We will see how March turns out without as much overtime.

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year

The smallest student loan is now at $709, down $51 from last month. Continuing to chip away. I am planning on using a bonus this month to completely pay off this loan. Then I will begin focusing on the next smallest loan, currently at $2,650. I give myself an A on this again.

Personal Goals:

Finish reading the entire Bible

As of right now, I have finished Genesis Exodus, and am on chapter 20 in Leviticus & the last chapter of Matthew. I probably should have read a little more than I did, but I am still on track to complete this by the end of the year. I give myself a B because I still did not make a daily effort to read.

Write at least one blog post per month

A on this one! I posted a goal update in February, as well as another post. In fact, I have already posted a blog post for March, so this update will be my second one! On track for next month, woohoo!

Graduate with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration

This one isn’t really a monthly trackable goal, but I am doing well in my classes this semester so far, so I am still on track to graduate in December.

Read 5 books that I have never read before

Before February, I had finished reading  Amongst the Flames by T.K. Chapin. During February, I finished reading Paper Towns by John Green and  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I know, I know, overacheiver with 2 books, right? But sometimes I get bored when reading a book, so I end up starting another one. But then I get curious about what happens with the characters in the first book, so I eventually go back. This happened with these books and I kept going back and forth until both of them were done. I began reading Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer, but that one doesn’t flow as well as the other books, so I have a feeling that it will take me longer to finish. Even so, I might up my “5 books this year” if I am able to finish 5 before July, but we will see. This was my first time giving myself a reading goal, so I didn’t know where to start.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month

Since Valentine’s Day was in February, we went out for dinner that weekend. Nothing extravagant, but we made a point to go out because we wanted to spend time together. My hubby’s birthday is in March, so again I hope this month will be easy to do something special for him.

I think I did pretty good this month on the goals that I gave myself. What about you, did you have any resolutions or goals? How are you progressing on them? Have you given up yet? Are you on track? Comment below and share your progress, I can’t want to hear from you!

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How To Feed Your Family When You Are Absolutely Broke



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When you experience a sudden financial emergency such as a job loss or sudden unavoidable expense such as taking care of a flooded basement, it can leave you struggling to get by. You may feel like you are going to starve until you get back on your feet, but if you are resourceful, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get by.

First of all, check your pantry. It may sound obvious that if you had food, you would be feeding yourself, but seriously, pull every food item you have out of the cupboard, look in your freezer and fridge. Make a list of everything you possibly have that is edible. Chances are, you can probably get at least a few meals out of the items you already have in the cupboard if you plan well. For example, even when I feel like I have “nothing to eat” in my house, I can scan the cupboards & fridge and find a handful of things to make a few meals. We usually have bread, tortillas, pasta noodles, eggs, potatoes, perhaps a can of chicken noodle soup for an unexpected sick day, sliced cheese, butter, frozen vegetables, ramen noodles, rice and usually a package or two of chicken or pork chops in the freezer that we had forgotten was there. From these items alone, I can think of these meals:

  • grilled cheese
  • scrambled eggs (for breakfast)
  • quesadillas (with cheese only or you could cook up the meat from the freezer and toss some in, or add scrambled eggs for a breakfast quesadilla)
  • egg sandwich (either just egg and bread, or add cheese for variety)
  • chicken noodle soup from the can
  • baked chicken with baked potatoes or homemade fries (if we have bbq sauce or Italian dressing, pour a little on the chicken before baking for flavor. Homemade fries – chop potatoes into strips, drizzle in oil, salt & pepper, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until done)
  • baked pork chops with rice or baked potatoes (again, if we have sauces in the fridge, add some for flavor & variety)
  • Spaghetti in a butter sauce with veggies on the side (I may have to add a few spices from the cupboard to make this more flavorful, but sprinkling in a little garlic seasoning and italian seasoning can make this more tasty. Also, if I have a jarred spaghetti sauce, I could use that instead)
  • Chicken fried rice (cook up the rice and the chicken, saute them in butter, add frozen veggies, some garlic seasoning, and soy sauce. You could even scramble some eggs up and add them in. Also, this recipe is good as a vegetarian meal, without the chicken or eggs)
  • Asian noodles (cook up the ramen noodles according to package, but don’t add the seasoning packet. Drain the noodles. Cook similar to chicken fried rice above)

So there you go, that is about a week’s worth of lunches and dinners if you can stretch these items into a handful of meals (you may need to repeat a few meals or eat leftovers at another mealtime). Now obviously, you don’t have the same things in your cupboards that I do, but odds are, you can scrounge around and create at least a few meals out of what you have in your cupboard. Also, if you have nearly everything for a specific recipe but a certain item, decide whether to make a quick trip to the store or only deal with the items you have. It is your budget, your pantry, and your family you are feeding, so you are best able to decide how to work with the items in your house.

After you have determined what meals you can already make, determine if you are able to make a trip to the grocery store. Do you have enough money or is your bank account already negative? If you are able to make a trip, try to be as frugal as possible. Consider shopping at a “bargain” store such as Aldi or Costco. I had thought that I was shopping cheaply by going to Walmart, but after I switched to Aldi, I realized that I was wrong. Search for items on sale, or items that are already cheap. Some items that are usually cheap are Ramen noodles, rice, beans, canned soups, and canned veggies.

If you are absolutely unable to make a trip to the store, consider ways you can make a few dollars quickly. There are ideas all over the internet, but here are a few off the top of my head:

  • Sell something – Nearly everyone has a few things that they don’t need right now that they could sell. Have your kids grown out of some of their clothes? Sell a small bundle of their old clothes. Do you have too many pairs of shoes? Sell a few. Did you buy a treadmill and never use it? Sell that darn thing! Your family needs to eat. Would you rather have an exercise machine you never use and 30 pairs of shoes, or cash in hand and 25 pairs of shoes? I promise you, your family needs food more than you needed those items. You could sell on craigslist, garage sale, or a facebook swap page, or even get ahold of some friends to see if they want to buy any of the items you have decided to sell.
  • Pick up a part-time job – This may not be feasible for everyone due to childcare costs, but if you are able to, get a job delivering pizzas or stocking shelves at the grocery store. Also, think of things you could do from your home, if childcare would be an issue with a part-time job. Babysit a friend’s kids for a few evenings, knit a scarf and sell it, etc. Think of things you can do to earn some money, even if all you do is babysit for one evening and earn $20,that is more money than you had before and, when used wisely, can feed your family for that much longer.
  • Reach Out – If your family is truly struggling, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Your friends may have no idea that you are unable to make ends meet, but I’m sure that someone you know would be more than willing to lend/give you even as little as $20 to help you out in a tough time. Your friends love you, and are there for the good times and the bad. Obviously, this can’t be a consistent means to feed your family, but it can help in a tough time. You may even find that your friends will either invite you over for dinner if you are struggling or make a freezer meal to give you. If you are involved in a church, talk to your pastor. Many churches have programs in place to temporarily help struggling families to get back on their feet.

Okay, so you have now scrounged around some money and have perhaps $20 or more in hand? Good. I’m not saying the $20 will perform miracles, but consider spending it on items that can stretch over multiple meals. Some ideas are bread, eggs, rice, pasta and beans. But you know what your family will eat, so search for cheaper items that you know your family will eat and that can stretch over more than one meal. Consider going to your local food pantry. If you don’t know why food pantries are there, they are for times such as this, when normal people have found themselves unable to get by and need a little help. Don’t be nervous about going there, all of us have struggled at one time or another and the food pantry is there to help. There is nothing to be ashamed of when making sure your family is taken care of. Also, shop at discount stores. They really are cheaper. I was spending nearly $5 on shredded cheese, but spent half that for the same amount at our local Aldi store.

Lastly, if you are not currently completely broke, but have been reading this blog for the helpful tips, consider planning ahead. You never know when you may run into a tough time, so follow these tips and you will be better prepared if you ran into tough times:

  • Put money away – If you are not currently in the throes of a crisis, make a point of putting money away for emergencies. A goal to aim for would be having 3-6 months worth of expenses in a savings account. But, every little bit helps, so even if you can only put away $5 a week, start doing it now, and you will be that much more prepared if something happens.
  • Stock up on sale items – Is there a sale on chicken? Buy more than you were planning on and freeze the rest for another day. Is there another item you frequently buy on sale? Buy extra and freeze or store it for another day. If an emergency happens before “another day”, then you already have a few things to help get you by.
  • Make freezer meals – This is on the same lines as buying extra and freezing. Are you making a family favorite for dinner tonight? Buy enough to make double, but put the second batch into the freezer. You will then have a meal for another day, or be prepared if an emergency happened because you would have that meal(s) in the freezer.
  • Begin frugal habits – If you are already shopping frugally, it will be easier to put money into savings, as well as continue to shop frugally during an emergency. Some ideas are to buy a whole chicken, rather than breasts. It is cheaper per pound, and when you are done, you can make broth from the bones that you can use for various recipes and soups. Always shop sale items. One thing that our family started doing recently was to participate in Bountiful Baskets. You spend $15 plus $5.50 in handling fees and you receive two laundry baskets full of produce. I started doing this in an effort to help our family eat healthy without breaking our budget.
  • Don’t let your groceries go bad – We have all done it, you buy meat or produce at the store, and before you know it, you are throwing it away because it went bad before you had a chance to use it. Try not to let this happen. If you planned on making a roast for dinner, but you just haven’t gotten to it yet, put it in the freezer before it goes bad. Then you can thaw it on the specific day that you want to use it. If you struggle to realize exactly when your items will go bad, put all your meats into the freezer when you get home and thaw them on the morning that you plan to cook them. Also, if your produce is about to go bad, chop it up and freeze it. Frozen veggies are good for soups, stews or casseroles, and frozen fruits are good for smoothies or desserts. Also, consider putting your meats and veggies together into a freezer meal as discussed above. You can usually find recipes online that fit the specific items you have on hand. If my Bountiful Basket produce is looking less than fresh, I try to find a way to get it used or into the freezer before it goes bad.

There you have it. Just a few ideas of how to stretch that grocery budget when it seems impossible. What about you, have you tried any of these tips? Do you have other tips? What works for you in this situation? I’d love to here from you! Feel free to comment below.

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Did people forget what words really mean?


I recently got a text offer that I could get a FREE download from AMC Theaters. They even put FREE in all caps. I know that many companies use these same tactics, but this is the most recent one I got and it really got me thinking. I thought ‘Alright, let’s see what this download is, if I want it, and what the details are.’ It turns out, you receive the “free” download after you purchase tickets for their most recent blockbuster.

So you’re telling me that if I purchase something from you, you will give me something? That’s not free! That’s tit for tat; you help me, I help you.

I thought free meant that literally I have to give you absolutely nothing and I receive something.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines free as “not costing any money; not held as a slave or prisoner; not physically held by something.

Am I missing something? When did it become the norm to call things free and require a payment?

I do understand the point they are trying to make, that you are only paying for a ticket and receiving an extra thing, but if you wouldn’t receive the extra without any purchase, it is not defined as free.

What do you think? Has the definition of free changed or do you see the extra as a free item?

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Goal Progress – February

“A goal is a dream without a deadline” – Napoleon Hill

The Rival
Photo Credit: Katy Wrathall via Compfight cc

Well, it is now February. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions or your goals for 2016? Since I have given myself goals to meet this year, rather than resolutions, I am going to track my progress and see whether I am meeting each of my goals this year or not.

Make $50 extra dollars each month – 

In January, my job offered a lot of overtime in order to catch up after the holidays backed us up a bit. Through overtime, I was able to earn $135.27 extra after taxes. I also earned $25 last month through Swagbucks, but I haven’t cashed it out yet. If you don’t know what Swagbucks is, it is a website that offers you points for doing simple tasks like visiting websites (literally just clicking a link and then closing the page), taking surveys, watching videos, reading news articles and more. Then you transfer those points into gift cards, or dollars into your paypal account. 1 “swagbuck” equals 1 penny, so 100 swagbucks is a dollar. With my 2016 goal in mind, my plan was to earn $25 through Swagbucks, and another $25 through a website called TextBroker that pays for writing small articles. Since I got overtime, I didn’t focus on TextBroker as much, but I am glad that I was able to earn $25 at Swagbucks. I still am giving myself an A on this goal anyway, since my overtime at work gave me more than double what my goal was.

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year

The smallest student loan is now at $760, down from over $800 last month, so I think that is good. I am hoping to pay extra when we get taxes back to either completely knock out this loan or lessen its total significantly. I will give myself a B because if I didn’t factor in taxes, I should have been paying $66 monthly, but I only paid the normal monthly payment.

Personal Goals:

Finish reading the entire Bible

Since October of last year, I have read Jeremiah through Malachi in the Old Testament and I am almost done with Genesis, and 1 Thessalonians through Revelations and I’m almost done with Matthew in the New Testament. I am glad that I started out in October but am giving myself until December to finish. I give myself an B so far on this one, because I still forget to read daily, so then I have to read multiple days at a time to catch up.

Write at least one blog post per month

A on this one! My post stating my goals was in January, and I have this one along with one more planned for February. I plan to post monthly updates on my goals though, so maybe I should change this goal to two posts per month: one goal update and one other post. But, hey, at least if I am posting monthly updates, that will be one post per month!!

Graduate with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration

This one isn’t really a monthly trackable goal, but I am doing well in my classes this semester so far, so I am still on track to graduate in December.

Read 5 books that I have never read before

I finished a book that I had started last year, does that count? It was a Christian Romance called Amongst the Flames by T.K. Chapin. It was a nice little story about a firefighter and his marriage struggle and relationship with God, which I was drawn to as my husband is a volunteer firefighter and we are both Christians. I actually only bought it on my kindle because it was free during a promotion or something. Also, I got the book Paper Towns by John Green for Christmas and I started reading that last month. In addition, I used a Christmas gift card to buy a few books, so after I finish Paper Towns, I am planning on reading Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline and Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer. I had also started reading a Beth Moore book last year, but didn’t finish it. I may try to grab that one sometime this year and finish it. If I read and count all these books, I should have exactly 5, so I am on track. I give myself an A because I have finished a book already and read a large portion of another book, when I only have to complete about half a book a month for this goal.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month

This one was a complete fail. Although, a few days in January, someone brought cookies to work and I snagged a few to give to him when he picked me up from work. Although this was a nice gesture on my part, I don’t think it should be deemed as something “special” as I usually do that when someone brings treats if there are any left at the end of the day. I really do need to make a better point of thinking of something special to do each month. I feel like we would connect better if we were in a better place, and making him feel special could be the place to start.

Not too shabby, I’d say. Looks like I only failed on one of my goals. Since Valentine’s Day is this month, it should be pretty easy to work on that goal this month. What about you, did you have any resolutions or goals? How are you progressing on them? Have you given up yet? Are you on track? Comment below and share your progress, I can’t want to hear from you!

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2016 Goals

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I know, I know, it’s January, the time when everyone comes up with their New Year’s resolutions only to fail a few months in, right? Well, that is why this year, I have decided to make goals, most of which are trackable, for 2016, rather than resolutions. If I call them goals, rather than resolutions, hopefully I will stick to them, but only time will tell. Also, if I post my goals on my blog, perhaps it will compel me to stick to my goals even more, even if it is simply for the fear that all my readers will know that I haven’t completed them! (gasp!) I know, right!?

Anyway, here are the goals I have laid out for myself this year and a short explanation:

Financial Goals:

Make $50 extra dollars each month – Our bills are tight and I would like to be able to put more towards saving for emergencies and paying off debts, so my goal is to make $50 extra dollars per month, whether by working overtime at my job, or side hustling with Swagbucks or Textbroker or finding a new side hustle. I feel that this goal is attainable, but not so far out of reach that I will fail miserably. If I succeed above and beyond in the first few months, I may push this goal to a larger number. We will see….

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year – We currently are working on paying down our debts, and my husband has 3 student loans left. His smallest one is currently at $800 with normal payments of $50, so I feel that it is very possible to pay this off by the end of the year by adding to our normal payments.

Personal Goals:

Finish reading the entire Bible – I began a plan to read the whole Bible in a year in October 2015. I am giving myself to the end of 2016 to finish reading it, so just a few months over a year. That way, if I get behind, I won’t beat myself up and give up like I have in the past, because I am allowed to get up to three months behind without being unable to finish by the end of the year.

Write at least one blog post per month – I have made this a goal year after year, but I really want to stick to it this year. I want to eventually monetize this blog and earn some money on the side through it as I have seen others do, but first I have to consistently post so that I can gather consistent readers. I figure that if I give myself a month to write each post, it should be easy peasy, right? (And with this post, January is already checked off). Just like the earning extra money goal, this goal is trackable and I could always do more than one post, but the goal is at least one post.

Graduate with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration – Okay, so this is sort of a “cheat” goal, because if I continue taking and passing the courses that I have planned for this year, I should graduate in December. But I can still make it a goal, because that will mean that I definitely have no excuse to not complete at least this goal this year.

Read 5 books that I have never read before – I love to read. But lately, especially with going back to school and trying to work overtime, I haven’t spent as much time reading as I used to. I haven’t chosen 5 specific books, but I want to read at least 5 books that I haven’t read before. There are a few classics that I haven’t read, and a few books that are becoming movies that I haven’t read, so there are plenty to choose from. (Side note: I have read one book that is becoming a movie this year, you should check it out, it’s called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children)

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – We have no kids, so you would think that we would spend plenty of time together, but even without kids, we have fallen into a funk of “go to work, go home, cook dinner, watch TV, go to bed, repeat.” We are involved in our church and my husband is a volunteer firefighter, so we are involved in a few activities in the evenings, but even when we go out to eat it feels more like necessity than a ‘date.’ I want to make a point this year to spend time making my husband feel special.

I have a few more things that I want to do better at this year, but I knew if I gave myself too many goals, that I would never get them all done and feel discouraged. I can still work on the other things, such as meal planning, eating healthier, building up savings, and keeping up with house cleaning,  but for this year, these are my goals.

So, did you make any goals or resolutions for this year? Do you think there is a difference between goals and resolutions? Did you complete your goals or resolutions from last year?

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Philippians 4: Steady In God

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Philippians 4

The Message (MSG)

My dear, dear friends! I love you so much. I do want the very best for you. You make me feel such joy, fill me with such pride. Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God.

Pray About Everything

I urge Euodia and Syntyche to iron out their differences and make up. God doesn’t want his children holding grudges.

And, oh, yes, Syzygus, since you’re right there to help them work things out, do your best with them. These women worked for the Message hand in hand with Clement and me, and with the other veterans—worked as hard as any of us. Remember, their names are also in the Book of Life.

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Content Whatever the Circumstances

10-14 I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.

15-17 You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.

18-20 And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.

21-22 Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.

23 Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.




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What Do Bunnies and Eggs Have To Do With Jesus??

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This is a question I hear a lot around this time of year. Everyone I know celebrates Easter as the day Jesus was resurrected from the dead. What does that have to do with bunnies and eggs?

Well, pretty much nothing. Yes, that’s what I said.


Originally, Easter was a pagan holiday when the people would celebrate the God of fertility. Rabbits are very fertile animals and eggs are also a sign of fertility, so these were the types of things they celebrated with. It was part of their culture. It was like eating turkey at Thanksgiving.

It’s just what they did.

Anyway, the group of pagans that celebrated this holiday were eventually converted to Christianity. Since Christ’s resurrect celebrates our new life in Him, they thought it more than fit to join the celebration of His resurrection, with their own celebration of new life, Easter.

Over the years, it has changed and molded a bit, but basically our current Easter celebration is still a celebration of new life with Christ’s Resurrection. It has become part of our culture to celebrate it this way.

So, for the most part, the bunnies and eggs don’t directly have anything to do with Jesus. Jesus, bunnies and eggs all represent new life, and that is about all they have to do with each other.

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