Home: Debt, Faith, Blessing

I love the discussion that happened here yesterday –  Square Footage and Debt.  Thank you for all of the wonderful comments. This is so present in my mind, that I want to toss a few more thoughts out to you.

I want to be clear that while living without debt is a fine goal, it is not just an idealistic plan for us. The key point, that some of you mentioned, is that we need to be very clear that we can handle the payments for any debt we take on.  We  don’t want to be foolish and risk losing our home all together, and I don’t want the weight of that stress to suck the joy out of our lives.

It’s such a tricky balance, isn’t it?

Here are some of the factors we are weighing out:

1. We still don’t know what our monthly payments are going to be for Dimples’ treatment; Russ called again yesterday, and it hasn’t been determined. We do know that it is going to be a sacrifice for us.

2. Russ can only work so many hours, and sadly, being a professor at a state university doesn’t pay the big bucks.  Consulting is helpful, when there is time, but honestly, he has lost so many hours of work over the last several years that now he is catching up as quickly as he can.  He is writing papers and research proposals, preparing a new class, serving on committees; all in all, it doesn’t leave much time for outside work.

That being said, if you hear of consulting work for a super smart, hard working hydrologist/climate specialist, let me know!

3. I blog because I love it and I enjoy interacting with all of you. It is hugely therapeutic for me to process this parenting journey, put it into words, and press the “Publish” button. It has become a ministry for me – which gives me so much joy. Writing has also led to opportunities to speak, which is really great because then I get to see you all face to face.

Several of you suggested that I put a “Donate” button on my blog so that people who want to contribute to Dimples’ needs would have an easy means of doing that. I am so touched that you would suggest it…and scared to death to offend anybody.  We’ll need to do some serious thinking and praying about that. Thank you for caring so much about us.

4. Most of all, we want to honor the Lord Jesus. We want to be clear about needs and wants. We want to trust him, knowing that he knows our every need, and that sometimes he even delights to meet our wants.

Thanks for letting me process this with you – you build my faith!

In happy news, the first step of the project (whatever it ends up being), begins today. Russ ordered some beams to begin building storage in the loft of our barn. Our garage is packed with bins of homeschooling materials I still need, clothes the kids are growing into, camping gear, the extra bench seat for our big van, my treadmill (which is hard to access these days), and so much more. We have to empty it out to begin the remodel, which will involve either eliminating the garage all together (although we hope not), or using that space for other rooms and a new garage being added in an addition.

I am ready to declutter and give away lots of what is stored in there!

The second exciting thing that is happening today is that a retired general contractor from our church is coming over to meet with us and talk about the project. Months ago he offered to help us, but we were so consumed with Dimples’ needs that we weren’t able to move forward. The financial dilemma stumped us too. My prayer is that the Lord will make it so clear to all of us!

Third, a friend who is a financial planner invited us over tonight to talk through some of the financial issues. We’re wondering if fresh eyes might give us some new ideas. We really enjoy Rick and Beth and are looking forward to spending time with them.

Have a great weekend, friends! Whatever we do, I’ll be sure to post photos and share the journey with you.

Lisa

 

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

17 Comments

  1. Jenny
    March 2, 2013

    It is indeed a tricky balance. I trust that God will give you both heaps of wisdom – joy and contentment with what He makes clear to you. How wise of you both to get a good friends' input.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 2, 2013

      Thanks,Jenny. I am so thankful for the wise friends the Lord has given us.

      Reply
  2. angela
    March 2, 2013

    I have no advice. I can say that I hear you…. every room in the house full and being used to it's maximum, needing to make updates that would in the end save money, but costs more on the outlay than the bank can handle (old windows and frames that the wind blows right through, etc…) And a husband who works too hard already, also. I have this picture frame on my bedroom wall. It's plain and unattractive, but i have kept it there for years. It says simply: God The Provider and then it lists Ps. 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd I shall not be in want. 1Tim. 6:17b To put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Phil.4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. 1Cor. 10:13 But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. James 1:17a Every good and perfect gift is from above….. – I don't even need to read it. My mind automatically goes to the frame and I have a peace come over me knowing He's in this with us.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 2, 2013

      Thank you for sharing those beautiful scriptures. I need to write them down.

      Reply
  3. Jenny
    March 2, 2013

    The irony is that the more we've adopted, the less money we have….yet the more expenses we face. Tough sacrifice!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 2, 2013

      I hear you – there's just no way of getting around the unique medical (and other) needs of our kids. My friend, Kathleen, and I like to joke that we are "downwardly mobile". I need to write a post on that 🙂

      Reply
  4. Mentor Mom
    March 2, 2013

    We cut up our credit cards 25 years ago, and have never regretted it. Our goal, is also to live debt free (a huge challenge with an extra large family on a not-so-large income).

    Our "rule" for debt is that the value of the item must far exceed the debt on the item. We do have a mortgage and a car payment. However, either could be sold for much more than the total debt on the item. We've only bought a brand new car once . . . with 0% interest and very low payments. We did just take out a small loan for a used car (less than 1/2 the value of the vehicle). We will save over $100 per month on gas (by not driving our BIG vehicle for every little errand), and the payments are just over $100.

    However . . . we also carefully weigh our wants and needs. My husband really WANTS to get new windows for our old house (and they would definitely cut our heating bill). However, we are not willing to go $10,000 into debt for nice windows. 🙂 But . . . your situation definitely sounds like some critical NEEDS (bedrooms for the girls). And, you would be adding value to the home which should exceed the cost of the debt (I would hope).

    Trusting that the Lord will give you much wisdom as you seek His will for your finances. But . . . don't let the Christian world's guilt of "You should live debt free", burden you if the Lord is giving you peace.

    Hugs & Prayers,

    Laurel

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 2, 2013

      Thanks, Laurel. I totally get the savings of not driving your biggest car – we used to drive our 15 passenger van everywhere, now Russ commutes to work in it (only a short distance) and leaves the minivan for me, since I drive more miles in the week. Having a large family presents many unique financial circumstances!

      Reply
  5. courtneycassada
    March 2, 2013

    wow…look how He's already provided! in one day!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 2, 2013

      I know! The contractor met with Russ this morning and they discussed the barn/storage plan. Then they looked at some plans for the house and Russ has a list of information to gather. God is so good to us.

      Reply
  6. Mary
    March 2, 2013

    Love the "downwardly mobile" comment. Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church preached a sermon a decade or so ago on the Upside Down Kingdom. My husband and I listened to it as a newly engaged couple and I remember us both thinking, hmmmm, something to that–don't get it yet. We are now married ten years and it is sinking in, slowly. The Upside Down Kingdom and downwardly mobile–things that make you go hmmmm.
    It is good hearing all of the hope and will pray tonight for clarity and direction.

    Reply
  7. erika
    March 3, 2013

    PRAISE GOD what awesome blessings with the help from church friends. Praying for your family.

    Reply
  8. Elaine
    March 3, 2013

    Lisa–I have been thinking about you off and on all day. Over the last few years we have downsized…twice! You already know what it is to jump out over the edge of a cloud in blind faith. Make sure you are completely willing to do it with your home. Detach from anything without a soul. That means, be open to giving it all up and see what happens. With our most recent move I thought God would surely tell me He was just kidding. Guess what: God knew what He was doing and I love where we are now… I can't believe it! We are a family of eleven. The people who previously owned our new home were a family of four; they moved out because the house was too small. HA! They owned lots of clothes. I took one look at a walk-in closet with a window in it and reached for the measuring tape. It was FULL of clothes when I saw it, but it measured five by ten. It is the most adorable bedroom for my oldest daughter! She has a twin bed, bookcase and desk nicely arranged in that cozy space. In thinking about an office for your husband…do you have an entry hall closet that could be converted? That could be your answer. I LOVE creating spaces. Could your large current girls room be converted to smaller rooms and baths for your two daughters that need them while putting your other daughters with more flexible personalities in a more flexible playroom type of room that might sometimes be used by others during the day? We all know decluttering never ends, but it is a great idea to find out what is taking up the majority of your storage space inside your house. The man who lived here previously admitted to owning 104 shirts. Every single place that could store clothes did store clothes. They have doubled their mortgage because this house "wasn't big enough". Is it worth it? I think it would be less expensive in the long run to have ten shirts (which is still so much!) and replace them each year and donate the previous year's shirts to charity. Hoping some of this may help you shrink your costs and therefore ease your stress.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 4, 2013

      Elaine, I think you need to come visit me and help me figure this out! Thank you for your words – I'm just about to write an update now.

      Reply
    2. Kelly
      March 4, 2013

      Elaine! Those are great ideas! Rethinking lots over here…

      Reply
  9. Sadee
    March 8, 2013

    I'm so super excited to see what God does!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 8, 2013

      Me too, Sadee. We'll see what He has in mind.

      Reply

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