May Goals

May Goals // stephanieorefice.net

Happy Friday, everyone. This weekend I’m out at camp with a bunch of teenagers from my church for a Bible Bowl competition! Wish us luck :)

It’s time for May Goals. It’s a little tiny bit heartbreaking to look at my April Goals, so I’m not going to recap them. Despite April looking NOTHING like I’d imagined it to look, I was pretty successful at sticking to my goals. Just trust me. Let’s move forward and not look back because I’m not going backwards.

In honor of 5 on Friday, I’m only doing 5 May goals.

  1. Stay caught up on my Bible in 6 month reading plan
    So far I’ve been doing a really great job, a month into it. I’m using a plan on the YouVersion app, and I LOVE being able to check things off of my phone so I am not relying on a piece of paper tucked into my big Bible.
  2. Send 10 pieces of mail
    My friends have been so kind and so gracious to me, and I want them to know how much I love and appreciate them.
  3. Lose 5 pounds
    I recently realized that my slow and steady weight loss has added up to a pretty big number, and I want to be intentional about keeping the momentum going.
  4. Redeem my Swagbucks
    I currently have 12,046 Swagbucks… enough for $120 in gift cards! I’m on a big debt repayment mission (more on that later) and I want to figure out how to use my Swagbucks in a useful way. Have you ever used Swagbucks? I swear by it.
  5. Read a book
    One of my last month’s goals was to read a book… but let’s be real. I’ve spent all month being so incredibly busy that I haven’t stopped to read anything other than my Bible, but this month I want to slow down.

Linking up with:
Bright on a BudgetThat Friday Blog HopThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Five on Friday, Five things Friday

All about debt repayment

Hey. Let’s have a talk.

You know my friend Ernie? The self-employed musician? The dude can hustle. As I’ve grown closer and closer to the Halters, he’s started sharing his financial advice with me. And I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how smart he is with money and how inspiring that is….

and I decided that I want to be debt free.

Ernie and I were texting the other day. And I told him how I used to think the whole point of getting money was to spend it, and now I see that the point of money is to utilize it. I had this moment where I was looking at a big dentist bill and I thought “I wish I made enough money to take care of this,” and I realized… I DO make enough money to take care of it, the problem is that my money is tied up or spent elsewhere. In my life money tends to be spent instead of utilized.

I’ve spent the past few months reading about debt repayment and passive income. and I’ve decided that I want to embark on the debt free journey and I want to drag all of you along with me. That means I’m going to have to be honest and accountable, right?

I am currently $23,983 in debt, divided 3 different ways:

$20,775 is my car.
$1,809 is my dental credit line.
$1,399 is my credit card.

One big debt and two smaller debts. I know that according to the whole Dave Ramsey thing, I should be paying off the credit card first (hi Travis!!) but the dental credit line has an interest rate of 20%! Yikes! I want to get rid of that ASAP because that is kiiillllliiiinnnnggggg me.

Each month, I’ll post an income report – what I made, where I spent it, and my finance goals for the next month. Since this is my first one, here are my very gracious May budget goals because you have to start somewhere. 

May 2015 Finance Goals // stephanieorefice.net

May Goals

Debt Repayment:
Put $150 of my income towards my dental credit ($75/paycheck).

Budget Limits:
Spend no more than $20 at Target, with the exception of gifts.
Spend no more than $40 on birthday/graduation gifts.
Spend no more than $80 on coffee (summer = iced coffee = buying coffee.. shh)

Side hustle goals:
Try to make $40 on the side to put towards my dental credit.

 

Part of me is so sad it’s taken me so long to get serious about paying off debt and being wise with my money.. but at the same time, I’m just glad something finally clicked and I have people who are wise with their money to look to.

Are any of you on a debt repayment journey? How has it been going? Any tips/pointers/etc you want to pass on?

God will never…

My FAVORITE part of this current season is the way I’ve leaned hard on my friends. I’ve basically trust fall-ed with them over and over and over again. And they LOVE me, despite it. One of the most freeing things that anyone has spoken into my life the past few weeks was texted to me by my friend Krystin.

She said this:

WHAT.

 

Have you ever played the youth group game “Bigger or better?” The whole idea is that you start with something small – maybe a penny or whatever – and then you go around and ask someone to take your penny and trade it for something bigger or better. Maybe they give you a nickel or maybe they give you a goldfish. Then you take the goldfish and go to someone else and ask them to give you something bigger or better, and maybe you get a lawn chair. And so on and so forth.

God’s like the universal bigger or better champ.

The hands down, undisputed champ.

But it’s not always easy, because sometimes in order to get the “bigger or better” we have to get rid of something.

Like Job. Job had all of this great stuff, all of these blessings, and then it was gone and he was being tested and tried and it seemed really crappy. But in the end, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.” (Job 42:12)

God took the silver and gave Job the gold.

But he won’t do the opposite. God’s not a tease. He won’t dangle his best in front of me and then pull it away the moment I get close enough and replace it with something that is subpar. That’s just not what God does. Always bigger or better. But it depends on how we look at it.

If I had traded up to a brand new MacBook Pro and then someone traded me the new computer for a folded piece of paper, I’d probably be ultra pissed…. until I opened it and saw a $10,000 check. More than just a piece of paper, but definitely disappointing if I was expecting the next upgrade to be a car, you know?

I guess we need to trust that God is the bigger or better champ, and let go of expectations and go back to TRUSTING.

That’s what I’m trying to trust:
What I’ve seen is either the gold, and it will come back around so long as I am faithful.
or more likely, what I’ve seen is the silver and God is going to massively upgrade me… so long as I am faithful.

God will never show you the gold and give you the silver // stephanieorefice.net

38.2 down.

The other day, I stood on the scale. I looked at the number and thought, “okay I’ve lost like .5 lbs since the last time I stepped on the scale. Nothing too great.”

So I pulled out my calculator and typed in my highest weight and subtracted the number I saw when I stepped on the scale… and you know what the difference was? Check this:

weight loss // stephanieorefice.net

 

WHAAATTTT!!!!! Y’all. That is INSANE to me. It’s been a slow, steady, almost unintentional progress. and it’s been divided up into phases. There have been times when I’ve lost 10 pounds and then gained 4 of them back and have just stayed at a 6 pound loss. Then a year or so later I’d go through the whole process again.

But the general trend, obviously, has been down.

and holy crap, almost 40 pounds, mostly by removing dairy and gluten and being aware of what I eat? IMAGINE what would happen if I decided to be intentional about it!

I’m definitely not going to turn into a weight loss/fitness blog, but I got SO EXCITED to share this small success with people that I realized I’d love to continue to write about it and maybe even become more intentional with attempting to lose weight.

You know what this small weight loss accomplishment makes me think of? It makes me think of this whole healing/letting it go process.

I’m not going to wake up and have shed the heavy weight of a hurting heart, but every day I can make small decisions that will slowly but surely bring me to a place where I’ve released a lot of the burden I carry around with me every day. Slow and steady. Tiny decisions. 

all the ways I’m loved

Like I’ve said before, I’m not giving Satan the glory of my broken heart. I refuse. My friends have all been giving me permission to just BE; to allow myself to hurt and process and miss him.. but they’ve also been reassuring me of who I am.

I’ve been really quick to reach out to people. No, seriously.

In the past 3 weeks, I’ve invited myself to 9 people’s houses. I’ve had coffee with 9 people, have stayed at someone else’s house 6 of those nights and had meals with 7 people.

What.

That’s crazy.

I’m really super asking my friends to not let me lose sight of who I am, because this breakup is hitting me hard, for a variety of reasons that don’t need to be blasted on the internet. And dang, y’all. My friends show up.

One day I was walking up the porch of my house and I saw sitting on the porch a little box with pink writing on it from my friend Katie.

all the ways i'm loved // stephanieorefice.net

So I sat and cried for a little bit, because I really really really needed that little box. I didn’t even know what was in it but I cried tears of joy that someone like Katie could love someone like me.

all the ways i'm loved // stephanieorefice.net

and then I sat ugly crying as I looked through the care package she had sent me – including a beautifully sparkly card and a letter with one of my favorite Bible verses in it. Seriously. I deserve none of this.

all the ways i'm loved // stephanieorefice.net

My mom was out of town so I was forced to stay home. I decided I wanted to have a sleepover with the Holy Spirit, so I grabbed a bunch of blankets and my Bible and some tea and refused to fall asleep until he showed up with the peace that surpasses understanding.

I was drinking tea out of a mug Kristen gave me, and sleeping under a blanket that Jami made me years ago and my favorite heart quilt that my friend Jessica made for me. and I laid there quietly, listening to the hum of the fireplace, and I said “God, why does one person’s opinion matter so much to me when so many people have gone out of their way to show me all the ways I’m loved?”

all the ways i'm loved // stephanieorefice.net

I am making mental note of it. It being all the ways I’m loved. I’m continuing to invite myself, to keep my suitcase packed, to always be down for squeezing in coffee. When the ever decreasing pain of losing someone close to me starts to creep in, I surround my heart with all the ways I’m loved – the texts, the blankets, the bracelets, the mugs, the care packages, the phone calls, the FaceTimes, the coffee, the guest bedrooms and spare pajamas because it’s too cold to get my suitcase, the meals, the time….

The lie I’ve been at risk to believe is that I’m broken and fragmented. To some extent I am broken, but I’m fall on my knees broken, not “poorly pieced together” broken. But I am a whole person. I am one whole, healthy human being who has all the love that my heart can stand (to paraphrase John Mayer). And when I think I’ve reached the end of the love people have available for me, someone opens up a secret door and I discover a whole new wing of love. It’s blowing my mind.

This is true love. This is the love that heals things and changes things and inspires masterpieces. This is the love people sing about and seek after. It’s unconditional, selfless love.

This is my song for my people, for my tribe, for my hand holder uppers.