Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Need a Vacation!

Between all the stress at work and the exhaustion from moving, I'm in dire need of a vacation. I'm pooped! On the bright side, I only have to wait another 7 weeks for a mini vacation. I won a trip to Cancun, Mexico at work by achieving some goals with my team last year. Brittan gets to go with me. It is a 5 day trip beginning April 23. Surely I can hold out that long. Besides I have too much to do in the mean time to think about it.

It's going to be a pretty good trip. It will include plenty of beach as well as nap time. All meals are paid for as well as a dinner cruise and a deep sea fishing excursion. How sweet is that? Roll on, April.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Thursday afternoon, as I was navigating the intolerable greater Atlanta traffic on my homeward journey, I happened to notice an aging bag lady as she pushed a battered Wal Mart shopping cart along the shoulder of U.S. 41 in Kennesaw. She was a perfect stereotype; stoop shouldered and bent in an ancient trench coat and ill fitting woolly cap, she trudged up the highway behind the cart containing what was probably all her worldly possessions. As my eyes followed her movements, my heart ached and my mind raced as I wondered how she ended up that way. What set of circumstances conspired to put her in such an unenviable condition? Was it self inflicted? Did it happen suddenly or was it a slow, painful spiral? Was she sane? Where does she lay her head at night? Did anyone once call her, "darling"? Does anyone really care now?

My mood sank as I considered her plight. A dull ache began in my stomach and spread through me as I realized how easily it could have been me making that lonely slog along some crowded thoroughfare.

More than fifteen years have passed now, but once upon a time, I too, was homeless, jobless and seemingly without a hope in the world. I was more fortunate than some. Friends allowed me to sleep in their living rooms and on the floor in spare bedrooms. And for me, that terrifying time was brief. But for a horrifying few weeks, I lived off the good will of others. And with the exception of a handful of nights, that few knew about until this moment, I had a roof over my head. And on that handful of tear filled nights I had no roof, I at least had my car. Someday, I will chronicle that time in a book, but for now suffice it to say, that my dark time was short lived but unforgettable. I was lucky. I had family who were willing to take me in. And I was able to begin again. With the help of loving parents, willing to take back their broken prodigal, and the phenomenal Grace of an Amazing God, I had the chance to start over. Step by step, brick by brick, my life was rebuilt. Today, that fragile, frightening time is but a distant memory. I am blessed. But do I bless others?

A nail scarred Savior weeps from Heaven's throne room for each broken life. His tears flow for those suffering self inflicted wounds as much as those wounded by the enemy. In His Father's house are many rooms. There are rooms enough for all the weary and burdened. But He needs his family to go and bring them in. Sadly, far too often we watch them trudge along, maybe even hurting for them for a moment. Then the light changes and we drive on.

Oh Jesus. Please hurry. The load is too heavy for too many. Please come get us. If ever all things need to be made new, it is now. Until then help those of us who are blessed to become blessings.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Big Ol' Disaster

In fumbling around trying to fix a font problem on our website, I discovered hundreds of requests for our free Spending Plan .pdf that didn't make it to the email box. Some of them go back to June. Most are from September through yesterday. What a disaster. All of those people probably think I'm a big jerk.

What I will do is begin with the most recent and go backwards, replying one at a time to each inquiry. I will apologize profusely and send the .pdf hoping some will forgive me. Fortunately, the requests were saved in the admin section of the website and I'll be able to check it daily so this problem won't happen again. Still, I feel awful.

A Really Cool Memorial of Yester Year

In IOU NO MORE, I tell a story about Brittan and I cutting up our credit cards when we decided to start down the path to financial freedom. We cut them into a variety of sizes and she placed them in a jar. She tightened the lid and put the jar on a shelf. As we paid off those cards, she'd pull out the jar and we'd have a celebration right in front of the shards. It was weird, but fun.

That was a few years ago now and I'd forgotten all about the jar of plastic remains. I guess I assumed B had thrown the whole lot away some time ago. But, to my wonder and delight, I came home from work the other evening to find the jar and old credit card pieces proudly displayed on a table in my newly decorated home office. It was so cool!

First, it's my dream office. I have the office furniture I've always wanted. It looks really great. And it was paid for with zero debt. The jar of plastic remnants is a great reminder of what used to be and a promise of hope as we build our business helping others learn the joys of becoming and living debt free.

If you find yourself in Acworth, GA stop in. I'd be happy to show off my new office and my old cards.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Murphy Strikes Again

Just when we thought things were beginning to settle down after our move, Murphy rose up and did his evil deed. Sometimes Murphy reminds me of Jason, Michael Myers and Freddie Kruger all rolled into one ugly fiend. He just keeps popping up.

First, a routine oil change uncovered some needed work on my wife's Buick. We shouldn't be surprised since the car is 8 years old and has 120k miles on it. But it was unexpected and would put a dent in the emergency fund. Still, life happens.

So, we get up Saturday morning to get ready to take the car to the shop and discover that our brand new washing machine has a leak and there is water all over the upstairs floor, dripping down into the kitchen. The plumber visit cost more than the washing machine. And we still have to fix the water damage in the ceiling.

We were pretty stressed out most of the day, more because of the damage to our beautiful new home than the money, but we coped. Then, after supper we went to pick up the Buick. After some jovial banter with the manager of the garage he said, "Did I mention to you that you have some seepage in your oil pan?"

Brittan and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. It was that kind of day. Not fun. Not fun at all. At the end of it, our emergency fund has some pretty bad scars, but there were no fatalities and Murphy is once again foiled in his efforts to make this family miserable. It will take a bit to resupply the fund, but we'll manage.

Murpy may never die, but the IOU NO MORE revolution will make his life an unhappy one. And from my perspective, turn about is fair play.