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Financial year in review

Last night, we had our church business meeting. Nothing more exciting to do on a Sunday night than go over finances! Ha. It was good though because it’s a bonding experience with the other committed members–about 1/4 the regular attendees on a weekend. There was something comforting about whittling down a big church to the core, getting to know those you are familiar with better. And it’s exciting to be involved, even if rather innocuously, to the details of our church.

Anyway, just last week we did something similar at our house. We didn’t crunch too many numbers but we had a good discussion about the previous year. As I’ve mentioned before, 2009 was not our favorite year. And financially it was hard. We did get to finish redoing the kitchen, which was the major reason we didn’t have money for pretty much anything else. It’s also the reason we haven’t been able to do a lot of things since we moved into the house. We’ve been holding on tight so that we could afford to do it … some day. Thankfully, that day finally came! I think I felt that now we would be free from this burden. Quite the opposite! Now, we actually spent the money and have some debt to pay off as well. Needless to say, as many can understand, it’s frustrating to have your hands tied. Especially when we want to do “good” things with our money, above and beyond tithing to our church. We are so rich and know there are so many who have needs much greater than our own. And I know that, despite my sour attitude at times about our situation.

At the end of the year, I had my appendix removed. It was an “emergency” and required dr’s vists, er visits and obviously surgery. Lots of little bills that kept piling up. It cost much more than I thought it should, more than $1200. Of course, without insurance it would have been 10X that. But, thankfully, we were able to pay it. So, one thing I brought up in our discussion was maybe we were being too miserly with our money. Maybe if we’d loosen up, God would bless us in that area. Technically we apparently “had” $200/month that we could have spent throughout the year. Maybe if we had used that money to bless others, God would have provided for my surgery. Or maybe I wouldn’t have needed it. Maybe God’s trying to get our attention. My husband thoughtfully said “That’s one way to look at it.” Then explained his side of it: God already was blessing us.

Each month, we spend more money than we make. How is it that we had the $1200 at the end of the year (just before Christmas even)! It’s amazing how reflecting on that one little fact can change your perspective on things. Not that I don’t think we both can’t be right. But instead of feeling like we need to “buy” blessings, which was my attitude before, I truly feel the desire to share with others out of the abundance we’ve been blessed with.

Wordless Wednesday: What is this?

img_3344I was about to throw this out the other day and I thought maybe I could give it a try once more to find out what in the world this kitchen utensil is? I inherited it with several other when cleaning out someone’s kitchen drawers. I never knew what it was, and I’ve never used it! So, if you have a clue, please let me know! It’s driving me cRaZy!

Top it off

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My countertops are installed! They are not hideous, embarrassing or ugly in any way. Woo-hoo! They are, however, more gray than brown in overall color. But, I already knew that so I am not surprised. The contrast with the yellow walls and white cabinets, either way, is beautiful. And Heartland did not disappoint. The installers were friendly and helpful, and they cleaned up when they were finished. I am more excited about this than the historic inauguration that is taking place as we speak! I will post a picture as soon as I can but my camera is broken (I can take a picture just not download it).

As for the inauguration, I will say that Obama taking office is a remarkable event in the history of our nation: How Conservatives Should Celebrate the Inauguration. But I am sad to see Bush go. As many blunders and mistakes that he made over the years, he has done well for our country, as a man of integrity, character and steadfast leadership (despite the mocking opposition over every little detail). He overcame ferocious opposition against a Democratic-controlled Congress to win key battles for faith, family and common sense. Thank you President and Mrs. Bush! I pray God would bless you for your service to our country and protect you in the years to come!

Refrigerator is in place

090101-cabinets-eastMuch to my delighted surprise, while I was out running errands and visiting friends yesterday afternoon, Matt pushed the refrigerator into place. He had cut the necessary hole for the water the day before and the electrician had come on Wednesday to finalize the outlets and switches. That means: No more extension cord! The refrigerator was powered via extension cord in the dining room; I would step on it coming down the stairs, ouch! Overall, what an amazing difference. The kitchen seems so spacious again!

Countertops are ordered!

I was so nervous I was practically shaking, but the countertops are ordered, so it’s done, done, done! I made it before the New Year! That I am thankful for. I feel like I have no idea what they are going to look like … The good news is, I don’t think it’s going to matter too much. It’s only because I was IN LOVE with another color (way out of our league) that I was unsure about the Chicory Mosaic from Formica Solid Surface. And I can’t complain because we did get a great deal. Not only did Heartland match and beat the Lowe’s quote by $100, including a $450 integral sink and a backsplash, but they had four edges to choose from versus Lowe’s one, AND if you pay in full up front, they take off another 5%. Also, because they have the counter in stock at their warehouse, it should be only about two weeks instead of 3 (although the holiday delays things some). A technician is coming on Monday to “template” the countertops to be sure we have exact measurements for everything. It’s going to be wonderful to have horizontal surfaces again. Yay!

Our super duper deal (after initial quote of $3,286)? $2,397

Countertops, countertops, countertops!

I am swimming in countertop choices and options. I got a local countertop/cabinet dealer to beat the Lowes’ quote I received before Christmas by $100 (about $800 below their original quote) on the Chicory Mosaic from Formica Solid Surfacing, and that’s includes a $450 sink. So, that’s the way to go. I’m just feeling unsure about the choice. Not because I don’t like the color, it’s just so hard to know what it’s actually going to look like. Kinda like selecting a paint color based on a 1-inch square. The effect on the room can be totally different then you expect. But I’ve had some experience with paint, and it’s not as expensive if you absolutely hate it. But, I want my countertops! So … I just need to do it. My self-imposed deadline is tomorrow.

On another note, before Christmas, I had called the Sears Outlet Center where I purchased an over-the-range microwave about receiving the mounting hardware we needed. I hadn’t heard from them so I called again today and left another messages. But when I came home from running errands, there was a box on the porch. Hip hip hooray! So far, I absolutely recommend them for your big appliances.

Cabinets are up!

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Minus a few doors (we had some issues with warping so we are looking into weather we need extra hinges or new doors etc), the cabinets are hung, including the island … with doors. We just have a few tricky toe-kicks and some moulding to install. I didn’t want to go too crazy, but I did put some things in our pantry (*inserted excited squeal here*). That also means I can order countertops. Time to make a decision … AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Unless our cabinet company can come up with a better price on it’s high-end solid surface from Staron, Coffee Bean from it’s Tempest line, we’re planning to go with a nice moderately priced solid surface from Formica (who knew?) in Chicory Mosaic. Lowe’s has an excellent sale going on now, with a color upgrade and a free sink. So, while I’d like to order by Friday, it probably have to wait until “next year.” I suppose I can wait a few days longer.