Carnitas, green salsa, avocado, fresh cilantro
Nitrite/nitrate-free ham, sauteed collard greens, balsamic/garlic-braised Brussels sprouts/beets with pine nuts
Balsamic/garlic-braised Brussels sprouts/beets with pine nuts and shrimp
April was such a busy month! The hubby’s semester has been wrapping up and he’s been very busy with his studies and assignments. And he is doing so well — such a blessing. Right after finals week is his summer class, and then he starts his internship a few weeks later. After ten weeks of that, he gets one week off until the fall semester starts right back up again. No summer vacation for us!
The demand for my line of work skyrocketed too. Every day multiple schedulers would call, desperate to cover jobs. And they gave me some good ones, too, for which I am thankful. But I can’t work outside the home every single day, not while I have a little one to look after.
We celebrated our 8th anniversary and our daughter’s 4th birthday this month by going on a day trip to some touristy towns in our region and cheating on our diets. Then I got mild food poisoning by eating one of my healthy packed lunches that went too long without refrigeration. Maybe that means something…
Nah, it doesn’t. I like eating healthy, but I also like indulging every once in a while. Speaking of which, after having my tooth pulled a month ago, I am finally feeling ready — nay, anxious — to exercise regularly again. So I’m making a mini-goal for this month, to get moving every day and build a little strength.
Contentment. I failed to be content in Christ this month (a lot), but he did bring it to my attention and pressured my heart a little bit (on multiple occasions) to step outside the difficult situation and think objectively about the big picture. What is the big picture? This isn’t forever. God is working in these people’s lives just like He is in mine, maybe in different ways. What matters is how He sees my soul in this moment. In this moment, my sin is covered by Christ. Christ is enough. There are many things I must go without, but my soul does not need them.
Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. I have continued, when possible, the self-training I started with my software. What I’ve learned is so helpful; now it’s a matter of starting new habits and incorporating new ideas, which also takes time!
Pay off credit cards and at least one car. Still have two cards to pay off. But we were blessed just today with the news that a major issue we were having with the hubby’s school and tuition payments was finally resolved… during finals week!
Make music. Nope, nothing again.
Act on the home project urges. My two most urgent home “projects”? Fly paper and cockroach bait! Yup, our apartment officially has not one but two pest problems. The flies aren’t new; that happens every summer. But the cockroaches in the kitchen — that’s new and super unpleasant. Planning to get these together soon. Then maybe I can do a fun project, such as assembling the magnetic spice rack I’ve wanted for years! And more paintings for my daughter’s room.
April has been an eventful month so far.
The paychecks have finally rolled in, praise God, and we have been able to almost catch up to where we left off before that three-month valley. The situation is not ideal by any means, but the bills will be paid.
I had a wisdom tooth removed four days ago, and boy, recovery has been rough. But normal life must start up again next week, so I’m hoping the swelling and headache will dissipate over the weekend. Of course our daughter conveniently decided to have a growth spurt during this time, so she has been skipping naps (read: no naps for mom) and asking for food basically every hour (read: movement ughh). I’m certain she’s going to be a giant.
The hubby landed a paid internship at a well-known retail company a couple weeks ago, and we are thrilled! It’ll be ten weeks long starting in June and may turn into a secured management position when he graduates in A YEAR, Lord willing! Trying to keep my feet on the ground here.
Contentment. I was tested this month for sure. Marriage, money, health, parenting — every day is full of opportunities to either complain or be content. Particularly with marriage; not that it’s been awful or anything, but it’s not a fairy tale by any means… not even in that cute, “real” way that is often talked about. But it occurred to me that my heart is seeking after something — a feeling, a reality, a security — that I will not find in another human who is not Jesus. But you know what? I will absolutely find satisfaction in Jesus, no matter the need or want. Marriage is not the fairy tale; Jesus is the fairy tale!
Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. Just today I started a little bit of self-directed training with my software. I’ve decided that the goal of getting familiar with my software will be met when I come to the point when I’ve done all I can to learn it by myself and must then reach out to experienced reporters. This is fresh motivation.
Pay off credit cards and at least one car. We paid off two of our four cards already this month! After we file our taxes we’ll have a better idea of how much we can put toward the remaining accounts. I revised this goal a little because that’s what we decided is best right now while paying off debt. We’d love to pay our student loans first, but the cars have higher interest, so those are going first.
Make music. Nope, nothing here.
Act on the home project urges. Well, it’s only now that I can even consider home projects. Easter is around the corner and I wanted to make some decorations, in addition to my daughter’s birthday gift(s), but it’s not planned out in the budget yet. Hopefully I’ll have something to report next month.
Not much to report this month; just a lot of waiting and trusting while yet again we experience a financial collapse. The Lord will provide everything we need; but it has been hard for me to exercise patience and self-control. I want to reduce expenses left and right — trade in the cars! downsize! sell the TV, computers, furniture, everything! if it’s not tied to survival, it goes right out the door! use that money to pay down debt! Let’s get OUT of this mess now!
Alas, I am not in charge of my own life, and there are others besides myself not given to such extreme action. I often behave as though my feelings are justified; I shouldn’t have to work so hard for things I don’t want. It runs deep. Lord, I pray this is temporary.
The idol has been identified: SIMPLICITY. Oh, how I would love to live as simply as possible, as minimally and sustainably as possible. Maybe someday. (Maybe not even in this life.) At the end of the day, God is preparing a special place for me in heaven, and He knows me best. Maybe this place is a quiet little house surrounded by green, with lots of open windows and sunlight and no noise except chirping birds and an orange kitty’s purr.
Contentment. Whew, this one has been hard this month. But maybe not the whole month. In the hills and valleys of financial struggle, we’re in a pretty deep valley, one drawn out over the course of a few months. God has supplied me with peace and, thankfully, a lot of work that will pay well starting later this month. We will survive. However, there is a second major difficulty that is taking so long to solve right now and it’s causing us to use up what we saved for taxes just to get by. Now that the hubby and I are on board with getting rid of debt, we have felt pretty discouraged that we’re heading in the opposite direction.
Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. My TX license came in the mail this month, so I can officially fly there on a whim if I wanted and take work! It is a comfort that if all else just totally failed big and we had to flee our expensive state for the sake of our bank accounts, we could.
Pay off credit cards, hubby’s student loans, and one car. Ugh, just don’t remind me.
Make music. I finished that one awful transcript (it seriously holds the record) and….. well, I have had constant transcripts since. So thankful for the work — we need it now more than ever! — but I haven’t had a lot of goof-off time as a result.
Act on the home project urges. So many ideas are coursing through my head, foremost among which is a special painting I’ve wanted to put together for our daughter. Hopefully I’ll afford the supplies and the time to paint it in time for her birthday. Otherwise, yeah…. still no money.
Since meal planning is a perpetual source of frustration in my house — and I know I’m not alone — I figured I’d help others out with some of the meals we end up eating. There is no distinction between breakfast, lunch, or dinner when you eat nothing but meat/fish, vegetables, some fruit/nuts, and healthy fats.
The purpose of this is also so when (not if) I’m in another meal-planning rut, I can look back on this food journal of sorts and get some ideas… and get hungry.
Fried rockfish, browned/sauteed Brussels sprouts, sauteed (until crisp) baby greens, butter
Baked meatballs (grass-fed beef and ground turkey), steamed green beans, sweet potato hash, butter
Sauteed cinnamon butternut squash, browned garlic Brussels sprouts, bacon pieces, butter
Has it been a month already? And then some, I guess, since we’re already a few days into February.
January was a nutso month. All the jobs I was assigned to were very long and difficult; so in spite of working less frequently, I felt like I was working harder than ever. Also, the paychecks ran out thanks to November’s work lull, and we are feeling the full effects. Praying it doesn’t last and that we can catch up soon.
I always hated February growing up because it was cold and dull and everybody managed to get really sick. This year is different. Not only is our collective immunity higher than it’s ever been, but our outlook has changed. Our relationships to God have grown a bit; our marriage is more mature; we can see light at the end of this dreary school-debt-work-struggle tunnel now that my hubby is about a year away from graduating. (It’s also his birthday in a few days and I still don’t have a plan! Help!)
Of course, this financial struggle may not end. I must check myself because my ultimate goal in this life cannot be financial security/stability. It’s a good thing for which we are hoping and praying, but it is not honoring to the Lord if we place our faith in that instead of Him. He alone provides everything, whether it be money or the feeling of security. However, we must meet Him on His terms for it, making personal holiness/Christlikeness our goal rather than placing all efforts toward an orderly life. It is important to be good stewards of what the Lord provides to us; thus we will continue pursuing a better situation than we are in. But whatever He gives will be out of His grace, whether it’s comfortable or not.
Anyway, I love pink roses and this is the best time of year to embellish my surroundings with them.
Contentment. The accountability of public posts on a blog is working. Lately every time I am about to complain or react to things in anger and frustration, I think about the fact that I am ultimately discontent with the Lord in the situation. Oof, that’s a punch in the gut, right?
Obtain Texas CSR license and RPR Certification; get familiar with my realtime software; proactively incorporate more briefs. Praise God! I flew to Texas for four days, took the test, and passed! I expect my actual license won’t come for another six weeks or so, but this is still something to celebrate. The minute we catch up on our bills, I will be registering for the RPR next. Now that I know I can handle 225 words per minute in a test situation, I’m not afraid to take it. Regarding briefs — that’s a term in my field that refers to shortening even further the shorthand we write in. I need to be faster to be a realtime streamer, and this simple technique can enable it… if I’m intentional about it.
Pay off credit cards, hubby’s student loans, and one car. So we are starting on a bad foot… a really bad foot. We have time to catch up, I think, but it’s killing the overachiever in me to be patient while we don’t climb out of the hole at my pace. This is a constant process of yielding up each situation to God.
Make music. Still haven’t touched my instruments yet; maybe I will if I finish scoping my current transcript (which is, hands down, the worst one I’ve ever had in my two-year career).
Act on the home project urges. Well, home projects require either money or time, often both. I had neither money nor time this last month, so I’ll try again in February. With springtime approaching, it’s a good time for cleaning stuff out and making the home more functional.