Progress and Pep Talk

Back in January, I wrote:

“this could be our final year”

Today, I’m near certain of it.

Here is what four thousand dollars looks like in LEGOs.

The first couple months this year, we barely met our goal of $1,000 toward our debt snowball. Then we sold our house and put $5,000 toward it! Now that the weight of a second house is lifted, we’ve doubled our goal this month. Amazingly, over half our April income went toward debt. If I seem a little excited (slash apprehensive) it’s because we are living on half of one income!

Even though my life feels a lot like the restaurant scene from Friends, when I look at our budget it doesn’t look like we are giving tons up; we still eat out some, buy fun clothes, pay for internet, order stuff online. The vacuum we bought nine years ago died, our french press broke, and I lost my camera. Can we make do without buying new ones? I managed to survive without my tablet for three months. I taped my glasses until the replacement pair arrived. I got rid of 1,111 things in a minimizing game and am still purging and selling stuff. By the way, know anyone who would love a hand-built barnwood cabinet?

Despite all these victories, some days it’s really difficult for me not to compare circumstances with other people. Pep talk to myself: Keep your eyes on your own ice cream bowl, Reagan. Focus on joy. Make a list of what gives you fulfillment.

  • dreaming and designing
  • making my home
  • inspiring stories
  • getting rid of superfluous stuff
  • scrapbooking (thanks for pointing that one out, Brett)
  • beauty

A random sample of acquisitions and jettisons.

Our calendar was full as well. Field trips to a greenhouse, aquarium, & play. Passover seder meal. Easter egg coloring. Tick treatments. Tilled garden soil. Filled driveway ruts. Finished third grade math. Bonfired and babysat and birthdayed.

Shopping may not be my thing, but finding deals sure makes me happy.


Proverbs 14:30
A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
    but envy makes the bones.

“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.”
― Leo Tolstoy, Family Happiness

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
― from Rudyard Kipling’s “If―”
…just read the whole thing!

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