Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Finances

When I was a child memories of Saturday morning conjure up more than thoughts of my favorite cartoons.

It was the day of the week that learned to avoid my parents.

I remember many Saturdays when Dad got out the checkbook and mom collected her steno notebook and her prized heirloom; the bill basket. I can picture my mother even now, in that avocado green kitchen, standing on her tiptoes reaching for it on the kitchen shelf above the microwave. Often I saw her remove an envelope or two before she sat down in front of my dad at the kitchen table.

She and my father sat hunched over steaming cups of black coffee and a mess of paperwork. I would quietly slip out of earshot despite the fact it was my only chance at cartoon viewing for the week. I knew it wouldn't be long before things got loud.
I didn't like when they fought over money.
It made me feel afraid.
And it made me feel guilty.
I often mused maybe I shouldn't have asked mom to buy me that pack of gum yesterday.
This is how the adolescent mind reasons. We believe that our parents problems are directly related to our actions.

Fast forward to my own marriage.
I had developed a reasonable expectation that money matters were battlegrounds.
Imagine my surprise when finances were a non-issue for us. My new husband was prone to saving rather than spending. He had socks filled with bill rolls, piggy banks for change that we cashed in for "fun" purchases and a savings plan that ensured we lived a practically debt free live.

We may not of had a lot of material possessions on our meager salary but we got by.
and we didn't fight
and I was thrilled.
Until about 3 years ago.

Three years ago, with five children, we made a decision to work for a nonprofit organization. Aaron gave up a relatively small, steady income for a job that would not only be based on his own fundraising skills but started at base zero.


It was in no uncertain terms a leap of faith.
And it was unsustainable.

Now, we've depleted all savings. We live paycheck to paycheck and we are one disaster away from financial ruin. And while it is unbelievably stressful ... and humbling (more on that in the future) ... it remains an area in which we agree it's not worth fighting over.

I've decided to spend Fridays talking about Finances (gasp!) on my blog.
I'll share how we are making ends meet,
how we are not and
how we survive the stress of it all.

Stay tuned for a peek into one of the most very private areas of our life and how I'm determined to live through this season with dignity and grace so that someday my children can look back on these times not as scary and stressful but with a lot of joy and a healthy dose of reality.

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