Another One Bites the Dust

And by another one I most certainly mean another student loan!!!! We paid off a $9,300 student loan in like 4 months!!! WHOOHOOO!!!! Glory be to GOD!!!

We moved in last July to Luke’s parents’ house with six student loans and now we are down to two!!! That is so exciting right?!?!?! But the embarrassing and disappointing part is we paid off that student loan on June 5th and it has taken me this long to boast about the Lord’s provision and blessings! I want to be the person that shouts of His blessings off of the rooftops and I’m disappointed it took me so long to shout it from my proverbial rooftop…aka this blog.

I feel like I have had a split personality the last couple of weeks in paying off this student loan. Part of me was ridiculously ecstatic, especially since the Lord really came through in helping us make it happen (more on that in a minute). And part of me couldn’t help but think, yeah that’s great, but the two loans left are the giant ones and our time here is growing short. I really let other people’s my own doubt get to me.

I have to say I have always been quite the Doubting Thomas (John 20:24–29), a see it to believe it kind’ve person and have been very comforted in the way Jesus loved Thomas. And I’ve never been quite sure what the Lord’s promise has been with this debt. I know I distinctly heard or felt God telling me to trust Him in paying off the loans. But if I am being really honest, I believe He said He would do it this year… and let’s be real, the Lord asking me to trust Him in taking care of my debt…yeah I can get behind that, I can believe that because I know and trust that the Lord loves me and will work everything out according to His will and glory, but to believe that He is going to do it in a specific time frame sounds well…nuts, crazy, made up in my head, maybe even wishful thinking… especially when that timeframe is rapidly approaching and the thought of debt being gone is a sweet sweet dream… a deep desire of my heart. It weighs on me in a way I can’t explain and it makes me feel like a decision I made 10 years ago is slowing me down from doing what God is calling me to do today… those longings He placed on my heart to serve Him, bring Him glory, and love others the way He has loved me are dim shadows of what they could be. (Now I know that the Lord can do whatever He wants whenever He wants and have no doubt in my mind that He is absolutely using this debt for His good purpose, yet I still feel longing in my heart to move forward, to serve, and love in those specific ways.)

That split personality was rearing its ugly head this last two weeks. Some of the people I shared our newest payoff with were excited for me, but continuously made suggestions and comments that made me feel like they clearly didn’t think God was going to make this miracle happen. Which partially made me think I was crazy for even thinking it was possible, but also partially fueled the flame of my belief. More and more I felt the Lord encouraging me to seek the impossible, believe the impossible, to believe in a Sun Standing Still kind’ve miracle. The Sun Stand Still idea comes from Joshua 10:12-13, where Joshua asked the Lord to stop the sun and moon from moving until they won a battle and the Lord did it! He made the impossible happen. This has come to me now two separate times in the last few weeks and I have never heard of it before. I read a random blog on Pinterest or Facebook about buying a house from an author I had no idea was a Christian, where she talked about having a Sun Stand Still prayer to the Lord and then a couple days ago again, someone I know on Facebook wrote about a book that is called something like Sun Stand Still, and showed a quote from the book about how if we aren’t believing God for the impossible then we are wasting our faith and not truly seeing His power and might. I am also currently reading the book of Joshua and God has been calling me to be strong and courageous  over and over again (AND WOW! I am continually in awe of how God uses the writing of this blog to grow my faith! SO cool! Just writing this reminds me of how He continual speaks into my life.)

I have to say I have been so excited to trust the Lord with paying off these loans and to tell you about it, but as the days went by and I didn’t make time to write, my enthusiasm dwindled little by little and doubt began to creep in. It has been a very busy two weeks, finishing the school year, being in a friend’s wedding, and starting summer school made it a little overwhelming. But in writing my flame is rekindled and I am declaring here and now to believe the Lord for the impossible! $30,000+ more paid off by the end of this year! Who will believe God for the impossible with me?!?!? What is your SUN STAND STILL prayer? Let’s pray together for each other!

Speaking of praying for the impossible, please pray with me for a friend…Her name is Allison and she is 5 months pregnant and she just found out she has leukemia. Please pray for complete healing and safety for her and her baby and strength and guidance for her husband. Thank you!

Leave your prayers in the comments! I will be praying for you!


Tithing during Debt

Disclaimer: This post is in no way a prescription of how to tithe at any time…it is simply a call to seek the Lord, pray, and search the Word in all times to find how the Lord would like you to give at any given time, specifically during times of hardship or struggle.


It’s about time, right?!?!? I believe this post came to mind two or more months ago… It was just a brief thought I had because of a comment on one of my posts. I thought maybe it would be helpful for someone to hear what we did to figure out how the Lord wanted us to give at this time in our lives. So hopefully it will be helpful to someone!

I really like to tithe…I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not or a weird thing or not… I say that because I like all things to be under-control, to know exactly what’s expected of me, and to be able to do them easily and quickly. And that’s exactly what tithing is… or at least so I thought. See I struggle in knowing exactly what God wants me to do, I think many people do… or at least I hope it’s not just me… Anyway I struggle with practical application of things, like what does forgiveness actually look like in really life, what does grace mean or what does it mean for me to extend grace… How do I have healthy boundaries and not be selfish? These things plague me constantly…I want DESPERATELY to know exactly what it means to obey God and how to do it and I want to be able to do it right away. I really really  want to be obedient to Christ. But I have this problem… well I have lots of problems namely being sinful, but the specific problem I have is needing to really understand what to do and how it looks and every little detail. I am very detail-oriented… (Side-note does anyone else feel like all of the good things about them are also severe downfalls?!?!?!?identity crisis) So sometimes I don’t do anything because I don’t know where to start or understand exactly what I’m supposed to do… I suppose faith and trust come in here somewhere… oh man…

All that to say tithing seemed very straight-forward to me… you give 10% of your income… that I could do! Yes, it is money and I wouldn’t have it anymore and that sucks when you want to buy something or money is tight, BUT it was something I could physically do and I could do it RIGHT and obey the Lord. Let me tell you, I was STOKED!!! So while I’m over here trying to figure out all the messy stuff with the Lord at least I was obedient in something right? Right? Well then I heard people talking about tithing from your gross income, not your take home income and I kinda freaked out… DANG IT!!!! I wasn’t doing it right after all… You are supposed to give from your FIRST fruits… I didn’t want to be like Cain (dramatic I know)… but could we afford to give more… I didn’t know, but it is ALL God’s money after all. So Luke and I prayed about it and discussed it A LOT and we decide of course we wanted to give of our first fruits. So we started tithing 10% of our gross income. FUEW! Crisis averted… we were being obedient! Or so I thought…hoped. Granted I knew already that God is all about the heart of the giver and that was the most important part, but I really like to give as it is so I didn’t feel quite so much like a Pharisee. My heart was ready and willing to give. Plus my husband praised that about me, so I felt like I had maybe one quality of that ever elusive Proverbs 31 woman.

Then there was another curve ball… moving in with the in-laws to take on paying off our debt full-time and as intensely as we possibly could. So we could go on paying our tithe just like we planned or we could do something different…Luke brought this up as we were making our new budget for our new way of living… Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I bristled…WHAT?!?!? Could you actually be suggesting we don’t tithe? I thought he had lost his mind or at least his faith (again dramatic I. KNOW.) He asked me to chill out…grrr… and hear him out… I will admit I wasn’t that friendly about listening, but I did try. He had talked to some Christ-followers that we really respect and they had suggested that maybe tithing wasn’t such a perfect formula like I had thought.

So we decide to spend some time praying about it and seeking the Lord before we made any decisions about our new budget. It REALLY stressed me out! So thankfully God led me to Himself and I picked up my Bible and did a search on the words tithing and giving. I was shocked at what I found. I felt the Lord lovingly whispering to my heart that not everything or maybe nothing fits into my perfect little box… maybe faith and being obedient was a little more messy. (I have to admit I am always a little surprised when God lovingly whispers something to me, I always think God is somehow as frustrated with my slowness as I am, thankfully He is patient, loving, merciful, and compassionate.) God showed me that giving is so important and that He loves a cheerful giver 2 Corinthians 6-8. He also showed me that giving in this time might look different than it has before, He has called us to be faithful and give to those in need. The most important thing I felt God showed me was that I could trust Him to show me when and how to give, not just with money, but with my time, and talents. And He has been so faithful, I have occasionally stressed about what and how to give, but He clearly revealed the times He wanted us to give. It’s been messy and does not fit in the nice neat box I wanted it to, but we are trusting the Lord. Practically, because I LOVE practical applications, we prayerfully decided to tithe from Luke’s pay since we are living off of his paycheck and decide to give according to what the Lord puts on our hearts with everything else, which sometimes looks like donating to an organization or helping with a fundraiser or giving to help the Lord’s plan in some else’s life or buying someone coffee.

Pastor PJ Lewis gave me a great reminder of this and greatly put it all into perspective in this sermon (Tithing is talked about about halfway through this sermon). God wants us to give generously, sacrificially, and without guilt. Seek the Lord in how, where, and in how much He wants you to give with your time, treasure, and talents. He is faithful to answer.



A WHOLE flippin’ Month

First let me say…oops! It’s been an entire month since I last blogged!!!  I seriously need some accountability here folks…HEEEELLLLPPP….pretty please (insert angelic smile here)…don’t let me go more than two weeks without yelling out for a new blog please LOL…( I ask for this mainly because I committed to do this unto the Lord and I really want to honor that). Help a girl out if you can.

When I last wrote I already had a new topic in mind and I thought I was ready to start writing and then the week before spring break happened and work was absolutely crazy…finalizing grades, report cards, an on campus field trip (the Zoo Mobile came, super awesome by the way! If you are a teacher in the Central Valley, I’d love to share more info about it and you can look it up here.) and Open House…plus all the regular teacher stuff! Let me say, spring break was worked for! Then during spring break I kept meaning to write, but it was spring break, ya know 😉

And time just continued on and I wasn’t sure about my topic anymore, I thought I already had the research done on it, but then I couldn’t find the notes I had and doubt crept in…does anyone really want to hear about my thoughts on tithing during times of financial strain or debt payoff???? And does God even want me to write about it and does it go along with recording God’s faithfulness, which is the mission of this blog…even as I am writing this I feel like DUH! BaCall yes! That is why you were going to write about it in the first place (the God’s faithfulness part, not necessarily the people want to read it part, maybe hopefully you do)…

How easily I forget His faithfulness in my doubt… GRRRRR so frustrating how easily we or should I say I forget the blessings of His faithfulness. I think I have been doubting forgetting His truths and faithfulness a lot lately… in writing this blog, what to write about on the blog, paying off debt or should I say trusting that someday we will be done paying off this debt, if we are where we should be to benefit our future and our marriage, that this all isn’t for nothing…and you see this could go on all day. A sort of funk settled in around me in this month, a depression if you will and thankfully God is even faithful in the funk. He has, twice now in the last week, at the depths of the funk pulled me out and pointed me right back to Him! I’m still quite in awe of it actually. In both circumstances it was rather instantaneous, which I can honestly say hasn’t happened to me before. I was getting ready to drown in depression and then instantly I was looking up.

There is this painting on my wall that really has been cementing in my mind God’s faithfulness in this situation particularly…I’m not quite there yet, but this painting keeps bringing me back to…this is God’s work and God’s plan, He put me here to abide in Him. The painting is a take on John 15:16 (the bottom picture below). It says, just in case you can’t read it…I chose you. I wanted you. I appointed you. I set you where you are.

It just keeps speaking to me over and over. He wants me, He chose me, and what speaks so loudly now is He set me right where I am to do what He has for me. I’m so thankful for this art and the way the Lord has used it to speak to my heart. I am renewed. (The top picture was made for me, my favorite lyric ever! Both were made by the lovely and very talented Jen Bell, you can find her work here on Instagram. Thank you Jen, such a blessing!) The funny thing is I didn’t buy the painting for the verse, at the time I just loves the colors and the background and now this verse is coming alive! Love that!

And all this doubt right on the tail of such a huge answer to prayer in my last blog! I feel like such a dork…anyway I am going to write said blog about tithing, within the next two weeks (I do need to find the verses again, since I lost them). Hold me to it. It really is a cool story of God’s answer to prayers and faithfulness.

And with that said, I will give you a little update on how paying off the debt is going. No big news to report, but we are moving right along at a steady pace. April has been a decent or normal month for us, we haven’t had any major expected or unexpected expenses and haven’t gone haywire on buying anything unnecessary or out of our monthly budget. With baby showers, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties right around the corner we did have to make some room in our budget to shower those dearest to us (here and soon-to-be here:) with love, which is so very important to Luke and I. *Side note: I am so very blessed and thankful to have a husband that loves that I love to shower others with love and that is so generous and loves to bless others. Lots of love in this side not…hahaha! 

Back to our update… we are currently on track to payoff our next loan in June or July! Whoo Hoo!!! We would of course love to pay it off sooner if possible so that we can start working on the giant loan we have next in the line up…$30,000+ YIKES!!! That’s the one that haunts my thoughts and nightmares… a little dramatic I know…and a little true too…that’s another reason to trust the Lord right?!?!

Prayers as always are very much appreciated and if you need prayer feel free to comment below! I would LOVE for this to become a community of people that pray for each other!



A Miracle in March Madness

This month has been a roller coaster ride and if you know me, you might know I am NOT a fan of roller coasters! Mainly because I have massive motion sickness problems, but also because I don’t have any idea why people like that feeling in your stomach when you go down a big drop…crazies!  Likewise I’m not a huge fan of things not going the way I planned and this month has been anything, but according to plan…which I can now honestly say I’m thankful for!

It started with us thinking that we wouldn’t be able to pay any extra on our debt this month because of some expected and unexpected expenses, read more about that here. That was definitely NOT according to my plan! I was pretty bummed out at first, but I decided that God is faithful even if we don’t have the money to pay extra on the loans this month…through His mercy and grace I was able to believe that it was an opportunity for God to reveal His glory even more. During this conversation with God (the process of going from bummed out to believing God is still faithful despite circumstance), I asked in a pondering sort of way, if He planned to use miracles to pay off any of this debt or if it was going to be more of a faithfully chipping away at the debt a little at a time, over time. I’m not sure if it was even a direct question that I expected an answer to…the best way I can describe it is a pondering of how the Lord would work in this situation. Over time I was sure to get His answer, but I never expected it to come so soon or so clearly.

The next day, not thinking anything of our previous conversation I stumbled upon His answer. It was clear and directly an answer to my pondering. A card with my name on the front in my box…I opened it without a second thought (maybe a baby or bridal shower invite, a thank you card, a note from a student or a fellow teacher), but in this envelope was so much more than I ever expected. It was a miracle, an answer from the Lord in my hands! I can’t ever remember an answer to a prayer being so specifically answered, especially for something I frequently consider my fault, my problem, my mess and silly or even frivolous to even bring up to others (good thing the Lord has other plans or else this blog wouldn’t even be here sharing this miracle :/). Now that I have effectively built up suspense… in the envelope was this beautiful card with $200 dollars inside.


Everything about this card was perfect. I absolutely LOVE what it says “If we could see it all… we would be amazed at what God has planned for us! Believing with you for God’s best!” WOW! talk about an answer to prayer and what a blessing to get a donation to help with our debt! He spoke right to me through this wonderfully amazing faithful person! I was so overwhelmed by this miracle I instantly started balling hysterically and Face Timed Luke, who thought I was dying hehehe…I guess joyful tears don’t look that different from “I’m dying” tears via Face Time. I was very overcome and couldn’t really speak, I’m what you would call an emotional person, so I just showed him the card. We both just marveled over God’s faithfulness and this amazing person’s obedience and love. I still can’t get over it. I’m teary-eyed now. I am so very very thankful that you answered His call and showed me your love and His answer to my little pondering. Thank you my dear dear anonymous card giver!!! You are so very special to my heart! I appreciate you more than words can ever express. This most certainly helps with our “March Madness”!!!

I wanted to start this blog to record the Lord’s faithfulness. So that I could look back at the end of this year and see all of the amazing things He has done for me (even though He has no need to do so other than He loves me personally). This one miracle makes the whole blog for me. It is now worth continuously coming back and marveling at the glorious God we serve.

But He did not stop there…our taxes were surprisingly a few hundred dollars less than we were originally told and somehow our estimates for refilling our emergency fund and paying for the car to be fixed were off. To be honest, I still really don’t understand how the numbers worked the way they did, we were quite diligent in preparing for how much we needed to spend this month. And yet we have around $1,200 extra to put towards the student loans this month. The Lord just keeps on surprising me with His faithfulness! Thank you Lord!!! And thank you again to my miracle giver!

Can’t wait to see what else the Lord has in store and I am so happy to have you on this journey with me! Thank you for reading!! Please continue praying with us for trust and faith in the Lord and funds to wipe out this debt for good!!! And if you need some prayer, please feel free to put it in the comment section! Let’s pray for each other!


Still Faithful

At the tail end of my last post I mentioned that not all things can be planned for and somethings are still going to have to be paid for with money. that. should. go. to. student. loans…I’m cringing over here right now…

The beginning of this month we praised the Lord for the $8,000+ student loan we paid off! I’m still thanking God over here for that one! Can I get an AMEN!?!?!

We are called to trust the Lord in the more than we expected and the oh crap this really sucks. So here I am deciding to trust Him when things aren’t looking the way I hoped for…Taxes, car trouble, and a husband going back to school are all costing a lot of money that we planned to spend on paying off student loans.

After paying off the loan at the beginning of February, we were all pumped to start saving for our next loan (about $9,500). I had grandiose dreams of paying it off in 2 or 3 months and was even dreaming of the ways God would bring us the extra money. In reality and with the largest amount we are able to save monthly it would take us about four months to pay off (with perfect saving and no divine intervention). Then the unfortunate news started to roll in…the first one we were taken mostly by surprise…

Every year that we have been married we received $1,000 – $4,000 back in tax returns. I, being my nervous, worse case scenario self  (I like to call this realism), worried that this year might not be the same, but that was mostly in the back of my mind and thought God said to trust Him…maybe we will get a ton of money back to pay off another loan! A girl can dream…maybe you are starting to see the split personality I live within… Well as you might now expect, my negative side won out and we owed money! A lot of money, well to me at least, $1,100. That is almost half of what we put extra towards student loans each month!!! I may have freaked out for a second, but I am glad to say my next thought was, God is still faithful, He has us! And I have continued to believe Him most of the time.

The other two things are much less of a surprise, but nonetheless suck! In December we decided that Luke would go back to school to get his computer engineering degree…my man is a smartie pants! While I am super excited that he has found what he wants to do and I am so thankfully he is pursuing something he loves to support our family, I found myself a little nervous. Between the up front cost of school and the LARGE amount of time and energy it takes to work full time and go to school full time, I worried for us financially and relationally. But God made it a rather clear answer to our prayers for direction. (PS I say up front cost because Luke’s job will pay back the money we spend on school eventually. Yay! What a blessing!) So he began school this semester and we paid for all of his classes before we even paid off the loan, which was amazing! But after we paid the loan a bunch of unexpected school related costs started to spring up that we hadn’t planned on and it started to suck up a lot of money. Thank the Lord and Dave Ramsey for our $1,000 emergency fund or else we would have been in trouble! There went a few more hundred dollars…

Then it started to warm up…you know those couple of warmer days last week or maybe the week before…what can you do spring in February…thanks California…well we already knew that Luke’s air conditioner wasn’t working and then it warmed up. So we decided that needed to be fixed ASAP since his truck is our “good” car. Next he had a problem with his exhaust… it had to be fixed. Just like that another few hundred dollars gone.

If you were totaling that up with me you can see our emergency fund is almost gone and we will be paying a large chunk of that $2,800 we wanted to save for the loans into paying back the taxes we owe. We will also be paying the emergency fund back because we need that thing for the next emergency. No money saved towards the loans for March…:( (Side note: all of the money we put toward student loans comes from the beginning of the month when we both get paid BTW.)

Clearly this is not what I imagined or had planned, but I am going to trust the Lord and believe that He is still faithful. Please believe and pray for that belief with me.



Saving and still having FUN!

Soooooo…. as I was kindly reminded a couple days ago…I haven’t blogged since February 2nd…oops! But seriously thanks so much to the three people who reminded, encouraged, and inquired about me blogging! I really do need that…obviously!!! And I apologize to all three of you people reading this…hehe. For some reason the time just got away from me. I’ve had two blogs planned in my head since February 2nd… so there really is no excuse.

Anyway I wanted to write a little blog about what Luke and I have been doing to continue faithfully on this debt paying journey, but not completely isolate ourselves from friends, family, and well, frankly fun! As I mentioned before we plan in our (twice monthly) budget money for eating out, date nights, and personal “spend however you want” money, but there are somethings that don’t fit in any of those categories, pop up when we’ve already spent our budgeted money, or are just too expensive to fit in them. When that happens we have three choices: abstain from the activity, spend money that is supposed to go to student loans, or find it somewhere else.

We’ve made all three choices at different times. Recently we’ve tried to abstain when we need to…there was a specific Sunday a week or so ago where we had to say no to lunch with some friends after church and it SUCKED!!! But it was what needed to be done. So we sucked it up and did the RESPONSIBLE thing (I lecture 7 years olds daily on being responsible so I thought I should try it ;).

And on a couple bad days we made the irresponsible choice of spending money that should have been for student loans. Thankfully those have been few and far between. The irresponsible choices we made were on very small things and just as a note I’d like to be the first to say that those little tiny unplanned purchases add up and cause the most trouble (that cup of coffee, a quick dinner, or the like). These things usually happened if we ran out of budgeted money for that area of spending or forgot cash at home. Mostly we’ve been trying to find the money other places to escape those little deadly purchases and to save for any big things we really want to ddo.

One of the BIGGEST and most helpful ways we have been able to do this is by planning ahead of time. This month we had two things that we REALLY wanted to spend money on that we didn’t have money for: go on a weekend trip to a cabin at Hume with some of our dearest friends and doing something to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We knew in advance that we were going to do both of these things so we were able to plan for them. So instead of taking money away from student loans to go and do these things we decided to take money each week from our cash that we pull out each pay period and set it aside.

*Side note: We use the envelope system. This is where we pull out all of the money, in cash, we plan to spend that pay period from our bank account, except for bills. All of our bills are paid through automatic withdrawal or we plan them online the day we do the plan for that pay period. The rest of the money comes out of the bank in cash and is put in a labeled envelopes (groceries, gas, date night, dogs, eating out, etc).

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…. so each week I went into our envelopes and took $10 or $20 dollars from the gas, groceries, eating out, or miscellaneous money and put it in a special envelope for our trip. We hardly noticed the money missing and in the month or so that we did this we were able to save enough money to go on the trip! It was such a fun trip and such a blessing to be able to spend quality time with people we dearly love…and we did it without dipping into our student loan money at ALL!!! Whoo HOOO!

For Valentine’s Day we did something similar, but instead of taking money out of other envelopes we just went on less or cheaper dates to save money. Then took the extra date money we saved to buy a nice dinner and dessert! We ate yummy food, watched cheesy romantic movies, ate more dessert and chocolate than should be allowed, and such for no extra money!

As for those dangerous little purchases that are made when the budgeted money for that category runs out…like I said earlier we’ve been trying to abstain or we have again taken money from other envelopes to make room for any area that we overspent in instead of taking money that should go to paying off the student loans.


I am trying to be creative and prayerful in all that we do with money so that we can optimize saving, fun, and servicing others. It has been very exciting to find ways to still participate in fun stuff! Let me know if you have any fun or creative ways to still have tons of fun and payoff debt.

With all that in mind there are still situations that can’t be planned for and must be paid for… more on that later.



God is faithful!

Isn’t that awesome?!?!? I’m a little teary eyed over here… the exciting news hoped for last week is… we paid off another loan today! $8,000!!!!  I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot to me! I had NO idea at the beginning of this year that come February 2nd we would have saved $8,000 to put towards paying off a loan. We had some of the money saved from the end of last year, but a good portion of it we saved from this last month (EVERYBODY that includes Christmas and buying our loved ones presents). How can this be? Oh wait… God is Faithful!

This got me thinking about budgeting and paying off debt vs just spending the money we make…with our budget, living with my in-laws, and the faithfulness of Christ we have been able to save $8,000 in about 3 months. WOW!!! I had no idea we even had that much money or spent that much money. I worked my whole first year of teaching and yes we had rent and such, but we really saved nothing to pay extra on our debt…and in three months of working at it (I should say three paychecks not exactly 3 months) we saved that much money?!?!? We have always had a budget and really stuck to it, especially while I was in school, but last year we didn’t save or succeed in paying off debt when we finally had the money too do so; we just spent. I am learning a lesson I didn’t plan on, when you don’t save you spend so much more than you realize! I really want to be a good steward, even after paying off debt! I am so thankful for this unexpected lesson.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…the numbers! So we moved in to my in-laws at the beginning of August. From August through December we paid off two loans totaling a little over $10,000. From the end of December until today, February 2nd, we paid off another loan, just over $8,000. Let me say it again, GOD is FAITHFUL!!! I’m gonna geek out on numbers for a second…so hold on…that means we have paid OFF $18,000 in about six months and with our monthly payments included we have actually paid about $23,000 total towards student loans in those six months. WHOOOHHOOO!!! Here is where it gets a little complicated to explain…we are walking with the Lord towards the goal of $54,000 paid OFF in 2015. That goal includes paying off the three private student loans we have. $54,000 was the round estimate of those three loans. We have paid off a little over $8,000 of that with the loan we paid off today. Which would leave us with $46,000 to pay off the rest of this year, BUT (the Lord is Faithful) when I went back to add up the two private loans we have left I got $43,500 not $46,000 and lets be real $2,500 less is a whole month of saving!!!


The next loan we hope to pay off is closer to $10,000. Please pray with us for the money to pay that one off as soon as possible so we can start tackling the BIG BEHEMOTH, which is closer to $34,000. We will continue to believe that the Lord is faithful and trust in Him.

More importantly please pray that we grow closer to the Lord and trust in Him more and more each day!

Next post I will share some tips on how we are sticking to our budget, admits living in the real world and still actively loving on people.


The Day, The Name

My post titles are starting to have a pattern to them…I’m not sure I like it…but hey that’s what is in my head right now. PS I wanted to let you know, I did not write a blog post last week, but I did however write the About Me page and that’s basically the same thing…right? Anyway I thought I would tell you a little bit more about the day I decided to write this blog and where it’s name came from.

I have to admit, I should have written this sooner because the day or days that I decided to start writing this blog have become a bit foggy. It was a special day though because I got to spend my whole day chatting with some very special ladies that I don’t spend nearly enough time with.

First, I went to lunch with a dear friend, Alyssa, who is preggo, which is inspiring in and of itself. (For those of you who don’t know me, I am on this journey to pay off debt because I desperately can’t wait to have kids and really want to/feel called to stay home with them…which is something I can’t do with all this DEBT.) Talking and just being so overjoyed and excited with her renewed my resolve. I just LOVE time with her! And now I can’t get enough of her little baby bump too!

Then I got to have pastry with another dear friend, Jane and her sweet little one Felicity. Jane is super inspiring to begin with, her and her husband along with their two little ones have worked to pay off all of their debt (we went to Fresno Pacific University together) and they have just succeed in becoming debt free!!!!! They were just one payment away from debt free on the day we got pastry! And she gave me a novel idea…pray for the money to pay off the debt…hmm well as a Christ-follower you may be thinking…DUH!!! Don’t get me wrong I have prayed a lot about student loan debt… A LOT.. I prayed that we would be disciplined enough to payoff the debt, I prayed that we would make enough money to pay it off, I prayed that I would not make paying off debt my idol, and other things like that. I would often wonder, can I win the lottery or win the money off of HGTV (my favorite channel) or the dream house, all with the only thought being to pay off the debt, BUT I never just asked God to provide the means. AND that people was the exact moment, with Jane’s words, that I began to think maybe the Lord was asking me to trust Him to payoff this debt.

This thought only continued to be confirmed as I then went to visit my friend Alex to celebrate her birthday! We sat and talked about debt, teaching, marriage, and life in general. Throughout this conversation we kept coming to the consensus that trusting God was the answer, the answer to EVERYTHING. He would get us through. As we were talking, my mind was drawn back to Jane’s statement of praying for the money over and over.

The next day…New Year’s Eve, Luke and I were spending a much needed lazy day at home together. We were watching either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, well Luke was sleeping and I was contemplating the conversations from the day before, living with my in-laws, paying off debt, and what the Lord was trying to tell me. I decided to take a shower…my best thinking, praying, contemplating, and such always happen in there…plus I needed to get ready for our New Year’s Eve dinner. Clarity aka the Holy Spirit, struck me then and there. Like I’ve mentioned before, I struggle with faith and trust, but in that moment and only in that moment so far, I felt sure and ready to go on this journey. See we plan to move out of my in-laws in or around December and house payments/rent and other responsibilities will come, especially financially (my in-laws are blessing us so much!). So we won’t have the ability to pay on the loans like we do now. And I just felt the Lord asking, will you trust me to make it happen. I thought Yeah! Yeah! Yeaaaah! the Lord can do it and so I shared my thoughts with Luke. He immediately was on board and really got this blog up and running… he may have thought the details were a little crazy ($54,000 in one year is a LOT of money), but here we are :).

The name of the blog picks up right where this story left off. Maybe a minute after I agreed to trust the Lord and shared the news with Luke, I began to doubt…did the Lord REALLY say He would make it happen? Did He really mean $54,000? Is this all in my head? Wishful thinking? Does the Lord really tell us such specific things? Oh NO!!! What if I just thought this all up and God is up there thinking…this girl??? And they just kept coming…all the doubts over and over. I began to preach the gospel to myself and to pray about my word and trust just kept coming up, at least as much as the doubts. (See what I’m talking about preaching the gospel to myself and my word for the year here). And that is how the name Trusting in the Dark was born. It’s sometimes dark here…I don’t know everything the Lord is calling me to do, I don’t know if He has specifically asked me to trust Him for $54,000, but I DO know He has called me to TRUST HIM this year and He has asked me to ask Him to provide. So I am here, little ‘ole me, trusting in the dark, not able to see all the details, yet trying and learning how to trust through His amazing grace.

Please pray for my trust and faith to abound.

PPS hoping for some exciting debt news next week! Stay tuned!!!



The Plan, The Purpose

So my original plan was to write a post at least once a week and well, as you can see, that resolution went down the drain in week two…oops! Well…here I am trying to pick that goal back up. (If you are reading this, for the love of Pete, please keep me accountable ;).

Anyhow I would like to share the details of our plan and the purpose or at least my current purpose for this blog. I started to write, God feel free to change up the purpose as you see fit and then I remembered I’m kind’ve a recovering control-freak and realized that scared the poop out of me. Fear aside, Lord let the purpose always be yours over mine (just in case you were wondering that’s the trusting part I’m working on/struggling with). Since we’re talking about it, let’s start with the purpose. I need a record of this journey and that is the whole big grand purpose…not just the paying off of these loans, but much more importantly the journey of trusting the Lord, having faith in Him, and His will for our lives. So often, actually always…ALWAYS, He is faithful and maybe in the moment we (by we I mean me) realize He is faithful and more than worthy of our complete trust in Him. Then life continues to happen and His faithfulness slips from our mind and worse yet our hearts. At least that happens to me, a lot. I vaguely remember from the recesses of my mind that The Lord has over and over again, for no other reason than He loves me, personally and intimately shown me how faithful He is, but I can’t quite recall the details, the feeling. So this blog is to stop that ridiculousness from happening. (Who am I that the all mighty God should pursue me!?!?!) And that is my purpose everybody, all four of my friends whom read this because you love me 😉

Also if The Lord decides that someone, somewhere can benefit from this blog in someway, even better!

As for the plan, the plan…the PLAN! I guess the plan is our budget, budgeting is no joke BTW.  While Luke and I were engaged, we were very very blessed by Sequoia Community Church in Fresno. The church did a group study of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and we happened to join the group. Thankfully we started our marriage already done with baby step number one, a $1,000 emergency fund. But more than four years later we are still on baby step number two, pay off all debt. You can find all 7 baby steps here. It took us a while to get our feet off the ground with our debt snowball. We had to figure out how to work together as newlyweds to even do anything with money, make a budget and stick to it, then I went back to school, then I found a job, and most currently we moved in with my in-laws (what a blessing!). Now we have refined, cut, and trimmed our budget.

We do our budget twice a month, about the 1st and 15th. I get paid at the beginning of the month and Luke gets paid twice, around the beginning and middle of the month. With this plan we decided to make sure we sit down together and write out the budget. It is much easier for one person to do it alone, but that isn’t the best money saver or relationship builder.

Here is about what our budget looks like:




Car Insurance

Student Loans (principal and interest payments)


3 other small personal bills

Dog Money (food, vet, medicine, etc)

Miscellaneous (doctors appointments, hair cuts, prescriptions)

Then we have our “fun money”:

Eating Out

Date Night

Luke’s Fun Money

BaCall’s Fun Money

*If you would like to know amounts for these things feel free to email or comment below.

The list is in this order because this is the order we pay them in, I guess it is our order of importance. Our tithe, groceries, gas, dog money, miscellaneous money, and fun money are repeated on both halves of the month. The car insurance, student loans, phone bill, and the 3 other bills are split between the halves of the month. Our fun money is rather small to make sure we are putting as much as possible towards our debt, but in FPU (Financial Peace University) it suggests you do this so you are not too tempted to overspend. It has worked very well for us. The budget is flexible, if something unexpected happens we can change it, but our goal is to stick as closely as possible to the budget. With this budget we have about $2,800 extra to put towards our student loan debt.

To summarize our goal is to follow the above budget as closely as possible and pay $2,800 extra a month towards the debt and trusting The Lord for the rest. We are hoping and praying to payoff between $54,000 – $66,000 in 12 months. We move out of my in-laws in about 12 months FYI.

Just to give you and myself an idea of what that really means, I used a loan calculator to see what that looks like. With the numbers I just shared the calculator said it would take about 1 year and 6 months to pay off the $54,000 and about 1 year and 9 months to payoff the $65,000.

We are trusting the Lord!



A New Year and a New Adventure

Welcome to my new adventure! I say new adventure, but I’m really hoping this is more like the third part of The Hobbit, the home stretch of a journey with new adventure of it’s own. Don’t worry, I’m long winded, I’ll catch you up on parts one and two. This adventure is about faith, trusting the Lord, and debt. It seems odd or unusual to write that sentence… faith, trust, and DEBT. But that is exactly what this adventure is about…

THE CURRENT ADVENTURE aka Part 3 of The Hobbit:

December 30th is the day this leg of the adventure started, I spent some time with some godly women whom the Lord used to plant prayers, thoughts, ideas, curiosity, and most importantly faith into my heart. Henceforth was born this plan:

Luke (see part 1 & 2 for who that guy is) and I plan to spend the next 12 months working our tails off and (more so) trusting the Lord to pay off $54,000 in debt. As you might have guessed we don’t have  or make all the money it would take to pay this off, hence the faith and trust. (If you have really big faith pray for $66,000).  More on the current adventure to come.

*It is really nerve-wracking and quite vulnerable to put these numbers online. Please be kind with this knowledge.

Part 1:

This journey started in 2004, maybe even before… wanting to live for Christ was my intention, but I didn’t know how to or where to turn. There were things: hurts, abuses, and people in my life that  hindered me and some that I allowed to hinder me in my journey towards and with Christ. My seventeen year old self, with much thought and prayer, decided escape was the best route. I did well in school and maybe I should have applied to many schools, cheaper schools, but Azusa Pacific University was on my mind and in my heart. A private, Christian university sounded like the perfect place to get rid of and escape from those things and also a great place to grow. And I did!

I grew in my faith by leaps and bounds and started the lifelong journey of eradicating those things from within me. It was a long, hard, tumultuous, exciting, fun, and humbling year. Some unforeseen circumstances led me to only spend the one year at Azusa. I continued my higher education at a slightly (very very slightly) less expensive private Christian school, Fresno Pacific University. I loved my time there and continued to grow and mature in my faith, which led me to an amazing church, wonderful Christian friends, and to one of my greatest blessings, my husband Luke.

Maybe you see where this is going or maybe you already know because you’ve spent at least a minute with me… Either way the answer is a big fat student loan… student loansssssss, I should say. Tens of thousands, lots of tens of thousands of dollars. I try really hard to be smart with money…to be a good steward, to honor the Lord with my spending, saving, and such. But lots of tens of thousands of dollars in debt does not sound honoring to me. I struggle with this a lot…was I not following the Lord when I took out these loans? Did I mishear His direction? Or was this just His plan? I honestly don’t know, but here I am and I can say I’ve grown closer to the Lord through my time at both universities and He is molding me into who He wants me to be.

Apparently who He wants me to be next is someone who has stronger faith, trusts Him completely, and who has no or at the very least much less debt.

Part 2:

In 2010 I married Luke and we started dreaming of our future and what the Lord has for us to do. We decided/discovered that adoption, having children, being debt-free, and possibly having some sort of home that we care for/ invite people into make the list. So we decided in August 2014 to move in with Luke’s parents who graciously obliged. Thus far we have lived in their beautiful home and have been greatly blessed by them for five months and have paid off about $10,000 in student loans (that is not part of the $54,000 we are aiming for in the next 12 months).  As you can see much more hard work and faith are needed to make this happen and we are ready to see the faithfulness of the Lord in however he sees fit to show it.