Our New Adventure

Photo Credit: Kati Catania

We are going to be parents!!!! That’s right everyone! We are so beyond excited to share our good news with you… Luke and I are adopting!!!


We wanted to share a little bit of our journey with you. We decided in January that the Lord was calling us to adopt. Now if you’ve known me for any length of time, you probably already know that adoption has been on my heart for my whole adult life. Luke and I were ecstatic to hear God saying now is the time!

Photo Credit: Kati Catania
Photo Credit: Kati Catania

We are adopting through the foster care system, which means we have spent the last 6 months taking several classes, doing stacks of paperwork, background checks, medical exams, home study interviews, and more. On June 1st we had our last interview!!!! This means that all of our part is done. Now we wait for a report to be written on all of the information that has been gathered on us. Once the report is written and we approve it, we will wait for our approval or certification.Then we wait for children to be placed with us. Lots of waiting… We can’t wait to have our sweet kiddos in our arms!!!

I will be posting more detailed information on our adoption journey through the fost/adopt system for all of you interested in learning more very soon.


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!


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!



Loving Kindness

Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you a million times!!! I don’t even know how to express the gratitude in my heart towards all of you! Never in my life did I, in my wildest dreams, imagine the sweetness that would pour out on me from this blog. I was TERRIFIED!!! to put this blog out there, where anyone, but the five people I told could read it…

I read and follow a LOT of blogs and I’ve often heard of the negativity that people can have towards and be posted on the walls of blogs…and that scared me a little. I was also super nervous and much more scared that people would think I was crazy for posting my personal business and for believing that God would promise something like paying of thousands of dollars in debt in a year…heck let’s be real sometimes I think I’m crazy for even thinking God would care about student loan debt. Thankfully God is a personal loving God that has plans for our lives that include using the money we make for His glory…not paying off debt F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

All that to say, I was so surprised and encouraged by the outpour of love and support from so many of you.  I have just been so overwhelmed with the beautiful words spoken, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged, and commented here and on Facebook. I honestly never even thought so many people would read my words, much less think they were helpful or encouraging. So thank you from the bottom of my heart and a very very special thank you to my hunny for encouraging me for years to do this! I have cried a many happy, thankful tears for each and every one of you over the last week! So thank you again!

I also want to acknowledge something that I found very interesting this last week…amazing things happened from the outpour of love to financial surprises, and even a miracle (more on that in a bit), but in spite of all of the blessings from the Lord I have felt this strong surge of sadness in my life this week. I don’t know if it’s just been a really weird week or if the darkness that is in this world is just trying to suck all the joy and trusting in the Lord, that has grown in my heart this week, away or what…but it’s also been a rough week. It took me far longer to write this blog than I originally intended because of the sadness and suffering I’ve seen this past week. I was bummed out and sad for my friends, family, and so many people around the world.

BUT I am refusing to let the sorrow in this world drown out the blessings the Lord has given through your words and loving kindness! I have to say I have truly felt the Lord’s loving kindness through each of you. He has spoken to me directly through you and I am so encouraged to continue this journey of trusting the Lord, paying off debt, and sharing His story of faithfulness to you through this blog. Thank you for praying for increased trust in the Lord because it is truly growing in my heart, even as I type while blubbering. I may or may not be an emotional wreck from all of your sweetness and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Please keep praying for funds and most importantly growth in faith and trusting my dear, personal, compassionate, loving God. Thank you ohhhhh so very MUCH!

Ps my next blog will share some exciting blessings in March AND a true blue miracle! Stay tuned!


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.