Introducing “Money Mondays”

Hey friends!

Money. We all have to have it to live, yet sometimes we have not much idea how to go about keeping those dollar bills from all being gone to the wind before we hardly see them enter our hands.

I just am so passionate about this topic that I decided to take a little leap and turn it into a series of weekly posts.

Specifically what is on my heart is practical teaching on finances for young people. More specifically, for girls (but you guys are welcome to read along.:)

Girls today are getting ripped off. Or maybe we’re ripping ourselves off.

We live in a culture that isn’t big on smart finances. It’s all about “my stuff, my way, in my time….whatever it takes to make me happy”. That’s selfish, and it’s very dumb financially.

And it gets worse…..not only is culture not telling us how to be smart with money, the church usually isn’t doing much better. Most parents these days aren’t teaching their kids about wise stewardship either.

I have seen too many girls broke at the prime of their life, going into debt when they should be putting away significant savings, or begging money for missions trips when there is no logical reason why they shouldn’t have the money to pay their own way.

There is a better way. That’s what I want to write about. If you’re wondering what I will be covering in this series, it includes (but is not limited to):

-budgetting

-living frugally

-saving

-investing

-giving

-stewardship (which includes all of the above)

-earning money

-cultural misconceptions about money

Thanks for reading, friends. If there you have a question you would like to see covered, leave a comment or shoot me an email. 

I am excited to talk about money!!! We all need it to live, so we might as well figure out how to be the smartest with it that we possibly can! At least that’s what I figure.

-Allison

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10 Things I Love About Home

#1. The Beautiful Countryside

We arrived home in the wee hours of the morning, Monday. I got up around 4am and grabbed up an armload of stuff from the bus, then RAN inside! I was greeted by the most wonderful smells, sights, and sounds of the farm. HOME.

#2. Quiet Places

In the bus, it is HARD to find quiet time to be alone. I try to be creative and make it happen, but some days it ends up being the “quiet” of blocking noise out with earbuds while retreating to my bunk.:) On the farm, it’s not so complicated, because even if the house is loud, there’s the orchard, or the woods, or a field. When we come home I appreciate the simple option of going somewhere to be alone SO much more after the challenges of road life in this area!

#3. My Brothers

Boy, did I miss Mitch and Carson over the summer! There were so many times when I wanted to ask Carson to grill, or fix something, or ask Mitchell for a backrub, or to give me counsel on something. We kept in touch through our phones, but it isn’t the same at all. I am really enjoying the last few days with them before they get married and I never live with them again.

#4. A Kitchen

Having a fully stocked kitchen. Things not going crashing off the counters (as the bus goes around corners). Limitless water for washing dishes. REAL DISHES. Big freezers + pantry with huge variety. I miss these things when we’re gone, and how I am enjoying them once again!

#5. My Territory

I am absolutely LOVING waking up every morning and knowing that I have awesome options for places to run! On the road, you never know from day to day……one morning we are parked in a Walmart parking lot, the next in the sticks of Alberta. While there are opportunities, it takes more creativity and isn’t always available. I have a number of “routes” I am thoroughly enjoying taking advantage of now that we’re home again. My current favorite is running the trail back in our woods. It is beautiful and peaceful. Pretty much like a little piece of heaven on earth.

#6. Change of Routines

I am grateful for the opportunity to once again head out the door for grocery shopping, errands, meetings, church, and events. It’s a change from exiting the bus door for concerts almost daily, but I am enjoying it!

#7. Fresh Flowers

It’s amazing to be able to pick a fresh bouquet of flowers at any given time! I was so excited about getting home to my flower gardens, and one of the first things I did when we got home was go arrange some fresh florals.

#8. Cornfields

The corn grew SO MUCH while we were gone! I was excited to get home and see it in all its beauty, since it was just a few inches tall when we left.

#9. Ordinary Things

There are so many things that I take for granted…..until we go on road and I don’t have them. Then I realize how much I expect certain things and how little I appreciate them. This time around I am endeavoring to be more grateful- to take joy in the “little” things that are actually so big:

Constant running water. Ever-available fresh milk! Big coffee pot. An oven. A big table. Views from the kitchen window. Cows mooing. Breezes through the window. Night sounds. Fresh cream. Plenty of meat in the freezer. Garden veggies. Lonngggg showers (2+ minutes is long in my book). Hot water at anytime. Washer + dryer. Ice.

#10. Bedroom

On the bus, getting ready is downright comical at times! Waiting in line for 5+ minutes for the bathroom or shower, leaning over someone else to see a corner of a mirror, standing in line for a room in which to get dressed……..these are all everyday occurrences. I wouldn’t trade the crazy and hilarious bus memories, but just running into the bedroom to get ready at home? It’s a novel luxury!

 

 

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One Thing You CAN’T Fail To Do

Yes, it’t that morning time with the Lord. That one thing you CAN’T fail to do.

It’s the sweetest part of my day, the honey of life, the one daily delight to look forward to that adds more to my life than any other activity or ritual could.

That morning time with the Lord. Oh, how sweet. I have found that rushing through or skipping it is disastrous. A day that isn’t started quieting my heart and soaking in His Word- it just isn’t the same.

If you are struggling to make that time with Jesus happen every morning, I’d encourage you with a few things.

Just do it whether or not you “feel it”.

Don’t wait till you wake up and feel like it. Make a conscious choice to do what will strengthen and help you.

Too often Christians rely on their feelings, but the Christian life is not to be lived by our feelings, but by faith.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” II Corinthians 5:7

Set your alarm and GET UP.

This is huge! Of course, it greatly helps to go to bed at a reasonable hour the night before.:)

Figure out your schedule and work backwards instead of getting up when you feel like it. So, if I know I need to be ready to eat breakfast and start the day’s work at a certain time, I need to work backwards, allowing time for a run, shower, cooking breakfast, and whatever else

Time with the Lord belongs at the beginning, first of all.

Shut off your phone.

I usually have my phone on airplane mode for the night anyways, but I have made a habit to not turn it off airplane mode till after my quiet time.

There is nothing as distracting as that alluring device dinging beside you, or even just sitting there calling your name, while you are trying to focus on time in the Word and prayer.

Make a routine.

Whether or not you are much of a “schedule” person, make some morning habits that turn into a healthy routine that helps you consistently start your day with the Lord.

My morning routine (usually) looks like this:

Get up. I try- at home especially- to get up at the same time every morning. This helps my body know when it’s time to get up, and I usually end up waking before my alarm.

I detest the snooze button, because I feel like it’s nothing but laziness for me to push it. If I have decided the night before what time I need to get up, then why would I let my flesh overrule in the morning and chop into what is going to be more beneficial (time with the Lord) than that extra sleep in the long run?

And if you’re really so tired that you can hardly drag yourself out of bed, than maybe you need to discipline yourself to go to bed earlier.

Brew coffee and get a snack. Yes, I usually drink coffee and eat something before 6am. That’s a whole ‘nother story…:)

Sit on the couch for quiet time. What I actually do during my quiet time varies a bit, but my Bible, journal, prayer journal, and pen are almost always there, and I usually start with Bible reading and then move on to whatever. I LOVE keeping record of what I’m asking the Lord for and how He answers, so my prayer journal is perfect for that.

Place extreme value upon this time.

We cannot even realize the value of the Word of God. We don’t know the full power of coming boldly to the Throne of grace. How can we fathom His worthiness of our praise and adoration? He is so holy, so righteous, so loving.

Truly, seeking Him FIRST in the morning should be extremely important, more important even than our physical food. It is our sustenance, our spiritual daily nourishment.

“Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” -Job 23:12

 

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Hard Workin’ Gals: 3 Tips for Finding a Job (Part 3)

Hey girls! I am super excited to share with you 3 Tips for Finding a Job.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should be doing. I hope these ideas and some personal stories from my life will be an encouragement to you. Maybe after reading you will have a fresh perspective on how to find work you will thrive in!

Also, if you’ve missed the other parts of this series, find them here:

Part 1: “Hard Workin’ Gals: Should Christian Girls Have Jobs?”

Part 2: “Hard Workin Gals: How to Find Your Work”

1. Think Creatively

You don’t have to be highly skilled or have years of experience to enter your dream field of work. Sometimes you just have to be willing to stick your neck out. Other times, you have to think outside the box.

I have loved violin ever since I was a toddler. When I was 13, a mother asked me to “assistant teach” her daughters violin. Although I wasn’t really ready for the responsibility of being a solo violin teacher, having these sisters come to my house every week for me to give them input during a practice/teaching session was the perfect way for me to get my feet wet in a job that I knew I wanted to pursue. Within a few years I had my own small business teaching violin students.

Specifically if you are young or very inexperienced in a field you know you want to pursue, think creatively and find ways to learn.

If you are interested in business, take some business courses, intern with a businessperson, or start reading lots of business books.

My brother loved mechanics but didn’t want to got to 4 years of school to learn the trade. He volunteered to help an older and very experienced mechanic friend work on buses many a winter evening. In his spare time, he read mechanic books (getting suggestions from good mechanics, and picking up other titles at Goodwill), and joined online forums to learn from a whole community of mechanics.

Before he was 20, he was offered a job at a large farm implement dealership, which he ended up turning down. He started buying broken four wheelers to fix and resell, and soon his name got out and farmers started asking him to do complicated mechanic work on their farm equipment. He now has a growing business doing what he loves most.

“Never despise small beginnings.”

Apprenticeships can be a great thing. When I was 14 years old, my mother (knowing I had a passion for flowers) encouraged me to meet our neighbor lady, a professional landscaper who had stunning flower gardens. “You should ask her if you can come work in her flower beds in exchange for her giving you some landscaping tips for our flower beds” my mother said. Mostly to honor my mother, I did as she suggested. After an afternoon of working with my neighbor, she came to my house, gave me landscaping suggestions, and proceeded to offer me a job. It was an incredible opportunity, made possible because my mother encouraged me to learn from someone who was a professional in the field I was interested in. I absolutely loved that job, which I held for the next four years. My boss was an incredible person to work for, she was a really good teacher and I basically got a free mini-education in landscaping, while getting paid to do something I loved!

2. Face Your Fears

I am a third born. I have two older siblings that are both really great leaders, and I was always content to follow them. I actually grew up preferring for someone else to be in charge, and to get to come alongside them and join in.

Leadership wasn’t my thing. I didn’t think I was good at it, and I didn’t like it.

It was literally a fear thing for me- being in high responsibility leadership positions made me panic!

I think God has a sense of humor, because four years ago, I exchanged my landscaping job for a completely different kind of work at our small town hotel. When I started the position, it was mostly secretary, advertising, and marketing related work. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know what I was getting into, because I might have been tempted to run in the other direction if I would have realized I would need to become a much more assertive and confident leader as I became responsible for finding, building, and leading a team of employees, troubleshooting problems, planning team meetings, and making countless decisions.

In the end, sometimes we need to face our fears and do the very things we think we are least gifted at. If it’s truly a weakness and something you continue to really not enjoy doing, then it’s probably not a good idea to make it your life work. But be willing to give it a shot, because you just might end up thriving where you thought you’d miserably fail!

Our greatest passions and talents are often formed by doing the very things that scare us the most.

3. Pursue Your Gifts

If you are trying to find the right job, a really good place to start may be just sitting down and making a list of things you enjoy, would like to learn more about, or have dreamed of doing. A few of them may scare you a little (like we talked about above), but really, you should just go out and do them anyways!

While it can actually be a really good experience to do something you don’t particularly enjoy, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job in a field that really excites you! After you’ve made that list, start brainstorming! It can be a good idea to find a main job/source of income, and then work at developing another one of your passions on the side.

Maybe you love people, and can get a waitressing job that allows you to interact with customers 24/7. If you are an artist, you might work at making that into a small business by selling art or teaching art classes on the side.

If there’s something you would really like to pursue, but isn’t a viable money making venture or job opportunity yet, use your spare time to work on it! Your hobby could possibly be your work down the road! The key here is to be diligent and patient. Don’t quit your job just because there’s a hobby you want to turn into a business. It would be smarter to continue your work while researching and working towards whatever business venture you might want to start. Then, once it is actually a viable, revenue producing proposition, you can decide where to go with it.

Questions? Thoughts? Comment above- I’d love to hear from you!

-Allison

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Why Don’t I Have Enough Time?

Have you every wondered, “Why don’t I have enough time to get it all done?”

Sharing something personal here- I am currently having a major problem getting Scripture memory done every day. I know that it’s not a time problem, it’s a priorities problem. 

Have you every looked up the definition of “priority”? It might shed a little light!

pri·or·i·ty
prīˈôrədē/
noun
  1. the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important.
    “the safety of the country takes priority over any other matter”
       a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
      plural noun: priorities
      “housework didn’t figure high on her list of priorities”

We all have the same amount of time. It’s what we do with that time that matters.

So for me, I have not been treating Scripture memory as important. In order to get it done every single day, I am have to start making it a priority over some other things. For me, reading is something I absolutely love to do, but Scripture memory should be regarded in my days as more important than any of the books I’m reading.

I doubt if it’s only me that struggles to prioritize.

Don’t have time to memorize Scripture?

Don’t have time to send an encouraging text?

Not enough time to give someone a Gospel tract?

Running out of time to listen to that little brother’s lonnggg story?

Don’t know how to find time to get your work done?

Guess what? The One who created us is the One who gave us 168 hours in our week. 

Let’s ask Him to help us do that things that are HIS will for us today. He has indeed given us enough time for everything that he wants us to accomplish. He is waiting for us to ask Him for wisdom in the “how” and grace to be willing to realign our hearts with His and have a Kingdom perspective.

What do you struggle to make time for? I’m cheerin’ for you!

much love,

Allison

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