Month: January 2013

  • Revelations of Revelation 7
    ((Part I: the Split-Away Verse))

    About a month ago, I posted about Hanukkah in the Old Testament.  How Leviticus 23 is a list of the feasts that Yehovah’s followers are commanded to obey ‘for all generations’.  I went on to say that someone – long, long after Messiah’s first coming – went in and split up the Bible as we know it into chapters/verses, based on when a topic ended and another one started.  Only they screwed up in Leviticus, because if you look at Leviticus 24, the topic of things to be obeyed ‘for all generations’ doesn’t stop until Leviticus 24:10… the first TEN verses are two more things that fit the same category as the others.  And it looks to me like Leviticus 24:1-4… which is about olive oil lit on the ‘candlestick’ before the people from morning to evening… is a Hanukkah reference.  Now whether verse 5 thru 9 are somehow a reference to Purim (the other ‘lesser’ feast), I haven’t looked into that, yet.  But it definitely looks as if at least the Hanukkah verses were split away when they shouldn’t have been.

    So there’s the set-up for what happened next.  I’m all just minding my business, and the Lord popped something into my head at a time when I definitely was not expecting it, and He said, “That’s not the only verse that’s happened with.  Take a look at Revelations 8:1.”

    Now… I don’t have to look at Revelations 8:1 to know what He was referring to.  I gotta tell ya, I have Revelations 8:1 ingrained in my brain pretty deeply.  It’s one of those questions that’s driven me about crazy for years now.  ‘Silence in Heaven for about the span of half an hour‘.  Is that half the period of the Trib?  Half of a month?  Half of a year?  Half of a six-month suggestion period (aka 3 months?)  Half of something else?  WHAT?!?  I’m not the only one with that frustration, either.  Mostly I had just shrugged it off:  a) it happens AFTER the rapture in Rev 7:9-17, so I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about it, and b) I’d just deal with it when we got there, or when He told/showed me what it meant… whichever came first.

    But then I was told that Revelation 8:1 was supposed to be part of chapter 7, and that changed things.  And I didn’t understand.  If the period of silence happens after chapter 7, it wouldn’t matter if it were tacked on the beginning of chapter 8, would it?  But what if it summed up chapter 7, instead… but by being split-away from what it referred to, it messed things up? 

    The church has always claimed that the ‘silence for about a half an hour’ referred to the Trump and Vial judgments.  That because they were so much more grievous than the Seal judgments, heaven was silent, watching in somber stillness.  But I always knew that the Trump/Vial judgments take a lot longer than ‘about the space of a half an hour’.  So that never made sense to me, really.

    For a while, I thought that ‘silence’ might be a span of time between things where nothing happened.  But that would drag things out too long… it didn’t really make a lot of sense, either.

    So then the message about the verse belonging with chapter seven.  It meant that the half hour-ish time period … must refer to part of (or ALL of) the events in Revelations 7.  Especially if it belongs with that chapter, right?  So we need to look at chapter seven, in light of the revelation of this ‘split-away’ verse.  Which I started to do, but it got away from me so badly, I have to split this up.  So here’s the first revelation from Revelations 7… there’s a verse that got split away that shouldn’t have.  And it makes all the difference.  Just wait and see.

  • One Month after the SMS

    Okay, look… I realize that the SMS was over years ago.  In 2010, to be exact.  I know that I dragged it out because I could make stuff fit, because it was comfortable and gave me a sense of ‘direction’, if you will.  Knowing the way is always easier than not being able to see where you’re going.  And so I brought the SMS with me as far as I possibly could – to December of 2012.

    And I realize now that it was wrong.  I was applying something to our present place in history that didn’t belong here.  I half suspected it, for a long time, but you know me.  When in doubt, continue with what you had going.  Yes, well, it sounded good to me.  But now that it’s over… as in, I can’t even TRY to apply it, anymore, and honestly in my heart of hearts wouldn’t want to, because it’s a lie, and I want Truth.  Period.  While there was a chance it was one thing.  Now that there isn’t, that’s another.

    Last month I wrote a post called ‘The Split-Away Verse’.  Don’t bother going to look for it, I’ve taken it down for maintenance.  It’s not that the premise of the blog was flawed – it was a message that I got from the Lord.  But I should know better than to blog something that I haven’t been given the details of.  If I don’t understand it, myself, I have NO business giving it to others.  It’s my job, at that point, to wait on the Lord for illumination on the revelation, and I screwed it big.

    Which is why I believe I have been stuck in the metaphorical mud for the past month.  No, seriously – I have really been sinking spiritually over here.  And I believe it’s because I put the cart before the horse and fricked everything up.  I do that, I admit it – I get excited and geeked and all worked up and start jumping to all sorts of conclusions like the blonde housewifely person that I am.  It’s pathetic, in hindsight, and you’d think I would learn, but nooooo.

    Anyhow, I wanted to put this out here, for the record.  That I wrote something I shouldn’t have, jumped to conclusions I had no business jumping to, and ran with the mouth when I should’ve paused and reflected and waited on Him.  And also for the record, I wasn’t told to delete the ‘Split-Away’ post… just hold onto it until I’m told what I need to know.  And at the moment, it feels as though I am about to be given that information, so I’m going to hang tight and see what information turns up.

    I just had to explain.  Because I want to be as honest as I can here, and that includes admitting when I botch something.  So there it is.

  • Bullet Blog

    • G’morning.
    • What a HORRIBLE night, last night.
    • Thunderings, lightning, hail…
    • … rain just POURING from the sky.
    • The sump is sticking again,
    • so I have to go down and check it, today.
    • Or we’ll flood.
    • S’no big, just tedious to remember.
    • But it went from 8 degrees last Tuesday…
    • … to 50 degrees this morning when I got up!
    • That’s crazy.
    • Brian got me up at 6-something to show me what to do.
    • Then I went back to sleep…
    • … and dreamt about the basement flooding.
    • ((and a guy named Pat who won’t accept my friend request.))
    • But let’s not go there.
    • That’s just a subconscious irritation of mine.
    • May I just make an observation?
    • These women who post savings deals…
    • … eighteen times a day on FaceBook?
    • These women who collect free homeschool book on Kindle
    • … and post five or six freebies a day?
    • WHEN do they actually school their kids?
    • I’m just asking, because I couldn’t keep that kind of thing up.
    • I must be super-deficient.
    • Don’t get me wrong – I visit something like 30 sites every morning.
    • I browse, discard, move on, sometimes find something fun…
    • … sometimes download them for the kids…
    • Like this and this were in my feeds this morning.
    • But once I read the FB feed, pages feed, and the 30 I visit?
    • I have things t’do!!
    • Actually… I haven’t really been doing what I should.
    • I think it’s my guilt that’s blogging, today.
    • I know what I *should* do.
    • … but that doesn’t count.
    • Looking out and seeing soppy, foggy, nasty, gloomy
    • … certainly doesn’t help matters, either!
    • I bought banana trees for Tu B’Shevat.
    • They came last night.
    • I fear for their lives.
    • The herbs I got for the January Cure?
    • Yeah, they’re dead, already.
    • I swear, I watered them and everything.
    • It was swift, but still kinda painful, I think.
    • I sincerely hope I do better with the banana trees.
    • Brian’s got concerns, cuz I didn’t go dwarf.
    • Well… they’re dwarf in that they’re a few feet shorter…
    • (((than twelve foot tall.  I got the eight footers.)))
    • I personally don’t think it’ll be a problem.
    • Eight foot isn’t all THAT big.
    • Anyhow, they’re six inches tall, right now.
    • I’ll kill them before they reach a foot, most likely.
    • It’s not that I’ve a black thumb,
    • it’s more that I have a black INDOOR thumb.
    • So anyhow, I have two banana trees to plant, today.
    • And two pumpkin spice cakes to make.
    • I tried a Pinterest recipe for pralines that didn’t turn out.
    • (((LINK HERE)))
    • They were WAY too rich, and didn’t get firm enough.
    • So I figure it’ll make a great topping for pumpkin cake.
    • I could even do it as a poke cake.
    • Send one to work with Brian.
    • It’s on my agenda for today, too.
    • Along with bubble baths for the kids.
    • I think we need some tub fun.
    • Brian’s been getting out of work half an hour early.
    • It’s really nice.
    • My gosh, I look at that man, and…
    • the Lord sure knew what he was doing when He gave me Brian.
    • Nobody compares to my guy.
    • He has really turned into one fine specimen of a man.
    • When I met him…? 
    • Very young, very naive, very unsure of himself.
    • I’m daily amazed at how incredible he is, anymore.
    • A little truck absorbed, but…
    • Oh, did I tell you he hit a deer with it last week?
    • Ooh, the drama!
    • And pardon me, the deer hit HIM… LoL!!
    • Anyhow, it’s this HUGE thing.
    • He washes it weekly, scrubs the wheel wells,
    • checks the oils and the fluids before driving…
    • It’s been comical, really.
    • And then THE DEER put its head down and ran right into him.
    • ((The truck goes in for body work next week.))
    • I just snort back a laugh.
    • The man LOVES his new truck, by the way.
    • So I’ll be vehicle-less for a few days,
    • … but it’s not like I tend to leave the house, anyhow.
    • My family is trying to sell their house again.
    • It’s got more of a ‘desperate’ tone to it, this time.
    • That raises every red flag I have, but it’s not my call.
    • When my family gets desperate, they do stupid things.
    • Make bad calls.
    • I have a bad feeling about this.
    • Not even sure they should move, to be honest.
    • Again… it’s not my call.
    • I’m just grateful we’re where we are.
    • And I’ve got Brian.
    • And bubble baths, pumpkin praline cakes,
    • …and banana trees.
    • ***Grin!***
  • Money Matters – Part Four

    I know, I’ve written a LOT about money matters, lately, but I really have been thinking on it a lot, since reading that book.  Although to be honest?  It went over my head.  I got to the chapter on shares and long caps versus short caps and bonds and… I got lost.  I’m hoping I can talk Brian into reading it so he can translate, because it’s like high school math – I got there, I was okay, and then it went over my head, and I never recovered.  *Sigh!*

    But today I want to just do some chatting about saving.  There are so many options for saving.  But the pros and cons?  I don’t know…

    First there’s the piggy bank.  Kids do this.  But then you get more than will fit in the piggy bank, and you have to do something different.  Brian’s Grandma did the sock drawer until she started to feel uncomfortable, and she gave the sock to Brian’s parents… and they told Brian’s sister, who told her friends, and so while Brian and I were exchanging vows at the altar, his sister’s friends were breaking into his parent’s house and stealing Grandma’s life savings out of the sock drawer.  True story – it really happened during our wedding.  Don’t ‘sock it’ away – and if you do, don’t use the sock drawer, for pity’s sake.  And DON’T tell anyone what you’re doing.  I know they have fake cans of hairspray or furniture polish that are hollow and you can sock away in those, but… I’d be afraid that if we died, someone would chuck the can, not knowing it was a hiding place.  It just seems stupid to me to keep cash like that at home.

    On the other hand, there’s the savings account.  Which makes absolutely no money anymore, is no longer insured by the FDIC (because it’s in the red, and can’t afford to pay out in case of emergency), and actually… doesn’t exist.  That’s right – savings accounts are pretend money.  You put your ‘money’ in it, but it’s not really in the account – that money is used to fund loans, pay other people… it’s just a number on a screen that is ‘yours’… and in case of a bank failure, your ‘money’ (which isn’t sitting in a box for you, there) is gone.  So while I don’t think the sock drawer idea is good, I think LESS of the savings account idea.  At least with the sock drawer, you have something tangible in your hand.  You don’t have that with a savings account.

    Which is my problem with the IRA (retirement) accounts.  YES, they make more money.  Yes, they compound interest.  Yes, you make money that way.  But again, it’s not FDIC insured (regardless of what the sticker in the bank window says), it’s not *there*/tangible, and it’s easily seized.

    My dad was always into savings bonds.  He bought them when I was a kid, and sent them to us in the mail.  My parents divorced when I was eight, so he’d give us the savings bonds for birthdays for a while… and let me tell you… those bonds?  They barely covered my first grocery bill when I moved out on my own.  What. A. Waste.  So what do you do for your child?

    I had a savings account for Lydia when I first entered momhood.  I just put aside money in it, and didn’t bother to look at the statements, because I didn’t want to know what it was doing (out of sight, out of mind, won’t be touched).  I just put the statements in the filing cabinet every month.  Until we were moving… and I opened the last envelope (planning to throw away the previous ones… why drag all that paper around with us?)… and saw that she was losing $30 a month in fees, because the idiot who set it up didn’t put it as a minor account, and she was below their minimum balance.  We lost something like $200 to the fees, and they wouldn’t reverse it, because it had been my responsibility to have caught the error.  I. Was. PISSED.  And pulled all the money out.  But wasn’t about to put it in savings bonds… sure, the money wouldn’t be fee-ed to death, but that’s not useful, either.

    George Ure and any survivalist site you go to says to go silver and gold.  They rarely depreciate, they are tangible, they are accepted world-wide, they’re more viable than paper cash.  So I put the kids’ money (all bonds from the grandparents and what was left of the savings) into silver for the kids.  But honestly… I learned a hard lesson, that way, too.  I had a lump sum of *OUR* money (Brian’s and mine), and bought gold.  Then Brian charged something to a bank card without talking to me, and there wasn’t $$ to cover the purchase – so I had to turn around and exchange the gold that I’d just bought for money to bail him out.  It was eight days between my gold purchase, and the gold sale.  I’d bought the gold for $XXX and they only gave me a part of that in selling it back.  Same guy I’d purchased it from.  He wouldn’t give me the same amount back, eight days later.  So in order to get money from the gold, I had to take a loss.  Hard lesson learned.  I haven’t been a fan of the silver/gold thing, since.   SurvivalBlog and UrbanSurvival are right – , in a coming economic collapse cash would be devalued, and the value of silver/gold would rise.  And you would have something tangible that was worth something.  But as a savings option that isn’t MAJORLY long term?  Not a good way to go.  Besides, where would you keep it?  The sock drawer?  I don’t think so!

    We talked briefly a few days ago about 401Ks and mutual funds.  I had shares in the bank when I was working in the 90s, and the shares were sold when the bank switched hands.  They rolled my part into mutual funds, which immediately tanked.  I got this funky statement in the mail that said, “You owned $2593, and lost $1148 this year… congratulations!”  And I said, forget THAT crap… cash it out, I’ll pay the tax, and at least I won’t lose any more of it!!  I put what was left into air conditioning for my car (babies+August=hot)… and then promptly smashed/totalled the Explorer.  The end of the shares that I didn’t earn, in the first place.  But we stayed cool for two summers, so I guess it wasn’t a TOTAL wash.  But that was a rotten deal, too.  Although we were insured, got the value of the vehicle, put it on the car I have now, and paid it off in 18 months.  So actually, in hindsight, that wasn’t the total wash I have been looking at it as, is it?

    Another thing survivalists (and Suzy Orman and Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey) tell you is a wise thing to do with savings is spend it.  Pay off your debt with it.  Of course, once your debt is paid off, they tell you to save six months worth of income as an emergency stash… but they don’t tell you how to go about that.  Anyhow, after all of my misadventures in savings bonds, savings accounts, silver and mutual crap-holes, that’s when we just decided to get out of the hole.  It gave me something to do with the extra money.  Survivalists say after that you stash stuff – the three B’s: Bullets, Beans and Beer.  I don’t drink, don’t use dried beans on a regular basis, and understand that the price of toilet paper may skyrocket, but I don’t know that I want eighty cases in the basement, if you know what I mean… and nothing for retirement.

    But how to save after the debt is paid off?  How to plan for the future?  How to save for retirement?  Not such an easy thing to consider.  And many of my friends here hit the nail on the head when they said that everything is seizeable.  When it comes down to it, I’ve read papers about 401Ks being eyed up by the government.  I’ve read about how IRAs and bank accounts pretty much are insolvent.

    What do we do?  Frankly, I don’t know.  But I have learned the hard way about what DOESN’T work, so if this post was worth anything, it was a poster child blog about how things can go badly, and what not to do.  LoL!!  If you’ve got suggestions, my comment section is open…

  • I’m Grateful For:

    • Starting a new TV series.  We’re watching ‘Ghost Whisperer’, which is… SOOOOO out of character for me, it’s not funny.  But y’know, complete inaccuracy in philosophy aside, we kind of like it.  And it’s couples time for Brian and I after the kids are abed.
    • Brian getting the fallen tree down.  It was making me nervous, that REALLY heavy tree just hanging there, and my littles running around it.  Having it chopped is a very, very, very good thing.  We won’t get the chunks split until spring, but that’s okay.
    • Getting sledding done and over with now.  Although I have to admit, I have an extremely sour attitude about it.  I’m NOT into sledding.  Ever.  At all.  It’s cold and repetitive and cold and bumpy and stupid and cold and a lot of work climbing hills just for a 2-second ride to the bottom and cold and ridiculous and… I’m a curmudgeon when it comes to sledding.  But it has to happen once a winter, so getting it over with in January… I can be grateful for that.
    • The weather warming up.  It was -1 this past week, so it’s VERY nice that we’re supposed to reach the 30s today.  I can handle that.  Plus it’s nicer now that the storm is over and we don’t have to drive in that crazy stuff.  I’m softening in my old age… too many years since I was a Yooper, anymore.
    • A nice side work check that came just in time for Brian to get new tires on his truck, take care of dance costumes for the kids, pay the propane bill, and leave us a little extra just as Brian’s regular work has slowed down for a week.  We are blessed!
    • A WHOLE weekend with Brian home.  His work being slow, he didn’t have to work Saturday this week – so we went to the GR Ballet/Symphony production of ‘Hansel & Gretel’.  It was nice waking up with him next to me, having breakfast – all of us together – and going out to have an adventure!
    • The boys cleaning their room today.  It was getting pretty, crazy bad in there.  And of course it takes HOURS to get it cleaned (so many distractions!!), but… I’m very glad.
    • Weight loss.  I haven’t mentioned it in a few weeks, but I put on too much over the New Years’ thing, and then we got sick a week ago and I lost it again… and so things have been wonky, weight-wise.  But I’m back down to 185, and holding, so I’m hoping if I eat less I can keep it off.  I also had Brian help me bring the elliptical upstairs, so now I don’t have to freeze down in the pit to work out… and I’m pretty convinced that shredding does nothing, that y’gotta run.  It’s the only way… cut the food and run.
    • Being WAY ahead on my reading challenge.  I’ve got nine of the goal of thirty-six read, although I can’t count two of them (they ended up being novellas/short stories).  But I’m enjoying myself.  Now if I only could get motivated to a few OTHER things from my aspiration list…!
    • I’m grateful for a Lord that is constant and true, that doesn’t change and doesn’t leave.  Because sometimes… I go thru these periods where I feel like He’s SO FAR away, and I hate it and just call out even more, hoping that those times will be super short and pass quickly, and clinging to the promise that He’s there, always.  Then the times start to pass, and it’s like feeling the air kick on in August, y’know?  I’m there, right now.  It’s been a rough few weeks for me, actually.
    • Health.  We’re finally all ditching the cough (okay, everyone but me), and the house is back together again, things looking nice, again.  Have I mentioned it’s been a rough few weeks?  And with the tree smashing the critter pens and the windstorm blowing everything to kingdom come… it’s been rough.  I’ve had little energy, but now that we’re on the mend, the weather’s coming out of its funk, and things are getting cleaned up… I think we’re on an up-side, again!

  • Shabbat Shalom and Tu B’Shevat and happy Full Moon!!

    It’s a full and wonderful day, today. 
    t’s a full moon, which always is fun
    (usually means high energy levels, possible quakes, and optimism).

    But it’s also Shabbat, the day of rest.
    And I’ve been doing some thinking about this, lately.
    Even if the chrischuns claim that Sunday is ‘The Lord’s Day’
    ((Which Messiah negates – He says He is Lord of the Sabbath, hello))
    Even if they choose to gi
    ve Him an additional day,
    That doesn’t change the command to
    “Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy”

    And as if those two things weren’t enough,
    Today is Tu B’Shevat – the Birthday of Trees in Israel.
    Tu B’Shevat actually means the 15th of Shevat.
    It’s the Hebrew date today (15 Shevat, 5773)… just an FYI.

    And I got to wondering… there doesn’t seem to be anything
    in scripture about Tu B’Shevat.  HOWEVER,
    The Jews rarely do anything that doesn’t make sense.
    So what is the meaning of Tu B’Shevat, Biblically speaking?

    In Lev. 19:23-25, the Bible says fruit from trees may not be eaten during the first three years; the fourth year’s fruit is for the Lord, and after that, you can eat the fruit. Each tree is considered to have aged one year as of Tu B’Shevat, so it’s basically a counting date, a measurement in order to be obedient.

    But I can’t help but wonder… did they choose this particular day for a reason?  It’s not exactly the best time of year to plant trees – being in the middle of winter.
    But what if somehow it relates to the Tree of Life?

    What if  this was the day the Tree of Life was taken from mankind?
    Remember, the Mayans believe that sometime in the future,
    the Tree of Life will be returned to Earth.
    What if this date has something to do with that?
    It’s always on a full moon (the 15th of the Hebrew month),
    And it just strikes me as very interesting!

    Anyhow, I have a TON of silk trees all over our house,
    and for a special feast, we had a green tablecloth,
    a forest of trees all around our table, and
    handmade decorations to make the table itself festive.

    Hag Tu B’Shevat Sameach!

  • Money Matters – Part Three

    The next thing I want to talk about is Gerber Life Insurance.

    This is the one GOOD financially sound thing that we did when we had children.  Gerber (the baby food company) offers something called the ‘Grow-Up Plan’… it’s a life insurance policy for babies.  As soon as our children were born, I signed up for a $5000 life insurance plan for them.  It costs very little – I think I pay about $300/yr for my five children.  And if something were to happen to them, I have coverage enough to handle taking care of the burial arrangements.  Not a pleasant thought, but a wise one to consider. 

    And nicer than that, as they get older, you can ‘upgrade’ your policy to a higher amount, if you would like.  Because as they get bigger, the cost of processing increases, it’s just a fact of life.  But even nicer than that?  They can take over the policy and continue it as adults, if they so choose.

    And the bonus?  When they turn 18, so long as premiums are consistently paid, the money I put into these plans will become available to my children.  According to the site:  “As the years go by, the policy accumulates cash value. This is money that is available if there is ever a need for ready cash as long as premiums are paid. The amount of money depends on your age, how long you have had your insurance and the policy’s benefit amount.   …After 25 years, the cash value is at least equal to or greater than 100% of premiums paid. In other words, even though the policy has provided full insurance protection and all guarantees for 25 years, your child can receive a sum of money that’s at least equal to every dollar paid in premiums if the policy is turned in, assuming there are no outstanding policy loans or interest.“  So what I put in, they can get back, later.  The monies aren’t just ‘lost’.

    To me, this is a worthy investment.  It’s insurance, it’s a ‘savings’, of sorts, and it offers options to my children in the future.  It’s something to consider, anyhow.  So if you’re thinking of having children in the future, or in the process of building your family now, I highly recommend you look into the Gerber plans.

    Yesterday I said that it was the most important thing to plan for their futures by putting money into an IRA for their retirement/future.  Today I’m saying that it’s also a good idea to plan for emergencies/disaster by doing this… and it’s an investment that you don’t lose with.  So it’s definitely worth considering.

  • Money Matters – Part Two

    Today I want to talk about the “First Step” of sound finances.

    Now, I realize this is a hot topic out there, because of the world wide craze of Dave Ramsey worshipping.  I have written about this before – I do NOT endorse (or even stomach) Dave Ramsey, and if you want to read more about that, you can do so, here (LINK).  He’s an asshole making craploads of money selling common sense in the name of Gawd to the church.  There’s a special level of hell set aside for him.  And I don’t want to talk about Dave Ramsey.

    More, I don’t want to talk about the logic of not buying what you can’t afford.  Not having credit cards, not taking out extra loans.  How you can’t get ahead by going in the hole… that’s like wanting to sail to a tropic island, and immediately filling your boat so full that you sink before leaving the shore.  I don’t want to talk about this, because it’s common sense.  Debt is bad, we all know it.  And because of the rampant stupidity in our nation, a lot of people are grounded right here at this first step: they don’t go anywhere until they do two basic things:

    1 – Become debt-free
    2 – Change their spending habits to STAY debt-free

    *Because Dave Ramsey told them so.*

    I’ll tell ya – we have been debt-free since 2007.  It wasn’t easy – Brian came in with a credit card, and I came into marriage with a capital reserve that was nearly maxed out.  We had a mortgage on a falling-apart, drafty house that we weren’t staying afloat with, we had a two-hour commute to anything (family/work/stores)… we were a mess.  We survived the first five years only because we had two incomes, but when I stayed home with our first baby, that’s when we started sinking.  To get out of that horrible situation, it required some tough decisions: we had to move to something smaller, more energy efficient that was closer to work/family.  We had to pay off the debt by splitting off acreage and selling it separately from our home.  We had to make concessions on space and location.  But the result was that we were debt-free… and that was the important thing, right?  WRONG.

    Now I’m going to shock you by telling you that while getting out of debt is extremely important to a healthy financial condition, it’s not THE most important thing to work on.  Dave Ramsey tells people that getting out of debt is the FIRST thing that you do.  I totally DO NOT agree.  And I’ll tell you why:  Because if you’re going to put in a yard, you don’t start with the grass – you start with the trees.  What do I mean?  I mean that the things that take the LONGEST to cultivate are the things that should be started earliest in the plan.  Likewise, if you are looking to have financial stability, you have to start with the things that take the LONGEST to compound.  If you start with eliminating debt, you might never get past that debt elimination step (especially if you can’t get a handle on your spending habits)… and then you never get to the stuff that takes the longest to ‘cultivate’.

    This is where we goofed up.  Sure, we got out of debt, and worked out our spending, but we didn’t cultivate our retirement at all.  In fact, most people don’t spend much time at all thinking about retirement.  And this is where I’ve messed up the worst.  Because now we’re looking at our forties, and we don’t have much of anything in place for the future.  Things that should’ve been ‘started’ and left to compound all along… starting at this point in the game is a bad thing.

    From what I’m reading, if an 18-year old person gets a job and puts away $2000/yr from it into a Roth IRA, and does that for three years in a row, and then stops and never touches that money again?  There’ll be a million dollars there when they are 70 years old.  He/she has done very little but will yield HUGE benefits from prudent foresight.  If you start at age 35, though, you have to sock away $100 a week to get to the same amount… because the earlier you start, the more time it has to compound.

    NOBODY ever taught me that.

    This is something that parents should teach their children, and their children’s children.  It’s something you’d think they would’ve taught us in school, but I don’t remember anything about sound finances from the public education I got.  WHY!?!?!  Don’t you think that taking care of yourself and your future generations should be EXTREMELY important to us?

    I gotta tell you – I don’t believe in retirement.  It’s a thing of the past.  People in our age range will NEVER retire.  This is because there are no more pensions.  Companies don’t have them, anymore, for the most part.  It’s also because the cost of living/inflation is going through the roof.  And we’ve seen the demise of retirement firsthand – Brian’s co-worker retired a year and a half ago.  He and his wife both had good incomes for their whole lives, had invested, had saved, and sold their house and retired.  They bought a travel trailer and moved to Florida, taking up a manager position in a retirement park.  They were back in less than 24 months… Rick back at the job with Brian, his wife back at hers.  Why?  Because it cost too much.  They couldn’t swing it.  They’d ran the numbers, worked decades at saving, and couldn’t afford it when they got to that point.

    We all know that there isn’t going to be Social Security for us when we get to 70 years of age.  We all know that there isn’t going to be a GM pension for us.  We have to rely on 401Ks and IRAs – our OWN efforts – to see to our needs in the future.  Unless you want to burden your children beyond belief, or become a needy person living off the state (and the days of THAT are nearly over, too).  So what do we do?

    We have to plant the trees FIRST.   Nevermind paying off debt, or getting rid of your credit card.  You can do that AFTER the trees are in.  The most important thing to do is start a retirement account.  Start it as early as you can.  Start it WITH your children, if possible.  It doesn’t have to be much… a few thousand (and you can start it with a small amount and add on as you can, making payments like you would on a loan).

    But this is the MOST IMPORTANT step to take.
  • Money Matters – Part One

    May I just admit up-front that I come from a long line of financially ignorant people?  I do.  I don’t ANYTHING about saving, investing, compounding… and scarily, I’m quite possibly the most knowledgeable in my clan, having worked in a bank.  Still, to be completely honest, I don’t know anything.  My mom is a big spender.  My brother is better, but different… my sister lives off my mother.  There will be no inheritances… if anything, what will be inherited will be debt.  The same happened with my grandpa (who my mother insisted claimed he was in the poorhouse but wasn’t… and then turned out that even WITH a pension and SS income, really *was* in the poorhouse).  My family will work until they die, and then loose stuff, then live on dog food.  Seriously.  Because there’s NOTHING there.

    Brian’s side is different.  They have money, but nobody knows how or why or what happens with it.  It’s all very hush-hush.  Words like ‘investments’ and ‘stocks’ are murmured behind closed doors, and there’s a lot of prime property… tons of acreage… involved, that’s being sat on and eyed hungrily by the offspring (which, btw, doesn’t include us, so I’m kind of glad not to be in that mess).  But people don’t talk about it or know much about it… just that it’s there, and someday will be split seven ways to Sunday and squandered by kids (relatively speaking) that are unemployed, wasteful, or ignorant of sound financial practices.  Because nobody teaches anyone in that family how to invest/compound/handle money.  In short, it’s hanging off a cliff, and we’re going to get to watch it smash on the rocks sometime in the future.  I’m guessing that Brian’s grandpa’s grandpa was the one who had been successful, and invested, and he taught his son, and he taught his son… so grandpa knows how to invest and save and work with the stock market.  But he obviously didn’t teach Brian’s dad, and I can promise you Brian’s dad didn’t teach Brian a THING about investing, saving, or preparing for retirement.

    I know this, because it’s not something Brian takes care of.  It’s not something he knows anything about.  And if he had been taught a few things, it would’ve helped us IMMENSELY years ago… but I’m getting a little nervous about it, now.  Basically because I don’t have a job, we don’t have a retirement to speak of, Social Security is not viable, and we’re not getting any younger.

    One of my goals this year was to read 36 books.  That’s three books a month… I’m on book six and it’s the first month, so I’m pretty sure I’m going to blow that goal out of the water.  But presently I’m reading a book about with a title something like “How to Retire without Stressing out, Living like a Pauper, or Going Freakin’ Crazy“.  I wanted to know what this person had to say about saving money.  I wanted to know HOW people do it. 

    I know our neighbor George did it.  Of course he worked at GM for a billion years, got his pension, and is alone next door with twelve acres and an ankle-biter.  I don’t get it.  I also know that my grandmother and her second husband retired.  Of course he also worked at GM for a billion years, got his pension, and his dad left him money, too.  Pretty much I’ve come to the conclusion that you only get to retire if you worked for GM.

    OTOH, Glenn (grandma’s second husband) did try to talk to me about Roth IRAs and bonds and market shares and other stuff when we were first having babies.  I think he did it in Taiwanese, because I remember blinking and not processing a damn word he said.  I knew what an IRA, money market, and 401K were, but what they DID, how they worked, what was best?  RIGHT the heck over my head.  I didn’t get it.  The only thing he said that I comprehended was that savings bonds were a good idea in decades past, but these days they don’t make much more than a savings account, and tie up the money inconveniently.

    I don’t understand investments.  But I do know that I want to do more for my kids.  So I’m reading this book… and coming away with some interesting information.  I want to write more about it in the next few days, so I hope you will bear with me as I work through being a little overwhelmed and confused…

  • Passing it On

    This morning my good friend V (Fiberaddict) linked me to a YouTube that was… it was truly amazing.  And because I liked it so much, I’m passing it on to you.  I know she won’t mind.

    I love the facial expressions he gave them… but I hate the painting.  Because that man should NOT be just sitting there, dejected.  He should be DOING something.  But it’s like I said… nobody wants to go to jail.  So there will be no revolution.  Not this time.

    uPDaTe:  Apparently the artist has done TWO paintings:

    … and is a little disillusioned about Obama’s reaction.