Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disappointments Overthrown

Blink three times and July will be gone.

I feel like this is the way things have been all Summer.  Just yesterday, I was moving and my second nephew was born.  Now he has gained several pounds, kept his gigantic head of hair and I am getting ready to move back to Moscow for school.

It makes me wonder if I have been taking the time to truly enjoy each and every day.  The beauty of summer is tantalizing, but oftentimes easily missed when the heat is overwhelming and there appears to be "nothing to do."  While I was spending my time searching for jobs and stressing about money, a baby was growing up right in my very arms.  I could see nothing past the disappointments, when I should have been appreciating every little miracle and joy that came my way.

Last weekend I was able to obtain a job working in a concessions stand at Targhee Fest 2010.  $500 later, I realized how incredibly blessed I am.  I have been on more trips and weekends vacations in the past three months than any other Summer in my life.  And very likely only because I didn't have a job.  Erik loves me.  The support I receive from him during whatever "crisis" I may feel I'm going through is worth more than millions of dollars.  I have nearly finished the gigantic piece of literature that "Sherlock Holmes Vol. I" is.  So regardless of being poor as a pile of dirt..

...this Summer has been amazing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Financial lessons

As everyone should know (and if you don't, I would love to come live in your hole) the economy is not at its best.  Due to mortgages given out when they shouldn't have, extremely high credit card debt, etc., we are now in a recession.  And have been for some time.  A dear friend of mine and I are in the same "financial crisis" at the moment and we both realize that we should have been doing a much better job at managing our money when we had it.  To quote, "If I had known, I would have bought a whole lot less and saved a whole lot more."

I think many of us feel the same way.

In response to this, I have been learning how to better manage my money while I am unemployed.  I call it  self-improvement self-employment.  Using resources from my dad (that I neglected until it was too late) and a free online Quicken program called Mint, I am learning how to obtain a better hold on my finances so when I do have money, I'll know what to do with it.  And I felt I should share the wealth.

If you're new to responsibly dealing with your finances, I suggest reading "Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s.  My dad gave me this book as a financial resource and at first I skimmed through, thinking I already knew what it had to tell me.  Wrong.  It has all the information you want to know about any and every bit of finances, from creating a budget to how much you should paying for rent to how and when you should buy a car.

I also encourage everyone to look into  It's an incredible budgeting tool that allows you to upload all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, etc. so you know are aware of how much money you have and where it's all going.  Set up your monthly budget right down to the socks you're buying and away you go.  You end up having to see how far in debt you are as well so it does a great job using scare tactics to keep you from spending.

One of my favorite tools is the Goal tool.  You set a monetary goal for a vacation, getting out of debt, wedding plans or anything else you could think of.  State the specific date you want the money by and it shows you how much you need to save per month.  Not only that but you can connect this goal with a bank account to track how you're doing.

While there are times when there isn't much we can do to fix the current financial situation, there are at least opportunities to figure out what to do better next time.  I'm taking this opportunity and showing it who's boss.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"He's got the whole world in His hands.."

It can be quite difficult to remember that there is actually Someone out there that has something to do with what is going on in your life.

I have spent from April until now attempting to obtain a job.  It appears an impossible feat.  Things change when you have more than yourself to think about and when Erik was looking for an internship, we weren't sure where we would end up for the summer.  Jobs that have been available were usually in the wrong place or offered at the wrong time.  I had turned down a job in Idaho Falls and passed up an interview because we were told that Erik didn't have an internship at the INL.  Two weeks later, we are moving up to Idaho Falls and I can find no employment.

There are moments in life that just do not make sense.

But I am reminded that this is just one moment, one little blip in the whole scheme of things.  There is hope, for beyond all the new age-y philosophies I carry I do know that there is One who holds it all in His hands.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Eco-friendly Summer Essentials

As a self proclaimed "hippie," there are certain ways of learning how to live and what to use on a daily basis.  Summer is one of the greatest seasons for one who enjoys being in the great outdoors, but also requires some extra thinking about what products to use to protect your skin from the sun, keep cool and bring those flimsy flip-flop purchases down to a minimum.

One of the most important things for summer is keeping those darn feet from getting overheated.  Another problem is the amount of money and resources get used up by endless pairs of flip flops or other sandals.  Plus, when you're like me and you're out hiking or windsurfing during the summer months, you need something that will hold up and get good traction without looking ridiculous.  Chacos are great for that.  These ones were give to me as a birthday present from Erik, and they come in all sorts of colors.  The thin straps look a little more "girly" than your basic Chaco, adding a nice touch.  They also last a long time.  You can get them re-soled, re-strapped, re-anything so when something wears out, you only replace what's broken, not the entire shoe.  Initially they do cost a chunk of change, but if you think about how many pairs of other sandals you've purchased and worn out... it's definitely worth it in the long run.

Another important thing to cover is your body... in lots of sunscreen.  With over 1,000,000 new cases a year, skin cancer has been steadily rising as the use of things such as tanning beds increase.  I'm just as vain as the next person (I've used those tanning beds several times), but it becomes awfully dangerous to sacrifice your life for your looks.  The Environmental Working Group has done a study on thousands of sunscreens, checking for everything from protection against harmful sun rays to toxic chemicals found in the creams, causing their own problems.  They found the top 5 best and worst sunscreens, with Soleo Organics Sunscreen Chemical Free SPF 30 being number 1.  To see the report, check out this link: Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

I really don't care for shorts that much.  From a family that seems to be one of the most fertile, my hips are made for having babies.  So I prefer to wear things like skirts and dresses to keep cool.  Patagonia carries a variety of skirts and dresses for summertime.  One of my favorites (that I actually own) is the Morning Glory skirt.  It works with just about anything and the material breathes beautifully.  Not to mention its durability is hard to beat, especially when it comes to a skirt.  And with Patagonia's dedication to creating products that cause the smallest amount of harm to the environment, you know you're getting a quality product using ethical means.  Click to find out more about Patagonia's mission statement: Patagonia