Thursday, April 28, 2011

Got My Mind on My Money and My Money on My Mind

Tax season is in the review mirror. My insurance company called a couple of weeks ago as a courtesy to update my life insurance before my fortieth birthday (as the prices are sure to increase). There is a rare open season for our long-term care insurance at work as well. All of these things converged at the same time and have had me focused on getting my "papers" in order. I have worked hard in my career and thought I had pretty security blanket to live comfortably in my latter years, but the more reviewed these different insurance policies and spoke with a financial planner I realized I had to make some adjustments to maintain my standard of living. I also want to be prepared so that I never become a burden to my children.

The catch phrase for women my age is "Forty is the new twenty". However I believe new forty is confident, informed, and prepared. In my twenties and uh-hem, my thirties, I kept thinking that I had more time to plan for some things. I contributed to my retirement plan up the matching percentage, I had the minimum life insurance plan, and have been able to do most of the things I have wanted to do in terms of giving and travel. I have also struggled with debt at different points over the years, coming out and vowing to become a "cash-only" spender. But here and there, the credit cards have been whipped out foiling my "cash-only" plan because I thought I would deal with it later.

Well, later is here and I am so thankful that I am in a position to secure my future and God has always given me the grace to keep myself from totally wrecking my financial life. Later is now and as move into my "formidable forties" I do so with wisdom and applied knowledge. I love how the word of God puts it in Proverbs 21:20 "the house of the wise are full of choice foods and oil, but the foolish devours all he has" and Proverbs 21:5 "the plans of the diligent surely lead to plenty, but of everyone who is hasty, surely lead to poverty". I am only a complete debt-busting budget and will have all credit cards paid off within twelve months. I have an affordable long-term care insurance plan that I hope I never need but it will keep my very comfortable in the event that I do. I have completed my physical for a robust life insurance plan that will protect my investments and my family when the time comes. One final thing I must do is to have a will prepared and I will keep you posted on when we accomplish that. I guess the blog will help me be accountable!

One final note, during my physical the doctor was amazed at how LOW my blood pressure was and it prompted me to begin researching the mind-body-spirit connections as they relate to finances, relationships, fitness, etc. I plan to follow up on that in subsequent posts. My pastor made a statement in fall of 2009 that he heard the Lord saying it was time to get low in credit and high in cash. While we have no control over the stock market, the real estate market, or the prices and the food market, we can apply Godly principles to whatever state we find ourselves in and live an abundant life. When we do things His way the word says, "the blessings of the Lord will make us rich and add no sorrow". Until next time, I pray that if you haven't thought much about your financial future that this will move you to do so.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gratitude

Seems so easy to get caught up in complaining about what we don't have, the missed opportunities, or the outcome of our choices.  Every single person on the earth has wondered a time or two, "what if?"; why didn't I"; "why them and not me?"  I think there certainly are people who have seen more than their fair share of pain and suffering in the world and it truly saddens me.  But the stories that move me to the highest levels of compassion are the ones of triumph against all odds.  I am amazed at the countless heroes who had the right to shrink in fear.  I love reading about the impossible real-life over comers like the Trisha Meili and Ruthie Bolton; I am captivated by the strength of the human spirit.

One thing that most of these stories have in common is gratitude.  Rather than accounting for all that has been lost the over comer finds a way to be grateful for what they have.  They cannot find the strength needed to heal, rise up, or break free by having a pity party.  Instead they instinctively know that gratitude is the first step to tapping into the inner warrior.  That part of yourself that knows trouble won't last always but is also grateful for the sunrise they were able to see, the breath of life, and a thinking mind.  The warrior that serves others even in the midst of their own pain, adversities, circumstances because there is ALWAYS someone doing worse than you. 

Gratitude is the cornerstone of perspective.  The perspective that gives us clarity to move forward, forgive, take a chance, fight back, to overcome!  When we live a life of gratitude we are putting ourselves in the position to attract the positive.  We become creative, we find our strength, we find out just how blessed we are, and we open our hearts to our Heavenly Father.  His word speaks over and over about the grace that He has extended to each of us.  We have the grace to endure, the grace to conquer, the grace to withstand, but we must be grateful.  We see in the word of God that we are to come before Him with thanksgiving and praise and there are no caveats listed, it is not an "if/then" situation.  We must come before Him with thanksgiving, gratitude. 

Now I don't necessarily have everything that I desire but I am grateful for my health, my marriage, and my children.  I am grateful for the ability that I have to earn a good living, the treasured friendships, and the peace I have in my life right now.  I am grateful to live in a country that allows me to openly worship the God of my choice and the freedom to pursue my happiness even though I was almost furloughed last week! (smile)  I'm grateful!  My life is full of possibility and promise and yours is too.  Please remember to count your blessings because they always outweigh your troubles.

PS- So grateful for all those reading the blog also!