LIFE UPDATE: WHAT ANSWERED PRAYER LOOKS LIKE

life update

A Life Update Just in Time for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving being a few days away I figured this would be a good time to give a life update and explain what we’re so thankful for at a Life on a Dime.

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We have so much to be thankful for! We have two healthy kids, great results on our annual health reviews earlier this month. I am currently enjoying a week at home with both kids. Okay, I’m enjoying most of it. We’ve had our moments, but it just goes with the territory! Without further ado, here is our life update!

How We Kicked off Thanksgiving Break

Last Thursday the kids all dressed as either pilgrims or Indians and then the families were invited to come to school for a Thanksgiving feast at lunch. We missed the parade due to little bubby’s speech therapy, but Thanksgiving lunch is something I’ve made every year, even at daycare before she was in school. It’s just tradition at this point.

Friday morning was the start of the break for my daughter since we opted out of the day-long field trip. We took bubby to speech therapy and then we girls went across the street to do a little Christmas shopping. I got a good start on supplies for gifts I’m putting together before grabbing the little man and heading home.

Monday was not that great, but our plans fell through. We planned to visit my daughter’s former children’s church teacher (and previous babysitter) and just enjoy some time with Ms. Linda. We are praying her hubby gets over his pneumonia enough to come home from the hospital today.

Yesterday we had an appointment across town and decided to head over to Barnes and Noble. The kids had some birthday gift cards previously mentioned in How to Keep the Kids Entertained Thanksgiving Break. It was a new experience for both to wander through the children’s section and pick out whatever they wanted within their budgets. Needless to say, it was very exciting for them! Thank you, Aunt Cara!

In the end they each settled on one new toy (a sparkly owl beanie baby for her and a trainset for him) a book, and they split a cookie in the cafe. All in all, it was a great afternoon out. Then they came home and fought over the train set cuz… kids.

As mentioned previously in the Thanksgiving break survival guide post I budgeted for one meal out for me and the kids. We don’t do this often. Logistically and budget-wise it just isn’t always appealing!

I wanted to do something special and I was so glad I did! When my best friend and I organized a playdate her suggestion to eat at Chick Fil A and talk while the kids ran around the indoor play place was in the budget! We got to catch up a little, the kids ran off some steam, and Chick Fil A is always yummy!

This is What Answered Prayer Looks Like

Today I want to show you what answered prayer looks like. If you’ve been following a Life on a Dime you know our son cut his hand this summer. Quite literally days after I published a post titled Emergency! Why You Need an Emergency Fund Now we experienced our own emergency. You can read Our Emergency: Why We Cash Flow Medical Bills and Trusting in Him Always if you need to be caught up.

Several hours in the emergency room left us with more questions than answers. Would he be able to use his thumb? Had he done more damage than we realized? We went through days of uncertainty, consulted an orthopedic surgeon, opted for surgery, and I am happy to report that he now has use of his thumb!

We opted for surgery not knowing how severe the damage was but knowing if it was extensive it was better to repair sooner than try to reconstruct what was left later.

The surgeon confirmed we made the best choice for our son and his little hand when he told us the extent of the damage; had we not chosen surgery our little boy would’ve lost the use of his thumb. He uses it now!

life update

Here we are four months later and he is using his little thumb. I just have to massage his little hand regularly to get the scar to stretch as he grows. It isn’t 100% and still too soon to tell the extent of nerve damage and repair success, but this is definitely an answered prayer!

Blog Life Update

October was a great month for a Life on a Dime! Blogtober was a huge success, literally doubling this little site’s total views! Overall, for the year, not monthly views! It was a lot of work to keep up with daily posts and pins, but somehow I managed to pull it off.

Thank you to everyone who visited and continues to visit! I have decided to try to post twice a week going forward, and for some reason that seems even harder to keep up with!

I do have lots of exciting content planned and will continue to bring you weekly meal plans via the newsletter (you can sign up here if you haven’t yet!)

The YouTube channel is growing slowly but surely and I love coming up with and posting new videos there, so it is definitely worth the work! If you haven’t seen the channel yet, you can check it out here. Now is a good time to get caught up since there aren’t a whole lot of videos yet! Stay tuned for my first guest in next week’s video! It’s going to be a fun one so be sure to subscribe and hit that bell so you know when it goes live!

Thanksgiving Plans

We’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving with my side of the family. My sister nor I were interested in eating two large meals in one day, so we all went to her house on Saturday evening. The kids love playing with their older cousins. My shy takes a bit to warm up toddler went up to my nephew and promptly asked for some “hucks!” (trucks) to play with and just like that the ice was broken!

Tomorrow night we’ll all go to my sister-in-law’s house for another yummy meal and family time. Their kids are closer in age to mine so it’ll be wild. Literally wild, but definitely entertaining. I am looking forward to my hubby’s peanut butter pie!

How is Life? What Are Your Thanksgiving Plans?

That’s about it for my little life update and Thanksgiving plans. Do you have a tradition for turkey day every year? Have you already celebrated? What are your plans? I’d love to know. I’d REALLY love to know if you have any answered prayers from this year you would like to share! Those we are truly thankful for and they are worth celebrating!

Here’s to a safe and happy Thanksgiving to all my frugal friends!

This post was proofread by Grammarly

TRUSTING IN HIM ALWAYS

This is not the post I was planning to write, but I just don’t feel inspired about organizing on a small budget this week. If you follow the blog you know that our family experienced an emergency a day after I posted about needing an emergency fund. I do not think that was a coincidence.

I’ve felt passionate about saving money for a while, but I was extremely inspired the last month or two about increasing our emergency fund. Looking back I think God was preparing us for what was ahead. His provision is so perfect that way.

Earlier on in our marriage we learned that unexpected, “extra” money was never really extra; it was money God knew we’d need and thankfully now we’ve had the wisdom to save the majority of unexpected funds rather than spend it all when it comes our way.

Early in the month my husband found out he was getting a quarterly bonus. We bought a set of towels on clearance, went out for burgers, and put the rest in savings. He also made a few extra dollars on his paychecks this month that I’d estimated in Every Dollar; after talking about the situation last Friday night I came to the realization that between money saved on his bonus, the increased paychecks, and money I’d already put in savings from babysitting earlier in the month was roughly equal to the payment I’d prepaid the surgeon that afternoon. Talk about God’s provision!

Yesterday morning we showed up dark and early to the hospital at 5 am with a tired toddler who was not interested in going back to sleep. When more than one hour passed with his patient pin listed as in surgery on the waiting room board we knew it had moved past exploratory and into repair.

I am so thankful we were convicted to go ahead with exploratory surgery rather than take a wait and see approach. The emergency room doctor told me to call a particular hand specialist if our little boy wasn’t vending his thumb after a few days. We heeded his advice and got our little guy in just over a week after his injury.

Thursday morning we went to an orthopedic clinic and orthopedic surgery was scheduled the following Monday. The doctor came out and basically said what we’d hoped we wouldn’t hear; to the best of my nontechnical and overwhelmed knowledge, two nerves were severed in his little thumb, one ligament in his palm had retracted, and one superficial artery in his palm had also been severed. It was bad but could’ve been so much worse.

Now we wait and pray and try to console an uncomfortable toddler braced and bandaged up to his armpit to immobilize his hand for optimal healing and restoration of his thumb. He may have limited use and he may have loss of feeling.

It is a terrible feeling as a parent to feel that our child may not be restored whole, especially at such a young age. But, the Good Lord spared blood loss to his other fingers when it was likely, he put the right doctors in our path, and he gave us the means to pay the bills coming in.

I can only trust that He will also restore my little boy’s hand. Whatever the outcome I know my son’s story will be used for His glory. I take comfort in that as I’ve felt somewhat helpless in comforting my little boy at times this week.

A little over two years ago this same little boy was taken via Angel Flight from Washington Regional Medical Center to Arkansas Childrens Hospital. As I sat in my wheelchair crying watching my 2 day old son prepared for flight one of the transporters spoke with us and said he would treat our son as if he were his own. A few days ago a surgeon I had never met looked me in the eye told me he has a little monkey of his own and he was going to take mine.

Please pray for our little boy and our whole family as we walk through these next weeks of uncertainty. I do not know how regular or “good” posting will be throughout this process. All I know is this is what is on my heart as I hold my sleeping boy this afternoon.

Whatever situation or uncertainty you may be facing I hope you know you can trust in Him too. Seek comfort in His arms and He will see you through.

BEGINNINGS OF A MORE MINIMALIST APPROACH

a more minimalist approach

I grew up in a household that appreciated a good deal. It’s in my genes to take advantage of a good deal. My grandmother saved almost everything. Everything. Empty cereal bags inside the box were saved and reused. Canned goods were never thrown out. When she eventually moved into a nursing home I can remember finding canned goods in the cupboards older than me. I thought it was interesting at the time. My mother and older relatives must’ve found it completely overwhelming.

Four years ago last month my mother passed away. Years of carefully stored but rarely admired collections, heavily invested-in hobbies that never lasted, half-finished sewing projects, and four closets of clothes that mostly didn’t even fit lay waiting for us to determine their fate.

I had always known this stuff was there. A few years prior she had enlisted my help selling a few large items on Craigslist. She prepared for a yard sale that never happened. In the back of my mind, I knew a lot was still there but once she had passed away and I walked through the house again the effect of the sheer accumulation of stuff that had little to no meaning to those left behind to deal with it after her death affected me profoundly.

From Passive Parsing of Possessions to an all-out Purge

While I had already determined to be more intentional about the items brought into my home and had somewhat attempted to keep things minimal after we had our first child. I didn’t buy a lot but it still accumulated. I kept an empty diaper box around to hold unwanted items for donation.

Suddenly the things I was surrounded by stressed and overwhelmed me to no end. It had to go. I spent entire evenings walking through rooms, grabbing excess stuff, and piling it up to donate. I couldn’t get rid of enough fast enough. Three times my SUV was loaded and three times items were driven to the local Goodwill for donation. This was just the start.

Something had to Change

Going forward I determined that when I pass away my children would not be faced with a mountain of stuff. It just doesn’t seem fair. Living with it myself no longer seemed fair.

In her death, my mother taught me some very painful lessons about who I want to be and how I want to parent. I refuse to ignore my health until it is too late. I will not ignore my finances and tell my children our family’s financial situation is not their business. I will not want to try to buy people’s love or smile and put on a brave face and hide the inner turmoil I face from the world. How depressing that must have been. How overwhelming. How lonely.

I learned more about my mom and even my own start in life after she was gone. In the weeks following my son’s birth, I spent a lot of time sitting by his NICU bed talking with my dad and we were both surprised how much I didn’t know. Things she never thought to tell me. Things I never thought to ask. I made a choice to refuse to hide my true feelings or project my own insecurities on my children. I want them to know and understand me just as well as I know and understand them.

New House, New Rules

When I started packing up our belongings for storage before selling our old house I used the opportunity to discard a lot of unnecessary items. Or rather I thought I did. Despite selling or giving away a few items in storage it seemed to have multiplied behind the storage unit door. It was time to take a more minimalist approach.

What had seemed like careful and strategic efforts to simplify things before I packed fell glaringly short; I had not one, but three meat mashers when I usually opt for a wooden spoon to do the job. Into the donate box they went along with countless other items.

Once the storage unit was completely emptied and its contents scrutinized several trips with my car loaded down and even an entire trailer-load of larger items made the trek to donation centers. Each trip we unloaded unwanted items from our life the figurative weight of it all got a little lighter.

Just Getting Started…

As good as this feels I’m just getting started. My massive inclination to purge my life of excess possessions has helped me see the smaller edits needed in my life. When I spend less time focused on maintenance of stuff I have more time to focus people, myself included. That feels pretty good. Less is better, at least for me. I like having a more minimalist approach to life. Less gives me time for more. I’m still a work in progress, but progress sure feels good.

Even now I am not done. There is an ongoing effort to simplify things. The difference is I feel like I have room to breathe. Our kids can find their stuff. They play with the toys they own. Once the excess was gone I was free to focus on who, rather than what is in my house. That is how my more minimalist approach to life feels. Simply put, it feels good.

HELLO! WELCOME TO A LIFE ON A DIME!

Hi! I’m Cassie and I’m so excited to share the blog with you! I have lots of fun, informative content posted here. For this post, I’d like to introduce myself and my mission here on a Life on a Dime.

First and foremost I am a mom, but I was a mom first and foremost even when I had a full-time career in the accounting field. The only difference was we had consumer debt keeping me from being really being there with my kids.

That all changed in the spring of 2018. We both worked hard, and a lot. But even on two good incomes, a mortgage, student loans, car payments, daycare tuition, and occasional credit card debt kept us bound financially. My husband and I had bought our first home almost a decade prior and slowly renovated room by room ourselves and with the help of family in cash. We started to get the itch to build… we had equity in our home, we just weren’t sure how much.

After a lot of discussions, help from God, family, and a lot of hard work we took a leap of faith. We started on a new adventure. When the opportunity came I left my job, we moved in with my dad who not only housed us but deeded us land to build on, finished updating the house, and sold. We were blessed to have made the decision and had good timing with the market. We were able to pay off all of our consumer debt and set aside the 20% requirement for a construction loan.

New Beginnings

a life on a  dime
Harris Home est 2019

So began our journey to give our kids a better life; one with less stuff, and more of what mattered. This is our life on a dime. Please follow along with us on this journey and leave a comment below with questions or suggestions of what you’d like to see on here.

What to Expect on a Life on a Dime

I am here blogging on all things budgeting, family, work-life balance (if such a thing exists), minimalism, non-toxic living as well as essential oils, all sprinkled with faith. I will also post tips on meal planning, some recipes I love, as well as frugal fun ideas for the family. Life is an adventure and this family is living a life on a dime!

love,

Cassie