Dad Brags

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Throwback to my sister’s high school graduation! We were standing in our living room/embroidery business/home school room.

I’d like to brag on my Daddy for a bit.

My Daddy (and yes, I still call him “Daddy”), is a man of many talents. I grew up with him leading worship in the church (is it any wonder I ended up marrying a worship leader?). I’ve also known him to learn new skills in order to take on various business endeavors.

I’m posting this now, because years ago one of those endeavors got him into a bit of trouble, and he has recently made it all right.

I don’t know all the details. Quite frankly, I don’t believe the details are any of my business, nor are they the important part of the story. I’ll give you a quick summary.

He started a business.
He got a business partner.
The business did well.
The complexities of running a business left a few details undone.
His business partner left in some tough circumstances.
My Daddy was left with a mess.
Debt. Taxes. $$$.

It was rough there for a bit. But you know? I’m proud of my parents. Momma, I love that you stuck by your husband in the midst of the mess and didn’t leave even when I’m sure that could have been a tempting option. Daddy, I love that you were not too proud to make it right.

Both of my parents have worked hard. My Momma is a successful pilates instructor. My Daddy has done a little bit of everything. When the embroidery business faltered, he started working in a Family Dollar warehouse. He was in Toastmasters for a while, hoping to increase income through a bit of public speaking. He worked in a mailroom at Derek Prince Ministries.

A mailroom. This man, a leader in the church and talented salesman, humbled himself to work in a mailroom. I am so proud of him for it.

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Dancing with my Daddy on my wedding day. And yes, that’s a bounce house in the background. 

My Daddy didn’t give up. In time, he worked more hours doing odds and ends for Derek Prince Ministries. He taught himself new skills and took over the social media for the ministry. He learned how to update, manage, and create websites. In fact, in the last year, my Daddy was commissioned to build the websites for Derek Prince Ministries in multiple countries across the globe.

Do you know what that means?

After years of hard work, faith, and more hard work, my Daddy has paid off his debts. He is free. The phrase, “pray as if it all depends on God, and work as if it all depends on you” comes to mind.

I asked his permission to share this story, because don’t we all at some point have a weight on our shoulders we want to shake off? A huge goal we are striving toward that might seem impossible in the moment? My Daddy is an example of making it happen. And I am so proud of him.

He’s mentioned that people have asked whether he is excited to be rid of the financial obligation. His response? “I wish I was more excited! The truth is, I asked God to help me be content through it all, and He did.”

And I love that too. Because yes, we all have goals. We all have stuff. But our goals and the getting rid of the stuff isn’t the point. The point is clinging to Jesus and focusing on Him no matter where we are. Whether on a mountaintop or in a valley, the only way we can be truly content is to find our purpose in Him.

So Daddy, just in case you weren’t sure, I’m proud of you and I’m proud to be your daughter.

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My Daddy carrying my oldest girl.

“‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.’” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

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That Time I Took My 3 Year Old Shopping

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Her excitement is due to the fact that her “money” has a picture of Frosty on it.

My sister sent me a text that said something to the effect of, “Is there anything your girls want or need for Christmas?”

YES! They needed water bottles. I may or may not have been ultra specific in the water bottle selection, as I have cleaned up my fair share of leaks. (Contigo for the win!)

I also tagged on a rather strange request. Might my sister want to give her three year old niece a gift card for Christmas? To buy clothes?

I’ve mentioned the princess dress fiasco, but it got worse. After bringing home what I felt was a super cute princess dress for my daughter, she asked me to return it. My three year old told me she did not want to wear the dress I had carefully selected and wanted me to return it.

At this point, I felt I had two options.

Option 1: “Child, you best be grateful. I paid good money (okay, six dollars) for this dress and you are going to like it. You are going to wear it to church on Sunday and you are going to be happy about it.”

Option 2: I could realize that she has an opinion and honor it. Could this possibly be an avenue to end the battle of getting dressed in the mornings? Putting the ball in her court could potentially lessen my stress while empowering her to make decisions.

I chose option 2, and my sister, being amazing as she is, gave my daughter a $25 gift card to purchase clothes for Christmas.

So, we had some fun with it.

I counted out 25 monopoly bills and had my daughter count them with me. “This is how many dollars you can spend on clothes today. You may choose whatever you like as long as it is something warm.”

It didn’t take long for her to find two pieces that she loved. A “princess dress” (strangely similar in color and shape to the one I had previously purchased…) and a sweatshirt with a dog on it. It was a winner because the dog was wearing a crown, and therefore, a princess. These two items would total $25 exactly.

We counted her money. She knew she was at her limit. When I told her I was going to buy her some pants, she conceded by crawling underneath the clearance items and telling me her legs were tired. Well, I suppose that’s normal for a three year old.

Moments later, she came across the most extraordinary piece of clothing she had yet witnessed in her lifetime. A princess shirt. A shirt with an actual princess on it. She fell in love with it, so we reasoned through the situation.

Me: “Do you have enough money to buy this shirt?”
Her: “No.”
Me: “This shirt is less money than your other items. If you put back one of the other items, you might be able to buy three things with your money.”
Her: “Put back the dress.”

We counted her money and found that she now had an additional $6 to spend. I’m all for encouraging good spending habits, so by golly, I was going to find something she loved for $6. It took a bit of searching, but we finally landed on a shirt with a star on the front.

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The loot.

I was so proud of her decision that I offered to buy her something additional, but she refused. She wanted those specific three items with her $25.

And, you know what? The next day, she jumped out of bed, ready to get dressed because she wanted to wear that princess shirt. I’d say that’s a win.

Perhaps I shouldn’t encourage such a young one to enjoy shopping or fashion, but I love that we had a fun mommy-daughter day. And (bonus!) it even included a small lesson in economics!

Maybe even the concept of counting her dollars will help her appreciate what she receives in the future…

Maybe.

30 Days of Thankfulness: Pastor Tom & Pastor Dan

The lead staff team at Daystar Church is made up of four individuals: Pastor Allen, Pastor Tom, Pastor Dan, and my hubby. I’ve already written about two of them, so this morning I would like to honor Pastor Tom and Pastor Dan.

Pastor Tom

I personally believe Pastor Tom is a financial genius. He has the title of Executive Pastor, which means he has a lot of responsibilities on his plate. Here are just a few of the things he oversees:

  • Financial goals. One of the goals written into the bi-laws at Daystar Church, is that the budget for each coming year will be based on 90% of the previous year’s income. What does this mean? It means that the church should automatically be saving 10%, plus the ability to save extra from any new growth. This allows the church to be in a healthy place financially.
  • Budgets. Each individual team submits their budget to Pastor Tom for approval. He is able to look over everything and determine which areas may need to be increased or decreased based on meeting Daystar’s financial goals.
  • Cash Flow. This sounds very complicated to me. In the most simplest terms, Pastor Tom monitors the cash flow so that all the money is in the right place at the right time, without ever putting the church in a place of financial pressure.
  • Legacy Campaign. In this exciting time of being able to have two new permanent facilities for Daystar Church, there is a lot of managing to do. Pastor Tom has the financial knowledge to be able to determine how much we need before starting a project so that it can continue without taking away from the current facilities.

There is more, but truth be told, I don’t really understand it all. I have come to Pastor Tom on several occasions asking for help with financial decisions and he has always been willing to make time for me and my questions. He is able to explain complicated topics in a way that makes sense. Not only is he a valuable resource, but he is a kind and tender-hearted man who loves the Lord.

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Pastor Tom is such a friendly guy and always has a cup of coffee in his hands!

Pastor Tom, I am so thankful for all that you do! You have been a huge blessing to Daystar Church and the lives of people around you. Thank you for contributing your knowledge in such a powerful way!

Pastor Dan

I once had the opportunity to work across the hall from Pastor Dan, and he is a hoot. He is always excited, loves to laugh, and is constantly whistling his favorite tunes. In addition to his love of life, he has a passion for spreadsheets. More often than not, if you come across any sort of spreadsheet at Daystar Church, Pastor Dan is responsible.

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Pastor Dan and his wife, Kay, who also works at Daystar Church!

Pastor Dan’s main responsibilities are all things involving small groups. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Structure. Small groups are based on a “free-market” idea. This means that leaders and participants can choose to have a group based on their interests, demographic, or a specific study. Pastor Dan helps leaders narrow down their focus and trains them on how to use their group to help people grow closer to God.
  • Curriculum. For the first time, Daystar Church has started providing it’s own curriculum for small group studies. This has been true for the Legacy and Noteworthy small groups. Pastor Dan has ultimately been responsible for the creation of the curriculum. He makes sure everything flows together and is done with excellence.
  • Organization. Remember those spreadsheets I mentioned earlier? Pastor Dan organizes Rally Day each semester to help people find just the right small group. If you have ever been to Rally Day, you are sure to have seen a spreadsheet detailing which small groups are available and a map that shows you how to find the small group you are looking for.
  • Encouragement. Pastor Dan is so good at sending out encouragement to his leaders every week. He touches on what challenges that week might face, and encourages small groups to keep pushing through various obstacles. Being steady in the hard things helps us find growth and life!

Pastor Dan, I am so grateful to know you and appreciate all the hard work you put into Daystar Church. Thank you for your dedication to the Kingdom!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Dave Ramsey

Nerd post alert.

When I was just barely old enough to start babysitting, I decided I was going to use my income to buy a car. My motto was literally, “Should I go to a movie now, or buy a car later?”

And you know what? It worked! I ended up buying a car from my parents when I was 16. I’m pretty sure I way underpaid them, but that experience taught me a lot about what it means to save up for major purchases.

I was fascinated by compound interest equations in math class. I actually enjoyed reading articles about credit cards, retirement, and mortgages. See? I’m a nerd through and through.

So, for most of my life, my financial philosophy has been to work hard, save a bunch of money, and avoid debt. This thought process has helped me make many decisions; along with the guidance of my most significant financial influence: Dave Ramsey.

I first discovered Dave shortly after Eric and I were married. I had won a copy of his book at a church event, and I think I read through it in just a couple of days. I love that Dave makes finances make sense. He explains things in a way that is easy to understand with a conviction that makes you want to jump all in and make finances a priority.

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My well-loved Dave Ramsey materials.

I’ve never been too great at using Dave’s cash system, but aside from that, I have made a habit of applying his concepts. I use a form that I slightly modified from Dave Ramsey’s book when creating our budget each month. When Eric and I are making important financial decisions, I peruse Dave’s website for any information pertaining to that particular topic. I get all of his newsletters and love listening to the countless stories of people becoming debt free. Dave has created a community of people who support and encourage each other in their financial journey. I am forever grateful for all the wisdom his books and website have bestowed upon me!

At one point, I had aspired to work for his company. It was my dream job! What could be better than helping others learn how to live in financial freedom? I actually met him once at a conference. I stood in a long line intended for acquiring an autograph, and when I finally got to Dave I asked him, “Do you have any job openings in North Carolina?” Unfortunately, the answer was “no”. There were positions available in Tennessee, but since Eric and I are called to the mission of Daystar, that simply wasn’t going to be an option. Ends up, that for me, what’s even better than helping people find financial freedom, is helping people find freedom in Christ.

I am so thankful to have found Dave’s resources. It has helped Eric and I have a firm foundation for our marriage! We have used his advice when it comes to investing, saving, and budgeting. The resources on his website helped us determine that refinancing from a 30 year to a 15 year mortgage was going to be a no-brainer for us.

Thank you Dave and team for your message. You are truly helping people change their lives for the better!