20 weeks!

In some ways I can’t believe it has been 20 weeks, and in other ways I can’t believe it’s only been 20 weeks! If this last week is any indication it seems the last 18 weeks are not going to be a downward journey but rather I will continue to travel uphill with a new struggle each day/week.  Again in a lot of ways I’m completely 100% ok with this, and I really hope that I do get to travel 18 more weeks with this little babe in my belly.  Every day is worth it totally and completely.  In other ways I just wish some circumstances were easier for me to travel in.

The last two weeks have me facing the very real reality that I will not be able to work to 36 weeks again like I did when I was pregnant with Ezekiel.  At 20 weeks pregnant I’m finding it hard to get through small day to day tasks let alone getting through a work day (even an 8 hr work day).  I’ve been having abdominal pains that no one can figure out, and on top of that if I’m up and moving too much I feel the heaviness in my uterus and the irritability that causes it.  These things scare me to some degree considering my labor with Ezekiel was termed a “silent labor” and the only reason I was at the hospital was because I thought I was being extra cautious.  I constantly wonder what next time will bring – will it be obvious or will it happen without my knowledge again? What will the signs be? How cautious do I really have to be?

My physicians are not worried about premature labor at this point, and I am partially relieved about that and partially not relieved considering they weren’t concerned about premature labor last time either and I ended up having an intubated late term premie in the NICU.  They are encouraging me to work less and even stop working, and I started this pregnancy knowing that I was going to push back on that quite a bit.  However, I am now humbly realizing that I am the expert on my body and my body is sending me very clear signals that it’s almost time to stop.  The pain in my joints is increasing with each day, the pain in my lower abdomen as well as right side gets worse with increased activity and now my chronic back pain that was well controlled is again out of control.

Here’s the dilemma – money.

I hate that.  I hate that money has enough control to make this decision one of the most difficult.  I’ve been praying for wisdom in each decision and I’m struggling with this one.  I’ve secured some finances so that if I have to stop working suddenly we can still make ends meet – but that just puts me in more debt, something I was really hoping to have whittled down by the time this little one came.

Yet money is just money.  If I get back to a Kingdom mindset (again, trying really hard with this one), then I know that the money that passes through my hands is not mine but graciously given to me by God.  So if it’s not mine to start with and if He’s provided me with everything I need to this point it stands to reason that this small portion of my life will also be taken care of.  In the grand scheme of things this is just a small part of life, and we will get through it and it will all be ok in the end regardless of what that looks like.

I wish that made the decision easier…..

Budget 101

Growing up I think I was always pretty good with money.  I remember saving money for a seemingly large amount of time and then being able to splurge on a coveted item.  Often I’d make deals with my parents about saving up for half of an item such as a stereo system etc.  I’ve been working since I was 15 and in high school I never saved much but I never wanted for anything.

Of course then I graduated and was on my own.  My first year out of high school I travelled to the Caribbean on a set budget and came back with lots to spare and I was pretty proud of myself.  Then I went to college and all my money wise ways went out the window and I was on a downward spiral into an absurd amount of debt.

Fast forward to 2011 when I was in my final semester of University and knowing that I needed to change something and get control of my money situation.  It’s not that I didn’t work hard – it’s that I didn’t know how to properly handle my money.  So I bought an audio book by Dave Ramsey and decided to follow his step by step guide on how to get out of debt and save money.  I never did follow that guide religiously, and I’m definitely not out of debt, but I did learn how to manage my money responsibly.

I used a cash budget for a few years and did so great on it and was able to pay down my credit cards (then build them up and pay them down several times over….) and have very very rarely been into my overdraft or been late with any payment.  Since going back to work after my maternity leave I’ve noticed that I’m being far less strict with my budget and it’s causing stress that is really just unnecessary.  I’m the only one in my household with an income and am solely responsible for a mortgage plus all the bills that come with home owning on top of paying down all my school debt and a car loan.  Talk about a lot of financial weight on my shoulders! That’s the major contributing factor to me not being as strict with my money.  When I stress on things like this, one of my coping strategies is to just avoid.

Well it’s time to stop avoiding.

I’m going back to square one, tracking all my receipts and redoing my budget system.  Becoming far more strict with my miscellaneous spending and grocery budget.

Money can be such a paralyzing factor in people’s lives, but I refuse to give it that power over my life and the life of my family.  I choose to live well and live simply and that means getting back control of my bank account.

Any tips and advice on how to budget? I’m all ears!