Sunday, October 25, 2015

The simple life-step 1

It was 2 years ago we packed up our family of 5, left everything we knew and moved to Atlanta. 

We moved into a beautiful split level home with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, an office, a laundry room...on a culdesac full of kids the same age in a swim tennis community. We moved to the American Dream. Our big house brought guest from Mississippi for months and we loved hosting all of our friends. 

About 8 months ago-I was looking at the bank account and started tallying up how much we have spent in 2 years on this house from payments, to utilities, to furniture to fill it up....and the numbers were insane.

Like xx,xxx.xx 

My heart sank. It sank real low. I took a look at some of the poorest countries average income...for what I spent in 2 years on a house-I could have given to a family in one of these countries and made them feel like millionaires. My research took me further-how about America-how many orphans are in this country-I could easily give this money to many of these kids.  I could have funded a position in a non list went on and on. 

For months I battled with what this meant. Todd and I went back and forth on what did we want our life to look like. Not just now-but eternally. Did we want to get to heaven and God say-you were given the chance and the funding to help so many people and instead you spent thousands a year on a house that was too big and you never cleaned it. (Jesus sounds a lot like my mom in my head sometimes)

No-we didn't want that to be our legacy-we want to be able to give to those we are called too. We want to live a simple life. We want our girls to love and appreciate all that they have,not be consumed by more things. We want a life that is for others and not filled with us.

Todd and I needed a plan on how to make this happen. So we sat down and decided the number one thing that kept us from this life was this house the number 2 was the stuff in it.

So it was evident-it had to go. And we needed 1/2 of the size house. For very cheap.

Enter God: I told Todds stepmom who is a realtor I wanted a cottage style house 1600 sq feet or less-in our area of town this means 1) an apartment 2) a house in a terrible neighborhood 3) a house falling apart.

Until one day-one popped up. And we went to look at it. & although it isn't perfect-its small-and affordable and just right for this stage of life we are in. 

It's gonna need some work-some paint and some elbow grease but even if we slap some lipstick on it-it will be much less than the big ole American Dream house.

So that's the plan-we are moving to what we have dubbed the "make me pretty cottage" 

We have begun the konmari method, if it doesn't bring us joy-it's gone. We are pairing down furniture, clothes, toys...everything. Nothing will go to the new house without having a specific place.

I will have some inside pictures soon-and trust me a LOT of before and afters. 

Here is to the simple life! 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Continuing on the #LWSZ challenge

 So we are busting through the #31daysLWSZ challenge and I thought I'd take a moment to relect on some items.

1) when we started we listed things we had already committed to that was okay to spend. I have purchased 2 of the things (for the girls school) and I felt like I was cheating-even though it was on the list of approved spending.

2) we barely had any food to start because I am not a stockpiler. Meals have been, different but my kids have been amazing. I have explained to them why this is so important to me. And they are on board. My picky eater ate lentil stew and made the comment "it's good." My picky husband ate a bowl and said, "I'll eat it tonight" and sweet middle child excused herself and made a a pb&J.

I love to see how they are understanding that even though we might not have all our favorite snacks we can still enjoy what we have. 

3) I will be buying more than 10days worth come November. Not excessively but to begin having extra for "those times" (when money is tight!)

That's about it so far. I am trucking on and hoping that it gets easier to lose that urge to run to target, or for that craving for Mexican food to disappear. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day 3 of #31dayslwsz challenge-eat what you got

Today's challenge was to create meals out of what you already had. I have mentioned that we really didn't have much in our pantry-freezer bc I am not a stockpiler, but we have enough to make it to Tuesday *i think* if my plans go well. 

So today is a tough one-we are home all day! 3 meals. We aren't huge breakfast people but we do brunch it on Saturdays. 

So I wanted to get creative today and save my easy stuff for the weekdays when we are rushed! So for breakfast  I took the following ingredients:

1) 1/4 bag of hashbrows 2)3 crescent rolls that were left over from taco night 3) jimmy deans sausage and biscuits and 4) Nutella.

I cooked the sausage and the hashbrowns together 
Until the hashbrowns were golden brown then I stuck the potatos in a pan with cilantro, butter, and pepperjack cheese. 

{{insert: I found these little season cubes at Walmart and I love them! They are perfect for fast meals!}}

Then I popped it in the oven. With the crescent rolls-I took the Nutella and spread it over the unrolled recent rolls then cut them into tiny bites and baked them for about 10 minutes. It was like mini pull apart bread. 

Once the cheese melted on the potatoes we were good to go! 

I put the biscuits aside for tomorrow morning! 

It was kind of fun to experiment with what to make! & the kids ate it all. Here's to doing it again at lunch! 

Friday, October 2, 2015

#31daysLWSZ challenge

Over the summer I read Ruth Soukup's book Living Well Spending Less.
I had seen a lot of buzz from bloggers through social media about it and thought to myself, I would love to get spending under control. I am not a huge spender. I like clearance items, goodwill finds, coupons. But I tend to not have much money left over at the end of the month and I would love to build up my savings account, give more freely, and not have so much junk.
So I read the book and it was extremely insightful and real. It made me realize that I could live with less. That I didn't have to run to the store, every time I needed something.
On Instagram a few weeks ago, Ruth commented "Hey @thebroadusbunch are you going to participate in the 31 day challenge." and my first thought was, well, no. But the more I thought about it, I really couldn't come up with a legit reason not too.
So, I signed up. With 60k other peeps.
Each day Ruth post a challenge and an assignment on her blog. Then at 10:30am EST she does a periscope (are you on periscope? I absolutely love it! I used it a lot during our trip to Disney! find me at @sarahbroadus)
Everyone is in this together!
Day 1: was to commit & to fill out your sheet on what you will buy. I had a few commitments this month that are none negotiable. But I am cutting our grocery budget by $100 and staying away from stores! 
I didn't hit up starbucks, and I ate leftover pizza for lunch. The only thing I purchased was gas (which is okay)

Day 2: was to organize your pantry and freezer and take inventory. This is where I am sad. I am not a stockpiler. I literally buy what I need for 10 days and that is it.
So our groceries are not going to go far. I made my list and have enough for the weekend + some extras to carry over in the week. But at least my pantry is clean now.

I had some friends ask me why I am doing this and truthfully and honestly-I want to live outside of the normal life. For the last 10 years we have lived like "Americans" the big house, the 2 cars, the tons of things, the outrageous bills for those things. I am tired of working hard and not getting to enjoy it. I am tired of being normal.
Todd and I are looking into apartment or townhouse living-he drives an old clunker because it is free-we are constantly taking items to consignment to just rid ourselves of so much. I want to live simply and I want my kids to understand that life isn't about stuff. That it is about the relationships you build.
So there ya go. I would love for you guys to follow along with us at #31daysLWSZ challenge!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Looking forward

I am a few weeks away from my 31st birthday. Yes, Thirty-first.

I remember being in my twenties thinking about the thirties and how that seemed like such an old number. My twenties were so not normal. Getting married at 21, kid 1 and 22, kid 2 at 23, 4 years of fertility issues, marriage issues, life issues. Lots of loss, lots of gain. A huge move and then bam. I am thirty.

Thirty has been awesome. The move to Georgia was a great one. I feel like for the first time in my life, I know who I am and who I want to be.

Our family has been discombobulated lately. Todd is on the road, a ton. Working and working. I am busy working and finding my niche in this new business adventure. Mia is in school full time and the big girls are gone on a three week trip to Mississippi. So I have had a lot of quiet time during the days to think some thoughts through.
(I also watch Parenthood on Netflix for 10 hours straight....)

Every year when I get close to my birthday I really start reflecting on what I want for the next year, It wasn't until late in my twenties did I add in "what does God want for the next year".

I have been in lots of thought about this lately and I finally am starting to feel some peace about issues that are on my heart.

We live in a really big house. A wonderful really big house that we have been blessed with for the first part of our adventure. Our family doesn't do space well. The girls like sharing a room. They request we have a lot of open bedrooms. We have 3 bathrooms and all of our toothbrushes are in one. We have 2 living rooms and we only spend time in one. There is a lot of space that we pay to cool, light, clean...that we do not use.

A few years ago I read the book Radical by David Platt. One section that just sticks with me is...
 ....."Are we willing to obey the orders of Christ? Are we willing to be like him? are we willing to risk our lives to go to great need and to great danger-whether it's in the inner cities around us, the difficult neighbor across the street, the disease ridden communities in Africa, or the hostile regions of the Middle East? Are we willing to fundamentally alter our understanding of Christianity from a luxury-liner approach that seeks more comforts in the world to a troop-carrier approach that forsakes comforts in the world to accomplish an eternally significant task and achieve an eternally satisfying reward?"

...."This is where Christ dramatically deviates from the American dream. Yes, Jesus promises great reward, but his reward looks much different than what we might expect. The reward of the American dream is safety, security and success found in more comfort, better stuff and greater prosperity. But the reward of Christ trumps all these things and beckons us to live for an eternal safety, security and satisfaction that far outweigh everything this world has to offer us. " (page 171 & 172)

What does our American Dream look like? Todd and I have both been going back and forth on what God wants for us, while we are here in Atlanta. Neither of us feel like the suburban  comfort life is it. We cleaned out our house of stuff we don't use, wear, play with. 32 bags. 32 bags of stuff. That we spent money on that we gave away. And I am pretty sure there could be a lot more.

It is so easy to get in that comfort level. That life is good, I am making money, I could buy a newer car, a bigger house. I don't want that. I have been in that comfort level before & my life was rocked to shambles because the American way of life became more predominate than living like Christ. We both can feel ourselves drifting back in that direction with friends buying bigger houses, new cars, new this, new that. The keeping up with the joneses lifestyle is creeping back in our lives. And it is clear to us that our plan is not the big house in the suburbs with the security system and comfort of space to sprawl and rooms to fill with stuff.

Is the dream worth it? Our family spent a year rebuilding after 2012/2013 tried to kill us. 2014 was full of amazing spiritual growth, amazing adventure and lots of life change. 2015 is 6 months in and its feels like our lessons and growth that we developed in 2014 are being swallowed by worldly ambitions, worldly pleasures, worldly dreams. And less of Christ.

So this weekend we made a list of what our American dream looks like and decided to start pursing that over the remainder of the year.

31 is going to bring a lot of change. A LOT of Change. And truthfully, I am excited. I am excited to see what living more like Christ is going to look like. Nervous? sure. Change always can bring nervous excitement to life. But when I think ahead of what we think God is calling us too, I am pumped at the adventure ahead.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The best potato salad

I love potato salad. It is a staple in the south for picnics and get togethers. But over the years I have transitioned from a yellow potato salad to a cream based one.

Sorry-there are no cute step by step photos. I told ya, this isn't a food blog :) 

Okay first take 8-10 red potatos and cut them into cubes and boil in water with minced garlic in it until they are fork tender.

Chop about 1/2 cup of cilantro. Throw it into ur mixing bowl. Add 1 small container of sour cream. 1 tablespoon of mayo. And then add 1/2 packet of dry Ranch mix. 

When ur potatos are fork tender-drain them and let them cool. Once cooled-add the other half of the Dry Ranch mix. Toss them Til they are pretty :) 

Add the potatos to the sour cream mixture and then kick it up. 

Add 3-5 shakes of your favorite hot sauce and shake black pepper onto the entire top. Fold all that in.

Now stick it in the fridge. 1-2 hours is best. Over night is stellar. 

Before you serve-top with shredded cheddar, bacon crumbles and chopped green onions. 

Get ready to be the favorite person at your picnic.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The comfort zone.

You get up, grab coffee, eat your breakfast, get dressed, head to your 9-5 job, commute home, go to the gym, eat dinner, watch some shows, play on Facebook, bed...then repeat.

 Life. In the comfort zone. 

I am not a person who likes big change. I can change my hair color and rearrange my house and that is about all I can take. I am a planner and I like knowing what my next step will be.

However, in the last few years God made it very clear that He doesn't want me to be comfortable. And at first, to be honest, I was angry and felt betrayed. 

Because-well-I wanted to good life.

I didn't want His plans for my life. I wanted mine. I didn't want to wait 4.5 years to have my third child & have to suffer a miscarriage and a failed adoption in that time period. I wanted to get pregnant, easily, like the first 2 times.

I didn't want to have to watch my Mother in law suffer of cancer and die and in return watch my husband suffer the pain of her death.

I did not want to leave my bubble and move 6 hours to a huge city where I knew no one. Where we didn't have a sitter, where the security of a job wasn't there. I didn't want to sell my house that i spent years redoing and rent a house that wasn't my style. I did not want to homeschool my kids for a year. 

But each time I said no, God clearly said yes. 

Many times He would shift my sails it was painful. Sometimes I was almost sure He didn't select the right person, that I was inadequate for the position He was calling me too. And to be truthful-some of those times, I said no and made an excuse why my plan was better. And he still ended up with control in the end.

But stepping out of my comfort zone and into His plans taught me that it is okay. The most "popular" verse that always comes to mind when I think of plans is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And although that does adequately fit the scenario of trusting God for each step-it is not the verse that carried me through the pain and agony of His plans. 

1Peter 5:10 was my verse. Still is. "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."

After you have mean to tell me that God allows suffering to His people? Have you read the bible? Famine, drought, allowing His own Son to die a painful death. Yea, I would say he allows suffering. But as promised He will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish   you.

Looking in the review mirror now I can see His hand in all of the suffering. The positives that have come from trusting Him are more than I could have ever dreamed for myself. And each time He has restored, confirmed, strengthen and established. Just as he promised.

"What made you decide to follow His plan?" This is a question that I get asked a lot when sharing my testimony. And the answer is this. When I looked at my comfortable life, I wasn't doing anything for the glory of God. I wasn't working for the glory of God, I wasn't parenting for the glory of God, I wasn't investing in my marriage for the glory of God. I was doing life for me. And me only. And I figured that if, for one year, I gave up all control and trusted in God-if nothing came of it-I atleast tried it. In my mind at the time, it was as if I was saying to God-I will give you a year to do big things-then it's mine again. But in reality God was saying to me, give me a year to lead you without your hesitation and let me show you what I have planned for you. 

And boy did he. (see 15min of fame tab) God has taught me more in the last year of trusting Him than in my entire life. He has shown me what He can do-when I step out of the way and out of my comfort zone. 

What is God calling you to do? Is he calling you to love on that unloveable family member or neighbor? Is he asking you to quit your job to move to one that is less financially secure but will give you more time to be a family? Is he asking you to pack up your belongings and leave the life you have for one where you have nothing? 

Friend, take the time to pray and seek His plan. It's going to be scary and you aren't going to feel like you can do it. But do not resist. Accept the invitation for what He has created for you.