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Making progress 💪🏻

We have been so BUSY! With good stuff!!

Since I last posted…

*We have have paid $12k on my bonus sons student loan 🎉🎉

*We are in the middle of cash flowing summer vacations

*We have now paid over $35k since we began this journey in November!

INSERT HUGE CELEBRATION HERE

For those of you considering changing your lifestyle, or trying to pay off debt… it CAN be done! It’s crazy how “simple” it is. I put that in quotes because it is HARD work and dedication like none other but the principals are simple.

On my Instagram page (moneyonmymind02) you can follow more up to date progress. I encourage you to follow financial pages (debt free hashtags, frugal, etc) as I have found this to be a huge source of encouragement. What’s crazy though are the {dare I say} cat fights I occasionally see in regards to Dave Ramsey’s plan versus the avalanche method. In DR’s plan you pay smallest to biggest whereas the avalanche goes by highest interest rate. I’ve watched people call DR fans “cult members” and I’ve seen others bash the avalanche method for not doing it right 🤦🏻‍♀️

I always chime in and say it is YOUR journey! We started with the snowball plan due to having small debts that we wanted done quickly. That made sense! But then we jumped over to the avalanche method to knock out a high interest credit card. Here’s the deal- follow whichever plan you want! Mix it up! If you are intentional in your finances and are slashing through debt– who cares what plan you are on?? I’ve seen people start with automobiles and leave small debts waiting. For them it made sense to knock those out first. Who am I to judge?

Start somewhere. We took some HUGE leaps and dumped a lot of monthly bills to get going fast. Not everyone can or wants to so that! (Lemme tell ya… I don’t miss cable but I do miss my cleaning lady! 😭😭) Do what works for YOU!

We’ve made some major progress. We are working towards pre-paying (I guess you’d say) our summer trips. So this month there’s no “snowball” so to speak but we still have a plan and that is the most important part.

Anyone knew to the journey? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Uninvited

Have you read this book? I’m all for anyone reading it BUT if you are a woman it’s A MUST! Download it on your kindle, get it for free from your library or send me your address and I’ll mail it to you. It is a MUST read.

Here’s the deal– I’ve spent my entire life living with that feeling of rejection. I always had my family who supported me no matter what but I often was rejected everywhere else. I assumed I would reach a magic point in my life when rejection either didn’t happen or I didn’t care. Well… I’m still waiting on that moment to arrive.

Rejection stings. Feeling “uninvited” or out of place. Or maybe you are like me and you simply struggle to find your niche. This feeling doesn’t have to overtake you! While I’ve always known that my Heavenly Father was there with/for me, I don’t think I ever meditated on the fact that HE was rejected. The feeling I have when I don’t fit in, or don’t get invited, or don’t feel like I belong… my Father felt that way. He is who I need to cling to.

I’ve always blamed it on me being a loud mouth. 🤷🏻‍♀️ I mean, facts are facts. I’m too much for some people. I’ve spent years taking my temper and my tongue but some will always leave me out because they remember how I’ve been or know how I can be. It hurts! Especially when I know I am NOT who I once was.

Being vocal and outspoken has its perks but has so many negatives. I can’t change who I am but I can continue to work to improve on myself. I want so desperately to NEVER reject others. That’s probably not very realistic but it’s my goal. I work hard to include even when others don’t do the same.

If you feel rejected or alone PLEASE read this book. And reach out. I’m here and I’ve been there. But above all… if you feel rejected seek the One who was rejected and despised and loved anyway. I’ll never be Jesus, but I sure want to be like him.

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

When will I stop asking why? 

I write this with big tears running down my cheeks. (Brb- gotta get that under control!!) 

Okay I’m better. So Ava and I are both sick and being lazy upstairs watching tv. She decided to play a game on her iPad so I flipped on live tv (oh the horror– commercials!!!) and Americas Got Talent is on. Why not? 

I see a girl who has obviously been burned walk out and begin to tell her story of surviving a plan crash, losing her best friend in the crash, her painful story of 100 surgeries and finding her strength in music. She survived a crash along with one other person while everyone else lost their life in a fire. 

I hate the month of June. June 1st is when I remember the events (from my perspective) of the day I found out my best friend had been in a plane crash and was in the burn unit at Children’s Hospital. June 10th reminds me of the day her parents had us (me and her other close friends) come to the hospital while the doctor explained everything that was going on with her and this allowed us to pray for her more specifically as we drew strength from each other. June 13th reminds me of when her oldest sister came to stay with me for the week so she could help out with VBS and get away from the hospital for a while. That same day reminds me of she and I checking out at Walmart and the cashier loudly saying “wasn’t that you that was in that crash” causing people to stare and us to leave. (Flipping small town) June 16th reminds me of the day that Rachel passed away. I’m reminded of knowing things had gone from bad to worse and the look on my dads face as he opened my bedroom door. I begged him not to say the words as the tears began to fall. June 19th reminds me of her funeral and the moment at the cemetery when her mom began singing “I have Decided to Follow Jesus” as she sat in her wheel chair from injuries sustained during the crash. And every day after that reminds me of trying to do life without my friend. 

I can’t help but spend this month thinking why. Why did God allow this to happen? Why to her family? Why to my friend? I’m sure God gets tired of me asking why, but I’ve promised Him that when we meet- I will drop it. 

For years I struggled with whether or not it was ok to ask WHY to the Father and Author of the world. It took me a long time to grasp the fact that it is ok. I probably shouldn’t do it, but I’m human and heck– I DO wonder why God took my friend. I wonder what she would be like if she were still here. I wonder what would life would be like if that pilot had just heeded the warnings and turned the plane around. I wonder how I would be different as a person who hadn’t endured such pain at an impressionable age. How different (and better) I might be if Rachel were still here. 

This I know for sure… God is all knowing, all powerful and can see the Big picture. So when I find myself asking WHY I remind myself of that fact. And my prayer is often this: Father I don’t understand but I will keep trying to. And while I try let me ask just ONE more time… why?

Give God your WHY’S. He can take it. He’s been taking mine for 18 years. 

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne 

Hope… it’s kind of our thing 

I grew up in a Christian home and attending church. I heard sermons about Hope and sang songs about Hope. It wasn’t until I was much older that I began to understand the depths of that word. 

In one of the dark times in my life I was struggling with infertility. If you have been there than you can totally feel me on this. And if you haven’t, say a prayer of thankfulness. There is such pain and despair that come from suffering with infertility. I truly had lost Hope. I was angry at God and with myself. I felt like less of a woman and I felt like no one understood. Thinking back on those times make me so sad. I hurt for where I was and I’m thankful I’m not there now 

Don’t get me wrong… I’m not fertile now!! But I don’t “suffer” if that makes sense. One day, on January 3rd of 2008 to be exact, it all made sense. God was preparing to be a mommy. Just now in the way I had always planned. 

When I met my daughter I fell in love. She was mine. And I knew God had given her to me. She already knew her name so we never questioned changing it but we did change her middle name… to Hope. The hope that had left me had returned and Hope sure is beautiful. 

Today I sit here wondering what in the world is going on with this adoption process. I’ve sent emails and phone calls and all I get back is that “we are waiting to fit you guys into a class”. Well hurry it up!!! I didn’t say that… not yet anyway. I’m trying to not get upset and I’m truly trying to do the things I failed today the first time. The first time I was trying to become a parent I missed all the lessons. I felt like they were punishments. I missed out on what God may be trying to show me. And I don’t want to do that again. 

My heart isn’t “heavy” but it’s anxious. But this I know…. God makes all things beautiful in his time. And God, while you are making things beautiful– make me beautiful in you, too. Show me what I can do to be better prepared this time around. Show me what I need to work on and things I need to fix in me so that I can be a better wife and mother. And oh Father— Thank you for HOPE! 


Thank you walking this journey with us,

Cara Roxanne 

And so the journey begins…

The first step is always the hardest.

announcement

I wish I could tell you how this whole process began, but it happened so gradual and yet so sudden that I don’t even know how to explain it… but I will try.

Probably 2 years ago (I say probably because I have no concept of time) we began talking about adoption. We called and got papers sent to us from the state to look it over and talk about it. The papers came, we read through them, and they set on the counter for months. After a very candid conversation we decided it just wasn’t the time and it didn’t feel right. I have always thought it would be fun to adopt again yet I was completely content to have one child. After looking at these papers for months, I finally threw them out. It just wasn’t right.

Flash forward around a year (there I go again with my guessing) and a couple spoke at church about ways we could get involved with the children’s home here in Hot Springs. We grabbed the information at the end of service and looked it over. This was for having a child come to your home more or less like a “big brother” program. It would have been having the child come to cookouts and possibly spend a weekend in our home. We were both excited about it–yet we went no further.

But over the past 6 months or so, something began to change. We talked often about “when” and “if” we ever adopted a child. I pointed it out one time that my husband had said “when” and even he was shocked he had said those words. Something was churning and we weren’t sure what.

I have some Facebook friends who have recently adopted and one couple that is in the process of bringing their children home from the country they currently reside in. I have followed their story and shared each step with my husband. We have been excited to see their updates and follow their story. Why? I don’t know… I have adopted before so it’s not foreign to me but something just made me want to know more.

Sometime before Christmas (which means between November 1st and Christmas day because I put my tree up extremely too early), my husband walked in the room and said “Let’s do it. It feels right. I think we are supposed to do this.” I couldn’t have agreed more! So once again I got the papers sent to us only THIS time we filled out them out with excitement and mailed them back.

So far we have had the background check, finger prints and initial home visit completed. We are waiting to get signed up for our mandated classes. After those are completed there will be a final walk through the home and then we will be considered “open and waiting.”

Waiting. Here’s where prayer comes in. We are waiting as patiently as possible. (Which if you know me means… well, not so patiently) And what are we waiting for? WE HAVE NO IDEA!!! We have ZERO clue as to what our future looks like. We specified no age, race, or gender. So will I be welcoming a teeny tiny infant or a teenager? I can’t answer that. But God can. Sometimes I wish he could just shoot me a text with that info so that I could sleep more soundly!! But it doesn’t work that way.

This journey is going to teach us all SO much. Patience, faith and trust are at the top of my list for things I will continue to learn but HOPE is what I cling to.

One of my favorite hymns states “But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know He holds my hand.” I cling to that. I don’t know what will happen. I wish I had more to tell you. I know that YOU want the details too! I don’t know what this journey will look like, but I know that He paved the road and he will walk us down it.

Pray for us. Pray for this child.

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Thank you for being a part of this journey,

Cara Roxanne

Why IS my heart so broken?

I have spent all week trying to put into words why my heart is SO broken over this election. I may not have it ALL figured out, but I think now I can speak my mind at least to some degree.

 1. I personally LOVE Hillary.

Sure, she has made her fair share of mistakes. She deleted emails. And hear me say– that was WRONG. That couldn’t be more wrong. Not only did she delete them, but she KNEW better. It was kind of as if she was saying “the rules don’t apply to me.” I don’t like that. She knew better. She shouldn’t have done that. But let’s move on now… I have respect for her. She gave her adult life to making a difference. She made a difference while being the First Lady of Arkansas, she made a difference while being the First Lady of our country, and she made a difference as Secretary of State. Her accomplishments are endless. She has self-lessly (and probably at times self-ISH-ly) given of her time, her money, and her ability to make things happen. For that- my admiration is so strong.

2. The thought of a woman President made me giddy.

It’s time, y’all! It’s freaking time! We have had some amazing men run this country. Now I can say we have had men of different races run our country. What about a woman? It’s just time! It’s time to bring a female perspective to the way our country is ran. It is time to have a woman be in the highest position in this country. It IS time! I am proud to be a woman. I am proud of the differences I have because of having the nurturing, yet sometimes, emotional, traits that a woman possesses. I am STILL proud to be a woman, but America, it IS time for a woman to be President of the United States of America. I remember about 4 years ago when I told my daughter she could be anything she wanted to be. She went through a list of things: veterinarian, teacher, astronaut, and I replied yes to all of them. I looked at her and said “You could even be the President of the United States if you wanted to be.” She looked at me with her big eyes and said “I can’t do that mommy… that’s a man’s job.” I wanted to be able to tell her Wednesday that it had just happened- a woman had just been elected to run our country. And instead I had to explain how Donald Trump would [attempt] to run our country. I was ready to rewrite history. Don’t get me wrong- we are rewriting alright…just not in the way I had hoped.

Two years ago I posted a photo on my Facebook page. It was a photo of a bumper sticker had just gotten in the mail (from joining Emily’s List) and it said “A Woman’s Place is in the White House.” I was so proud of that! Someone I know well commented and said “No- a woman’s place is in the kitchen.” This was not said in gist. This same person replied to another similar photo this week where I had mentioned how I truly hoped in my lifetime I would see a female run our country. His response “I hope it’s not in mine.” This is yet another reason why I am so convinced that IT IS TIME for a female to run our country. These small minded, misogynous, attitudes have got to be put in their place!

white-house

3. America IS great. (in my opinion)

We don’t need to make it great “again” as Trump so loudly and proudly proclaimed (while wearing a hate made from China, I might add). America IS great! We aren’t the best at everything we do. We are behind is health care and education (and probably more areas) but we ARE a great country. We don’t need to go back in time and make changes to send us back in time… we are great NOW.

4. Donald Trump is an embarrassment to human beings. (in my opinion)

Donald Trump is NOT a man of character. He is NOT a man of faith. He is NOT a man I would want around my child. He is NOT the type of person I want in my life… let alone the type of man I want running this country. He has offended men (by insinuating that all men talk the way he was speaking on that video), he has offended women by degrading and insulting us by speaking of women as if we are “sex objects”, he has offended special needs individuals, he has offended individuals of other races and orientations. He has blanketed Hispanics as being “rapists” and “murderers” and has chosen a running mate that believes in therapy that can be used to “fix” homosexuals. Y’all- I am embarrassed.

5. I believe in having an open mind and an open heart.

I believe with all of my heart that Jesus loves all of us. He loves those of us who are of different races, backgrounds, SES, religions and sexual orientations. I don’t believe that we have to “celebrate” all of these differences (parades, special days, etc) but we DO have to love them. For me, when a President shows discrimination against minority groups, he is NOT loving them and he is not being open minded to those that are different from him. I believe that making a choice for someone else is wrong.

There will be more.. but for now, this is what I can digest and ponder on. This has been such a hard week. I’m exhausted, and i’m pressing on. The mourning is starting to end and the fire has been lit. I don’t like what I see in our Nation. I can’t just sit back and say “I wish people knew {fill in the blank}”. I have to make SURE that they know! Hillary- your inspiration has been passed on to a generation of women who are fed up and fired up. This is OUR fight song!

With much inspiration, sincerity, and love,

Roxy

Andy walks with me

“Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own.”

Yet another song lyric I have gotten wrong in my life. 🙂 Andy is actually AND HE. Jesus. Jesus is He.

My walk with the Lord (as I have mentioned before) is not just a nice, peaceful, evening stroll. It’s more like one of those Warrior Dashes. The ones that have the mud, the dirt, the weird obstacles, the one that has people laying on the ground saying “Save yourself–go on ahead!” That’s my dash with the Lord.

It’s messy and muddy. I wish I could understand Grace. I mean I believe in it because I have seen it so many times in my life… but I wish that I really get in the head of my Lord and Savior and figure out WHY he allows Grace to cover us.

Anyway– my walk {dash, sprint, run, hurdle jumping race} has been an adventure. I grew up in Church. As I have been told, I was born on a Tuesday and was in church that Sunday. Dad’s a minister so the option of missing church–well, it wasn’t one. I grew up in church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and of course Wednesday’s as well. I loved going to church, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t view it as a place to learn and grow in Christ. It was no different than brushing my teeth. I didn’t necessarily enjoy brushing my teeth, but I did it because it was the right thing to do.

I became a Christian at the ripe old age of 7. I was baptized 3 months later by my father. I remember that day very well. Heck I even remember what I wore. And I remember after the baptism getting cleaned up and mom drying my hair a little bit then going and sitting out in the congregation with my family. I remember putting my head on my oldest sister’s shoulder and closing my eyes. I was tired and ready to go home. What’s done is done. I believed in Jesus and I was happy to now be a member of my Baptist church, but I didn’t really understand what all this meant.

I was a good kid, for the most part, and never really got into trouble. I did a devotional every single night {read out of my teen devotional magazine which took all of 3 minutes} and prayed a lot. I believed in Jesus= that part has never changed. I had simple prayers because praying big wasn’t something that I was taught. I married at 19 and moved 30 minutes away and joined the First Baptist Church there. Looking at other churches never occurred to me. [I enjoyed that church so much and have lasting friendships from that wonderful place]

After my marriage went south I wondered if I would ever be in church again. I felt so guilty every Sunday when I didn’t get up and go to church. But I didn’t feel guilty throughout the week for not having a close with the Lord. It hit me around the age of 27 [when I hadn’t regularly attended a church in 2 years] that I had missed the mark my WHOLE life. It wasn’t about church… it was about Jesus. Why am I so dense that it took me THAT long to figure it out? It was about the relationship with Christ. It was about being thankful for grace, mercy and forgiveness. It was about praising God for bringing me through EVERY storm I had been through. It was about praising him for picking me up off the ground covered in mud and dirt, and washing me off and loving me!

There are so many more facets, details and stories that go along with my journey. This was more of an over view. But nonetheless, it was the turning point for me. Everything that happened after my epiphany [if you will] is because OF the epiphany. Church is important. I encourage every Christ follower to find a church home. It’s good for you to be in God’s house. It’s good for you to have a good group of friends to encourage and support you. HOWEVER– let’s not lose sight of the most important part… the relationship with Jesus.

If you never serve on a committee- that’s ok. {we Baptist’s…we love our committees}

If you don’t go every Sunday- that’s ok.

If you never volunteer to rock babies- that’s ok.

But if you have that reversed and never TRULY seek after a relationship with God then you have 110% missed the boat.

May this encourage you and not discourage you–because that’s the point. Thank God that “Andy” walks with me. 🙂

For Now,

Roxy

Don’t forget to remember me.

Carrie Underwood had an amazing song years ago called “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” Basically the song says don’t forget about me… and who I am… and I am/was in your life.

Here’s the thing… we all sin. We ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. We ALL sin. We may sin differently, but we still sin. Even if it looks different.

Don’t hear this as a post about it being OK to sin… that’s not it at ALL. But stick with me…

I’ve sinned (shock of all shocks). Some sins you know about and still talk about today. Some sins you have no idea about. But the truth of the matter is… there is sin in my life. When sin becomes public, people tend to forget the GOOD you have done. People tend to assume everything positive in your life is negated. Thank GOD that Jesus doesn’t feel that way.

Because I have sinned does that mean that anytime I spoke up in Sunday School that I was a fake? No!!! Does that mean when I asked for prayer or prayed for someone else that they weren’t heard-NO!!! That’s crazy!!

Look at people like Stephen Collins and Bill Cosby. Two men I grew up admiring– even if it was on the tv screen. Stephen Collins played the “Revered Eric Camden” and I thoroughly enjoyed the show “7th Heaven.” I learned a lot from that show. I loved the way he treated his family, the way he handled adversity— even if it was JUST a character. I admired that character.

I grew up watching “The Cosby Show”. I LOVED that show and still do. My whole family would watch that show together and laugh and then have discussions about the life lessons we learned from that show. Even to this day, I refer back to episodes of that show on a regular basis. {Remember- “the trash can lid”story? Still one of my most recited quotes from A  tv show outside of FRIENDS.}

dali

I don’t agree with what Stephen Collins did and was accused of. I don’t support or condone that behavior in the least. And as far as Cosby… shame on him! If it’s true??– shame on HIM! That is horrible!! NO one should take advantage of a woman the way he is accused of doing. It’s wrong, horrible, sinful, degrading and plain ol’ wrong!

But that does that mean the lessons, memories, funnies, and laughter from his show are tainted? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!

We as Christians tend to think if sin is involved (and mainly if it is public since we ALL know we sin) that the person is tainted… wrong. Always wrong. And that is NOT the case. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t see it that way.

I had friends and (unfortunately, people closer than that) who have seen me sin and make mistakes that have turned it around to be that I am “not the person I once was.”  That couldn’t be further from the truth– nor could it NOT be more comical!! Absolutely I am the SAME person! I am the person that came out of the womb kicking and screaming, the person that led bible study at school and church, the person that loved to babysit, go to the local Walmart (since that was all we had), sing, listen to music, and  the person that loved and loves Jesus and my church family– yet I am the SAME person that makes mistakes… daily.

To say that sin makes everything before the sin {became public} a lie is just plain wrong.

Don’t judge others. Just don’t. Because the plank in your eye couldn’t be bigger and more obvious yet others just love you and pray for you. We ALL sin… Don’t take the good out of someone or take the good memories and toss them away to make YOU feel better. It’s wrong and frankly, you look stupid. So stop.

For now,

Roxy

The Year Without a Purcha$e- Book Review and Ramblings

IMG_2477

SUCH a good book! The author is so comical and makes this whole process worth reading! The story of him with his “violet” suitcase and his wife’s sock that needed sewing– priceless stories!

Obviously I picked up the book out of curiosity to see what this was all about. I have followed a blog previously where the blogger suggests having a “no-spend month” (which we have done before) but never have I read a book about not making purchases throughout the year! Worth picking up for sure.

AT THE LIBRARY OF COURSE… where it is FREE! {duh}

For those of you that are curious yet aren’t going to read the book, I will break it down for you. They have some specific rules to abide by.

If you can fix it, fix it. Learn to repair your own stuff! Don’t replace it if it can be fixed.

Avoid commercials and catalogs. Basically avoid anything that is going to cause you to want to spend money OR things that will cause you to feel sad because you cannot buy anything right now.

Only buy what can be used up. (food, drinks, gasoline)

Keep what you love and get rid of what you don’t. If you have so many items and you don’t LOVE them, get rid of them.

Pretty simple plan to follow… right? Wrong? I don’t know! I’m torn. The whole book was amazing and there were many good ideas for us to try within the book. The overall concept of this book is not so much to save money and spend less, but to appreciate what you have and to spend more time connecting with others instead of buying them things.

Could we do that? Not buy anything for a year? Why does that seems SO difficult? 

We don’t need clothes. (It’s a sad fact. We have 4 closets in our house that are completely full of clothes, each room has a dresser, nightstand that is full, plus we have bins of “out of season” clothes in the attic.)

We don’t need suitcases. (That may sound random to you, but we both travel a lot so that is a necessity for us)

We don’t need furniture. 

We don’t need a new gaming system, tv or dvd player. 

We don’t need new vehicles. 

We NEED nothing, yet the thought of saying “Sure, i’ll sign up on this project” makes me sick at my stomach.

This whole consumerism thing isn’t going to be fixed over night. We live in a society where we GET GET GET! And let’s face it, we BUY BUY BUY because we WANT WANT WANT! Every year around my birthday and Christmas I begin to dread the inevtible question that is coming… “What do you want for your birthday?” or “What do you want for Christmas?” Why do I dread this question? Someone is asking me what I WANT so they can BUY it for me! How awesome is that? Yet I dread this question because of this simple fact: When I want something, I buy it. There- I said it. Happy now? When I want something, I buy it. Therefore I can’t ever tell anyone what I WANT because there is nothing on my list because I ALREADY BOUGHT IT!

See my point?

Even those of us who work our budgets monthly, and follow Dave Ramsey’s plan like it is the Bible, are STILL human beings living in 2016 where we buy what we want. I can’t change society. I can’t change anything but my OWN buying habits. And I realize that I have spent the bulk of my life buying things that I don’t really want simply as a hobby. Now THAT I can change.

Not sure if I am ready to sign up on the no buying for a year, but I am ready to make changes. What about you?

“The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

For now,

Roxy

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