Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

New Year's Eve is always bittersweet for me.  Now that I have kids, I mark each passing year with a bit of sadness at the fact they'll never be these ages again...yada, yada.

But I always look forward to what the new year holds.  Trips are already in the works for next year.  Only 359 days left till Christmas!  2012 is going to be great!

Some people don't make resolutions.  I'm a geek.  I make new ones every year. 

Last year, I made three.

1)  Eat new foods.  This was a fun one that I will be repeating.
2)  Become debt free.  Check.  January 14, 2011 we became weird.  One of the greatest days of my life.
3)  Lose one dress size.  No comment.  :)

As I go into next year, I am still making goals.  Buy fewer shoes.  ;)  (Then again, maybe not.)  Save more.  (If we could ever get our heat pump to act right for more than 6 weeks this may be possible.)  Give more.  Still lose that dress size. 

You have to have goals.  I hear Dave Ramsey say it all the time, "A goal with no deadline is just an ambition.  A goal must have a date."  And that's what's great about the new year.  Setting goals

So what is your, "By this time next year   ____________________________"

If nothing else, we can be thankful we are here to ring in the new year.  For me, everyone I hold dearest is here to celebrate with me.  That counts as success to me.

Happy New Year everyone! 

Be safe tonight!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are These Checks Separate?

This is my favorite question at a restaurant.  Sometimes, it’s easy.  Other times, it can be awkward. 

When Mr. DDA and I go out on a date, we never get asked this question.  However, if we go out to lunch while he’s in uniform, we get asked the question almost every time.  Like a cop never takes his wife out or something…

I recently heard about a couple who was planning a vacation and I heard the wife say that she had to pay her husband back for her plane ticket.  When you’re married, it’s no longer his money and her money – it’s their money.    I’m a firm believer in this.  I don’t believe married people should have separate finances.

I can’t imagine having to bicker over who has to fill up the tank with gas, who has to buy the groceries, having to buy separate movie tickets.  Marriage isn’t about being fair. Marriage is about combining your lives.

Now, sometimes I understand there are outside circumstances.  Such as trust issues or financial infidelity. But 99.99% of all functional marriages, should combine their income. 

There should be one account that both checks go into and one account that all the checks are written out of. 

While Mr. DDA and I each have our own separate “fun” money, but we have one budget.  He doesn’t pay some of the bills with his check.  We pay them all. 

On the same note, there should be one debt.  Even if you had $0 debt when you were married and your spouse was up to their eyeballs in it – it’s now shared.  Money can go so much further when combined.  And burdens can be so much lighter when shared.

You’re one.  According to God, the law, and the government – you are one entity.   

As in the words of Melanie Smooter Carmichael (aka me,) “But honey, I thought you said, it’s our money.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

They Found the Words

Just in case you haven't seen it, there is an amazing post here that express all the things I couldn't.

There Are No Words

I have this thing on my blog that tells me where my readers are from.  Not who you are, just the city & state where the readers are from.  I love it.  I know there are people in Georgia, California, Texas, even the UK & India.  I don't know how you get here, but I love that you do.

If you don't know me, I come from a small town in the mountains.  Blacksburg, Virginia.  Home of Virginia Tech.  I grew up thinking it was a quiet town.  The town revolved around football.  Nothing much exciting happened.

My dad was a deputy for the sheriff's office.  When I was a child, he was shot in the neck, but by the grace of God (and a millimeter) he survived.  It made headlines.  I remember that day.  Even as an 8 year old.  There are images and memories that I will never forget.

I remember when I was a teenager, one of my dad's co-workers was killed in the line of duty.  I can still see him coming in and tearing the shroud off his badge and saying to my mom, "I hope I never have to wear that again!"  And then I watched the man, who I believed was made of steel, cry like a baby. 

Knowing that, I still married a cop.  Despite what they say, most days we police wives don't get up and think about them not coming home.  We just wonder how late they'll be. 

Five years ago, I got my first taste of what it's like to do the "police wife wait."  You know something is going on.  And you wait for a phone call or for a text, and you pray to God your doorbell doesn't ring.  And for the first time, I saw my husband have to put on the shroud.  For the first time, I saw him weep over losing an officer he loved.

Then, on April 16, 2007, the unthinkable happened in my small town.  Virginia Tech made headlines for all the wrong reasons.  But the Hokies are strong.  While we didn't forget, we were able to move on.

Yesterday, tragedy once again struck my little quiet town.  And a policeman's life was senselessly taken far too soon.  All I could think was, "Not again.  Not here.  Not now."

There are no words to express how I feel.  You name the feeling, and I've felt it over the last 24 hours.  There are no words to express my condolences.  We can never repay his service or his family's sacrifice.  All I know is that the only thing stronger than a policeman, is the grace that God gives his family.

To learn more about this brave officer, vist the Officer Down Memorial Page.  Virginia Tech has also set up a memorial fund for the officer or you can donate here.