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32 Years and 5 Houses

August 19, 2017, was a momentous day for our family. On that Saturday, my husband took me along to our bank to make the last payment on our house. While we have been home “owners” for three decades, we have never been without one and sometimes two monthly payments due – until now.  Anticipating this goal being achieved, I prepared a gift for Dave to commemorate our house history.

We began our married life by renting half of a duplex and then moved into the big blue house pictured at the top when Dave began his newspaper career on August 19, 1985. That is where our family grew from two to four. Choosing to live closer to the school our boys would attend, we moved across town to the house in the 3:00 position in 1990. Less than two years later, Dave’s career took us to North Dakota, where we lived at 1618 Elmwood Drive in Minot for four years. I included three photos (7:00, 9:00, 10:00) of that home, with the last one showing its makeover after a hail storm.

When our kids were in 1st and 5th grade, we returned to Ohio so Dave could run the newspaper in Tiffin and spent eight years in the tan house pictured at the bottom. While we were living there, a teenager from our church visited during a youth event. He noted that I wasn’t working and asked how we could afford such a nice home and two nice cars on a “9 to 5 job.” I gave his question some thought, discussed it with my husband, and then sent him this letter:

Jerome,

I enjoyed the video scavenger hunt with the YF on Sunday.  We had a great team even if we didn’t score the highest!  You asked me a question about how we can afford our house and cars on a “9 to 5 job”, and I didn’t answer because there isn’t a short answer, and I had to think about it a little.  I do want to let you know how this is possible.

First of all, you should know that God has been very good to us and we realize that all the good things we have come from Him.  There are some “success strategies” that we have used and would like to share.

Dave and I both worked very hard in school and both went to college.  He has a degree in accounting from Tiffin University, and I have a secretarial degree from Bowling Green.  When we got married, we both worked.  We only missed work when absolutely necessary and did our very best to do a good job and earn our pay.  That often included working extra hours for no extra pay. 

When Eric was born, we decided that it was very important for me to be at home, so Dave looked for a job that paid more and had good benefits.  That job was at the Advertiser-Tribune.  We were careful with our money, spending some, savings some, and sharing some (with the church, etc.).  We use credit cards, but only charge as much as we can pay off each month.  That way, we pay no interest.  

We moved to North Dakota when Dave’s company wanted him to take a job out there.  It paid a lot more, and we saw it as an opportunity to better our family’s financial position as well as live in a new and exciting place.   It wasn’t easy to leave our friends and families, though.   Several years ago, the company moved us back to Tiffin where our parents are.  Dave is now the Publisher of the A-T.

You should know that Dave does not work a “9 to 5” job.  He is in charge of all of the employees at the newspaper and responsible to the owner in Wheeling, West Virginia.  It is his job to see that the paper makes money and serves the community.  Since his first job at the A-T when he was business manager, he has worked extra hours when needed and covered for other people when they were unable to do their jobs.  For the last few months, that has meant that he gets up at 4:30 and delivers papers until 6:00, then gets ready to go to work by 8:00  and gets home at about 5:30.

He has also had to do some traveling to work at other papers owned by his company.  There is no extra pay for these things, however, when he really goes above and beyond what is expected, he sometimes is given a “bonus”.

We have owned some new and some used cars.  However, we usually keep a vehicle for a long time until it is no longer useful to us, but can still be traded in toward a new one.  We try to have one car paid off before we purchase another one.

Another way that we can afford nice things is to prioritize.  Everyone has their own priorities, and we probably spend money on things that someone else might think is wasteful.  However, there are a few things such as alcohol, tobacco, and gambling that we do not spend on.  These are very expensive and harmful habits! 

So… good education, hard work, careful spending, and the grace of God!  That’s how we have come to own a nice home and other things.  See you at church!

In 2005, Dave accepted a position in the newspaper company’s corporate office in Wheeling. Our home is a few miles east of there in Ohio. Here is the house that we have lived in long enough to pay it off.

In 2007, I wrote an expanded explanation of our physical  and financial journey to each of our five homes. If you are interested in reading more about 32 Years and 5 Houses, you may open it here: On a Nine to Five

 

 

 

 

 

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This Father’s Day, Say It With Respect

What do you respect about your father? Does he make sacrifices to provide for his family? Is he great at solving a problem or fixing what is broken? Have you ever thought about what he would do to keep you safe? Is he the one who takes you on vacation or spends time outside with you? Do you call him when you need some advice?

Fathers have a unique and very special place in our lives. Father’s Day is a great time to express that to them, often with a card.  It takes some effort to find cards that honor men rather than make fun of them. Sure, he’ll laugh at the fart or beer joke, but doesn’t he deserve some heartfelt appreciation for who he is and what he means to you?

My husband and I have two grown sons who are terrific at selecting cards for us. The guys consider our family’s blessings and challenges and present us with printed cards or handwritten notes that come from the heart. When we read those messages, we both find ourselves tearing up a bit.

As the only female in our family, I’ve been quick to express my love to my husband and my sons. About six years ago, I began to understand that there are other sentiments and words that have special meaning to men – words that women can be more intentional about using. “I love you to the moon and back” may be how we feel, but a message that conveys respect reaches the hearts of our men and boys . My understanding of this difference between men and women has come from the Love and Respect teaching of Emerson Eggerichs that I first heard in 2011. As Father’s Day approached that year, I used Walmart’s website to make this custom card for my husband:

   

The Father’s Day cards I purchase are not for my dad since he passed away many years ago. I’ve taken some time to remember the eighteen years I had with him and to recognize the honorable man that he was. I would want my card for him to say “Thank you.” Thank you for building us a great house to live in, complete with my own chartreuse bedroom. Thank you for going to work every day to provide for our needs and to make it possible for Mom to stay home with us. Thank you for supporting me in my activities and goals. Thank you for the camping trips to Michigan. Thank you for the day trips to fun places like the Columbus Zoo, where I took photos for my 4-H project and realized after we had walked through the rain to our car that I had left my camera on a picnic table. You went back for the camera.

Dad has his hand on my head as Mom turns on the lights.

See how my sister’s bedroom in the background is elevated?

Mom designed our unique split level home and Dad made it happen.

It’s not always easy to tell the people who mean so much to us how we feel. Many of us have felt regret for not noticing and appreciating the day-to-day efforts and sacrifices of our parents. A card may be the way to tell your dad what it is that makes him special. You might do it by adding a personal note after the punchline of a funny card. I found a  list of meaningful Father’s Day messages for fathers, husbands, and grandfathers at LovePop if you need help getting started.

Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly, and the pride of sons is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6

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got kids? got respect?

My husband I are going to a Parenting Conference in a few weeks.  Even though our sons are already men, I can’t resist the opportunity to hear Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife, Sarah, teach about Love & Respect in the Family when the event is only 1 1/2 hours away!  I also subscribe to the notion that you can teach an old dog new tricks and suspect that there will be some wisdom to be gleaned about parenting adult children.

You may know that I’ve been a fan of the Love & Respect teachings for years because they work!  The latest book from Dr. Eggerichs, “Mothers and Sons:  The Respect Effect”, points out that sons, as well as husbands, are motivated by respectful communication.  I expect a bit of this teaching to be included at the conference.

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But the basic topic is “Love & Respect in the Family:  The Respect Parents Desire, The Love Children Need.”  Having read the book by that title (which I hope to get autographed), I know that participants will learn about The Family Crazy Cycle.  You may have never have heard of it, but if you’ve got kids, you’ve likely participated in it, and if you don’t have kids, you’ve no doubt seen it play out in a mall or restaurant, or even at church.  The scene (cycle) goes like this:  a child feels unloved and reacts to a parent in a disrespectful way.  The parent, who now feels disrespected, reacts to the child in a way that feels more unloving, triggering more disrespect…

Someone has to break the spiraling, and, of course, it needs to be the mature person – the adult.  Eggerichs maintains that when children are loved in a biblical way, they are more motivated to show respect to their parents.  In the book, he follows the lesson on recognizing and stopping the Crazy Cycle with a series of guidelines for showing true love to a child.  They include Giving, Understanding, Instructing, Disciplining, Encouraging, and Supplicating in prayer, practices that can be implemented by either mother or father, but are most effective when both parents cooperate and work as a parenting team.

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Another family dynamic that most of us have witnessed is the ol’ divide and conquer tactic that kids try to use to their advantage.  Of course, the presence of a united mom and dad is truly most advantageous.  One of my prayers for families is that even if parents have divorced, they be willing to show respect to each other and work together for the good of their kids, never fighting in front of them or putting children in unfair situations.

The Eggerichs understand how divorce affects children since they both experienced it in their families, and they desire to help couples and families thrive in peaceful homes.  That is also one of my goals.

Perhaps you are interested in attending the Parenting Conference on November 11-12, 2016, at Spring Hills Baptist Church in Granville, Ohio.  Find info and registration form HERE.  You may also sign up for child care.

If you’d like to read or listen to the book, you can purchase it here and listen to Dr. Eggerichs explain the purpose of his Love & Respect in the Family teaching.  Other on-line booksellers also offer the books.

PLUS, the Love and Respect website  includes a lot of FREE insight and teaching about marriage and family challenges and success in the form of blog posts, podcasts, and videos. 

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From Coach to Author!

A few years ago, I began visiting a couple of 1st grade classrooms in our public elementary school to share “Winners Walk Tall” lessons with the boys and girls.  “Winners Walk Tall” is a character education program that was developed by a Cincinnati area grandfather whose desire was to help students succeed and avoid being drawn into gangs.

Since I have a soft spot for kids and their futures, my heart was quickly drawn to WWT.  When the timing was right, I worked up the lessons adding my personal touch and began encouraging the 6 and 7 year old students to be honest, respectful, and responsible and to work hard toward worthy goals.

I had no idea that being a “Winners Walk Tall” coach would lead me to writing books!  During the 2014-15 school year, I put together a book for the classrooms called “All Done…Unless” that reminds kids to clean up after themselves.  The process and product were so rewarding that I followed up in 2015-16 with “Words That Win”.  Incorporating many of the goals of WWT, my poetry informs kids that our tongues should be used for good manners, kindness, good sportsmanship, telling the truth and the like.

Here’s the first page:

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Here’s the last page, p. 20:

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Production of “Words That Win” is very limited, but I have a few hard cover copies and have now done a paperback version that’s a little less costly.  It really gives me joy to provide an engaging, positive book that teachers, parents, and grandparents can share with children.  And, I am extremely blessed to know that a couple of school counselors have embraced “Words That Win”!

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“From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.”  Proverbs 12:14

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