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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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Wedding Words

When Dave and I married in 1984, we set up a tape recorder to capture the songs and words of our ceremony.  Thanks to some digital magic performed by our son Eric since then, we are still able to listen to the recording.  A few weeks ago, we marked 33 years of marriage and are now anticipating Eric’s marriage to Amanda in just a few days.

Dave and I listened to our wedding recording during a recent car ride that was sandwiched between attending our Best Man’s mother’s funeral and taking our sons and future daughter-in-law to a concert.  That may have been more sentimentality than my husband needed in one day!

What fun it was to listen to the love songs of that time.  We were blessed to have the music played by Molly Rondeau and sung by our friend, Julie (Schoenberger) Monk.  I laughed as we drove along, remembering how I forgot to have my mom seated until most of the theme from Ice Castles was over.  Meticulous plans are sometimes forgotten during the excitement of the day!  Dave experienced his own nervousness that day when our participating priest didn’t arrive until just before the ceremony began.

I was definitely paying attention as the first chords of the Bridal March were played.  I took the arm of my 14 year old brother and walked the aisle with a  smile that never gave way to tears.  However, listening to the recording in the car over three decades later, I heard words that caused me to weep with JOY.  Father Missler opened with a blessing, praying, “Increase their faith in you and in each other and, through them, bless your church with Christian children.”  Hearing those words, I suddenly realized that the prayer was answered!  Dave glanced over to see me crying, barely able to say, “He did it!  God did it!”

There was more to come. We repeated our Words of Intention, Dave being cued by the priest, and I following my pastor.  We promised to love, honor, cherish and sustain each other and to be faithful to each other as long as we both shall live.  What we didn’t say is something that I sheepishly tell the wives in my marriage classes about.  When Rev. Steindam previewed the wedding vows with us, I asked if we could leave out the word “obey” since we wouldn’t be bossing each other around!  He consented.  (I cringe when I remember how smart I thought I was at 23 years old.)

Riding along, we listened to Father Missler read from the fifth chapter of Ephesians about wives being submissive to their husbands and husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church.  Rev. Steindam then gave a message describing how two people who were strangers to each other are drawn together in an irresistible way – a gift from above – and how we must not allow commonplace experiences or difficulties to cause us to lose the vision that brought us to this day of commitment.  He finished by challenging us to read the Bible passage from the book of Ephesians many times throughout the years.

My eyes welled up again as I thought with amazement how God has brought us through every life experience to this moment in 2017 when I am honored to share with women in our church what the apostle Paul taught to the believers in Ephesus about a wife’s respect and submission (see A Different Approach for Wives).  Because of Love and Respect Ministries, I have come to better understand why my husband needs respect and how blessed a couple is when they obey God’s instructions for marriage.

On that day in March of 1984, Dave and I lit a unity candle as a “symbol of one new life that has been created out of two lives”.  Praise be to God!  We are His and He has made us one. I eagerly anticipate hearing the joyful music and  the Wedding Words as our son and his beautiful bride marry.  We will pray with them, applaud them, and celebrate with both families as their new life as husband and wife begins.

The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23

 

 

 

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