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August 2012

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Late Have I Loved You…

August 28, 2012

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, an awesome man of God who has a wild conversion story! If you ever are tempted to think that you are too far from Jesus to actually come to Him, think again and read this man’s story. Whoa! I was reading from Confessions this morning in prayer and ran across a sweet quote I wanted to share on the blog. Enjoy!

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” St. Augustine


There are two great songs I love listening to that is based on parts of this quote-

Alive Again
Late Have I loved You

I enjoy reading this quote from St. Augustine so much because I find myself being able to relate with certain aspects of it. For much of my life I was going through the motions with God…I knew God was with me but I didn’t care to respond to Him, since I was so distracted by everything else in my life…that existed because He willed it into being! How backwards! God came crashing into my life with a blast of grace towards the end of my high school time and really began to grab my attention in college. I found that everything was beginning to leave me unsatifsfied except for God. He was the only one who gave contentment and lasting joy to my heart. I was hungry to know Him more and more. Sometimes I wonder why it took so long for me to truly “see” God for who He is…or why it took so long in St. Augustine’s life. I don’t think I will ever fully know the reasons but I thank God for His grace and the gift of faith that now resides in my heart. I pray to always respond to His grace and stay in His love…because I know that if I ever  wander from Him I will never find what my (any every person’s) heart desires and is ultimately looking for.Trying to live my life without acknowledging Him is like a car engine trying to run on water instead of gas. It doesn’t work.

St. Augustine also said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” I pray that anyone who is reading this will see this truth for what it is. Place your heart at rest in God and you will never want to look back. Nothing and no one else satisfies. Look at the life of St. Augustine or any of the saints for that matter.  We all will wander aimlessly from one thing to the next, seeking fulfillment but never quite grasping it, unless we surrender to the One who can fill us with everlasting peace.

Catholicism

New Drawing – The Night is Far Gone

August 20, 2012

The night is far gone; the day is at hand.

 

Verses 11-14 of the 13th chapter of Romans:

Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Money

WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!

August 15, 2012

WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!  This blog is an update from our last post about Our Total Money Makeover. We are so thrilled to announce that we are 100% debt free! In the past 8 months we paid off $3,500 in CC debt and nearly $21,000 in student loans…which adds up to over $24,000. We were sick and tired of our money working for the bank instead of for our family. Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is the slave of the lender” and we wanted to begin handling our money the way God recommends, not society! I knew the principles that Dave Ramsey taught before Jonathan and I got married…but there is something about being single that had me messed up in my thinking about finances. I thought all my money was disposable income to travel, go out to eat, shop, do fun things with friends, etc. (after tithing and taking care of basic necessities of course!) I didn’t think about living on a tight budget to get all my student loans paid off before getting married. They were one of those things I would get around to dealing with. I wish I knew then what I know now and we would not have been in as big of a mess!

We cancelled our credit cards and cut them up. My credit score dropped (since I wasn’t playing kissy face with the bank anymore) and I had one heck of a time renting a car a few months into this journey! I had pre-paid the rental, had plenty of money for them to “hold” in my debit  account, and even had cash in my wallet. The company rejected me and said I can’t rent the car without a credit card in my wallet. Well, I found another company and did business with them instead just fine. It baffled me that I would get punished for actually having REAL MONEY instead of plastic. They would rent a car to some guy on plastic who may not in reality be able to afford it but not to me…how backwards is that!?!?

I will say that the toughest thing about this entire process was learning how to say “no!” mostly to ourselves. We didn’t buy one another birthday gifts…never went our for a nice dinner…had date nights at home….we ate the same sandwich for nearly every meal…we sold a vehicle and became a one car family…the only clothes we bought were $3.00 jeans for Jonathan at The Good Will.  Yes, we were “gazelle-intense” but we knew that if we lived like no one else now, we could live like no one else later. I happily wore the same clothes and never went out to eat, knowing that later I could  go shopping whenever I needed to or out to eat whenever I don’t feel like cooking…without any bills following me home or a feeling of guilt that I could have spent the money on debt. I also look forward to being more generous in giving of our income to supporting our Church and organizations we want to sponsor.

We’re out of debt, yes, but we will continue working the “babysteps” as recommended by Dave Ramsey. Now we are on the next goal – still living on our budget, completing our emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and then we will begin to save 15% of our income towards retirement. I am so excited to continue on this journey, glorifying God with this area of our lives.

Anyone else who has done this journey and is living debt free, please post below on your success story! Anyone who is reading this and still in debt, I pray this post gives you the HOPE and COURAGE to begin a new journey towards financial freedom! Some people’s reaction to finding out about our journey has been, “well that is good for you but not for me…I could never do that…you must be superhuman.” That is a lie from hell. Anyone can do this!!! It’s a matter of choice, discipline, and living on a budget. If you can do simple math, you can do this! Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or consider going through Financial Peace University. Details can be found on his website.

How will we celebrate? Well, right now Jonathan is making “debt-free donuts”  upstairs from scratch with our friend David. Our big celebration though, is a trip to Rome in October with FOCUS, the organization we work for. We land in Rome on our one year wedding anniversary and couldn’t be more excited. The trip will be cash-flowed and what happens in Rome will stay in Rome, not coming back to the USA on my credit card statement! 🙂

THANK YOU JESUS for giving us the strength to go down this journey! It was hard but worth every sacrifice!

 

Mission

Earthly Life is the Time for Bloodshed, War, and Danger

August 7, 2012

This is a quote from St. John Chrysostom. It’s from a sermon he gave about Matthew 20:20-28, when James and John ask Jesus to sit at his right and left in Heaven. It’s the reading on the feast day of St. James, which was on July 25th. This homily is in the Office of Readings for the feast. You’ll find it below the picture.

 

From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Sharers in the suffering of Christ

The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: “You talk of sharing honors and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger.”

Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: “Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?” How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervor makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.

How does Christ reply? You will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with my baptism. He is really prophesying a great blessing for them, since he is telling them: “You will be found worthy of martyrdom; you will suffer what I suffer and end your life with a violent death, thus sharing all with me. But seats at my right and left are not mine to give; they belong to those for whom the Father has prepared them.” Thus, after lifting their minds to higher goals and preparing them to meet and overcome all that will make them desolate, he sets them straight on their request.

Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two! But, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervor and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom.