Yearly Archives

2016

Money

Looking for Beta Testers for Our Brand New Money Course… Who Wants In?

November 28, 2016

******UPDATE AS OF JAN 2017**********

We have received way more applicants than we will even be able to take in the beta class so we are closing applications for now. Thank you all for your enthusiasm for the class and stay tuned for a debut in 2017! ūüôā

Those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while know that we’re into financial freedom and managing our financial resources for the glory of God. We’re also wanna-be entrepreneurs with approximately one million ideas that could land us on Shark Tank.

We’ve decided to merge those two loves together into a brand new class on relating with and handling money in 2017.

To be super duper transparent, the class is completely 100% in our brains at the current moment.¬†We need a handful of individuals and couples willing to help us get what’s in our heads out onto computers and into your homes.

I know some of you are thinking, “But wait, aren’t they about to have another baby in like a week?” Yes. Yes we are. But you know what, life has this funny way of never having good timing when it comes to pursuing dreams. That’s where a pilot class will be helpful not only to us but also for those who join us. We’ll have you keeping us accountable to getting our ideas out each week and you will benefit from the nuggets of wisdom we’ve got stored away. We both win and it gets our dreams one step closer to reality.

I know we are completely qualified and confident to do this…because we’ve been doing it for years now. We’ve had countless meetings with individuals and couples in our homes or at various events about their finances and what next steps to take in getting financially fit. From getting out of debt to starting a retirement account to setting up a will, we’ve talked about it all with others.

It’s no secret that we love Dave Ramsey and we admit his influence on our lives has been tremendous. However,¬†we believe we’ve got a unique perspective on this money thing and we believe it will be useful to you and others. That’s why we’re creating a money class you can take in the comfort of your own home and creating an online community of others pursuing the same thing.

This is where you come in.

Do you want financial freedom? Are you sick and tired of debt? Do you need advice on how to save for college and retirement? Do you need encouragement and accountability to create and stick to a budget? Do you want financial hacks that will save you hundreds every year? Are you ready to retire a millionaire and steward those funds wisely? Do you want to give more generously? Are you facing an income issue and need ideas on how to bring home more for yourself and family? Do you need fresh ideas on how to get rid of debt quickly? Do you want to see a radical financial turnaround in only a few short weeks?

We’re going to cover that all and more in our class. ¬†In order to do that, we want to invite a few of you to join our pilot.¬†

What type of individuals and families are we looking for?

  • Ready to commit 110% to pursuing financial freedom
  • Able to dedicate 2-3 hours per week watching videos, doing homework, and participating in the online community
  • Learners who are open to trying new things
  • Ready to provide open, honest, and helpful feedback each week after our lessons
  • Vulnerability and able to openly discuss their emotions regarding money and spending

Are you ready to get financially fit in the New Year…and for the rest of your life?


Sign up above and we will review your application. We should be getting back to you in the next couple of weeks before the New Year.

Money

Don’t Get Fooled By A Phony Black Friday Deal

November 22, 2016

Black Friday in only a few short days away.

That might invoke love or hate in some households but in ours? We love it.

Growing up, Black Friday was an extension of an already awesome day – Thanksgiving. I remember having a second serving a pie while scanning the toy ads with my trusty permanent black marker. Of course I circled about $100,000 worth of toys knowing full well I’d only get 1-2 items but it was a lot of fun to dream. We’d hit our pillows that night knowing that in a few short hours we would hear mom and dad getting up to go sniff out and snag the best deals to be found.

When we got older, we actually got to¬†join them in going out, hunting down the bargains, and meeting people in line at all hours of the night. It was super fun (and no I never saw anyone get run over or punched or anything you see on YouTube…because Nebraska). Jonathan and I have continued the tradition into our marriage and absolutely love being part of the action.

Ahhh. Black Friday. ūüôā

Y’all know we are Dave Ramsey peeps. We are deal hounds who have a knack for sniffing out and snatching the best of the best prices available.

But aren’t all prices and items on Black Friday the best of the best?

No, my friend, they are not. And that is what I want to walk you through in this blog post. If you plan to shop this Black Friday, I want you to know you’re getting the best deal you possibly can.

Craigslist/Ebay

Wait, what? Why would I look for a used item on Black Friday when all these brand new items are deeply discounted?

Jonathan and I have found stellar deals on used items the day of Black Friday or the weekend following because so many people ran out and bought new items and now need to sell their used ones to make room. And when they already have the new item, they are much more willing to take lower offers just to get the old one out the door.

The year Josie was born, I was stocking my cloth diapers and I knew that Rumparooz Black Friday sale was 25% off brand new inventory. So I went on Craigslist and a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group and used that sale as leverage in my offer to buy barely used diapers for 50% off…when typically they would have sold for about 25% off.

And that’s how we¬†do.

Do Your Homework

Is that 85 inch TV on sale for $139 actually worth it? This is where you have to put your detective hat on and do some sleuthing.

Black Friday is all about padding the bottom line for these stores. Some of their “deals” are actually duds, as you could walk in the store anytime of the year and buy the item at that price. (Totally happened to me once when I was a teenager…went back to The Nebraska Furniture Mart months later and my $19 DVD player was still $19. All that after I had stood in the cold for 3 hours to buy it.)

Market Watch LLC claims that 42% of the prices they are seeing on 2016 ads are the same as last year! So look at past Black Friday ads for insight. If¬†it’s an Amazon item – check CamelCamelCamel to watch price comparisons.

Pay Attention to Quality

Sometimes stores will not specify the brand of the item being discounted – which matters in certain areas like a refrigerator or a computer and not so much on pajamas. While in your mind you know that a Black Friday LG washer and dryer set sell for $900 for a set, buying random-no-one-has-ever-heard-of-it brand set for $500 might¬†seem¬†like deep savings but if it’s nothing but junk that will break within a year, you should’ve just spend a little more for higher quality.

Read item reviews. Take the actual model number and input into Google and read all the reviews associated with the item. Or check out The SweetHome to read tested reviews on common household items. Sometimes stores use low end models (or even known brand models that didn’t sell well) to draw people in during Black Friday just to get rid of last year’s inventory. Be careful to make sure you aren’t buying a pig with lipstick.

Use Technology

Times are a changing and our smart-phone world has even crept its way into Black Friday. There are many apps you can use to ensure you’re getting a great deal even while out and about shopping.

Or hey, if crowds aren’t your thing, go ahead and Black Friday shop from the comfort of your own home online. Most of the deals these days are also available via the company’s website! One year I pounded the pavement all night long looking for a black peacoat in my price range. I got home in the wee hours of the morning, empty handed and exhausted as could be. I jumped online¬†to Wilson’s Leather and what do you know? The perfect coat at way better prices that the brick and mortar stores I hit up.

Pay With Gift Cards

One last tip I’ve got for you is to buy discounted gift cards to shop with on Black Friday.

If you already know you are buying something at Sears, why not buy a gift card at 5%-15% off to maximize even more savings? We do this all the time with stores we regularly go to: Chipotle, Starbucks, Ebay, Target, Old Navy, you name it. Free money, people! And if you can combine a coupon on top of these Black Friday and gift card discounts? Even better!

I hope that helps you snag the best deals out there this Black Friday! Last and certainly not least –¬†don’t Black Friday shop unless you have it in the budget. Any sale that makes you go deeper into debt and/or wasn’t planned for at your budget meeting isn’t a sale we’d recommend.

Adoption

How To Come With Us And Meet #BabyTex2

November 18, 2016

It was only 2 short years ago when many of you virtually joined us as we flew to California and met Miss Jo! It was such a neat experience to share with so many of you who’d been cheering us on all along our adoption journey.

Well, here we are, preparing to go on another trip to meet another little lady! ūüôā

Baby Tex #2 isn’t due until December 20th. We were planning on a slightly earlier¬†(medically necessary) c-section for a variety of reasons BUT there are new medical factors playing into the end of Expecting Momma’s pregnancy that could bring that delivery date up even sooner!!! We could be meeting this kiddo real soon, hence the early post about how to join our journey.

This time we aren’t going to California…we’re headed south to Arkansas!!! My Grandparents lived there for many many years and I have great¬†memories visiting them. Arkansas has always been fond to me because of that but now I love it even more.

It’s funny what hindsight does because I keep imaging myself before Josie was born and the picture I have in my head was that I was all peaceful and calm…

But then I read that last blog post and realized that was faaaar from the truth. HA! You’d think I would’ve settled down a bit in the last couple years but nope….haven’t come close.

If anything, I am more wound up than ever. That’s me above.

I’ve got an entire deep freezer full of breast milk donations. I have a second deep freezer full of 60+ frozen meals. I’ve already got the second car seat loaded in the car. I folded all newborn clothes and packed them along with all essential baby gear. Adoption paperwork done. I keep doing dishes and wiping things and vacuuming until I can’t find anything left to do. I’ve taken Josie out of the house every single day the last two weeks just so we wouldn’t sit around being stir crazy. Basically if there is a task to be accomplished, I’m all over it and then I make up more tasks just to have more to do. (Like organize my closet according to the color spectrum.)

Jonathan (typically the more level-headed and less frantic one) has been super duper busy too. He spearheaded the freezer meal extravaganza and has been busy checking other errands off the list. All while in the midst of super intense projects at work while he lays the foundation for amazing things to come. No, he’s not scrambling and frantic (because he’s more like Jesus than me) but he’s hustlin.

How can you tag along with us and meet this little sweetie?

Instagram

igj

Facebook

Twitter


#BabyTex2 is what we’ll be using as we document our adventures ūüôā Feel free to join in the fun or just tag along for the ride.

Also, for those curious about the adoption puzzle – we are currently about 40% finished and have fundraised close to $15,000 of the total $37,500. Definitely progress but we are buckling down in prayer and getting creative with how to squeeze the extra funds from thin air.

God will provide one way or another. He always does!

Mission

Our Lives Are Not Our Own

October 24, 2016

A few weeks back I found myself unable to fall asleep.

I figured I would take a trip down memory lane and look at Jonathan and I’d friendship history on Facebook.

Sappy, I know.

Here we are on one of our very first dates – when Jonathan still had beautiful flowing locks of hair. ūüôā

dating

While the posts were a lot of fun to look over, an overwhelmingly evident truth hit me:

Our lives are not our own.

For whatever reason, God has placed Jonathan and I in positions where we have to depend and rely on others in very concrete ways. We’ve been fundraising our income for almost 9 years so we were used to not only giving to others but receiving the gifts of others’ time, talent, and treasure. Because of that, I don’t think I truly noticed at how God have repeatedly asked us to bring our relationship into the public eye and ask for the assistance and generosity of others.

A completely humbling and a vulnerable trend that this introverted and private heart of mine is slightly afraid of.

But it’s undeniable. Let’s look at the ways others stepped up and helped us:

The Wedding Contest

Anyone remember the Fairytale Wedding Contest from Hell?!?! LOL

We sure do.

It started out simply – Obtain the most likes on a certain photo and qualify to make a video which others can then vote on and the most votes will win.

wedding-contest

This was¬†2011. Facebook¬†sharing was definitely a thing but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is today. The fact we had over 750 likes was HUGE¬†back then…and it was all because of you guys. So we got to go in studio and make a series of videos about our relationship. There were a handful of other couples we were up against, competing for votes over the course of about a week.

Less than 24 hours to go in the contest (that we were definitely winning) this random couple came up like a Dark Horse and stole the lead. We were quite dumbfounded actually because of all the couples in the contest….these two hardly even seemed like a couple. No wedding date set. Barely spoke or smiled in their video. It was bizarre.

That’s when YOU all stepped up again. Some of our friends (and let’s be honest even their friends’ friends) spied on the votes for this other couple, revealing that almost ALL their votes came from Facebook profiles created that very same day and had no friends and no profile picture.

CHEATERS!!!!!!!!!

You all turned up the heat. No way were cheaters going to take this contest from us all. In the final few hours of the contest, your help paid off and we soared ahead of the cheaters, declaring VICTORY in the Fairytale Wedding Contest.

BUT THEN.

The cheaters were overcome and the honest were victorious….how is there even more to this story?

Instead of calling to congratulate our win, WOWT called to tell us they were CANCELLING the contest altogether because one of the couples (not us) had cheated. Not offense WOWT but last time I checked, just because a losing athlete in an Olympic race was later exposed for using steroids, the Gold Medal isn’t stripped from the winner. That’s not how things are done.

AND YOU ALL CALLED IT OUT. HARRRRRRRRD. (There are close to 100 comments on that thread and several are just pure gold, LOL!)

The righteous wrath that rained down on WOWT was incredible. Jonathan and I sat back and let y’all do your thang.

Within a day, the station called to say the contest was BACK ON and that it would be a shady, through-the-night text off to victory. (Side note: The cheaters weren’t even expelled from the competition…they were allowed to still compete even after proof of cheating. Mind boggling.)

So we did the text off. Jonathan was out all night at the bars. Friends were out all night at their bars in their prospective cities. People from all over the world were texting in for us. It was unreal.

The next morning we were declared victors and 6 months later we had ourselves one heck of a wedding because of YOUR help.¬†This last weekend we celebrated 5 years from that day! ūüôā

Our lives are not our own.

Finding JoJo

A few years later we found ourselves again at the mercy of needing your assistance.

We felt it was time to begin the adoption process and were hoping to find a private match (as those are less expensive typically as there are less legal and agency fees).

On a June evening in 2014 we took some photos with a stellar friend who donated her photography talent for our adoption. We told her it was important that we get the pictures back the same night, as we wanted to put some pics up the next day online to announce we were hoping to adopt. I have no idea how or why she agreed to turn these around that fast but SHE DID.

The next morning we posted the photos on our blog and loaded them onto Facebook and asked y’all to help us find #BabyTex, wherever they may be.

10498044_10152530895002451_8442908554591532152_o-1

While we jumped on a 5am flight to Florida and had no internet access, you guys practically broke our blog that morning with your shares. When we landed in Florida and saw what the heck was going on because of YOUR sharing, we were stunned. There were several situations that we were being alerted about that day. When my head hit the pillow that night, I heard a Facebook Messenger ding, and I felt my tummy do a flip. Another¬†possible situation and before I even looked at the message I knew it was special. That conversation was the one that led us to Miss Josie Rosie’s amazing first¬†family.

Unbelievable.

We could have simply gotten on a list or kept our search to ourselves but we felt a call to be vulnerable. To let you all into this area of our lives. Because of that, you led us to our daughter. 

Our lives are not our own.

Fundraising for Adoption #1

Y’all led us to connecting with a birth family and practically in the same breath came to assist us in coming up with the necessary funding to be ready for the adoption.

However, it was hard in a few different ways.

Some may think it was due to disliking fundraising but that’s wasn’t it. I mean really…we’d fundriased our entire income for nearly 6 years at that point. What was humbling was that we couldn’t have children – biological or adopted – by simply just deciding to. This is typically a very intimate decision that families have the privilege of keeping behind closed doors. Certainly with biological kiddos but even in most adoption situations, while it’s¬†usually¬†public knowledge the couple is adopting, a majority don’t fundraise. Perhaps they will ask for help finding a match but that’s where request for assistance ends…and that wasn’t an option for us. We were invited to lay ourselves at the mercy of others’ generosity in an insanely vulnerable aspect of life.

We designed an adoption puzzle and so many of you joined us in that. We raised about 70% of the overall costs and when combined with what we’d been scrimping and saving we had¬†juuuuuust enough to cover everything.

We also had people give us free flight vouchers to California as well as arrange a lovely family (whom we met when we showed up at their house!) to stay with in Sacramento while we waiting for legal documents needed to fly home.

Our lives are not our own.

Ready to Adopt Again

When Josie joined the Teixeira clan we were and still are OVER THE MOON to have the honor and joy of being her parents. She is simply just a delight – so warm, affectionate, silly, and social.

As we watched her grow (and become obsessed with playing with other children LOL) we knew it was time to multiply the love within our family again Рto be touched by the beauty of another child and sibling.

In all honesty, we sat on this desire for a lot longer than we should have. Partly because of the cost of the adoption process but partly because I wanted to try for biological kiddos again and didn’t know how others would perceive us if we were open to conceiving AND¬†adopting at the same time. I stopped taking Domperidone (medicine I used to induce lactation) last Fall and soon thereafter got my cycles back. Month after month after month and no pregnancy (damn you infertility for not miraculously healing yourself while I was nursing) and I knew adoption was the next step.

We took photos again with our awesome and talented friend, Alzbeta.

textwocollage

But then I stalled again.

She sent us the images and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything with them….especially when I realized my hair made me look like a Conehead.

But then I had a dream about adoption (which can’t go into but will in future blog post of its own) and it was clear we needed to get those pictures up. That very same day, we launched the blog posts and shared it on Facebook. You all came to the rescue as joyful as last time, ready to send the smoke signals out in the online world and help us make a connection with a birth family.

While nothing immediately came together like last time (Really, how many times could a same day match happen?) we had about 25 people share a specific adoption situation with me from a blogger who occasionally shares situations and asks others to get the word out. While we were interested in that situation, we had this gut feeling like it wasn’t the one to pursue. Can’t explain it more than that.

BUT fast-forward a few months and I saw a new blog post from this blogger (that I only started following because of YOU GUYS) and there was a baby due in December 2016. We inquired, submitted our profile, and were chosen.

Our lives are not our own.

Fundraising for Adoption #2

While we had confidence that God would provide and that y’all would come along side us in raising funds for this impending adoption, it began with a lot of worries¬†due to fearing others and their perceptions of us. I am a sensitive gal with¬†super¬†thin skin and if someone has judged me incorrectly, it weighs severely on me.

We couldn’t afford adoption the first go -round so why couldn’t we just “get it together” and be able to afford it the second time around?

People were excited last time but now they’re tired of you.

Why don’t you just take on debt, liquidate your house or retirement, sell an organ etc. to do this ON YOUR OWN?

We submitted our profile on a Friday and ALL WEEKEND LONG I panicked and freaked about how we would afford this without doing something really extreme and unwise, as mentioned in above ideas. I was afraid of fundraising and just wanted to be done with needing others to do life.

That same weekend I got a Facebook message from a friend I haven’t seen in years. She had gotten a raise at work and when praying, she felt that the tithe should go to our family for our next adoption situation.

fundraising-fears

WHATTTTTTT?

Yea. When literally no one but Jonathan and I and our immediate family knew about this situation and my fears, God providentially asked a sister in Christ to speak to me through her actions: I’m asking you to fundraise again AKA trust me in this super vulnerable way once again.

So we’ve launched another puzzle and so many of you have once again joined us in raising these adoption costs.

Believe¬†me when I say we’re doing a LOT behind the scenes to scrimp, save, and find extra income (just like last time but on steroids LOL) and I am sure we will come into our deadlines with¬†juuuuuuust enough¬†once again.

Our lives are not our own.

The Future

I have no idea what our future looks (although we have no plans to ever enter a Facebook contest or fundraise for adoption again) like but I am finally convinced of two things:

  1. God will take care of us no matter what comes our way
  2. Our lives are not our own.

Our lives have taken an EXTREME form of dependence on others’ generosity. This ain’t normal folks, LOL. It’s not because we are special, it’s just how God’s will has shown itself. There are times when I feel blessed and honored by this life God asks us to live but also times I want to¬†know¬†why he’s trying to slowly kill me with the non-traditional¬†things he regularly asks us to do. I doubt this trend will stop today but I’m not afraid anymore.

While we have gotten a huge dose of realizing our lives are not our own, it has taught me ultimately that no one’s lives are simply their own.

We all need each other. No one exists in a vacuum. Some will have needs that are obvious Рfinances, food, shelter, transportation, sharing a contest photo on social media, winter coats, etc. But others will have needs not seen by the naked eye Рfriendship, kindness, a listening ear, invitations to outings, meals delivered in stressful seasons, a few hours away from kiddos, a latte when their newborn was up hourly the night before, a neighbor to check-in, etc.

Not one of us exists to live simply on our own. We are all needy and it’s not a bad thing. We¬†were all created for relationship, as we were made in the image of a Triune God. He exists in an eternal relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Because we are made by him, he created us to need one another because being in relationship with others is at the core of who we are and what brings true joy in life. When people are cut off and starved of relationships, it creates hardships, massive burdens, and holes left unfilled.

This life wasn’t meant to be done alone.

I hope I am a person who continues to boldly believe that I need you. But not just that. That you need me too. And as someone who’s been blessed by countless lives, I want in turn to be as generous as possible with each and every person I have the privilege of encountering this side of heaven.

No one’s lives are¬†their own.

Adoption

#BabyTex2 Gender Reveal

October 11, 2016

Last week, Expecting Momma found out the gender of her baby and decided to share!

A couple of weeks ago she wanted the gender to be a surprise. We of course supported that decision 100%.

I am not a surprise gal. Nope. Not one bit. So it was tough for me but again, totally good with her preference.

(On a side note: In adoption I find it easier to emotionally and mentally connect with the baby before birth by¬†knowing their gender. Doing a gender reveal creates potential risk for heart-ache if a disruption takes place…but in¬†our¬†minds this baby is worth risking¬†our hearts for. A¬†place of vulnerability indeed but¬†we believe we ought to act on the truth that we know today, which is that an Expectant Mother has made an adoption plan for her baby with us. We want to do everything we can in our hearts and minds to prepare for that child and a special reveal is part of that process for us, among several other things.)

While Expecting Momma was at her appointment, she decided to find out the gender and share with us! WOOT! WOOT! Very welcome news indeed.

When I knew we would find out the gender shortly via text, I buried my phone in my bag and refused to look, lest I spoil the surprise without Jonathan.  I went to the Dollar Store and purchased 2 pink and 2 blue silly string containers.

I took them to Jonathan’s office (while Josie was napping at home with Grandparents) and we had his boss read the phone text and then meet us outside with the appropriate silly string (only this time the cap was removed so we couldn’t identify the color).

We counted down.

3…………

2…………

1…………

It’s a……

 

WOW!

WOW!

WOW!

img_4817

A girl.

Sisters.

We couldn’t be more thrilled.

Please keep Expectant Mother and her baby in your prayers. We actually go to meet her this upcoming weekend. It’ll be a fast weekend mostly spent on the road but hopefully a good time to get to know each other better.

Thanks for celebrating Baby Tex 2’s gender reveal with us!

Lastly, we’re about 30% of our way to the overall fundraising goal, which is awesome. Some of you have continued to share our puzzle with others to bring in more donations and we’re so grateful. Thank you to everyone standing by us and this Expectant Mother and her baby as we walk through the adoption process together. If you are still interested in joining the journey or know someone who is, jump in below:




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Adoption

Growing Our Family Piece by Piece: Day Nine Update

October 3, 2016

Welcome to the last update about our nine-day adoption puzzle fundraiser!!!

A little over a week ago, we shocked not only ourselves but YOU ALL with the news we were chosen to adopt another baby due in December. And with that news came necessary costs we are happy to incur to be approved to go through this process. We didn’t have the funds readily available and y’all stepped in and supported our family in a time of great joy and need.

THANK YOU!

In just over a week, we will be traveling southbound (We’ll keep the location a secret for now…just for suspense sake) to meet a beautiful expectant Momma who chose life for her little one and from a place of love is considering an adoption plan with us.

We’re honored and humbled by her. We’re honored and humbled by you.

It’s a rare thing to get to watch family, friends, and strangers rally around oneself to move mountains. We don’t take this gift of support and encouragement lightly. In fact, it’s something we will never forget. It’s changed us and your generosity inspires us to want to be radically generous when our time comes to give to others. Thank you for your witness and example.

How did the puzzle turn up after our official nine-days were up?

(PS – Still have a long way to go to the finish line of fundraising so if you or anyone you know would still want to jump in and support us, we’d love to have you come on board!)

  • 382¬†pieces sold

  • $9,550 raised!!!!

  • 25.47% of our goal of $37,500

Here‚Äôs a virtual picture of the puzzle‚Äôs progress. You can see the word “delight” forming!!! ūüôā

puzzle-day-09

 

If you would like to donate, please do so below. If you know of anyone who has a heart for adoption, please share our story and invite them to consider joining the journey. Thanks again!




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