Light at the end of the tunnel

Well, the time is finally here. I have my hospital bag packed, my long list of books ready, and I am stocked up on puzzles. I am prepared for the day I have been waiting for now for months…surgery. My PAO surgery of my hip is scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday, April 1st. APRIL FOOL’S!!!

No really, my surgery is on April Fool’s Day 🙂 Maybe not so funny? Anyways, on with my story. Needless to say I am experiencing a little anxiety and getting a little nervous. There are so many thoughts running through my head. What if the surgery doesn’t alleviate all of my symptoms? What if something else goes wrong? What will it feel like to feel normal again? What will it feel like to not be in constant pain and discomfort? I just keep reminding myself that it is all in God’s hands.


I am going to try to relax and enjoy my weekend! Tonight I am spending time with some great friends to celebrate the send-off of one of my best friends to military training for six months. Sean and I are heading back to our hometown on Saturday. First on the agenda is attending an event to raise awareness of a new anti-bullying initiative, then we will be celebrating Sean, his mom, and another family member’s birthday that evening. Finally, Sean and I are going to be celebrating his birthday on Sunday! I can’t wait to show him what I have in store as his surprise!! 🙂

On Monday, I have a pre-op appointment scheduled, then Tuesday is the BIG day! I will be in the hospital for about 3-5 days after, but I will keep you all posted on my recovery status as soon as I am feeling better and up to posting!!

Ps. I mentioned I had my long list of books ready. One of the books on my list was The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. I saw it at the airport bookstore while we were headed to vacation, and then I saw an interview with Cameron Diaz and heard her talk about the book. My sweet, sweet husband gifted me the book, and I can’t wait to read it! It seems very interesting! I will make sure to post my review 🙂



Smart Money, Smart Kids Review: Chapters 5 & 6

For those of you that have been following my previous posts, you are aware that I am on the launch team for Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s new book Smart Money, Smart Kids releasing on April 22nd. On the Smart Money, Smart Kids website ( you can pre-order the book and get more than $50 in FREE extras to help you raise money-smart kids! The pre-order includes a copy of the hard cover book, the audiobook, a video lesson, and the eBook. There is also an option at the bottom of the website homepage that allows you to enter your email address and get the introduction and first 2 chapters emailed to you now!


So far, I have read through chapters 5-6. As was the case with the previous chapters, Dave and Rachel are keeping the reader engaged through practical steps and by sharing stories of personal experiences. In our private Facebook group for the launch team, some of the members have been sharing their favorite quotes. I thought I would share a few of them with you:

From Chapter 5 on “Giving”:

“I truly believe more is caught than taught . . . that what your kids see you do is a lot more powerful than what they hear you say. Words can be strong, but actions are stronger. The strongest impact on children, though, is when they hear and see a consistent message from their parents”

“That’s what happens when your kids learn how to give and why to give. They go from living in a world where everything is about them to realizing that there are other people in the world who need their help”

“So to see one of our children understand that giving really matters gave us encouragement that, with God’s help, we really could change our family tree. We really could raise children who not only got money but got great joy from giving it”

“Catching your kids at outrageous giving, or even with a spirit of giving, is enough to bring any parent to his or her knees. But just like we didn’t get it right every time, they won’t either”

“The key is to praise them when you catch them in the selfless actions. Tell them the beauty of seeing God working in their hearts. And when they don’t get it right, give them grace. Not every child is a natural giver, but the good news is that giving can be nurtured in them”


Chapter 6 on “Budgeting”:

“Children who can learn to plan and be forward-thinking are more poised and confident because life is not always happening to them—they are happening to life”

“You will either intentionally teach your children how to handle money or they will live in your basement until they are forty”

“Too many rules is legalistic; but too much grace is enabling”


In chapter 5, Dave and Rachel discuss giving. I love how Rachel points out that giving was such an integral part of her upbringing that she doesn’t even have to think twice about it today. She was taught by Dave and Sharon (her mother) that money is God’s money, not your own to do with it what you want. We are stewards of God, and we should give money towards helping others. Rachel briefly discusses the “Generation Me” phenomenon amongst the younger generation of Millennials. I was frightened by one finding cited in the book:

“One recent study from Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that “compared to Boomers, Millennials [those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s] were less likely to have donated to charities, less likely to want a job worthwhile to society or that would help others, and less likely to agree they would eat differently if it meant more food for the starving. They were less likely to want to work in a social service organization or become a social worker, and were less likely to express empathy for outgroups.”

This should stress the concepts outlined in the book Smart Money, Smart Kids even more. We need to be intentional with teaching youth about the goodness and benefits of giving. We need to reshape the culture and mentality. We need to refocus and ensure that the values being instilled in the younger generation are cognizant of giving and the impact our actions can have on the lives of others. That is one reason to read this book!

Chapter 5 is filled with more personal stories of the Ramsey lifestyle, which includes their son Daniel and a generous donation he makes after a mission trip to Peru. You will be astonished at the selfless generosity of this teenager! Rachel discusses her giving concept of “Time, Talents and Treasure”, and Dave goes on to discuss the concept of “Popping the Bubble” in your kids to prevent a sense of entitlement.


In Chapter 6, Dave and Rachel talk about budgeting. Dave stresses what he always does, and that is that you need to be intentional with budgeting. You need to tell your money where to go. This is what you need to teach your children.

“Children who can learn to plan and be forward-thinking are more poised and confident because life is not always happening to them—they are happening to life”

Dave and Rachel discuss teaching your kids about “The Five Foundations”, which includes saving an emergency fund, staying or getting out of debt, paying cash for a car and college, and finally, building wealth and giving. A few of the practical ways to teach your children about budgeting will be through opening a checking account, creating a zero-based budget on paper, monthly budgets and creating a budget for upcoming expenses. Dave and Rachel wrap up Chapter 6 by talking about budgeting for a wedding, which is something Dave knows about from experience with two daughters.

Chapters 7 & 8 are about debt and paying for college. I cannot wait to get through reading those! I will have plenty of time, as I will be cooped up from my upcoming surgery. Stay tuned for the next review of Chapters 7 & 8 after I am home from surgery!

Smart Money, Smart Kids quote

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you some of my favorite quotes from Chapters 5 & 6 of Smart Money, Smart Kids. Today I am going to share with you the quote that has resignated with me the most from the book.

“Too many rules is legalistic, but too much grace is enabling” -Rachel Cruze


With my love of chalkboard art, I decided I would make a creation to inspire me 🙂

A fellow launch team member had a GREAT POST in regards to this quote. She talks about sometimes being a little too “legalistic” and a rigid rule follower. I can definitely identify with her. Even though I don’t have kids yet, I think that this will be something I need to be cognizant of. This quote is a great reminder that being too rigid can be detrimental to allowing your kids to learn and gain knowledge from experience. Finding a balance between enforcing rules and expectations versus being too lenient and enabling is essential in teaching kids how to be smart with money or overall raising your children in general.

Here is the link to her post, if you want to check it out:

Call me a “Ramsey” fanatic

Can you tell that I am BEYOND excited about being a part of the Smart Money, Smart Kids book launch team?!?! Why, you ask?!?! I could not feel more privileged to be spreading the great word of the Ramsey family concepts. Again, you ask why? Because I am living proof that the principles Dave Ramsey and his team preach absolutely work. You can read previous posts here:

“Living Debt Free: Dave Ramsey and The Total Money Makeover”:



So, why did I call myself a “Ramsey” fanatic?? I guess you can call me a “nerd”. As part of the launch team, I had the privilege of participating in a Q & A session with Rachel Cruze this afternoon. Oh wow, I was as giddy as a little school girl when she responded to my question by tagging my name in the post. Now all I can think about is how absolutely “groupie” like I will act when I (hopefully) get the chance to meet Dave Ramsey by visiting the Financial Peace Plaza someday to do our “debt free” scream. It is all like a dream to me. This is what I mean when I say this stuff is LIFE CHANGING!!

The materials and programs that Dave Ramsey and his team promote daily and have for over 20 years really do work! Reading the book The Total Money Makeover and taking the Financial Peace University course were literally life changing for us. We see such a bright future for ourselves and our future family. We know that by teaching our kids how to be smart with money, we are laying the foundation to change our family tree. We want the value of being financially responsible to be passed down through generations. We realize that starts now. It starts with us.

Applying the concepts from Smart Money, Smart Kids is one tool that we will use to accomplish this. Now do you understand why I am so excited?!?! I hope you take the opportunity to discover the excitement yourself by ordering a copy of the book that releases on April 22nd! You can pre-order now by visiting:

Stay tuned for a review of Chapters 5-6 coming really soon!

Smart Money, Smart Kids Review: Chapters 3 & 4

As mentioned in a previous post, I was selected to be on the launch team for Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s new book Smart Money, Smart Kids releasing on April 22nd. On the Smart Money, Smart Kids website ( you can pre-order the book and  get more than $50 in FREE extras to help you raise money-smart kids! The pre-order includes a copy of the hard cover book, the audiobook, a video lesson, and the eBook. There is also an option at the bottom of the website homepage that allows you to enter your email address and get the introduction and first 2 chapters emailed to you now!


As a member of the launch team, we were sent a copy of the e-book to get a head start on reading it and share our review!! I have had the opportunity to continue reading and have finished through chapters 3-4. I plan on reviewing two chapters at a time up until the release of the book. Once again, I didn’t want to put the book down. If there was enough time in one day, I would have been done the book already!! I just love the writing style of Dave Ramsey, and even though this is the first material of Rachel Cruze’s that I have read, I am equally impressed. Both writers speak in such common sense terms and break down the concepts into simple terms that are easy for anyone to understand. All of their tips and suggestions can be applied practically and in everyone’s lives. That is what I love about their writing and the programs that they teach.


In chapter 3, Dave and Rachel discuss spending. They talk about the difference in personalities of a saver vs. a spender, and how to foster these characteristics in raising your children. A few of the concepts they focus on are setting an example for your children, letting your children learn through experiencing hard lessons, teaching your kids patience, and a few other tools in spending, such as bargaining and gaining information before a purchase.

In chapter 4, Dave and Rachel talk about saving. In this chapter, they point out how important it is to teach your kids the principles of saving. Don’t just talk about it, but show them how important saving is by having them “do it” themselves. Dave always says that personal finance is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent knowledge. Basically, you can talk about it, but until you have your children practice the behavior the concepts will not sink in. Dave and Rachel discuss the three main saving categories, which include: purchases, emergencies, and wealth. Some of the other concepts discussed include, teaching patience, delayed gratification, and how to make better purchasing decisions. Dave even goes into depth with his 401DAVE plan, which is his save and match agreement with his children for their first car purchase.

Dave and Rachel make chapters 3 and 4 very interesting by sharing their personal witty stories. Some of the stories literally had me laughing out loud! Wait until you read what Rachel tried to do to convince her parents she could not save up for a car!

I cannot wait to keep reading this book. Even though we don’t have children yet, I believe learning these concepts are important for anyone that has influence over a child’s life. I am excited to continue reading and soaking in the valuable information to be able to pass on to our children when we have them. No matter what your role is in a child’s life, we are all responsible for shaping the next generation. The tips and advice offered by Dave and Rachel in Smart Money, Smart Kids are a great way to start laying a foundation for the future of our society through passing the concepts on to today’s youth!! Stay tuned for more reviews!!

Smart Money, Smart Kids Launch Team + Review of Intro. & Chapters 1-2

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” -Proverbs 22:6

I announced on Facebook that I was selected to be part of the launch team for Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze’s new book Smart Money, Smart Kids that is being released on April 22nd. I saw the opportunity and applied. I was informed that there were over 700 applicants and only 157 people were selected to be part of the launch team; therefore, I am feeling very blessed for this opportunity.


On the Smart Money, Smart Kids website ( you can pre-order the book and  get more than $50 in FREE extras to help you raise money-smart kids! The pre-order includes a copy of the hard cover book, the audiobook, a video lesson, and the eBook. There is also an option at the bottom of the website homepage that allows you to enter your email address and get the introduction and first 2 chapters emailed to you now! I took the opportunity to read the introduction and first 2 chapters, and I am hooked! Now I am anxiously waiting to read the rest of the book, which was just released to the launch team today in .pdf format. I am elated! I can’t wait to continue reading! It is just like any other Dave Ramsey book that I have read. I don’t want to put it down. Dave Ramsey writes in a style is an easy read, and all of his principles are so simple and seem like such common sense that any person would be able to apply them. He and Rachel do just that in their new book Smart Money, Smart Kids.


The book discusses raising smart-money conscious kids. Dave and Rachel talk about instilling the values of handling money as a family tradition. It is a choice you must make and be intentional with passing those values down through the generations of your family tree. In order to ensure that your kids are money smart, you must instill values of money knowledge, smart money characteristic traits, and establishing wealth.


In chapter 1, the concepts of working, giving, saving, and spending are discussed. Teaching kids to budget and plan for expenses is essential. Dave and Rachel talk about their passion for teaching these principles to their followers. Dave compares his materials to being the “emergency surgeon”, since his books and programs address the issues in the “afterthought”, while Rachel considers herself to be the “preventative medicine”. She spends her time and efforts attempting to educate and empower youth to not make the same mistakes as previous generations when it comes to money. In other words, live financially responsible and don’t go into debt in the first place.

Chapter 2 discusses the work ethic in more detail and how to instill hard working values in your children. Dave and Rachel acknowledge that instilling work ethic in your children must be age appropriate. They go into details on tips and advice for different age groups, including ages 3-5, older kids and tweens, and finally age 14 to college aged. Again, the tips and advice are so simple to follow and outlined very well.


As previously stated, the first 2 chapters of the book Smart Money, Smart Kids left me yearning to read more. I cannot wait to continue reading the subsequent chapters, and I look forward to sharing my reviews with you as my readers! Stayed tuned!!


Cassidy’s Fundraiser

You may have seen me post about my niece, Cassidy, and her fundraiser for her sports. Where to start here? Cassidy is extremely passionate about her sports. She has been an avid gymnast and recently decided to do both track and gymnastics at the same time this year. Talk about a busy tween! I cannot even begin to explain how talented this young girl is. Not only is she naturally talented when it comes to sports, she is extremely motivated and dedicated to being the very best she can be. On our recent trip to Colorado, we had the chance to have her explain her activities that she is involved in to us. She let us know that she was participating in track and gymnastics. On top of that, she was selected as student of the month at her school. What an honor!  She was also selected as team leader of her track team and coaches lessons in gymnastics. This just brushes the basics of what this girl is accomplishing at such a young age. I have no doubt she will continue to excel in whatever she sets her mind to.

Cass1 Cass2 Cass3

(A few pictures of Cassidy’s gymnastic’s poses)

I asked my sister to give us a brief idea of some more happenings in Cassidy’s life. Here is what she had to say:

“Cass started gymnastics when she was 3. She always loved watching her cousin Jess do “Nastics” as she called it, so we signed her up with help from her Nana, as it has always been a very pricey sport.  She LOVED it from day 1 and has never looked back.  She started competing competitively in 2008 when she was 8 years old and actually won the All Around State Champion title (which means she had the highest scores out of anyone that age on all 4 events combined).  She has always done very well and continues to push herself to learn new skills and is now getting ready to compete LEVEL 8 starting this coming May.  She trains at minimum 5 nights a week 2.5 hours per night and in the summer ends up training up to 4 hours per day if possible.  She would stay in that gym all night if we let her. Her dedication to this sport has actually helped her excel in her other love and that is track.  She loves to run and is very fast because of how strong she is. She runs the 100 and 200 and jumps the Long Jump. Last year was her first year competing in track she was in 7th grade. She placed 1st and 2nd place in all her events at every track meet she attended last year including districts. Cass has such a hard working dedicated attitude for everything she does from sports to school to hobbies.  She is an “A” student and is in Honors Math and plans on taking Honors classes in High school next year. She started loving photography at a very young age as well and people thought I was crazy when I would let her take one of my 35mm DIGITAL cameras and take whatever shots she chose when she was so young. I think it gave her the freedom to see things herself and develop her eye for the kind of photos she likes to capture. She has an exceptional eye for getting unique pictures, I think. Since I got sick it is very hard for me to take the sports photos I once took so she has taken over for me at basketball games getting shots of Tanner and has done a wonderful job”.

Now that you have had a bit of the background, it brings me back to the topic of Cassidy’s fundraiser. In order to be able to fund her passion of track and gymnastics, Cass has started making and selling handmade cards. All of the pictures used on the cards have been taken by Cass or my sister, Colleen. The pictures are absolutely beautiful, and who doesn’t love a handmade card (especially when you know it is going towards a good cause)? Please consider supporting Cassidy in her efforts to raise money to participate in these activities that she is so passionate about. Help a young girl live her dream 🙂


(A few examples of some of the handmade cards)

The cards are 8 for $10. Contact me for details on how to place an order!! Thank you so much!!