Monday, August 24, 2009

Debt Free!!!

Well, almost. As of 09/01/09 Allison and I will be completely debt free with the exception of our house. We started paying down the debt that we had 18 months ago with the intention of getting it completely paid off. In February of 2008 we had a car loan, my student loan from college, and Allison's student loans from Law school. Also, our house was on the market with the intention of getting another house that would have increased our home debt.

On night, were sitting in the living room talking and watching the Dave Ramsey show on the Fox Business channel. We were trying to determine how much we could spend on a house and it was almost like a light bulb went off at the same time in both or our heads. Our conversation immediately turned to taking our house off of the market and getting out of debt. We instantly put together a plan that would get us out of debt in 21 months, based on some of the changes we made to our spending and basically putting everything extra we had on our debt. We have essentially followed that plan, and with God's many blessings we are going to have the debt paid off about 3 months earlier that we planned.

Don't get me wrong, we didn't exactly start eating "beans and rice, rice and beans" as Dave Ramsey likes to say, but we did start doing a budget so that we knew exactly how much was going out and how much was coming in. Because of Dave's envelope system and our diligence to stay on the plan along with God's provision, we are almost debt free. I can't wait until that payment clears. I am even thinking about making a phone call to Dave's show on the Friday afterward. That is the day he lets people call in and scream "I'm debt free!!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Great Visit

This past weekend (Thursday through Monday) we went to Baton Rouge to visit our great friends Ashley, Jeff, Caroline, and Charlotte. We typically see them once a year, but this year we have seen them twice. Once at our house in April, and this time at their house. We ate at this great restaurant, Roberto's, Thursday night, swam at their neighborhood pool and visited Mike the Tiger Friday, ran along LSU's lakes Saturday morning, went to Caroline's 4th birthday party late Saturday morning, Jeff and I went out on his kayak Sunday afternoon, and in between we got to hang out, talk, laugh, and just have a great time together.

Our flight landed in New Orleans at about noon on Thursday. We went back to the house and let Cooper take a nap while we hung out and talked to Ashley and played with Caroline. That night we went to Roberto's and ate dinner. It was fantastic! Allison and I shared BBQ shrimp and grits appetizer and grilled catfish topped with crawfish etouffee. Did I mention it was awesome?!

Friday Jeff had to work a half day, so Allison, Ashley, and I took the kids to the pool for a while. It was really fun, especially because there was a diving board. I have loved to swim and dive since I was a kid, so this was a great treat for me. Caroline also loves to jump off the board so I would go to the deep end, catch her when she jumped in, and get her going toward the side. She can swim, so once I got her going she could make it to the side on her own. The best surprise of our visit to the pool was that Cooper jumped off of the diving board. Two or three times! He was a little nervous at first, but got more and more confidence as time went by.

Saturday morning Allison and I got up early and ran around the LSU lakes. We are training for the Middle Half and needed to run 8 miles. Jeff told me where to go and dropped us off. We had a great run and really loved the scenery around the lakes. After we got home and showered, we went to Caroline's birthday party at the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum. The kids had a blast and it was fun watching them. After they got up from their naps we went to the LSU campus. We saw Mike the Tiger and let Cooper and Caroline play on the Indian Mounds. They had a lot of fun and we got several great pictures.

Sunday we took it easy. We went for beignets and coffee at Coffee Call and then we spent time playing with the kids at the house. Caroline took us down "her path" the was behind their house and ran along a creek. After that the kids played in the sprinkler for a while. Later in the day Jeff and I took his kayak out on the LSU lakes. We paddled for a hour or so and then picked up shrimp/crawfish po' boys for dinner.

Overall it was a great trip. The travel was simple and most of all it was great to see our friends. The only bad part was leaving, knowing that we live far apart and probably won't see each other for a while. Thanks so much Ashley and Jeff for being great hosts. We love you guys, miss you already, and can't wait until the next time we get to see y'all.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Book Review - The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” This was the prayer of World Vision founder, Bob Pierce, and I believe this is what Richard Stearns wants people to want out of his book ‘A Hole in Our Gospel.’ In this book Mr. Stearns uses his own personal experiences as well as staggering statistics to show where we, as Christians, often miss the mark when it comes to following Jesus’ commands.

This is a great book, but it took me a long time to read it. Mainly because there is so much heavy information, I could only digest it in small doses. There have only been a few books that I have read that I found myself coming back to in my mind, even if I had not picked it up in a few days. As I read the book, I found myself continually thinking “are you kidding me,” and I am sure Allison got tired of me saying “can you believe…?”

I would definitely recommend this book. This is a book that I believe can be a great challenge to anyone, especially those of us that call ourselves Christ-followers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Everyone Loves a Good Funnel Cake

Yesterday Allison and I took Cooper to the Williamson County Fair. Our friend Derrick and his little girl Hannah joined. This was the first time we had ever take Cooper to the fair and he really enjoyed it. When we go there, we went out into the main area where many of the rides were as well as the games. We put Cooper on his first ride and his first impression wasn't one of joy. We decided, however, that the best thing to do was leave him on the ride and let him push through. He told us he wanted to get on another ride and his reaction to that one was similar, but better than the first. After that ride he was sold though! After that, he would get off of one ride telling us which one he wanted to get on next. We also watched a BMX stunt show, ate pizza, played a water gun racing game, and at last ate funnel cake. To no surprise, mine and Alli's kids loved funnel cake. Overall it was a great time. Below are some of the pics and you can check out Alli's blog to see some more. If you live in Middle Tennessee and you've never been to the Williamson County Fair it is definitely worth the trip.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What a Difference the Heat Makes

If you know me or if you have read this much, you know that I run quite a bit. I generally run Tuesday and Thursday mornings and then a long run on Saturday. I ran the Country Music 1/2 Marathon in April, and I am currently training for The Middle Half on October 3.

When I was training for the Country Music 1/2, the vast majority of my runs were in temperatures less than 60 degrees. On race day, however, the temperature at the start time was about 70 degrees. This made a huge difference. In fact, on my overall pace, the temperature cost me about 1:30 per mile. Recently we have been training for the race in October. Last week we ran 7 miles at about 10:30 am. I haven't compared my run times from the training in April and the last week, but I can guess what they look like. Last week I was able to keep about a 9:30 pace for the entire 7 miles. If I had to guess, my 7 mile run in later winter was probably about 9:10.

In the past I have ran several 5k's. I really enjoy the distance and this has always been something that Allison has enjoyed and I am able to push Cooper along the way. In May we ran the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home Run 4 Kids. The weather was perfect for that race. I don't remember the exact temperature, but it was cool and there was very little humidity. At that race Allison and I both set personal records for a 5 k. Today we ran in the Smyrna Parks and Recreation 5k. Today was much warmer and much more humidity. Because I have been running in preparation for The Middle Half, I felt that I had a chance to run faster than my previous best. Boy, was I wrong! I started out strong, but in the end the heat and humidity slowed me down again. I ran a pretty good time, fast enough for my third best time ever, but not what I had hoped for. Hopefully, come October, the temperature will be down and so will my time. We'll just have to wait and see.