The Financial Crisis of 2018 and Much More…

In most cases, there’s more to people than what they post on social media. Our lives are so much deeper than a selfie or a group photo, but we get to decide how much more we share beyond those photos. People who truly know us, have more insight into what we’re facing, but the people who only “know us” through social media, only have what we give them. For Korey and I, our intention is never to create the illusion that our lives are perfect, but in spite of the challenges we face, we are still extremely blessed.

I’ve been an inconsistent blogger for a very long time, probably since high school, which was eons ago. I write because I like to be as transparent as possible, in the hopes that I may say one or two things that encourage someone else. With that being said, I’d like to share some things with you as we close out 2018.

2018 has provided a good mixture of amazing and what the heck is even happening. Here is how it all unfolded:

It’s January, we’re coming off a holiday high! Christmas and New Years were good to us. Now it’s back to work, and life resumes as usual. But then…

The first week in February, Korey and I found out that we owed over $6,000 in escrow. Our options were to pay the $6,000 AND our mortgage would increase $400 to compensate for the rest of the year, OR divide the $6,000 among the remaining months of the year PLUS the additional $400 (This option would double what we were paying in mortgage). Ummm… is neither an option?

Fact, we did not have $6,000 just laying around, and the way our budget was set up, we didn’t have an extra $400 to just kick into our mortgage payment. I remember calling our mortgage company trying to understand how this could happen and exactly when these changes would be taking place. I was told we had until our next mortgage payment to figure out. So one month. Oh my God.

So what did we do? We prayed and waited on God to show us a solution. Spoiler alert, He did.

We borrowed money from ourselves (retirement loan) to pay what we owed in back escrow. Additionally, we owed a little more than $1,000 on my car loan, so we borrowed enough to pay that off too. My car payment was about $480 per month, so that would balance the increase of $400 to our mortgage company each month. Problem solved.

But don’t get too excited…

Two weeks later (still in February) we got a letter from the IRS stating that our 2015 taxes were being audited. Long story short, we paid a company to file our taxes, they did some shady stuff that we didn’t catch (lesson learned), literally disappeared, and we were left with the consequences, almost $3,000 worth of consequences. Just let that sink in. It hasn’t even been a month and already something else! Going forward we’ll just call this FC 2018 (Financial Crisis of 2018).

So what did we do? Well, we prayed, I drank wine, and we waited on God to show us a solution. Guess what? He did.

One of the most fabulous people in our life, knowing fully that the time it would take us to pay the money back would not be a quick turn around, just gave it to us, so we wouldn’t have to deal with payment plans and interest rates and IRS shenanigans.

Photo: February 2018

So that was February. Now lets fast forward to May…

With FC 2018 somewhat behind us, Korey and I both were separately hearing from the Holy Spirit that it was time for a baby. How? How could we possibly conceive a child mid FC 2018? The first thing everyone tells you about babies is that they are EXPENSIVE. Where is this extra money for raising a child going to come from? Maybe we’ll win the lottery soon. But that’s the thing with trusting God, you walk by faith, not by sight. So we did. God has never led us in the wrong direction, we have never been without, and He has always met every need. That being said, the third week in May, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. God is not a time waster. Right around that same time, my mom graduated with her masters degree in Professional Counseling!

Photos: May 2018

I pretty much slept through June and July because growing a human is exhausting. Thank God we were out of school for the summer. I don’t know how anyone can work a full time job efficiently and get through the first trimester of pregnancy, but clearly it can be done.

Photo: June 2018

I went back to work in August, second trimester. Let me just say that being a teacher is already a stressful job. There is way more to it than most people think. Most of us pour ourselves into our students trying to figure out the best way to give each of them the education they deserve. They all have different variables, so there is a lot of trial and error. In addition, some of us have STAAR looming over us, which drives everything in Texas education, and often determines our worth as educators. This stress, while being pregnant, is almost enough to make you rethink your whole life. However, women are the majority of this profession, and they do it, we do it, every day for pennies – AND we don’t even get a paid maternity leave. Imagine that.

Photo: August 2018 (third grade team)

In September, my mom turned 60, which is a huge blessing. We celebrated that milestone by taking a cruise to Mexico. After our cruise, we had a gender reveal party with our family and we found out we are having a boy! We decided to name him Korey J. Traylor, II (KJ). So many people have so many opinions about naming sons after their father. If you truly knew what kind of man I married, you would understand how we could name our son after him. The world can only get better with another Korey J. Traylor in it, guaranteed.

Photo: September 2018 (cruise)

Fast forward to November, my mom got married (after dating Kevin for 11 years! Whew) and we had our baby shower. I am always reminded at events like this how blessed we are. I mean, I know we’re blessed, and I know that people love us, but at functions like this, it really can be overwhelming – in a good way. Korey and I are so thankful and grateful for everyone who has blessed us by being a blessing to our son. There are not even enough words to express how much has been and is being provided for him. Which has provided even more confirmation that we truly heard from God regarding the timing of this pregnancy. Even with FC 2018, everything that we have needed, has been freely given.

Photo: November 2018 (wedding and baby shower)

Now it’s December. At the beginning of this month I lost my last living grandfather. When I was growing up, I had the privilege of knowing all my grandparents, and four of my great-grandparents. I value those relationships so much, and I really wanted the same for my child. Thankfully, he will know his grandparents, but he won’t get to know all of his great-grandparents, which just seems like such a loss. He has two great-grandparents left – my grandmother (Dad’s mom) and Korey’s grandmother (Mom’s mom), and I am so thankful for them both. I’ve been told it’s rare to know your great-grandparents at all. Which makes these great-grandmothers all the more special.

Back to the recap. After the time my dad and I spent in Houston for my grandfather’s funeral, as we were traveling back, we decided to stop at a McDonalds/gas station combo to go to the restroom. While we were in there, I left my iPhone on the toilet paper dispenser (pregnancy brain). We left the gas station. By the time I realized it wasn’t in the truck with us, we tried calling it from my Dad’s phone, and it was going straight to voicemail (which isn’t a good sign) We turned around and went back, but it was too late. Someone had gone in and instead of turning it in (like I would have done) they decided it was an early Christmas present for them and took off. After trying to track the phone (which is very hard to do when they TURN IT OFF), calling AT&T, and calling Apple, we realized that getting it back was a lost cause. Other than it being reported “stolen” and the service being terminated, and my information being wiped; there wasn’t anything Apple or AT&T could do about replacing it. I didn’t have apple care with loss and theft protection because it literally did not exist when I got the phone earlier this year. So in true FC 2018 fashion, I was going to have to buy a new almost $1,000 phone, plus drop the extra $250 for the fancy apple care with loss and theft protection, because I’ll be danged if I let this happen to me again. Fortunately, Korey and I did not have to take this financial hit. Again, we were blessed and two of our family members pitched in and bought the phone for me as well as the AppleCare. See what I mean? Blessed. Thank God!

So that about wraps up the year. We had FC 2018, the conception of our first child, a 60th birthday, a wedding, a baby shower, and the loss of a grandfather. Tomorrow begins a new year and we are weeks away from our little nugget being on the outside.

Photos: December 2018

Are we rich now? Nope, not even close. In fact, we could use a raise or a third income in this household. It’ll be at least 16 years before KJ can get a job – so hopefully God has other plans. Do we have everything figured out? Nope, but God is continuing to bless us every day.

As we post photos of our lives on social media, we aren’t hiding anything, our lives are not perfect, and we are not trying to mask our challenges. We just choose to trust God and allow him to be the source of our joy. Life is too short to be miserable and drag people along in your misery. Being happy/joyful is a choice. You live your life, take your losses, pray, learn your lesson, cry a little, have a girls night, drink some wine, dust yourself off, and choose to still be happy. If you appreciate what you have, you’ll always have what you need.

God is working. I can’t wait to share what He does next.

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God’s Perfect Plan

Korey and I began house hunting in the summer of 2015. We were trying to time everything perfectly so that we would have a place to live together after our wedding. During the time that we were looking, one of my good friends told me about this townhouse community that was being built and brought me by to see it. Soon after I brought Korey. There was a floor plan that we liked a little, but there were people who were already putting earnest money on that property, so we were a little disappointed at the missed opportunity. The property Manger told us new floor plans would be released soon and that she would give us a call when they came in to see if we were interested in one of the new floor plans.

It just so happened that the PERFECT floor plan with the PERFECT price came across her desk the following Monday. She called us, we went by to check it out. After looking at it we knew that it was just for us.  The house was projected to be complete October 2015, the same month of our wedding – also PERFECT. However, if you have read any of my previous posts you already know that by October there was no house in sight. Not one pile of dirt had been shoveled. Korey and I ended up having to rent an apartment, which actually turned out to be PERFECT. Because of the major delays, we had major upgrades added to our home at no cost. If you didn’t know, God’s way is always better than what we think would be best.

They started on the house in the spring of 2016 and by the summer the house was getting pretty close to completion. We picked out carpet, paint colors, cabinet colors, ceramic tile, and etc. We were communicating with our lender and the builder a lot more frequently because closing time was approaching quickly. We were expected to close in August. Everything was going very smoothly until… Very unexpectedly, the last Friday in July, Korey was let go from his job. Just four weeks before we were supposed to close on our house.

We were so close.

We prayed about it and God told us to call our friends at Fairway Mortgage and tell them what happened. So we did. They asked if we still wanted to buy the house. We said yes. They said to let them figure some things out, and that they would give us a call back shortly to let us know if that was possible. We prayed again after the phone call and just waited.

Within a few minutes our phone was ringing. The voice on the other side said, “everything is fine, you guys are still good to move forward.”

No one,  literally no one, can tell me that was not GOD.

From that moment forward, Korey was applying EVERYWHERE. He spent a lot of time looking at hospitals because his heart’s desire is to work in the medical field. It seemed like he applied for HUNDREDS of positions in that field – along with hundreds of positions outside of that field. Meanwhile being the provider that he is, he took up with Uber and started driving  people around Dallas to bring in more income. He enjoys driving and I enjoy hearing the stories about the people he takes to and fro.

He went on interview after interview and just when we thought something was “it” the door closed. We stayed encouraged and just continued to trust God. August passed – and we did close on our house the last week in August. September passed, and then October. In October we celebrated both of our birthdays, had a housewarming party, and celebrated ONE YEAR OF MARRIAGE.

Let me pause for one second to help you understand this more clearly. As a ONE INCOME HOUSEHOLD, missing a significant amount of money that we once depended on, we moved out of an apartment and into a house which God provided a way for. All the while, we did not miss ONE MEAL and we did not miss ONE payment for even ONE BILL.

GOD. IS. SO. GOOD.

In November, my mom got word from a friend of hers about a position at UT Southwest. She sent the information to Korey and he applied. After applying for the position, he had an interview two days later, then a second interview, and finally a job offer. He started his new job at the beginning of December in the field that he wanted! God answers prayer. He cares about what we care about, and we are overwhelmingly grateful.

I can imagine that most people might find this to be a “difficult” time but this truly has been a really good season for us. We have enjoyed each other, we have enjoyed our home, but mostly we have enjoyed seeing how good God is first hand. He provides. He is so faithful. He is so good – for NO REASON. We did NOTHING to deserve how much He has blessed us. We are no better than anyone else. I don’t know that I will ever be able to explain how good God is, and I know that I will never be able to thank Him enough.


“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” -Mark 11:24

 

 

 

Marriage Monday, First Edition

Welcome to the first edition of Marriage Monday!

Before Korey and I got married, I had a weekly tradition of “Tie the Knot Tuesday” where I updated you guys on the progress of our wedding plans and preparations for marriage. I can’t promise “weekly” but I can promise a better effort in general on the blogging front. Lately I have been suffering from bloggers block – ideas and creativity elude me.

Back to Marriage Monday… as of yesterday, Korey and I have been married for NINE MONTHS! What? Times flies when you’re having fun. Korey asked me yesterday how long it feels we’ve been married, and I told him it feels like we have been married our whole lives, but at the same time, it feels like the wedding was a few weeks ago. We blinked and 9 months have flown by.

Let me fill you in on the last nine months. In October when we came back from our honeymoon we moved into our first “together” home. It is a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment – which was interesting at first as we navigated actually having to “number two” with each other in such close proximity.  Our comfort level has increased immeasurably. Since the wedding, we’ve had our first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, St.Patrick’s Day, Easter… you get the idea.

In March the construction for our townhouse FINALLY started. The estimated date of completion we were given was July. Mind you this was about the FIFTH estimated date of completion. First is was October 2015 which we thought would be perfect because that was our wedding month. Turns out, it wouldn’t have been perfect, because we spent every cent we had on that wedding. Next they told us, it’ll be complete by the end of the year “for sure”. Then, they said, it’ll definitely be complete by March. Well, as I mentioned, March is when they started, and the completion date changed to July. If you’re wondering how that turned out, there are 7 days left in July and we’re just now starting installation. To date, we’re looking at end of August/beginning of September. The fact of the matter is, God has this all under control. Although the timing hasn’t worked out the way we planned, it has actually been perfect timing. It has given us time to get our monies together, allowed us some upgrades and appliances at no charge, and given us the opportunity to appreciate how good God is and how His timing is perfect timing.


Also in the last 9 months, I have become domesticated. I wash dishes, dry them, and put them away. I wash clothes, dry them, fold them, and put them away. I grocery shop and cook dinner. This summer, I have become a full blown stay at home wife and my goal is to have all these things accomplished before my hard-working husband comes home from work. I’ve always been a clean and organized person, but you can verify this with my mother, I have avoided dishes like the plague. And why cook, when your mom can do it so awesomely?

See? With God, all things are possible.

When You Begin to Sink

 

At my church  we have been extensively learning about faith – a faith series if you will.  When we first started the series I thought, “I got this! I am a faith having expert! Of course I have faith, it is like Christianity 101.” You can probably tell where this is going… I am not a “faith expert,” I don’t even know if I am at an intermediate level. At times faith is one of the many areas where I fall short. Don’t gasp, let me explain.

The thing is, I know the truths that God has given me. I know His word and I know that He cannot lie. However, there have been times when the circumstances in my life have distracted me from the truths I know, and instead of there being faith during those circumstances, there was worry/doubt. I realized that my level of faith had not quite reached expert level as soon as I heard that I couldn’t have faith and worry at the same time.

Wait, what? You mean that seven months ago when I looked at the balance due to our wedding venue and immediately knew that we didn’t have the money to pay it, and freaked out a little, my faith wasn’t activated?  The truth is, when worry sets in, faith exits stage left. Faith and worry just do not go together. As soon as those words hit my ears and dropped into my heart, I just thought, “oh crap.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we are to walk by faith, not by sight. That means, regardless of our circumstances or how it looks like things are going, we have to TRUST GOD – no freaking out allowed? What if you just lost your job?  Trust God. He has something better for you. What if you have more month than money? Trust God,  He will provide for you. What if you’re stuck in a job position, being overlooked, and not given any opportunities? Trust God. He knows what He is doing.

I have to admit, it is a bit difficult for me to keep worry out of the equation when there is a cataclysm ensuing, but because God is so good, He does provides a way out. A few weeks ago my pastor preached a sermon about what to do when you doubt (here is the link if you’re interested). The message was preached from Matthew 14:22-33. Most people know this as the bit where Peter walked on water.

Anyway, Jesus is walking on the sea toward the disciples. They were afraid, thought He may be a ghost, and understandably, freaked out a little. Jesus announces himself, and tells them not to be afraid. At this point Peter says, “Lord if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So Jesus says come. Peter gets out of the boat, eyes fixed on Jesus and started walking toward him. BUT he became distracted and his attention shifted from Jesus to the wind, he became afraid, and guess what? He began to sink. As soon as he began to sink he cried out, LORD SAVE ME.  HERE IS THE GOOD PART —-> IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.Peter Sinks

Before I heard this sermon, I never thought about this… The fact that Peter doubted is not what is important. We are human, we fall short, it is going to happen. The important part is, AS SOON as he noticed he began to sink, he cried out for help and immediately Jesus helped him. Since God is not a respecter of persons, He will do the same for us.

When I face a circumstance and begin to worry, it is at that moment that I need to cry out to God and ask him to save me, and immediately He will reach out redirect my focus back to where it needs to be, which is on Him.

I’m not saying it is OKAY to worry or doubt. But I am saying that if you are still growing in your faith (as I am) and your circumstances distract you from walking in faith, God has provided a solution for that. But just because there is a solution, doesn’t mean this is where you should stay. We should all strive to have Mark 11:23-24 faith. The kind of faith that moves mountains.

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to the this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart ,but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” -Mark 11:23-24

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One Month Down, Forever to Go.

As of today, Korey and I have been married for ONE MONTH! Yes, today is our monthiversary! Are we going to be one of those couples who dresses up and buy each other gifts for every day, week, and month that passes by? Umm… that is HIGHLY unlikely. However, we will praise God for every day that passes that we can honor him with our marriage.

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The wedding was all that we wanted and more. I have no words to describe how it feels to look around a room full of people and think, “wow, all of these people love us.” We laughed and smiled and just tried to enjoy every moment. Korey confessed that he smiled so much his cheeks hurt. That is priceless. We had so much fun, and we’re so grateful for all of the people God put in our lives to love on us and encourage us.

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Almost immediately following our wedding, we were on a plane to Montego Bay, Jamaica – followed by an UNSAFE car ride to Ocho Rios. Lots of prayers went up during this 60 minutes of our life. Mine sounded a little like, “Lord please allow me to be a wife at least 24 hours. By the Grace of God, we made it. The views were breathtaking.

We had a GREAT, GREAT, GREAT time. We met new people, we slept A LOT, and ate even more. The scenery was indescribable. Y’all we had butlers.

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The time we spent in Jamaica was memorable, and we definitely want to go back one day, but at the end of our time there we were ready to come home, and were excited to get back and create a new normal.

We made a decision to wait until we were married to live together. We knew that this wasn’t a common practice, we heard about all the “conveniences” that we were missing, how everyone was doing it, how it wasn’t a big deal, how we could save money, etc.  However, the only influence we listened to was God’s word, and my friends, what God asks, trumps all things, and we knew that we were honoring him with our decision.

So now, we live together under the same roof for the first time and IT HAS BEEN AWESOME. We have been looking forward to it for a long time. We run around here laughing, having a good time, and just enjoying each other. I love that he is the last person I see every night, and the first person I see every morning.

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One thing about me that Korey already knew prior to our marriage is I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON. It takes me a moment to “warm up” to being awake. Korey however is a morning person. He wakes up like Cinderella did, with a song in his heart, and birds chirping and flying around his head. This has worked out in my favor because this wonderful husband of mine, gets up every morning to make me breakfast, and help pack my lunch. He knows that if it were up to me alone, I’d over sleep every day,  I’d never have breakfast (or coffee – and that would be bad), and whatever I could throw in my lunch box is what I’d have. He keeps that from happening for me. We’re a team. He supports me where I need it, and I do the same for him.

Before the wedding everyone would ask, “how are the wedding plans coming?” and now everyone loves to ask, “how is married life?” quickly followed by, “when are you guys having kids?” So here are the answers… drumroll please… MARRIED LIFE IS AMAZING, AND YOU SHOULDN’T EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT, BECAUSE GOD IS AT THE CENTER OF THIS MARRIAGE, AND IF GOD IS FOR US, WHO/WHAT COULD BE AGAINST US? As far as kids go, we want to be a little selfish and enjoy our “just the two of us time” for a little while. So just hold your horses. Slow your roll. Pump the brakes. You’re taking us too fast. I’m thirty! I’m practically a spring chicken. I have eons to be a mom. Right now, I’m overjoyed just being a wife.

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The last thing I want to mention is your failure in the marriage advice department. Yes, you. Of all the marriage advice we have received, there are A LOT of things you married people failed to mention. In fact, I’m considering writing a book on the things that no one told us (and we thought you loved us). Forgotten information piece #1: no one, literally no one, told us how to live in a ONE BEDROOM, ONE BATHROOM apartment and not feel SELF-CONSCIOUS  about pooping. Shame on you all.

 

Until next time,

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Tie the Knot Thursday, Three Weeks and Counting!

Did you see the title? THREE WEEKS! 23 Days! Oh. Em. Gee.

So originally this started as Tie the Knot Tuesday, but now has morphed into Tie the Knot on whatever day I have time to blog about it. Today, it’s Thursday.

Much has happened, and much more will happen in the next 23 days leading up to the fantastic wedding! Here are the recent events:

The groomsmen gifts have been ordered, and they are sharp. The bridesmaids gifts have also been ordered (and have arrived) and they are literally my favorite. Maybe the groomsmen and bridesmaids will entertain the world with some selfies once they get their gifts.

My wedding shoes have arrived. I would show you guys a picture, but no can do. The bridal wardrobe is TOP SECRET. The wedding hair has been experimented with and determined. I am excited about that. The hair will be up, and it will be awesome.

Also, our official wedding hashtag is #TraylorEverAfter and we have signs to prove it! So all you Facebook’n, Instagram’n, Tweeting people, get your thumbs ready for some photo snapping and hashtag action.

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As you have probably seen on Instagram or Facebook, this past weekend I got together with some of my closest friends and celebrated getting married! We had the best time laughing, talking, and eating. My circle of friends are proof that you can get together with people and have a good time without making a fool of yourself or doing something completely ridiculous. For them I am extremely grateful, and they truly bless me. Here is a quick recap:

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Lastly, but certainly not least. On Monday, Korey and I headed to the Rockwall County Court House got ourselves a marriage license! The only thing missing is the ceremony, our pastor, and you!

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The count down continues!

Until Next Time,

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Wedding Wednesday, 4 Weeks and Counting!

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I had to change the wedding update title due to it not being Tuesday, lol

Here are the updates:

Literally the day after I blogged about not having a meltdown, I had a meltdown. However, since then, the invitations have been mailed, and several RSVPs have come in. However, more HAVE NOT come in, and tomorrow is the deadline. I hope everyone timed their arrival perfectly and the rest will be here tomorrow (wishful thinking).

In other news, the bustle was put into my dress, and my seamstress did a really great job. If you ever need someone for bustles, hemming, etc. I know a gal. The trying on of the dress went better, I’m starting not to feel like a can of exploded biscuits (which is a good thing).

Every day is ridiculously busy. If I didn’t have a time-consuming job, this might be a lot less stressful, but seeing as though my job and this major life event are both time consuming and happening simultaneously my stress level is through the roof.

There are some surprises happening in the upcoming week, that I will reveal NEXT blog entry. However, I will tell you that Tuesday I have a hair trial appointment. I am excited about that because I need to figure out exactly what I am doing with this hair for my bridal portraits (Oct. 5th) and for the wedding.

We’re down to the wire! The major stuff taken care of (woohoo!). It seems that since the major stuff is done, there would be a great relief, but it’s the small things that have given me the most grief!

Please keep us lifted up in prayer as we get closer to our wedding day! We’re trusting God for many things in this season, and we appreciate every prayer that is joined with ours.

Only 31 days to go!

Until Next Time,

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