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.