Pull up your chair and get comfy. I love making new friends and would love to offer you a plate of cookies and some ice cold milk. That’s the Southern need to feed there, folks!
Okay, let’s start with why you should be reading this blog anyway, when there are so many out there.
Are you looking for a different type of life? Maybe one that makes you a bigger part of your kids and spouse’s lives, while making an impact in the world around you?
There are so many people who go through life, living the step by step process they are expected to live, but feeling totally unfulfilled. Despite a successful job, despite a beautiful family, despite all the trappings of the world telling them they have an awesome life…they don’t feel awesome at all.
We’ve been where you are. And it’s hard.
What can you do about it? You have no idea where to go or what else is even out there to do.
We get it. We made a decision that started us on our own course to live different 6 years ago. That one intentional decision, to have me become a SAHM, made a huge impact on our family. And we have lived (and thrived) as a one-income, SAHM family since.
But the feeling of being called to something else never left my Hubs. We’ve paid down debt, we’ve moved, we’ve started and failed multiple businesses. Then we discovered this crazy idea. Financial Independence. Living a totally different lifestyle, that will allow us to go where God calls and do what He calls us to do.
We want to help you through this process. We’ve messed up, still do. But I know I can help you. From figuring out finances and frugal living, to whether Financial Independence is for you, we want to show you how we’re doing it so you can too.
Guess what? You are not alone! I know you feel like you are, but this world doesn’t define us. We are defined by Christ and He thinks you are here to make a difference. It’s awesome, it’s scary, it’s freakin’ hard! But I’m here to help and share our experiences and advice on how we made it to where we are today. We are all called to live a life, with joy and fulfillment. God didn’t say we would always have it easy. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world.
Let’s stop being of the world and make our own path! We can change the world, but we have to start with ourselves.
Now if you have stuck around, let me introduce myself and the crazy tribe I call my family.
Who are we?
I’m Ember, an unashamed extrovert who thrives on people, in basically any form (live or via computer).
I’m the writer behind this lovely little home we call our blog and I thoroughly enjoy sharing our experiences with a one income life made possible by frugal living. We’re working towards financial independence, with a huge focus on intentional and generous living everyday. My heart is fully on making a difference in the lives of everyone I talk to. I love to host large groups, feeding them and making them feel at home. I care very little about fashion, decor, or what others think of me. I tend to care too much about people, but when I hear the dreams of others, I want to help them get there. And I believe that frugal living and intentional decisions everyday are the way to do it, with a big dose of God along the way.
A few things about me:
-I love God, my husband and my kids, followed by food/ coffee which is tied with running. I want 18 shirts that say I run to eat, because that’s exactly what I do. Keep an eye on my training for my first half-marathon! (intentional health decisions for the win!! )
-I’m unexpectedly good at ping-pong, but only for about 15 mins then my competitive streak disappears.
-I homeschool our 3 littles, which means I’m stuck in a house with 3 little crazy minions all day, every day. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything (well, most days that’s how I feel).
Next up, is the Hubs.
He’s the total opposite of me, a complete introvert who would rather read or quietly sit than meet new people. He is the man behind the mask, the wizard behind the curtain. He makes me look good, basically. He is also the wizard behind our budget and is the brains that keep us on track financially. He has a job in Corporate America, with an awesome company that takes great care of us. He loves to help young couples and families with finances and setting up budgeting, to help them get out of debt and working towards a better life, the same way we did.(Future goal of setting him up for financial counseling via this site. so keep that in mind) He has the tendency to be an extreme frugalist, the main reason we started down that path. But we equaled each other out and now enjoy a frugal life that also allows for the splurges we love.
A few things about Hubs:
– He’s a man after God’s heart, speaking truth into my life constantly, and an incredible father and husband.
-He loves to cook, even so far as to smoke bbq for a homeschool picnic of 70 people. (Didn’t I say he is awesome?)
-He’s an extremely competitive man, who conquers all he attempts. And a total perfectionist who beats himself up if he doesn’t.
-He hates special holidays meant to force affection, but enjoys surprising me at random times instead to show me he loves me. (secret teddy bear, that’s what he is)
The Littles bring up the rear.
Bee is our oldest, our first born and only girl. She is incredibly dramatic and emotional, making me terrified of our future teen years. But loves to copy all that Mama does, something that tends to remind me of my weaknesses more often than I’d like.
Next up, Bud. He’s the bruiser in the house. From the womb to now, I don’t think he has ever stopped moving. He’s the first to throw a punch but the first to offer the shirt off his back or the food on his plate. He’s got a huge heart, just more energy than he knows what to do with.
Last little up, Little Man. He is the red-haired, quick to smile and quick to scream little boy God sent to finish our family. He is currently still in the weird stage that is toddlerhood. He goes from giggles to angry in .05 seconds, then leans up and grabs my face for a kiss.
These 3 love to fight and love to share what they have with others. We teach them service and generosity with our Love Totes ministry, we discipline them with lots of spankings and love (just as God does us), and we spend more time than imaginable just being with them. We want to put the intentionality of God into every area of their lives, growing them to be lovers and whole-heart and life followers of Christ.
Where did we come from?
Well, our story together started in 2008.
We dated for two years, getting married while in college (to the frustration of his parents). I was a junior and he was in grad school, but we were more than ready to be together. College life and marriage, together for us that meant we were broke.. We were so incredibly broke and yet so very happy.
God blessed us with our first baby that December. If you thought a wedding was crazy to his parents, adding a pregnancy to the mix didn’t help matters. Never the less, that’s where we were. We graduated college, married and pregnant with our first baby. Had around $10k in student loans (mine, from early in college), then stupidly decided we “deserved” a new vehicle and so put ourselves in another $20k debt.
Yup. That’s right. We did that.
We were two young kids, turning into parents and joining the “normal” society, gathering debt as we went.
Let me tell you, I really enjoyed our new vehicle. Black, loaded expedition. It was used, the only smart decision we made in that situation. But it also came with a $500+ per month payment, with an 18% interest rate attached. Yeah. 18%. Because we were “adults”. We could get our own truck, even if we paid out the butt in interest.
Have I mentioned I struggle with pride a bit?
Following the Expedition purchase, I fully committed to being a SAHM. This meant $30k in debt with only one income. Talk about stress for the Hubs. He wanted me home, but the idea of debt like that was too much. So, about 7 months later, after much discussion and prayer, we made a huge goal…
Pay off all our debt.
Everyone pays off debt, right? Sure. But with one very average income, we knew it was going to be a bit tough. Slow even. But with gazelle focus (any Total Money Makeover buddies out there??), we knew we could do it. It took us 18 months, but we did. How, on one, average income, did we do it?
We sacrificed. Short term sacrifice, so we could spend a life time of thriving, not surviving. There were a million reasons why we shouldn’t do it. Why it wasn’t a big deal. But we wanted to enjoy our life, as God intends. Not spend everyday working to the bone, just so we can pay all the monthly payments needed to keep up with the next door neighbor. So we adopted the Dave Ramsey method, read the books, and got started. We adopted our frugal lifestyle and haven’t looked back.
Faith, Marriage, & Kids
You will see God in all my posts. My faith is the most important thing in my life and I wouldn’t be who I am without it. Since this blog is my voice, I can’t help but have Him here too.
My husband is second only to God in my life. Our marriage, the strength and scope of it, will most likely be appearing in the show at times too. He is my other half, and makes me better. (You wouldn’t want to read my first drafts of posts… trust me on this one, ya’ll.)
Our kids. What to say about them other than they are always there. We can’t get away from them! No, but really, what we do here, what we share with you is what we teach and plan to teach them in the future. How to live an intentional, purposeful, generous life.
Why a blog?
Why did we choose to start a blog? Because it’s what all the cool kids are doing!
No, serious answer would be that we both want to share these things that have changed our lives. Living on one income, frugality, being a stay at home mom, homeschooling. All these decisions that are out of the norm, that are so much harder and mean sacrifice.
We believe in being who we are called to be, every day. Read my thoughts on that:
When Who You Are Is Too Much
We hope to build a community that brings together people who have those same dreams. One or all, just people who want to dream, but also want to make that dream happen. But we also want to help those people see the bigger purpose, of living intentionally in every area, and how that brings you around to the true happiness God wants for us all.