Still in Process

Where is the money is my constant thought whenever we get to this time of year, tax season. I realize I haven’t planned my finances well again as I am running short on my cash flow. How can I make it through this and salvage my not so great choices thus far? Yes, somehow the money lasts just long enough till the next set of bills appear.

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 How many times do I have to do this to myself? I keep saying I am going to plan for a better budget next year. I do prepare the budget, and I figure out ways to pay off debt. I tell l myself I am going to save the truth is I do save. The savings ended up going to the car that broke down, the next appliance on the fritz, and the kid who has to have something to wear to school because they have grown again. Where is the money supposed to come from? There has never been a thing called alimony in my life because I am pretty sure you have to get married for that. At this point, I’m not sure anyone can stand me except me (insert laugh here). I have also never received a dime of child support. However, in many ways, though I thought I am blessed because I didn’t have to deal with any of it. 

 Last night, however, I was seriously trying to decide was more critical gas in the car, food that night, or food tomorrow. I decided gas has to be the most important because I can’t just call into work and say I don’t have the money to get there.  I can do without food for a few days. I’m driving home in tears which I don’t recommend to any of you. I couldn’t believe in a year I had gone from having enough money to being in the place of lack. 

What happened?

I really started to think about my mindset and because I know the way I see things can make all the difference.  What had happened this last year or even in the previous week that I had not been dealing with. I kept shoving my emotions in a drawer and just leaving them there. 

I have lost some family this last year and a friend I wish to see healed instead they die. Friendships have ended, pets have been killed, and my most recent relationship with someone special dissipated though I don’t even know why. I have been slapped multiple times by my emotions, but I have had worse years. 

What is the difference?

I am more isolated where I live now in the middle of nowhere. There is no one ever knocking at my door. 

I don’t invite people over because I have been moving forever and can’t seem to empty all the boxes. 

There has been no more hanging out with girlfriends and just venting about my life regularly to just get it out.

My responsibilities and the pressure of them have increased 10 fold this year as well. 

I decided this year I wanted to be more positive and apparently it has been a struggle. I’m really into books this year, so I was like most google what’s the most popular positive thinking book… The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I started to listen to it last night on the way to a meeting.  

I began to listen to a man that seemed a thousand lives away from me. It helped me to know that he was a believer because I have been struggling with trust and faith. 

In the section, I was listening to in the book was about confidence, and thought oh boy something I don’t want to hear about. I continue to listen anyway because it is dangerous to change a book while driving. Norman talked about this person he knew that was just so down in the dumps all the time. They always expected that something would go wrong and when he met with them a couple months later the person was completely changed. 

What did they do to change?

They read the Bible. (Not what you wanted to hear either, eh?) Yeah, I was like and your point? But he mentions they read the first books of the New Testament and underlined every passage that spoke of faith and courage. This is not something I had heard of before and then also committed them to memory. After that, I was like there is no way I have time to do that!

However, I have thought about this last year again and how much time I have wasted allowing these negative thoughts and pains to fill my head over and over. My views of myself, and finances right now are stressed. What would I lose by trying it?

There is not I am great, and everything is lovely right now, but I have some hope this is just a season of my life. I have some faith now that it will be okay and believe it. I am still praying, and still in process. 

Emse Alburn

www.esmealburn.com

The High Road

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It’s been raining here in Oklahoma. The ground is wet. But, I didn’t think it was too bad, and I needed to get to my car. Living in an apartment has its advantages and disadvantages. And today, the disadvantage was I didn’t get home from work before my neighbors, and my car was parked down a bit. I didn’t want to stay on the sidewalk. I would just cut across the grass. It would save me 1.2 minutes. So, I took that first step. And then the 2nd. Then I was trying to hurry, because, with each step, my shoes sunk into the mud, hidden beneath the blades of grass. And my feet were getting wet. And cold. All so I could save a little bit of time.

For many single moms, this is how our holidays go. We start out with great intentions, but we decide to get off the high road. The holidays can be difficult. It doesn’t matter if you have sole custody or joint custody, for a single mom, it’s hard! With joint custody, we have to share our kids with another parent. For the sole custody momma’s, you’re it! No breaks. No extra sleep. For the mom’s who get child support, it’s probably not enough. For the mom’s who don’t get any, you try to figure out how to squeeze pennies out of the budget.

Frustrations can build. Unmet expectations can crescendo. And before you know it, that high road is gone, and you’re walking in mud; wet and tired. And grumpy.

I’ve been a single mom for nine years. Nine years of joint custody. Each year has its own “hard.” Last year, I thought I had this holiday stuff down! Then, the call came. Their dad asked if he could take them to Texas. On my holiday. His grandmother was getting older and wanted them all there. Three days before Thanksgiving! As I talked to my ex, I asked how long he had known about this request. Five weeks. He had known for five weeks. Ugh.

After a big sigh and a quick prayer, I was reminded of the advice I had been given during my divorce. “The high road is never the easy road, but it’s always the right road.”

So, I agreed. In that moment, I chose not to look at why I wasn’t asked earlier. I got off the phone and called my kids. And when I told him that my parents and I were going to move our Thanksgiving back a couple of days, I heard the relief in his voice. “Thank you, mom.”

I thought back to other years when I dug my heels in. And just kept sinking deeper through the entire holiday season. I didn’t enjoy it. And my kids probably didn’t either!

I’m not saying that you should always give in! I’m not suggesting that time with you isn’t just as important as time with dad. What I am saying is that sometimes, we have to take the high road. The harder road. Because, when it comes down to it, our kids didn’t ask to have two homes. They didn’t want to share their parents. And, sometimes, we make choices for what is best for our kids. And last year, that was fulfilling a desire of their great-grandmother.

Take a deep breath, momma. Pray. A lot! Talk to your kids. See what they are feeling. And, try to stay out of the mud during this happy season.  

Never Give Up

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Oh wow, this month of April had been a crazy month. I decided to finish my book and I was so excited when the month started to complete it. However, the night before Easter I was so sick I couldn’t eat. Then a few days later there was a fire in my childhood home. It was crazy and surreal. Then a week later I came home from work to set my things down and head back outside. When I turned around there was a snake entering through my doorway. I haven’t been a fan of snakes ever. Then a few days later I got word someone dear to me had died. These unexpected things just kept coming one after another.

It has been hard not to give up. A few years ago when I had a broken leg and arm, had a two-year-old, and lost my job. It was hard not to give up when I really wanted to.  When I had those days, that life threw me sideways for a day, week, month, or a season I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to try anymore. I was exhausted and ready for a new start. I don’t know what you a face in this season of life that has knocked you flat on your face. We all deal with unexpected things in life. It is hard put on a smile or just to make it through the day without crying.

Sometimes we lose our job,

become homeless,

the relationship crashes,

sickness comes in,

or a loved one dies.

“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” Jack Ma

 

There is a time and season for everything but never give up. Don't stay in the place of loss and pain. You must keep fighting for your life even if it is moment by moment. There is only one thing that has kept me moving through all this pain and loss….it is God. When the tears are coming down my face and I am not sure how I will make it through another day, I turn to Him.

 

1.     I turn on YouTube and search for worship music lately Elevation Worship is my favorite.

2.     I sing even if I don’t know the words in my mess.

3.     I start praying about every worry and pain I have and give it to Him.

 

By the time I hit the last step I am usually not crying anymore because I believe in God’s love for me.  I change my mind about my circumstance and choose hope. I know I have a purpose and a future. I know my life will not end because of unexpected life events. I begin to stand on these words and memorize them.

 

Keep praying

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Remember God is Good

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5

 

He will never leave you

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

 

All thing He works out for Good

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 

He still knows everything that happens and is not surprised.

9  remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10  declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose, Isaiah 46:9-10

 

So, momma if life is dishing out more than you can handle know God is still ever present in your life. He stands beside you, holds you, and tells you how much He loves you.

Stay Strong,

~Esme

http://vestigespirit.com/