This was actually supposed to be published last week but for whatever reason it didn't, so here it is today.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Back in blue jeans, warm, not hot, days, low humidity. In Illinois we know about humidity. I’m not a fan of what comes after autumn and the ’s’ word is a four letter word, but man, do I love the fall.
Pumpkins, apples, leaves turning red, maroon, yellow and orange. High School football. Going to the corn maze, apple orchard and pumpkin patch. Bright cloudless days, warm and pleasant. These are images most people think of when they think of autumn. For us it also means harvest, literally.
We farm. Corn and soybeans. My husband, his brother, our son, and his son. They start the harvest of corn the day after Labor Day most years. This brings a totally different aspect to autumn.
Harvest means days when your husband leave with the sunrise and returns with the sunset. Running to town for parts. Having a grumpy man around if it’s raining or there’s a major breakdown or bushels of grain spilled on the ground because the bin overflowed. Having a happy man if everything is working properly and the yield is good.
It means being a temporary single parent, handling the minor, and not so minor, crises by yourself. Making an appointment with father if the issue is large enough.
It also means the kids riding with dad in the combine. Learning to drive a tractor, usually about age ten. Learning to shut off the auger before the bin overflows.
Depending on the weather, harvest can last two months or, heaven forbid, into December. That’s when you really have a grumpy man.
Today has been one of the less enjoyable days. It’s 50 degrees, windy, overcast, and just stinking cold. But, it’s autumn, harvest is going well, and it’s a beef stew kind of night. I love autumn.
Starting in January of 2011 the Lord has been urging me to help people learn how to, using common sense and simple thinking, better manage their budget. I’m not a financial counselor, accountant, or even a bookkeeper. I have held positions as treasurer to various organizations. I was also on the Board of Directors of International Machine Quilters Association as the treasurer and maintained the books for several years.
It’s amazing how many people have openly spoken to me about their financial problems. People I only know from see them at a retailer or fast food place I frequent. I believe this is God sending these individuals for me to minister to the money issue they are dealing with at that time or to open up to them a different way of thinking about money.
I’ve decided that one way I can help is to write a few blog posts offering the insights I’ve had that have impacted others. I’ll post every week for a while something about managing or an idea that may change your way of thinking about how you spend your money.
Whatever suggestions I make are simply my views and I don’t take responsibility for how you implement them. You know we live in a litigious society and so I’m covering my you know what.
Many people don’t fully think out where and how their money goes. They live paycheck to paycheck. They also spend more than they make getting deeper and deeper behind while not changing their spending habits in order to more successfully manage their finances. When retirement, illness, job loss, major repairs, etc. come along they have no savings to fall back on. Hopefully, my suggestions will help. So, if you are interested in some common sense and thinking different read on.
1Thessalonians 4:11-12 WEB that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we charged you; that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
We are to live in a way that shows to those who are not believers that we live differently than the way they live. One of these ways is to manage out money, not as the world does, but as God wants us to. That you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
My first suggestion is to get a small notebook and write down ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU SPEND!!!!!!!!!! for one month. That means EVERYTHING. If you buy a pack of gum when you fill your car, write it down. If your child asks for money to do something, write it down. If you put the penny in the give a penny dish, write it down.
For one month, keep track of everything in a semi-itemized way. The major items such as mortgage, utilities, car payments; those are the easy ones. Other easy ones are grocery/household, gas, clothes, school lunches; things like that. The ones that don’t fit into those categories become harder. If you eat out, use EO as the category. Go to a movie or other entertainment; ENT. You get the idea. Anything that doesn’t fit mark with D for discretionary spending. That’s the candy bar or drink you pick up at the convenient store, going through the car wash, etc.
The important thing is that every penny is accounted for. Before you can make better choices in how you spend your money you have to know how you are spending it. It’s a big job writing it all down, but it is a vital one to learning where you can make small changes that can have a huge impact on your budget.
Mic. 4:9 But why are you now screaming in terror? …. Have you no wise people to counsel you?
Do you have a mentor? Someone who cares for you enough to tell you the truth? Someone who helps you understand what Scripture really says, not what you may have been taught? Someone who can see the areas in your life that God is working on and help you become more like Christ? Someone who will advise you with what is right even though you won’t like what (s)he says? I do, and I thank God for this person. Prov. 27:9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
I have gone to my mentor with emotional problems, family difficulties, confessions of my sins, misunderstandings of and not understanding Scripture. Have I found that he has counseled me based entirely on what the Bible says. Not what some “expert” says the Bible says, but what it actually says. He has read, studied and prayed about what the Bible says. The entire Bible, both old and new testaments. Nothing is based on only one or two verses, but the entire Word of God. Psa. 37:30 The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong.
Have I always liked what my mentor has told me? No. Have I always wanted to accept what he had to say as the truth of how God wants me to be? No. Have I always left the room with the attitude of willingness to do what was advised? No. After thought and prayed about the difference in how I want to go ahead and what the advice is, have I found that he is usually correct? Yes. Bummer for my way of thinking. In the long run do I find this advice beneficial? Yes.
When I finally relinquish my pride and realize what God is telling and teaching me, through my mentor, I grow in Him and the blessings I have received are amazing. I have learned so very much. My character has developed. I am able to pass on what I have learned to others.
I am truly blessed to have a mentor who is so very knowledgeable of the Bible, cares about me and wants me to grow and mature in Christ. He is willing to tell me the truth of what I need to hear whether I like it or not. He knows that it is better to tell me what is right than whitewash issues that I am struggling with in order to not hurt my feelings. Prov. 27:6 Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Do you have a mentor? I hope you do. If not I hope you will find one who will help you grow in the characteristics that make you more like Christ.
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Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.
Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie is branching out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.
Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.