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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Breaking Free Part 3: Overcoming The Comparison Trap

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.

Overcoming the comparison trap
It's so easy to fall prey to comparison.

"Bob and Mary have a nice house. They're the same age as us. We should have the standard of living they do!"

"My wife and I have a bunch of kids to feed, but neither of us can get a job. We must not be as good as John and Jane who are both doing quite well."

"My two best friends have both gotten new cars in the last three years. I must be a loser if I don't get a new car soon."

"Mary is so beautiful. If I looked like her I wouldn't feel so insecure."

The examples above may seem ridiculous at face value, but they're actually not that far off from the kind of thinking we all experience from time to time.

Jacey, over at The Balanced Wife, has a wonderful article on comparison. Regarding her financial situation, she writes: "It wasn’t jealousy or bitterness I was feeling, but something more like shame. I felt behind, like a new bar had been set for what people my age were supposed to have, and I didn’t measure up."

Money management wizard Dave Ramsey talks about this feeling in Financial Peace University. He says, as adults, we try to recreate the standard of living we had as a child, or, for those less fortunate, we try to create what we always thought was the ideal.

My wife admitted once that this was the case for her. After we got married, she wanted a house. A big house. A house to raise a family in. She wanted to cook dinner like her mom always did and expected me to keep up the property like her father. Imagine her disappointment when, over time, she realized that married life wasn't going to be all that she saw growing up. She doesn't have the time to cook meals all week. I'm not the Mr. Fix-It that her father was.

We both had expectations that were dashed pretty early on in our marriage.

Breaking Free from Comparison

Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

Comparing ourselves to other people is one of the first major obstacles we have to overcome to find financial peace. And I do mean "peace." Because you can find financial freedom without overcoming comparison, but the road there will be longer, more stressful, and more irritating, because as you continually compare yourself to others you'll be unhappy and you're likely to make those around you miserable. Financial peace is a much more rewarding road.

The comparison trap is a dangerous one, because comparison, by nature, is always negative, unfairly putting the worst of ourselves up against the perceived best of others. Comparison usually ignores facts, and often accepts too many broad assumptions. Comparison is inaccurate. It wastes time. It fails to realize that everyone is unique and that nothing in life is a "one size fits all."

When the Apostle Paul wrote "godliness with contentment is great gain," he wasn't just speaking philosophically. He had learned the secret to contentment in every circumstance in life. While that secret eludes most people, it need not elude any true believer.

Here are six practical steps to overcoming comparison.

  • Learn to give thanks

Not just for good things, but for all things. Thankfulness is a matter of simple obedience to God, but it is also evidence of a Spirit-filled believer. Not feeling thankful? That's ok. You don't always have to FEEL thankful. Just give thanks anyway. God won't ignore your obedience. (1 Thess. 5:18; Eph. 5:18-20).

  • Learn to rest in God's providence

God is always unfolding His purpose in our lives, a purpose that is for His glory and our gain. So when bad things come our way, who are we to shake our fist at the sky or grumble and complain when, in the long run, God is only doing what is best for us. (Rom. 8:28; 1 Pet. 4:12-13).

  • Learn to be satisfied with little

Paul learned to make this choice. And that's exactly what it is: a choice. You can choose to be content just like you can choose to smile at the clerk at the checkout line, or choose to have a good attitude toward those you don't necessarily enjoy being around. (1 Tim. 6:6)

  • Learn to live above your circumstances

Life happens. And if I am to be truly honest, life can really suck sometimes. No one knows this better than the apostle Paul—abused, imprisoned, tortured. He didn't take pleasure in the pain itself, but in the power of Christ manifested in him. Clinging to Christ when life gets hard is so crucial to truly being content. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

  • Learn to rely on God's provision

Danielle and I took a major step of faith when we decided to sign up for Christian Healthcare Ministries as an alternative to Obamacare. It means our trust isn't in an insurance company, but in the hands of God, who, through thousands of other believers, will help us cover the cost of our medical expenses. I have faith in this, because Jesus promised that he will never leave us and that he will supply all our needs. (Heb. 13:5, Matt. 6:26)

  • Learn to care for others

Really practice this one, because as we focus on meeting the needs of others, an amazing thing happens: comparison takes a back seat. Focusing on others means learning about them, and as we learn about them we can find empathy and understanding. Loving others rubs out the assumption-based aspects of comparison and replaces it with facts. (Phil. 2:3-4)

Associations are powerful, and the company we keep can influence our decisions in many ways, even without us realizing it. When people around us start buying houses and going on vacations, we feel like we deserve the same. But once you choose not to be swayed by this kind of thinking, there is immediate freedom from comparison.

While Danielle and I feel strongly about debt, we don't shove our beliefs on others, nor do we look down on friends and family who spend more money than we do or take out loans. Their choices don't threaten ours, and when you don't feel threatened you're in a much better position to love people where they are without judging them.

(Adapted from What Is The Secret to Contentment?, by John MacArthur.)

Other posts in this series

Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call
Part 2: How To See Some Hope

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Breaking Free Part 2: How To See Some Hope

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.

Finding hope in the war
Danielle made a comment recently that I'm pretty sure would've proven true had our lives taken different paths two years ago. She said, "If it weren't for our financial plan we probably wouldn't be together."

And I think she's right. Just a few months after getting married we found ourselves locked in a purgatory of money disagreements (we don't like the word "fights") and bad financial habits. She's a saver. I'm a spender. And neither of us had really considered the impact our individual approaches to money would have on our relationship.

In the fall of 2012, just four months after we got married, we took Financial Peace University by financial guru Dave Ramsey. I know there's a lot of Dave Ramsey detractors out there, but a lot of it is simple misunderstanding. I've noticed two groups of Dave-haters. First, there's people of the world who think debt is normal, who think our country's national debt is no big deal, and therefore don't understand why Dave Ramsey is on a crusade against it. Many of them—the biggest haters—also know he's a Christian, and that, in and of itself, paints a big shiny target on his bald dome.

Then there's other Dave Ramsey hate that comes from people—mainly Christians—who simply misunderstand his message. Sure, he can be a little too dogmatic about some things, but if you listen to his story you'll understand why. Dave doesn't claim to have all the answers, but he's built a massive empire around his business that's loaded with people who work their butts off every day to find the answers.

Dave's money management program stems from his own personal experience of having wealth, going bankrupt, finding a renewed faith in God, and having wealth again—lots of wealth! He's currently worth millions. His home in Tennessee—which he paid for with cash—is worth $4.9 million. Some Christians have a problem with this. They think Dave is unbiblical for living in such a way. But I fail to recall any Scripture that says having money is evil, or that when God blesses you in one particular area because of your obedient faithfulness that you need to turn the blessing away.

Their feelings on the matter leave me vexed. Terribly vexed.

Anyway, Dave's plan for achieving financial peace has one major design flaw: it doesn't work if you don't do it!

Ok, ok. That was a little too emphatic. Sorry.

Danielle and I aren't the Dave Ramsey worshippers that many others are, but we do appreciate his method because it has worked amazingly well for us. We also understand that everyone is different and that different plans work for different people. We encourage people who are in serious financial straightjackets to consider Crown Financial Ministries or another biblical-based money management program.

The Time When We Saw Hope

Danielle and I faithfully worked through the small-group version of Financial Peace University in the fall of 2012. I didn't want to do it. I didn't think it would work. But both Danielle and I needed to change the way we felt about money, and, more importantly, we needed to find mutual ground upon which we could start building a budget to get us out of debt.

Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #1 wasn't that hard for us—get $1,000 emergency savings in the bank. During our time leading FPU we met some people who struggled with this, so, trust me, we know how hard it can be, but we were just married and we didn't have any children, so finding $1,000 to put in an account was no biggie.

But then came Baby Step #2—pay off all non-mortgage debt using the debt snowball. This took some time, but we doggedly tracked down every spare dollar we could and eventually paid off the credit card. Then we took the money from the credit card payment and added it to a vehicle payment and we paid off that vehicle a year early.

And then our eyes opened.

Then we took the combined payments of the credit card and the vehicle and added it to another vehicle, and that one was paid off six months early.

And our eyes opened a little wider.

The plan was working, and, most importantly, it was changing the way we felt about money. Seeing progress was making the change happen within us. We began to see the value of cutting back on how much we spent on eating out. So we cut back some more. As our debt went down and our savings went up we saw the value of canceling nonessential monthly bills, like our Netflix account. We even decided not to budget for vacations for a while.

As time went on our vision for our financial future came together. Gone was the fear and desperation that my wife had felt before. Gone was my frustration at her for being so tight-fisted with money. We had learned each other's "money language," and there was newfound respect and empathy.

Our friend, Jacey, over at The Balanced Wife, puts it well: "Taking the first step takes so much more energy than staying in motion."

The great thing about Financial Peace University is that it allows you to see hope in a short amount of time. Usually within 1-to-3 months you'll see that $1,000 emergency fund in the bank. After 3-to-6 months you'll see that debt snowball working wonders. You'll start to feel more in control of your money, instead of feeling like you're money is controlling you.

You might even start to see that maybe Dave Ramsey is really onto something after all.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Breaking Free Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.

My Personal Wake-Up Call
I can't name a date and time when it happened, but it was shortly after Danielle and I were married, and when it happened it was like a train pulling into the station, towing with it freight car after freight car of realizations and harsh realities.

I realized I couldn't eat out whenever I wanted.

I realized I couldn't spend every weekend at the movies.

I realized my collection of Batman action figures wasn't going to be growing anytime soon.

I realized that I suddenly had a mortgage and a bunch of other financial responsibilities that took priority.

Most importantly, I realized that I had a wife who had this innate need within her to feel cared for, and my going around spending our money all willy-nilly style was going to make her feel insecure. I realized that I needed to step up to the plate of manhood and aim for the bleachers.

I'm glad this all dawned on me when it did, but I just wish it had happened sooner. I tell you guys, you men, if you're not developing good money habits right now the struggle to keep your head above the financial waters is going to multiply when you get married, buy a house, and start a family. If you've got boys you're raising you need to start preparing them for this because the early years of married life are nothing but a time bomb waiting to happen for someone who is completely unprepared to handle the larger financial responsibilities of life.

Thankfully, the Lord put it on my heart to take Financial Peace University about three months after Danielle and I were married, after we had been through three tumultuous months of arguing over money matters, wondering if our differences in this area were going to drive us apart.

Dave said two things that really made sense to me.

Saving money is about emotion

Dave says, "Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge." If you want to improve your financial situation, you need to change the way you FEEL about money. If you want your sons and daughters to grow up with a responsible approach to handling finances, you need to make sure they develop healthy feelings about it.

There are different ways of doing this, but it begins with getting out of the "credit card" mindset that permeates today's culture. When you pay cash for something, you FEEL the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards. Paying with plastic develops a disconnect between people and money.

Saving money is about contentment

"Saving money is about emotion and contentment," says Dave. "When you aren't overspending to impress others, you can win."

Comparison is a dangerous trap. It kills contentment, and if you can't model contentment in your life then your kids will never learn it either.

Dave says, "Being content is the spiritual state of not needing something else to feel whole. When you're content, you're not motivated to buy stuff... Don't get sucked into the illusion that you'll be happy when you have that new car, that new home, or $1 million in the bank. Stuff does not equal happiness."

We'll talk more about contentment on Wednesday in "Overcoming the Comparison Trap."

But, for now I'll just say that learning about how Danielle felt about money, understanding how I felt about money, how to be content and less concerned with keeping up with the Joneses was a real eye-opener for me.

What it really boiled down to was choice. Choosing to be content is immediately freeing. You can choose in any given moment to be content or not. Choosing to not concern yourself with what others think about you or your spending habits is a huge leap toward finding true financial peace.

Friday, July 25, 2014

How To Afford Vacation When You Can't Afford A Vacation

Want to vacation but don't have the money? Here are some ideas of how to afford it!
Since getting serious about paying off debt the hubby and I decided to stop putting money toward vacations for a while. I know, I know. Crazy, right? We just figured that since we're young and don't have any kids we could live without expensive vacations.

Besides, we had squirreled away some money into a vacation fund which we decided to keep on hand in case either one of us was ever in danger of internally combusting without some kind of a vacation. Fortunately that hasn't happened.

In fact, fortunately, we have been blessed with many astoundingly affordable vacation opportunities in the last year or so, which can only attribute to God's grace. We got to go to Boston for a night; enjoyed a weekend at Old Orchard Beach, ME; and, of course, our infamous trip to NYC to be on the Katie Couric show (which you can read about here if you're awesome). And all of these vacations cost us little to nothing.

Now, granted, life isn't always so cooperative. Some people really struggle to find vacation time. In fact, we have some friends who went through our Financial Peace University class this spring who live for vacations. Cruise ships. Beach resorts. They look forward to it every year. It was a huge sacrifice for them when they cut back on some of their vacation expenses.

Jake and I know how hard it can be to make such sacrifices. When it comes to vacations though, there are lots of affordable alternatives that can do the trick until you've paid off enough debt to be able to afford that luxury cruise.

For this summer, my original idea was to camp out in our back yard, make the house off limits—except to use the bathroom—and cook all our meals over an open fire. Romantic nights under the stars. Just me and the hubby in a tent in the backyard. Close to nature. Deer. Bears. Ticks. Oddly enough, he wasn't thrilled about this idea, but I have no idea why ;-)

We considered staying at home for a week, making a plan to do some kind of activity every day—hiking, biking, kayaking, or some other free activity in the area. This idea was more palatable, because, honestly, sometimes after a vacation you come home and are just as tired from all the traveling and busy activities as you were when you left. So the idea of staying home and just relaxing was rather appealing.

The other idea was to do something with my family. In the past they have rented a cabin on a lake in Vermont, and so we talked with them about possibly renting something together.

All of us talked about a bunch of ideas, but nothing seemed to solidify.

And summer was upon us!

I needed a vacation. I didn't need to go anywhere or do anything special, but I needed some time off. Jake, ever the odd one—I love you, honey!—doesn't ever seem to need a vacation. I think before we were married it had been two years since he last took one.

Anyway, time was running short.

My dad—ever my hero!—happened to do some work on a camp at a lake in Groton, VT, and in exchange negotiated a week of vacation there. Ironically, the camp was right next to the one that he spent time at as a boy. Small world.

Our camp fire at Old Orchard Beach, ME
My parents are awesome, and whenever they get the opportunity to do something like this they never hesitate to get the rest of the family involved. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents... even my oldest sister from Florida, along with her husband and brand new baby girl—who is sure to be the hit of the week—are coming up from Florida.

And I. Can't. Wait!

I know getting a free week at a lake isn't an option for everyone, but my point here—as it has been in previous blog posts—is that there is almost always some alternative available if you take the time to look. I have a friend who recently camped-out in the backyard of a friend who lived a few miles from Hampton Beach. Not only did she get to catch up with some friends, but they also got a free vacation!

Maybe there is something you could do for someone else in exchange for a discount on a campsite, cabin, or other vacation spot. Maybe you have friends who would be willing to join you in sharing the expense of a vacation.

This may not be ideal, but, again, it's not forever. These are alternatives to help get you through these penny pinching years. The bottom line is that even if you have little to no money in the budget it doesn't mean you can't have a fun and memorable vacation. What it all comes down to is: how creative can you be?

Let us know some of the great things you have done on a staycation or awesome free vacation spots you have been blessed with.

Keep pinchin' :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beachbody: Curse Those T-Shirt Nazis!

Apparently when you complete a Beachbody workout you get a free t-shirt. Or... wait. Let me rephrase that.

Apparently when you complete a Beachbody workout you CAN get a free t-shirt. Apparently in order to do so you need to submit before and after pictures showing your physical transformation. Apparently these pictures need to be accompanied by weekly weight measurements and include inches lost around legs, waist, and arms. Apparently if you neglect to do this—like I have—Beachbody won't give you a free t-shirt. That's right. You get nothing. Nadda. Zip. They're like t-shirt nazis.

"No t-shirts for you!"

That's a Seinfeld reference, by the way.

Well I've completed my nine weeks of Sean T.'s Insanity. It kicked my butt more often than not, but I deserve a free t-shirt! So I'm going to do what any formerly rational adult male who has been made mentally insane from Sean T.'s ridiculous workout routine—I'm going to do it again. Nine more weeks of nut-so workouts. This time I'll follow the t-shirt nazi's strict regiment—step to the left, speak clearly, no extraneous comments—and submit the required information because, dagnabbit, I want my t-shirt!

Thanks to my wife so willingly signing up to be a Beachbody coach, we now get a discount on workout programs. We've recently gotten our hands on a whole bunch—PiYo, T25, P90X3, 21 Day Fix—and they all come with free t-shirts providing you properly document your progress.

I don't know what's come over me, but I'm determined to get my sweaty paws on those t-shirts, so I'm going to pound my body through every workout and document what is sure to be a Shrek-to-Hulk transformation to appease the nazis at Beachbody. Some may call me a glutton for punishment, but in actuality I just have a high tolerance for pain—I suppose that's why I've been able to live in the northeast for as long as I have. Anyway...
Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Dani was recently telling me a story she heard about a fellow Beachbody coach who was walking through the airport one day wearing one of her Beachbody P90X shirts when many people started a conversation around how hard P90X is. First it was the cab driver, then the TSA agent, then the lady at the terminal, then another and another. By the time she boarded her plane she had contact information for eight potential clients.

So getting these t-shirt isn't just proof of accomplishment, but it can also draw in business.

But clients or no clients, I'm getting my free t-shirts!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Table Talk - Conversation Around The Dinner Table

The importance of family meals and good conversation around the dinner table.
The hubby and I don't have kiddos yet, but we are always talking about them, the future we hope they have, and what kind of parents we hope to become. We talk often about how we want to raise our children, things we've seen other parents do that we want to mirror, or things about our own upbringing that we want to do differently.

It's obvious that kids are going to introduce a rather radical life change when they finally arrive, so we've decided that there are some things we can do now in preparation for having kids that, hopefully, can become a habit before our lives are upended by little Jakes and Danis.

One thing that Jake and I have always agreed is hugely important is family meal times. We both think it's important to have a time where the whole family sets aside their electronics and gathers around the dinner table to pray, eat, and talk about what's on their minds.

Jake and I try to do this as often as we can. Sometimes we both have a lot to talk about. Sometimes there isn't much going on and dinner is quiet.

A good friend of mine has used dinner conversation cards to help get everyone at the table involved in some discussion over the years. So when I had the chance to get my hands on some conversation cards called Words Fitly Spoken, Uplifting Conversation Starters For All Ages, I jumped at the chance!

The cards come in two sets. The Original Edition, which contains 200 conversation starters; and the Thankfulness Edition, which contains 100. Each edition comes as a PDF file and is formatted for 3 1/2" x 5" cards, which makes them easy to print.

A few nights ago, the hubby and I took some conversation starters from the Original Edition to see how they were. It was fun! Some of the questions covered ground that Jake and I had already discussed, but others gave us some fresh insights into each other—which is always fun when you can learn something new about your spouse.

Words Fitly Spoken - Uplifting Conversation Starters
The cards include questions like:

—What family tradition would you most like to pass on to your children?

—How did you get your name?

—Describe one of your favorite pictures of your family.

Then we checked out the Thankfulness Edition and found these gems:

—Do you believe thankfulness is a feeling we experience or a skill we need to cultivate?  Why do you believe that?

—How do you feel when someone says "Thank you" to you?

Even Jake agrees that these cards are helpful conversation starters, especially for men who don't always like talking about their day. He said sometimes guys find it burdensome to recount the details of the day they've had, but if you can engage them in other topics it's easier to drum up some conversation, especially if they see that it's important to their wives.

We will definitely keep these cards handy for future use, especially for when the kiddos come around.

If you are interested in checking out these card sets you can find them at Good Old Days Farms. This link contains an affiliate link, which just means we will get a small commission from any purchase you may choose to make at no further cost to you.

One of the reasons I want to support these conversation starters—besides the fact that they are awesome—is because of this statement I found on the Good Old Days Farm website:

"The Good Old Days Farm is a community farm located in Blue Ridge, Texas, dedicated to helping people live simpler, healthier lives. Proceeds from all our website sales are reinvested into our small family farm. Through our website sales we are able to offer health education to our community and keep the cost of our organic fruits and vegetables low. At the heart of our community are people just like you!"

These people have a dream that I can appreciate :-)

We hope you check these out, and if you think it's a good fit for you family that you choose to purchase through them. We are sure that you and your family will get many laughs, gain knowledge about one another, and spark many more conversations though them.

Keep pinchin' ;-)

Monday, July 21, 2014

A New Adventure - Beachbody Coach

A New Adventure - Beachbody Coach
I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22...

Oh, wait, that's not what I meant to say. What I meant to say was that I don't know about you, but I find that when I start disciplining myself in one area of my life it eventually spills over into other areas. For instance, it's been almost two years since the hubby and I first started working faithfully on our financial situation, and our discipline has paid off in more ways than one.

A couple months ago, as we began the search for an alternative healthcare solution, we both decided to work on taking better care of our bodies. For Jake that meant doing Sean T.'s Insanity, a 9-week workout program. For me it meant doing whatever I could to stay in shape—I ran for a couple weeks, then I started doing this walking program, then a 30 Day Ab Challenge... but the problem was I had no plan. I had no one supporting me or working with me.

Then a friend told me about PiYo, the newest Beachbody program that blends Pilates and Yoga, but PiYo takes those things to the next level, cranking them up to give you a full-throttle cardio, strength, and flexibility workout. Unlike that crazy Insanity program my husband does, PiYo is low-impact and involves more deep stretching and muscle work and not as much jumping around.

I had learned a lesson during my 30 Day Ab Challenge: you can workout all you want, but if you don't change your eating habits you won't get the best results. Even though I was able to do 125 situps, 200 crunches, 65 leg raises and a two-minute plank, my abs were still hiding under this soft cushion of... FAT. I decided that I wasn't going to continue sculpting these amazing abs unless I also got to see them.

So when I began PiYo I decided to follow the get lean eating plan, and that was a good decision if I do say so myself. In the three weeks I've been doing PiYo I have lost 6 lbs, and 3 inches! It feels good!

Of course when you do any Beachbody program you hear a lot about Shakeology. All of their programs promote it—Insanity, PiYo, P90X. Shakeology is a literal meal replacement, loaded with nutrients and healthy stuff. Unfortunately, Shakeology costs quite a bit of money, and while most people have ways they can cut back to cover the cost—less coffee, less eating out—us Penny Pinchers have already cut out everything we can. Jake and I don't buy coffee. We don't drink soda. We hardly ever eat out. For us, affording Shakeology is a big deal.

Jake was sold on it long before I was, but once I heard of its health benefits, how that it's clinically proven for weight loss and lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, we agreed to try it out.

But, then again, there was this whole issue of money. *shakes fist* Why must everything cost so much?!

So I decided to make the move from just being a Beachbody customer to being a Beachbody coach! Doing so gives me a discount on Shakeology, but, even more than that, I found so much inspiration and motivation through my Beachbody coach and her Challenge Group that I wanted to offer the same hope and encouragement to other people. Hopefully, this way, I will also be able to continue this accountability for myself.

On August 4th I am starting an August Challenge Group, for those who choose to order the PiYo Challenge Pack or any of the Challenge Packs through me. This group will offer encouragement, tasks to complete, accountability, and a place to discuss any questions that come up. I will do my best to help you be successful in working towards you fitness goals, be it to lose weight, tone up, or maintain your fitness level.

I would love to have you join my group! If you purchase any of the products through me I will automatically be assigned as your personal coach, which would be totally awesome. You can look at the workout programs here: Or if you have any specific questions, leave us a comment or click the "Contact" link at the top of this page.

Jake and I have worked hard to get our finances in order, and we're still striving to make wise money choices. At this point I think we are ready to take on a new challenge: being good stewards of the bodies God gave us. It should be an interesting journey!

Keep pinchin' :-)