July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

I am thinking about tomorrow and our normal celebration of the 4th of July. We always have a BBQ and spend the day with my parents. Later, we go to see fireworks. It has been this way for the past 26 years (with a short break before my folks retired to Phoenix).

This year will be different. It will be another fractured holiday. I don't mean to sound grumbly, it is just the reality of my situation. Over the last year, every holiday has been turned from what was once a happy occassion into quite a soured and sorry day.
Whenever I thought about divorce and how it affects families -- the thought of holidays (except for Christmas) never crossed my mind. I didn't think about the little days, the days where you might spend an afternoon with family or friends, these days, that they would get torn apart as well as the major holiday celebrations.

My family has always been close. In fact, almost every major holiday has been spent with both sets of parents. My parents or my husband's would invite everyone over to celebrate. Usually, friends from church were invited as well. It was a big deal, and it was always so very nice. However, since last year, neither family has known what to do with "us."

My parents invite me and my son; his parents invite all of us. It is not that my parents don't welcome my husband to their home anymore, it is just that he won't go. I am forced to go alone, and that simply is too weird for me. In truth, I don't want to go at all. I would rather go when I can say "yes" and mean it. I would rather go when the choice is mine to go. I know that I have that choice now, it is just so awkward and uncomfortable, considering that we are living in the same home.

I cannot tell you how difficult it is to even think about tomorrow, let alone make any plans for it. I simply want this year, and all the holidays contained in it -- to go away. Sigh!

On Another Front

I have applied for YET another job at our local state university. It is really weird to think about it, but the economy here in Phoenix is pretty bad. The housing market is really bad, with home prices continuing to tumble. I have been looking at homes for rent, and also to buy. I am not in a position to buy a home, yet; but with a good job, and some savings, I think I could buy my own place. I looked at a small classic Phoenix home yesterday (online). They were asking $139K for it. It is classic, in the sense that it is a bungalow (small), and is located in Central Phoenix. I currently live in North Phoenix, but am seeking work that is more centrally located to the city. It would save about 10-15 minutes off my commute time to move into the city center.

This little home is adorable. It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and has grass!! I know, weirds-mobile here -- doesn't everyone have grass? Nope, not here in Phoenix. Everyone has rock, lots of rock. Grass is not usually planted EXCEPT in the older sections of Phoenix and Scottsdale. A long time ago (like in the 40s-50s), the cities flood irrigated the residential areas, so it was possible to have grass, and flowers and lots of trees. In the more desert-y areas, you will simply find desert landscape (which means rock and catcus and desert trees -- pretty still, but not as green). I really want grass, and the best place to find it is in Central Phoenix.

So back to this little home. I emphasis little because it is about 1100 SQFT. My current home is the same size, though we enclosed the double-carport and added an extra 400 SQFT to the house. My house now also has 2 bathrooms. This home has a single carport, but has a very nice grass backyard (with covered patio). It is in a really nice neighborhood, on a very quiet street, and right near everything (freeway, shops, etc.)

In thinking about renting versus buying, I cannot help but consider the value in buying a home. I could purchase this home, with a downpayment, and keep my monthly mortgage payment under $400 per month (with taxes and insurance). This would make it possible for me to save for my retirement, and also be able to buy some new furniture, a second car (so my son has one to get to work/school), as well as generally live a very comfortable and modest life.

I have looked at homes in the area, and rents are over $1000 p/m. This is exactly what we found about ten years ago, when we bought our first home in Phoenix. We were renting a home in Scottsdale, and paying about $1K per month. We purchased our home, and cut our payment down to $600. It was a huge savings for us, and helped us to make ends meet each month.

Now that I am in a similar situation, it seems silly to rent a home when I could buy one and save so much each month. Unfortunately for me, my credit is not good. I have little debt, I just have poor credit (due to self-employment for so many years, paying bills late, etc.) I want to be self-sufficient and to walk in honor and integrity, especially in financial matters. I have confessed this to the Lord, and He knows that it is something important to me. I think it pleases Him when we dedicate ourselves to be good stewards of His financial resources. This is what I want to do. I am not a credit-hound nor am I interested in purchasing lots of goodies (some goodies would be nice). I am not about collecting treasures or other things that waste money and take up precious space. Nope, I just want a modest life; a good, a clean, and a simple life.

So...Where does that leave me? I cannot help but consider the economic downturn to be in my favor. I need a job to start, but with some careful savings and planning -- I do see the possibility of owning my own home (on my own) coming to pass very soon.

Dear Lord,

Your Word says in Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I believe these words are true today, and are true for me, just as they were when you spoke them to Jeremiah. I am trusting that the plans you have for my life are good, very good. They are designed to give me good hope, and a proserous future. I know that your idea of good and prosperous is not always the same as my idea -- but you are GOOD and everything that you do is GOOD. I know that your thoughts about me, about what I am to do today and tomorrow, about the details of my life -- all these thoughts are GOOD, and are for my GOOD, and are to bring me GOOD. May the thoughts and plans you have for my life come to pass. In Jesus Name I ask and pray...Amen.

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