Friday, August 15, 2008

My wife and her horse

My wife and her horse
Originally uploaded by SkipGienapp
My wife is a dedicated and loving wife, stay at home mom, home-schooler, entrepreneur, and horse lover. Yep, most of her childhood dreams have now come true.

While I have glibly quoted "Happy Wife, Happy Life" many times over the last 11 years, I now know what the flip that really means.

Allow me a little cut and paste quoting here. I've been thinking about trying to make this a song.

Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman, and I think about how many times I have failed to appreciate her over the years but this passage speaks the truth.
Description of a Worthy Woman
10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.
14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.
15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.
16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

Let me drive this point home.
"11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain."

What I've learned over the last few months, as we have come to be united in spirit and in purpose in our marriage, is that it is impossible to win with money, to win at LIFE, without having true partnership with his wife. I thought I understood about money. I thought I was making good financial decisions. I thought I could erase the years of bad decisions and unnecessary purchase totally on my own, but I've realized that I cannot.

I believe that God will bless the family where the husband and wife are communicating and relating and loving and listening to each other. Getting out of debt is the by-product of this unity, and not the catalyst. When you experience the heart change, you will start experiencing blessings you never expected. This is not the "prosperity gospel" seen on many religious TV programs but rather a direct outpouring of grace as a result of obedience to the Lord.

Back in the spring, when we began this new leg of our married journey, we began to know what true peace in the Lord feels like. We found happiness and contentment.

The horses moved in next door in the spring as well. Laurie was delighted. She would have already had one tied up in our backyard if it were up to her completely. But our next door neighbors have a large property that they have rented to some other neighbors who own the horses, and one day, they were just there. At first just 4, now up to 10 or so (I don't really keep count).

Laurie immediately be-friended the owners of the horses and received invitations to riding on Saturday mornings. She visits the horses every night after dinner. It's her time. The boys and I stay at the house. She literally just steps across the road and into a large field of horses. She could not have dreamed up anything greater.

The horse in the picture is Mamba. She comes from across the other side of the field to our fence when she hears Laurie's voice. The boys are safely tucked in bed, hair combed and appetites satiated. I'm upstairs writing on the computer. The sun sets slowly over the hillside, kissing us all good night. The cicadas almost drown out the sound of the passing neighborhood traffic.

I'm out of words.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Olympic Fever

Find More Olympics Photos at NBC!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Debt Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

I claim artistic license in the unabashed plagiarism in the subject of this post.

I also claim artistic lameness in using a lightsaber duel to symbolically represent the war we all fight with our debt. Darth Vader=Debt. You get it.

When last you read, I had spent the month after graduation from college relaxing on my couch, taking up smoking as a hobby, living off of cash advances from my Discover card and beginning to sense that the credit bubble would eventually burst if I didn't have some method of making the minimum monthly payments that were now appearing in my mailbox at the rate of 3 different bills EVERY single month. I never missed one of these bills, and was actually kind of proud of filling out the little payment coupons and writing out the checks. I didn't mind the housekeeping of paying the bills, but I was slightly annoyed at having to send these places money. Still a $25 dollar per month bill was a pretty small price to pay for being able to spend up to $1000 or so at a moments notice if I needed to. I felt pretty self-secure and self important.

It was a GREAT deal as far as I was concerned. These credit card companies entrusted me with a card, and they did not at all dictate what I used the card for, and all I had to do in return was make a $25 dollar per month payment. I mean, really this was very doable. $35 dollars a month was not going to be a problem. Especially when I got a job a $45/month payment was peanuts to me. Making a $150 average per show I was doing with my sound business, I could churn out 3 $55 payments without even blinking an eye. Hey, wait a second...

And so it came to be that I decided I needed a job. The short version of the story was, I knew this guy who needed help in the bookstore at my alma mater, which as it happened was only 4 miles or so from where I slept, and didn't open until 9 am. It was perfect. The salient details of how I stumbled my way into the bookstore job and backed my way into the bookstore career are fodder for later stories. The only detail I really remember from the time was me saying that I was only going to be in this job for about a year while my sound business was "building up". In June of 2009 I will get my 20 year service award from the company. That's actually a happy story, but that story is not really a part of this one.

With a regular income I was now able to handle $150 in credit card payments per month. I decided that I could discipline myself not to take cash advances from the Discover card anymore, after all, I wasn't earning the "cash-back" points on cash advances, and thereby missing that incredible opportunity.

I found myself fascinated with other people's credit habits, and what cards they carried, what interest rates they had, and other various perks that came with the territory. I noticed that several of my adultier friends had a card that I didn't have... something called American Express.
Huh. Better look in to this, I thought.