Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Softball Field, My Home

 

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I love fall, but it has nothing to do with the season.

It has to do with “home.”

I love the smell of fall.

I love how the temperature cools in the evening.

I love the relaxed nature of fall.

I love being near softball fields in the fall.

As a literacy coach, I live and breathe in the world of academics.  I’ve always yearned to learn.  It motivates me.  It excites me.

But, looking back on my high school years, there’s one context that gives me a feeling like no other. The softball field.

As I was reflecting with a friend the other day, I came to realize the magnitude that context played in my life.  I always knew my high school softball coach was a pivotal figure in my life.  He was a coach.  A mentor. And, in some ways, a father.

Why?  Because he and that softball field was my safe place.

It was my only safe place.

He was that father figure that said “I am proud of you.”

He was that father figured that passionately cared for me and demanded that I became a better player and a better person.

And, the context he created on that field became my home.

A home where I wasn’t missing a male presence.

A home where I didn’t have to battle emotional abuse.

A home where I didn’t feel isolated and alone.

A home where I was unconditionally accepted.

A home where I could just “be.”  Just be me with no pressure.  Such freedom came with that.

A home where I was accepted for the value I brought to the world and forgiven for the faults that I had.

I have a great passion for the game of softball and I miss it like crazy.  I love the thrill of throwing a runner out as the catcher of the team.  I love the thrill of outrunning a throw from the opposing catcher.  I love the quickness and agility needed to bunt a ball and get on base.

But, what I miss more is that very temporary “home.”  That feeling.

So, coaches, never, ever doubt the role you play.  It is immeasurable and invaluable part of the high school experience.

You are a coach.  A mentor. A dad.

You are someone’s safe place.

 

 

 

Our Story: What a Debt-Free Life Allows

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A debt-free life is about so much more than money. 

Dave Ramsey’s financial philosophy goes way beyond that green piece of paper.

When my husband I became debt free in 2014 (with the exception of our home), we felt such pressure taken off of us.  I began to envision a future.  In all honesty, it was one where we would be able to purchase a modest home we really wanted and a life of experiences for our son.  Yes, that included vacations, providing him with outlets to experience his passions, and a daily life where we could not worry about spending money here and there.

And, then, things changed.

It started about nine months later. Because we made an unwise decision in purchasing a townhome, we had to pay $13,00o to sell it.

We took the hit, because we could.  Since we had followed Dave Ramsey’s financial philosophy, we had 6 months (plus) expenses in the bank.

We opted to rent until we could save up money for a down payment, something that wouldn’t take us too long since we were debt free.  I still envisioned the future the same.

It was about that time, I was faced with the yearning for a job change, a place where my passions would better match the needs of an organization.  I found it, but it would be  a pay cut.  The freedom that being debt-free allows is to be able to make that decision not solely based on money.  It allowed us to make that decision based on happiness and how I could best add value to the world.  That felt good.

I remember telling my boss about this opportunity and she said, “I hope they’re paying you what we are!”  It was said so matter-of-factly–as if that would be the sole decision maker.  “They’re not,” I replied plainly.  “And, that’s okay, because I’m making this decision based on passion. I don’t have to worry about money.”

And, then, things changed again.  About a year after becoming debt-free, I was hit with a health crisis that I still battle today. The unsolved health issues has cost us…a lot.  So, far, it’s been at minimum $8,000.

My thoughts of envisioning the future changed to just making it through the day, worried about the future of my life and the future of my family.

But, one thing I didn’t have  to worry about, was finances.  Despite the $21,000 we lost with unexpected financial setbacks, we still have over six months expenses in the bank.

I always knew that Dave Ramsey’s financial peace university was about way more than money.  It was about peace of mind.  It was about being able to make decisions without the stress of money hanging over your head.

But now, I am living it.  I do not like the amount of money our family has lost over the last few years.  But, I have peace with it because we are still debt-free with six months expenses in the bank.  And, as I continue my unexplained daily health issues, I don’t have to worry about money.  I don’t have to be guilty that we have spent the money we have to make me better.

I don’t often share our debt-free story, but when I do, I typically hear “Well, it’s nice YOU did that, but we can’t…”

Don’t believe that lie.

You can.  It is a choice.

It’s a choice that can make an impact way beyond money.

It allows you to focus on passions.

It allows you to focus on family.

It allows you to focus on health.

I hold Dave Ramsey and his organization in such high regard.  They have impacted my life beyond measure.  And, they can for you, too.

 

 

 

 

 

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