Life Is Fragile

8 07 2008

In a split second, one’s life can change forever.  I’ve learned this on three major occasions of my adult life.  The first was when our daughter, Vera, had her terrible accident of falling 40 ft. off a mountain.  Thankfully, she landed in a ravine and didn’t fall the entire 200 ft.   The second major occasion was when my husband was sitting at our computer and just fell over in awful pain.  He was flown to Vanderbilt Medical Center and endured a 11 hour operation.  His aorta had split and not many people survive from such an ordeal.

We were already very fragile financially.  Jim landed a better job in l993.  However, we didn’t use a great deal of wisdom once he got the new job.  We began taking out loans for various things.  Thankfully, a hunk of that money was used to help improve our home.  Likewise, I don’t regret borrowing money to help put our children through college.  Thus, in 2005 we were in a repayment program which took half of Jim’s pay check each week.  I think we had around $100.00 dollars in our bank account the day that Jim flew to Vanderbilt.

God is merciful and $1.000 from various people was given to us in that first week.  It was a long tough road the four months that Jim was home.  I eventually went back to work as a substitute teacher.  Things got better when we returned to living as frugally as we did when our children were young.  The summer of 2006, we took a 13 week course by Dave Ramsey.  That course changed our lives forever.  I realized how even into my early 50’s–I still hadn’t learned that life is fragile.  It took the incident with Jim to really be serious about being careful with our money.  When our children were growing up –we had no extra money.  But we had no debt either.  I always thought that when Jim found a good job–we’d be as frugal as ever.  I must confess that I was the main culprit in landing us into so much debt.  I had felt so deprived the first 15 years of our marriage that I thought I was entitled to a better way of life.

When Jim almost died–I heard the wake up call of a lifetime.  We had given up all of our credit cards in 2001 and were in one of those repayment programs.  Somehow, even though I was no longer spending money on credit–I wasn’t saving either.  It took Dave Ramsey’s program to really get us to thinking seriously about saving.  We had never been serious about giving a tithe to God.  We gave to various causes through the years but we never made a real commitment to God with our money.

In the summer of 2006, we began our commitment to tithe 10 percent of our income.  We also began a money market to save each month.  By the the summer of 2007, we extended our commitment to save 10  percent of our income. 

The third major incident that convinced me to stay on  the road of frugality was my diagnosis of breast cancer of November of 2007.  That made two major medical events in two years.  We were fortunate to have cancer insurance which gave us a  sum of money just because of my diagnosis.  We tried very hard to be careful with that money.  We saved a great deal of it in our money market account as well as using some of it for the bills that our primary insurance didn’t cover. 

We were also blessed when Jim turned 59 and a half –so that we could get money from our retirement if necessary.  We did use a portion of that money to pay off our second mortgage last fall.  Now, we almost own our home outright.  We drive an old car.  We don’t want to have a car payment.  Soon, we will have to start looking for another used car.  Our car has served us well for the past five years.  However, we will maintain our stance to avoid car payments. We will shop around and find another good used car that we can pay for in cash.

None of us are invincible.  Bad things can happen in the flash of a moment.  It is good to live life simply and frugally.  It is good to learn to plan for major expenses.  It is good to find peace and contentment with what one already has.  I’m hear to tell each of you that my major three life changing events have sealed it for me.  I don’t want to live in fear.  However, I want to continue to give to God and save as much money as I can.  It has been a hard road to learn and accept this reality.  I hope this blog will challenge each of you to plan a little better.

May God bless each of you!

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One response

12 07 2008
notesfromthefrugaltrenches

Thank you for the comment on my site.
I loved this post, so glad your daughter and husband are OK, it is amazing what life and God teaches us about finances if we listen!

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