Author Archives: ctbynum
One of the first lessons in the Financial Peace University focuses on the family budget committee meeting. (Dave has tips for singles on this too!) Basically, we should spend some time each week as a family discussing the budget. It can be 15 minutes or an hour, however you long you need to feel comfortable with everything. “When you agree on your value system, you will reach a unity in your marriage that you can experience no other way.” So, we meet at 8:00 p.m. on Sundays for the Bynum Budget Commitee Meeting. 🙂
Sounds right up our alley, huh? WRONG. It’s been tough. We did really well the first week because it was new and we had a ton to discuss. Then, we had a new month coming up and had to prepare the monthly budget for that. Then, I think we traveled or something and it kinda dropped off. But, all in all, we are meeting weekly for at least 15 minutes at some point. It’s been hard but totally worth it.
Dave begins this lesson identifying the different types in the relationship when dealing with finances: the free spirit and the nerd. You may can guess who is who. And yes, sometimes we’re both, but we’ve noticed that if in a situation Tim is the free spirit, then I can be the nerd. We balance each other. I am definitely the free spirit when it comes to the budget committee meeting, however. I cannot sit still. I make inappropriate jokes and I like to budget half to clothing to and entertainment. I’m not trying to be difficult I just can’t sit and talk about our money for that long. But really, after the first excruciating meeting, it got a lot better.
One thing that Ramsey points out is that money is the reason for around 90% of divorces that happen within the first 7 years of marriage. That’s insane! Really…it made me look at my husband and think “I will not let money do that to us.” And while that’s nice and sweet, and I know Tim feels the same way, the honest way to look at is, if you don’t BOTH take the time and care to be responsible for your money, then, those fights are easy to get in to. And that’s exactly how we’ve been about money. Identifying that, yes, I am the free spirit and Tim is the nerd made it easier to do the budget committee meeting the second time. He lets me be goofy and I let him do all the fancy calculations but I am totally present in the conversation.
It’s not magic, we don’t always click when it comes to money, but I feel that we have a way to honestly discuss things and come to an answer we both agree on. Being the free spirit, I didn’t know where every dollar went or even when our auto-draft bills happened. No clue. I just knew Tim would take care of that and I didn’t need to worry about it. Tim had to change and realize that I need to know these things and I needed to change and actually want to know these things. Once we sat down and filled out the forms and saw where every dollar went every single month, I felt so much better about our finances. I think Tim did too, because now that I get it, we can actually work together. How many marriages would be better if the husband and wife actually understood that they’re on the same side?
So, the only way you will learn to agree is by actually discussing the issues. Identify who is the free spirit and who is the nerd and find the good in both. Make time, even just a little, to do decision-making together and you’ll notice a difference, I promise!
“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.” (Native American Saying)
(Decided not to ruin my record of only posting once per full-moon…)
Tim and I are “financial” people, some might say. Tim is the CFO (how hot is that?) of United Cotton Growers, Co-Op and I run our tax and bookkeeping business, Bynum Financial Management, out of our home. I also take care of our church’s offering, paying bills and making deposits every week. So, we deal with money all the time. Tim mostly takes care of our personal finances himself, and I pop in and out and ask things like “well, WHY can’t we go to Hawaii this year, again?” Helpful, I know…
So, in January, our church offered a half-day family finances workshop and we thought we would be “good leaders” and make an example for our newly weds class and attend. We were the only ones from our class to show…and patted ourselves on the back for attending. Then…we actually learned some things. We were thinking we might get some good investing tips or a new way to budget out of this. Wow, let’s just say it sort of showed us that we know nothing about personal finances and needed to make a change.
We started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University in February. It is 13 weeks long and we are learning so much! I am so thankful for a church that offers classes like this so its members and the community can learn to live a much better life. One that helps us increase the margin for giving our time and our money to much better causes than vacations and filling our closets with more junk. Don’t get me wrong, I love clothes and Tim and I have big dreams for traveling and enjoying this world God gave us, BUT we’re just learning how to prioritize those things. They are not bad things, we just had them on the list in the wrong order.
I’d like to write some updates on this process as we go through it, much like my fab sister-in-law has done for their family. They are really living it out by tackling debt and teaching their sweet kids to save and give before buying for themselves. Tim and I are already noticing big changes in how we handle our money and even how we communicate about it. I feel really blessed that we can do this class together. If you can attend this course, a one-day workshop, or just read Dave’s book, I highly encourage you to!
I’ll be honest, positive thinking is not my forte. I don’t think I’m the most negative person around, I just feel like “I know better” and complain about all the things not going my way. Whoa…really?
This Christmas season was tough. I just felt sad, not wanting to celebrate and I kept getting frustrated that I couldn’t even care that it was the season to celebrate the birth of my Savior. I knew it was wrong to have this attitude, but I felt deeply pressed into it. I complained and raged about many trivial things. Yes, my grandfather passed away and I was so overcome by sadness that he wasn’t around, but I also let all the little things get to me. Work, travel, laundry, cooking, cleaning, caring for my husband, reading my bible, praying for our church and friends and family. It all felt like a gigantic weight.
I realize, now, that a little positive thinking can go a long way. We sang this song in church yesterday and it was the perfect beginning to this new year:
You are good You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love You are love
On display for all to see
You are light You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope You are hope
You have covered all my sin
Oh I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
You are peace You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life You are life
In You death has lost it’s sting
Oh I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
You are more You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are God You are God
Of all else I’m letting go
Just that first line “You are good, when there’s nothing good in me”. That gets me every time. It’s so true! I’m so thankful that He is always good. I can take refuge in that. I know that He is good, love, light, hope, peace, truth, joy, life, more than me and always here. I will never be enough on my own, but He will always supply all that I need. AMEN!
I recently read in Francis Chan’s book, Forgotten God, about not worrying about God’s will for my life as in, I wonder where I’ll be in a year or five years. But, focus on asking God, “What can I do today, right now?” This spoke to me so deeply. The new year came whether I was ready for it or not and I was extremely worried about what it would hold. This past week, I’ve been able to pray and ask God what I should be doing now to satisfy Him and build His kingdom. He is definitely speaking and I am so excited for 2012, I cannot even put it into words! So where does this positive thinking take me? I know He has great plans for me, for my husband, for our families and for our church. I don’t have to know exactly what is down the road, I just have to be willing and available to answer the call for what is now.
Oh, sweet Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and Your willingness to put up with me and my negativity. You are faithful and enduring and I will strive to keep on keepin’ on.
“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
I grabbed that from Pioneer Woman’s entertainment blog this week. It’s from It’s A Wonderful Life when Clarence is explaining things to George Bailey. It’s never been one of my favorite movies, like it seems to be for every other person in the world, but it’s almost exactly what I told Tim just two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago we lost my Papaw. We had just had the funeral and then attended the church’s Thanksgiving meal the next night. On the way home I could not stop the tears (which wasn’t unusual per the previous days’ events). I told Tim that it hurts so much that he’s gone because he was so present in our lives. It’s like there’s a big hole everywhere now. Just the week before that when I was dreaming of getting to eat the usual Thanksgiving goodies a whole week early (I love the church’s annual meal!) I could imagine every single detail of what the event would look like. I would have told you exactly where the food table and dessert tables would be set up. I could tell you exactly who would be working in the kitchen. I could describe the kids running up and down the hall. And I would have seen Papaw and Meme and the rest of my family waiting for the meal to start. But we went and I walked in…and he wasn’t there. And it was weird.
The church’s meal was wonderful. Lot’s of great people and we had a wonderful time with family in town. Our actual Thanksgiving Day meal was also perfect and we loved having more family around. But, I just expect him to be sitting in his chair when I walk in my grandparent’s house. I expect to get a funny phone call every-now-and-then from my husband telling me Papaw came by the gin because he had nothing else to do and he had everybody laughing the whole time. I expect to hear him say “Merry Christmas” on Thanksgiving Day or our birthdays and “Happy New Year” on Christmas Day. (He always did that, no idea why, but it was so funny.) I expect to sit at the dinner table and hear “MemeTreesyMaryLyndsyLacyceCHRISTY!” because he always went through all the other girls name’s before getting to the right one.
And, I’m not writing this for some pity because I’m just so sad. I just really miss him. It doesn’t seem right, him not being here. I know we’ll find a new kind of right to keep going on, but, sometimes I just miss him so much it hurts. He wasn’t sick and bound to the house or his chair, unmoving and waiting for the day he could leave. He was present, smiling, laughing and made a difference in our lives. There’s not just an awful hole without him, there’s an awful hole everywhere I go. The house, the gin, the farms, the church. But, our hearts are full. Full of memories and funny Papaw phrases. Those make him last. Those make getting through this easier. Those make me laugh till I cry or cry till I laugh.
I won’t forget the morning Tim woke me up at 6 a.m. with the awful news. But that will fade over time. I won’t forget the funeral. It seriously was the best one I’ve been to, such a celebration! But, it’s the happy memories with him that will last the longest and stay the clearest in my mind. Uncle Clay told of the few times he ever saw his dad cry: the day his dad died, the day his brother died, the day his son died, the day his grandson, Herbert Benjamin, was born…sadness and happiness, but he left one out. He cried when he saw me in my wedding dress. I will never, ever forget that.
I read something today by Beth Moore: “Every time you stand at a casket and mourn the death of a friend or loved one, know in your heart that Christ hates death, too…” It was not part of the original plan but the plan is still that we’ll all be together. There is hope in the resurrection of Christ that we will rise and be saved from a second death. He now has a perfect body. I’m sure Papaw doesn’t look like the Papaw I knew and loved, but I’ll know him when I see him again.
In honor of school starting (and since I didn’t blog practically all summer…oops) I decided to write my summer vacation essay.
This summer has flown by. And, I don’t mean flown by as in all the other blog posts I’ve started with that statement. I mean, I can still hear the whooshing sound in my ears. It was that fast. Here are some things I did NOT accomplish…
- Clean up back yard, get ready to replant flower beds in fall
- Repaint baseboards (they are disgusting)
- Repaint master bath (also disgusting)
- Fix bathroom caulking
- Repaint master bedroom (noticing a pattern here)
- Clean out massive shoe hoarding space
- Print some photos and frame them (I did buy frames, they just still have the freaky stock photos in them – hi random people I don’t know!)
Amazingly enough, I’m not freaking out over this list that did not get checked off. We started this summer telling each other that we know it’ll go by fast and ginning season is quickly approaching, so we’d better enjoy it and work our tails off. Well, we did enjoy it but from a nice, relaxing space on the couch. I’m ok with that. It’s just been too darn hot to do much but we did have some trips and adventures.
In June, we traveled all over like ancient nomads to Abilene and Tyler, TX and then Norman and Yukon, OK. We were able to go to my cousin, Melissa’s wedding in Abilene. They were actually married last year before he was deployed in the army and so this was the family’s chance to be together and celebrate!
We got to hang with our awesome friends, Ryan, Traci, Addi and Kam in Tyler. We had a blast! Those girls keep me on my toes and it was so good to catch up with great friends.
We had a blast making pretzels, swimming, seeing Traci’s great place of work (Brown’s Landing) eating amazing food, seeing old friends, and staying up late laughing. Does my heart good.
Next, we headed to Norman to stay with my aunt and uncle and see their new house. It’s a little ways out of town so it’s got beautiful land and trees (not so used to those!). I love their new place and they seem super happy there. We ate a ton of homemade ice cream and got to see Leah’s apartment. Can’t believe both my little cousins are attending OU…so weird!
We made this big loop up to Oklahoma mostly to be there for our niece’s appointment to activate her cochlear implant. We had been praying hard for her since she had the surgery for the implant. We never doubted for a second that it would work, we just didn’t know how easy the transition would be. But, for all those concerned, she was a total champ! Her whole family got together to cheer her on. I think the audiologist said it was a record 22 (ish) people there for her. We completely filled up the little room, all waiting silently to see how she would react and trying to quietly wipe away tears. It was truly amazing to watch her sweet face light up when she knew she was hearing something new and exciting. Not to mention when she heard her mommy and daddy’s voices!
Sheesh, that was just ONE trip! In July we went to Ruidoso, NM, because Tim had a conference there. It was just a few nights but it rained while we were there and it was peaceful and relaxing. We ate our favorite pizza from Cafe Rio and shopped too much. We stayed at a lodge that had a golf course and a 3 mile walking trail around it. I went for a walk the last morning we were there and it was awesome! I love being in the mountains.
We also got to see our friends, Brent & Tamara become parents to sweet Sawyer and were his first babysitters (score!). It’s been fun hanging out with them and getting to know Sawyer. And, we are the new directors for a newly married couples class at our church, Victory Life. We have a great teacher and have made a lot of good friends already through this. We’re so excited to be leading this group through a unique stage in life. We feel like the old married couple of the group – 4 years is way beyond most of the others! We are still learning a lot ourselves and we pray daily to be able to be real with these other couples. The study we’re doing now is called “Staying In Love” by Andy Stanley. I highly recommend everyone look into this course. (Plus, it’s only 4 weeks long!)
And one more little thing – my hubby’s 30th birthday! I had been so excited to celebrate his birthday this year. 30 is a milestone for sure and I’m just so stinkin’ proud to be his wife. I decided a few months before that the thing he would love the most is to have his family around for it. So, I planned a little surprise party. His parents and two of his brother’s and their family were able to come and we had a great time! He didn’t suspect a thing!
That, in a nutshell, was the great Bynum summer of 2011. We loved every second. Now, I’m ready for -40 degree weather and hats and scarves and boots….
Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur
I bought this book to use as a study. I usually need a lot of structure and am working on just reading my Bible. This book is probably a quick read to most people, but I decided to break it down and just go section (or short chapter) by section. I’m really glad I did, I had me really digging into the Bible and re-reading stories I thought I “knew”.
Bear in mind, this is the author’s opinion in many ways, but I do think he used truth from the Bible to form his opinions and I found myself agreeing with almost everything. He chose 12 women from the Bible and told their stories. There are others I wish he had written about, but the ones he chose were all great. The women he chose and their central characteristics are:
- Eve – perseverance in faith and expectation
- Sarah – steadfast hope
- Rahab – remarkable conversion
- Ruth – devotion, love, trust and humility
- Hannah – dedication of motherhood
- Mary, mother of Christ – humble submission
- Anna – faithful witness
- The Samaritan woman – eager response to the Gospel message
- Martha – devoted servant
- Mary, of Bethany – worship above all else
- Mary Magdalene – great love and devotion
- Lydia – a heart willing to receive the Good News
The author did a great job of citing these women’s flaws as well as their “redeeming qualities”. He made a point to state that they were not perfect, but God’s perfect plan was able to manifest through them. Each one of them also had the central theme of faith in the promised Messiah or faith in the King that has come. This theme was so important in connecting the people of God of the Old Testament and the witnesses and converts of the New Testament.
He also acknowledged that sometimes, in our feminist world, we forget that the Bible is really good about promoting women as equal as men. None of these women were extraordinary because of who they married or what family they came from. They had their own unique qualities about their person, as well as exemplified women’s virtues to accomplish things in a way no man could. I appreciated that because sometimes the world tries to label Christianity as too traditional, as if that’s a negative thing! They view the Bible as something that puts women in the background. In reality, women were created as a helper, or equal, and there are roles that only we can fill. These women played the main character in their stories and I’m thankful for these reminders. It just goes to show, no matter who you are, or your background, God can use you!
One of my favorite little things from this book: The first chapter was about Eve and it was one of the longest ones, rightfully so. It begins with creation and follows Even through the exile from the Garden. The very last thing he talks about is that even through Adam and Eve’s original sin, they were given a promise. The promise actually came through the curse of the serpent, “I will put enmity…between your seed and her Seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:15) The mere mention of her Seed means she would have children, but not just any children. Her line would produce the Messiah. The thing that stood out to me was he also mentions that heaven will be filled with Adam and Eve’s offspring – ALL of us! It gave me chills to think of being in Heaven one day, praising our Savior in the flesh while being in the midst of all the ancestors of faith. The last line says “After all, heaven will be filled with her redeemed offspring, and they will be eternally occupied with a celebration of the work of her Seed.” Extraordinary!
We had Lyndsy and my mom’s birthday celebrations a few weekends ago. Lyndsy turned 16 on May 31 and my mom turned…um, had her anniversary of her 40th on May 26! They celebrate together lots of years and this sweet 16 was extra special. Lyndsy had 3 other aunts, her other grandmother and another cousin in attendance for the milestone. We had a blast hanging out with these ladies and would love to do it all over again.
I remember pretty much everything from the 24 hour period of when Lyndsy was born. I wasn’t at the hospital, they were scheduled to be there around 5 am, I think. My great-grandmother (Mamaw) passed away the very night before so we were scheduled to keep Ben, the big brother, and try to get him back to sleep when his parents went off to Lubbock. I had just finished 5th grade and really wanted to help but went back to sleep pretty quick. We were all sad about Mamaw passing away but so happy to meet Lyndsy, too! I will never forget seeing her for the first time and thinking “She looks just like Mamaw! WEIRD!” 🙂 She had the same little smile, to me. I think it was later in the summer when my grandparent’s had a garage sale and it was super hot outside. I got to sit inside rocking the new little Lyndsy to sleep. I totally loved it! Now…she’s 16 and driving this :
Yep, I feel old! And a little weepy…sheesh! I seriously can’t believe she’s 16. And, Ben is about to turn 18 and starting TTU in the fall. Stay little, Layce, please…
Too cute. During the Happy Birthday song, they kept pointing to each other during “Happy Birthday to YOU” Silliness, love it!
And, I have a great video of Lyndsy finding her big surprise, but can’t, for the life of me, get the video to upload right-side up…so, if you can help with that, I (and my grandmother!) would really appreciate it.
My cousin, Ben, graduated from Levelland High School last night. We are so proud of him! He is an amazing saxophone player and has been accepted into the Texas Tech University School of Music. He’s really into jazz and we’re pretty sure he’ll be playing with Michael Buble one day! (Backstage access, please? SWEET!) ((Also, sorry for the fuzzy pics))
Ben has another grandmother, 3 aunts and another cousin visiting. We’re having so much fun with all the family. Tonight we are celebrating Lyndsy’s 16th and my mom’s birthday! More yummy food….which reminds me, I have to make a sopapilla cheesecake!
Congratulations Benjamin! Can’t wait to hear you rock it at TTU!
Last fall, our life group leaders, George & Cathy, told us that for several years now, they have taken at least one night, sometimes a weekend, and just get away from it all. They have two college-age children and so for a night or two every year, they would leave them with family/friends, step away from the cell phones and computers, dis the laundry and dishes for another day and focus on each other. Tim and I were really encouraged by this idea. The point is to remind each other “this is why I love you” and to asses the previous year and set goals for the coming year. Awesome!
So, we decided to take a weekend and get away to Ruidoso last month. I cannot describe how wonderful and uplifting this little retreat was. We know that this could be a relatively calm time in our lives, no kids, I work at home, etc…and we need to cherish it now so that we can still cherish is later. So, we headed to the White Mountain Cabins in the Upper Canyon of Ruidoso, NM. This cabin is just for couples, teeny, tiny and perfect! This was one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed and it was basically just one room, no doors except for a tiny, ummm, water closet. HA! Look that one up!
We knew we had three nights and two full days and decided not to plan a dang thing. This would normally be excruciating for me, the planner extraordinaire, but something about the whole meaning of this trip and God’s peace just helped me relax and not care about plans for once. We spent a lot of time eating good food (Log Cabin twice? Thank you very much!) and more time just talking, praying and enjoying each other. Talking might sound horrible to many guys out there, but really, speaking to your wife about what you think of your relationship and your future is sexy! Trust me…
We devoted time to our past, mistakes and even some shameful things that we knew we needed to confide in each other and to our Almighty God. I’ve had trouble in the past feeling “really” forgiven. Like, really really? It’s gone…really? But actually putting mistakes into words through a journal or through telling your spouse and then praying about it out loud is powerful! We were able to move past these things and focus on what’s next. Which, by the way, we kind of have no idea what’s next! But we talked about many possibilities with our church, our family and our jobs. We ended up making a goals list. Some of them are things we could change right now such as a dedicated time for quiet time with the Lord. Other things were things that we know we want to do but aren’t sure yet how to accomplish it. Such as, praying about where to serve in our church and finding that place as soon as possible.
Many of these goals were a starting point and really helped rev us up to do this year right. I’m so thankful for the man God has blessed me with. He knows exactly how and when to make me laugh, when to be serious for me and when to tell me to get over it and move on. 🙂 So, I want to encourage you! Take a night, even if you just go to a hotel in town, and put everything aside to focus totally on your sweetie. You’ll be absolutely amazed at what can happen. Maybe you need some quiet space to hash something important out. Maybe you just need to remember you not only love your spouse, but you actually like your spouse. Do this for each other. I hope God blesses you greatly for it.
(Disclaimer: This is actually a review of the journal based on the book Get Out of That Pit…went the cheap way!)
I started this book back in February, so I’ve been done for a while but have been waiting for a few good minutes to tell you all about it! Ladies, if you haven’t done a Beth Moore Bible study before, I sincerely recommend that you do! I knew she had some great things to say but kept thinking “oh, that’s for moms, or grandma’s or you know, anyone but me“. HA! Last fall the ladies Bible study at our church did a study called “Loving Well” by Beth. It was fantastic! Well, long story short I had been wrestling with the fact that I wasn’t learning God’s Word very much other than Sunday mornings…no quiet time and God was really calling to me, “Come back!” It’s been way too long. Tim and I have been focusing on strengthening our individual relationship with the Living God as well as our marriage (more on that in another post). I need a lot of structure and sometimes lot’s of help getting started. I did some research on the internet and thought “Well, I’ll do this one…” No real big commitment, huh? Like the disclaimer says I went the cheap route and only bought the journal. Little did I know, it would hold EXACTLY the words that my heart would need to hear…
First off, Beth Moore is a wonderful teacher. She knows how to talk to a woman without being saccharine sweet. The way she words things just made me say “WOW!” But, also, of course her words are helpful – they are TRUTH filled! This book/journal is filled with Biblical truths about what a pit can be for each different person, how we easily fall into it, how living in it feels, and, most gloriously, how to grasp onto Jesus, our Savior, and RISE out of that pit! Before beginning this, I could definitely equate my spiritual life to that of living in a pit. I definitely knew that’s how it felt but didn’t realize all the things that led up to that or how God had been working so hard to prepare me to be removed from the pit. It was eye opening. One quick example of my own personal pit: I had definitely replaced Jesus as my first love and had been suffering the consequences and shame for a while. Once I traced it back as far as I possibly could, admitted my specific sins that led me down that road and believed that the Almighty God truly does forgive me, it was like taking a breath of fresh air. Things have changed so much since that, I don’t have time to write it all down, but I hope to tell you more through more posts about my life out of the pit now.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not a “get fixed quick” type of book. I truly believe that through the “happenstance” of finding this book at B&N it was just exactly what God wanted me to read. He knows how my mind works, how I need the structure of a journal like this, how I need to be pried out of my comfort zone. The journal itself worked really well for me how it is laid out. There is a short devotional type point, a question relating to what it teaches, a question for relating it to your life specifically and then a section for prayer journaling. And of course, scripture to back it all up! I thoroughly enjoyed getting back into His Word and began to notice so many fascinating things through this study. I also am not great at journaling, but this encouraged me to do more of it and made it really easy.
If you’re struggling with anything, doubt, shame, depression, loneliness, or you just feel stuck in one place, you should give this book and journal a try. I believe Beth has been blessed with a talent for explaining things succinctly and in a new way. A way that will get your attention and make you see the Truth. Jesus wants us to live a life of freedom!