Thursday, December 29, 2011

Don't Have Kids if you Can't Afford Their College Tuition...true or false?

"You shouldn't bring children into the world if you can't afford to pay for their college."

What?! This statement was made by a perfectly sweet well meaning relative over the holidays and I couldn't disagree more. The conversation went something like this:

"We need to cash in the savings bonds and put them in a 529 to get more interest. We need all the help we can get to help B with college. At this rate she will be lucky to get her books paid for by us."---Me

"You shouldn't bring children into the world if you can't afford to pay for their college."--Relative

"Well, even if we could save $50 a month until she went to college that would only pay for books plus a little bit more."

Conversation tapers off....I leave the room....

Later I asked my husband if he was offended, and he most definitely was. We are probably going to end up having a conversation with this relative.

So, here's the deal. I totally disagree with this statement and train of thought. I think if you are willing to make sacrifices to afford to meet the basic needs of a child, and you are willing to love them, and nurture them, and teach them then you can have children. I do not think being able to pay for college is a prerequisite at all! I had a close friend who had parents that COULD HAVE afforded to pay for her college but they didn't. This friend of mine is one of the most hard working people I know. My parents probably couldn't really afford to pay for my college but they did, and I am very thankful. But I also wasn't as appreciative and didn't have the best work ethic and didn't understand the value of a dollar until many years after college.

When my husband and I think about having children, we believe the most important thing is for them to grow up loving the Lord and loving others. We hope they will desire to glorify Him with the lives in whatever career path they choose, college or not. We pray that their greatest desire is to make disciples of all nations and live lives serving Christ. We are bringing children into the world as this being our greatest goal for them. We will love them, nurture them, affirm them in whatever career path they choose because to us that isn't the main thing. The main thing is Jesus and living for Him.

The reality is that by the time our children go to college it will be at least 20,000/year for a state school. There is just no way we could afford this for one child, let alone more. Maybe in the future our financial situation will change and we will be able to pay for a good portion of our children's college. And if we can't I can say to them, "Honey, I am sorry that we won't be able to help pay your college. Do you wish you would have never been born?" And I am most convinced they will say "No, I am very glad I was born." They can live at home and go to a community college, take online classes, or go to a local state school. And they can work their way through school, grow in work ethic and perserverance, and be all the better for it.

So yea, that's my two cents on that!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at The Bondurants

Our Happy Birthday Jesus breakfast. Whole Wheat cinnamon rolls!

Christmas...Advent...Jesus' Birthday

The truth is I have gone back and forth about celebrating "Christmas" at all, since it isn't actually Jesus' birthday (most likely). BUT, I understand why Christians past chose to put a holiday focused on Christ right in the middle of the Winter Solstice..I guess. Regardless of how I go back and forth about celebrating the traditional "Christmas" at all, we do in our home. Because of course I look forward to reflecting on Christ's first advent every year, even though he was probably born some time in the dry season and not in December. I am okay with celebrating Jesus' birthday observed with the rest of the believing world. And let's just be honest, it is something to look forward to during those first dreary days of winter.

So, in our home we try to keep Jesus' birthday observed about observing Jesus' birthday and first advent. We choose not to do Santa. I have many reasons for not, but that is probably a whole other post for another day. We just do not want to lie to our kiddos about Santa, the tooth fairy, or the easter bunny. And I also feel like Santa has hijacked Christmas in a huge way, and the practice of playing Santa has led to tons of commericalism and materialism and selfishness, all of which are not how I feel we should celebrate Jesus' birthday. (for some great thoughts about Santa check out these blog posts) So we have chosen to keep our decorations focused on Jesus and mostly just Jesus. I LOVE nativities and have a small collection so far. Here they are:

We bought the one I keep on the piano for our first Christmas and that was about the only decorations we had. Well that, and our advent wreath which I love.

 There are kiddos representing all different nationalities (ALL NATIONS) and I just think it is so cute! Last Christmas Ben got me that tiny little nativity and we got B the Little People Nativity for her 1st Christmas.

This year we added a nativity to our bedroom. This nativity was Ben's grandmother's, who passed last October. It is so special that we have her nativity set!

Oh, and B has this one in her room...

This year we added to the decorations this advent calendar that I made. (Idea from this blog). And we also started a Jesse Tree.
I'm not sure if we will ever do a Christmas tree. I would want a real one, which is expensive, and we just don't have room right now in our tiny house. So right now our Jesse Tree is more than enough. We got the free downloadable devotional and ornaments cutouts from A Holy Experience. B has loved hanging the ornament on the tree every evening. It has been a great way to focus our hearts on Christ during this time of advent and observing his birthday.

gifts from us to B

As far as gifts we honestly can't afford much this year so we are giving B just a couple. One she can play with, and one more practical that she needs. Most other people in our immediate and extended family received home made gifts, like cookie mix or hot cocoa mix, along with coffee and pictures of B. It has been really fun doing homemade gifts so I think it might be a new thing for us. I am not sure how we will do gifts in the future or if we will at all. Honestly, I would like birthdays to be a huge deal for our kids and for them to receive their "spoiling" then, and to make Jesus' birthday about giving him gifts. This year we made a donation in B's honor to an organization benefiting children, and in leiu of cards through the mail (we did email instead) we made a small donation as well, and saved lots of trees. We did make some super cute cards for the neighbors with candy canes attached. B had fun decorating and coloring those, and we have really loved getting to visit with neighbors when hadning them out!

I so wish we had the money to celebrate Christmas like this family, that gives gifts to Jesus each of the 12 Days of Christmas. There are so many ways to give to Jesus for his birthday, and I think giving to the least of these is a great way to do that.

I have so many thoughts about the commercialism of Christmas but for now, why don't you just watch this moving video, and read this blog.

I should mention that we are trying to be more "green" this Christmas. So obviously homemade gifts meets that criteria, and for wrapping we are going to use paper grocery bags. I would like to get some fun Christmas stamps to decorate them with in the future.

What about you? What are your holiday traditions? What are some things you do to focus the holiday on Jesus? Any creative ways to save paper and be more "green" at Christmas time?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My New Business Adventure with Shaklee

Why Shaklee?

My husband and I have been brainstorming for quite some time about how I can make money from home. We are committed to doing whatever it takes for me to stay home with our baby girl. We have thought about a lot of different options, and even tried some, to no avail. When I heard about Shaklee it was a no brainer!

Shaklee has been around for decades and is proven to work! I love that they are a truly green company and cared about the environment before it was cool to. I love that they have amazing product lines and products that really work, and are SAFE and non-toxic. That is something that is really important to me. Also, I don't have to go broke buying their products. A major bonus!

I decided to start spreading the word about Shaklee to my family and friends and see if I have any success with Shaklee as a business to generate income. I figured I had nothing to lose so here I go! Please feel free to click around on the links and send me an email if you have any questions. ( I would be honored to have you as a customer. I am also looking to grow my team and I would love to talk about the possibility of working together!

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