We've just completed paying off our third month of bills since I was laid off in September. I chose not to file for unemployment, and now three months in we still haven't touched our emergency fund. We pay our bills a month ahead of time, so as of this moment we've got money for all of our bills until the end of January. I am deeply, deeply, thankful.
- I'm thankful for the generosity of family and friends. The emotional value of the gifts has far surpassed the financial value, but the financial value is significant.
- I'm thankful for local companies that have let me do freelance work for them.
- I'm thankful for Craigslist, Ebay, and Amazon, through whom I've sold a lot of our "junk" at prices that actually make a difference for our financial situation. Trade works!
- I'm thankful for financial teachers whose mistakes I've benefited from. Great teachers make hard times easier.
- Dave Ramsey, who convinced me to build an emergency fund and taught me how not to need it. When you don't have a steady income, it's really nice having no payments and no credit card debt.
- Mr. Money Mustache, who's supplied the proper amount of kick-in-the-butt that I seem to require.
- Ramit Sethi, whose principles of automation has kept my mind off the bills.
- The 3DM/5 Capitals team, who give me a grid for understanding how money fits into the rest of my life.
- I'm thankful for the opportunity to focus on finishing my MDiv degree. I started in 2005, stopped in 2008, and as of September I was still six classes away from finishing. By January, I should be done.
- I'm thankful that I've been able to support my wife as she's finished her PhD. She's an absolute rockstar, and has excelled while spending far less time on the degree than many of her classmates. I've been thankful that I've been able to dig in and help some in this final push.
- I'm thankful for the opportunity to drop my kids off and pick them up at school. I love working, but I hate being away from my kids.
- I'm thankful for conversations I've had with several churches and with Vanderbloemen Search Group. I'm still not sure what the future holds, but having consistent conversations has kept me hopeful for the next season in our journey.
- I'm thankful that God never leaves us or forsakes us. This is the solution to the problem of pain: God does not always prevent hardship, but he never asks us to go through it alone.
2013 has been the hardest and best year of my life. I can't wait for the fresh start of the New Year.