Why We Travel (and Why You Should Too!)

I consider myself to be a homebody.  But I also consider myself to be a wanderlust.  Possible to exist in both states?  I do.  I like my routine. I love my community, my friends/family, my house and the neighborhood conversation in our cul-de-sac.  I love my scheduled workouts and workout groups of friends.  My perfect weekend is one where I get some good workouts in, get to hang out with friends and/or family, commute on my bike to run errands, am outside as much as possible when the weather is nice and we actually really like attending our church to worship God with others in community.

Our travel map showcasing international places we’ve been and races we’ve traveled to.

But I also like to travel, see new places, meet new people and see new things, particularly if they are historic or beautiful.  After Brad and I paid off our house, we had a goal to travel somewhere new each year both internationally and domestically.  For Brad’s birthday one year, I got him a huge framed world map where we put little flags of countries we have visited (red flags), places, both domestically and internationally, that we have raced in (white flags) and a flag of where our next trip is (the coveted blue flag).­­­ We have a minimalist home and décor but that is shared proudly on our wall both as something fun to share with others as well as a way for us to dream about and plan our next trip.  Continue reading Why We Travel (and Why You Should Too!)

Five Financial Principles That We Live By

The following five financial principles have enriched our lives and made us happier. We wanted to share them with you.  By being intentional with our money, we have created financial peace in our lives.

1. We do not borrow money. 

Proverbs 22:7 says ‘The borrower is slave to the lender.’ We made a decision early in our marriage by drawing a line in the sand saying we were never going to borrow money again EVER.   When we first got married, we paid off our consumer debt, which was a big Home Equity Line of Credit.  Four years later, we made our final payment on our house and became completely debt-free.  We knew we never wanted to go back into debt. When we want to buy something now, we save up the money for it.  We truly feel like the borrower is slave to the lender and that’s a position we never want to be in with anyone or any company.  It has changed the way that we view purchases. When we are saving up for something first before purchasing, we have to really evaluate whether or not it’s worth the money and if we find value in it.  When we do finally buy something, we are very intentional with the purchase. We often find more value in what we bought because we were patient enough to save up the money for it before we purchased it.

Continue reading Five Financial Principles That We Live By

Why Couples Should Skip Valentine’s Day this Year

HeartBrad and I aren’t big celebrators of Valentine’s Day.  It’s a holiday that typically focuses on a lot of purchases and excessive consumption.  Our typical Valentine’s Day is nice, quiet dinner that we cook together at the house.  Other than that we don’t do anything particularly special on this day. But do we celebrate our love and show each other how much we care about each other?  Sure we do.  We are intentional to do that every day.  So when Valentine’s Day rolls around, we don’t feel the need to rush out and buy a bunch of things, make a big deal about it and stress out about because we’ve spent the prior year already showing our love for each other.  Here’s our top five ways how we love each other February 15-February 13: Continue reading Why Couples Should Skip Valentine’s Day this Year

A book review: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Reclaiming Conversation
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle

Last year, I took a year-long online class called A Simple Year that focused each month on a different topic and how to simplify and declutter that area of your life. There was a different person each month that provided articles on the topic as well as a webinar with Q&A.  One month’s topic was relationships and the writer that month suggested a book called Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle.  I myself was struggling with zoning out on Facebook, not being present in the moment when I was having conversations (Brad would say “Are you listening?”) and in general focusing more on what I’d say on Facebook to someone vs. what I was going to say to them in real life.  The book sounded intriguing.  Continue reading A book review: Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age

Our Journey to Financial Peace

Debt-free ornament
The ornament we created to celebrate becoming debt-free.

When Brad and I met over 10 years ago, some of our first conversations were about money and personal finance.  He introduced me to a national personal finance guru – Dave Ramsey.  Dave Ramsey’s big focus is to stop borrowing money, get on a budget, get super intense, pay off all of your debt and then reap the benefits of being debt-free. I was single at the time, about a year and a half out of grad school and into my first ‘big girl’ job. I had been pretty frugal my whole life but lacked direction. I just made sure I didn’t spend as much as I made each month but didn’t have any real plan for the future.  Brad was about a year and a half into being a single dad raising two kids full time and waking up to a financial hangover of living above his means during most of his adult life (Brad is 13 years older than me so he was 10+ years into his career).  He was sick and tired of working hard every day/week/year with nothing to show for it and wanted to make a change.  Continue reading Our Journey to Financial Peace

What is Minimalism?

minimilismAbout a year and a half ago, we became self-described minimalists, although it’s a lifestyle we’ve naturally gravitated toward for years. Our interest in minimalism started to increase as we’ve become more intentional in our lives and our priorities shifted.  Two years ago, if we had heard the word minimalist, we would have thought 150 square foot home, owning 100 things and never spending any money.  Why that might be a definition of someone’s minimalism, we were happy to learn that that didn’t have to be ours and that we got to define what minimalism meant to us and how it could make us happier and lead more fulfilling lives.  We wanted to share our thoughts on what we think minimalism is, what it isn’t, how you might incorporate it into your life and the possible benefits you’ll gain along with some really great resources out there for learning more about living a minimalist lifestyle. Continue reading What is Minimalism?

Nutrition – A Hard Nut to Crack

Nuts2016 is less than a week away and with that comes New Year’s Resolutions.  Like so many people, there is often a resolution to lose weight and have better nutritional habits.  While Brad and I certainly aren’t perfect on this front, we’ve learned some things over the years (through much trial and error) to manage to stay at reasonable weights without having a super restrictive diet and to have good ‘numbers’ (cholesterol, glucose, etc).  By being intentional about the foods we put into our body and learning to listen to what our bodies need and when we are hungry, we’ve developed better nutritional habits over the last decade.  Here are some things that have worked for us: Continue reading Nutrition – A Hard Nut to Crack

Adding the ‘Fun’ Back into Biking

bikeMany of us probably learned to ride a bicycle when we were little.  My bike had a banana boat seat, streamers on the handlebars and those colorful plastic things on the spokes that moved as you rode.  For Brad, a bike meant freedom to bike around the neighborhood and explore with friends.  But for us, sometime between being a kid and being an adult, we stopped riding our bikes for fun and pleasure.  Fortunately, we both later picked up cycling as an adult when we got into triathlons (swimming, biking, running). However, competing in tris came with a lot of structure in cycling.  We love racing and going fast on the bike, especially in sprint tris, but something was definitely missing.  We realized it was the pure enjoyment of riding our bike for fun.  We still love to train hard when we are ‘in-season’ and preparing for a tri but Brad has shown me that you can gain some really decent fitness and have a lot of fun in the off-season by looking at cycling differently.  Here are a few things we have done to put the ‘fun’ back in biking. Continue reading Adding the ‘Fun’ Back into Biking

The Lost Art of Planning

plannig calendarIn today’s culture, planning and thinking ahead seems to be a second thought.  With constant busy schedules, our actions are often reactionary instead of proactive.  For us, setting aside time to do some basic planning on the front end has yielded us major time savings and overall less stress on the back end. Here are a few areas of our lives that we are intentional about planning. Continue reading The Lost Art of Planning

The Team Earnest Giving Challenge

GivingBrad and I place a high value on giving and try to be very intentional in our lives in that area. For us, giving comes in many different forms.  Although we think monetary giving is very important and we include it in our budget each month, we also think it’s essential to give of our time and to show care and compassion towards others.  As Christians, we participate in ‘tithing’ or giving away 10% of our monthly income to our church and a select few charities that we support.  We also build money into our budget so that when we see a need and feel prompted, we are able to meet it.  That truly is probably our favorite part of monetary giving. We have grown in this area of our lives and by being more intentional about giving, we have gotten better at it. God has used giving as a tool in our lives to soften our hearts and has matured us as human beings. You just become a more thoughtful person when you realize it’s not all about you and you start placing a higher value on how you can serve others and give. Continue reading The Team Earnest Giving Challenge