That’s what we’ve seen every evening this week at the gas stations on the corner… thanks to Ike I’m sure.  It’s so surreal, hard to believe gas keeps “running out.”  Should we be worried if some day this will be permanent? And food, too?  In our life time?

We have two cars with tanks at least three-fourths full.   We filled up on Sunday.

We just joined the YMCA yesterday.  One of the best decisions we could’ve made.  It’s great!  What should’ve been a $100 joining fee plus $80+ each month for membership didn’t even cost us $100 for the fee and September’s cost.  Gotta love the income-based fees!  We’d been sitting on the fence for a couple weeks, trying to decide if we thought counting the cost would be worth it – – our “gym” at the apartment is deteriorating rapidly. But we had a yard sale last weekend and decided the profits would be enough to put a nice dent in the joining fee.  Only after we had decided to join did we discover how much it would really cost us.

Yes, we had a yard sale last weekend.  We made just shy of $100.  The difference in that and our first “gift” to the Y might be pennies.  Seriously.  It didn’t just put a dent in the joining fee, it gave us our first month “free” as well.

Until July, we had no car payment.  Now we have just one.  The Buick broke down “unexpectedly” and forced us to buy a car.  We were able to buy a Camry, and the payments ended up under our monthly goal.  After much research, we found a few in Illinois we liked, but weren’t sure which one to pick.  Only one didn’t have ruined seats.  The choice was easy.  In Illinois, we got 3.9% financing.  Cheaper car payments and a lower interest rate.  And a “new” car that we can trust and rely on, and it’ll hopefully last for years.

Because we bought the car in Illinois, we had to wait and pay sales tax in Tennessee.  And because the old car was registered in a different county than we live now and the new car was in both of our names, we had to get new tags and a plate for the car.  Ugh – – Tennessee has high sales tax because there is no income tax. 

Turns out both the sales tax and the tags and plate cost less than what we were expecting the sales tax alone to cost.  Still haven’t figured out that one.  Only after we bought the car did we find out how much it was really going to cost us.

We’re both college graduates three years out and have no college debt.  Never had it to begin with.  And we’re both doing what we love as careers.  Only after moving to Nashville and working to pay the bills did we see what God really had for us to do.

We’ve been married eight months and been on a plane twice – – once to Minnesota and once to Oklahoma.  We’ve also made several mutli-hour road trips to visit friends and family and paid for a few hotel rooms. 

We “pay ourselves” at least twice every month, no matter what, and watch our savings grow.

We’ve had a couple pretty nice dates and birthdays in Nashville at some places we would’ve never thought we could’ve afforded to walk into, much less eat their food.  Trying new places and seeing a movie are among our top ten.

We may not be doing it Dave Ramsey style and might not be in as good of a place as we could be right now, but we are doing alright.  We have never arrived at a place where we become worried about where the money is going to come from or how we’re going to get gas in our tanks.  We have good jobs, but we aren’t rolling in the dough (but close, ha!).  We don’t live in an extravagant place, but we do have a nice home in our apartment.  We haven’t made the right decision every time in our purchases.  We don’t always remember to tithe every time like we should.  Even when we try to “make it up” when we find a cause we believe in, if we did the numbers, would we be at 10%?  Who knows.  But we try to be generous with our “stuff” and our home.  Many people have been “fortunate” enough to sleep on our awesome air mattress that literally fills the entire living room.

Most people walk into marriage with two car payments, tens of thousands of dollars in college debt each, some credit card debt and maybe even tackle a house payment from day one of marriage.  Wow.  And for some, it takes years to be able to do what they truly want to as a career, if ever. 

We are truly blessed. And boy do we recognize that it is nothing of what we’ve done, especially when the blessings come so unexpectedly like the total cost of the car or our gym membership.  And because of that, we know it doesn’t belong to us.  So thank you Lord, for meeting our needs and for blessing us far beyond that.  May we always remember where the “stuff” comes from.  Nothing is too small or insignificant for Him to be part of and care about.