Being Responsible

At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I got into credit card trouble.  Between my family, learning to live within our means, and a lot of tears and heartache, we learned a hard lesson.  Credit cards are not magical little cards that can give you what your heart desires without consequence.  There is something to be learned from living within your means.  It took us many years to learn that lesson.  I think it is safe to say now that we have.  However, after going through something like that, you have to “rebuild” your credit.  It almost feels like a scam.  In order to be considered for things like a car loan, mortgage, even renting an apartment, and the best way to do that is to have a credit card again.  *Gack!*  I was so proud that we could get rid of them.  I started to research.  What about a green dot?  This way it is prepaid, you only spend money you have, and you can’t let the debt get out of control if it is based on the money you put in.  I found that they were full of hidden fees, wouldn’t actually help my credit score, and really won’t do the good I wanted.  Then I found something called a secured credit card through my bank.  The credit limit is the amount of money put in, but then the card works like a regular credit card.  We just got approved and I am proud.  This is a great way to rebuild the credit and keep us living within our means, as we are supposed to be doing.  So, it took us young kids about half a decade to get back on our feet and learn this lesson, but we are well on our way to making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again and we have learned how to live within our means, save for the things that we need, and we are rather proud of what we have accomplished.  We may not live in a mansion, but what we have has been earned with blood, sweat, and tears.  So, if we can figure it out in a relative small amount of time, why can’t our government?

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.  It’s not about the credit you might have, it’s about the money you do have.  If your credit card bill goes over the amount that you have in your checking to cover it, there is an issue with spending.  This is true if you are a little family unit or a large government.  So, if your debt is outweighing what you are bringing in there are two options.  You can get a job that brings in more money or you can learn how to live within your means.  In terms of the government, they will turn to two things, cutting spending or taxing us more.  Here’s the catch, the tap of the tax will only last so long.  At some point the people will pay so much in taxes that everyone will need government aid.  At that point spending will go up because more people on aid means more money spent.  It’s a vicious cycle.  It’s a cycle our government has been on for a long time.  It hasn’t worked.  In fact, our debt is going up, not down.  Our taxes are going up, not down.  And the problem?  Still a big issue, look at the election speeches this year.  So what does work?  It doesn’t take rocket science, I don’t think.  I takes the same thing that it took for my husband and I.  Cut spending first.  What do you really need?  I think the government would find that if it backed off of certain programs there would be others to take its place.  It’s not that there aren’t privatized programs out there, it’s that the government likes the monopoly it gets out of being the only game in town.  It makes the politicians look good.  Obviously there are certain things that just can’t be replaced.  When my husband and I looked at what we could chop, the electric bill wasn’t on the list. Neither was food.  There are essentials.  That’s a topic for another post.  However, this election season, when the economy is not just “important” but on life support needing a decision on collapse because what we have now is unsupportable, and becoming responsible because that is what this economy needs to not just give our children the USA we started with, but to continue to allow us to live in the USA we were born into, think long and hard about the candidate you vote for.  Romney and Ryan have my vote.  Fiscal responsibility is Ryan’s legacy in my current home state.  I am proud to call him my Representative.  He calls for the tough choices I have already had to face on a smaller scale.  This is the way of the world.  It’s not easy, there’s no magic cure all that will give us everything we want.  It’s not about that anyway.  It’s about being responsible.

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Remembering…

I have sorta taken it on myself to be our family’s historian.  I work hard to find out the stuff that no one might know, or perhaps even care to know, about our family and bring it to life in charts, books, and as much as possible, preserve it so that we know where we come from.  I can see features of my great grandfather from pictures in my nephew’s face.  I see personality traits passed on from my mom to her granddaughters already.  I pray that I have the patience and the understanding that both my grandmothers have and that they would be proud of me that maybe in me they see a little bit of them.  But what has been instilled in my family throughout the generations is the great love for our country and the freedoms we share because of the sacrifices made by brave men and women who have fought in our armed forces.  Today, I am taking time out to thank the ones from my family.  Some names you may recognize.  Most you probably won’t.  And, to my relatives that read this blog, if I have missed someone, either because my records are incomplete or because I can be a ditz at times, please comment and add them!

Currently serving, Lt. John Kirk, USCG (my brother)

Served in peaceable times: Michelle and Tony Schalliol, US Army and Jimmy Clark, USMC (my cousins)

1st Gulf War: Cmdr. Jack Kirk, USN, ret (Chaplain Corps); SSG Michael D. Meyer, US Army, ret (my father and uncle)

Vietnam War: SSG Michael D. Meyer, US Army, ret and Dale E Petersen, USMC (my uncles)

World War II: Gayle J. Kirk, USN Sailor; Charles R. Wheeler; Owen Stanfield, US Army POW; Arthur Owen, US Army, medic; Carlos Stanfield, USN Pacific; Ronald Stanfield, USN Pacific (both my grandfathers and my great uncles)

World War I: Matthew C. Kirk (my great grand uncle)

Civil War: Zachariah Williams (my great great great grandfather)

Revolutionary War: Cornelius King (my great great great great great grandfather)

To those I have missed and to those I have forgotten, I am sorry and maybe round abouts this time next year I’ll have you added.  🙂

To all those who have served, are serving, given their lives, and sacrificed for this great country so that I can sleep tonight in peace, knowing that I have the freedom to gather and worship Christ the crucified without fear of being arrested, persecuted, or martyred for the faith and that tomorrow I can go about my business in this great land, my deepest thanks.

Hit and Run

Yesterday someone was having a bad day.  Who knows what started it.  It was a someone in a green car or truck.  They were mad, distracted, upset, or maybe they just thought that they were more important than anyone else.  I really don’t know.  Whoever they were, they decided to share their unfortunate day with my husband and I.  My husband was at a winkle, a meeting for local LCMS pastors to gather and talk about what is going on in their churches, and someone slammed into my husband’s car, denting the passenger side enough to tear through the metal.  No note.  No attempt to take responsibility.  They left and left us with their mess to clean up.  Yesterday was spent filing police reports, filing a claim with the insurance company, getting the appraisal from the repair shop, and looking at the money that it is going to take to clean up someone’s mess that they couldn’t take responsibility for themselves.  Car accidents are scary, I realize that.  However, if you aren’t mature enough to handle one, you aren’t mature enough to drive.  No one wants to hear that, though.  Everyone wants to hear that they “deserve” this or that, even if they can’t afford it or have the ability to take care of it.

Frankly, I am tired of that type of attitude as well.  If you truly “deserve” something, you’ll earn it.  It won’t be handed to you, it won’t be given by someone else footing the bill, it will be earned by blood, sweat and tears.  It’s one of the things that upsets me when people vote in a government that promises them the world.  The government promises them everything that they “deserve” as an American citizen.  Being born in the USA doesn’t mean you “deserve” a handout, it means that you live in a land where you should be given the freedom to live without interference from the government.  Frankly, I don’t want someone telling me that they will take care of me.  I have family for that, my church for that, and friends to lean on for support.  That’s what worked for this great country when it was formed and when my ancestors came over to this land of opportunity.  I tire of having my hard earned money go to other people’s pockets because they “deserve” it for whatever reason.  Instead of allowing private charities and churches to work with these people to help them get back on their feet and into steady employment, we have the government take from those who work honestly to give to those who cannot or will not work towards a better life instead relying on their next handout.  That doesn’t teach people to be independent, but dependent on a government that becomes too invasive into the private citizen’s life, dictating what can and cannot be done in both the private and public sector of business that will eventually bleed into the dictation of what the private citizen individually can and cannot do all the while charging that citizen for those services that they may or may not agree.

How do I get that frustration from a hit and run?  Simple.  It’s the attitude- “I” am more important that anyone else, and “I” deserve whatever I have set my sights on with little to no sacrifice or responsibility from me because “I” cannot be bothered or made to do the work, “I have more important things to do.  Another way to put it, the god of “I” is what everyone else is forced to worship, no matter what they have to sacrifice, and this is the attitude that causes a hit and run to be justified in the person driving the green car’s eyes.