“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other.”

(Marjorie Pay Hinckley)


Long overdue honest social media.

"I think about our debt every day..."

One of my struggles is with the weight of our student loan debt.

My husband's goal was to become a physician. Mine was to stay home with our children. We supported these goals for each other, not waiting until the end of training to bring children into our home. Thankfully, because that training continued for 9 years after a bachelor's degree. We both worked as much as we felt was possible at the time--in hindsight both of us wish we'd worked more.
Now we are in payoff mode. In four years we've made significant headway (read: tens of thousands of dollars paid off), but the road is long (still 6 digits).

I think about our debt every day, and usually LOTS of times each day.
I think about my debt each time I use money.

From gas & groceries to piano lessons & furniture. 
Do I need this or just want it?
Is this purchase worth more than paying off the debt?
With our discretionary dollars, should we invest or pay off debt first?
Or none of those options and spend it on our kids--more clothing, lessons, phones, and fun family vacations?

My mind is full of statements like this:
"When our debt is paid off we can __________."

The interest isn't what drives me crazy--it's the principal. We are indentured servants to our student loan. . . and I can't wait to be done with it.

(OK, the interest drives me crazy, too. While every mom around me pays $200/month for pre-school, I pay more than that much for interest every month and keep my pre-schooler home with me).

One thing I have learned is that paying the minimum payment gets you NO WHERE! We did that for about six months and then I read our statements. I discovered the loan company was pretty happy if I didn't reduce my balance quickly. From that month until now, we've sent more principal each month than interest. We send an additional large chunk every few months, and each time I think to myself, "Was that the right thing to do? It's barely made a dent!"
I struggle to remember the positives:
We are paying it off!
It will take less than the 30 years our student loan company wants it to take.
We have everything we need, and many of our wants.
The best things in life don't cost $.
We have an emergency fund, roof over our head, and no car payment.

The bitter: Paying it off will take much longer than I thought.
The sweet: My husband's earning potential changed. He tripled his earning potential. 
We can & will pay it off.  
(Perhaps in the interim I will learn patience).

"Here's a lesson I recently learned that I wanted to share ..."

"Here's a lesson I recently learned that I wanted to share with eveyone and shout it from the top of my roof.  Well, that would be silly and people would look at me strangely if I did that.  So, what better place to share my newfound knowledge than with RLMW?

"Maybe I'm a bit slow when it comes to learning the 'simple' things in life.  I'm not sure why, but I find myself re-learning over and over again small and simple things...things that I should (and sometimes DO) already know.  It's just nice to be reminded of them from time to time.  The thing I think I have re-learned over and over again in my life is that Heavenly Father knows ME and is guiding me along my journey here on Earth.  I have no doubt that he knows my thoughts, my feelings, my concerns, my worries....before I even voice them to Him.  He KNOWS me.  That lesson I kind of like re-learning over and over.  It never ceases to amaze me when I realize (again) that He is very aware of me and my circumstances in my life, whatever they are at the time.  

"But that's not the re-learning lesson I wanted to share.  My re-learning came from a few different experiences I would like to share with you.  Last month, we were able to listen to the leaders of our church speak to us.  I always feel like a few of the talks are directed to me and pertain to me in my life right now.  Different talks to speak to me at different times in my life.  Last month if was President Uchtdorf's.  His talk was titled, 'Grateful in Any Circumstance.' In an earlier post on RLMW, I referred a little to my current situation.  Long story short.....I am in the middle of a divorce from the man who I once thought was my everything.  After being lied to and betrayed by him in a most severe way, my life was drastically changed.  I was very hurt and angry and bitter for a very long time beacuse of his actions.  Well, I am happy to report that that has all changed, in part due to President Uchtdorf.  In his talk he states, '...I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives.  There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.  We can be grateful!'  He also says, 'Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness.'  He was speaking TO ME!!  It was the slap upside the head that I needed to hear.  I stopped seeing my current situation in terms of what I had lost, and started seeing the things that I was blessed with.

"I am blessed with four beautiful children who I love and cherish and who adore me.  I am blessed with a reliable job that provides a good enough income to support me and my children.  I am blessed with wonderful parents who have sacrificed a lot to help me.  I am blessed with a huge support system of sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors and extended family who would drop anything and come running if I needed them to (and some of them have!).  I have been blessed with a great Bishop and Relief Society President who support me and help me when I need it.  I have been blessed with an overabundance of the Spirit helping me and lifting me over the past year.  I have so much to be grateful for.....why dwell on the things I don't have?

"I also had an extremely powerful experience with a new-found friend.  My new friend was eight months pregnant and had just found out that her baby had died.  I was blessed enough to be the one that was chosen to help her through the very difficult process of laboring and eventually delivering that sweet baby.  In the short time that I was there with her, we bonded.  Our spirits spoke to each other and she knew that I was there supprting her, and I knew that she was there supporting me.  As we parted, my dear friend said words to me that I will never forget.  We held each other in our arms and she told me, 'I can't do anything to change my situation.  The only thing I have control over is my attitude.  I can either be sad, angry and bitter, or I can try to accept it, grieve and move forward.'  As she said those words, my soul was pierced.  Again, Heavenly Father was speaking TO ME!  It was the second slap upside the head that I needed.  I could not change my situation, but I could change my attitude about the situation.  This experience changed my life.

"A few weeks later, when the Relief Society President came to visit, the first thing she asked me as she walked through the door was, 'What happened?'  Unclear of what she was referring to, she elaborated.  She had said that multiple people had come to her and asked what was different in my life now.  These people could see a visual change in me.  No longer was I burdened by the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I related my experience to her and told her, 'I can feel a change inside of me.  I feel like I am lighter.  I do not walk with a heavy step anymore.  I feel like I'm floating on a cloud.  I'm HAPPY.'  

"No longer is my happiness dependent on other things.  I used to say, 'When my divorce is final, then life will be good.'  Or, 'When this or that happens, then I'll be happy.'  Happiness doesn't depend on things happening.  Happiness is a choice we make.  I choose to be happy.  If my situation were to stay the same and I remained a single mother for the rest of my life, I would still be happy.  I choose to be happy inside, regardless of what is happening around me.  I'm not sure why I had to be reminded of that, but I'm so grateful I was.  Choosing to be grateful and choosing to be happy has made me a better person."