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Monday, March 25, 2013

Using the blessing to take the sting out of the cost

At this moment, hubby and I are cringing at some of our bills. For the first time in twenty years, I owe taxes. Added to that, our dog needed some expensive care- routine, but because of his age, he needed some extra things that made it cost more money. On top of that, we had to have some work around our house done. We could have put off the dog and the house, but I was afraid that if we waited, there'd be more problems that would cost more.

All in all, we've had to tighten our belts significantly this month. I've cringed as I've had to write the checks, cringed even more when we had a few weird bills come up that we weren't expecting, and had a general bad attitude about money and spending it.

Then I had a reality check.

We owe the IRS because we made more money than we've ever made. In fact, we made more money than we'd ever thought we could. I planned for that, yet it wasn't enough. Because I had to know where we went wrong, I checked a few things. Not only did we make more money, I actually spent less money on my business, so we had fewer deductions. In addition, we refinanced our mortgage, so we lost deductions there. In essence, we owe money because I worked so hard to save money this year.

Thanks to Obamacare, we had more medical expenses than we've ever had, but because of our income, we couldn't deduct any of it. I knew we wouldn't be able to deduct our expenses this year, and while I am a little bitter at how much out of pocket we spent, I can't help but be grateful that we could pay for all of it. My daughter needed special therapy not covered by the insurance. I wasn't sure where the money would come from, but after refinancing our mortgage, we were able to easily pay for it.

Last year, we paid off our car, paid down a significant amount of debt, paid for our kids to be in all the activities they wanted, never went without a basic need or had to decide which need was really a want, and did a lot of fun things as a family.

We're planning on visiting our eldest daughter for her military graduation this summer. A family vacation. Hubby was upset at how much it is going to cost. But then I broke it down for him. We can afford to take a family vacation! It wasn't many years ago that we couldn't afford to go camping for a weekend, let along fly to Washington DC for a week as a family.

It stinks that we have to pay taxes, but as I look back on the year, and I look to the things we get to do, I find the blessings so overwhelming, that I'm feeling a little better about having to hold off on a purchase I really wanted so I can write a check to the IRS. The fact of the matter is, if I had to write the check right now, despite the mortgage payment I have to make in a week, I could do it and not have to do without.

We've been really blessed this year. And I'm trying to keep that in mind and not be focused on the bitterness of the unfairness of having an avalanche of expenses coming at us all at once. With every bill that comes because insurance covers less and less, I am thankful that we have insurance, and that our family is healthy. I'm paying my taxes and am grateful that I can. Just a few years ago, this tax bill would have crippled us financially.  I look at my home, and I am grateful that I have a home. I'm especially grateful that our house payment is quite a bit less than it was, even though our new mortgage holder has been horrible to work with. I'm grateful we have good-paying jobs.

Where it all leaves me is here- the more I count the blessings, the less I am bothered by the cost. When I look at the seeming dark moments of today, I remember the darker moments of the past, and I am so grateful for where we are now. I can't begin to express how overwhelmingly grateful I feel for the wonderful things in my life. I sit here and say over and over, "thank you God," knowing it is not enough to express this overflowing gratitude in my life, yet I can't find any other words. I pray that if things in my life become dark again, I will remember the power of gratitude.

In the midst of your trials, what have you found to be grateful for?

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