A new year generally signifies an event we always strive to accomplish as soon as possible… getting our taxes done. We probably aren’t the most organized when it comes to alot of things, but when it comes to that, we always try and get it done and out of the way as soon as possible. We figure the quicker we know if we have to pay, the more likely we will be able to save up to pay if needed.
Its like a tradition now, as soon as we have all our W-2’s we schedule our appointment, and this year was no different. Thankfully we ended getting some back from federal this year, even though we have to pay state, which I will do this week.
A couple good things came out of us getting the taxes done early though. The first is that we were able to finish up our savings for the amount we were supposed to save up for the closing costs for our house with Habitat. So that is a relief, and one less thing we have to worry about in between now and then.
The second thing we did, was that for the first time, Deon & I bought a decent couch. This probably sounds insignificant, but it is a very cool thing to us. We paid for it, and actually got to pick it out ourselves! We (just like many people starting out) had began our marriage by being given someone’s old couch, then when that wore out, we bought another (on two separate occasions), $25.00 garage sale specials, which were both in (to put it nicely) not so great condition.. but for $25.00, what would you expect.
Then about 5 years ago we moved to my Parents-in-laws house and got their old couch, which was much better than what we had had at our old apartment. We had that for about 3 years, and then we ended up letting a friend that was going through a divorce stay with us for a short period of time. (Ever notice that short periods of time almost always seem to grow… but that’s a whole other story for another day.. ^^)
Anyhow, our friend who stayed with us had none too recently bought a nice couch sectional, and he had ended up with it in the divorce. (It was absolutely huge!) We didn’t have enough room for all of our furniture and his, so we ended up giving our couch that had been Deon’s parent’s couch to my sister and her husband (fiance at the time).
When the “slightly extended” short period of time ended, our friend moved out, and as fully expected and intended – with him went his furniture. So we were once again looking for something cheap that we could get to put in our empty living room.
Our friend-that-just-moved-out’s sister, had someone who was offering her a couch and two luvseats for free. His sister lived in an apartment, and didn’t have room for the couch part of the set, so she offered it to us.
We said why not, and helped our friend’s sister move the two luvseats to her apartment, and we brought the couch part home. It was nice to have something to sit on in our front room again, but hopefully not sounding ungrateful….. Boy was that thing ugly! It was dirty, but was still bright yellow with red berries and green leaves and blue flowers – all over it, and they were watercolor-esque type pictures, with no formal outline to the pictures. Seriously the red “berry” pictures looked like someone had smeared jelly and didn’t clean it up. I tried to clean it up some, but most of it wouldn’t come out.
But Free is free, and it wasn’t like we spent any money on it, nor had the money to get something better at that point in time. Whenever someone came over, I would always take a couple different clean blankets to cover it up..
We had decided it wasn’t going to come with us when we moved. We had thought about donating “Big Yellow” to the ReStore, but we knew that they wouldn’t have accepted it even. So we were kind of at a loss as to what to do with it… or about it.
It was this past week, we had went to a furniture store in town, as we knew the boys would be better served at the new house with a bunk bed in their room, and we wanted to get an idea of what options were out there.
While we were there, we saw that were actually having a good sale on some of their couches/loveseats, etc. We found one that we could afford (because we had gotten our taxes done.. lol), and decided to go ahead and get it. So here is the first couch we have ever picked out… sitting in our living room! Old habits die hard, so I have one of our blankets laying across the back.. but its a nice change to not be embarrased to have part of the couch actually show.. lol.
I know this all probably sounds so insignificant, but for us its exciting. 🙂
I think that this is a prime example of how its the little things that can make you smile the widest. Instances where you may shrug off little things you can do to help out a friend and neighbor. Remember its the little things that count.
This weekend another event greatly displayed this idea.. Little things do really add up. An hour volunteered here and there… they eventually add up into something great. Here is a picture at the dedication ceremony this past Saturday, for our future neighbor’s home. They are moving in this week. A year ago, this plot was empty, but through the collective effort of community members, these people now have their home.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know these people, and are happy to have them be my new neighbors sometime this year. To hear their stories and to interact with them on thier project has been amazing. Habitat is not about hand-outs.. It is however a definate hand-up, they are interested in you and your family being sucessful. You put hours into not only the physical building of yours and others homes, but also Habitat offers classes to help get you to a place of being more financially responsible, and just giving you information that you ordinarily wouldn’t know anything about going into owning a first home. It has been such a blessing.
It is odd sometimes to realize that the most difficult thing in my life (finding out about my MS.) and and the inspirational effect of being able to be involved with Habitat, all happened the same year. Just another instance of proof to me that God is watching… 🙂