>I scour the Sunday newspaper. Mostly for coupons, but I always check the classified ads. I’ve always looked at the classifieds, even when I’m happy with my current job because you never know when your dream job will be listed.

Last week, I found something very close to what I would call my dream job.

We have talked about it at length, what it means for our family and how things would change should I be offered the job.

It’s not that I don’t want to stay home with the girls. My preference is to stay home until Abbie is at least 3, preferrably 4. But I sit here and look at our situation and realize that I need to generate more money than my part-time retail stint is providing, should we want to realize our goals for our family sooner rather than later.

I was chatting with one of my oldest, dearest and best friends a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about how we use coupons and what-not to save money. She, a doctor and married to a doctor, told me that people look at her as if she has two heads when she talks of saving money. People say to her all the time, “I don’t understand why you don’t get _____. You guys can afford it.”

Similarly, people have said to us, “You all have insurance. I don’t see how or why you would have issues with your finances.”

Well, yeah, we have health insurance. Being the daughter of a Type 1 diabetic, insurance was always a necessity in my view of What One Needs For Life.

My friend, Dr. K., and I were talking about how easily and quickly a family can get into debt with medical bills. She flat out said, “I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you all had over $100,000 in medical bills.”

I could’ve hugged her neck, right then and there, if she wasn’t in Texas.

She gets it. Most people don’t. While we do have health insurance, we still have to pay for it. We have to pay for deductibles and the expenses our plan doesn’t cover. When Abbie was born, Hubby had a different job that provided different benefits. If I remember correctly, hospitalization was covered 80%.

Considering Abbie’s NICU bill alone was over $130,000, our portion to pay would be over $25,000. Not to mention the cost of her birth (c-section), her omphalocele surgery (not covered in the NICU bill), and her tongue reduction surgery. That’s just the first 5 months of life and doesn’t include all the follow-up appointments, quarterly ultrasounds and blood work every 6 weeks. It adds up very quickly!

Then, add to the mix that for 4 years, we were involved in a lawsuit (read: attorney fees) and we had another house we were trying to sell (yes, that’s two mortgages!), you can perhaps have a better understanding of what life has been like for the past 4 years.

The truth is, I hate our house. It’s not big enough, for one thing. Then there’s the aforementioned legal issues. It’s just not the place I want us to call Home. About a month or so ago, I told my husband that I am heart-hungry for a new home that is all ours, something we chose and made our own.

Our financial goals for our family are:

1. Get out of debt
2. Update the house so it is more appealing to buyers. This includes a sorely needed kitchen update, carpet and new fixtures throughout. Plus paint and carpet. Look, this house needs a LOT of TLC.
3. Put ourselves into a situation where we can sell this house and find a new one

Renovating a house requires money. Improving our financial situation requires better budgeting, saving money and paying off debt, which means, in some ways, making more money.

And still, knowing all this, I so strongly feel that my place is really home with our girls. I love being able to pick up my oldest daughter, or giving out treats at her school for Halloween dress-up, or helping with the Valentine’s Day party. That’s the golden ticket. Those are the golden nuggets and diamonds of motherhood.

I keep telling myself that I only have so long with my girls, then they’ll be grown. Then I look around me and see thousands of people losing their jobs and looking for work. People aren’t job-hopping as they did in the 90’s. It’s different now and I’m not sure when a job like this will become available again and that is the ONLY reason I am considering this one.

Rather than looking around me, be it at the house I loathe or the economy, I am trying to keep looking up, to my Source and Provider, knowing that He knows what my daughters, my family and I need most.

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