Busy Days Ahead

Erin had her third and final oral surgery today.  The orthodontist gave up on trying to pull the tooth into position, and we were over it.  They’re going to move her other teeth to fill the space and her braces will be off sometime this year.

We’ve spent most of our time together during the time she had the braces, and I am so, so, so happy that they will be gone, gone, gone sooner rather than later.  The end is in sight now.

Our graduate school classes are going back up in intensity again.  Erin is starting her senior/final project and research, so that will be her biggest stress.  I’m very excited for her graduation in August.  She plans on staying with her current job while she either works for a promotion there or finds another job.  We aren’t sure where we will end up when everything is said and done, but we will be moving sometime in 2017, probably.  If not to another area completely, then to a single family home from the town home we currently live in.  We’ve been looking into different loan types and how much home we can afford.  Nothing serious, just for fun.

After we file our taxes, we may take our returns and see what we qualify for.

For me, I’m taking three classes this semester: Genetics and Evolution, Animal Biology, and Teaching Gifted and Talented Students.  The GT class meets on Saturdays, and the first one is this week at 9AM.  I’ve kept up with my assignments and my grading so far.  The classes have, thankfully enough, staggered their due dates so nothing is due on the same day… and in any case, I’ve been doing the work days (and in some cases, weeks) before they’re due.

This back and forth on the weather has been driving both of us up the wall.  It’ll get cold and then warm and then cold again, and my allergies have been going absolutely crazy.  My body can’t handle this kind of stress.  I’ve lost some weight, which is good, but I have a lot more that I need to get off of me before we start looking into getting pregnant again, but our hope is to make that happen sometime this year or early next.

We were going to start this summer, but we pushed that date back due to some other things happening in this journey we call life that has caused us to postpone.

We have almost all of our credit card debt paid off, so our credit scores, which were already good, went up even more.  Not too much longer before they’ll be basically perfect.

In the mean time, we’re just keeping on doing what we’re doing.  We are having the first multi-generational service at church this Sunday, so I’ve been busy working on that.  Our Sundays have turned into family day after church, so Saturdays are pretty much taken up by our school work and getting stuff done.  The week is work, work, work and classes.

There’s more updates on my other blog about our family situation.  If you want access to it, e-mail me kel.henry85@gmail.com.

My head is splitting.  The school day is almost over.  I’m so so so ready to go home and see my wife.

 

Faith is Such a Beautiful Thing

This past week has been absolutely insane, and it’s only going to pick up from here.

I have been leaning on the Gods for strength so much this last week, and I’ll continue to do so for many weeks and months to come.

It’s funny how Spirit just throws everything out there and opens doors when we least expect it.

For example, right now in Sunday School at church, the kids are learning about faith.  The lessons I’ve made tie faith into the real world.  And it’s a lesson that is much needed in my life right now while I work through my inner demons from the past.

I know this is vague.  I’m okay.  We’re okay…

 

But there’s some really big things happening right now that I can’t talk about yet.

But I feel good about this.  I feel really good actually.  And I’m very excited about this new pathway.

Just keep the faith with me in this.  Things are going to be good.

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Ascension of the Divine Cow

Otherwise known as Moomas.

It’s the modern Kemetic holiday celebrated during the month of December.  I saw “modern” because, much like Christmas, it was implemented as an alternative to current celebrations going on at the same time.

The myth behind Christmas is that it’s the day that the Christ child was born, thus ushering in a new era of love and connectedness to God.  It represents the birth of a way for humanity to be saved from destruction and death.

The myth behind Moomas mirrors that: the world was loveless.  Ra ruled over humanity (basically as the first Pharaoh), and the people decided to rise against him.  Ra sent out the warrior Goddess Sekhmet to get vengeance on those that would seek to overthrow Ra.

Once the bad had been rooted out, those left prayed to Ra for forgiveness.  He called Sekhmet back; however, she was so consumed by her bloodlust and vengeance that she couldn’t stop.  Ra tricked her by dying beer red to mimic blood.  When she woke, she saw the beer, thought it was blood, and drank it until she couldn’t hunt anymore.

When she hadn’t killed anyone for 24 hours, she came back to Ra, who transformed her into the Goddess of love, Hathor.  Basically giving love the power over vengeance and anger and hate.

Then, to make sure that nothing like this would ever happen again,  Ra took Hathor up into the heavens so that even after death, we will all know love.

Moomas is a time to celebrate love.  It’s a time to celebrate forgiveness.

KO implemented this holiday a few years ago to give the Kemetic Orthodox faith a holiday that they could celebrate during this holiday season, since there isn’t any major event that really happens during this time.

I would almost say it’s akin to the organization of Christianity where the early Church put Christmas during December to rival the pagan celebrations going on at the time to make it easier to transition.

This year, we’ve created an idol of Hathor that we’re about to decorate.  We have a special Moomas shrine/altar, and we’re going to have a special meal with cider that I’m going to dye red like it is in the myth.  I’m looking forward to it.

Ever year, we add a little bit to our traditions, so we’re working building it up into our full celebration.

Now, KO set the holiday to be four days after the Solstice, but that falls on Christmas a lot of the time, so we’re celebrating early on the Solstice instead.  I think, when it comes down to it, we’ll probably end up celebrating on the Solstice every year.

I love this holiday, actually.  I love the story.  I love what it represents.  I love the forgiveness and the triumph over vengeance and evil.  I love the hope I get from it that things will turn out for the best because love will win out.

I also had the privilege of sharing my faith and the faith of Neo-American Paganism with the elementary youth in my church this past weekend.  It was awesome to tell the story of Moomas and then compare it to that of the story of Jesus’ birth.  The kids really got into it and then we made suns using our hands to make the sun rays and once that was finished, there was a coloring page for Hathor.

Next week, we’re looking at Islam and Christmas story.

With as busy as we have been here, we’ve been working each year by adding in more and more traditions to our big celebrations.  Right now, we celebrate The Days Upon The Year and Wep Ronpet (August 1 – 6) and Moomas (December 21/22, for us).

Eventually, I want to add in the Wag Festival (late August), Opet (Late September), and Osirian Mysteries, which are in November.

Debt and Giving

I should be a debt counselor or a fertility counselor if I ever decide to get out of education or if I ever want to do something on the side.

I have always been a giver, especially in relationships.  I am that person who will do whatever it takes to make the other person happy without thinking about making myself happy.  I’ve always been a pushover in relationships.  I will cave on the other’s wishes until there’s nothing left of me.

It’s not until I’m completely 100% miserable that I will ever get out.  Until I met this chick who worked in a vet’s office and she completely opened my eyes to the epitome of what a sociopathic person is and I finally got the help I needed to stand up for myself.

One of the things I would always, always do is pay for stuff.  It got to the point where I had two credit cards and I allowed them to get maxed out when the person I was with at the time would want X, Y, or Z and I would pay for it.  In fact, by the end of that relationship, I had gone from a couple thousand in my savings down to less that $500 and two maxed out credit cards, totaling $12,500.

When Erin and I decided to adopt, we took out another loan with the understanding that it would get paid back.  Then the adoption fell through, and we found ourselves with an added $3,500 ($16,000 total).

Erin had her braces, a credit card, and medical expenses card that she was paying on… We had also redone the floors and had an account with Best Buy… Then Erin proposed in front of my family.

Then my car needed $1,000 worth of maintenance done to it because I got to the lovely 100,000 mile mark.

Then Sadie, our rat, died… and Halo got sick… and got sick again… and got sick a third time, and Bentley got scratched in the eye… so there were vet bills.

And Erin bought a new car, so we had the car loan… plus her student loans and the mortgage…  When we put it all together, we were in the hole by about $180,000.

I keep a spreadsheet that lists all our debts, their minimum payment, when their due, interest, etc.  I keep a running list of “if we pay this, we’ll pay this off by X month.”  And each month, I rework our numbers…

…And rework our numbers…

…And rework our numbers…

…And rework our numbers…

Because if one this is for damn certain: the people who owe me money will never pay me back and it’s my fault I gave it to them anyway.  I shouldn’t have been so stupid.

Then, because we both went back to graduate school and our student loans were going to make that number go up even more, even though we’re on repayment plans so that we will hopefully not have to pay them all back…

We were paying down our debt, but with the loans, it didn’t look like it.  Our number was going up, not down.

I started to do some research and I learned a whole hell of a lot about debt and what debt means and what debt looks like, and best of all, how to make it go the hell away.

One thing I learned was the difference between “good debt” and “bad debt.”

So what’s the difference, you ask?

Well, I’ll tell you:

First of all, a “debt” occurs when you purchase something without having the money on hand to do so.  You borrow the money, and then you owe that money back.  That’s a debt.

“Good debt” is debt where the purchased item will generally appreciate in value.  Good debt includes home loans or other real estate and school loans.  Granted, there are exceptions to every rule, but usually that is what is considered “good debt.”  The idea is that, over time, the product you get out is worth more than what you paid for it, which will make it easier to pay off AND if you need to sell it (in the case of a house), you can sell it for more than you paid for it.

“Bad debt” is what we usually hear about in debt talks.  This is debt that depreciates in value over time or immediately.  This includes credit cards and car loans.  Cars are particularly bad at losing their value as soon as they’re off the lot, and brand new cars are worse than used cars at losing their value rapidly.  Credit cards, while also having a high interest rate, usually are used to purchase items that will have next to no value almost as soon as they’re paid for.

In the end, we redid our debt number to just include our “bad debt.”  That number, as of November 2015, was $35,939.38.  Erin and I had $35,939.38 worth of “bad debt.”  While this number isn’t horrible, it wasn’t exactly the prettiest number either.

We put into action a plan where we took all of our bad debt and ordered it from smallest bill to largest bill.  We dropped every payment down to the minimum payment and added in all the extra money into the smallest payment to get it paid off the fastest.

We then, as Dave Ramsey calls it, “Snow Balled” the payments into the next one up.

Then, I dug a little deeper.  On my credit cards alone, I was paying a total of 46.92% interest.  I would make my payment and then owe more because of the interest amounts next months.  It was getting a little insane…

But I found a way out of my bad debt… and that was by doing what I like to call a “redistribution of my debt.”  I moved my bad debt into a good debt location… where the interest is tax deductible, my interest rate is below 5% overall, and finally: my job will forgive the remainder of the money after ten years if I haven’t already paid it off by then.

We got the first part of the money this week… and applied it straight onto our highest balance bad debt (not the car), and cleaned up quite a bit of it.  I then redid all of our number and after taxes, and the second round of pay off… we may be fully out of credit card debt by the time Erin graduates from graduate school (in August).

This. Is. Huge for us.  I haven’t been fully out of credit card debt since 2005, with the worst of it being from 2010 onward.

Gods be praised!  Things are turning around. :)

Calling All Prayer Warriors

I’m wrapping up my first semester of graduate school (which is why I haven’t been around much lately).  I’m taking my first exam in just under an hour, so I’ve been doing some final reviewing before I take it.

It’s 98 questions with 105 minutes.  I’m nervous.

After this, I have a paper to write, which I’m not worried about because I write well, and I’ve never had problems with writing papers.  Next semester starts in January, so it’ll be nice to have a month off school where I can get caught up on everything else.

Next semester, I’m taking a Genetics class and an Animal Behavior class, so I’m looking forward to those.  The Genetics class should be pretty easy for me, which will give me more time to focus on Animal Behavior.

Erin and I hired a maid for the house.  Between school and work, we haven’t been able to keep up with the house cleaning like we usually do (we use to deep clean the house once a week, and we haven’t even had time to do basics).  Today was the first day that she came, and Erin said the house looks amazing.  I haven’t seen it, but I’m excited about being able to see it tonight.

The reason I’m asking for prayer warriors to come out and send us positive mojo and energy and prayers is for my exam, for Erin’s finals coming up next week, and for the biggest news of all…

Erin and I may be coming into some money.

Around $15,000 to be exact.

This will significantly reduce our credit card debt and with the majority of our current payments being funneled into our last few bills, we’ll be able to pay the remaining credit card debt completely off.

We should be getting it sometime after the first of the year.

This is absolutely huge for us.

We need this. Please, please, please send us all the energy and positive vibes that you can.

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Redefining Faith

These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of ups and downs.

It started on October 8th, and it is only now starting to slow down and normalize again.  On October 8th, Erin got a text message from our friend who told us her wedding, which was scheduled for October 11, was called off.  From there, I talked to the other half of the relationship, who was a close friend of mine and a person who was actually in my wedding, about what had happened.  We agreed to get coffee to talk through stuff because I thought, “Who better to advise a person about to get married than someone already married?”

When I tried to contact her later Friday afternoon about going out for that coffee, she wasn’t responding to my texts.  I e-mailed her fiance, and it was then that I learned she had skipped town, suspiciously alone, to go to Virginia.  She made no indication about when she would be back.

When I went over there that night to get the flowers (because Erin and I were going to give them away downtown on Saturday since there was no refund that would happen), we found out that she had made reservations online for one room for two people.  The next day, we found out that she had a crush on a girl she worked with…

And on Sunday, she was caught dropping that girl off at her car after spending the whole weekend together and lying about it.

After that, our fridge died, and we spent nearly $3,000 replacing it.

Then I found out my friend was blocking me from seeing her posts on Facebook, which is the exact opposite thing you want to do when you’ve been caught lying, so we had it out… again… because she didn’t just walk out on her fiance… she walked out on her fiance’s two kids who were calling her mom and had been for over a year..

I told her I didn’t know who she was anymore.  I told her we couldn’t be friends.  She told me that I’d hurt her and torn her down into nothing.  And I told her she should build herself back up on something better than what she had before and that I wasn’t going to apologize for something that was obviously, to me, part of God’s plans.

She said, “God also told you to be nice to others.”

And I said, “God also told you not to commit adultery, even in thought.”

Because she swore up and down that nothing happened, even though she lied about everything else.

Needless to say, we aren’t friends anymore.  It threw me into a depression.  Someone I cared about and loved and had been friends with for so long who was important enough to be IN MY WEDDING betrayed me, continued to betray me, and didn’t feel bad that I was upset about it because I had hurt her so bad by telling her the “hard truth.”

Following that, my mom had to put down one of her cats who I had bottle fed from before his eyes were even really open.  He was 17 years old with a lot of medical problems, so it was his time, but it didn’t make it any easier.  That same day, we found a wound on another one of her cats, so I ended up spending a lot of time with  my mom that day before meeting up with Erin and Amy at Lindsey’s for dinner.

Then, my genetics class accreditation was in jeopardy because the district didn’t follow through like they were supposed to, so it fell on me to defend my class.  Monday, I got the news that my defense had gotten my class approved.  Then that afternoon, I found that I was missing two graduate classes that would make me approved to teach my classes, and I have to get them done by the time I start teaching next year, or I won’t get to teach any honors classes.

Needless to say, I applied to Furman University today to take those two classes and so did almost every other teacher at my school, so I really hope that I will get into the program.  If I don’t, I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  I’m not sure what anyone will do.

Things are still ugly between the Liar and her now ex-fiance.  The Liar is on the deed for the house and still on the Ex-Fiance’s (EF) phone plan.  Liar told EF that she would get her name off the deed immediately IF she would keep the phone on and let her have it and pay her on a month to month basis, otherwise she would do it in two weeks.  Her reasoning was that she was giving EF “everything” but wasn’t doing it in her timeline, but EF was saying she doesn’t get to drag this out because she was the one who originally messed up.  She told Liar that if she did the paperwork today, she’d keep the phone on.

I told her just to cut it off afterwards telling her she made a commitment she couldn’t keep, kinda like liar did to her and the kids, but before anything else could get said, Liar freaked out and said, “I’ll do it in two weeks.”

So EF turned her phone off.  Liar then deleted and blocked basically everyone who was my friend.  Probably because I was calling her out on her B.S, but I went back and deleted it later.

Things are finally starting to level out, I feel.  Now that Liar is really and truly gone (we hope), I feel like the peace can come back.  I haven’t been myself recently, and I know part of it is because there’s just so much going on that my stress levels are boiling over onto everything else, but I feel like I can finally get past my feelings of betrayal surrounding her now that I feel like she’s really and truly gone.

I’ve resigned myself to believing that the person in my wedding pictures is not the person who lied and betrayed so many people is not the woman I trusted and cared about enough to have her represent me in my wedding.  That woman is gone.  And I’m not sure where she went, but I hope one day she comes back.

I also made a list of everything I have to get completed between now and whenever so that I can start marking the most important things off.

I’ve been so spiritually overwhelmed lately that I’ve been struggling to keep myself grounded.  As an air sign, keeping myself grounded is probably the single hardest thing I have to do.

And I’ve been thinking… a whole hell of a lot… about my spirituality and faith.

I feel angry a lot right now.  Between this and everyone applauding that cop in Columbia who got fired for body checking that kid into the ground for being disrespectful, I’ve been spending an excessive amount of time dealing with anger in my heart.

My fuse has been excessively short.

I know that I’ve been going through the motions recently.  I’ve been doing what I need to do to get by to the next day.  I haven’t really been living as much as I have been floating from day to day.  I haven’t experienced these feelings in a long time.

My spirituality and faith are waning.  I didn’t realize it until late last week, but I’m feeling disconnected.  I’m feeling separated from Spirit.  I know that’s a silly thought because it’s not possible to be separated, but that’s how I feel.  My church family has been amazing, and I know I always have a place of refuge if I need it to be surrounded by like-minded and loving individuals.  I don’t know where I’d be without them because while being outside and “communing with nature,” so to speak, is wonderful, sometimes I need to hear the divine literally speaking to me through those at my church.

But no matter what, I’m currently at a place where I really need to seriously re-evaluate what my spiritual needs are.  I need to make my spiritual well being a priority.

It’s going to start with prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer….

…And also maybe a disconnect from Facebook for awhile…

 

#PrayForSC

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I’m alive.

My home is still standing.

And we didn’t get the flood waters and rain we were expecting to get this past weekend.

I’m not sure how many people are still keeping up with this blog or following me or even wondered if I was okay or what had happened, but just in case: I’m okay.

I’m shaken… and we’re expecting rain on Saturday (again), but nothing like what we had…  Nothing like the dangerous flooding we saw this past weekend.

The Upstate was fortunate. We didn’t get the amount of rain that we were expecting to get, which is good for me and for my family and for many, many of my friends… But the midlands and the coast weren’t so lucky… Not just because they got more rain than anyone really believed would be able to fall…

…Because they did…

But because this state… This beautiful, often backwards, state that I love so much and have called home for so long… is set up like a slide.

The beautiful Appalachian mountains in the upstate, with our hills and valleys and lakes and rivers, melts into the hills of the Midlands, which dip into the coastal plains, where most of the land is below sea level to begin with.

And much of our state’s beautiful lakes and rivers from the upstate, that gathered so much rain this past weekend, flow with gravity and the rolling of the hills downstream, through the midlands and down to the coast before escaping into the Atlantic Ocean.

The waters aren’t expected to stop rising in this state until sometime today. Dams are still failing. People are still fleeing for their lives, leaving absolutely everything but the clothes on their back and what little they can grab to get potentially swept away in the water that is still moving through their area as it rushes the only way it can towards the coast.

I’ve never seen or heard of a catastrophe of this size in this state, and that’s saying something about a state that isn’t a stranger to hurricanes, earthquakes, ice, and tornadoes.

You may not have a lot. You may be unable to give items or money to help the people in need, and I understand that times aren’t exactly the easiest right now… But if there is something you aren’t going to wear ever again or that your kids aren’t going to wear again… or if there are cans in your own pantry that you can spare… please, give them.

And if there’s not even that, then give your thoughts. Give your prayers. Give your positive energy in thought and mind and pray for this state.

This isn’t over yet.

https://www.facebook.com/FloodHelpForSouthCarolina

http://www.wltx.com/story/news/2015/10/05/heres-how-you-can-help-flood-victims/73378578/

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