june tuition update


well, bryan quit his summer job. haha. so much for him working as much as possible to boost our savings.

normally, i’d be stressing about how we’re actually going to pay cash for the rest of his college tuition. but God is good and He is with us. fareway wasn’t giving bryan more than 20 or so hours, so it was a little worthless anyway. for the record, he is looking for a new one. : )

bryan was also able to be very involved in the adoleo (formally anthem) recordings that have been taking place in des moines over the last three weeks. he absolutely loved being there everyday and to fully enjoy the recording experience. he was working fulltime during the last two albums he’s recorded so he literally just recorded his bass parts and left. on this album he laid down all of the bass tracks obviously, but also used his skills on the tenor sax and banjo. he even recording some gang vocals, which i personally think is hilarious. i love my husband and he has tons of musical talent, but he can’t sing to save his life.

so there was a little adoleo update for you. i’m so excited for you all to hear this upcoming album, it’s really really good!

meanwhile, i worked a lot of hours in june. between the coffee shop and my work at home job, i traveled to ames once a week to train my replacement. a lot of hours means a lot of money. but it mostly went to the cost of convenience. you couldn’t force me to eat any more pizza if you tried.

in the end we still banked some money towards that ever-present tuition fund. here’s our update!

tuition for 2011-2012 school year: $9,654.00
savings at the end of june: $3,161.66
difference: $6,492.34
percentage saved: 32.75%
percentage left to save: 67.25%

the engaged budget

calculating kids

when we got engaged, i knew we had to start actually planning out how we spent our money. we both made enough as single people to not really think about it that much. neither one of us were crazy spenders, so we just lived paycheck to paycheck and that worked fine for us.

but we were engaged. we were supposed to be grown-ups. sure i was only 19, but i was going to act like an adult and no one could stop me.

the first major financial decision we made as a couple? buying a car from bryan’s parents without any money to do so. [did i mention i was 19 and bryan was 20?] bryan’s parents have the gift of generosity and they were happy to give us the car with the agreement that we would pay them back as we could.

the first 8 months or so we started to communicate about finances. we talked about goals, did some tentative budgeting and began to check with each other before spending our money. i specifically remember that we both spoiled each other with tons of nice and expensive christmas gifts because we knew that it was the last year we’d be able to do so without thinking the better of it.

at the beginning of 2009, we had close to $13,000 in debt. most of it was for my car loan which we were paying interest on and the rest was what we owed to bryan’s parents.

having many good ideas about money management, and being self-controlled and decently wise with our money, we also enrolled in financial peace university which is a dave ramsey program.

i’ll be writing more about what we learned from f.p.u. next week, but until then, i’ll leave with this hilarious comparison showing how similar my father-in-law and dave ramsey look.

the month of june


it’s rather normal to desire that the month of june last as long as possible. but this year, i wanted it to go as fast as possible. i’ve been waiting all month to start my new job! i’ve been waiting to not have a crazy schedule and to not be so busy with work that i don’t even have time to grocery shop. i’ve been waiting!

and just as a watched pot never boils, time moved slowly this month.

here’s what i’ve been thinking about:

i’ve been complaining a lot this month. and when i say a lot, i mean pretty much everything i’ve said to bryan has been some form of a complaint. it’s been ugly. i’ve been pretty convicted about it lately, and i’ve found it’s one of those things that is like a can of pringles. once you pop, you just can’t stop. it’s been so difficult to stop the flow nasty comments coming out of my mouth! i guess i gave myself a lot of excuses because it has been a rather stressful month. so that’s the sin issue i’m working on right now, “do everything without arguing and complaining.”

i have been so encouraged about my replacement at my job in ames, she’s doing such a great job! she’s picking up on everything so quickly and smartly, especially considering the somewhat choppy training she’s getting from me as i’m in iowa city. i feel so great about leaving everything in her hands after this friday!

i love our connection group. we had a few new people join our group and it was as if they weren’t new at all. it was awesome! i’m also insanely thankful for holly, who is always willing to talk pride and prejudice or good deals with me.

i’m eager to be fulltime with veritas. i have so much to learn, so many ideas, and haven’t been able to really do much for the past month! yay for starting next tuesday!

i think that’s all, so there you go!



mom, what is an alsbury anyway?
-noel boettger, a 6-year-old who formally knew me as “mrs. rasberry.”

i completely understand the confusion.

the honeymoon budget

calculating kids

being engaged for 13 months wasn’t exactly our preference, but it was our choice. it was long, believe me, but i’ve never regretted our decision. there were lots of great things about a long engagement, but i’ll stick to one for this post. we were able to pay cash for our awesome honeymoon.

amelia island
elizabeth point lodge, amelia island, fl

so how’d we do it?

a couple months after we got engaged, after some of the initial wedding planning craziness was behind us, we started thinking about the honeymoon. we looked at some different options: cruises, resorts, hotels, airfare. we talked about what the ideal honeymoon for us looked like. i knew that i wanted a beach, a comfortable room, and no planned activities. bryan agreed so that ruled out a disney honeymoon or a cruise. we wanted something remote, but not so remote that there was nothing to do.

amelia island2
our view of the beach

after we had an idea of what we wanted, we discussed how much we’d be able to save before the wedding. bryan’s parents were so generous to give us a sum of money for our honeymoon as a wedding gift. thanks again mom & dad! they were even more generous to give us our gift early, and we used it to book our flights early and pay for the deposit on our lodging.

we searched through many options and decided that while an all-inclusive resort might be nice, it was likely going to be more expensive than booking our own lodging and eating out. in the end, we spent about 2/3rds of our budget on lodging and travel expenses and saved the rest for food and fun.

amelia island1
yummy room service!

we put a monthly amount into a savings account over the course of the next year and had all the money we needed for tons of food, fun and all those unexpected travel expenses. and we didn’t have any credit card debt after we got home! in this, we were able to truly start fresh financially as a newly married couple. God is so good to us!

i’m sure you’re wondering, what was the most fun thing about our honeymoon?

amelia island3

mini golf, of course!

click here to start at the beginning of this series!

‘member that time?


hey guys, ‘member that time i went to camp with my church and i peed my pants on the floor because i was laughing so hard?

‘member how i was so embarassed but everyone thought it was hilarious and somehow everyone in my cabin started this inside joke that a frog had peed on the floor even though it was me? and ‘member how all week we kept saying, the frog peed in our cabin! and giggled like crazy?

thank the Good Lord for nice church girls.

[it’s ‘member that time monday at the van voorst‘s blog!]

what would ROLF do?


he, being a 6’4″ tall, 300lb, former football player, would sit at his 5-year-old daughters tiny tea party table with her, and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of tea and crumpets.

he would remind her that the proper way to hold a tea cup would be with her pinky out.

he would call her princess, and insist that she was the prettiest little girl he ever knew.

we both get a little emotional at weddings.

happy father’s day to the best dad in the world! love you!

corey the servanthearted


i love this guy. obviously, i’m married. but i still love this brother. he absolutely made my day on sunday morning [story below]!

corey moved to iowa city from ames like many of us to plant the church. he actually lived with us for a few weeks before he could move into his apartment. he was an awesome guest in our house! we especially loved that he grilled out for us.

anyway, he has been one of the several super committed servants to wake up at 5am on sundays and start loading up our “portable church.” he’s always lifting something super heavy or something like that. corey is setting up, ushering, passing out programs, tearing down, pretty much every week. he’s there, he’s consistent, and my favorite thing about him is that he’s on the ball.

last sunday was our second week in the marriott and clint (i call him our producer) was out of town. needless to say, it was a little rough. corey calls me while i’m at work at the coffee shop and leaves me a message. he was wondering where the programs were so he could make sure they were folded and ready to go for church.

i can’t think of a single other person (volunteer, nonetheless) who would be so on top of everything that he would notice the programs were missing.

that’s how awesome this guy is! i am so thankful for him! i had already folded the programs and had them with me, so i called him and told him there was nothing to worry about. he was relieved.

i was telling bryan how awesome corey was and he responded with this golden nugget of truth: “there are some people, who have the same work ethic all the time. corey is like that. so even though corey is a volunteer, he takes it just as seriously as his job.”

truer words were never spoken.

so, thanks corey, for challenging bryan and i to be awesome like you. and thanks for all you do for veritas, we’re a blessed church!

[serious] question


did you know that i once asked a [christian] guy if i was pretty?
and he said, “well, you’re not as pretty as some other girls, but, yeah, you’re pretty.”

check out this article where i read this quote:
“The more you are in love with the beauty of Jesus Christ, the more you will be attracted to what you see of Him in the woman you’re dating and the more important it will be to you. The less you love Him, the more important other things about her will become, things like her figure or style.”

[thanks, james for the link]

i was troubled by all sorts of the same insecurities that all high school girls have. that looming question, am i pretty?

i didn’t think so. in fact, when i met bryan, i didn’t think he would even take a second glance at me. he is out of my league, i thought. but the transformation spoken of in the above quote happened to bryan and he married me. and he makes me feel like the most drop-dead gorgeous woman in the world. my prayer is the same for all other christian men.