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Update on Dave Ramsey’s Course


As I shared a few weeks ago I was planning on signing up for Financial Peace University at my church.  Time got away from me and I decided not to sign up for this round.  It is probably for the best that I wait until the move is complete and I’m a bit more settled.  The kids are also heading into a crazy busy last nine weeks of school.  I want to be in a place where I can focus and not be frantically participating. The church does offer them on a pretty regular basis.

Speaking of church, we had a sad event strike our community recently.  A church member and employee stole $25,000.  We have learned that this individual is battling addiction and the money went to support his habit.  What a tragedy!  This man is someone we all know and saw on a regular basis as a man dedicated to faith and family.  Our pastor sent out a beautiful email reminding all of us of our own human frailty and that this person is deserving of love and support in this difficult time.  The email was one I went back to and read several times.  While struck by the pain of this individual family and our church community, I also read it from a very personal perspective.

We are all flawed.  That is what it means to be human.  A huge part of my recovery from bad relationship choices is recognizing I am human and forgiving myself.  In spite of my debt load, I am a perfectionist and my second marriage was the result of excessive berating of myself for the failure of the first.  Now I’ve said before this isn’t a self-help blog but so much of this stuff is tied to my financial mistakes too.  I married the second husband knowing, on some level, that it was a bad choice.  But in my confused state that was the result of huge disappointment related to the first marriage, I somehow thought that I deserved an unpleasant relationship!  Unpleasant is a very nice way of describing my second marriage and I have to use that word right now b/c every other word that comes to mind is profane.  🙂

That’s the rough news.  The good news is I am connecting the dots!  With the help of a phenomenal family therapist (that #2 and I did marriage counseling through), I am connecting the dots!  And that is another reason I’m finding financial “wins.”  My entire mindset is changing and instead of seeking out negative reinforcements of my negative mental programming, I am seeking very different, positive self-talk.  I DO deserve financial freedom.  I DO NOT need more stuff to distract myself from the recordings in my head!  It’s that change that is creating the snowball effect in all areas of my life! I realize all of this sounds very Stuart Smalley of me but what can I say?  The moment struck me that this needed to be shared!

Woo Hoo!  Let’s hear it for forgiveness and mercy and always knowing that today is a new day!


  • Reply Cheryl |

    Churches must be very trusting. Our priest sent out a letter last week that a former school secretary stole over $312,000 in the last six years. You would think someone would have noticed and I can’t believe her husband didn’t notice an extra $50,000 in money coming in each year.

    • Reply Timothy |

      Our church accountant quite deliberately gets a top professional to go over the books in intense detail, as she pointed out it would take very little effort for her to be stealing money, and while she volunteers her time to do the book-keeping and accountancy, she insists the church pays for someone outside it to do a thorough audit, as part of good accountability practice.

    • Reply Jen from Boston |

      A few years back I wasn the board of my church, and we were in the process of tightening audit controls and developing various good governance policies. Our minister told us that a surprising number of congregations experience embezzlement by church members or employees.

      I think it’s a combination of trusting too much and being a de facto volunteer organization. Add to that some or many congregations sprout up organically – starting small and getting larger – so it takes a while to professionalize church operations. And it can take a while to get people on board with adopting a businesslike attitude to running a church… To many running a church like a business goes against the point of church. Additionally, everyone’s own money issues come into play. On our board I witnessed people who really couldn’t be objective about money and reacted emotionally to money and emlpoyment decisions. It was frustrating.

  • Reply Phaedra |

    It so true to say that our personal beliefs, habits, etc cause MANY of our financial problems. You do an excellent job relating these topics. It is exciting to see emerging so confident from your situation. You are truly an inspiration!

  • Reply margot |

    I hope that in addition to dealing with the theft within the church and finding forgiveness for this person, that your church also refers out this matter for prosecution. This is a serious crime. Serious crimes should be addressed through our judicial system and people should be accountable for their actions. This person may also be stealing from other individuals and businesses/nonprofits, and they deserve the chance to protect themselves.

    • Reply Claire |

      Absolutely! The Church is cooperating completely with law enforcement officials.

  • Reply Desperately in Debt |

    Part of the reason I find your journey so inspiring is that you are recognizing and tackling the underlying issues of your financial situation and sharing it all so freely with us! Sure, selling unused stuff and reducing monthly expenditures are an obvious part of the debt reduction journey but I think it’s just as, if not more, important to address what’s going on in the other areas of your life that are contributing to the problem.

    Kudos to you for not running from the real, underlying issues!! Keep it up!

    • Reply Claire |

      Thank you DiD–I wish that I had not run as long as I did, but I honestly had no awareness. Better late than never!

  • Reply emmi |

    I’ve started reading your posts in the voice of Peggy Hill. I hope that’s okay with you. It really fit this one.

    (I’ve been on a King of the Hill marathon while down with the flu.)

  • Reply Susan |

    About 25 yrs ago we attended a church of about 500 people. I was a young newly married visitor & was kind of befriended by a nice woman about 15 yrs older than I was. We joined the Church & I became casually good friends with this woman. Her husband was a Deacon & the head of the finance committee.
    I noticed that my friend, an RN, who hadn’t worked since I met her & her husband who had a rather modest job at the City school administration office lived awfully well, ski trips at resorts, new cars & a big van, custom built large home. Their parents also attended & even though they didn’t come from wealthy families, a time or 2 ,I remember casually mentioning, to my husband, how they lived so well & to each other once commented on their oddly strangely lavish lifestyle. By this time, they were having BBQs & inviting 50 people at a time,paying for everyone. We moved & changed Churches. About 15 yrs ago I had a phone call from a friend who told me that this Deacon (who deposited the collection & counted the money, his brother also counted the money,)had confessed ( under threat of calling police) to stealing sums of money from every source of money, even Bible school collections. He said his wife never knew. I know how much my husband earns & I know what that amount will buy. The Church did not believe in calling the police, wanted to forgive, however, I guess many Church members called the IRS, his wife escaped any charges & her husband served yrs in prison, sure enough he also had been stealing from the school board, was convicted there also. When he was released from prison, his wife welcomed him home & they as of last I heard, still attends Church from which he stole money meant for God’s work. It’s not for me to say but it’s always seemed to me his wife had to know. I forgot to mention…he had a ” 2 nd family” younger pretty girlfriend & 2 kids with her during the time I 1st met them.never heard what the girlfriend did. *reading that back, it sounds like gossip, I meant to share an experience, I apologize if I offended anyone, meant to tell of a similar experience I knew of.

So, what do you think ?