Good Morning Starshine! Peace & Quiet Says Hello…


One of the side effects of being married to a bricklayer is early mornings.

Sometimes it’s a plus, well, usually it’s a plus. The only time it really backfires is if I went to bed too late or – and this is the worst – if I know I have to wake up early and my brain decides to backfire and wake me up every hour or so to make sure I don’t oversleep.

I haven’t woken up 4:15am-level early for months and months. Probably since (let me look this up in my handy dandy google doc spreadsheet) January 16th. Whew. It’s been a while, huh? That kind of long-term job instabliity is a hard row to hoe. I truly believe that the, “Call me on Wednesday for an address for Friday.” is solid, because that’s how these people do business. The last several times he worked on jobs for this particular company it went the same way. There is a shred of doubt, but no more than any other person would have in the same situation and probably a lot less than some might have.

It’s what I imagine faith feels like. A little difficult, sometimes a lot difficult, but ultimately the only choice in the face of all the others.

In these early mornings there is a much more common side effect. When the world is quiet and my children are asleep and it feels like I’m the only person in the world my mind can just take a break. The neverending chitter-chatter of to-do lists and dinner plans and listening for sounds that are unusual (bumps, falls, yells, arguments, etc.) aren’t part of my day yet. There is this calm that lets me see things in their simplest form. These times reassure me. I know things are going to be okay.

I am not sure what the proper term for it is, but I think of it as a long con. You have short cons or the “short game” where it’s in and out. Easy peasy. This turning of a Titanic-sized life? It takes time and skill and finesse. Also I am constantly reminded of the phrase, “You can’t con an honest man.” Which, in our circumstances, means not to be greedy. We don’t take shortcuts or try and cheat the system. We follow the rules.

This is not a huge departure from where we were but living a life of integrity (our family definition of integrity is doing the right thing regardless of who is watching or what others tell you is right) while trying to change a whole family dynamic and almost ripping the social fabric of our lives in the process? It feels like a mistake a lot of times. Choosing the path that doesn’t lead to the biggest paycheck feels like a mistake almost every day. I do not consume a whole lot of media but social media is almost worse than commercials because at least you know commercials are fake. With social media there are vacations and shopping and trips and parties and all these amazing things going on.

In the clutter of all the noise my choices feel like a mistake. I feel like I’m letting my kids down. When I have late night conversations about decluttering we have to shelve it when we come to the part where we either give away all the clothes that don’t fit or we save them for the youngest. Last night Mr. Brickie said, “There’s no reason to save jeans when we can just get more for a couple bucks a pair.” I cringed. As much as I am the self-proclaimed master of getting fashionable jeans from goodwill it’s still not ideal for all of their clothing to come from there. Again, maybe it is ideal.

Sometimes the most confusing thing is not knowing if you are choosing something because it is a good idea or if you are choosing it becauase you have no other options. The balance between “all the clothes from goodwill” and “some clothes from goodwill” causes a lot of confusion.

I have also decided that hand me downs are also no longer a viable option. I love the offers but it’s so much to sort through I may as well go to the goodwill where it’s all hung up and I can see it at its worst. Mr. Brickie took so many clothes to goodwill last week. He took out the carseats, folded down the seats, and loaded bag after bag until the whole car was full. Even the passenger seat and every bit of floor space. Baby clothes, toddler clothes, everything that didn’t fit. There was even a whole bag of shoes. It was overwhelming but such a relief to let go and know other families would benefit next time they went shopping for something nice for a child to wear to school, to a holiday, to bed.

There is a real fear that I will err on the side of spending a lot more money on clothing if given half a chance. Not for me, I could not care less what I wear besides jeans and a couple pairs of capris or bermuda shorts with my standard Old Navy $6 t-shirt. It’s basically my mom uniform and it’s comfortable and makes me happy.

It’s the kids. I told Mr. Brickie before we ever had kids I would not let them be completely ignorant of fashion. We would help each child determine her individual style (by watching natural preferences, not dictating) and then dress them according to that style to the best of our ability. Big Sister has a preference for jeans and print t-shirts. Middle sister likes a dress now and then. Little Sister loves pretty clothes and skirts with frills.

Obviously Big Sister is easiest to shop for at the goodwill because jeans and print t-shirts that no one else has is their specialty. I have a feeling she’s going to grow up into the kind of woman who loves to shop and wear vintage clothing. She will pull it off beautifully.

If Mr. Brickie starts working on Friday as planned, the magic day where he gets his first raise (barring rain delays, etc.) will be 7/17. That’s when I can bump up the saving plan to a currently unknown amount. I never know how much is going to get taken out in taxes and every time I try and calculate it I fail miserably. I have a ballpark estimate but until it happens I don’t count on it. Well, I kind of do but don’t start planning that zero-based budget around it. I just have a general idea I use to make general plans I can firm up later.

Especially if there is overtime. I have no idea how to calculate that with taxes and whatnot, but overtime money uncertainty is the very best kind of uncertainty. That, however, is nothing more than a star in the sky right now. If he doesn’t get overtime so be it, but it was such a strange thing to hear about and it came from his buddy working the job he will probably be on, so who knows. I would consider him a reliable current source but not someone I would bet my future on. He’s a nice guy but they don’t tell apprentices their future plans, if you know what I mean. (There is a little bit of paranoia sometimes since guys work with different companies. It’s the reason we know Mr. Brickie will be on a job Friday but he won’t get the address until Wednesday or Thursday because, I don’t know, companies don’t give out a lot of excess information unless it’s need-to-know.)

This morning was a great meditative time. I feel like I will be able to easily carry the “It will be okay.” feeling with me through the rest of the day. I’ve already had to have twenty-ish conversations with my girls about tone of voice (they’re all snippy with each other, which kills me because I am careful of my tone with them about 90% of the time) but they’re constantly bickering and yelling and taking sides and fighting. I think they’re cooped up and we need a Daycation soon. (In case you didn’t know a Daycation is when you just go somewhere for the day to get out of the house. It’s the most common kind of vacation for those of us who do not take “real” vacations.)

The chickens are doing great. They have an indoor coop and a roost and their food is hanging and we let them out sometimes and they are big and happy and make far less noise than even I thought they would make. They sound like quiet not-shrill birds with the occasional cluck that seems to bubble up out of nowhere. When that happens you just can’t help but laugh.

I’m working on a post now that I’ll release today or tomorrow with some finance podcasts I’m going to try out and review. I need to move on from Dave R. because I just can’t handle the accusatory tone and the hardness that seems to be much more present now than it used to be. I still love the principles for the most part but can’t wade through the hours of him riling himself up to get to the phone calls, which I felt was the beauty of the show.

Do you know of a finance show (streaming or podcast or whatever) that has people calling in with personal stories that are solved by a host or hosts? Or you could just tell me your favorite finance show. I’ll check it out.




  • April Freeman

    My early morning hours are so similar to yours. The hodge-podge of concerns, trying to ground myself and make myself live by my ideals, meditating over the blessings of life, while trying not to take too much for granted. I understand your Dave Ramsey stress. While he can be motivating, he can also be condescending and apply “one-size-fits-all” logic to a vast array of people and situations. Have you checked out “How to Manage Your Money” with Larry Burkette? Comes with a Christian slant and a lot more grace and kindness.

    • jennydecki

      Thank you so much for the suggesion! I know most of what Dave Ramsey started with was Larry Burkette logic so it would make sense the strategies will be similar. Thanks again 🙂