a toast... to good friends, to good food and to farewell green tea lattes

dierdre's yard {seven}
dierdre's yard {nine}
dierdre's yard {eight}
{an enchanting and serene back porch of a dear friend }

how was your weekend?

mine was bitter/sweet.
sometimes bitter/sweet is the best way to have it.
all bitter is just no picnic.
and all sweet is pretty grand.
but sometimes some sweetness mixed with bitterness
makes the sweet part that much more sweet.

so let's start with the sweet...
yesterday, running into two dear and inspiring women,
just hours apart,
just steps apart.
first my friend dierdre.
we bumped into each other serendipitously.
i was just leaving starbucks with my morning green tea latte.
she was just walking in,
and she had her phone open with my number dialed,
ready to call me to see if i could meet up with her there
like we do from time to time.

in fact, that's where we met for the first time
several years ago.
she heard the barista call out my drink order and was so intrigued,
she asked me what it tasted like.
so i proceeded to tell her just how amazing a green tea latte is.
then i told her how much i liked
her zebra print trench coat from nordstrom's.
then she told me how much she liked my green cowboy boots.
then the rest was history.
we've been
flea market
farmer's market
ever since.

i love her!
while chatting, she invited b. and me to stop over later in the evening
for some amazing grilling and fixin's and drinks.
but more on that in a bit.

so just a short time later,
i ran into another wonderful lady.
also someone i met in the same vicinity of starbucks...
at her close-by hand-made bag boutique.
and just like dierdre,
jodi and i became instant friends.
i've also looked very much up to jodi,
as she is an inspiring, entrepreneurial business owner.
and like, dierdre, jodi and i love to talk fashion and such!

bumping into her was also serendipitous.
i happened to be sitting on the bench on the corner of the street,
when she was riding by on her bike.
i had just come from the farmer's market,
and was feeling very anxious about our job/financial situation.
she asked how i've been doing,
and i think she could sense i was on the verge of tears.
in fact, i did start crying.
but i was able to hold back the water works, thankfully.
she was so kind.
she just reached out in a way
that only a good friend could
and said she would be praying for us.
it was a God-send to see her right then, right there.

two beautiful women.
both of whom i have known for about the same amount of time
and met right in that same area where we all ran into each other yesterday.
two women who would do anything for their friends.
two women who give me encouragement and friendship freely.
two of the greatest gifts i've received from living downtown.

it was a very good morning.
and i walked home with a lighter step.

still, it was a difficult day.
lots on my mind.
but i tried to make it productive
before heading out to dierdre's place that evening.

speaking of... look at her gorgeous display of flowers!
dierdre's yard {two}
dierdre's yard {six}
dierdre's yard {five}
dierdre's yard {four}
dierdre's yard {three}
{how cute is she, giving me the garden tour in her house slippers?}

what a fun night it was!
she has to have the most beautiful yard i've ever seen.
she takes great pride in her flowers and gardening.
so to spend the evening with the cool breeze
some light rain and distant thunder,
aromas of crab legs and shrimp from the kitchen
and steak from the grill,
with fresh garden vegetables
and delicious mai tais
in a candle-lit screened in porch
overlooking a deck overflowing with flowers of every color imaginable...
it was heaven!

and the very best part was the laughter
and conversation
and stimulation
that you get from knowing you are among
great people... down to earth, giving, lovely people.
i mean, these really are some of the nicest people.
dierdre, her husband, their friends.
it was just wonderful!

and just to know how generous they are...
reaching out to us in our time of struggle,
because they know exactly what it is like to have one income
due to a job loss, when two are needed.
{and thankfully they are back to two incomes again!}
it was so, so thoughtful of them to welcome us into their home
and get us out and away from it all
with the delightful distraction of their friendship.

thank you so much, d. and j.!
we had the very best time!

~ ~ ~

okay, i know that was long. sorry. that was more for them, and also for me... a sort of diary entry so that i always remember the treasure i have in my friends and how magical and fun of an evening we had. aren't her flowers gorgeous? that was just one small section of her handiwork!

so now for the bitter part... well, i guess not bitter. but not really sweet. speaking of my daily morning green tea lattes, i had my last latte for an unforeseeably long time. {the latte drinking probably would have ended a couple weeks ago, but i still had money left on my starbucks card, and today i used up the very last bit without adding more onto the card.}

and this is why... b. and i sat down today and had a much needed overview of our debt and expenses. we've known things are bad and scary and tight for a while, and i think it prevented us from doing just that... sitting down to see exactly what we were up against. we knew that as soon as we sat down to look at our actual state, things might look insurmountable. but it's also the best place to be... knowing exactly where you are so that you know how best to tackle it.

last week, i happened to turn on oprah {something i NEVER do }, and was glad i did this day. she was starting up her "debt diet" series again, and one of her financial advisors/guests for the series is someone i have seen speak and always regarded highly. his name is david bach. i don't know if you have heard of him, but he is very smart, and he has a great little financial rule that he encourages people to live by. it's called "the latte factor". basically, he encourages people who need to get their financial state in order to cut out the lattes or other needless expenses in their lives. you can read more about it here.

anyway, i used to be able to justify getting my green tea while i was working. although, even then, bach would encourage cutting out that expense and instead investing the money that would be saved. but now that i am not working, not only can i not justify them, i can't afford them! and if you knew how much i love those things, you'd know this is one giant sacrifice for me! *wink*

and that's just the start. as i said, b. and i sat down today to look everything over. my, oh, my! was that a hard thing to do! i was absolutely overwhelmed. i was ready to break down a time or two, as well. and tears were flowing. but when all was said and done, i was breathing better, because we knew what we were up against... a much clearer picture. and that is the first step.

so after some hand-holding, some earnest prayer prayed over our bills, and an hour-long walk through our neighborhood, the load does not seem quite so heavy. but we've got a long road ahead. i don't say this to make anyone feel sorry for us. there are SO many people going through what we are. i say it, because this blog is a place where i document my life. and some day, i want to look back on this post and know God carried us through this. and i know i will. plus, i want to write about it to encourage anyone else who might also be going through this.

i also say it, because i had stated here at the beginning of the year {in my resolutions post } that one of my biggest goals is to become debt-free. and i got so very close. i did! but then my work ended again, and some hefty things came our way that not only made that goal unattainable by the time i thought it would be, but were reversing the situation... even MORE debt! but it is only june. i still have over a half of a year to keep working toward that goal. however, finding a job will have to bump it down one rung on my ladder of goals.

well, i know i have rambled on a bit. i do that a lot! surely you are used to it by now. i just wanted to say, i'm grateful for this bitter-sweet weekend. a lot of couples that experience money problems are driven apart by them. and i can see why. but i'm so grateful that in these tough days like the ones we've had recently, it seems to have made b. and me closer. we've had some good bonding time over money matters. it is really putting us to the test of those words we once spoke to each other face to face... "for richer or for poorer" ...a test we seem to be passing.

and that is far sweeter than a million green tea lattes could ever be.


mrs mediocrity said...

oh gosh. i hear you, like thunder. i am glad you had such a wonderful time with your friends, sometimes you just need a small escape to brighten your world...it will get better, you are strong and resourceful and talented...remind yourself of that too when life gets bitter.

Anonymous said...

ahh, i think God knows (well, i know he knows) just when we need a friend to come along and brighten our day. :) how lovely.
sounds like you could use a hug and some prayer, but since i can't hug you, i'll pray that someone does and that things straighten out soon for you

georgia b. said...

thanks, ladies. i DO feel hugged.

Hi Kooky said...

Oh Georgia, as always, what a beautiful post. You keep such a good attitude in the face of the tough stuff. And the beauty of those flowers - oh my goodness. Magical is right. What IS that purple flower?

I'm glad you had two friends pop up just when you needed them. God is good. :)

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Thinking of you and knowing good things will come your way, they already are. My daughter and her husband, your age, live on one income and made a lot of changes. Sold one car, bought bicycles, etc. That was two years ago. Now she has the prospects of two jobs. In the meantime, she is supermom and has more time for her boys. Take one day at a time.

slommler said...

How sweet is the Love of our Lord...to send two angels to comfort you in your time of need! He showered you with His love.
I hear you about the debt thing and I saw that same Oprah show. We have yet to sit down and "look" but that time is coming soon!
Be well dear one

avant garde said...

georgia! what a great post, you are so honest in your posts and it's refreshing :) i think so many people are with you in your struggle (including me, trying to slap money together to keep my school going, literally piecing it together!) stick to your goals, they sound reachable and will make you guys so happy. beautiful flowers pictured here too! completely amazing clarity :)

beth said...

oh georgia....
i'm sending some hugs, too :)

georgia b. said...

thanks you, all. still feeling the virtual hugs! : )

jen, i'm not sure what that flower is called. i can ask her. i'm so bad with flower names. : )

ELK said...

a post that many of us can empathize with at one point in our lives..the positive thing about the situation (if there is!!) is it brought you and b. closer and communicating ...what a team you are!! This is just a short blink in a most amazing life, things will turn around i know it!!

georgia b. said...

thank you, e l k.

chasity said...

you are a beautiful example of faith and hope. i pray that some wonderful opportunities come your way soon.

{{warm wishes}}


btw ... i would love to send you a real in-the-mail card. if you don't mind it, you could give me your addy at my email:

blessings to you.

spread your wings said...

Georgia what a beautiful and honest post. i love you for that. Your's is a struggle many of us go through , certainly at some point, but with your faith, determination and strength in each other you are ahead of most. You're amazing.

georgia b. said...

thank you leslye. i appreciate that very much.

Kristin said...

I've been in that spot where it feels like there is no way you can overcome the hurdles...I'm here to tell you that you can. Things will turn around and good things are on the horizon...because good things happen for good people!

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope things turn around for you quickly and that a great new job is on your horizon, for starters.

Jaime said...

It's so hard this day and age to keep afloat, isn't it? I can relate...I am about to be unemployed from teaching for the summer months and I have this crazy addiction to the homemade soups that this wonderful cafe makes every day...each day it is different, and they are SO GOOD. But I really can't afford to be going there all the time right now.
Maybe if we look at it from the perspective that it is temporary, and if we can look long term..it means that we will be better off in the end, with many more pennies in our pockets! And the odd latte. ;)