Our Debt Free re{Birth} Story

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Props to Sir Andrew who Created This Graphic To
Celebrate Our Day!

I’ve read a lot of birth stories on blogs over the years.  I had already had both princesses before it became en vogue to detail the day leading up to their arrival.  And so since you missed out on that opportunity, I thought instead I would share with you the details of our afternoon leading up to the video many of you viewed sharing that final payment to Sallie Mae and the fact that we were debt free {$127,482.30 in just 4 days short of 4 years}.

So consider this our Debt Free re{Birth} story.  Among many questions I’ve received over the past week have been, “Didn’t you have a little more than a month to go?  How did it happen sooner than you anticipated?”

Well, we did think that it would take a maximum of 33 more days to be debt free.  However, we did know that there was the possibility that some of our sporadic income might come in a few days earlier than we had planned.  That being said, I was still thinking it would be mid April, not late March when that happened.

Wednesday, March 28th was a great day.  I had run with a friend ~3.5 miles to Panera where she treated me to lunch and we then walked the distance back.  Since I wasn’t at home to get to my regular household chores {read: dirty dishes and laundry abounded}, I was almost relieved with the King of Free called in the late afternoon asking if he could work late.  I was folding laundry and wasn’t surprised since we often communicate in the late afternoon about his schedule {which isn’t regular at all}.

I dove into getting a few more things done around the house and was sitting at the keyboard {ok, so maybe not a ton of chores but hey you like it when I type} when he entered the house about an hour and half later.  I was immediately worried that his workout shorts weren’t in the dryer yet and he would need them to do P90X.

He tossed a Meijer bag at me.  Inside of it was a package of undies.  Don’t think ooh-la-la, think Hanes basic 6 pack.  Let’s just say the towels weren’t the only thing beginning to wear out around here. Anyway, I giggled because I knew he had bought them because he knows I’m not good at spending money on myself, even when I need something these days.

And I kind of figured he was just encouraging me because I’ve had a dark couple of weeks filled with doubt, anger, and fear {it’s kind of the story behind the story and while I can’t share it, I’ve really been struggling with discouragement in the past few months hence the lack of blogging}.

But then he handed me a deposit slip with more than twice what we needed to be able to finish our journey, a bonus had come in earlier than expected.

I stood up, fell into his arms and wept.  It was hard to believe it was about to be over.  Four years of struggle, of scrimping every dime, of saying no dozens and dozens of times to everyone else and ourselves.  Four years of sharing our journey with you.  Four years of lack and bondage to debt that literally owned us.  Four years of numbers that my brain can’t even comprehend.  Everything was soon to change.

What happened next was a crazy whirlwind of cleaning the area of our kitchen where we’d shoot the video {insider behind the scenes info: the rest was a wreck}, telling the girls, getting a couple of friends to come over to take video and pictures, and cleaning up for me {see above mentioned 3.5 mile run and 3.5 mile walk}.

Around 6:30 PM, we shot the video while making the final payment and then took some re-enactment photos after {you’d know they were re-enactment by the fact that my laptop isn’t plugged in and it no longer works without the cord}.  We then asked the girls where they’d like to eat out to celebrate.  They chose Texas Roadhouse {which was awesome because I had coupons good for 2 free kids meals.  What?!  I’m still me, debt free or not.}.  We took our gracious photog along as a thank you.

When we sat down to eat, I was so exhausted that I really didn’t eat much of my meal {it also could have been the three rolls that I wolfed down because I was hungry even though I typically I don’t eat white bread}.  It was the kind of tired you experience after a long day of swimming, that hollow behind your eyes feeling that zaps all the way through your core.

And no, the King of Free did not eat at a restaurant that night and still remains restaurant free.  More on that later this week.

We came home and quickly put two very excited little girls to bed.  After that, the King of Free did indeed work out {and I fixed him dinner} and then he had to do some work-work.  We texted some close friends and family threatening swearing them to secrecy especially in the social media realm.

I spent the next 15 hours-ish holding unto a very large secret until the video was ready to be shared.  I slept horribly {like someone would who wanted to tell 4500 people something they would probably want to know}.  I was guessing I would sleep better being debt free but hadn’t factored in the whole secret from the world when you’re a very public person thing.  Since then, I’ve sleep great.  ;)

And there you have it, our Debt Free re{Birth} story.  I’ll be answering more of your questions in the upcoming days, but I needed to get these thoughts out of my head and heart first before I forgot them.

Thank you again for all of your encouragement via texts, e-mail, posts/comments on Facebook, Tweets, and phone calls.  We are so overwhelmed and humbled by the support we’ve received over the last four years.  We know that a number so big can only be considered miraculous and not of our doing but of God’s goodness, grace, and mercy.  We truly desire for our story to bring you hope.  There is a way out of debt.  It is possible even on the darkest point of your finances to find the light.  There’s peace for your marriage and harmony for your family as you find a way out.  You can do it.

Thanks for sharing our journey.
Cherie

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