How a book changed our finances and cleaned my house

Recently I read the book “The Latte Factor”, actually, I listened to it on audible. That is where I tend to get most of my book listening done, in the car, doing dishes, wherever I can multitask.

So this book is pretty short and to the point, I finished it in a few days during car rides to church and the grocery store. It was really attention-grabbing from the start and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the narrator (you have no clue how many books I have returned to audible because I didn’t like the voice of the narrator).

After finishing this book, I was dumbstruck. How in the world did this short book change my outlook on finances and motivate me to clean and purge my house, and take away tons of stress from my shoulders?

The book follows a story of a girl named Zoe (also the name of my daughter), who is living a pretty normal paycheck-to-paycheck life. She meets a many in a coffee shop and by the end of the book basically has financial peace and is traveling the world. With a whole lot of things in the middle of those two things.

I can’t give away all the details, the book is like $10 on amazon, 1 credit on audible, which you can get for free using the link at the bottom of this post. Just grab it, rent it, borrow it, and soak in all the goodness for yourself. But I will tell you the basics on how this shifted my way of thinking in a really big way.

So basically in this book Zoe (the main character, not my one year old) has this vision for her life, it starts with this painting she wants but cannot “afford”. She is stressed about living paycheck-to-paycheck, not being able to afford more despite making a decent living. She is tired of living like this and thinking about taking a job that pays more but will require more of her time and a lot more stress. However she meets a guy in a coffee shop who breaks down finances for her and explains money in a way that I have never, EVER heard before.

So here are some lessons I learned from this book, I HIGHLY recommend reading it for yourself.

  1. Time = Money

So this one seems cliche, but hear me out. In this book, your job, your hourly pay, is broken down into time increments. This concept introduces an alternative to “budgeting”. Instead of trying to micromanage your finances, this concept allows you to truly to see what you CAN afford and what you should be trying to spend on each category. This changed the way I think about my finances, my job, and my time. Because most people, like the main character in this book, try to make more money to fit their budget instead of budgeting their time and fitting your budget to your current finances. It can be a never ending cycle trying to generate more income to create wiggle room in your budget, instead of creating wiggle room in the income you already generate.

How do you do that? By prioritizing WHAT you are spending money on. What are the little things you are spending money on without thinking about it. When you start to compare small things to big things, like your lattes=dream vacation…that is a huge mindset shift. This was one of the biggest shifts for me.

2. Priorities In Finances are IMPORTANT

So going a step further, this book really makes you realize what your priorities are because it asks the question “what do you really want in life?” It makes you lay out your priorities and what you truly want.

For me at least, when you start thinking about what you really, really want in life and how that plays into your finances it’s huge,

For us, we want to be debt free; to not be living paycheck-to-paycheck, to have freedom to have fun experiences together, and to give our daughter an amazing childhood with great experiences.

So when you start to make comparisons and choices like do I want $20 take out or do I want to pay debt off. Do I want to get my nails done or do I want to take my daughter to the museum. Do I want another phone case or do I want some wiggle room in our budget in case something comes up?

That obviously doesn’t mean we will never make those choices and get take out (we had Hardee’s tonight), but it’s such a mindset switch in the frequency and what we really want to be spending money on and what it means every time we make a purchase. It has been a game changer for us. Like just making the decision to only eat out a set amount of times per month. And making that decision with a PURPOSE. That if you don’t eat out a few times that can add up to $100 that you can put towards one of your main goals.

3. Quality Over Quantity

My last epiphany with this book is one I thought I already knew but reading this book was like pressing focus on a camera lens that was blurry.

I think we all know that having quality is better than having sheer quantity, but what does that really look like. To me it meant saving up for the nice eyeshadow palette instead of buying the crappier ones from the drugstore. But what if that could be applied to your whole life?

What if once you have your priorities together, you could make financial decisions ALL based on quality over quantity. Like skipping the morning coffee, pack a lunch, avoid amazon, skip the energy drink on your way home. Then buy the amazing dinner that comes with a side of sanity because you don’t have to cook or do dishes. 1 purchase that day, quality over quantity.

Or maybe you scale down the purchases across the board and put that money aside towards a vacation, instead of the mini vacations to the Sonic drive-thrus. Quality, over quantity.

This also is the epiphany that led me to clean my entire house and purge all the things. Because when I really became convicted by this quality over quantity thing in conjunction with the priorities for finances idea, I started thinking…my house is overly cluttered, it’s literally the epitome of QUANTITY over quality.

And I began thinking that our cluttered, messy house with every nook and cranny filled, makes me feel nuts. It feels crowded and makes me want a bigger house. So bringing in the fundamentals we learn in this book, I thought, “how can I create more wiggle room in the house I have instead of trying to find a bigger house and having to make more money to afford if?”

So just like with the budget, I cut out the extras that don’t compare to my real priorities. I cut the target dollar spot directions from 5 years ago that I really don’t love. I let go of every piece of clothing that I haven’t worn in the last year and the ones that don’t make me feel amazing.

I am still in the process of purging but y’all, I am loving the process. There’s more wiggle room in my house, and it didn’t cost me more money. I created wiggle room in the space instead of creating space for the wiggle room.

So why the cleaning? This may have just been a cleaning but I picked up, but I’m going to say this is linked too. I started cleaning and getting crazy because I realized that I’m a person who buys things to make my space look nicer (cue all the throw pillows and candles) but my house will never look nice if it looks like there’s a tornado path through it. So I took to cleaning, I cleaned out things I don’t really like and that we don’t need or use. And I’ve been cleaning and organizing, because the more I clean and organize and declutter, the better my home looks and feels.

The bottom line is that I want to make my life one of quality and stop worrying about the quantity of my things. I want to invest in things that last and enrich our lives. I want to hate beautiful experiences with my family; including the experience of not stressing over finances. That’s quality.

So that’s just a few of the things I have learned from this book. Next on my reading list is “Smart Couples Finish Rich” also by David Bach. I have no doubt it will be just as amazing as the first!

If you read either of them please let me know how you like them, drop me a comment below and let me know how you’re implementing the things you learn!

For the woman who’s sad about her past.

Mark 5:1–20 (ESV): They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3 He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” 10 And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12 and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

14 The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. 18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Okay, bare with me, because that is some seriously weird scripture. Arguably the weirdest, even surpassing Abraham marrying his sister. (Read the Bible guys, it’s some juicy stuff.)

So let’s try to break this down a little bit, basically there’s this guy. He’s demon possessed, going crazy, and then Jesus comes to town. Jesus drives out the demons into a heard of pigs and they then commit suicide. Which isn’t really relevant to my story here but it’s just so crazy I couldn’t leave it out.

So these men are past the point of saving in most people’s eyes. They are just going mad with the evil consuming them. And Jesus saves them.

Why is this story different than other redemption stories in the Bible? Because after Jesus saves them, they want to go with Him, and Jesus tells them no. He tells them they must stay and let people see what He has done.

When I look back on a few years of my life I feel like those men. So far gone that I was begging Jesus to save me. When I look back on my past before I read this passage I was embarrassed. Embarrassed and angry and ashamed, and for a long time I distanced myself from anyone who knew me at that time because I was embarrassed and ashamed of who I was then. It’s hard for me to even talk to my parents about some years of my life because I am still so angry with myself.

But then I look at this passage. Jesus saves them. He saves them and commands that they stay, stay and let the people see what He has done. Stay around the same people who saw how bad they were so that they could see what Jesus can do in someone’s life.

You see if God saves you and brings you out of something, you can’t just run and hide. Your life is a testament to His glory. The fact that you’ve seen bad times and come away from it. That you can be used for His works after you’ve been so far away. That is what brings people to Jesus, not a clean record.

When I look back at my past now I am not ashamed. I am not angry. I am not embarrassed. I am incredibly sad for that girl. Sad for the girl who didn’t know her worth, who strived for the attention and affection of man and not God. Sad for the girl who didn’t know how beautiful the plans God had for her were. But I am also overwhelmed with gratitude that God rescued me so quickly. That He didn’t leave me there. He brought this girl out of her own mess but kept her in the same place so that I can show others that redemption is real. Love is real.

God can turn you around, and you don’t have to leave your small town to have a fresh start. God’s redemption is bigger than the small town grape vine, but you have to get your own ego out of the way and be firm in who He is making you. So don’t wallow in your past and don’t be embarrassed about it. Let God consume that embarrassment, start walking in confidence that God has redeemed you and can use you.

You don’t have to be ashamed. You are redeemed.

Lessons on Love, from my mom.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would only be appropriate to y’all about love. I know, so original. However, when thinking about where to go with this, valentines outfit, marriage, God’s love? It dawned on me, while sure, God’s love is the purest, no one has ever embodied that love and walked it out for me like my momma.

True to her southern roots, my mom is fiercest woman you will ever meet that can also make cakes in insane shapes and throw elaborate princess tea parties. She is beautiful inside and out, but Lord she can be scary. (Love you mom) But that fierceness, is backed 100% by her loyalty to protecting those that she loves. My mom is Lily Potter and Molly Weasley mixed together. Although I think if my mom had faced Voldy, it would have been a different story. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, me and JK Rowling are weeping)…

So from my mom to you, here are the top 5 lessons on love.

1. People will tell you who they are, so listen.

My mom was a fierce believer that people will tell you exactly how they feel about you through their actions. If people are playing games with you, not making time for you, and sending you “mixed” (or straight up bad) signals. LISTEN. TO. THEM. I am queen of looking for the good in people of thinking I can “fix” people, and my mom would always tell me, “they are telling you who they are and what you mean to them, listen.”

So when someone starts raising their red flags, wave your white and retreat.

2. Not everyone deserves to know your story.

If vulnerability comes naturally to you, you might be giving too much of yourself to people who don’t deserve it. Not everyone deserves to know all your secrets and intimate details of your life. Find your select few that have earned the privilege of knowing your heart so well and don’t share so much of your heart with everyone.

This is a lesson that took me especially a long time to learn, for a long time I thought vulnerability = intimacy. Like somehow spilling my heart all over people made us closer. But I guarantee you will live life with a lot less heart ache if you stop giving so much of yourself away to people you don’t know well. (Except for a blog on the internet)

3. “I’ll always love you, but I don’t like you right now.”

Just because you get into an argument, or they’re being a butt head, shouldn’t affect the love you have for someone. Lord knows there were many times my mom loved me the hardest when she liked me the least. That’s how love works sometimes. Sometimes when someone is the least like-able is when they need you to lean in love them, and sometimes you just have to love them from the other room.

This is a lesson especially important to carry into marriage.

I love my husband stupidly-silly. I fell hard and have loved him hard from the get go. However, there are days, when my dear, sweet husband, is not my absolute favorite person. (*gasp*) Sometimes he puts his dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher or complains for the millionth times that I have messed the sheets up while sleeping. And while I love him and would still go to bat for him, I also kind of want to throw something in his general direction. This is what love is like sometimes, you don’t have to be stuck at the hip with someone 24/7 and think that everything they do radiates sunshine and flowers to love them well.

4. Loving yourself is a lot more about who you are, not what you are.

I hope that this encompasses this lesson well enough. My mom always instilled in me that WHAT you are, as far as your circumstances matters a lot less than WHO you are and WHOSE you are.

Your job, your house, your car, or whatever it is will change, but who you are on the inside is what matters. Knowing who you are and being true to that, loving yourself as a child of God, understanding that you will screw up and still be worthy of love. That is what is important.

5. Loving your tribe FIERCELY is the only way to do it.

As I said, my southern momma loves her tribe hard. She has shielded me from so many things. Not to say that I was sheltered, but my mom spoiled me with a Lilly Potter type love. She took the brunt of a lot of hard things for me, made a lot of difficult things easier for me, did a lot of things she didn’t have to do so that I would be a little less hurt. And because of how fiercely she loved her tribe and witnessing how hard she loved her family, it made it impossible for me to love my tribe any other way.

I saw my mom love and protect my dad. Even if we all picked on him, heaven and all it’s angels could not have put a hedge of protection around anyone who said anything ugly about him.

My mom raised three daughters, constantly challenging her own vulnerability with daughters that were so needy of her. She exhausted herself emotionally, being someone who needed alone time, and often sacrificed it to us. She showed us, day in and day out, what selfless love really looked like.

This lesson is kind of the epitome of all the other lessons, you find your tribe, you share pieces of yourself and learn pieces of them, intertwining your lives together. You love them hardest during their most difficult times, which means sometimes you give them space and hold your tongue. Other times you tell them the hard truth when no one else loves them enough to give it to them. You hold true to who you are and love yourself, which makes you a consistent source of love and honesty to those around you. And you love, you love your tribe so hard that they grow up to be fierce lovers too.

This is to all you moms. You fearless, fierce lovers. You give so much, and the world is better for the love you give. Thank you moms, for teaching us how to love our people so well.

And thank you to my mom, for teaching me the hardest lessons, and for loving me so fiercely. You deserve all the awards. I hope you know how much you rock and even if you question sometimes how well I soaked in those lessons, I hope you see how many of them stuck in the way I raise my own daughter. I’ll make sure she always knows you get the credit for how awesome her mom is. I love you dearly.

Where ministry, laundry, and life meet.

Have you ever gotten caught up in what comes next and completely ignored the now?

I have this endearing (re: annoying) quality where I am constantly ready to jump into something new. My husband sometimes gets aggravated that I rearrange our house once a month, my parents saw this in me having a new “plan” or passion anytime I heard an exciting speech. I am actually constantly annoyed with myself because for someone who feeeels so many feelings about so many things, I don’t get a whole lot accomplished.

Despite having one of my dream jobs and having every opportunity to pursue further endeavors in exactly what I want to do, the minute I hear a passionate speech by someone else on, lets say for example, being a missionary in Gaza… my heart starts turning and I am suddenly wondering why I am not a full time missionary and wondering how I can convince my husband to get on a cargo ship and live as missionaries.

My mom (hey mom) is probably ready to roll her eyes so far back into her head she can see the past every time I give her a very impassioned speech about what I am going to do with my life, how I am going to blog, start a ministry for young women, become the Methodist Beth Moore, you know, simple stuff. But I someone told me something recently that really resonated with me.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. (Thank you Jordan Page from FunCheaporFree)

What does that translate to?

You don’t do anything big in one day. You take steps, some bigger than other, but steps. No one that you follow on instagram, youtube, Forbes, etc. built what they do in one day. You don’t build a blog, start a ministry, create a house you want to live in or raise a kid in one day. You do it one step at a time.

The bigger question? How do you take steps in all those directions at the same time? How do you take steps towards building a blog and a brand, actively building a ministry, raise a child, and take care of your home and husband like a Proverbs 31 woman at the same time without stumbling like you are in some awkward three-legged-race?

The answer? You don’t. It will be awkward. You will trip sometimes (Excuse the overplay of this analogy), you will take more steps in one direction than others sometimes, and you will definitely need to cover more distance in one direction than others sometimes.

Juggling all these different duties and passions at once can be difficult. And if you are like me, Enneagram type 3w2, then you will find in more difficult than others to stay on track.

I recently talked about a 3 month challenge on Instagram. Picking your lanes, your main duties/tasks, the top things you are wanting to progress in and setting attainable steps you can take in three months to avoid passing those months and arriving exactly the same and wishing you had done something different.

So what are mine? Home, Health/Fitness, Bible Study/Reading, and Mom.

Don’t worry I didn’t forget my husband in there, but trust me, clean house, happy, fed baby, and happy, fed, Bibled’up wife = happy husband. I promise, he suffers not.

What are my steps? First off, I have made no specific time stamped steps like “do this every morning” or anything like that, hasn’t worked for me in the past and no matter how passionate I feel right now I know it wont stick. Play to your strengths here.

So Home. My every day steps are..

  1. Clean up after yourself. This is for me and Dustin. We both get stressed when our house is a wreck, so we are dividing and conquering and making sure we pick up after ourselves and cleaning up after Zoe anytime she is asleep. So far, so good.
  2. Laundry. Jesus be near. This will be the straw that breaks this camels back. I struggle with laundry. Partly because I am holding onto clothes that are comfy but should not be worn anymore. Partly because we forget to change the clothes over and rewash the same clothes 4x before we put them in the dryer and then they stay in the dryer until someone gains the strength to move them to their resting place on the couch….where they will stay until Dustin bugs me to fold them, we have people come over, or they all get worn. So we are both tackling this and making it mandatory to fold and put away one load of laundry every day.


  1. Bleh. I hate to make another unrealistic fitness goal but something must be done about this 10 lb holiday weight that carried into the new year. Curse you cornbread dressing. However, I am making it a point to limit fast food to once a week. Easy enough. This is better for the finances too.
  2. MOVE YA BOOTY. I am making a serious effort to move more every day. Whether that means a walk or running around in the back yard with Zoe, an actual workout, dancing with the Fitness Marshall (check him out on Youtube), or at least just stretch or stand while I work instead of sit all day. Just an effort to move more every day. That is it. Like I said, we are taking small steps, not leaps.

Bible Study/Reading

  1. This one is simple. Read something every day. This one has been easy to stick to. Whether I finally read one of those many devotional emails I am subscribed to, reading the SheWorksHisWay devotion app (reccomend 100%), reading a bit of one of the books I am working on. Whatever. Just reading every day.
  2. Making time to study the Bible in depth a few times a week. Staying more on track with the SheRefined plan. I have kept up with this but sometimes I slack on actually digging in, so I am making an effort to get back into this practice.


  1. Make time every day, no phone, not even for pictures, to play with Zoe one-on-one. This has been so great for both of us so far. Leave my phone in another room and just play with my daughter. If you have kids, please do this. It isn’t just for them, it’s for you. Take time to notice everything, how much their hair has grown, count their teeth, remember their giggle and cheesy grins. Take it all in.

And that is it, those are my steps. I challenge you to think about something you would like to be closer to achieving, something you want to be better at, an opportunity you would like to take, anything and come up with some steps you can do every day or week for the next three months. See what you can do!

I am including some screensavers I have been using on my phone and apple watch to help remind myself every day to be focusing on these small steps. If you have Instagram, go follow me there and lets encourage each other! In three months you will be so happy you are a little further than you were before.


Holiday stress is such a real thing. I mean let’s just be honest, there is SO much pressure. All the cooking, baking, dressing nice, trying to keep the house clean, shuffling back and forth to all the places, budgeting for presents and holiday shopping, maintain your fitness and health goals, deal with inevitably you or your family (or both) being sick at some point; and try to just keep your head above water. 

Anybody else relate? My to do list is usually so overwhelming that I stop keeping one and just turn on autopilot until January. Then I get to January burnt out, emotionally drained, and physically beat down from not taking care of myself and focusing on the wrong things. 

Don’t get me wrong, all the things I listed are important bullet points on the holiday to do list and I’m not saying you should knock any off just yet. What I HAVE found; and what I am BEGINNING to learn, is that the holidays are (as we all know) about being thankful for our families and for God. We are meant to be focusing on those things. So while just realistically there will be stress. I have found that it is so much better for everyone when I focus on the WHY of the season. 

Maintaining your health and fitness. 👈🏼 important. Not so you can look good in the holiday dress. But so you feel good, get sick less, and have energy for everything you’re doing! A 3 month sugar binge is not going to keep you fueled and happy. Make good choices when you can, enjoy yourself at events, and remember your WHY. 

Budgeting/holiday shopping 🛍 👈🏼 I love shopping for people and finding their perfect gifts! But my WHY is to let the people in my life know how special they are to me. But you should NOT let gift giving stress you out or empty your accounts. Set your budgets and work within them. Even if that means you don’t do physical gifts. Give the gift of time or service. 🙌🏼

Being sick 🤒 this, at least for our family is inevitable. But in our house we take sickness like a rainy day and just get through it. At the first sight of sickness we buckle down, the person exhibiting signs of sickness immediately gets lots and lots of rest and fluids, we diffuse oils in our house, disinfect; and we take medicine like clock work. Don’t let sickness put you on the couch for days. Do what you have to do to get better. 

Most importantly, don’t let your personal care slack off. Take your bubble baths, do your Bible study, bake; whatever it is that helps you get recharged. Keep your focus! I am right there with you momma. We’re all walking through the holiday seasons together and I see you, tired momma; you got this!








So I have followed Soul Scripts, Jordan Lee Dooley for over a year now and have just fallen in love with the way she loves Jesus and her passion for sharing Him with people, specifically women. Jordan is a vibrant, genuine woman who has no problem laying it on the table for you. Continue reading “AGirlRefined”

How to start a budget

Today I’m writing to you about the B-Word.

Budgeting. Yuck.

Budget is a taboo word, you either love it or hate it. For some it can seem big and scary like you are about to have to live on rice and beans and give up Starbucks forever.

Well I am hear to tell you that is NOT the kind of budgeting we practice in our household, however budgeting is as extreme as you want it to be or need it to be depending on why you are budgeting. Here are the most common reasons I find people need to budget: Continue reading “How to start a budget”

Low Carb Staple Groceries, Meal Plans, Budgets.

Okay so here is something I get asked a lot, what diet am I on? The sad truth is that most people now a days are on some kind of diet, weight watchers, low fat, atkins, etc. and I suppose we are no different because we eat primarily low carb/lazy keto. I wont claim to be keto because we live an 80/20 life most of the time. If I am craving cake, I dont hunt down crazy ingredients to make a keto cake. I get the real deal, satisfy the craving and move on. Continue reading “Low Carb Staple Groceries, Meal Plans, Budgets.”

Hey, can you fix this?

Tonight I was sitting here thinking, as I usually do when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Looking at Pinterest and Instagram on my dear iPhone, my source of entertainment. Trying to be lulled to sleep by the sound of my husbands deep breathing and twitching of his body. (Doesn’t it sound dreamy?)

I got caught up in this image. Of me bringing my phone, that I love so much, to a bike shop, and asking them to address the issues I have with my phone. “Excuse me, Mr. Bicycle Man, my phone is so slow, can you make it faster?”

I’m sure he would laugh. “No, I don’t tix phones, I fix bikes! Bring that to a phone store”


If you want a bike fixed. You bring it to a bike man.

If you want a phone fixed. You bring it to a phone man. Continue reading “Hey, can you fix this?”

Feel the burn, not the burn-out.

If I had a dollar for every time someone used the phrase “burned-out” (or if you’re from the south burnt out) I would be a millionaire. Wanna know why? Because people are willing to go above and beyond when they feel called to a ministry, they feel a burning fire under them to get things done because it’s a passion for them. But- sooner or later, they get overused from a lack of delegation, lack of volunteers, lack of boundaries. Continue reading “Feel the burn, not the burn-out.”