30 before 30 update: organize files (paper & electronic), part 1

one of the things on my 30 before 30 list was to organize my paper and electronic files. a few days ago i finished the first half of that – the paper files. it was getting to the point where boxes of old pay stubs and bills were exploding in my closet. so i took a saturday morning, popped “crazy, stupid, love” into the dvd-player, and sat down with a 3-ring binder and a 3-hole punch and organized all the papers. it feels good to know i’m starting 2012 off organized in at least one small corner of my world. so, in case you’re wanting to do the same, i dug around on the internet and found the general rules of thumb for record retention. i printed this guide off on a piece of paper and stuck it in the front of the binder:

Tax Returns & Backup Documentation – 7 years

Health Records – indefinitely: contact info of physician, medical history, prescriptions/treatments

Medical Records – 7 years if claimed on taxes, otherwise 5 years after end of treatment

Life Insurance – life of policy + 3 years

Medical Insurance – 5 years from date of service rendered

Home Insurance – 5 years, or 10 if you predict issues

Warranty – when expired

Home Repair Bills & Contracts – 10 years

Pay Stubs – keep each stub throughout the year. At end of year keep only year-end stub. Keep these for 7 years.

Bank Statements – 3 months

Financial Documents (stocks, bonds, etc) – indefinitely

Utility Bills – if claiming on taxes 7 years, otherwise 3 months

Mortgage Statements – ownership period of the mortgaged property + 7 years

Mortgage Documents – 10 years

Credit Card Statements – 3 months (although i suggest you go the dave ramsey route and not use credit cards, ever. at almost 29-years old, i never have.)


it’s not often that i get homesick. y’all know i love nashville way too much for that. but there are a few things i get homesick for, so i’ve decided to list them:

-waking up on a cold december morning to a foot of fallen snow glittering in the sun
-watching the sunset over lake michigan at almost 10pm in the summer
-driving through the corn fields/vineyards/apple orchards in the middle of the night and gazing at the stars

a season of reflection

december. it’s that month when we all begin to reflect on the past year and plan for the one ahead. when 2009 was wrapping up, i looked back on it with fond memories. a new house, new friends, finally starting to form some community in nashville. but i had this feeling that 2010 was going to blow 2009 out of the water. and let me tell you, it did.

as 2010 ended, i felt as though 2011 would be… not bad, but less exciting and adventurous as 2010. i anticipated a little more struggle and discipline in 2011. and that’s what happened.

i’m sure there’s a certain degree of self-fulfilling prophecy in all of this, but whatever it is, it’s there. but 2012… i think, and hope, it might even surpass 2010 as being an incredible year. i guess we’ll see…

traveling thoughts

i definitely love nashville, and i’m thankful to call it home. but sometimes i hear the open road calling my name…

i’m thankful for all the road-trips i’ve had the chance to go on this year.

michigan, twice.
indiana, not sure how many times.
north carolina
south carolina

i know it’s not much compared to all the traveling musician’s in this town, but it’s been enough to keep me feeling alive.

a month of thanks

throughout the month of november, i was tweeting one thing i was thankful for each day during the month, but i slacked off on the last couple days. so in order to complete the list and to re-jump-start my blogging efforts, i’ve decided to compile the list.

here are 30 things for which i am thankful.

1. a job that pays the bills.
2. nashville’s fall weather.
3. the best roommates a girl could ask for (jacquelyn, stacy, & karissa).
4. living in a city full of dreamers.
5. the talent in this town #musiccity.
6. midtown fellowship.
7. pain killers, caffeine, and sleep: their powers combined working hard to battle my migraine.
8. hope in something bigger than myself.
9. my community group (aka: the swamp tigers).
10. thankful for haikus/and free baja burrito/30 days of thanks (baja had a twitter contest. the best haikus about burritos won a free meal. i won for sheer volume of haikus. maybe another post for another day.)
11. weekends.
12. restoration.
13. wine.
14. coffee.
15. god’s timing.
16. facetime.
17. grace.
18. that i live in town (vs the suburbs) and therefore my normal commute is only 10 minutes
19. all the friends and memories i have because of a little orange plastic disc i bought 14 years ago.
20. opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone.
21. work-from-home mondays.
22. that i didn’t die when someone almost t-boned me by making an illegal u-turn.
23. that i made it safely to michigan for thanksgiving.
24. family.
25. christmas.
26. that i had the opportunity to visit and reconnect with two friends. one whom i’ve known for 25 years, and one for 23 years.
27. that i made it safely back to nashville after thanksgiving, and for stacy’s company along the way.
28. that both my house and my neighborhood have character.
29. opportunities to serve.
30. forgiveness.

five moments in five years

as of this past saturday, i have officially lived in nashville for five years. and so, i’ve compiled a list of my top 5 nashville moments.

(in no particular order)

1. my friends katie and jess are from the north, like me, so this past december we had no problem bundling up and heading out into one of the worst winter storms i’ve seen in nashville. to us, it was nothing. we hopped in our car and drove to katie’s friend andrew’s apartment, where we decided to make our first caroling stop. only, we had the wrong apartment number. so we got a practice run of caroling for strangers. we finally found the right one, appropriately made fools of ourselves (in the best way possible), and drove back to our neighborhood. we stopped in on a few friends and also went door-to-door to old neighbors and strangers. we even got free hot chocolate from our favorite coffee shop. we had so much fun that katie (who no longer lives in nashville) promised to come back around christmas this year just so we can do it again.

2. nashville is obviously known for its live music, and a few years ago the mayor helped get a new, free, concert series going, called live on the green. they have pretty well-known artists perform on the lawn outside the courthouse, in the heart of downtown. there was one night in particular where the artist had the crowd sing part of the chorus. and as we did, he backed away from the mike and the band stopped playing their instruments. it was just the sound of 500 or more nashvillians singing… and when nashvillians sing, it might as well be a giant professional choir. listening to that while surrounded by the night sky and the city lights, it definitely ranks as one of my favorite moments in nashville.

3. easter 2010. there wasn’t anything super magically about that day, but my family came down for the weekend and it was my first time ever hosting a real holiday. we had absolutely perfect weather the whole weekend (minus the massive amounts of pollen jaundicing everything it landed on). we also all piled in my car and drove down to the jack daniel’s distillery in lynchburg, which is an absolutely gorgeous drive.

4. i previously wrote about how i got to be an extra on the set of a movie based off one of my favorite books. after writing that blog entry, i got to go back 3 or 4 other times, and so i have a feeling i might be all over the film. it’s set to release this fall and i can’t wait to see it. (you can watch the trailer here). also, here’s a picture from a scene i’m in:

5. the flood. it seems strange to consider a natural disaster which killed over 20 people one of my favorite moments in nashville; but the way this city pulled together to help out neighbors, friends, and strangers really struck a chord with me. i think it’s rare to find the kind of community this town has, especially in a city. nashville has always been a big small town, and that’s one of the things i love about it. the flood gave proof to the old saying that it’s when we are at our weakest that we are our strongest. if there was ever any doubt in my mind that nashville was home, the city’s reaction to the flood changed that forever.