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Friday, December 31, 2010

Moving out and hopefully moving on

Hello everyone, I thought that New Years Eve was a great time to update the Lewis Family Blog. 2011 is certainly going to look different for us and hopefully look a lot better.

Anthony and I are moving out of our apartment this month. We are going to be living somewhere else by Feb. 1st. We have been offered the opportunity to rent a guest house from a friend for a much cheaper price than we are paying and it will include rent/utilities/cable/internet so it's going to be better for our budget. We are going to miss our apartment a lot as it was our first married place and we have lived here for over 3 years.

We are also looking at it as an opportunity to get on our feet and try to figure out the next step. As of right now, Anthony is the only one making any REAL money since I am doing tutoring, a few clients, and a new business venture which I will talk about later in the post. Since this is true, we are saying that in six months, if nothing has changed we are going to be moving out of the state of California and to somewhere more affordable. We realize that this opens up a whole new host of issues like finding a home and jobs somewhere else but almost anywhere is cheaper than here.

It has been a very discouraging and difficult year and we are just hoping for some new things on the horizon.

As for my business venture, I have recently started selling Avon. I grew up around Avon products and really like them so this was an obvious choice for me to do something to bring in a little extra cash. I just started so I don't know how I will do at it yet but we shall see.

If you want to check out products, go to my

Avon Website.

and you can buy directly online and it will ship wherever you are. If you are more local and want me to deliver products, give me a call and we will do that! I am looking to build a customer base and do well so this can supplement me trying to build my career.

Anthony is still at Starbucks and really continues to like it and grow. We are hoping he will grow in the company and climb the ranks or find something more financially profitable if nothing else.

Please keep us in your prayers for the new year and we will be praying for you as well

Love from our family to yours,

Anthony & Erica Lewis

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Venti with whip please!

Hi everyone, I hope this post finds you doing well and that all of your Thanksgiving plans are coming together. I figured it was time to update the Lewis Family Blog. Anthony and I are doing well although our circumstances have stayed pretty much the same. Anthony has been working at Starbucks ™ for two months now and really loves working there. He started out Part time at about 20 hours a week and now is up to 30 so that is certainly an improvement. He is really good at it and has learned quickly. It is a vast difference in income than AT&T as you might have guessed but to be honest, the happiness and lack of stress in his face is worth the change to me.

As for me, I am finishing up my first semester as an Adjunct Professor. I have really loved teaching Grad Psych and it really helped cement my knowledge of Cognitive Behavioral therapy. I am really lucky to have had really great students and we will be finishing up the last few weeks of classes after Thanksgiving. I will really miss teaching them! I am looking for more teaching jobs because I really enjoyed doing that. I am still working in Private Practice therapy, however, it is a pretty slow progression to full time right now. I am working on my marketing plan and trying to get my name into places that may help me build clients. I am also doing some tutoring of students on the side to make some extra money. It has really been a life saver to us lately. I really love tutoring/teaching so I always feel very fulfilled doing this.

Since things have been so difficult lately financially I have started looking around for full time jobs and have applied to about 30 in the mental health field. It is very difficult to get a job right now but I will forge ahead to help pay our bills. We have really had a hard time for about a year and half but God has been good and provided through it all. We have amazing friends/family praying for us and helping us through so we are incredibly grateful.

As we come closer to Christmas, that means that we have had our kitty cat Nika for a year on December 26th. We have really enjoyed her and appreciate that we have such a good natured, sweet pet. She is doing well and we have found that she loves house guests so we are looking forward to having my family out next summer possibly.

Anthony and I have a niece and a nephew and are really enjoying seeing them grow up. Shawn turned 1 year old on May 12th and Kaylea turned a year old on October 2nd. They are such a joy and are both doing well. We also have been named God parents for Anthony's friend Wolf's little girl Jasmine. She is also pretty darn precious. We are incredibly lucky to have such beautiful babies in our lives.

Speaking of babies, we are NOT pregnant and are not going to tell people when we are "trying" again and probably won't tell anyone we are pregnant until we get to a safe place where we know a gender. We are doing this for obvious reasons and very much appreciate everyone's understanding and support in that. We are doing well considering though and working on health concerns in the mean time.

Overall, we are incredibly blessed and doing well. We appreciate all of your prayers and concerns over the last several months. Please keep us in prayer as we are making a very huge decision in February of 2011 and we will keep you posted.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Lewis Family to your Family!

Anthony & Erica :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The roller coaster of jobs.

Everything has been very interesting in our house for the last, oh let's say, 6-7 months. The last few months of AT&T were absolutely grueling and once Anthony got let go it was more about the journey with unemployment. He took a job with ADT and it ended up that the company he worked for was incredibly shady and wasn't paying him for his commissions and we found out that the unemployment would not honor it due to it being an "independent contractor" job as opposed to a W-2 job. Needless to say it was very frustrating to have to go back on the Unemployment docket and for Anthony to not be employed.

Due to this happening, I took it upon myself to begin searching for another way to bring income into the house. I started teaching on August 31st with Vanguard and have really been enjoying that. The journey has already been very interesting and I have grown to appreciate my professors far more than I already did. I love teaching and found that I really excel at things that are administrative or organizational. Either way, I really love the students and love teaching Cog B.

I also started tutoring in my spare time. I almost laughed as I typed "Spare time." I also really enjoy this job as it is minimal work for me and maximum benefits. It pays well for the time it requires and I get to help kids understand things and find their way in school. Currently I have one client that is consistent and I am tutoring him in Math/English. I love the teaching aspect and that it doesn't require a whole lot of my time.

I am still taking clients in private practice but that is slow going. I find that it is really hard to get out there and get noticed so recently I have started to amp up my marketing. I need to get hours and get going on licensure so it would be good to get a full case load. There is also the aspect of really needing the money.

Anthony was recently hired to work part time for Starbucks in Stanton, California and he really likes it thus far. He has been there about 3 weeks and is starting to learn the coffee biz. Ideally we would love for him to move to full time and begin to climb the ladder because we are just not sure what God is doing. It has been very frustrating to go from AT&T with good pay and benefits to Starbucks which is a good company to work for but really low pay and they do have benefits for Part time which is a huge plus.

Please keep us in your prayers for knowing God's will in all of this and standing through it and being patient for what is supposed to happen.

We love you all and are praying for your journeys in life as well.

The Lewis Family

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lewis Family Update July 2010

Hey everyone. I hope this blog finds you doing well and enjoying health, happiness, and love! We are doing well although the last five months have been brutal. Anthony was let go from AT&T in February and until this last week, he has been unemployed. We are so blessed because we had three months of expenses in the bank, it happened near tax time, and we have people who have really helped us out over the months. We really appreciate all of you who have been praying, helping, and offering to help. It has been tremendous to know how loved and supported we are.

Thursday of last week Anthony started his new job with ADT security systems. It is a sales job so we are certainly concerned about the stability of paychecks and the possibility of it not being a fit for Anthony. So far, he seems to really like it and feel confident about his abilities. He just finished the training part and is now on his own daily to do the job. I am very proud of Anthony on how diligent he was in finding a job over the months and how gracefully he got through it. No one feels good unemployed for five months and my husband was a trooper over all. I am also very proud of him for working so hard for us everyday no matter the circumstances.

Things with me are going well. My client caseload is picking up lately and I am beginning to really specialize in Depression/Grief which is something I am pretty passionate about. I start teaching in a Masters Program for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the Fall (specifically August 30th) and I am super excited to start that out. I have always wanted to teach on the college level as well as do therapy so this is a dream coming to fruition. Also, another dream has taken shape as I have been encouraged to write a book. I have been working on that and I am really anxious to see how that turns out. It seems like such a huge dream but steady work on it will make it a reality I am sure.

I went to Indiana in May for a week to see my nephew turn 1 year old. It was absolutely fantastic to be there for his birthday and get to spend time with both he and my niece Kaylea (who is 9 months old.) Here they are because a really good aunt always brags....

Here is my precious nephew Shawn Christopher (14 months)

And my beautiful niece Kaylea (9 months)

Aren't they absolutely precious. Kaylea will turn a year old in October and we are praying that finances allow me to see her on her birthday as well. It's so hard to be so far away from them. Anthony has not even gotten the chance to meet them in person yet so we are praying he will get that chance soon!

Please keep us in prayer for the next few weeks of adjustment to the new job and that Anthony will be successful and God's will overall will be done!

Thanks for stopping in and checking on us!


The Lewis Family (written by Erica)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cheap dates

So, as promised I am updating how Anthony and I are living below our means and still enjoying life. I am maybe the biggest dork in the world when it comes to saving money. I subscribe to every saving money blog there is. I also subscribe to tons of newsletters for various products, restraurants, companies, etc... This has proven very beneficial for us. We have done various things with these things that we could not have done otherwise. Last night was no exception.

As mentioned a number of times, I love overpriced coffee drinks. Starbucks is my beverage of choice but I only get to go there about once/twice a week on giftcards that I have accumulated and I seriously budget for times when I am not using a giftcard. Well...because my nerdiness/thriftiness I had a coupon yesterday for buy one get one free drinks at Peet's Coffee and Tea and we went last night and got coffee for $1.95 for both us and then browsed the book store (one of my favorite pasttimes). We looked through a book that interested us both and read passages to each other. A few hours of wonderful time with my awesome husband and for the bargain price of $1.95 and we got to as Anthony stated "join the living!" Priceless!

We have gotten to do so many other things due to my constant upkeep on newsletters, coupons, blogs etc... like free dinner at Chick-Fil-A for various promotions, free breakfast at Ikea, Free admission to museums on certain promotion days, etc... I am glad that I keep my eyes open. Here are a few of my favorites so that you can enjoy the benefits of them as well.

"Money Saving Mom

"Coupon Geek

Have a lovely day and enjoy a "cheap date" with your honey!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Meet the parents

So this blog might come as a shock to some of you. I wanted to write about a topic that is hot in our house right now and that is "Meeting the parents." Now, Anthony met my mom, dad, and siblings long ago when we were dating for about a year. That is pretty normal considering my family is about 2,500 miles away from us. I met Anthony's mom and brothers in Novebmer of 2006 just 5 months into us dating..however..I have never met Anthony's dad.

To say that Anthony and his dad have issues would be an understatement. They haven't spoken consistently for years and it seems they are both a bit stubborn about it. I have wanted to meet Alford (Anthony's dad) for the whole duration of our dating/married life. Finally that is going to happen. Next Friday we are going to have dinner up in North Hollywood with his dad and stepmom Kaye. I am really looking forward/feeling awkward about meeting his father. In one way I am so excited to finally put the pieces together and meet the entire DNA that is my husband. The other part of me is really feeling awkward since me and this man already share a last name and he has never seen my face.

We have spoken on the phone twice and it was very brief but overall he has been very pleasant and kind to me and has been really pressing to meet me. I am feeling a bit nervous because I know that Anthony has unresolved issues with him and he with Anthony so therefore there might be a little stickiness in the situation. I am just hoping for a really nice dinner with his dad and step mom and hopefully there will be some fences mended in the mean time. I am looking forward to finally having a father in law. Anthony's mom is married and her husband is really nice to me as well so I have sort of had a Father in Law all along but there is no substitute for meeting the man who gave my husband his beautiful smile and sparkly brown eyes. Anthony is an exact replica of his dad (I have seen pictures) and I am really excited to see them together.

This is the next big piece of news for the Lewis family and it seems like it's so long overdue. I'll keep the blog posted on how it goes and maybe I'll post a picture of the twins (Anthony and his dad) too so you can see what I mean! Keep your fingers crossed, pray for us, etc... that it all goes well and isn't too awkward.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Keep us in your prayers

I just wanted to write on the blog and ask that those of you who have a prayer life...say a few prayers for Anthony and I as we approach Jamie's due date. Our first little one would have been due February 15th and it is really a tender subject right now. We are working through it but it is especially hard as we would be meeting our sweet baby and now we are just empty. I thank you all for your support through this struggle and just ask for your prayers in these next few weeks.



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fixing our car and getting out of storage!

So the last time I wrote getting rid of the storage unit was an idea. It has now become a success. Last weekend Anthony and I rented a U-Haul truck for the day and emptied out the storage unit within a few hours. We brought a number of things to our apartment (which is now a different project altogether) and took some of the bigger items that aren't used normally to his mother's garage. I am so grateful that she let us store that stuff there because to be honest, we are running out of room.

Another cool thing that happened with this shift in money-saving is that Anthony and I fixed my car this last weekend by ourselves. My car has been acting kind of crazy for a few months and we knew it needed routine things like an oil change, new windshield wipers, and a few light bulbs and things but something more serious was going on with the car. I feared that it was the car slowly dying since I have had it 10 years in May (I bought it new) and it has over 170,000 miles. Well it turns out it was nothing just needed new spark plugs and wires. I learned how to install new spark plugs and wires on
and Anthony and I did it with success and now the car is running perfectly.

Let me just take a few minutes to absolutely praise my little Cavalier. I bought it on May 25,2000 and it was brand new. I put all but 8 miles on my car. I drove it off the lot with 8 miles on it and it was mine after that. I have done all of the routine maintenance on time on the car and all I have ever replaced on the car came from normal wear and tear. It has been a gem to me over the years and continues to be even in its twilight years! :)

Anyway, the car is fixed and we feel great about ourselves. We checked into what money we saved by doing this simple repair ourselves and found that we would have paid our normal mechanic about $300 to replace the plugs and wires including parts and labor. We did it for about $30 total. It is crazy to me that it made that much difference.

Another thing that we did this week was check out a new grocery store that I heard about called The Grocery Outlet It is a lower cost grocery store that sells overstock of name brand items for 40%-60% off of regular store prices. We ended up supplying our house for Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner and household items for 1 month for the bargain price of $140.00. I mean really??? That is crazy.

God has really been helping us figure all of this out and I am actually having fun learning how to be more frugal and a better steward of what he has trusted me with. The next goal is to get that cable/internet bill down and start paying significantly on the debt. Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Slimming it down

For once this post is not about losing weight in the Lewis Family. Today Anthony and I had a "family meeting" of sorts and came to the conclusion that we have to really work on our financial health this year. When I went into my last year of Graduate School Anthony decided that he would ask me to stop working and focus on school and he would take care of the bills. That was all well and good except that we didn't make any changes to our spending. We kept spending the same amount and we quickly got into debt. We used Credit cards when we couldn't afford things, were late on our bills, got behind and now we are just in a really bad place.

We both knew it was time to stop doing the things that we had before and start being financially mature. The first steps we took were to stop spending money on things like dining out and starbucks. We have been pretty good about this for the past several months. We still were hesistant to cut out any more of our lives as we were very selfish. Now we have decided that we need to cut down our monthly expenses considerably and start paying on debt more seriously. It has been hard since my caseload is taking a while to build and since we only have one car working, a full time job for me is hard to do.

Today I started this process by immediately cutting down our cell phone plan by $100 per month. This alone will save us $1200 this year. That is amazing. The second thing I did was to cut down our netflix account. I got that bill lowered by $15 per month equaling $180 this year. The third thing we are working on is our cable/internet plan which we currently pay about $100 per month for. I would like to lower that by at least 50%. Another course of action that we want to do is get rid of our storage unit. We got the storage unit when Anthony moved out of LA and we have paid about $160 a month for it for 2 years. It was such wasted money because if Anthony actually loved and needed those things why are they sitting and collecting dust? We are going down next week on Anthony's day off and emptying out what we can with the car and then following up with a truck and brining my bike to our house. That will save us $1920 this year!!!!!

All of that to say we are also planning to lower our utility bills by being wiser with energy, lowering our grocery bill even more (although we are very good about this), and reducing our use of gas by taking walks to Wal-mart & Target instead of driving when we need only a few items...we get exercise that way and save Gas. We live very close to so many places that this would be great. We are right next door to CVS so sometimes we are literally steps away from the things we need.

I am going to use our family blog to show you the savings each and every day that something changes. I am going to use it as a place to show how I manage our grocery budget, free things that are out there, ideas for reducing debt, etc... I figure if we need this makeover, many do. I am excited yet very nervous for my self-discipline and financial maturity to begin. God is doing big things with my 30th year!