Flame Is Still Burning

Here we are – two months after MrTB4M left corporate America. Guess what? It has been OK. Sure, there have been things that have changed. But, there are many things that haven’t changed. AND several things that have changed without anyone being aware of that.

We were planners and budgeters before MrTB4M left his job – and this continues. While the amount coming in has changed, the amount distributed to out household budget is as we had planned. We still designate for charity and college and savings and vacations. We have slacked on our date nights. While we were in the thick of planning for the FIRE date, we would go one night a week for a late coffee – not so much about the coffee, but for the time to connect with each other. Once we reached the goal, we let this date night slide….and we need to get back into that groove!

MrTB4M and the kids have gotten better about doing things like laundry and cleaning during the day while I am at work and a few days a week they even cook dinner. Most of the time I even get home to a dishwasher that has been emptied and things put away – thank you! There is just something about going home to find a dishwasher filled with dished from the night before that sends me over the edge.

So, what exactly is MrTB4M doing? A TON of different things! For started 3 days a week he teaches driver’s education or personal finance at 3 local homeschool co-ops. Then there is also the driving business – 8JS – now has full time availability. His goal is something like 5 lessons per week…..most weeks he has twice that. Then there is school for the kids. MrTB4M is now the “teacher”. I am still the planner/organizer and I still prep and oversee most things. But, once I get things ready for MrTB4M he is willing to give it a shot. The kids have been doing “school” for two weeks and we are not behind! Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t get behind – it just means right now we are not behind. I am the first to admit that we have had weeks where we were behind before Monday ended (and maybe before Monday started). But, so far this is not the case this year.

I still feel like MrTB4M and I overthink a lot of things. We spend a lot of time analyzing and discussing “what if we would have” or “do you think we should”; sometimes to a point that we forget to enjoy the present moment.

Overall at two months in I feel like we have had far fewer worries than I imagined. As I sit here this morning listening to the rain it is comforting to know that our FIRE is still burning!


So far…..So good

MrTB4M is now almost two months into his work optional lifestyle and we are at almost one month post vacation – which means he has had nearly a whole month to get adjusted to the new him. And we have had nearly a whole month to enjoy the “new him”. 

To start with he is happier than he has been in a long time – he smiles, he laughs, he is relaxed, and he tolerates things a whole lot better. He is coaching 4 soccer teams (J3, J4, J7, and J8) and the business is holding its own.

As far as the business, there still has not been official advertisement – mostly word of mouth or people stumbling across old contact information from prior homeschool forum postings. You might ask how that is working. Well – pretty well; he has had weeks with 17 lessons and weeks with 9. This week is lower with only 5, but he also started teaching one of his co-op classes this week and started school with our own kids too. We have a couple of advertisement things in the works – a new Facebook page is coming as well as some signage on the car. But, reality is so far we are fine without it and it is STILL work optional as planned.

J2 has returned to school and is inundated with all things football as we anxiously wait to see which squad he is placed on. He isn’t expecting to gain much playing time this year, but is remaining interested and is actively working with the trainers to improve. J1 moves back to college this weekend. AND yesterday MRTB4M had a full day of school with the rest of the crew. Things went well and everyone was still smiling when I got home. So far…..so good!

st footballtruman



It’s Going!

One thing we seem to be asked quite often is “How is it going?”  Now, this isn’t the casual “Hi, how is it going?”  This is the “we really thought you were crazy and want to prove ourselves right” kind of “How’s it going?” 

Last week was the first real week we could even entertain answering that – the rest of the FIRE time has been spent prepping for vacation and vacationing.

But, last week was IT! I was at work and MRTB4M was at home. So, how was it going?

Well, he was busy all day Sunday getting things set up for the week. His goal was 10 driving lessons – by the end of the week he had 14. So far so good. Routines were starting to get established, chores being ironed out, the house was still standing at the end of day 1J

Day 2 made MrTB4M question himself – “is this a sign or is this a test?” You see, Monday evening there was a slight issue with the new car, a curb, some mulch, and a tree as a new driver mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake pedal. Yikes! Luckily, there really wasn’t much physical damage and MrTB4M was able to encourage his student and get them back in the car.

Well, that brings us to Tuesday – and MrTB4M and J3 are headed to soccer practice. Then the phone rings – uh, oh! The car “is dead”. Luckily it is the old car and not the new one; but, it was J3’s car and we just had $700 worth of work done to it. No time to think of that now – they are on the side of the highway with a vehicle overheating and no transmission and need a ride. I load everyone up and start the route that MrTB4M gave me – half way there J3 calls. They have managed to get the car moving again and so my route changes. AND then J3 calls again, MrTB4M is continuing to “Press His Luck” – so the route changed again. AND then again and again. Before the evening was done – MrTB4M had managed to get the vehicle and J3 home about 20 minutes before I managed to complete the circuit drive. Not exactly what I had planned for the night!

Back to back issues caused him to wonder if we had really made the right decision to drop to one constant income. Luckily it was our night for Adoration. A solid hour of quiet prayer and the doubt was no longer front and center.

Jokingly we asked each other what Wednesday could possibly bring for our 3rd test.

NEVER…..NEVER….NEVER – ask this question! Sure enough there was a 3rd thing directly involving MrTB4M. The good news was that it had nothing to do with vehicles. The bad news was that the hammock chair MrTB4M was relaxing in came crashing down causing his bottom side to meet the concrete patio in an up close and personal sort of way.

At this point, Thursday can only get better!

SO – “how is it going?” “It” is fine – we have had a few glitches; some unexpected events; and some actual PAIN. But, we made it through last week and have started a new week. The business is at risk of being “too” busy and the kids are almost enjoying MrTB4M being home more (and it would be an all-out enjoyment if it weren’t for the chores). Every major change needs an adjustment period – and this is ours. Time will tell what tweaks we might need to make in “our plan”.

A New Chapter Begins

Tomorrow officially begins a new chapter for us.  While MrTB4M has been “unemployed” since the 21st of June, it has not impacted anything at home since we were on vacation since July 3rd.  He purposefully did not schedule many driving lessons prior to this week so that he could enjoy vacation.

We came back 3 days early to spend some time with J2; and to catch up on some things here – license plate renewals; car titles for the business; odds and ends around the house.  AND – we were all starting to feel the stress of the crowded RV in the northeast….this was a trip full of mishaps and stress and we were ready to be done.

However, tomorrow – I go back to work.  I am not looking forward to the 0420 alarm at all; but, it is what has to be done.  MrTB4M has 13 lessons scheduled for the upcoming week – 3 over his goal of 10/week.  He has blocked Tuesday for a dentist appointment (himself) and a physical exam (J3).  Possibly he will also take care of finishing the dual enrollment process with J3 for the fall semester.

It will be interesting to see how this week goes – to see how the routine settles for us.  Sadly, this is also the last week J2 is home.  He has to move back to school on Sunday, the 28th to prep for football camps.  He has really had a short summer – productive, but short.

We managed to get MrTB4M to FIRE – and have discussed moving to get me there as well.  As always, we will take it one day at a time!


We Made it!


Officially, the loooonnnngg journey ended on 06-21-2019. MrTB4M left corporate America in search of more. More time at home, more freedom, and more happiness. That day was a bit nostalgic; there may have been a few moments of second guessing – but, the decision was made and there was no turning back.

long road

Now, here we are just about 12 days later. AND today, MrTB4M is out picking up our RV rental for our 17 day vacation. YES! We are still going on vacation, even after he quit his job. That is part of the planning and being purposeful with our treasures. Now we enjoy.

I am sure the next few months will bring many things to write on as we all adjust to our “new” lives on FIRE. Until then, you can check out the travel page of our blog as I will be updating regularly (as regularly as spotty WIFI allows) as we knock off 8 more states on our bucket list. I have no doubt that 9 (or 10) people in a 30 foot RV on a road trip spanning at least 3,000 miles (by the time we return) will be filled with fun, fights, fears, and failed plans. Luckily, I am confident that the trip will also be filled with an abundance of opportunity to embrace our continued journey to Time B4 Money.


The Finish Line…..The Start Line


After YEARS of planning and months of anticipation – Thursday, June 6, 2019, will be a day to remember. June 6, 2019 was the day MrTB4M made the call to resign from corporate work. Of course, his boss was tied up all day and didn’t return his call that day – and the anticipation GREW. Friday morning could not get here soon enough. There was a sense of nervousness about the house Thursday night and Friday morning; but above that was a sense of peace.

That sense of peace was confirmation that this was definitely what we were supposed to do. AND then, it happened! The phone call was made – the date set……June 21, 2019 will be the last day.

outta here

Honestly, it wasn’t that easy! There was turmoil and a bit of self-doubt. There is a bit of sadness leaving a job after 14 years; some nostalgia about “the good times”; co-workers to leave behind; “stuff” to be purged after 14 years of accumulating work items. But, man has the tone in our house been a whole lot different. Even our “big” boys congratulated MrTB4M on the resignation. We reached the finish line!



So, what next? We reached the starting line!



8JS Driver Training is going to launch daytime hours.


Notice, not “launch full time” – we don’t need it to be full time. This is just a little extra income that one day may provide the means for us to both be home full time.


Truly, our journey is nowhere near being over – but, the sense of accomplishment is huge. We are a family of 10 that has defied societal norms in so many ways: we have 8 children (who does that anymore?); we homeschool; we practice our faith openly; we choose to sacrifice gadgets and treats for time and experiences; and most recently we are on FIRE.

Next up – vacation. The RV trip to the northeast. We cannot wait! AND then it will be back to the planning board – after all we will need to strategize so that I can join MrTB4M in early retirement.

Full House For Summer

We have officially had our house “full” again for two weeks. J1 and J2 are back for the summer, everyone has switched back to their normal bedrooms – and the house is FULL. Remember, we have a 1000 square foot home – and now 10 people. But, this full house is refreshing (when I ignore the mounds of things thrown haphazardly along the floor or the fact that my food pantry is empty as quick as I can fill it)!

We are working on getting our summer groove. J2 started his internship at a bottling company. The hours are early (he has to get up at 5 am – and for a young college boy this is torture) and the warehouse is hot. But, he knows the opportunity is good and the pay will definitely help with tuition in the fall. This week he adds football weight training back into his schedule, so I bet he will really be wiped out by the end of the week.

Since we won’t have a “family” vacation, we splurged this weekend and took the kids to Branson. A nice condo rental on Tablerock Lake over the 3 day weekend was what we needed.


We spent most of the weekend outdoors enjoying the lake, the pool, playing mini golf, and riding the Branson Alpine Coaster (worth the splurge!). Sunday we celebrated MrTB4M’s birthday with homemade spaghetti and meatballs (his request) and birthday cake. We even managed to sneak his gifts down without him finding them.


It was refreshing to have two days to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Now we are all back at the grind. MrTB4M is still planning to work in the basement – although he says that there is something tolerable about the job since he knows it is no longer necessary; I am still on my four ten hour shift routine; J2 is up and at them early again today; J1 and J3 are headed to the greenhouse; J4 starts her babysitting job today; and my little ones are kicking off their summer reading program from the library – I am not above using silly prizes to keep them motivated to read this summer.

Next week starts vacation planning (there is some strategy involved to hauling 9 of us to the northeast in an RV); school planning; and co-op class planning. Of course there are also the summer projects (gardening and home wish list) to keep us busy. That is one thing for sure, our family never lacks opportunity – because we know that we can always create an opportunity for ourselves.


We Made It

We have hit the goal – MrTB4M can leave his corporate job. But, he hasn’t. In fact, I am pretty sure that he talks less about “when” he will leave now than he did before we got to this point. We have spent the better part of a year talking dates and strategizing to move them up.

Yet, two weeks ago we hit the “target” – the ears were all down. Vacations were planned and budgeted; college funds in line with what we needed; budgets in place for home and car repair; roof and gutters replaced – the list goes on. Guess what?! MrTB4M is still working at the table in our basement.

You may ask what “changed”? I know I do! The best I can tell is that the freedom of knowing his job isn’t “needed” has possibly taken some of the stress out of it and MrTB4M is plugging right along. He is still growing his driving business and cannot keep up with the demand.

The older boys are working their way home for the summer. J1 came back over the weekend and asked when MrTB4M “finally quit”. Then he thought I was joking when I said he hadn’t. You see, EVERYONE in the house was on board with the change……..and we are all still waiting.

J2 finished finals this week and starts an internship on Monday. So, he will be home about 4 days before starting a full time internship. This is a great opportunity, but it also means he won’t be taking vacation with us this year. For the FIRST time ever, we will not be traveling as a family. This is definitely bittersweet (and maybe more so for MrTB4M than me). We have raised the kids to grow up, become productive citizens, and be self-sufficient (at least we hope). But, vacation without one of them????? This is a whole new feeling. The up side is that I have something to write about other than a spinning ride of indecisiveness!  The down side is that I have to write about adjusting to doing things with only “part” of the family!

Riding the Teacups


I know most of you have seen these rides and some of you may even have caved in and ridden a few times with the kids. For me, there is instant anxiety over these spinning rides; I know the kids will want to ride, I know the kids can’t wait in long lines by themselves, I know I have some little ones that need a parent to ride with them, and I KNOW once the ride starts I will feel that the circular spin will continue long after the ride is over.

Unfortunately, at this moment, our life journey is rather “tea cup ride like”. For those that follow us, you know we have been counting down to the big day – the day MRTB4M leaves corporate constraints and becomes a work optional driving instructor. AND just to update that situation, we are at 47 Mickey outlines…..so it is super CLOSE. In fact, over the past month we really tightened up our allocations to speed this up. We were set!


Then the demon of doubt crept in. I had forecasted this would happen – so I was slightly prepared for this. But, man has it been tough. The “one more thing” monster and the “what if monster” have multiplied faster than I could imagine. It has been so bad I couldn’t even write about it……how many times do people really want to read this? But, it is reality. We made a decision, we planned, we followed the plan, we adjusted the plan, we re-evaluated the plan, and we were in full execution mode…and wham! The brick wall of doubt/fear/uncertainty rose to meet us head on.


So, that is where we are – somewhere between our dream and a wall. I am confident that our prayers will be answered and we will be “gently” guided to resolution in the next few weeks. Until then, we will just hang on tight and try to enjoy the ride!


Which Way Do We Go?

From the beginning of this journey we knew it wouldn’t be easy. We knew it was about buckling down, making choices others wouldn’t, and staying the course. We also knew that the course would change – that is just how life is!

Two weeks ago May 12th was set to be the final day for MrTB4M to report to work. There was excitement, peace, and fear with that date. Most of all there were smiles from the kids – they knew this meant less stress and more time together. However, if you asked me today what the drop date was, I couldn’t tell you. It has changed almost daily (and sometimes 3-4 times per day). It has been as soon as April 12th and as far out as the end of May.

fork in road

In fairness, some of the date changes are more “thinking out loud” than true date changes. But, the sense of finality is lost. The feeling of achievement is missing. The certainty with which out journey started is now caught up in some strange vortex that mimics the spring weather of the Midwest.


Our journey to time before money has been intense. In many ways we have tread unchartered waters. It has been a challenge. It has been a blessing. The journey has sucked us in. AND, as with everything we face, when the day comes that we have to make the firm decision- we will pray about it and we will take the next leap of faith on our journey.