Tuesday, January 30, 2018

KariLife.com Has Moved!

Hey guys! I'm super excited about the newest development in the blog world! After being with Blogger since, 2006, I decided it was time to move to a self-hosted format. That said, this blog will stay here, but I am now posting at a new location: www.lifekaristyle.com! It will be the same great content, only with more flexibility! And posts are already flowing over there! If you haven't seen it, go give it a look! I'll be posting at least 5 times a week! WHOA! My fingers won't know what hit them!

If you have subscribed with karilife.com and have been receiving email updates, you will have to resubscribe with lifekaristyle.com. Sorry for the inconvenience, however, the subscription plugins won't allow for mass transfer of the sort. You each have to opt-in again to stay connected.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line at kari@karilife.com! Hope you like our new digs!

Monday, January 22, 2018

My eBook: How to Deal with Medical Bills

For the past year, I've been sitting on something I've just been too intimidated to follow through with. However, in this New Year, I was determined to do things I've put off and not let anything hold me back. That said, I published my very first ebook based on my professional experience and knowledge over the past 14 years.

If you weren't already aware, I started working for a doctor as a receptionist just out of high school. Before I knew it, I was learning everything I could about medical billing and administration and had a knack for it. Fast-forward to about 3 years ago, and I was managing the billing operations for multiple doctor's offices. Eventually, I got to the point where I deeply desired to work for myself and put the skills that I'd obtained over the years to use on behalf of the patient. So a little over a year ago, I started KHC Medical Billing Advocates. I look for clients who are having a hard time with medical debt and I work to eradicate it.

It was also clear that sometimes people wanted to advocate for themselves and just didn't know where to start. That's when I wrote, "How to Deal with Medical Bills".  I've literally been sitting on this book for a year and finally decided to just bite the bullet and get it out there. Thus, I have now published my very first ebook! It is only $2.99 and is a quick, but thorough read written to help take you through the process of advocating for yourself step by step when it comes to medical expenses. You can grab it here:

If you live in the United States and find the system of healthcare hard to navigate, consider reading through this ebooklet. Let me know if it has helped you or feel free to review it on Amazon!

Here's to more tasks I've been too intimidated to do being done in 2018!

Monday, January 15, 2018

How to Get Free Starbucks (Whenever You Want)

Coming into 2018, most everyone has those goals they want to try to accomplish with the promise of a new year and clean slate. Well, instead of New Years Resolutions, I've had New Years Realizations. My point was to look back over the year and see if there were things I did or didn't do that might've been less than pleasing to me in retrospect. One of those things was my Starbucks spending. While I'd significantly decreased the amount of money I was spending going to Starbucks, even $25 a month seemed like too much. So, I decided to come up with a way to still be able to go to Starbucks nearly whenever I wanted and not spend any money doing it. So far, it's possible. As of today, I've had 4 Starbucks drinks that would've totaled $17.53, but have not spent any of my hard-earned pay on any of it.  So how did I do it? See my YouTube video below or just keep reading!

1.) Sign up for Starbucks Rewards and Get the App!

Starbucks Rewards comes with several perks. First of all, you get a free drink on your birthday! Secondly, you are able to earn free drinks by getting and redeeming stars for every purchased drink. You get 2 stars for each $1 spent. Once you obtain 125 stars, you can redeem them for a free drink or pastry.

2.) Participate in Starbucks Campaigns

Whether it's the games Starbucks for Life or Starbucks Bingo, or maybe it's just their special bonus star days, make your visits go a little further by participating during these times. You earn your stars faster which add up to free drinks!

3.) Register your Starbucks gift cards

Whether it's a birthday or special event, you're bound to get a Starbucks gift card at some point. Register those cards on your Starbucks rewards to make sure you are earning stars when you use them.

4.) Get Your Kicks!

Shopkick is the app I use to get Starbucks gift cards every week. You don't have to make any purchases, you simply walk into designated stores and scan certain items. The shopkicks add up and after you get 1250 (which happens faster than you think), you can redeem them for Starbucks gift cards. While you can redeem them for other gift cards, this is what I use to fund my Starbucks trips! Sign up here and get 250 kicks for signing up! Then you're well on your way to your first gift card!

And that's it...my hard-earned money stays in my pocket while I'm enjoying my favorite Starbucks drink!

What's your favorite Starbucks drink? How much money could you save every year using these tips?

Check out my YouTube video here and don't forget to subscribe for more awesome tips!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our Minimalist Adventures & Dealing with Stress

Back in July, I updated you on some of our progress since moving to Missouri to pastor a small church with my husband. As most of you already know, there were some issues in the beginning (being broken into, the buildings needing repair, etc). Progress since has been fairly slow. We've still been unable to move into the parsonage to date. However, we're still being very diligent.

This past month, we discovered a gas leak in the line leading from the church to the parsonage. The gas has been turned off to both buildings pending the fix. Luckily, we haven't been in need of gas considering we're still in the warmer months and haven't moved into the parsonage yet. However, this will need to be fixed soon as fall turns into winter rather quickly in the midwest.

We've continued making progress on the kitchen in the parsonage with the help of my very handy parents. The dry wall and insulation has been replaced, electrical boxes added where wires had once been hanging freely and new GFCI outlets have been installed for safety. The next step is to finish painting the cabinets, tile the backsplash, and replace stove top, sink and counter tops. It seems like a lot, but I feel like things in that particular area of the house are about to move a little faster.

Some of the mess we found...

Took the kitchen down to the studs...

Replaced the insulation...

Current view of kitchen with new outlets installed and dry wall...

To add to all that, D and I were out meeting up with my grandparents for lunch last week and D's finger accidentally got caught in the car door. This wasn't just one of those bruising situations. No...this was lacerations and a break in the tip of the small finger on his left hand (I'll spare you the pictures). After a painful trip to Urgent Care, we followed up with a hand specialist who is keeping a close watch to make sure it heals properly. Needless to say, D hasn't been able to do much physical stuff per the doctor to allow the finger the best chance at healing. A round of antibiotics, finger splint and daily cleaning and changing the dressings is what we're having to do at the current moment.  He's been having to sleep in a recliner to keep from rolling over on that hand in the middle of the night. I hurt for him and have been doing my best to be a caring and supportive wife through the pain and frustration.

As I shared before, we took this church on faith and without a salary. We've been living off of money we can make minimizing things as well as on the kindness and support of others. We've really been in awe at how many wonderful people have supported us in prayer, elbow grease, and financial support. I don't think we could've made it without them. In addition to that, I have been working both businesses KHC Medical Billing Advocates and Dress Up Your Cup. Most days I can deal with having little, but other times I miss the steady paychecks. At any rate and in whatever mindset I'm in, I've learned I need to find ways to better handle my stress.

One of the biggest stress relievers is my crafting. While I do this to make a little money on the side, the actual creating process is good for me. Here is one of my recent creations! You can get them one my Etsy shop: Dress Up Your Cup

Secondly, I decided to tackle an item on my 40 by 40 Bucket List: Learning to enjoy exercising. I've decided to do the 30-Day Yoga Challenge. I found a great series on YouTube and have completed day 1 and 2 on the back deck of my parent's house. You can join in on the fun as well: 30-Day Yoga Challenge: Day 1 I've learned that I need to take a few moments of silence, breathe and stretch. While this did work some of my muscles, I finished feeling a little more relaxed and a little less stressed. It was also nice to be outside in the fresh air while I was doing it. I'm hoping for the next 30 days, I'll start to look forward to this time and get in a habit of doing something physical every day. Yoga seems like a great way to start: super slow and super easy.

Being still for a minute...

August went pretty fast to say the least. Lots of hard work, a little bit of fun, a rained out total eclipse and a finger break. We're still standing and still believing this is exactly where God wants us to be in each ebb and flow of the journey.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Answer to Hate

Over the past week, I've had time to think about the events in Charlottesville and the current status of our society. A lot of fingers get pointed.  We see a lot of posts about love and acceptance and standing up for the marginalized. That's all great, but we sometimes fail to see the answer right in front of our faces. We've failed to understand the true definition of love and fail miserably when we try to label hate. I'm not an innocent party in all of this. I've missed the mark so many times. However, if we all tried a little harder and dug a little deeper, we could make a difference. Let me take a second to share exactly what I'm certain we need to do to combat hate.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Love is patient..." Love might be patient, but are you? Slow traffic. Long lines. Just a couple of things that seem to test our patience. The other day I watched a car speed past a slower moving car and cut them off. Both drivers held up "that finger" at the other. Yeah...that pretty much sums up the times we're living in. If you truly want to display love (and inspire others to do the same), be patient. Show grace.

"...love is kind." Pretty self-explanatory there. Love holds the door for the person following. Love lends a smile. Love responds in kindness even when faced with the opposite. Do you?

"It does not envy..." The grass always seems so much greener on the other side. Stop looking at how the neighbor's grass looks and start watering yours! And for goodness sake, stop throwing sand in your neighbor's yard out of your jealousy! Trying to sabotage someone else's success to make you feel better is hate and things like that are done out of envy.  Start focusing on what YOU have and less on what everyone else does.

"It does not boast, it is not proud." And once you have that nice, green grass, stop rubbing it in the noses of the people around you. It's one thing to be excited about the highs in your life, it's another thing to gloat and showboat. Think about it this way...if you boast, you'll likely make someone envy. And these days, that can get sand thrown your direction. It's like telling a homeowner not to leave the box for their big screen TV at the curb for the trashman...you're just inviting someone to come in and try to steal your new TV!

"It does not dishonor others..." That's right...love honors the other person ABOVE YOURSELF! Regardless of what a person looks like, believes or does...love gives honor. These days, if we disagree with someone, we would never think to give them the best seat at the table. But love does. You want to stop hate? Start showing some respect to EVERYONE regardless of if you see eye to eye or not.

"...it is not self-seeking." Love doesn't say, "Because I'm in a hurry, I'm going to disregard everyone else and do what I need to do for my own benefit and comfort." No, love actually cares about the needs and desires of others. Do you? Have you allowed your own agenda to get in the way of truly loving those around you?

"It is not easily angered..." Love doesn't get all twisted up if you look at it wrong. Nope, it just keeps on being love. It keeps on being good. Do you?

"...it keeps no record of wrongs." Things that happened in the past? Yeah...love doesn't hold that against you. Love forgets all that mess and moves forward as if those wrongs don't exist. It doesn't make you pay. It doesn't leave the wrong-doer in debt. Nope, it writes that debt off and keeps on loving.

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." I think we can all agree that lies are evil. Lies that tells us we're not good enough. Lies that tells us we're less than. Well, love calls those things evil and embraces the truth. And love certainly does not cover up the truth in lies.

"It always protects..." When love sees someone being mistreated, it steps in. Love provides safe arms. Do you?

"...always trusts..." Love doesn't give a side eye to someone who looks different. Love doesn't suddenly get all scared that what looks different will bring harm.  Love chooses to trust and if an outside force breaks that trust, love gets up and dusts itself off. Do you?

"...always hopes..." Chalking all the hate up to "It'll never change! It'll only get worse!" doesn't seem so hopeful. Choose to see the potential we all have together. That's what love does.

"...always perseveres..." Love keeps trying even when it seems like it's not getting the results it hopes for.

"Love never fails." That's why we're failing...because we aren't truly loving. But if we start to truly love, I think we'll find it doesn't fail.

And that leads us to the bottom line of all of this. Our world needs Christ...the ultimate example and embodiment of love. He is all of the above and we should make it our aim and goal to look like a mirror image of Him.

That's the answer. It's not some complicated algorithm. Love doesn't have to say, "I'm not a racist." Love doesn't have to say, "I don't hate that person." In fact, love is pretty evident. So stop defending yourself with words and start living out love. It's a verb. It's an action. And it's also a choice. Today, I choose to be the best example of love I can be to every human I come in contact with. Do you?