So, two years ago, we made a big mistake.
I had never earned enough as a writer to be in an income bracket that required me to pay taxes on my royalties, so I went along merrily and naively into the most profitable year that I had ever seen, not paying a penny to the government as I did so. Lo and behold, the government was good to tell me at the beginning of the next year that I owed them a substantial amount of money (they’re good like that!), and after I wrote the check, I told Wes, “Never again! I’m going to do it exactly right next year!”
And guess what? I did just that… kinda. When tax time came around at the beginning of this year, I was confident that I had done my part and that we’d get to call it even for the year. Imagine my surprise when we got a refund! (Yep, I’d paid them too much. Because writers can’t do math, y’all.) And not just any refund. This was an AMAZING refund!
It came at a very providential time as Wes and I had been praying about an opportunity. The years are rushing by with our girls, and as they’re considering their futures and some very big things that God is laying on their hearts, we’ve been eager to give them some experiences in and exposure to the world beyond what they currently know. One place in particular has been on our hearts for a long time, and as we looked at our refund and considered our girls’ ages, we began to wonder if this dream could become a reality and if now was the right time.
We started watching flight prices and began making lists of costs of transportation, tours, lodging, and food, doing our research and telling one another that maybe it was too ambitious. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t in the cards for us. We’re very conservative when it comes to finances (we eat out just one meal a month, for example), so talking through numbers very nearly turned into us talking ourselves out of the whole thing.
And then, one of my books hit number one on Amazon’s Christian Romance chart, something none of my books has ever done. The royalty projections reflected that, showing us numbers that were atypical for me. On the same day, we just happened to be searching for flights (again) and came across a set that was literally half of what we’d been seeing everywhere else.
“Book it! Book it! Book it!” I yelled as soon as Wes showed it to me. We already had the money, providentially overpaid to the government and then back to me (lol!), and my little books that could were still selling like they’d never sold before…
It was like a huge YES from God.
So we did it. We booked the flights. We booked the rest. We booked it all, y’all. And we looked at each other after it was all over, with tears in our eyes, and said, “We’re going to China.”
China!!! What!?! Ana and Emma are going to spend ten days immersed in a new culture, seeing the world up close, and opening themselves up to all kinds of possibilities for the future. I can’t even, y’all. What a dream come true this is for our family! What an answer to prayers that we’ve been praying over our girls their whole lives!
Why do I mention all of this? Why am I explaining it all so thoroughly? Because Wes is a pastor, and someone will inevitably say that the church is paying the pastor too much money. (They really aren’t!) Wes can’t buy new shoes without getting a comment about them. Literally. He replaced his three year old loafers – which were worn out – a few weeks ago, and he got all kinds of comments about the fact that he was wearing new ones and speculation over what they must cost. Seriously. All that said, I don’t want someone working themselves into a tiffy over this, so I’m oversharing how this all became possible.
And I’m sharing it so that our girls, who are beside themselves with glee, can finally tell their friends about their big plans. I’m hoping that by explaining everything up front, no one will say something hurtful to them but will only encourage them and share their enthusiasm for what’s up ahead.
Thank you for bearing with me through this super long explanation! Woo-hoo for big, exciting plans and world-changing moments for the Faulkettes!