I can’t wait for you to get to know my guest on this post! Her name is Keturah Franklin and she blogs over at Gently Defined Mama. Trust me when I tell you the pics of her kids are amazing on Instagram and she definitely has a sense of style, but that’s not what first got my attention about her. I caught my first glimpse of her on Anthony O’Neal’s Instagram feed where he was celebrating her because she and her amazing husband, Kevin, PAID OFF THEIR HOUSE!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. They. Paid. Off. Their. HOUSE!
She was gracious enough to let me pick her brain on this subject, and I can tell you she is brilliant! Stick around and read to the bottom because you will definitely find her to be as inspirational as I do.
Without further ado, here is her interview:
Keturah, would you please tell us a little about your family (Husband, kids, ages, where you live, etc.)?
I married my husband Kevin Franklin on August 20, 2004. I never would have thought he even was interested in me if he hadn’t asked me to prom my senior year of high school. He spent the next several years reminding me of his intentions to be my husband. We talked often during college, even though we were in different states; he even sent me a gift during that time. Yet the turning point in our relationship was when I left school and returned home to help my parents. He sent me a letter stating his desire to marry me once he graduated from Purdue University. That letter reminded me of middle school when I watched him walk down the hallway with his best friend and I thought “I need to marry a guy like that.” I laughed at that moment and knew I could be with him forever. This summer will be 14 years married and it gets more and more beautiful each year. We now live in Seattle, WA with our 5 beautiful babies; Macaiah (11), Levi (8), Caleb (7), Eli (4), Ava (18 months).
What prompted you to begin your journey to debt freedom and most recently to pay off your house?
We had been saving for years to purchase a home with cash, but here in Seattle the housing market is expensive and the amount we needed to save to purchase a home with cash kept changing. So, after renting for so many years we hit a cross road when our monthly rental expense was more a payment would have been if we had borrowed for a home. So we decided to look into decreasing our monthly housing costs by purchasing a home. We decided, though that anything we purchased had to be paid in full within 4 years.
Tell us how paying off your house has affected your everyday lives.
For years, my husband has been working 6-7 days a week to provide for our family. Loving his job has helped make his work schedule easier, but now we no longer need him to work such long hours. Since paying off the house, he has cut his hours and he is at home more than ever. It was harder to get my husband to help with everyday tasks before we paid off our debt. But, now I enjoy watching him change my daughters’ diapers, put the children to sleep, and pray over them at night. To see him lead as a father in new ways brings me to tears and adds so much joy to my heart. There is a new confidence I see in him as father and as husband. There is another set of eyes focused on raising our children and that has taken a part of the weight off of me. The same confidence I see in him, I feel within myself to lead my home to new heights.
What impact do you see your financial journey having on your family’s future?
· DREAM – I believe debt robbed us of pursuing our dreams. Now I believe that my family is in a position to dream, and dream big. I felt God point me to Matt 15:27 which says “…even the dogs eat the crumbs from the masters table.” He was reminding me that no longer do we have to receive the scraps or a portion of what rightfully ours, or support someone else’s vision, but we can pursue our own. I have been able to open up the dream journals that had been put on a shelf and dust them off and now those dreams are bearing fruit. We can sit at the table and allow others to eat from the excess in our hands. And we can surround ourselves with people who can help us in accomplishing our dreams.
· COMMUNITY – Before, I didn’t have the opportunity to travel and invest into relationships the way I’ve desired too. Last month I had the opportunity to take my first trip and it was great sitting with those I love and loving on them. It’s refreshing, and I want to do more of it. I have always had a vision of having my home as a gathering place for people to be loved, encouraged, and refreshed. I plan to pursue that.
· ENTREPENUERSHIP – My husband and I both have the desire to also start our own business. I know being debt free has opened up our hearts to pursue and invest into the different ideas we have had for years. It’s pretty exciting!!!
· PERSONAL GROWTH – Lastly it has helped us focus on other personal goals, such as growing in our marriage, eating healthier and spending more time together. We can focus on setting goals I don’t think we would have worked on otherwise. Some of those things I don’t think we even thought about until now. Our eyes are now opened to seeing new things that we never saw before. Its exciting to have our minds work together on accomplishing things in life outside of paying off debt and traditional everyday things.
Now that you are debt free, including your mortgage, what is next?
I believe it is now time to lay a foundation for starting our own businesses and investing in those around us. My husband has always wanted to start his own company and invest into educating and equipping men to be great leaders in their homes. I have always wanted to have a home business as well. I would love for my home to be an open door for women to receive wisdom, guidance and encouragement so they can become great leaders in their communities. I feel I have lacked that as a mother and haven’t felt like I have had many people who have believed in me. I have felt alone to navigate my way through that part of life and it has been hard journey. I wish I had the wisdom I have now when I was first married and guidance from a community around me to help me on this journey. So I would love to give back in that way.
What would you say to encourage someone else on his or her way to financial freedom?
There is such freedom that has come with being free of debt. It has forced me to put things in their proper place, and I now have a better perspective about life. It has helped take the pressure off and allowed me to love who I am, what I am, and also what I am not. It forced me to look in the mirror and speak life over myself, and call out to my Father to hear HIM remind me of how priceless I am. When money is in GOD’s hands, it is in its rightful place. It has opened up my eyes to see the true beauty in my life. It has forced me to see how powerful and beautiful I am. I am a daughter made in the image of God, full of purpose and passion. I have a light He desires to share with the world. I can now walk unashamed of that light, hoping someone will see that beauty and their life will be changed as a result.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I’ve spent so many years serving from a place of brokenness because I was trying to do what those around me were doing. Now I don’t care!!! I’m living for Keturah and asking God for help each day as I pursue being my best self. I am hoping he will surround me with people who believe in me, and will help sharpen me on the way. My hope is, through my journey, others can walk into this same light and their world be changed as well. I now get to live out my dreams and inspire my children to do the same. They now have a seat at the table too.
I hope you enjoyed my interview with this amazing woman! Keturah and Kevin were already on the right track, so kudos to them. But if her story resonated with you, if you want to be where she is – not only changing her life, but the lives of her family, children, and community, give me a call! My job is to help you live your best financial life, so you can change the world. Sound a bit dramatic? Keturah and Kevin are living that way right now and they’re just getting started!
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