Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
I do not fully know or understand why this is happening. But I choose to trust in the One that created me, the One who sustains me each and every day. We plan to fight this disease, and we will give God all the glory He is due along the way.
Visit my Caring Bridge Site to sign up and join me as we pray together for God’s healing.
In His Hands,
Wow, you all listed some great ideas in the comments and a few folks replied back to me through email. I will list them below.
You know, saving money really does have to be a mind set. There are habits that are very simple that could potentially, as a habit, save us quite a bit of dough. You may think that’s only $.30 savings. So I encourage just for 1 month – everytime you think oh that’s only ? cents or dollars – to take that amount and put it in a jar. You will be SHOCKED what it will add up to be. I did it for two weeks and it added up to almost $15. That may not sound like a lot but it’s $30 a month and possibly $360 a year. This is a mind set that could really be beneficial for your saving and your spending.
Here are a few of my savings ideas for today.
1. Check your receipt. At KMart the other day, I won a Cha-Ching reward. I stopped by the next time I as in that area and got my free pack of gum. It’s a stocking stuffer – shhhhhhh! The last time I was at Hallmark I got a print out at the bottom of my receipt to save $2 on my next order. I did forget an ornament that led me back to Hallmark. Because I didn’t put the receipt in my savings book I forgot to use it. Ugggghhhhhh! I know it’s only $2. But $2 here and $2 there adds up after awhile.
2. Use the measurements in the cups or caps that come with your detergents. You will not go through laundry detergent as quickly if you will go by the measurements on the cup. For dish washing detergent, I use a tablespoon to keep me from pouring too much in the sink. For hand washing soap, I’m trying to get everyone in my house to agree that one pump is sufficient. And honestly it’s not that they don’t agree, it’s the action part of it that seems so hard.
3. Drink the water in your glass. How many times do you fix yourself a glass of ice water and then get busy and walk off and leave it. You come back and the ice is melted and so you dump it out and fix yourself another glass of ice water. There is nothing wrong with that water!!! Put another ice cube in it and “bottoms up.”
4. Don’t punch it on the gas pedal when you start off in your car at the stop sign or the red light. This uses much more gas and gains you a fraction of a second if any. Get in the habit of not punching the gas pedal, you will absolutely amazed what it will do for your frame of mind. It’s much more peaceful. (smile)
5. Use old printed pieces of paper for your kids to make art. They can draw on the unprinted side, use it for scraps, or shred it for confetti, gift, or packing filler. This truly beats having to buy it.
6. Make a menu – this really will keep you from buying too much at the grocery store. I don’t assign a meal to each night but at least I can look at the list of meals and know that I have ingredients to make it. This also helps me to switch it up a bit and not cook the same thing all the time, because different items are on sale each week.
Keep the ideas coming and read through the comments you will get some great ideas from those.
One of the ideas that I received on my email is from my friend, Amy, who has introduced me to www.thedollarstretcher.com You will find lots of great savings ideas here. Also I want to recommend Mary Hunt’s book How to Live Your Life Half Price. Her method for buying a car is fabulous!
That’s all for this post, more saving ideas to come. Merry Christmas and Happy Savings!
Yes, I know it’s been awhile, since I blogged. Life got really busy for while and fall is my traveling time. But I actually have said “no” to several things this December in an effort to slow down. Thus a little time to write this post. I had the thought the other day to share some things we are trying to implement in our family as I was explaining to my children why we were having Chicken Pot Pie for the third day in a row. We are using our resources.
Things get tight for people in December. Each year about this time, I find myself thinking of ways to save money. I try to think of new ways and remember the old ones that worked. Throughout the year I get lax about some of these things, as I’m sure most of us do. But seems like a couple of times each year we really have to buckle down with these ideas, and Christmas is one of those times.
So without further adieu here’s some of my “titghten the financial belt” ideas.
1. Eat your leftovers. You heard me. We throw away too much food. Pull up your “big girl” (boy) pants and know that you will not die or get sick from eating Chicken Pot Pie until it’s gone. Eating your leftovers really does keep you from going through your groceries so fast.
2. Wait until it’s on DVD or at least Netflix. Why go pay $10 to $12 for a movie ticket, when I can see five movies in a month through my Netflix account, which is actually less than a movie ticket. Adding more to my savings, my popcorn and drinks aren’t as expensive as the theater’s and I can refill as often as I like.
3. Celebrating the Holidays “in.” We’ve just stayed home this year. My kids have helped me to bake and decorate, we’ve watched movies, and read Christmas stories together. I have loved it! However, there are lots of resources out there to help you find the free things to do during the season if you get cabin fever. It’s just staying in also saves on gas. (smile)
4. I don’t buy as much when I make a list. So I’m making myself take the time to make sure that my coupons and savings deals are in my purse. Making a note on my list next to the items that I have coupons for is also helpful. I’m not talking about grocery coupons. There are many different programs for organizing your grocery coupons, I’m speaking more specifically of non-grocery items that you get coupons for and forget that you have them. Make it a goal not to pay full price for anything.
5. I did an online yard sale. After cleaning out, I listed only the best of items, a description, and the price in a document, and emailed it out to friends. I sold several toys and will enjoy a little extra cash as well as a little more space in the house.
6. Limit snacks and drinks.
- My friend Jaina lets her kids choose three snacks every morning and those are their snacks for the day. This keeps them from over eating and also keeps them from blowing through the stash in the pantry.
- We have told our kids that for every drink they drink, like KoolAide, orange juice, or soda, they must drink a full glass of water. This has kept us from drinking the orange juice each morning until it’s gone. (cha-ching – not buying juice as often) Should be better for their teeth (cha ching – savings, no cavities) and help them to be more healthy. (cha-ching – more savings, no co-pays.)
- My friend LA has gone to water all day except for meal time. You go girl!
- I’m also making my children take their vitamins each morning and echinechea! Yep, I’m going for meanest mother of the year! At least I haven’t made my kids starting counting the number of squares of toilet paper they can use each time they potty! I mean there is a line, right?
7. Save those big shopping bags for garbage bags and use your dryer sheets twice. (OH yeah, meanest mom award is in the bag now!)
8. Instead of buying Christmas boxes I went to my recycle bins. Lots of things fit in shoe boxes and when I ran out yesterday, I went and borrowed on from my neighbor. (She wasn’t going to use it, I asked.) Did you know that some books will fit in frozen pizza boxes? And they are easier to wrap too! OH yeah, I’m on a roll now!
9. And last but not least find ways to use food that is growing stale or is close to expiration date. This is another effort of mine to keep from wasting food. Or find ways to stretch recipes. Below are some examples.
- Stale bread makes great french toast or toasted bread for sandwiches, or “seasoned your way” croutons.
- Stale crackers make great toppings for casseroles.
- Leftover sausage patties or hamburgers make great breakfast burritos with egg and cheese the next morning. Both can also be crumbled up for pizza toppings.
- 1 cup of elbow noodles and a one half cup of water will make a packet of Lipton Soup go 2 or 3 servings further.
- Use dark or ripened bananas for banana bread.
Ok I know, some of these ideas are not new. So now you can share your ideas with me. I would love to know what you do with your leftovers or any of your great cutting back ideas. Put them in the comments below or email them to me and I’ll repost them here.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
Happy Savings and a Merry Christmas too!
Friday was the first day of the homeschool tutorial that my kids are taking this Fall. I was excited and a little nervous because it’s our first tutorial and I’m teaching a class there. However, on the way out this morning, I passed all the moms standing at the bus stop still talking after the bus had gone. The thought went through my head, “You are going to get to spend the whole day by yourself.” I brushed it away, not wanting to be distracted and went about my day.
After tutorial, the kids and I ran some errands, by the time we pulled back into the neighborhood, the same group of moms was waiting for the bus to come home.(And no, I don’t think they had been standing there all day.) Again I had the thought, “You got to spend all day by yourself.” I asked the Lord to forgive my jealous thoughts and was immediately guilt ridden for feeling that way.
When I got home I called and talked to my best friend about my thoughts, she brought out a few things that I needed to think about. And yes, I felt much better after talking with her. See the issue was not my jealousy (God dealt with that separately. ) or how my children were educated. I was one of those moms, for 5 years my children attended public school. And if I wasn’t at the school helping, I was feeling guilty because I couldn’t get there that day to help or assist, or go on the field trip.
It seems that no matter what my choices are as a mom, Satan is on the prowl to steal my joy. So the real questions here is not to homeschool or public school, but rather, “Am I going to allow Satan to steal my joy as a mom – period?” Because Satan will attack in any area of your “mom life.” Well, for me the answer is a resounding “NO!”
No, I do not have all the answers. No, I do not make every decision with complete confidence. No, I don’t get my housecleaned everyday. No, I don’t handle every situation with patience and a calm voice. No, I don’t get it right all the time.(whatever “it” is) No, I don’t wish for time by myself everyday. And No, sometimes I don’t listen to God like I should over what the world seems to be screaming at me.
I do love my children. I do try to set an example of how God loves, hopefully demonstrating that lesson to my kids (somedays are better than others). I do pray about most decisions in life. I do spend time teaching my kids and therefore sometimes the house has to be let go. I do try to get away from the world screaming in an effort to hear God more clearly. And I do know that I am a sinner saved by grace and that for that fact alone, God loves me and guilt does not have to be a part of everyday life.
So NO, Satan you can not have my joy! I am MOM and My God is the Lion, hear Him roar!
I have started this post a dozen times and it’s been in my drafts folder for almost 2 months now. To sum up what I feel about Africa, well I have decided that it would be almost impossible. There are things that God spoke to my heart in Africa that He didn’t use words to speak. So to put them into words for someone else, I can’t, I don’t the words to describe. The emotions I have felt since being home really surprised me in some ways. Then in other ways I have so much more to learn about God. I will be processing this for some time. I am not as emotional as I was when I first came home. However, I am still “caught” at times by the thoughts that invade moments that from the outside have no connection with Africa.
I will say this - for you my family and friends – I pray that you get to know God more. That may or may not be a mission trip to a foreign country, it may be something profound that he wants you to do here – right where you are. Wherever it is, whatever it is, listen closely – I’ve never heard God scream.
Hello everyone from Africa. Huge praise today – the people with us from Indiana finally got their luggage today! Praise the Lord! This was not only a huge answer to prayer, but a huge relief for those who were so glad to have fresh clothes. (smile)
The beds were completed yesterday. The kids are doing great with their crafts. And today we gave each child their own Bible. Some of the children immediately went by themselves to look and read their Bible. One 12 yr old girl, named Maria, was writing her name in her Bible. Under her name, she wrote the name of the orphanage, then the date next, and then she wrote on the next line “My gift.” They were all split up in groups and so I asked my group what their favorite Bible story was. They did not understand the word “favorite.” So I asked, “Do you have a story that means much to you!” All of a sudden the heads were going up and down and they were telling me their favorite Bible stories. It was so sweet to hear them tell their version of the stories and the way they would search for the right English words to communicate what they wanted to say. One young lady kept getting her pronouns confused and would say “she” instead of “he.” You had to really keep up, but one thing was clear she understood the story and what she was telling me because you could see it in her eyes. It was wonderful.
Then there is a whole other side. I had one little girl in my group who could not tell me her story. That’s because she is not an orphan, but her family pays to send her to school at Blessed Hope (this is part of the way they get the little funding that they get). The translator talked to her and explained to me that she does not go to prayers. That is how they explain that she does not go to church. Her family is Muslim. So the only place that she will hear the Bible stories is when she comes to school and when she looks at her picture Bible. I was quite caught by the fact that God brought us all the way to Africa, not only to provide beds for the kids, but that this little girl might have access to a Bible. That is pretty cool!!!!!
Here are a few interesting things that I have learned. They make their own bricks. They pack mud into a wooden mold. The bricks must dry for a month. Then they stack them in a pyramid shape but it doesn’t come to a point. They leave space to put wood in the bottom and then they start a fire. They must keep the fire burning for 2 to 3 days. After they cool for several days, they are ready to use for building.
I have also learned that they cut down the whole banana tree to harvest the banana bunches. There are new shoots always coming up in the place of the trees they cut down. Once the banana blooms appear on the tree, it takes them 6 months to be ready to harvest. Those are the type of things that help you understand life here. To be such a poverished people, they are amazing in their resourcefulness.
I only thought I knew what poverty was – I have seen true poverty here. These are truly “the least of these” that Christ tells us to take care of.
The kids are doing well with the movement songs. I have greatly simplified most things that we have done because their English is not very good. They actually read much better than they speak the English language. They are doing very well with the scriptures. I narrowed it down to three. And so far I know they will know at least two of the three when we leave. We will teach the third tomorrow. More than anything, I want to leave them with God’s word hidden in your heart. So if anything you all can pray that God will help us communicate God’s word in effective ways.
We are having a good time, and the teams works well together. (smile) Continue to pray for our travel. The first day, Sunday, was an hour and ten minute drive. Every day since then, it’s been an hour and forty minutes. We have a different driver and bus than we had on Sunday, but it’s still pretty bumpy.
The Lord encouraged me greatly today through Psalm 91. I hope you have time to read it. A friend sent it to Rachel as an encouragement and she shared it with me. I’m so glad she did.
Love to you all!! Brandon, McKenzie, RileyGrace, and Logan I miss you all very much!
Mama (Auntie Doreen)
We have fabulous pics but we are on dial up here and they will not load. So for now our descriptions will have to do. You can read other team members blog post and mine at Sweetsleep.org
We pulled up to orphanage today and the children were in the middle of play. They looked up and saw us coming and they ran down the hill to meet us, screaming and cheering. In point 2 seconds flat my heart was in my eyes. They were standing so close to the door of the bus that we barely had enough room to get off. We all started to reach out to touch hands with the kids and say hello and well…..they didn’t let go. Everywhere we walked we had two or three kids holding our hands on each side. They took us to the pavilion where they welcomed us and sang for us, and lead us in worship. It was unbelievable!!! This little boy named Abraham lead the other children in singing, and they sang, “I won’t beg for bread, I won’t beg for food.” And although I didn’t catch every word because it wasn’t all in English, I have every confidence that they were singing about their trust in the Lord. Watching the kids faces as they sang, made me wonder if I truly know what trusting the Lord is all about.
The first child to attach to me was Esther. She didn’t let go of me at all and she’s only been at the orphanage a month. I was in love instantly! She kept looking at my hands, while I held her. She would feel of the front of my hands and then turn them over and look at the other side.
We toured the orphanage and I was amazed. The first room we saw was the administration room, very small, and very minimal supplies. Some donated books. The classrooms were extremely bare. The first dorm room we saw had 25 beds in it and it slept 65 girls. The next dorm room was much the same. We saw the boys dorm room and many of them shared beds too, but many of theirs were on the floor. They are just foam mattresses on the floor. This is something we knew before we arrived but to see it was something different. To put faces on the facts was….well, I just don’t have the words. The way I teared up when they came running down the hill, I decided to stick a tissue in my pocket would be beneficial. I kept dabbing at my eyes all through the afternoon and one of the girls with me, Delphine, asked me what was wrong with my eyes. I told her that they were just happy. Her smile was precious and confirmed her understanding.
We are all so tired, it is unbelieveable. London was great, but I was almost too tired to see it. We saw the highlights. (smile) The ride out to the orphanage is very rough. There are times when I just close my eyes, and hope that we don’t hit what is coming at us. This has unintentionally provided a bit a humor for some of the team members. I first sat on the front seat of the bus to keep from getting car sick, however I was very unprepared for the crazy way everyone drives. And there are people everywhere. I wasn’t always worried about hitting other vehicles, sometimes it was people. At one point Rachel and I talked about the fact that we will be sore from being beat to death on the ride, and from simply trying to stay in our seats. I fell asleep today on a shorter subdued portion of the ride home and was quickly awaken when my face hit the seat in front of me. This is actually a matter of a prayer request for some of the team members (myself included) because of the car sickness that comes from this jolting ride that takes us from the house to the orphanage and back. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes one way, so it is quite a bit of jolting.
I was prepared for some of what we have experienced and not prepared for some. I keep reciting a verse that we are teaching to the kids this week – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, Phillipians 4:13. And it has never had the meaning that is has today. May we continue to decrease as Christ increases.
Hi to Brandon and the kids. I love you and miss you! Thanks mom for being there to help!
Many, O Lord are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:4-6
I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us- yes, the many good things He has done for the house of Israel, according to His compassion and many kindnesses. Isaiah 63: 6-8.
My trip is paid for – Praise the Lord! And I never sent out a fundraiser letter.
We have all the supplies donated and excess to send with the next trip going back to Uganda in July. And people have donated beds. His (God’s) love endures forever!
So people keep asking me what can I do for you? Do you need anything? Yes, I do – please would you pray for me, for this team. I am very excited and somewhat scared. I have one very minor thing that I’m dealing with and you can pray for God’s wisdom. I still have a couple of things to get done that are due while I’m gone and I need to focus to knock those out.
I learned a lot about parasites at our last missions meeting yesterday and well you could pray that I don’t meet any.
Pray for the children at Blessed Hope Orphanage that they will receive the message of hope and truth. Pray for the team, for good health and strength. Pray for safe travels. Pray for unity of the team. Pray for our work of building beds, and pray all only God’s glory will be seen as a result of this trip.
It was a Sunday like any Sunday. After working the baby room , I picked up my kids and went to worship. I was feeling pretty good about the fact that I was serving and had not missed a Sunday since we had been in our new building (all by a schedule that I picked). Ok, let’s just call it like it is, I was prideful. Proverbs says, “Pride goeth before the fall.” Well listen for the splat because it didn’t take long.
Worship went off without a hitch, the music was great. Then came the prayer and altar time. A lady came and knelt down front. I think she was crying but it wasn’t very noticeable. Yes, my eyes were open and regardless of the motive of my eyes being open, God decided to make use of the moment. So he whispered, “Go pray with her.” So I thought I would close my eyes and pray about whether or not I should go pray with her. I know – stupid right? Well, I finally quit arguing with myself and with God and decided yes, I would go pray with her. So I opened my eyes to go pray with her and my good friend was already kneeling beside her praying. SPLAT!
The lesson for me that day was that God doesn’t need me at all to do his work. It is a privilege to be His child and to do His work. It wasn’t really that long of an argument with myself about whether or not to go – but I hesitated and God did not. He had something to accomplish and the moment was right then. The woman wasn’t going to stay at the altar all morning and pray.
When God said “Go to Africa.” I said ok. But I didn’t realize until that Sunday how much He does not NEED me to go to Africa. His Will will be accomplished with or without me. There are many other lessons to be learned through this trip, but I pray that my hesitation to obedience won’t be one them. I want to see the moment, the need – the urgency. I want to be obedient. However, obedience takes practice. Practice listening to the Holy Spirit – even in the little things.
The Bible says “in our weakness, He is strong.” I will depend on His strength to help me be obedient because I really don’t like the sound of SPLAT!