Thursday, January 29, 2009

BEING GOOD TO OUR ELDERLY

Last night our neighbors were heading out to our local nursing home and invited us to go along. Their church ministers to the community on Wed night and they picked this nursing home to go visit with the men and women there. My first thought was (it's cold, it's a school night, it's...) and as I looked at my children's faces they were filled with please, please please looks, and I said OKAY.

Much to my delayed response, I am so glad we went. I have been to nursing homes in the past but for more organized activites. This was quite different, it was a small place maybe 20 men and women, and we just gathered. We talked. They were so happy to see the children, my children and the neighbor 's kids. The highlight of the evening was when the "girlies" did a dance skit. Oh how they enjoyed putting on a show! The men and women really enjoyed the company of children. It was really nice to take some time out of our life and give of our time. Even our 20 month old son was a hit with this crowd, he had them laughing, literally.

My husband and I have been talking for some time now about volunteering our time as a family to better serve others. This was a great way to start. The children were sensitive to the elderly and they enjoyed sharing the details of their day with them. I think this is a great start to a new habit our family will share.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BACK TO THE BEGINNING




So yesterday began my new chapter in the bible- Exodus. This new way I am trying to read through the entire bible in 09- is working, for me. I have tried various outlines of dates and the following scripture you should read at that particular day. It may work for some, but I would always feel BAD if I didn't get it accomplished for whatever reason. I am just sitting and reading when I have time and it is working great. First thing in the morning is ideal, but it doesn't always happen.

What I find amazing everytime I am brought back to the beginning of the bible, is that the stories are so interesting and so easy to read or explain to little ones. I mean what little one would not enjoy Noah's Ark or the triumph of Joseph's story?

So in Exodus I am reminded of Moses birth. I mean what an amazing story in itself, his mother hid him from authorities who wanted to kill infant boys and then 3 months later places him in the river's bank. The very means of that river bank would save him.

I love hearing questions from the kids like "How could she do that?" "Doesn't she love him?".What an AWESOME opportunity as parents we have to explain the power of the Lord on your side and the wonderful things that become of it. My heart aches for this mother who had to give her baby up, what she must of felt, but then I am reminded of God's love and his "plan"for each and everyone of us, and what he did on that cross for us, it was all for a reason and purpose.

So I encourage all you mothers to read these simple stories that your children will understand either in Children's books or straight from the bible. Enjoy this precious time and get ready for lot's of questions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SOME MONEY MAKING IDEAS FOR MOM

For all you moms out there that want to stay home with your children, but feel the financial pressure in this tough economy, I have come up with a list of resources to help part time income- without giving up your dream/God given desire of being home with your children. Here are a few things I have tried this year with the financial burden we have endured.



babysit= now this may not be for everyone, however I just started watching a little girl 2 mornings a week for 3 hours before she goes to kindergarten. This does not take away from my already busy schedule with my kids, it actually gives my son a playmate a couple days a week and I get paid.



cash for books= with this website you can check the status of books they are buying on line, you may then type in the upn code on the back of your book and see what they will pay you for it. The shipping is free and you get a check within weeks. You also get $5.00 for every person you refer. This is quite easy. Please check out www.sensationalsavings.blogspot.com



craigslist= Go through your "junk" and sell it. This is nice because you do not have to wait for garage sale season to make some money on your stuff. I have bought and sold this year , I find it is easy to use and you get top dollar. Check out http://www.craigslist.com/



Part time job= Again, this may not be for everyone, however if you are willing to work some weekends or nights when your husband is home, this may be a nice situation. I have been a hairdresser for 15 years, my husband works long days. I go to work on Sat. mornings from about 10:00am- 2-3:00pm. This is a great way for me to contribute to our finances, without taking to much away from my family time.

barter=Trade services with other moms. Something you could give of your time/talents may benefit someone else and vice versa.

Stay home= shopping forces you to spend money.

You do not need to go to work to help contribute to your families finances. Being a good steward of your money and managing it well will help bless your family.

Monday, January 26, 2009

USE YOUR MONEY WISELY

Over the last year I have seen the benefits of using coupons at the grocery store. Im not talking about the occasional 1 0r 2 coupons. I am talking about buying only whats on sale with coupons for the ultimate in savings.
Didyou know that most grocery stores double coupons upto .50. That means if Chex mix is on sale for .99 and you have a .50 coupon, guess what ....the store owes you a penny for Chex Mix.
The money that I have saved at the grocery store on food for my family is amazing. I feel like it is my duty as a mother and wife to make wise choices with our money. It is incredible the amount of money you can save. Here is a list of some things that help............
1. Know your prices, when a sale is good and you have coupons for that item buy a few.
2. Get a newspaper on Sunday for the coupon inserts. I usually get 2-3 papers a week for the ultimate in saving.
3. Don't waste time and gas going to 5 different stores. Stay close to home and pick a store or 2.
4. Follow your stores weekly insert. Plan meals around these items.
5.Use your freezer for cheap reduced produce that you may not be able to eat right away.
Every Sunday I will get my papers and my store insert for the following week and I will sit down and cut coupons and file them. Then I plan my meals for the week. This usually takes less than an hour, if I stay on top of my coupon cutting. It has proved to be so worth it, I have cut our grocery budget in almost HALF.
I hope some of these ideas help you save on your grocery bill every week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

INTERVIEW WITH GOD

This following link has been around awhile, I just recently received it in my e-mail and thought it would be nice to share with you all. Hope you enjoy.

Sit back relax and enjoy.......


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HOPE

My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. Isaiah 32:18

This scripture verse from my devotion this morning along with the sermon at my church went hand in hand. The comfort I got from reading this verse and hearing my pastor speak this morning, ended my fragile week into feelings of HOPE.

See all who believe and lean on the Lord WILL find rest when they are weary, WILL be secure in their homes, WILL be full of peace. Now Satan along with this world wants to take that from you and I. We may lose our homes, jobs, friends and families, but we can never lose our TRUST, HOPE, FAITH AND JOY that comes from the Lord. You and I will get that HOPE when we turn to the Lord and we read his word and we speak to him about our worries and fears and when we give him thanks for our many blessings.

So I rejoice in this "news" and I have hope that this week will be better than the last.

Friday, January 23, 2009

BETTER DAY

I just finished the book of Genesis! Wow do I feel alot better than I did yesterday, could it be because I needed the WORD yesterday? I have to remember to praise God in the good days and the bad days. I should not just cling to his word in times of trouble but also in times of joy and thanksgiving.

It was great to reread the story of Joseph and all he overcame and the emotions of Jacob's family reunited. How great Jacob must have felt to be reunited with all his sons prior to his death.

That is alot to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family and I am thankful I had a better day.
Praise be to God.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

TODAY WAS A ROUGH ONE

Today was a hard day. We started looking at some foreclosures in the area and some land contract homes in the area to see what our housing options might be. The reality is starting to set in and the clock is ticking. I sit and wait anxiously for answers, either "yes , the loan modification went through" or "sorry, you have 6 months to get out". OUCH.

I know it's only a house, but today I was remembering all the time it took us to get the house ready to move into and all the hard work hubby and his brothers did. It sure is a bad way to have to leave, but it is what it is.

Yes, today im running strictly on emotions. That's okay. It is almost like a grieving process in a way. If anyone has ever lost a parent you know the emotions that run like roller coasters. I am glad that I HAVE to talk about my problems/issues. I just can't bottle them up for to long without wanting to talk them through. This works for me, it makes me feel better. I mean I can run into someone I haven't seen in awhile and pour out all that is going on in my life. Isn't that what we are supposed to do, lean on each other for support?

This blog has been very helpful as I am able to write about my worries, fears, joys and victories. I have already related to many of the people who have commented and it sure is nice to meet new people and learn new things.

I continue to pray for guidance and I know without faith or hope that God will provide, I couldn't go through this.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SIMPLE FUN WITH MY KIDS

This past Friday was a very cold day here in Michigan and so we had a "snow day".
The kids were excited, it was way too cold to venture out so we stayed in the house and had a great time hanging out together. (I miss them when they are in school all day)

So any way I served lunch in a very exciting way, we played restaurant and I was the waitress and I made them a menu and gave them a 5 course meal. It really was a lot of fun, they still talk about it. In fact their friend was over tonight for dinner and they were telling her all about it. These are great memories for them that are so simple for mom to do.

Through our financial struggles I have always questioned if I should work outside the home to help out, but both my husband and I have felt that for our family it was best for me to be home.
I truly thank God for finding the means for us to be able to do this, (cutting back, using coupons, buying second hand, etc)

Time goes so quickly and I am just feeling thankful tonight for my job as MOM.

Is there any simple fun things any of you guys do with your kids? I would love to hear.

FEELINGS OF DESPAIR

I couldn't help but relate to the way Joseph felt when his brothers talked of killing him and then later sold him to the Ishmaelites and was taken to Egypt.
Decieved, hurt, distressed and abandoned are a few terms that come to mind. Over the last few years I have felt that way concerning our financial mess. From the initial loan officer pushing for the interest only adjustable rate mortgage, to the loan modifiers who are helping us try to keep our home. There are always people out there who do not have your best interest at hand and are looking for personal gain. That is obvious in the world we live in today just as it was obvious back in Joseph's day.
Starting back at Genesis and reading from the beginning, amazes me of all the trials and struggles people went through back then. One thing is crystal clear, trusting in God. He is really the only person you can fully trust. I mean he gave his only son to die so that we may live and be saved. I can't imagine giving up my only son, can you?
I continue to rely on the Lord and pray deeply everyday and I know he will lead us in the right direction. I don't want to be fooled by people and deceived anymore. The bible reassures me that ALL of life's answers are here, you just need to take the time to read and pray.
I hope like Joseph, that all are struggles and feelings of despair will soon be over and that God has a great plan instore for us.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A LOVELY ANALOGY


So last night after the kids went to bed, my husband and I were talking. We were talking about many different things and he shared with me a story he heard from a pastor on the radio.
I would like to share this message with you as well, here goes........
This pastor was speaking of a couple in love, greatly in love with each other. The pastor goes on to talk about all the feelings two people share in a relationship, the special bonds that form the connections that are made and the deep love that develops.
Now imagine with this couple, the man goes off to war. This man writes to the woman and she receives letters from him. The first thing you can imagine this woman doing upon getting her mail is open these letters, right? Let's just say this man comes back from war and notices the letters unopened on the counter. How do you think he would feel?
Do you see where I am going with this? The story of salvation is a love story. A true relationship between you and God and the bible is like a personal letter just for you, from God.
This brought tears to my eyes and I sometimes forget how much God loves me. It sure is an awesome analogy that inspires us (God's children) to read the word and read his truth daily.
Im getting into a nice pattern of reading the bible, first thing in the morning or late at night and sometimes when my son naps I can get a few chapters read.
I hope you all enjoyed that story,I thought it reflected a simple message to make your walk with God more personal, just like you would your significant other. Turn to the bible in days of despair and also days of great joy, and give thanks to the Lord.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

YOU ARE NOT YOUR FICO SCORE

I happened to be flipping through the channels the other night and came across the Suze Orman show. Well she is a financial expert guiding people in the right direction and the best way to invest their money.

Now im sure she knows her stuff and is very skilled in the financial field, however she had commented on her show that "you are your fico score". Now that is a score that creditors look at when you purchase something..........car, house any purchase you want to finance.

I happen to disagree with her and ironically my man Dave Ramsey was talking to a caller on his radio show and said that is nonsense. You are More than your Fico score. His whole philosophy is NO DEBT, CASH PURCHASES ONLY. Like Dave says if you are living within your means and paying purchases with hard earned cash a fico score means nothing.

I can't help but think of all the listeners out there that heard Suze Orman and felt overwhelmed because maybe their credit was less than perfect. This is just another example of worldly views.

For more on this topic, check out Dave Ramsey's blog on my left sidebar or listen to his radio show.

Friday, January 16, 2009

WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS???????????

The biggest fear of mine through this past year has been boiled down to one question......
Where are we going to end up living?

This would at times consume me and scare me to death. The thought of having 3 children and having no home would overwhelm me with fear that I cannot explain. The thought of having to explain to everybody why we are leaving our home, the home we love would tear me up inside.

It was in times like these that I NEEDED to turn to scripture. The comfort that took over the fear was and is addicting. As a woman and a mother it forced me to realize the only home I should be that concerned about for myself, husband and children is our eternal home in heaven. The great news about that is there is already a place prepared for us. It doesn't matter if the economy is bad, if you lose your job or if your upside down with your finances. That is such a great gift and blessing for anyone to take comfort in. It also made me realize my job as a parent and how important it is to keep instilling this in our children.

One verse that comes to mind is ROMANS6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now here is some of what the study guide in my bible says.......

"Most often this verse has been used as a promise of regeneration.The phrase eternal life is used 42 times in the New Testament. Thus we learn from the Bible that eternal life is not simply a static entity. It is a dynamic and growing relationship with Jesus Christ Himself. Through living in faith and obedience, Christians can fully enjoy God's free gift of eternal life".

Whenever I get overwhelmed with fear about "where we are going to end up" I think of this as my temporary home anyway. I turn to scripture and I feel comforted.I pray and I am so thankful I have an eternal home in heaven waiting for me someday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

GOD'S PROMISE


In my readings through Genesis last night (my goal to read through the bible BIBLE READING )I couldn't help but smile. I was reading about Noah and his faithfulness to the Lord and how the Lord blessed him and made a covenant with him that he would not flood the entire earth again. A rainbow was a reminder of that promise from God.

My older two are 6 and 9 now and I remember teaching them about the promise that God made to Noah , and every time you see a rainbow you should be reminded of that covenant.
It was so cute to see their excitement every time we saw a rainbow and how much they absorbed the information we gave them. I have a 20 month old now and I am excited to teach him all these great little details about God's word in a way he can grasp.

It just reminded me how simply we can all teach our children about God's love.
I would love to hear ways in which you all teach your young children about God,please share in the comments below.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SIMPLIFY

Ahh......... the title above feels so relaxing and refreshing to me. When I hear that word I just melt.

The last few years have been really hard financial years. My husband and I are part of the many mortgage holders that carry an interest only loan. When your adjustable rate goes up your payment goes through the roof, hence why we are facing foreclosure.
We are trying to modify our loan, but I do not put much hope in that, hey if it works great, if not I know we will get through it. See we have been paying such a high mortgage over the last few years and with this horrible economy my husband's self employed job is very risky right now.

Don't get me wrong, im not trying to be down about our situation, I just wanted to give you a little bit of the details. This is a positive upbeat blog about getting through our trials and coming out stronger in our faith.

Now back to that word SIMPLIFY................
Here is a list I have compiled of things I have learned over the year that have helped simplify our lifestyle.........

1. If you can't pay cash for something- don't buy it- period (absolutely no credit card debt)

2.Use coupons and stock up when there is a really good price. (check out http://www.moneysavingmom.com/) www.sensationalsavings.blogspot.com

3. Old fashion fun - board games, family movie night, baking cookies together, reading devotions together. There are so many ways to have fun with your family without spending a dime.

4.Live within your means (I can't stress this enough) Plan and budget all purchases. Financial hardships are very stressful.

5.Take the focus off of YOU and your family- give of your time, talents or pocketbook- it makes a world of difference and it makes someone else benefit.

6. Tithe- It just works.

7. Scale down - your children do not have to have 10 pairs of shoes...etc....

8.Make lists- write important things down that you want to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly...etc..

9. Find some quiet time each day to be with the Lord, this puts everything in perspective.

10. Pray,Pray, Pray.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SEASONS

Last winter im sure my feeling of this picture would be ...............fridgidly cold. Living in Michigan the winters here are lets sayLONG......................
We just had another snowfall last night and looking out the window right now, it is just beautiful. Reading Genesis and realizing deeply how God created the heavens and the earths, I look out my window in amazement that God made this. This beautiful white snow covering all the branches and rooftops. I am growing older and I have to say the cold does get bothersome and uncomfortable, but I am learning to appreciate it as God's creation. (It is only the middle of January, I hope to still feel this way say mid March).
In all seriousness it is wonderfully made for us by God.
I encourage you to look out your window if you get a moment today, and think about how the seasons change like clockwork every year, and how darkness happens daily and then the sun rises daily. I can't imagine anyone not understanding that this is all God. God created ALL this.

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.
Ecc. 3:1

Monday, January 12, 2009

NEW GOAL FOR 09

I am embarking on a goal this year, I want to read the bible front to back in 2009. Now let me begin to explain that I always "start" and I always read, but with no certain "structure to it ".
By the time February rolls around I get "bored or confused" in the books of Leviticus and Numbers, with so much of the law.

I talked with my husband about this and he has read the bible 5 times or so front to back and he encouraged me to do the same. He explained it like a novel, reading beginning to end, any other way would make no sense.

I have started from the beginning this month and now I am making myself accountable for finishing. I am excited about this, I have tried alot in the past, with no success.
I am not going to follow a "rigid" plan, because raising three kids, the unexpected can always happen(let's face it life happens). However I am reading when I can and I am confident I will finish by Dec 09.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

ONE SMART FINANCIAL EXPERT

I have added a website on the left side bar, it is Dave Ramsey. In my opinion a financial genius.
This is a great place to start if you are feeling the stress with your finances, or would just like to get a good game plan in order.

Dave talks about the "Baby step" program, and as you read about it, I promise you will not be overwhelmed. It is a simple plan that if you follow, you really will conquer your financial battle.
This website is also invaluable with questions and answers and just true FAQS that you will want to read about to be in control of your finances. An added bonus is that Dave openly talks about his faith as well, and you have to respect that.

So I will leave you all to check his website out, just click on Dave Ramsey on the left sidebar of this page. Let me know what you think about the website.

Friday, January 9, 2009

1ST POST

I am excited to start a personal blog about my relationship with God and how it has grown, during the hardest financial years of my life. I have blogged in the past, but I am excited to share my love and constant need for Christ in my life through this blog.
I like many others invested my finances in real estate over the last several years, with the recent downward spiral on the economy I am faced with losing EVERYTHING. Let me rephrase that,I am faced with losing my material possesions ..........my home, security and all the comforts of this modern day suburbia lifestyle I have been living the past few years.
I have come to realize now more than ever God provides for ALL our needs. What a blessing to us all to hand over our troubles and worries of this world and GIVE them over to the Lord. I would encourage you all to do the same,and find peace in doing so.

34 therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it's own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34

I am excited to share my personal journey with others and pick up some new blog buddies on the way.