Saturday, February 28, 2009

PLANS

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9



I sit here this morning remembering all the "plans" we made for our life together as a newly married couple, (10 years ago).

I sit here and think of how many things we planned have in fact come through for us. The many blessings, like our children and the ability for me to be able to stay home with our children. On the other hand some things that we had not planned happened. Now im not talking about the bad economy or the current financial hardships we have endured.

You see when we got married 10 years ago we really did not pray about things or have the discussions we do now ,or the passion we each have for furthering our relationship with Christ.
So this has been a pleasent surprise, a plan only God could have lead us to.

With the current economic struggles our family is facing in this day, we need to continue to pray and "plan", but as the above scripture verse says the Lord determines our steps. With that said it is a comforting and freeing feeling to release the worry and release the details of our plans, that may or may not come true.

Im thankful the Lord lead us to a church we are so happy with and a pastor that we truly love to hear the word of God from. We never "planned" to go to church regularly, or be a part of our church community, but God had a bigger vision for us and our family than we could have ever imagined.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

FUNNY THINGS KIDS SAY


The third F in this blog title should be FAMILY, as I enjoy talking about their personal growth as well as my own.


I have a cute little story to tell. The other night my daughters and I were watcing a show called Clean House. The show helps people de clutter and organize their home, by selling, donating and throwing out a vast majority of the stuff. We watched this a few months back when we were all sick. We vegged out all day napping and watching back to back episodes of this show.


As we were watching the show, a commercial came on about a show called Peter Perfect, I can't even tell you much about that show, nothing I would be interested in watching. Anyhow my 6 year old said" nobody's perfect, only Jesus is perfect".


At that,I agreed and chuckled to myself. I love to watch and see their faith grow as well as reflect on my own.

Monday, February 23, 2009

STUFF

So here I am every Monday, (garbage night) going through the house and filling bags. Bags of stuff I don't even remember entering this home. I am a minimalist, and looking at the stuff we have collected over the years, you would never know it. I think part of the problem I have faced is that I was introduced to garage sales a few years back and I have alot of great friends who give us "hand me down clothes and toys for the kids" that I always take. We are so appreciative for this, but I need to "pick through" and not keep ALL the stuff given to us, we simply don't need it all.

The problem with "stuff", is that it gets in the way of simplicity and peaceful living. Your children do not need 20 sundresses to choose from in the summertime. This just complicates and contradicts what we are teaching to our children, we are telling them to put people first, not things, (so then why does mom have 20 boxes of the next size clothes?) May be confusing for a child?My goal is to be organized, have the next size clothes for my kids on hand, be prepared for the next season. This not only makes sense, it saves time and money. However, I need to keep it in contents and not go overboard, back to my minimalist self.

I tend to get overwhelmed with to much clutter and stuff, so slowly getting rid of things makes sense to me. The other reason I have been enjoying "garbage night", is because I don't know where we will be living, I don't know how soon we will have to be out yet, so it makes me feel better, knowing I am going through this STUFF slowly, not all at once.As I sit and write this post I think of the few "gotta have items" that are dear to me. If I had to take just 5 things with me,(not including my husband and children) they would be....

1. My bible
2. My favorite book box
3. My photos
4. Box of old love letters and cards from hubby
5. Family videos of our children

And so all this stuff that I am going through and pitching or donating every week, isn't even counted as a top item I would take with me, if I had only 5 to choose from. It kind of makes you think of why are lives are crowded with so much of this "stuff" in the first place.This has been an interesting topic to sit and ponder this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

THANKING OTHERS

I have this little easy to read book called God Is In The Small Stuff. It is a little over 200 pages and you could literally read through it fairly quickly. It categorizes each chapter with a scripture verse and goes on the talk about the verse for a few pages.

Today I read...
Your lives are a letter written in our hearts, and everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. 2 Cor. 3:2

Lately I have been thinking alot about people in my life and who I have come to know and who I am just lucky to know. Whether family or friends, I feel surrounded by so many good, equal minded people. This not only benefits myself, but obviously my husband and children. Sometimes when you go through struggles or tragedy you really see who is there for you, in the bad, not only the good. Of course we always have our Lord and Savior to turn to, that is most important, but I am talking about earthly beings.

I feel so compelled lately to tell the people in my life how important they are. Imagine getting a thank you card, just for being you or a kind word of encouragement. Sometimes I well up with emotions and feel so blessed to know the people I know. There is nothing like debating scripture with a friend.

Through my reading today in the book I mentioned above, they encourage you to write a kind letter to a friend or a thank you note for something someone has done for you.
We never know how long we have here, and I think getting in the habit of opening our hearts is awesome.

Through my own personal struggles over the years I have learned to not be so private and let others in. I realize what a blessing it is to just have a friend pray for you. Amazing.
Sharing your feelings and fears with others really seems to help.

Im going to try and make this a habit. I want all people in my life to know how much I love them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

OPTIONS FOR HOMEOWNERS FACING FORECLOSURE

I thought it would be helpful to share the many options distressed couples have when facing foreclosure. I have had a few months to ponder the different options that lay ahead in the months to follow. I hope this list is helpful for somebody who may just be faced with the fear of foreclosure. One thing to keep in mind is that foreclosure is like a grieving process, you are losing something, however rest assured in the hope and comfort in your heavenly father that this to shall pass. So on with the list of housing options ...........

1. Rent to own. This could be done by working out an option to pay rent and then eventually own the home. The positive with this method is that you are not throwing your money out the window each month.

2. Land Contract. This method gives you the opportunity to "purchase" a home with a down payment and you make payments to the owner. You will not be able to get a mortgage after your foreclosure, so this is a popular option.

3.Stay with family or friends until you are back on your feet. This is obviously a blessing if you can work out the details, this method would give you more time to save for a future home.

4. Rent. You could find a smaller, more affordable temporary home while you save. Some would argue that rent is a waste of money, but I guess it depends on the price. One advantage is the fact that you call the landlord when repairs need to be paid for. You also pay no property taxes, that could be a huge benefit.

5. Ask family/friends for a loan. If this is possible count your blessings.

NOTE: Dave Ramsey cautions land contract and rent to own. I have researched this topic and basically the risk is that if the homeowner forecloses on the home and you do not know about this, depending on the timing of the foreclosure you may have no rights and be evicted.

These are all options to consider because everybody has a unique situation. One thing everybody should be doing while facing foreclosure is saving up some cash. You will not feel so powerless and helpless. Research and have a plan, I think that is the best advice I could give. The worst thing to do would be nothing at all.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

THE WAITING GAME

These last few weeks have been difficult as we have been waiting for some results and some numbers coming back from our mortgage company. I have been preparing myself for months now that we may have to leave, and my husband and I are both o.k with that, however there has always been that tiny thought in the back of my mind" maybe the results will be do- able".

Our mortgage company contacted us yesterday and gave us an option with different terms, not to much better than we had before, and that's ok. You see they are still offering us an interest only loan, which in my opinion should not even exist, it is the reason lots of people have gotten into trouble concerning their mortgages.

Of course we rebudle back and tell them we want a fixed rate, that is all we want. Who wants to throw money out the window every month and not pay down their mortgage? So the ball sits in their court, im not to hopeful and I don't understand all these programs everyone keeps talking about to keep homeowners in their homes. We have been round and round for about 8 months now and not getting to far. I mean im just a housewife but why do these banks act like they are willing to do so much for you and that is not the case. Why would they want more bank owned homes, it seems simple to me, lock everyone who has these horrible interest only APR loans at a locked in rate. It would give everyone some kind of certainty and not wonder what their payment is going to be month to month.

More waiting, this situation of ours has taught me so much about patience. When you have to go through certain trials in your life, it is best to come out more knowledgable and learn something along the way. My husband reminded me this morning that it is "all in the Lord's hand" and to not put pressure on myself to "figure this out" (something i normally want to do) I have to wait........and follow his lead, I know it will be a better lead than anything I could come up with.

Monday, February 9, 2009

GRATEFUL

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Col 3:15


This sums up how I felt this afternoon. I feel that our church and school (part of our church) are filled with people that have Christ in their hearts.

You see when February rolls around every year it is registration for the following school year. So this past Sunday was registration, and I did not attend, we had alot going on and I just could not be there at the time. When you re- sign your child up for the next school year their is a registration fee. How the school normally works is that there is no tuition if your a member, however you are advised to tithe, that said they leave it between you and God. The hope is that the congregation as a whole supports the school so that no one is turned away from a christian education because of finances.

Well you can imagine my surprise when I ran into the principal this afternoon and he said to me "you are all registered for next year" and I said "Oh thanks for signing the kids up, I did not attend yesterday and we will pay shortly" and then he said" your already registered and paid, someone anonymously paid yesterday for your family".

I honestly did not know what to say, I was shocked. I have never talked to the principal about our recent hardships, but I began to explain to him a little of what has been going on. He listened and assured me that we are one big family that helps each other out and he was glad my kids were all set for next year.

I couldn't help but well up with tears in the hallway, it is hard for me to be on the receiving end of generosity like that. I am so thankful we are a part of this amazing church and school, and I realized we are in a hard spot right now financially and instead of pressing on to figure out who did this for us, I am just going to rejoice in the goodness of the people around me that have Christ in their hearts. I know that someday I will be able to repay the favor for someone else in need.

God is always one step ahead of us.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

FALSE GODS AND IMPATIENCE

Over this past weekend I finished the book of Exodus, so I am on to start Leviticus tommorow. I have to stress again the difference for me in reading the bible with some order, (front to back) instead of picking it up and randomly reading. This has been helpful and beneficial to me teaching me more about patience and diligence as I am trying to acheive a goal for myself this year(to read through the entire Bible in order). That is not to say that I do not need my daily dose of Proverbs or Psalms, but I have my bookmark inserted where I leave off everyday.

Something that stands out to me as I finish this book is how impatient the Israelites were and I also think about false idols.
As Moses was up at Mount Sinai getting detailed instructions from God on how his people should live, the Israelites grew impatient, appearantly they felt 40 days was to long to wait. So what do they do, they worship a golden calf, a false God. Which brings me to think about the things we all worship, all of the false God's in our lives. For some people that may be power,television, the computer, money or the gym, basically anything you abuse that gets in the way of your true relationship with God.

It is good to periodically take a look at your priorities and line them up with how you are living out your life. If too many false Gods are competing with more important things, it is time to re-evaluate.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

DISCIPLINE

For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives. Hebrews 12:6

This verse was part of my daily devotion this morning. It simply reminded me that the Lord disciplines his own. Now when some people think of discipline they may think of punishment and spankings and argue that the Lord is a loving God and would not hurt his children. Well any of you with children know that discipline is not always spanking and punishment, it is teaching your children, whether it be patience, self control,kindness, thoughtfulness. Discipline is sometimes hard, because it is sometimes hard to admit our "faults and shortcomings". Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own issues or problems that we do not sit back to realize the Lord is working in us or "disciplining us".
Just as a child does not want to be corrected because of maturity level, we sometimes do not want to be disciplined either, but just as a parent knows best and knows they have to teach their child the right way, the Lord does the same for us.
It is hard to be disciplined, but it is for own own good, just as our children need it, we also need it from our heavenly father. So this was a reminder to me this morning as I hope it is to you.......
If you feel like you are being taught something or going through something these days, I would encourage you to praise God, that you are a child of his and he cares about you enough to "discipline you".

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED


For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scripture might have hope. Romans 15:4







Two of our three kids have been sick this week, so I have not had a whole lot of time for reading, with holding them and laying with them, however I had alot of quiet time with God in prayer and thoughts.

This time I had, got me thinking about what my husband and I have learned over the last year. We have spoken about this to each other several times in the past month or so. Let me first start out by saying I thought this financial disaster we have been going through was for my husband to learn a lesson or two in being wise with his money. Along the way the Lord has showed me something I needed to learn as well..........total trust and faith in HIM, no matter what.
I am so proud of my husband for learning from his mistakes and for taking responsibility in his purchases and how he spends his money. He has truly come along way. His mentality before was I want it now, so I will get it now. He is thinking much more about his purchases and living under his means, (this is something I have been trying to tell him the last few years) but this is something he needed to turn to God, to get through. This has opened my eyes in realizing sometimes people need to go through challenges for a reason and learn from them in God's timing (not mine).
Now for myself, I have to laugh as I thought there was only a lesson for my husband to be learned in this. I have always put to much trust in security (money saved, house, etc) This has forced me to realize as I have said on a previous post, there is only one home I need to worry about and that is our Eternal address. Now don't get me wrong there are "hard days"but there are more days of "trust, and faith and hope". There are more days now that begin with......Lord lead me in the right direction today, or Lord lead us to where it is YOU want us to be. This was and is hard for me at times, because I like to control our situations, I like to say we should do this or that. So I have learned that you need to fully submit to the Lord and Pray for guidance. Money saved, house, car, all these things or not, the Lord is in control, I am not, I just need to continue to follow him, not myself.
With that said, my husband and I have a new goal of cash only purchases and to really live under our means. I feel for the first time ever we are on a solid path together with the Lord leading. It should be interesting to see where we end up.

Monday, February 2, 2009

FIREPROOF THE MOVIE

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of the dvd Fireproof. My husband and I don't get away to often with little ones, but when we do, we usually go out to eat or something and save movies for when we can rent them at home or buy them. This past Friday was my husband's birthday, so I thought what a great gift, for both of us:)

Last night when the kiddies went to bed we had a chance to watch it. What a great movie and reminder to so many that if your priorities are off and the Lord is not number 1 in your life that your marriage and other relationships will fail and struggle. While watching this struggling couple that was headed for divorce I saw friends and family members and even my own marriage at times, portrayed through this couple and the issues and attitudes they had towards each other.


I believe this movie can be a lifesaver or should I say "marriage saver", for struggling couples as well as couples who are on the right path, but need constant reminders of the unity of marriage and what it means to be one. Above all make the Lord number 1 in your lives and at least you both know you are on the right path.

Let's face it marriage goes through highs and lows and with all the pressures out in this world today , it can sometimes be hard to stay focused. This is a sinful world that would want you to believe your better off getting a divorce or giving up, but this movie was a reminder to the covenant partners make before God on their wedding day. Amen to that.

If you get a chance check out http://www.fireproofthemovie.com/.
I don't normally buy movies, but this is a great one to have in your household.

If anyone else has seen this movie or read the correlating book The Love Dare, leave a comment below.

Update: I added a song from the movie Fireproof. This is from Playlist, I have not yet figured out how to set it up to listen to if you want to listen, it automatically plays, so if you cannot read and listen scroll to the bottom of the page and click the arrow to turn it off. It is my hope to get this switched. Im still learning:) By the way the song is Love is not a fight, by Warren Barfield.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

CHILDREN AND FINANCES

With our oldest daughter now being in fourth grade, each quarter there is that opportunity to make the honor roll, high honor roll or principal's list(all A's). The first quarter she made honor roll and now this past second quarter she made high honor roll. Needless to say we are very proud of her and the discussion of "payment" came up (on her end of course). It went something like this " Can I have a dollar for getting high honor roll?". We laughed, and then got to thinking......

Now we have never paid our kids to do chores, simply because I feel they need to be responsible and help out in their home, we are all part of this family and we should all do our part. The discussion of "payment" for good grades got my brain thinking. I thought that it is their "job" to go to school and to do well , and that should result in an award. So upon discussion with the man of the house we decided that honor roll would reward x amount of dollar, along with high honor roll resulting in x amount of dollars and of course if we should ever see principal's list it would result in x amount of dollars.

Now I know there are many different avenues to look at payment, either for good grades or for making beds. We are going to stick to our "helping out around the house just because we live here" rule, and we will entertain the new rule of "payment, or should I say reward" for good grades. Now she is my oldest so this is new to us, but I hope to make this an incentive for hard work = payoff. Hopefully this will remind her as she is rushing through math that she needs to go back and check for mistakes and work hard, we will see.

Has anyone else out there paid for good grades or do you have any thoughts or ideas to share?
Please feel free, I would love to hear some input.