Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RESURRECTION EGGS

Tomorrow is a fun day for my kids, my oldest daughter has a good friend, and it is his birthday tomorrow, so she always has a bag full of tricks and treats. We also have various "just kidding" jokes that we do for April Fools Day.

On a more serious note tomorrow is also the day we will be starting our tradition of opening the Resurrection Eggs. The Resurrection Eggs are 12 filled plastic eggs in a plastic carton re telling the story of Easter. There is a short story and a scripture verse and there is something different in each egg! The first egg starts with a donkey, explaining how Jesus rode a lowly donkey into Jerusalem and the last egg ends with an empty egg for the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

This a wonderful hands on tool for the kids to get involved in and it keeps them excited sharing the great story of Jesus and his resurrection. Check out the Family Life website or type in www.resurrectioneggs.com for more info, it would also be quite easy to make your own out of plastic eggs and an old egg cart.

How about you guys,are there any traditions you have with your family to share the good news and events leading upto Easter Sunday?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

GOOD TIMES

March has been such a fun month. My husband and I have had lots of "date nights". With the added stress in our lives, we really needed it.

Last week it was my birthday and thanks to great friends and great grandparents taking our kids for the night we were able to go out for some fun. We headed downtown for a hockey game and then roamed around and stopped in the casinos!It was a great time and we normally don't get out without the kids to often.

As the kids are getting older it is getting easier to go out. I am seeing the importance of this time away, to come back and be refreshed as mom. This is something my husband and I are working at, we are both not the best at planning nights out, the few events we attended this month just happened to fall in our laps.

Don't get me wrong, we have plenty of time alone for us, the kids go to bed fairly early. We play games, cards, etc, but leaving the house and getting out is a nice change.

How about you guys, do you have regular outings with your husband, or do you feel the need to?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

LOST COINS


As I shared a few posts back about the Israelites complaining and grumbling about being hungry and thirsty, I thought of a real life story I could share.

Now I don't tell this story to boast, I just feel it fitting, because lately I have been complaining, and EVERYTHING I NEED is right here in front of me to enjoy. So here is the story........

This past summer our church started a "lost coin" jar, and everytime you find a coin, you are challenged to put it in this jar and think of saving someone that is lost.

Fast forward to the end of summer.........

Here I am at home making a grocery list out, complaining to myself because I have limited funds (this is when our money issues started getting really tight) I basically had under thirty dollars on my debit card and needed some essentials. So here I am with a sour attitude and just plain irritated that I could not go to Kroger and splurge $100.00 on this particular day and get lots of food.

As I enter the store with 3 kids in tow, I am surprised at the markdowns I am finding, and I also had just learned about coupons (typically saving at least $30.00 on an average week). I mean I was really finding some great deals on food that were not mentioned in the ad I was looking at.I instantly Thank God, and knew that he provides ALL our needs, feeling foolish for the way I felt hours earlier.

So I get to the checkout and I spend like $25.00, but I have quite a few bags to show for it. On our way out to the car my oldest daughter spots a $20.00 bill on the ground and then I come up to 2 more! Loosely flying around the parking lot. Now I feel really foolish, here I spent what I had, got lots of food, and now we find $60.00.

My daughter asks if we can keep it, and I think well there is no wallet, we continue to look around, and then I feel like okay if I return it to the clerk anyone is going to say it is their money right? So I call my husband and the wise generous man that he is tells me to put it in the lost coin jar at church. What an example for our kids to witness. WOW, why didn't I think of that?

So I pack all kids in the car, and I know that we are struggling with getting consistent checks through my husband's business. So I keep $40.00 in the car glove box for more food we will need later in the week. Then I give my oldest two the $20.00 bill and I stop at the church telling them to run in and drop it off in the LOST COIN jar.

All the while I am thanking God for providing and blessing us and I am grateful for my husband's advise and the opportunity we had as parents to show our children how important it is to Give.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

CHA CHING$$



With the year we have experienced, I am always looking for outside resources to bring in a little extra cash. I have been using Cash4books along with Craigslist.

Who would have thought that a cute little leotard like this one could bring some money in this winter? I actually have several of these, my daughter took dance for one season, and I have all these outfits left.

I have been posting things on Craigslist, and I am amazed at the things people buy and the price that people pay. Who doesn't love to look through old stuff that you do not use anyway and sell it! One of my favorite things to do.

I like Craigslist better than EBay because it is local and instant,although I would recommend having your husband go with you and meet at a specific location, for safety sake.

I Love garage sales, I love having them and shopping them, so this has been a real treat for me, as I naturally like to get rid of things I no longer use. The winter tends to get very long by March and cabin fever starts to set in.

I still can't wait until garage sale season, my kids enjoy selling lemonade and cookies alongside them. There is nothing like a subdivision having a sale and stopping at multiple homes to search their junk, your treasure. Ahh I can't wait to shop outside.

How about you guys, do you like garage sales? Do you have any yourselves? I would love to hear.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

GRUMBLING

I am into Deuteronomy in my bible reading. As I sit and read chapter after chapter I find myself thinking how could the Israelites complain so much. Then I start to realize the little complaints that come out of my mouth daily.



Sure it is easy to ask how they could complain so much, everything worked out and they made it to the Promised Land. Then I think about the 40 long years of wandering around of course they felt like complaining, I have less than 40 years here on this earth and I also complain.



Which brings me to the next point, I'm starting to be very conscience of things that come out of my mouth. Not just complaints but also the things I choose to talk about or say, and the way that I say them. When I look to older, wiser women of faith I am often amazed at their self control and wise choice of words and how they use those words. That is inspiring to me. I want to be that "woman" as I grow older and have younger eyes watching me. What a wonderful example that will be for my daughters, niece and any young women that enter my life.



This whole experience we have been going through over the year has helped me better appreciate "needs". I often just say a little thank you, that I have food, water, clothing and a roof over my head. Sure it is easy to complain of the other many things that are "wanted", but being able to just be thankful for your present needs is something I have learned.



I'm still working on the complaints:) Seriously, I am more careful to not unload a verbal garbage load of complaints, I am starting to catch myself and many times I have opened my mouth, and nothing comes out. I am catching myself before it is ever said.



I have just been amazed at the "little things" that I am learning and in total awe of the power these prayers have.

I will leave this post with the following scripture verse.....



Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Philippians 2:14-15

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

OPEN DOORS

So I just got out of a hot bath. I have taken a bath every night since ....forever. Who wouldn't love a hot bath in a jacuzzi tub?:) I end up doing a lot of deep thinking.

There is a wall tapestry in our bathroom from my father's funeral and it says When God Closes One Door He Opens Another. I see that wall hanging everyday and every night. The other door that opened in my dad's case was my son being born. One life done, and one life just beginning (he passed when I was 3 months pregnant) As I stared at the saying tonight, I thought "that's it"! I had an epiphany I guess. With each complicated situation in my life right now, there will be another door opened, there has to be.

In losing our home, there is going to have to be another "door opened" somewhere. In the situation with my husband's business there has to be another "door opened" .

I like looking back over our lives and seeing all the "doors that opened for us". Just when things seem so bad, something new comes in and "opens up" for us.

I have to continue to cling to my scripture verses, continue to pray, continue to have hope and faith, and I have to remember that when God closes these doors, there will be another to open.
Who would have thought this remembrance from my dad's funeral would speak to me in the trials of my life?

SOUR ATTITUDE

I have to confess that since we have been on this foreclosure journey my attitude toward my house has been sour, to say the least. I have taken to the feelings of "it's not going to be mine anyways". Simple things like not wanting to maintain necessary upkeep, from weeding outside, to touching up the paint in some areas.

I think that this is just a normal feeling when you are faced with losing something. You go through many different stages, anger, stressed, sad, ok.........etc. It has been a roller coaster of a year to say the least. I have however felt God nudging me towards taking better care of my stuff. I mean this is still my home and if I cannot be trusted with little, how can I be trusted with anything more?

The last few weeks with the sun breaking and all, has gotten me in gear. I have been almost nesting as a pregnant woman would do. Cleaning alot, going through alot and just trying to keep things simple. I am a simple person, who does not like a lot of clutter and mess. I LOVE simplicity. So I am happy to be back on board:) My house or not, I am still living here and I still need to be a good steward of my belongings.

I just thought this was a different aspect to share, in case there is anyone else out there going through foreclosure. When you feel threatened you react, sometimes not in the right way. I want to leave my house gracefully and know that I did my best for my husband and children.

I am motivated more than ever to kick things up a notch and get spring cleaning already.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

TEMPTATION

In my devotional this morning it talked about temptation. There are all kinds of temptations to deal with in life. Some are more serious than others but everyone struggles nonetheless. Jesus himself was tested when he started his ministry by the devil.

The devil wants to take every ones trust and hope in Jesus and "shake your faith a bit".

One of my temptations is to stop thinking negatively. Some days seem to get me down, and although I have learned to put a handle on it, I still fall short. It is easy to get wrapped up in the worldly views. "Do I have enough money set aside for .............college, emergency, retirement..etc...etc..... Am I teaching my kids as diligently as I should about the word of God.

Everyone can finish there own worry list. Everyone can add a new doubt to their own story. The devil wants to bring you down. So what can you do the next time a worry or doubt tempts you? You can turn to scripture.

I have been memorizing different versus to help me with my particular "mood or struggle".

This verse seems fitting for today..........

No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. I Corinthians 10:13

Those words are comforting to me when I feel tempted to doubt myself.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SACK LUNCHES

Over the last few years my husband and his brother have bought lunch everyday at work. I have been telling him that over time a little bit here and there really adds up. He never really thought much of it, until recently. We are cutting corners everywhere, and with his business not doing the greatest, he asked me for my help.

I have learned to save lots at stores with coupon and in ad sales. Cooking homemade saves a lot as well. We cannot control every bill, heat prices rising, gas prices, etc... but we can control our spending by having coffee at home, saving $1.00 a day x 5 days = $5.00 a week- $20.00 a month, you get the picture.

So back to my challenge, he is bringing me $25.00 a week from his business money, so that I can pack lunches for his brother and him. I had said that I could probably do it less than that with proper planning. This was my first week and I spent under $20.00!!

Im glad to help and also glad they are not throwing money out the window on lunches, that can be more in our pockets.

Here is what I made this week..

Mon- Turkey sandwiches- fruit- chips
Tue- Roast beef- chips- oranges
Wed- Chef salad- apple pie- french bread
Thur-Sauerkraut and sausage stew- fruit salad-
Fri- Egg salad sandwiches- nachos salsa- apple pie

This may be a fun challenge to share with others with new ideas and recipes to keep it fresh and not boring. What about you guys, do you pack lunch, do you try to use variety or do you or your husband buy?

Maybe next week I'll get around to pictures and we can share our lists!

REVELATION




The lyrics to the song below are from a group called Third Day and the song is called Revelation, the words have spoke to my heart lately. Music is a great source to turn to, in difficult times and joyous times. My selection of music choices has grown over the last few years. I love just about any music. Christian music along with country music have been my favorite as of lately, but again I love all music. Does anyone else relate to music as therapy?
Enjoy these lyrics.


My life,Has led me down the road that’s so uncertain

And now I am left alone and I am broken,

Trying to find my way,Trying to find the faith that’s gone

This time,I know that you are holding all the answers I’m tired of losing hope and taking chances ,On roads that never seem,

To be the ones that bring me home. Give me a revelation, Show me what to do

Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,I haven’t got a clue

Tell me should I stay here, Or do I need to move Give me a revelation

I’ve got nothing without You I’ve got nothing without You

My life,Has led me down this path that’s ever winding Through every twist and turn I’m always finding,That I am lost again (I am lost again)Tell me when this road will ever end

Give me a revelation,Show me what to do Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,I haven’t got a clue

Tell me should I stay here, Or do I need to move Give me a revelation I’ve got nothing without You I’ve got nothing without…

I don’t know where I can turn Tell me when will I learn Won’t You show me where I need to go Oh oh Let me follow Your lead,I know that it’s the only way that I can get back home

Give me a revelation, Show me what to do Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,I haven’t got a clue

Tell me should I stay here,Or do I need to move Give me a revelation I’ve got nothing without You I’ve got nothing without You Oh, give me a revelation…I’ve got nothing without You I’ve got nothing without You

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

GOD'S GUIDANCE

So lately I have had lots of "what if's " on my mind. Since going through this foreclosure situation, I have learned to trust in the Lord with ALL my needs, knowing he will provide. I have found myself praying prayers such as "lead us Lord, where you want us to go". I have learned to pray differently, not asking for specifics anymore, just asking for guidance and direction.

I was not prepared for what happened at this point. My husband's business is barely surviving this economy, he is applying for jobs all over the place, just wanting a paycheck at the end of the week. He mentioned to me last week that he applied to a few jobs out of state. I was horrified at first, then had to realize how can we fight the hand of God, if he is leading us somewhere else?

Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love the town where I live, and where I worship and where my children go to school. I also love my friends and I am 20-40 minutes from all family. I would not want to move out of state. So instead of reverting into panic mode, I am PRAYING, and by this time I have learned a few things............ I am not praying in specifics, I am simply praying for God's direction, for his hand to be upon us as decisions need to be made.

I hope my husband's small business can survive this and if it cannot I hope he finds a decent job in the area. This puts a little damper on looking at places to live. I need to continue to be strong and support him, as I know this is hard for him to deal with, he is a natural provider.

We need all the prayers we can get at this point. I mean no home, no job no check....pretty scary.

Now more than ever I need to remain in the word and find comfort in the word. The Lord does not give us more then we can handle ........right?!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SAVING MONEY ON ESSENTIALS

Over the last few months I have been "cutting back" even on essentials in preparation for our foreclosure. When I say "cutting back", I mean I am making a lot of things homemade and of course asking myself if an item is necessary or not.

Now I think this is a good idea, even if your not facing foreclosure. I am just choosing to save as much extra money as I possibly can. I have been researching "homemade items", for instance I no longer buy products to clean our floors, I use vinegar and water, equal parts which actually keeps the floor looking really good and clean. Peroxide is another favorite of mine, as you can mix it with baking soda for your own teeth whitening solution.

Of course the most savings I see is in our food bill. When you make homemade items and get rid of convenience foods, you save lots, and after all I have lots of time.

My next quest is laundry detergent, as I seem to be spending a lot on that. I have read a few sites on homemade detergent and it is something I am researching at the moment. I figure if
I make my own and it works, then I'm just buying liquid Downy for fabric softener, something I can't live without:)

If anyone knows of a good "homemade laundry recipe" please let me know. I'm also curious of cost per month in savings. Thanks.

UPDATE: I have checked out the Duggar family website and found an even easier recipe for homemade laundy detergent, here it is

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

4 Cups hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup Washing Soda
½ Cup Borax

Those are the ingredients, for specific instructions go to www.duggarfamily.com

Saturday, March 7, 2009

YEE HAH!!

A couple post's back, I wrote about our church helping us out with registration fee's for next year. This was an anonymous "good deed" that we appreciated greatly.

Last week a good friend of ours parents along with our pastor bought us tickets to a church function. Needless to say I was very excited to have a night out, my husband was a little apprehensive because it was a square dancing event (he does not dance). It was a great steak dinner and then an evening of square dancing to be learned, and yes my husband was called out to the dance floor. We so needed a night of fun, and thanks to my sister for watching all 3 kiddos we were able to go.

I also received yesterday (2) gasoline gift cards in my church mailbox. I cannot believe the amount of love and compassion we are a part of. To be on the receiving end of love and generosity in times of need is difficult to explain. We are humbled and honored to feel so cared for and loved in times of great uncertainty.

These hard times have proven once again the real important things in life, mostly people. The people you connect with, the people you worship with and learn about God' love with. What a blessing our church has been for us over the years and what demonstration of LOVE this church has shown us.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

THE CHRISTMAS SWEATER


I just got done reading this book last night. I literally could not put it down. I borrowed it around the holidays and read a few chapters, but once I started to read into the book some more, I just could not put it down. My husband and I enjoy watching Glenn Beck and this is an amazing book.
I'm sure most of you out there can relate. Without giving too much away, the book dealt a lot with anger and choosing your own attitude once things happen in your life ,good or bad. It also talked a lot about sometimes missing what you need when it is right in front of you.
Of course my situation over the last year has been a "blessing in disguise", I normally want to "control" my life, every last detail, and I have not been able to do that, and I have to learn to live with that. I also have to choose what attitude and face I am gonna put on everyday for my children's sake. Sure some days I want to be angry and act angry, but like the book says, you can choose your attitude to every circumstance that life brings you, good or bad.
Hearing that you need to surround yourselves with loved ones and choose a happy , joyful attitude is something I never get tired of hearing.
I would recommend the book, it has some twists and turns in it, with a great message all around.