Thursday, January 31, 2008

Toothpaste and Soap

Rite Aid is having some good sales on things we can always use... Tonight I picked up FOUR tubes of toothpaste (half Crest, half Colgate) and 6 bars of Irish Spring soap (K's favorite). The bill would normally have come to $16.54 but will sales and coupons I paid a grand total of $5.08. We saved $11.46!!!!! I'm so proud of myself.

Wendy... we have plenty of toothpaste for your visit! No need to pack any! HA!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Clean Heart Devotional - Week #5

Am I the only one that prays the same prayer all the time asking God to forgive me for the same mistakes... over and over and over and over??? I think not.

I'm a lazy soul. I am lazy when it comes to diet. I am lazy when it comes to exercise. I am lazy when it comes to budgeting and sometimes when it comes to planning, cooking, laundry, and general housework. I am lazy when it comes to keeping up with friends. Above all this, I am lazy when it comes to spiritual discipline. I am L-A-Z-Y!!!!

While I'd like to think that I am a hard-worker, the truth is that my laziness consumes me more often than not. Sure, I work every day. I do some physical labor sometimes. I even have a policy to work before I play. I've patted myself on the back for many a days work. The truth is that I do not work hard-enough at what is most important. What are my priorities? Is not spiritual health much more significant than the all-mighty paycheck?

I'm ashamed to say that there are days when I am too lazy to give the Lord my full attention. My prayers are at times scattered or wandering. Sometimes I read the Word, yet I'm too lazy to take the time to dig for understanding. Then I pray... "Forgive me Lord for being so lazy. Have mercy on me for I am weak...."

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Menu Planning

I plan for five meals, but I do not assign a day to any of them.

1) Spaghetti with meat sauce

2) Ham and potatoes

3) Broccoli Cheese Soup with home-made rolls

4) Maple French Toast Bake

5) Left-overs or Freezer-find
Join us in Menu Plan Monday if you dare!

Saving and Budgeting

I have been focusing on being thrifty in my spending lately. Part of this focus is about staying on budget at the grocery store. I clip coupons every week. I'm shopping the sales, using the coupons at just the right time and saving a lot of money in the process. Here are some tips that I'm learning to take advantage of:

1) MENU PLANNING - I'm planning meals each week while giving consideration to what is on sale during this weeks shopping trip. Having this plan definitely deters us from impromptu dining out. It also offers my Handy Hubby an opportunity to decide what he is willing to make for us one day this week... so I know I'll have a break. (He's so good!)

2) Making extra and freezing it for later. I make soup or chili and freeze at least two (more than one serving) containers for another day. I make two lasagnas or casseroles and have one for dinner and freeze the other.

3) Make ahead meats. I baked a 9 pound turkey one day last week. There were a lot of left-overs as that was a rather large bird for just two people. The following day I made turkey tetrazzini. The rest I chopped into bite size pieces and popped into the freezer for another quick meal. I also made a lasagna one day last week. I had left-over ground meat that I had already browned. There is enough to make a meat sauce, so I bagged it and froze it. Our meat sauce will be done in half the time next time.

I really am saving funds at the supermarket by carefully planning before I go. I know which stores have the best deals on everything and what I have coupons for. This week I planned three lists - Giant Eagle, Rite Aid, and Shop-n-Save. Lucky for me these three establishments are all on the main stretch of highway near me, all less than 3 miles from home. I got some super good deals at each place! Free lightbulbs. Free jump-drive!! Super-cheap chili seasoning, Ragu, ground round, boneless pork, and pepperoni slices! Add all this it last weeks plunder... we are stocked!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dream Analysis

Two nights ago I had a dream in the early morning hours after my Handy Hubby had left for work. I had rented a house with some roommates, but moved out before the lease was up. I returned to gather a few last minute things to find that my roommates had also moved out, but did not clean behind themselves. There was a dog in the house who had been there for some time without anyone caring for it and it had made an overwhelming mess. So here I stood, gawking at the mess, with no tools to clean it up. I had one paper towel in my pocket. I was horrified, noting that I may as well kiss my security deposit goodbye.

I told my boss about this dream. He's an old psych nurse. Ya - he says I have issues. HA!!! Ya think!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Clean Heart: Week 4

Yes I know I've missed a couple weeks. Been working on other Bible Studies and haven't had time to build upon that any more than one at a time.

I love answered prayers. I am a prayer warrior... probably because I love answered prayers so much. When I pray, I record in my journal the things that I'm praying for. Sometimes I even write my prayers there too. Periodically I read through my older journals just for the simple task of recognizing answered prayers because it is a warm feeling to celebrate such things.

Let's take a look back at my past...

Years ago, we had been praying about our financial situation. We needed to be more budget savvy and purposeful. So God sent us to Kentucky to teach us about budgeting. First of all, we were giving up what we considered to be a comfortable home and our jobs and moving far far away rather blindly to pursue what the Lord layed on our hearts. I tried desperately to find a job before we got there. As a matter of fact, I interviewed FIVE times for one particular position and they didn't hire me because they weren't sure if I'd be staying in the area long-term. As it goes, some changes were occuring at work here at home and I developed a plan where I would be able to do my job from home. My employer was in favor, and even agreed to fly me home for a 10 day stay each month. I thought I had the best of both worlds, but when they hired yet another employee for the office, the answered prayer gets even better. She wanted a lot more money than my employer would pay on average so they gave me a hefty raise just because they couldn't pay her more than me. So here we were, being obedient and trusting God to provide for us and he piled on the blessing. Now with one of us in school and not working, things were still pretty shy in the budget category, but God made it so that the raise I received would make up for my husband not working. He provided a home that was walking distance to school, post-office, and general shopping needs. God truly poured out the mercy and grace in our situation. We still struggle to keep to a budget, but we know that God's plan is perfect and we can always rely on him to provide.

If you'd like to participate in the CLEAN HEART devotional, visit Dandelion Seeds. Create your blog entry, sign Mr Linky linking back to your post, and leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I'm Tired

Not enough sleep. Too much activity. Early to work. Late to come home. Housework to do. Groceries to buy. Meals to cook. Studies to accomplish. Appointments to keep. Husband to spoil. (not in any order)

I'm tired.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Clean Heart Devotional - Week 1

Interestingly enough, when I recite Psalm 51:10, Proverbs 3:5 seems to automatically follow. There is a significant connection there. It's even significant that the author of this devotional series has chosen to link these two scriptures early in the study.

If our major purpose is to find a pure heart, what better way to begin the process than to recognize that we must trust the Lord and acknowledge him. It feels as if I'm on some sort of quest... to find the holy grail, which is purity of heart. Is it really a journey? Perhaps it seems as though it is, yet at the same time it is right in front of us. Reach out and grab it!

First of all, lack of trust is probably the number one corruptor of purity. Without trust in God, we find ourself seeking some level of comfort in our own abilities, or in those of someone or something that surrounds us. He tells us to trust him with "all our heart." That's not exactly simple. Our human nature is to guard our hearts. To trust him with "all our heart" creates true peace within. I am thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a heart of faith that just KNOWS that I can trust him. Faith is a gift from God. Not everybody has it.

Next... God deserves the glory! That is our #1 purpose as Christians, to glorify God. He reminds us that we are to acknowledge him in ALL our ways. That seems like a rather large task to tackle; however it does not have to be complex. I'm not very good at this. I forget so easily. My sinful nature makes this task REALLY hard to accomplish. Especially when the going gets tough. I know that my trust in the Lord will carry me through; however it is difficult to keep acknowledging God in those circumstances. If you have some practical suggestions on this... please share.

We are on a journey and many of our circumstances are to mold and mature us. We find ourselves constantly planning for the future and forgetting to enjoy what the Lord has in store for us today. What's even better is that we are afforded the opportunity to CHOOSE our direction. Although when we are deliberate in trusting and acknowledging God, we move in the direction he has for us.

A few years ago we left our home to go to Seminary. It was a significant time for us. While my husband did not complete his graduate course work there, we have never doubted that it was a purposeful journey. I suspect that there are friends or family that think we wasted our time because things did not work out as WE had planned. What they fail to realize is that we were simply living out what the Lord had called us to do at that point in our lives. We went where he led us and we are back home now because he led us back home. It was HIS plan, not ours. There were hard times there. We trusted in the Lord. We leaned on the Lord. And He provided for us and blessed us for our obedience. It's easy to plan about what we will do tomorrow, or next week, or next month. The true question is... what does God desire for you in those times? What direction will you choose? And will it be a selfish path? Or one that the Lord leads you to?

New Devotional

I'm going to be participating in a new on-line devotional. About a year ago, or more, I memorized a portion of scripture that has since been the focus of my heart.

Psalm 51:10

"Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

I have prayed over this scripture, pondering its significance, and have spent countless hours seeking wisdom in this regard. This devotional promises a significant journey with the Lord where I will grow substantially. So, if you are inclined to do so, join in and link up over at Dandelion Seeds. This is a weekly devotional so there is no pressure to make a daily post on it. The author is offering it as a FREE download although donations are accepted if one is inclined. So there is no cost other than some time and a willing heart.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good Changes

Keith has agreed to make dinner for us at least one night per week. This happened to be TONIGHT. He made grilled ham and cheese sandwhiches and tomato soup. Mmmm Mmmm Good!

Just the fact that he was willing was such a relief for me. Finding myself not ready to relax and not sure what to do... I washed the dirty dishes. This made it seem more like a team approach, but really... dinner was all him.

I'm delighted that he is agreeable to such things. Some days I just need a break! Some days I just need to not worry about one more household thing. Some days... like today... I remind myself how lucky I am to have such a gem of a husband!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Funny Stuff

For a good laugh... head on over to my sister's blog. I busted a gut laughing!


New years bring re-organizing. I like that. Being organized makes me feel like I have some level of control over the clutter in my life. I hate clutter!!!

I was just thinking about clutter the other day. I get to a certain point when the clutter is getting to me and I'm just shy of a melt-down. I feel under-prepared for guests and such... I was chatting with Handy-Hubby's mom about this because she was visiting and I was feeling guilty because our home was not of the standard of cleanliness that I desired for when company arrives. She assured me that it doesn't bother her one iota. As a matter of fact, she confessed to not being a very good house-keeper. (although I think she does just fine) She explained that when her children were young, she was a single parent. She worked full-time to care for them and had little time to worry about house-keeping aside from essentials. As a matter of fact, she said that on her day off she was NOT going to spend it trying to catch up on house-work, but instead spent quality time with her children. They went places... parks, museums, road-trips, picnics, etc. They enjoyed each other's company, made precious memories, and even learned about historical things and other educational topics. She did what really mattered and I commend her for that. Funny... as I sit here now pondering that conversation... Now I know why my Handy-Hubby is the way that he is. I understand why he's a "seize the day" kind of guy. I understand why he thinks that things can wait... why I don't need to "clean like the president's coming." (his words) I'm still annoyed by clutter, but understanding how he became the guy he is... even if he's a procrastinator of sorts... it helps.

Anyway... on with re-organizing things... I have much to re-organize:

  1. I have a fresh clean calendar just waiting to be filled with dates to remember... birthdays... schedules... Bible Studies... appointments... and even a menu.
  2. I am learning how to be a better manager of funds... we have a budget and a plan to climb out of debt. We've been working on it for a while and are seeing the results... but we can't stop until we reach the goals! I'm learning to get the most for our money on groceries and other misc items. I plan ahead, clip coupons, shop sales, and stick to the list.
  3. I'm learning that a huge part of budgeting and saving is linked to planning meals ahead. When I began I planned 3-4 meals per week that I would shop for and it didn't matter which days those would be. Now I'm upping that to a plan for at least 6 days per week and will soon be budgeting/planning more than just dinners (breakfast, lunch, and snacks too).
  4. I'm learning about wholesome goodness for our home... whole grains, lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean dairy products. We are aspiring to "move more" in efforts to boost our overall health.
  5. I cleaned in the basement this week. HH has a new toy - a table saw. I found all sorts of ways to de-clutter and organize our construction materials and such. It's a work in progress... but coming along.
  6. I'm learning to keep up with my spiritual journal and devotions on a more consistent basis. Now that is God honoring!

So much to do and plenty of time to do it... I want to make a home binder with all our important information in it. Work in progress... I haven't even dug out a binder yet. Well.. the printer is on the fritz so I've been putting it off.

What are you doing to re-organize? Isn't it just so refreshing?!