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Posts Tagged ‘money’

Saving Money on Organic Food

I don’t know about you, but around here we’re trying desperately to save money on food. I found this article on Dr Mercola’s site this morning. There’s a link to this wallet guide that tells which produce is most important to buy organic, and which is fairly safe to buy conventional. Pretty nifty!

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Where to start…

So, sometimes life gets just hard enough that you don’t want to write. After three weeks + of sickness in the house, I came to the end of myself. 🙂 Really, it didn’t even take that long. As of tonight, I have an extremely sore throat, but no other symptoms, and the girls are finally well. I don’t know why in the world we all got so sick this time, but we did. Actually, I think I do know why.

Thoughts I have had (you have plenty of time to sit and think philosophical thoughts when you’re sitting up all night with sick kids):

-Why me?
-Poor me.
-What about me?

Then I started actually applying the five books I’ve been reading (I usually read that many at once), and had some more productive thoughts:

-1 Tim. 2:15 says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” I have had two women who I greatly respect tell me they believe this means the act of laying down your own life and your own agenda is what helps us women to become Christlike.
-Hannah obeys so much better when I give her specific one-on-one time, and mean what I say when I say it. I had gotten a little bit lazy with her discipline. I hate labeling kids because I don’t think it’s productive, but The Strong Willed Child is just about the most helpful book I have read in a long time. One thing I like about it is that he assumes I am a competent, loving parent. When you explain to a loving parent how they can lovingly help their kids mind (and there any multiple ways, not just spanking), the home can be peaceful and happy rather than full of anger. Spanking does not equal anger, kids out of control because their parents don’t know what to do with them equals anger.
-When we spend the money (it only took about $100) to make our home a more beautiful place to live, I actually want to be there. Profound…
-It is only in laying down my own agenda for the day that I can be at peace when I stay home with my kids. This is the hardest stinkin’ thing to do, but when I can do it, the freedom in our home is incredible.
-I have been a Christian for as long as I can remember, and I have never learned a life of prayer. I’m learning it now.
-I am more confident in my value to God than I have ever been. I think I have spent my entire life being defined by my accomplishments and talents. Talk about being behind the scenes…motherhood will take the pride right outta ya.

I guess I’ll quit there. This has been an intense time of introspection for me. I’m excited to see where God is leading me as a woman, a wife and a mother. And also where He’ll take me in worship ministry, because there may be some opportunities there in the coming months. I feel like I got a fresh start, and all because of some dumb flu bug… Funny how God works these things out.

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Being Transformed

I read Sara’s post Transforming in the past couple days. (It took that long to digest it. In fact, I think I’m still working on it!) There were many things that stood out to me, but one main thing said, in short, “God has a plan for my day. He wants to help me run my household. Pray that He will reveal that plan.”

I’ve been discussing with my mom quite a bit lately about my feeling of being overwhelmed with the housework and other things that need to be done around our home. Even simple things like brushing Hannah’s teeth before bed and getting the dishes done sometimes feel insurmountable, especially on days when the girls are unhappy or I have to be gone most of the day. Irene had some good advice the other day to focus on three things at a time, but that leaves so many other things undone that I can hardly live with myself some days. My mom’s advice? “The dishes aren’t done? Who cares”?! Well, I do! But, my memories as a child are happy ones. Our house was not always clean, but my mom was always available to me. I’d much rather be available to my children than to my children’s messes!

The past couple of days I’ve been praying for God to wake me up when I need to get up in order to spend a little time reading my Bible and focusing before doing our morning routine. My girls get up anywhere from 7am to 10am depending on the night we’ve had, so it’s hard for me to know when to set an alarm. I am most definitely a fan of sleeping in, but even five minutes makes such a difference in the perspective I start with. Rather than running to Hannah’s room half-asleep and begging her to sleep some more, I’ve been centered, happy, and ready to see her and start our day.

Bear with me – those of you who have a regular morning quiet time. I’ve known for some time that this would help me, but it sure is hard to tell that voice to shut up when it says just 20 minutes more sleep will make all the difference!

I’m making other changes as well. Hannah is moving to a later nap time. This is cutting way down on fights over naps. The morning also no longer revolves around getting dishes done. They’re still there at noon, and instead of fighting with Hannah over them, I sit down and have a nice interactive time with her at breakfast.

I also learned a new secret this week about God. I hesitate to share it here, because it’s still a tiny seed in my heart. Somebody’s negative opinion might kill it off. But it’s working for me. And life is good. And God is good in every circumstance. And maybe down the road I’ll share.

And, there’s good news on the house situation, although there still is no renter for our town house. Keep praying! Nothing’s definite yet. I’ll wait to share.

And, we get to go on vacation in less than a week.

And…okay. I’m done.

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Provision

Money is an interesting teacher.

First, a little background. I’ve already written about how I grew up financially. We lived sale-to-sale on nothing and then like kings after one. This carried over to my first home on my own as an adult. At 22, I decided to quit delaying the inevitable, and went away to college. Due to my medical stuff and the fact that I treat it nutritionally, the private university that “required” all single students to live on campus and buy a dining room meal plan basically forced me to get my own apartment and move out of the dorms. This was great except for two things: I never made many close friends at school, and I did not have the money to live on my own.

I was in school as a music student full time (which all music students know means full time plus practice time. The schedule is insane.) The economy was not great at home so my parents’ business hit a lull. I had to figure out how to even stay at school. I took I think 15 private piano students and charged them $15 per lesson. My own piano teacher who had most of her doctorate didn’t make much more than that I don’t think, and after asking what I charged, was furious with me for charging that much. Hey, people were willing to pay it and I gave them everything I had.

I barely scraped by each month on my piano income, and lived for the day that my school loans would be paid out to the school, and I could request and receive the refund check from the school for the amount I borrowed that went above the cost of tuition. Usually that check would come halfway through the semester. It was usually around $1500.

Having that much money all at once, finally, felt normal to me. I made up for lost time. I went tanning, bought new clothes, at one point bought a palm pilot. But most of all, I would go to Walmart. Every time I got one of those checks, I would spend at least $100-200 at Walmart. Now, I was basically setting up my own new household. I started with nothing, so I’m sure some of that “stuff” was necessary. However, I could have done without a whole lot of it. I remember hiking up the stairs to my third floor apartment, arms full of bags in triumph. I also remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I set all the bags on the folding table in my dining room and thought about how much I had spent and what it had bought. Why did I think I needed all those things? Nothing I bought was bad. It was kitchen utensils, things for my apartment like pillows for the couch, gardening stuff for the pots of flowers on my deck, etc. All of it useful and most of it was something about which I had said, “I wish I had a….(fill in the blank).” So, I had bought one. I also would buy a back-up for everything I used – from ziplock bags to hand soap. It felt better to me to never run out of anything.

Fast-forward to now. Nick and I are working through Dave Ramsey’s teachings about debt and money management. We have made a promise to only spend cash that we have in hand. Recently, we realized that our groceries would not last until grocery day, so we stopped by the store to grab a few things. We had limited cash, but only needed to round out the fridge by a few things to make it through three days. We also needed diapers before more money would come. I went into the store…and spent almost every penny. No money for diapers. In the past, Nick would move bills around and smooth it over, even paying something late if we needed to, in order to accomodate my compulsion. This time, he gently suggested that I take back the extra things. Without even wrestling, I knew he was right. As I stood there feeling very conspicuous, watching the new guy at the register try to figure out how to return vegetables, I had a realization: It’s all about provision.

That’s what this is all about. A question…Will I have what I need? God, after this is gone and I have needs again, will You provide for me again? I fear the answer is no and therefore I hoard. My attempt at control. I can hold out for a while. I have my spare package of toilet paper. I can wait, even if You are late. Even if You forget I need money for food and deprive me for some time, I can provide for myself and my family out of my over-stocked pantry. It sounds so ridiculous, and yet “stuff” has been my security blanket. I have been through so many seasons when God’s timing seemed to be off, that I stopped trusting and starting taking matters into my own hands. Instead of allowing my faith to grow and surrendering my sense of timing to His, I took provision on my own shoulders. Yuck.

I guess I post this because I doubt the problem is unique to me. I get such a sense of purpose from helping other people’s lives to be better. The thought that I don’t have to carry that weight anymore is incredibly freeing to me. If by chance you see yourself in this blog, maybe you can be freed also. I won’t make this cheesy by drawing conclusions myself. You can do that. Just know that God is working in my heart through this process. I like stories like that. Thanks for reading mine.

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