"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take."
~~Proverbs 3:5-6~~
I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. Jesus is Lord of my life and I strive daily to draw closer to Him. I love being a homemaker---taking care of my family and home. I enjoy couponing, cleaning, and cooking. I love to get the best deal on everything and find that yard sales and thrift stores are the perfect places for that. I have recently felt lead to write a Bible study and have been working on it in my spare time. I truly enjoy leading women's groups as we all seek to grow closer to the Lord. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy reading about what happens as I strive do all of this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Strawberries are Ready

Yesterday, I went with my mom and daughter to a strawberry farm.  I got 2 gallons of strawberries and I doubt they will last until Saturday.  I love them!
I could not wait to get home to eat some.  One of my favorite ways to eat them is to simply slice them and.sprinkle with a little Splenda©.  Yesterday, I put a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese© on a whole grain english muffin and put the sliced strawberries on top.   WONDERFUL!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Long Time Away

I took a break from my blog to focus on some others things. I'm glad to be back.  Look for news on my progress as I write a Bible Study, try new  recipes, taken care of my family, organize our home, and more. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First Night of Bible Study

Tonight is the first night of the new Bible Study at our church. I am facilitating again.  This is a new author for us and I am excited to see what the Lord will teach us in the next 6 weeks.
This is what Kelly's webpage says about this study:
Ruth's journey of unbearable loss, redeeming love, and divine legacy comes alive in Kelly Minter's Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy—the second study in the Living Room Series. This 6-week Bible study delves into the noble character of Ruth, her unique relationship with her mother in-law Naomi, and her blossoming love with Boaz.
If you've ever been devastated by loss, struggled as a stranger, longed to be loved, or wept along the way, you'll find a place with Ruth.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No Regrets

For so many years, my husband has worked all but one weekend a month.  He lost his job in October and started a new job in November.  Having him home every single weekend is WONDERFUL.  When he was home only one Saturday a month we tried to cram all of our fun things, family events, and major chores into one day.  It was hard and stressful.  We would find our nerves on edge most of the day.  We would not sleep in or lay around and relax on those Saturday mornings, because we felt the clock ticking down toward the end of our only Saturday.  

This morning, we slept in and cuddled.  During the work week we have to be up at 5:30am and we are in the bed by 9:30pm.  I guess, sleeping in until 8:30am does feel like a late morning when you get 3 hours of extra sleep.  I went downstairs and brought back breakfast and coffee.  We propped up on our pillows and enjoyed breakfast and coffee while chatting about our week.  We talked about the week ahead and just enjoyed our time...not rushed and not stressed.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had a friend become a widow the week after Christmas.  She is in her mid 30's and her husband was 39.  I have been VERY convicted about my words and actions toward my husband since hearing that news.  I have been made painfully aware of the fact that we are not promised tomorrow and, truthfully, we are not promised the next minute.  I don't want to have regrets in any relationship, but especially in my marriage.  I don't want my husband spending his time at work with a knot in his throat because of me, my attitude, my words, or my actions.  I don't want him waking up with a sense of dread because of me.  I want him to look forward to being around me.  I am blessed to be married to a man who makes certain to appreciate me and to voice that appreciation.  In 20 years with him, I have learned a lot from him about how to treat others.  We talked this morning about how neither of us want regrets if something was to happen to either of us.  We want our marriage to be a joy and not a regret.

I am grateful to have today to spend time with my husband, but I am aware that I need to take time each and every day to bless him, encourage him, and love him.  No regrets....that is my new motto in my marriage.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Loving My Husband

When I first got married, nearly 20 years ago, I thought it was big things that I had to do to show my husband that I love him.  Time has taught me that it is in the daily, simple, and not so big things that actually make him feel loved. Here are 10 ways that I show him daily that I love him and I am thinking about him:
  1. I do not have to leave the house in the mornings, but I get up when he does in order to make him something for breakfast, fix our coffee, and spend a few minutes with him before he leaves.
  2. We have a long standing joke between us that he cannot fix his coffee correctly.  This came about because I always prepare his coffee and he always says that I know exactly how he likes it.  It might just be a cup of coffee, but for me it is like a gift to him each time I pour and prepare him a cup.
  3. I pray for him and let him know that I do.  Sometimes it is when I have him on my mind, mention him to the Lord, and then text him to let him know.  Other times it is when he has shared a concern with me and I tell him later that I prayed about it.
  4. Ever since I started staying at home (16 years ago this week) I have made a point of straightening the house and making things look nice before he comes home from work.  When our children were little I would tell them we needed to get ready for their daddy to come home.  Now, when they see me straightening, spraying air freshener, and putting things away, they will ask if he is on his way.  I never want him to come home to a mess or a messy situation.  I do not tell him all the bad things of my day when he walks through the door.  No matter what kind of day the children and I have had, as far as he knows it was wonderful.  If there is something that he needs to know that is not so good, I save it for later....not when he walks in the door.
  5. I try to pay attention to the little things that he runs out of or is running low on and replace them before he has to ask me to.  Just recently, I noticed that he was using his last disposable razor.  I came across his favorite kind in the marked down section of the grocery store.  I put them on the counter in the bathroom.  When he noticed them he said "You always are one step ahead."
  6. If there are things that he needs to take with him to work, I put them where he keeps his keys so that he does not forget them.  He has a 45 minute drive from his work, so if he forgets something, it is too far to come back.
  7. I randomly throughout the day, send him texts to say that I love him, I am grateful for him, I appreciate him, or I am thinking about him.
  8. I listen.  This has been a 20 year lesson.  I truly listen to what he is telling me, even if I do not have a clue what any of it means.  He talks cars, machines, motors, etc.  It is a language I do not understand, but when he is talking, I act as if it is the most interesting thing that I have ever heard.
  9. When he gets paid on Fridays, I make certain to let him know that I appreciate him working hard to provide for our family.  I never want him to feel as if I do not appreciate him working hard.  He has never once complained or even grumbled about being the breadwinner of our home.
  10. Finally, I hug him, rub his back, hold his hand, kiss his cheek, etc.  Our teenagers make fun of this, but I know that it means as much to them as it does to us.  My husband is affectionate and appreciates me being affectionate.  When I give him a hug out of the blue, I see his face light up.
My husband did not have the ideal childhood.  He never had that feeling of belonging or being treasured.  I count it a privilege to be married to such a gentle and loving man, but I never want to take it for granted.  I want him to know that he is loved, appreciated, treasured, and honored.  I may not do "big" things or extravagant things to get this point across, but I try to show it in all the little things of our busy days.

A family friend that is in her 30's became a widow this week.  It was a sudden and surprising death and she is now without her husband.  I cannot even start to imagine what that must be like.  I know, we are not promised a second chance to say the right thing, do the right thing, or act the right way.  I try really hard to make things right as quickly as possible so that the day that Lord decides to call either of us home, there will be no regrets.  

"...the greatest of these is LOVE"
I Corinthians 13:13

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Menu Musing

As I started going through the thought process of what I would cook for our family's supper, I was thinking about some things that have been asked of me or said to me concerning cooking.  I thought I would just share my thoughts here:

(1)  I have lived both by a monthly/weekly menu and I have lived making the decision of what to cook on a daily basis.  The truth, I enjoy the daily process better.  I think this is easiest for me because I do not buy weekly or monthly groceries.  I think the homemakers that do better with a menu plan are those that shop for groceries based on a menu plan.  I do not.  I shop sales, coupons, and deals.  I have a small stockpile, a refrigerator of staples, and a couple of freezers full.  I prefer figuring out what we will have for supper based on the weather, what I have on hand, and whatever we have a taste for at the time.

(2)  I have had it said to me recently that it is MUCH cheaper for a family of 2-4 to eat out using dollar menus than it is to cook.  I really get on a soapbox with this statement.  Most of our family suppers cost less than $5 and that includes dessert with enough leftovers for 2-4 people later.  If 4 people each get three things off the dollar menu that is $12, the cost of gas to get there, and no leftovers.  How can that possibly be cheaper?  Never mind it is less nutritious, less tasty, and boring.  Here is what I am cooking tonight and the cost breakdown:
Sausage Lentil Soup with Fried Tortilla Strips and Sweet Potato Pie
Beef Broth  -0-
Bag of Lentils  $1
Onion  25¢
Pound of Sausage  69¢
Tortilla Strips:  25¢
Sweet Potato Pie:  $1.50
TOTAL:  $3.69

(3)  Along with that being said to me, it is often said that people can buy store brands cheaper than name brands with coupons.  WRONG!  This is another soapbox subject for me.  Yes, there are things that never go on sale and that never have a coupon.  These items are few and if I need them, I buy them at the cheapest place.  There are times when I am making something and I need a particular item that is not on sale and I do not have a coupon.  Again, I buy these at the cheapest place possible.  The majority of the food and household items that I purchase for our family are name brands that are on sale and with a coupon.  I pay PENNIES for these things and a lot of the time they are free. 

(4)  My sister and I have discussed the fact that we sometimes feel as though we are on the set of "Chopped" when we go to our pantries, refrigerators, and freezers.  I love "creating" recipes based on what I have on hand.  The soup we are having this evening is just that...a made up with what I have on hand.  I am not a recipe oriented cook and love the challenge of making something that is my own idea.  I am really not certain what people do that cannot cook.  You have to know a few basic things and you build on that as time passes.

What about you?  Do you enjoy cooking?  Do you create your on ideas based on what you know or do you have to go by a recipe?  Does your family eat out a lot?  Let me know your thoughts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Decorations Down

I always dread the decorations coming down.  One reason is that I enjoy the "feel" they give our home.  Another reason is that I truly love the Christmas season.  I think the main reason is the time and effort it takes to get everything back to "normal".  I turned praise music on this morning and got to work before it was even daylight.  I found myself in tears as I took the little ornaments off the main tree.  I saw the sweet little things that my children have made over the years and started thinking back to the Christmas mornings when they were really little.  That particular tree is placed in front of a built in shelf that has several pictures on it.  Two of those pictures are precious to me.  One is of my son when he was a couple of months old and he is napping on my daddy.  I lost my daddy 10½ years ago and this picture stirred up a lot of memories in my mind.  The other picture is of my mama holding my daughter the day or or the day after she was born.  This picture made me realize how quickly my daughter has become a young lady.  I stood as the praise music filled the room and allowed the tears that had filled my eyes to spill over.  Even as I type this, my heart is full and so are my eyes.  We have such wonderful memories and it seems as if the years have flown by.  Although I was dreading taking the decorations down, I knew when they went up that they were temporary. I am now glad that the chore is done and I can relax.  The decorations were pretty and sparkling, but they were temporary and I could not keep them up forever.

As I thought about the decorations coming down, I thought about how we need to take the decorations down in our lives and focus on the lasting things.  I think, as women, we tend to enjoy all the "decorations" in our lives and let the things with eternal value go.  We try to impress others with what we wear, what we drive, where we live, etc.  If we would just let go of all of that "decor" and just live in the moments without missing the simple joys of each day, we would find ourselves much happier.  If we would stop focusing on the temporary decorations in our lives and focus more on the things that last, we would be different.  Sometimes, it is sad to let go of those things, but once we do, we can relax and know that we are making an eternal difference.

What decorations are you putting in your life that need to be put up so that you can make eternal investments in the lives of others?  Do you need to stop trying to decorate with your life with things that are not eternal?  Stop putting temporary things in your life and focus on the things that are everlasting.

"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"
Matthew 6:21

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Blog of 2011

What a year!  The first half of the year was pretty uneventful and pretty routine.

Summer came and our son had the opportunity to go on a 10 day trip to Las Vegas and Nevada with his best friend and his best friend's mom.  He earned his money to go and even with a little hesitation, we agreed.  It was a trip of a lifetime for him and he had a blast.  They later went to the beach for a week and had a great time.

Our daughter went to two different week-long camps with church.  A couple of weeks before taking her to the second camp, I started experiencing some serious facial/jaw pain.  The day that my mama and I were taking her to the second camp, it finally became unbearable.  I talked to my mama about it and agreed to go to the dentist.  I have had a lifelong phobia of the dentist.  Dr. Snider had done some major dental work for me a couple of years ago and it went really well, so I decided to call.  Turns out that all the terrible pain was due to the fact that I was clinching my teeth in my sleep and subconsciously during other times of the day.  He fit me for a guard to wear at night from now on and during the day for a the first few weeks.  Within three nights and days of wearing it, the pain was gone.  It was during this time that I was chosen to lead the ladies Bible study at our church.  I was dealing with the pain while preparing to lead the ladies.

Shortly after the Bible study starting in September, my daughter and I were home alone when  a man walked in on us.  It could have been much worse but thanks to a very vocal Pomeranian, quick thinking  and knee-jerk reacting, we had him out of our door soon and later arrested.

A month later, my husband came home to let me know that he had lost his job.  He was only out of work for 3 weeks before finding the job he now has.  He no longer swings shifts 7 days at a time, he no longer feels completely defeated at his job, and he is home every weekend.

All of these situations have made us draw closer to the Lord.  Life can bring changes and situations that we do not see coming, but God does. He knows exactly what is going to happen and will help us through the things that come our way.  I am grateful for everything from 2011....the good, the not so good, the fun, the difficult, the confusing, the scary, the happy, the sad, the hurtful, etc.  It is all by His plan.  Knowing that very fact brings me comfort.  He is never caught off guard.  He is never surprised.  He is never unprepared.  He is never unfaithful.  He NEVER fails.  God is good.  Life may be challenging and even a roller coaster, but I am thankful that He has it all under control and all I have to do is hang on.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Frugal Friday 12-30-11

I really meant to get a picture of the items before I put them up last night.  I went to Bi-lo, my favorite savings place, to use coupons that are expiring tomorrow.  Here is what I got:
1 Bottle ERA detergent
3 33.9 ounce cannisters of Folgers Decaf Coffee
16 bottles of Kraft BBQ sauce
1 package Idahoan Instant Potatoes
3 packages of frozen Cooked Perfect Meatballs
2 40 count packages of Tampax Tampons
2 boxes of Zesta Saltine Crackers

Total Before Sales and Coupons:  $101.02
Total After Sales and Coupons + Tax:  $17.69
Savings:  nearly 83%

What a Way to Wake

Since my husband has been at his new job, he and I get up at 5:30 in the mornings.  He usually gets right up and I stay behind and make the bed.  I set the coffee maker (got a new one for Christmas) the night before so the coffee will be ready when we get downstairs.  I hated our old maker but only paid $5 for it.  You had to pour it really really slowly to avoid it running all over the counter.  Sometimes it would overflow as it brewed and would make a HUGE mess.  The one that I got for Christmas has been GREAT!  It is a Mr. Coffee (my brand of choice) and has not disappointed me....YET.  

So I realized this morning that my husband had gotten up and I had apparently pressed "dismiss" instead of "snooze" on my phone.  I jumped up and went downstairs without making my bed because I was 30 minutes behind.  This is silly, but that is always a bad way to start a day.  I get downstairs to a counter full of water, a few coffee grounds, and a half full coffee pot.  WHAT?  It had failed!  I started to figure out what could have gone wrong and started a new pot.  I then realized that "mother nature" had arrived.  GREAT!  I started packing my husband's lunch for him to take to work.  I took his bag of lunch to the place where he leaves everything he needs to take out the door when he leaves.  Since I had hurried to the kitchen to prepare our coffee and breakfast, I had not turned any lights on anywhere else.  As I sat his lunch on the table, his new Mag Lite flashlight fell and narrowly missed my toe.  The sound of it falling scared me.  I go back to the kitchen to start his breakfast and, THANKFULLY, the second pot of coffee had brewed.  I poured us both a cup and finished breakfast.  As I was walking back up the hallway, my husband emerges from the bathroom and says, "Good morning!"  If he ONLY knew that I had pretty much spent the first 30 minutes of my day in a tizzy.  I just laughed.  As I started sharing with him how it had all unfolded, he laughed along with me.  Things could be much much worse, and I truly realize that.

I have a friend that had surgery for colorectal cancer yesterday.  She will start MAJOR chemo treatments in a few weeks.  I have been following a couple of blogs where two different mom's are watching there sons fight for their lives.  One is an infant and one is about 5 years old.  I saw online earlier about a teenage boy who died on Christmas day from a heart condition.  I know a wife that is fighting to save her marriage. I know of families that are struggling to keep their home.  I know of a man that lost his wife and within a couple of days his son also passed away.  I know how blessed I am and if my bed does not get made, the coffee maker runs over, and I drop a flashlight.  It is NOT a big deal.  I am sure any of the people in these situations would love to trade places.  I first complained about what I woke up to, but I now think about all of the people I mentioned here and I have to know that they woke to much bigger things.

I am going to make my bed and get another cup of coffee.  I will also stop and thank the Lord for the overflowing coffee pot, unmade bed, and nearly broken toe.  I am now grateful for starting my day that way.