"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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don't Forget Who You Are

How many times in 16+ years have I said something to my children to correct or guide them and I suddenly have heard the Lord saying the same thing to me???  MANY MANY MANY TIMES!

This happened just recently as I was talking to my son (16) about why we put him on restriction.  Restriction for this long has NEVER happened before and I am not really certain who it has upset more.  I had talked to my sister who has three grown boys in order to get some perspective.  She shared with me that there was an incidence when they had to confront one of their sons and his answer was "Mom, I just forgot who I was".  WOW!  That hit me like a rock. I thought about that for a while and decided to talk to my son again about some poor choices that he had made which led him to being on restriction.  I told him that I wanted to remind him of who he is and who he belongs to. This is not only true about teenagers but it is VERY true about adults.

I have decided, based on this very principle, that I will surround myself with people who remind me who I am and who I belong to.  I am a Christian which means that I belong to God.  If I surround myself with people who do not care about that or who pull me away from that, I am only going to make more mistakes in judgement.  If Christians treat each other as we should, we will encourage righteousness and spur each other on in our walk with the Lord.  I am grateful when people care enough about me and my relationship with the Lord to hold me accountable to what He desires for my life.

Correcting and disciplining my children is my job but it is not always easy.  The blessing that I see that reaches beyond them is that I learn in the process.  As I remind them who they are I am reminded to not forget who I am and who I belong to.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fresh Start

I am not certain how many times I have journaled, blogged, or thought about this concept.  I seem to always be longing for a fresh start.  I am glad that I serve a God that gives those freely and without holding my failures against me.  

Tomorrow, some things HAVE TO change for me.  I have to get back to exercising every single day.  I have to get back to eating healthier.  I have no choice!  Well, I do have a choice.  I guess it would be better said that I am not giving myself a choice.  I am planning to bundle up and go walk first thing in the morning.  

Tomorrow, I plan to get back to waking up early.  The holidays and the lazy days we were in with snow on the ground have really spoiled me.  Tomorrow, the alarm will be set.  I will rise early and get a good start on my day and the week.

Tomorrow, I will have my quiet time as soon as I get home from my walk.  I will not let anything take priority over that time with my Lord.

So, I have all these plans, but what about today?  What am I going to do with today?  I have already had my quiet time where I spent the time catching up on my Bible study homework.  I did not go walk this morning.  Today, I will get ready and go to the church house.  What will I do with my time there?  Will I exercise my faith?  Will I eat the "meat" of the word or need milk?  Will I quiet myself before the Lord while I am there or will I think about everything that has me stressed?  I have today and I am not guaranteed tomorrow.  Each day is a fresh start.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Savings Summary

Each Saturday, I plan to post a summary from my coupon/store sales.  I like to save 50-100% off of original prices for groceries, household items, and toiletries. It requires strategy, planning, and patience.  
Here is the summary from this year so far:
Original Price:  $308.88
Store Sales Savings:  $75.33
Coupon Savings:  $85.74
Total Savings:  $161.07
Final Price:  $147.81
Savings percentage:  52%

Not a bad start to 2011. I hope to blog the first of the week about my coupon binder and my coupon strategy.  I  think of it as part of "my job" and I have figured out a quick and simple way to clip, organize and use coupons.  Everybody has a different way to handle their coupons but I have found after YEARS of using them that the way that I currently handle them is what is best for me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Coupons, Coffee, and C-group

The title of this post pretty much sums up my day yesterday.  

Wednesdays is when the new sales start at my favorite place to shop with coupons, Bi-Lo.  I usually sit down with the flyer and my coupons and make a list of what I am going to stock-up on.  I usually find other deals once I am at the store.  Last night my total was $116.44 prior to coupons and my total after sales and coupons was $41.17.  I saved 65%.  I like to save at least that much each time I shop.  

Wednesdays are also afternoons when I have time to go by and spend time at Starbucks.  My husband and daughter were with me yesterday so we enjoyed our coffee and conversation before heading to our church activities.  It was nice to spend time with them.

Finally, Wednesday evenings is C-group time at church.  It is our small group and last night we had a great crowd.  It was good to spend time with new and old friends there.  We laughed, prayed, talked, and cried.  It is a great group of people that all have something to add to the conversation.

It was a great day and I look forward to each and every Wednesday so I can save money, sip coffee, and see my friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Homekeeper's Journal

This week’s Journal is all about HOME
In my homey kitchen …..
is where I enjoy preparing meals for my family.  I did not know how to do much more than boil water prior to getting married nearly 19 years ago.  Learning to cook has been such a pleasure.  I love being in my kitchen if I am cooking, baking, washing dishes, cleaning, making coffee, or making hot tea.  It is a place of peace, tranquility, and joy
My thoughts on being at home ……
Deciding to stay home was an easy decision for me.  I had always wanted to be a mom and wife.  The thought of somebody else taking care of my home or children, breaks my heart.  I love being here to take care of my home and family.  I truly believe that it is my job.  I always say that my husband makes the money and I do my best to make the most of it.  

A constant habit I have of making my home comfortable is ….
I am in constant "pick up and straighten up" mode.  I am always looking for things that can be straightened, put away, wiped down, picked up, or thrown away.  When I walk through a room, I try to see it from the viewpoint of a visitor.  I want my family to feel like I treat them as being just as important as company....because they are!
If I could change the decor of my home ….
I would start with painting and would enjoy or more contemporary country style than I have now.

What I want my children/spouse/other family to remember about my home is …
The word "welcome" is the word that comes to mind.  I want it to feel warm, loving and welcome.  I want people to feel at ease when they are here.  I want there to be a sense of calmness and joy.
Home … 
is certainly where my heart is!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Homekeeper's Journal

In My Winter Kitchen its time to ……….
Clean the cabinet doors and straighten the cabinet that holds all the cups and glasses.  
My biggest Time-Waster seems to be ……..
These days?  Sleeping in.  I actually love mornings and the earlier the better.  I seem to accomplish so much in the early hours of the day.  Sleeping in makes me feel as if I am wasting precious time.
I do/do not view Time as a gift from God and here is why……
I view every second that I am alive as a gift from God.  I have been made painfully aware in the last ten years just how short life is.  Time is a precious commodity and should be treated as such.
When others are slow or dawdle I ………
I get impatient.  I want to be patient with others, but people being  poky drives me NUTS.  I am working on this one area of my life.  If people do not do things at the speed I want them to do it or at the speed I would do something...IT IS OKAY.  Now I just need to repeat that to myself every 30 minutes of each day.  
One way that I make good use of time in my household is ….. 
I try to make every action count.  If I leave a room I take anything with me that belongs somewhere in the direction I am headed.  I also use the time that appliances are working to do things.  If I start the dishwasher I find a chore that I can do in the time it takes for it to wash the dishes. 

Make Do Soup

I started the new year off knowing that I wanted to get back to how we use to always be.  I use to watch every dime that we spent, made do with what was on hand, and saved as much as possible.  I announced to my husband the end of last year that we were going to "make do".  That meant that I would have to use my creativity in the kitchen.  That is actually something I really enjoy doing.  We have been snowed/iced in since Monday so I have been "shopping" in my freezer and pantry.  Last night, I wanted to make soup and cornbread.  I had leftovers in the refrigerator and things in the pantry so I got creative. Here are the things I combined to make a soup that was a hit with my family:

Rice:  Bought with a coupon and at clearance price (free)
Black-eyed Peas:  Cooked and given to me by my mother (free)
Southwest Seasoning Packet:  Bought with a coupon at clearance price (25¢)
Tomato Sauce: Bought on sale (50¢)
Chopped Pepperoni: Bought with a coupon and on sale.  I did not use entire package. (50¢)
TOTAL COST:  $1.25 and there was enough to feed 8 people

I am not certain what to call it, but "Make Do Soup".  It was really tasty and along with the cornbread that I made, it filled us up on a cold night.

We have not eaten out one time this year.  My goal is to go the entire month of January without eating out.  I want us to try and only eat out on special occasions.  Hopefully, we can make do.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lyrics That Touched My Heart Today: Hold Me Near

I love Pandora Radio.  If you have not discovered it, you can check it out here: http://www.pandora.com/.

I have it on my phone and carry my phone all over the house as I get chores completed, have my quiet time, read, etc.  One of my stations is what I called "Coffee House Praise and Worship".  Twice today, I heard a song that really touched me.  The second time I heard it, I was able to sit at the computer and look up the lyrics.  I absolutely LOVE this song.   Here are the lyrics:
Hold Me Near
Karla Adolphe
Hold me near when I'm restless
Hold me near when I'm bitter
Hold me near when I"m rebellious
Hold me near until the end
Hold me near when my heart is broken
Hold me near when I'm ignorant
Hold me near when I am jealous
Hold me near until the end
But as for me my feet almost gave out I nearly sold my heart
It's good to be held by my Father it's good to be where you are

What a beautiful song!  It comes from the this album:
You can listen to a sample of the song here:


res·o·lu·tion  (rz-lshn)
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.
4. A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress.
"Firm determination"....that is the one that got me first and then "A course of action determined or decided on".  We all do it.  We decide half-heartily that we will lose weight, save money, be kinder, spend less, etc.  We do well until about the third week of the year.  We then see the gyms not being as busy and stores being busier.  It is amazing that we can start with such determination and then get sidetracked almost before we start.
This year I have several resolutions that I will not go into detail about but they can be summed up in one word...CONSISTENCY.  I just want to be consistent in all the things I resolve to do.  I don't want to get sidetracked or discouraged.  I want to look back at the end of the year and know that I may have stumbled here or there in one area or another but in the end I was determined and consistent.
con·sis·ten·cy  (kn-sstn-s)
n. pl. con·sis·ten·cies
1. Agreement or logical coherence among things or parts
2. Reliability or uniformity of successive results or events
3. Degree of density, firmness, or viscosity
"Reliability"....that one struck me.  Can I rely on myself to get through the hard times with my resolutions?  Can I rely on myself and my human nature to not give up when it gets hard or boring?  I need more than my own reliability.  I need to rely on the Lord to help me through those times when I want to quit. 
So, I am resolving to consistently depend on the Lord to help me to maintain my firm determination to make necessary changes and adjustments in my life.  I trust Him to help me through the times this year that I find hard or scary.  I will fully rely on Him.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   he's the one who will keep you on track.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hello 2011 and Farewell 2010

Last year was "a year" to say the least.  As I sit here where I can see out the front windows of my home, I am thinking about how just a couple of weeks ago we were preparing for snow.  Today it is a sunshine filled day with warmer temperatures.  Funny, we never know what to expect here in the South.  It has been said that if you do not like the weather, wait a day and it will change.  I have often said that a day can change everything.  With this all in mind and as I reflect back on 2010, I am glad to know that through hurts, trials, and fear....GOD HAS BEEN GOOD!!!  I have learned a lot about myself, others, and God.  I have discovered so much about God that I never really knew.  I have been in church since I was conceived, yet 2010 taught me new truths about the Lord.  I am grateful, as I reflect back, that I went through the things that I went through last year.  I am thrilled that even in darkness, God handed me His light.  I am grateful that He taught me all that He did so that I can use those lessons in 2011 and beyond.  You never know what will happen in a given day that will change all that you know, but you can be assured that God is in control.  He knows every situation that you will face and everything that situation will cause you to feel.  He knows what He needs to teach you and He knows EXACTLY how to teach it to you.  He knows "how you are" and knows how to make you into what He wants you to be.  No, pain and suffering is not fun at the time, but it is sometimes needed to mold us into a vessel He can use.  Am I glad that 2010 is gone?  No, because I was taught as a child to not wish my life away.  I am glad to have a fresh start to a new year, month, week, and day each time I am faced with them.  I am glad to have the opportunity to use what I have learned to grow even closer to the Lord and minister to others.  There will be new hurts, trials, and suffering in 2011 but as I have so honestly and painfully learned....GOD IS IN CONTROL!