Monday, December 27, 2010

Can We Let God Be God?

I have been pondering lots of things lately, one of which was about a combination of why we don't evangelize--why we frequently are kind of closed mouthed about our Savior, and the role of God in our lives.
It occured to me that many of us(myself included) don't allow God to be God in our day to day lives.
What do I mean? Here is an example. We live on a budget that is getting harder and harder to stick to as our family grows. However, I believe that financial conservatism is a Biblical teaching. So, when, after all I can do, we run out of milk money, do I simply go out and spend money that I really don't have and cause my grocery budget to go in the red? Or do I say,"Okay, Lord, I have tried to do what I can to stretch this further. I don't have any milk money left. You will have to provide the money, the milk, or give us the grace and creativity to go without."
And then wait for His provision. We all too often feel that our problems are ours to solve. We don't even bother approaching Him for answers.
We sing songs at church about God being our strength, our portion, our strong tower,etc. But when confronted with an unbeliever who is incredulous about our faith, what examples can we give of His being these things in our lives? Not many.
However, this requires a leap of Faith. A leap that many of us are unwilling to take.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Subtle Form Of Selfishness

I was journaling the other day, after my kids had gone to bed, bemoaning the usual round of things in my mind and heart--my inadquecies, feeling overwhelmed, care of the house and children, and what I feel are my failures.
I then realized that the whole paragraph I had written was all about me. Yes, it was about my shortcomings and faults, but still about me. I started to wonder if even this line of thinking is still a form of selfishness--perhaps one of the worse kinds, because it is a type of selfishness that can keep us sidetracked and occupied for years and years, and over time it can become more crippling and discouraging, because our shortcomings will never stop, as we are always sinful.
As I pondered this thought, I began to think, "If focusing on our shortcomings is a subtle form of selfishness, then what is there left to dwell on?"
I believe the Holy Spirit truly whispered this to me, "On My Goodness."
I have heard it preached that we should focus on God's goodness, but this is the first time I understood why. I can't change me--I can't take away my own sinfulness, regardless of how often i whine to God about how pathetic I am. But I can focus on His goodness, and bask the righteousness He allows me to claim through His Son, and for His Son's sake. It is through true gratitude that we slowly, painfully work through the process of sanctification, knowing that through all our failures, God is able. Though I fall, He picks me up, and loves and keeps me in spite of me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Sanctifying Influence of Children

I have learned many things since becoming a mom. I have learned a lot about managing my home, about child training, balancing and juggling everything we do. But my children have taught me a lot about myself--and I don't mean how wonderful I am...
Today's society looks upon children as a burden. And, in some ways, yes you could look at them that way--especially if you don't believe in the sovereignty of God and how He works His purposes for His glory. Children are needy--for the first five years of life they depend on their parents for nearly everything. Parents must adjust their lifestyles to the demands of children. Parents must give up (or should) many of their "freedoms" for the sake of the children. And after having had four of them, I can say that there are times when life seems to consist of a round of cleaning (everything), rebuking, refereeing, explaining, diaper changing, nose wiping, and the list goes on and feels endless. It's exhausting. It's frustrating at times. It rarely stops to let you get your breath.
But you know what my children have taught me? How desperately wicked I am. The words that want to (and have) come out of my mouth in moments of irritation are apparently a reflection of the condition of my heart(ie "out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks...). They have shown me how un-Christlike I am so much of the time. They have exposed my lack in the Fruit of the Spirit.
It is easy to maintain a degree of Christlikeness when you feel in control of your life. Children destroy that control. They keep you awake when you want to be asleep, they want to sleep when you would rather them be awake. The eat all the wrong foods and turn up their noses at the right ones. They keep you on edge much of the time with their antics and accidents and sins.
What are you like when that carefully created facade begins to crumble? Who are you at 2 am trying to hush a collicky infant? Who are you at midnight when you hear sounds of heaving coming from the bedrooms? Who are you when little Joey knocks your favorite something on the floor and it breaks?
Are you full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? Or...not?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Laundry Soap Fraud

Hey Ya'll!
I had an eye-opening experience a coupla months ago, just after we moved into our new house. Our new laundry facility empties the dirty wash water(and rinse) into a large utility sink. I had run out of Charlie's soap, and was using a small box of soap that was left in the house. The directions said to use the measuring cup in the box, which was like a regular CUP. I used two of the little tiny Charlie's Soap scoops(like a tablespoon), with a dash of Calgon water softener. I was present when the rinse water began to empty into the utility sink. After only using 2 Tbsp of detergent, there was still bubbles in the rinse water!!
Want to use less laundry soap, use one eighth of the amount they tell you! Suffering from itchy skin?? Decrease the amount of laundry soap you use. They probably just tell you that so you use it more and have to buy more frequently!! That box still has soap powder in it, and there was only about 2 cups when I started. Imagine if it was a bargain box of Arm and Hammer?? Buy it about once a year??

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

May Be My Last Post for Awhile

We are moving--finally! We are to move into our new house this Saturday. We close with the lawyer's office on Friday and have rented a moving truck for Saturday. As excited as I am, we will not be continuing to have internet service until I get a feel for our new budget and know about what we are spending on things like electric and water. Maybe eventually, will will sign up for internet again, but not for a while. I'll probably have my mom or someone put up photos of the new baby, when he comes, and perhaps even do an article by proxy, but there won't be much new stuff happening here for awhile.
If I have time, I may post once more before Friday, but only if I have time, and I have a lot to do tomorrow.
Good bye all for now!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Refreshing?

I think it would be refreshing if we as a nation were to vote some people into different offices that were NOT lawyers, politicians, or rich celebrities. Could you all imagine if the President had been a plumber?? Or a construction worker?? Or (gasp) a farmer? And he and his sweet family of three or four children in the White House, with his wife, who isn't a high powered attorney or business executive, but simply a mother?? A family who has been poor. A family who has had to put things back on the store shelves because they couldn't afford it(and don't charge it). A family who isn't in debt up to their eyeballs.
Other officials in the government who refuse to take the government pension plan, but after their term in office go back to being a plumber, a construction worker, or farmer...who drive their own vehicles to work (not taxpayer funded BMWs), and stay in econo-lodge hotels, and rent little four cylinder cars when they have to travel on public expense, not ones who stay in pent-house suites, and use political party money or public moneys to fund lavish dinners, and ammoral entertainments.
Could you imagine a president who eats dinner with his family that his wife cooked? And clothes that his wife washed and ironed??(bought from JCPenny and not Armani??).
I really think that so many of our elected officials are just not in touch with reality. They have these Harvard law degrees, and then work for firms that make huge sums of money, and then have images to keep up etc. I think that over the years these kinds of people in our government offices have made it so hard and so intimidating to run for office that unless you are rich or have a Harvard law degree, you don't want to run, because they have made the process so confusing to understand. The average good guy with common sense and limited money and resources has no chance.
I still think it would be refreshing.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weeds Sprout By Default

We all know the familiar parable of the sower. It teaches good things about the condition of our hearts and whether or not we are willing to receive the seed that God casts into our lives. We must decide whether we are hard ground, shallow stony ground, or if we are good soil.
It is easy for me, however, to forget that a plowed, prepared field isn't existing in a vacuum. That the soil of our lives, of my life, won't sit there and wait in pristine condition for me to make up my mind. As a family, we are particular about not letting harmful information into our household. We don't have cable, at this point, we don't even own a tv. We limit our magazine consumption to things like World and Focus on the Family.
However, even though guarding our minds and hearts from evil or contiminating ideas or images is a good thing, it's not enough. The human nature that still exists in these fallen bodies of ours is plenty evil enough to encourage the growth of weeds in our lives. We don't have to encourage things like selfishness, vanity, greed, jealousy etc to grow. They will grow by default. In gardening or farming, what is the only way to keep weeds from overtaking the garden?? To plow and harrow the soil thoroughly, and quickly get the good seed in the ground for germination. Then, to cultivate and pluck out the weeds while the fruitful plants are getting a foothold. Only then can the gardener be less vigilant in his destruction of weeds--after the good seed is rooted and grounded in the good soil. And even then, It is wise to spend a little time regularly looking for weeds that sneak up when we aren't looking--or for weeds that perhaps took over a section that was thinly seeded.
It can be very easy for me to let days go by without ensuring that the good seed of God's Word is being planted in both my life and the lives of my children. It is easy to think that the vigilance we take in guarding our home from bad influence is enough--especially when times are busy, chaotic, or stressful. But weeds grow by default. If no care is taken to plant and cultivate the good seed, weeds inevitably take over. The good soil will not lay there waiting forever in pristine planting condition. We cannot take our grand ole time deciding that later is a good time to start planting. If we don't plant, we'll need to plow all over again before too long.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Thought On Our Government

The only thought I have to express at this moment about the individuals who have been elected to represent us in our government, is this:

Would anyone else like to see all of them removed from Washington??

Friday, April 2, 2010

Meal Times

I haven't been terribly inspired with any particular topics to post about lately, but today, my mom and I talked a little about table manners and teaching children to eat like civilized people at the table. For all my faults as a mother, this is one area, where hubby and I are pretty strict, and our children, I think, have benefitted from it. It is so distracting to try to eat with small children when they are up and down out of their chairs, play with their food, chatter incessantly, or are unnecessarily demanding, and so on.
We enforce some basic rules. We don't allow playing at the table, and we define playing pretty strictly. We have begun instructing our boys to sit at the table with their hands under the table, folded, and having our 21 month old at the table with us has helped our older two, because they have the "job" of teaching him, so they set the example for him.
Next, no getting down from the table without permission or a good reason. This means if you leave your chair for any reason other than going to the bathroom, or have need like a tissue(cause you sneezed), you are dismissed from the meal. It doesn't matter if you have only taken three bites, or if you haven't been served yet. You get down for a superficial reason, and you are done.
My dear husband has also set a great example for my boys about being thankful for the meal. He always thanks me for cooking, tells me it's good(even if I think it could be improved) and the boys follow suit. I have even had my picky eater choking over something he didn't want to eat say,"thank you for this food, mommy."
We also don't allow much for fussiness. I don't cook for my children's tastes. I just cook. They adjust. If I like onions or zucchini, I put them in. The only thing I don't tend to put in is spicy seasoning(the hot kind). We used to make them see an offending food again, but our picky one is so stubborn, he would get down from the table and go three full meals seeing the same thing over and over. By the next morning, he was so sick from not eating he would frequently heave anything he did eat(even if it was something else). So we now make him sit there til it's gone--and he has sat four or five hours taking one bit every twenty minutes. He also doesn't get anything that the rest of us are having(a snack..).
We also insist on booster seats, until they can comfortably reach the table. I think this saves on a lot of messes and spilled drinks. It doesn't matter if they don't want to sit in the booster seat. Until we gauge they can manage in a plain chair, they will. If they refuse, they don't have to eat. Simple as that.
Believe me, it can be very difficult to enforce these rules consistently, and sometimes you feel like an ogre doing so, but eventually, when they see you mean it, they stop pushing the boundaries and begin to toe the line.
We do extend grace to them, in that we don't punish for spilling a drink(as long as they weren't playing), we allow small portions for a dish they don't care for, and let them choose certain things, like ketchup on eggs(yuck!), and butter or gravy on their potatoes. We also try to enforce these rules in a calm manner and tone of voice. They know we mean business, but we try not to get worked up over it.
Overall, I am quite happy with the manners my children display at the family table. They mostly eat everything we put before them, they are polite and considerate, and mostly thankful for what they receive. It's uphill work at times, but soooo worth it!! For more ideas on this topic, Kelly Crawford at had a great article on the importance of table ettiquette in training children(older post--few weeks ago).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hubby is Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Husband has been gone for two weeks to start his new job...He came home for the weekend...(big, dumb grin...).
Sorry I can't stay and chat, but I have better things to do...(sigh, smile).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

When the Budget is Tight

We will, God willing, be moving into a new house soon. We will be moving into a new(to us), big, beautiful house. Can you tell I am looking forward to it??
However, it will probably stretch our limited budget even more than it is now. My dear friend, Holly, has heard my ramblings about home-making.
I am not one of those people who can take a bare house, buy a few odds and ends at a junk store or yard sale, spray paint them and make my house beautiful with them. I don't have that nack. Does anyone else struggle with this??
If my house is relatively clean, and picked up, that is about as decorated as it gets. I do put some pictures on the walls, and use a few dresser scarves or doilies and such, but I just have a hard time seeing how things could look. And we rarely have the money to do much.
I have decided, however, to put a category in my budget in our new house that will at least provide a little funding if we want to re-paint or such.
I wish I knew the secret to making a house a home, visually. I am not talking about being so fussy about how things look that I get grumpy about it--but just to maintain a degree of simple beauty in the house with whatever simple things I come across, or could make myself.
How do you-all create atmosphere in your dwellings??

What's the Matter with Boys??

I went to a new church today. With Chara away at his new job, I decided to be adventurous and go somewhere completely new to us.
It was a friendly church, with a nice atmosphere, and the people were helpful(ie I needed a changing table as soon as I got there...).
I troop in with my three boys and my protruding stomach. Several people welcomed us, and asked us about ourselves. However, every time I said I was having another boy, all I got were groans and almost sympathy.
Now, I am not saying I don't want a girl, I do. But someone tell me, why are boys so bad?? One lady even said that her daughter had two boys and then took measures to be "done", just so she wouldn't have anymore boys.
There are things about boys that can be scary, as a parent. They can be more aggressive, and daring, which can put them into danger. As far as I know, none of the school shootings took place with a girl on the trigger.
But if you look at society, what makes society safe, free, charitable, and moral more than anything else?? A society of upstanding, righteous, God-fearing men.
Yes, boys can be energetic, hard to control, and difficult to parent in ways that many girls are not (though there are exceptions...). But I don't think good women have the same effect on society as a whole as well-brought up men, and boys will grow up to be men.
So as we do the daily difficult grind of parenting our boys, let us remember that these little boys will grow up to be men. And it is how we shape their character now that will ultimately determine what kind of men they will grow into. Think about that boy with the gap-tooth grin, and unruly shock of hair as a husband and father someday. Or as a future employer or employee. Think about his faults and sin-tendencies, and then boot him up ten years. What do you see?? Will he be the kind of man that will be a benefit to society, by his strong leadership, servant's heart, and his willingness to sacrifce?? Or will he suck society dry by his shallow desire for pleasure, entertainment, and run from responsibility??
We must decide now. When they are young. So that in the future, our own children will want boys, because they know how vital good men are in society.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Comment on The Waltons

I have in my possession, two seasons of the old family drama The Waltons. My dear brother got them for me for Christmas the last few years. For the most part, I really love watching them. Compared to most media options available these days, they are refreshing, relatively wholesome, with enough humor to keep it entertaining. Mostly, I listen to them when I am alone in the evenings, doing dishes and such.
However, there is one aspect that drives me a little crazy. The character of Mary Ellen. She is the oldest girl, and something of an early feminist. She's around thirteen years old, and tends to be scatterbrained, something of a bully, a bit of a tomboy, very selfish, and full of moods and tempers. She has no interest in doing womanly things like cooking, keeping house, or the like. She'd rather be off inventing something, exploring something, or imagining life away from home.
Her character really irritates me at times, as she's always complaining and whining about something. She constantly gripes about having to do dishes and ironing, and tends to let things burn in the kitchen. She also seems to think somehow that the boys/men in the family have it all so great because they don't have to do the "boring household jobs" like she does. She tends to be very ungrateful for the daily services and sacrifices offered by her mother and father.
In essence, I think the script writers were trying to sneak in some feminist propaganda, but they put it in a younger, less important character, so that it could be labeled as rebellious youth, and wouldn't offend older, traditional viewers.
I wish they had done an episode where the parents get so fed up with her moods and ingratitude that they allow her to switch roles and be a boy. She would be made to work in the family's sawmill for eight or ten hours, and have to load and unload lumber, and help saw trees with a cross-cut saw, and see how she likes it.
She also needs to be made to see how willing she is to accept other peoples' sacrifce on her behalf, made because they love her, but how unwilling she is to sacrifice her own time, comfort, convenience, or amusement for the same people who love her so much, and do so much for her.
She doesn't seem to see what her life would be like if her parents and grandparents acted like she does, and if they treated her like she treats them.
I wish I could hold a discussion about this with some of the young girls growing up today, whom, I think, hold to a similar mentality. Girls whose parents provide them with so much, and yet they aren't at all grateful for it, but think it's their right. Teen girls who have no appreciation for the work that goes into their provision, and no desire to lighten that load or pay back in some way, a portion of what they received. They are just content to live each day, with their hands out, whining, complaining, making life miserable for those who love them more than they deserve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts On Obamacare

I was unexpectedly at my mom and dad's last night, and took full advantage of the opportunity to watch as much FOX news as I could. I also took in a five minute u-tube video of some of the things that are in this healthcare bill.
This bill is so disturbing.
It's 2700 pages--who could possibly read that?? Or understand the legal, official jargon it contains??
The video I saw listed page numbers and sections and described some of what is in the bill. Here are some snippets (without the page numbers, as I didn't write them down.)
-There is a dollar limit on how much medical care we can receive. It was $5000 for individuals, and $10000 for a family per year. Let's see, I have been taking a prescription for this pregnancy that is $4000/month...hmmm...what would I do??
-There is language that indicates that the federal government would have access to all our personal and financial records--like checking account numbers and stuff like that, and could access the funds therein.
-All illegal alliens would be covered on our pocket. We would be paying for medical services for people who don't work or pay taxes in this country!!
-Doctors wages would be capped--even specialists. All doctors would be government employees and would be told how much they could make.
-A government committee would be the ones to tell us what coverage we could receive from this plan--not our doctors.
-End of life situations where a patient is terminally ill, could end in having government officials suggesting euthanasia, as opposed to long-term treatment or hospice care.
-Employers who pay part-time work would be forced to pay for medial premiums for those part-time employees, and their families (talk about a way to drive lots of companies out of business!!)
-Marriage and family therapy would be under this cloak as well--federal government barging into our personal family lives!!
Is this not disturbing?? When the government gives, the government has the right to take away!!
I have heard that many many doctors would either quit, or take their retirement should this pass. The number I heard was up to one-third of the doctors in this country would do this. Also, how many young people are going to be inclined to take up the medical profession in the future??
Not to mention questions about disabled individuals who need very expensive medicine and/or treatments. Or perhaps even families who have several children (like my own)--I could see baby number five or six being on the way, and having a case worker tell me, "I'm sorry, but you have reached your childbearing limit--the only option that will be paid for is abortion." That would be a short step to a country like China, where women are literally pulled from their homes and dragged to an operating table if they violate the maximum child law.
Don't get me wrong. There are things wrong with the healthcare system in this country. Cost is getting out of hand. Out of pocket to have a baby in a hospital--and that is all natural and no complications, is around $10,000. That is in this area. I am sure there are hospitals that charge even more!!
My suggestion is this. What if every hospital (except perhaps tiny ones like the one I was born in), had their own "health insurance" plans. So that as long as you received your care at whatever hospital you paid premiums to, you would be covered. They could even divide premiums by income, to insure basic coverage for lower income families, and allow for very hefty premiums for those who want all the bells and whistles covered. That way, all the people in a region could be sending in money to the hospital they use, with premiums ranging from say $50/month for basic/emergency care to say $300/month, for the most lavish plan. I am sure some sort of prescription card could be worked up for discounts, as well.
It seems like it could provide working capital to struggling hospitals, the people in one area would be, in essence, helping each other--neighbors helping neighbors. Sure there would have to be some bugs worked out, but I think it would be a much better option than Obamacare.
My dad, who was born in '39 and grew up during and after WWII, says he remembers the days when an office visit was $5. He also remembers how most doctors had a pharmacy right in their offices, and would fill your prescription right there. Most people in years past didn't even have health insurance. Health insurance is a new thing. If everyone had to pay for their health care without the use of insurance, I am sure prices would drop. They would have to, because no one could afford it otherwise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inner Versus Outer Circumstances

I just read a thought provoking post at about a young woman who is struggling to honor and serve her father and family. She expressed feelings of depression because her father isn't doing and being what she wished he would. She struggles on a day to day basis, if she is not directed to stimulating and challenging work that suits her. She seemed to be pointing a finger at the Botkin girls almost in jealousy of how their father seems to direct and guide them so well, and saying, more or less, "I'm more limited than you because my father won't do what yours does."
I have struggled with similar feelings as a wife and mother. I have three,(almost four) boys, ages five and under. The constant upkeep of basic household necessities is overwhelming at times. The necessary thought and preparation for homeschooling my oldest is hard to squeeze in. There are days when at the end of the day, things seem more chaotic than at the beginning, even though I have been at it all day!!
My husband, who is very sympathetic about the plight of young mothers with small children at home, and helps a lot, and gives me tons of encouragement, and lots of appreciation, still has his own things to attend to. I help him by freeing his mind of the household concerns, so he can focus on his job, and help the kids we works with.
This does not mean that this comes naturally. It doesn't. Sacrificially serving others day in and day out never comes naturally to any of us. Especially in a day and age where status, respect, and the paycheck are the proof of the value of your work.
When Dear Husband and I went to the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference in Kentucky, I listened to a speaker who dealt with the topic of women's ministry. He used the passage that describes how the older women must teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be sober, keepers at home and all the rest. The point he made was that the reason the older are to instruct the younger is because the things listed are not things that come naturally to the younger women, and they need the help and encouragement of the older to work their way into this role, the way the Lord would have us do it. And I will tell you, it would be a ton easier to learn these things under the guidance of a mother, than 'on the job' after you are married!
Taking captive each thought of the day, and making it obedient to Christ is the hardest thing to do. But it is the most important thing to do. It doesn't come naturally either, but it is the thing that can change our perspective from complaining to thanksgiving, from resentment to gladness, from bitterness to contentment.
I would suggest to this young lady that as she focuses her energies on serving her family and father, that she be on her guard against times when she finds thoughts creeping up on her that are opposite to what she should be thinking. Anyone in the world can be discontent about their circumstances for any reason, be they justifiable or not, and the most challenging and stimulating thing anyone can do is learn to control the kingdome within.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Difficulty of Always Being There

I really think the most difficult thing about being a mommy is the constant necessity of being there. I read a child training book once that suggested something many others have not. It indicated that most (if not all) children will do anything for any grown-up that will bother to give them the time of day on a regular basis. So often it is easy to dismiss the questions of very young children. Or to brush aside their concerns or childish observations and prattle(and let me tell you--mine know how to prattle!). It was saying that to forge healthy relationships with your children, effort must be made to engage with them often, and on their level. That means most of the time making eye contact, listening actively, and giving responses that are appropriate to the age of the child. This also means frequently entering into their play, pretending with them, explaining to them how the world works, answering all the thousands of how and why questions.
Ever since reading this explanation, I have tried to limit the times when I have said, "not now, later", to the exception, rather than the rule. I try to take the time to listen to them, engage, and make eye contact with them, and everything I said above. I don't do this perfectly, and sometimes find myself doing exactly the opposite. But it is my experience, that when I consistently give my children the value of my time and undivided attention, everyone feels better. They interact with each other better, they handle discipline and chastisement better, and when I truly can't take a few minutes to listen, due to a task I am involved in, they seem to be more willing to wait patiently for a time when mommy is more free.
This doesn't mean that children don't need to learn to wait, or to not interrupt, or how to do so politely--they do. We try our hardest to teach good table manners, please, thank-you, excuse me and the rest, and when we say "not right now" we do mean it. I think, however, that if we want their attention when we have something important to say to them during the course of their childhood and later years, they are much more willing to receive it if they are used to interacting and talking, and know that their opinions, ideas, and questions are considered just as valuable as ours.
Also, I think this is the biggest reason "interactive" toys are so popular today. It's much much easier to give a child a toy that feigns interaction than to interact with that child ourselves. It's easier to put the child in front of a tv or computer screen that will engage him than to engage him ourselves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Update

Hello World. I haven't posted in several days, cause we have been so busy. I don't remember how much I have or haven't posted about everything, so here is the big scoop. We are moving. To Altoona, PA.
About a month ago, the company my dear husband works for dedided to close its doors. However, they made the offer to relocate anyone interested in staying with the company. He applied, and they came through with an offer of a new job near Altoona, PA. He will be working as a Counselor-2, with troubled boys at a residential facility--pretty much what he does now, and has done for quite a few years. He will sustain a small pay raise, and keep all his current vacation, benefits, and retirement that has been started.
As of right now, we have put a bid on a house to buy(as rent is pricey), and so far, things look good. The sellers should be signing the papers on Saturday, and then we can submit the loan application, and hopefully get things going. We are paid up here til the end of the month, and will move our stuff out then(we have permission to move it into the new house early), and me and kiddos will be staying with my mom and dad for a coupla weeks til the closing. This is all hypothetical of course, til Saturday. Chara starts his new job on Monday. We'll pack him up and he'll drive down on Sunday--and I'll be as lonley as lonely can be til we are moved in!!
This has had to happen very fast, and all the decisions have been made very fast, out of necessity. There hasn't been much time to think about things. We are sorry to be leaving the area, but are thankful that work has been secured for Chara, and that housing has opened up that we can afford.
We may, however, not have internet for awhile. It's not exactly a need, and until we get a feel for the budget at the new house, we will have to do without it. So around the end of March, if I seem to disappear, that is why(though it could drag on into April at mom's). I will try to let you all know before we move, so you have some idea of what's happening.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rebellious Spirit Strikes Again

It's amazing to me how many wasy our human natures like to rebel. When most of us think of rebellion, we think of aggression, defiance, and other out-and-out forms of the beast.
The one that seems to trip me up the most is the one that sneaks up on me. After many years as a Christ follower, bold-faced aggression and defiance rarely show up on the outer face of my person (I think). What seems to show up more is not so much an attitude that rebels against things (ie circumstances, chores etc), but a type of rebellion that is a lack of pushing forward, a giving in to the preference of the moment, a type of rebellion that favors me and my convenience more than necessary discipline or the overall well-being of the family.
For example, my dear hubby and I were out of town this past Tuesday on an all day errand and my parents had the children for the day. As chief cook and bottle washer, I should have planned and brought sufficient food for the day, to save us eating out. But, I didn't have "time" enough to prepare something, and have it ready in the morning. How convenient. Guess we have to stop somewhere...My natural person preferring to eat out, my lazy self not wanting to force myself to adjust things to allow for the time to do what I should do, but just an overall attitude of unwillingness to "suffer" inconvenience for my family.
I struggle all the time with this. And in a lot of ways, it's been harder to say no to myself since the finances have been less tight. It's easy for gentle self-pity to sink in--just enough to feel that this or that expenditure is "justified". The feeling of being behind in the housework all the time, and yet never quite willing to change my routine enough to improve things. The tiredness of cooking all the time, and the weariness of what to cook, and getting sick of the same things over and over. And the subsequent laziness in planning, and hence a bit more spending than should be necessary.
The desire to whine and complain about not having time to do this or that, and how the children make everything so much more difficult, but not the self-discipline to be thankful for those children, and to not let inconvenience hinder what I should be doing for the whole family's benefit.
Does this match anyone else's experience in life and mothering? And heaven sakes, forget it when I'm pregnant or have a newborn in the house!! The word self-discipline exits my vocabulary...then I'm too tired, or too worn out, or the baby this or the baby that...excuses forever...
Any suggestions??

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Never Thought I Would Eat a Bran Muffin...

The other day I got a horrid craving for bran muffins. You know, the ones from the recipe on the side of the 100% Bran cereal box?? My mom used to make them when I was a kid, and I haven't had one in years. Well, since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I thought I'd never be able to have another!!
So the other night I remembered there was a recipe for Oat Bran muffins on the side of the Quaker Oat Bran hot cereal box(though I buy it wholesale--not Quaker-I'm too cheap). So I set out to create a yummy gluten-free bran muffin, and it worked!!
So here is my wheat-free muffin recipe(note that some people are too sensitve to oats to eat them, and could possibly use rice bran).
3/4 cp oat bran
1 cp milk, scalded
2 eggs
1/3 cp oil
1 cp gf flour mix(I like cornstarch, white rice flour, and a touch of cornmeal)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cp brown sugar, rounded
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp xanthan gum(slightly rounded)

Heat oven to 375*. Scald milk and pour hot over the oat bran in a large mixing bowl. Let set five minutes while you grease the muffin cups. Add the sugar, eggs and oil to the cereal mix, stir til mixed. In smaller bowl measure rest of ingredients, and mix dry,(to blend the xanthan gum). Dump into wet mix and stir til thoroughly mixed, but only just.
Scoop into mufin cups and bake for about 15-20 min til browned and slightly puffed.
Note: They are also delicious if you mix up a crumble topping and sprinkle over each muffin.(like brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, bread crumbs, flour, cut together)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Note On the Last Post

Did I mention that if you research this phenomenon a little bit, with families all over the industrialized world shrinking, there is actually some concern that as the older populations age and need more care, there will be a shrinking workforce of chidlren and young adults to pick up the tab?? Vision Forum has a book in their catalogue called Demograpic Winter. It deals with this topic. So eventually, all of our parents will need help and aid, and there won't be enough of us to care for them all!!
And meanwhile, the Muslim poplulations(who have large families) will outnumber us probably 3 to 1, or more.
Just something to think about. Besides, when you get older, wouldn't it be more of a blessing to your children if there are several to share in your care?? Not to mention how much more cheerful and lively to have several households of grandchildren to visit!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Myth of Over-population

I encountered this idea in college a lot. Whenever I said I wanted to have a larger than average family, (4+), many people, usually professors, always tried to argue me into the "world is overpopulated" myth. They seemed to think it was selfish of me to bring more people into this world than just enough to replace my husband and I. That so many people would unfairly suck up too many natural resources.
I always tried to express my desire to be frugal, and not live in excess. They didn't seem to see the connection.
I mean think about it--you want to point a finger at someone who has several children for using too many resources that other people could be using. Well, if that family is extremely extravagant and wasteful, perhaps that is justified (maybe). However, what about celebrities like Tom Cruise(sp?--sorry, I don't follow Hollywood that much), who own massive, excessive mansions, and employ all kinds of household and grounds help?? It seems to me that people with several children are frequently lambasted in this way, and yet no one seems to apply the same principal to people who just live in wasteful extravagant ways, who have few or no children. My ceramics prof and I used to argue about this a lot. He wasn't married and had no children, yet lived in a large three bedroom house, all by himself. Is that not wasteful?? Could he not find something more suitable to his meager needs as a bachelor??
You take even the Duggar family. I know they have recently built a very large house that has lots of amenities that many of us don't have. However, when you check out their family website, the boys and girls don't all have their own rooms--they share rooms. They share closets. They cook their own food. Yes, their house is lovely, and very large, but they also share all the work, and probably all contribute to the household in some way. I would imagine that if you looked at the same number of children spread over several American households, there would be more spent total on those children, than all those children in the Duggar household. Also, they have waited and waited and saved and saved and it took years for them to build this big beautiful house. Remember, they do have grown children!!
Yes, my own family is growing. Yes, I would love to have a larger house--someday. I would love to have a spread of property for us to work on, play on, and grow on. But I guarantee that we will do it incrementally, and as frugally as possible. You don't spend the first seven years of marriage getting out of debt, only to pile it back on aimlessly!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

What is Your Legacy?

Have you ever tried to imagine what life will be like in forty or fifty years?? That should the Good Lord allow you be alive that many years hence, what your circumstances will be?? If you are married, you and your spouse will have been together nearly a half-century. If you have children, they will be grown with spouses and children of their own, and perhaps grandchildren too. There will be years of illness, years of prosperity (we all hope), years of loss, of gain, years of closeness, and years of distance. What might it be like to look back on the period of life you are now in?? Perhaps with little children at home, or teenagers. Or maybe you are simply married, and still just together--the two of you.
We like to look back at our ancestors(at least I do), and look at their courage over the course of their lives. Many of our ancestors endured great hardship. Most of them lived through wars, famine, financial depressions worse than most of us have ever known. Many husbands and wives saw the death of their own children--more than most of us do today.
Do you think that when they were enduring through those difficult times they thought they were doing anything special?? That for a scared wife to follow her husband into the wilderness to build a home, raise a family, and carve an existence out of nothing--do you think she felt courageous?? I would imagine not. Many of our ancestors probably felt a lot of the same things we do--fear, discouragement, isolation, perhaps even bitterness and anger--and probably a lot of exhaustion. Yet many of them persevered, had their families, watched many of their children grow up, and became grandparents, and great-grandparents.
When times of uncertainty come(and they will!) I wonder if it would help to realize that one hundred years from now when our great-great grandchildren are looking at pictures of Great Granny Laura, and remembering what she was like, what will be important to them is that Granny stuck it out. That Granny made do, that she believed in the Great God who is the giver and taker of life, that she went with the flow and persevered through good times and hard times, that she wasn't a pouter when things didn't go her way. That Granny could laugh--at life, at herself, and not take things too seriously. That Granny worked hard--caring for those in her shelter. All the things that now my natural self struggles to do--or do happily. All the things that I admire in the people that came before me. Yet somehow I imagine it was easier for them and harder for me. Easier for them to be brave, patient, long-suffering, hard-working, content with their circumstance, whether high or low.
Alexis de Tocqueville, a famous Frenchman who wrote extensively about his perception of America back in the early 1800s(I think), wrote about how well American women adapted through the course of their lives. That due to the newness of this country, and all it's ups and downs a woman never knew how long she may be in prosperity. But he observed that so many women seemed to go with the flow. When things were proesperous, she lived well, when things became tight or desperate, she simply adjusted habits, and made do, waiting for the swing back into prosperity--no whining, no complaining, just made do.
When I have a lifetime to look back on, I want to see in my own memories that I persevered. I want to see in me now the development of character that my children and grandchildren will look back on and say,"Gee nana--times must have been really hard--how did you do it??" And I want to be able to say, one day at a time, and by the grace of our Heavenly Father.
So the next time your life seems hard, or unfair, or uncertain, remember those future generations and decide what kind of legacy you will leave them. Will they remember you as a pillar of faith, and a bastion of strength, resourcefulness, and perseverence?? Or will you be remembered as the one who was "high strung", or "sensitive", and seemed to blow over with every wind that came your way?? The choice is ours.

My Thoughts on Unicef

I have been following the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake on Doug Phillips' blog, through Vision Forum. Doug and his team are working to try and aid the orphans within their reach, who have all since been condemned to starvation, dehydration, and possibly death at the hands of Unicef(the UN chapter at work in Haiti). Apparently they are claiming that the outpouring of compassion and the desire to adopt orphans out of Haiti in this time of disaster will result in the s*xual or labor trafficking of these children. So all adoptions have been pretty much stopped. It sounds nice to the ears--of course children shouldn't be sold into slavery for any reason. But due to the limited resources that will stay very limited for quite some time, they are sentencing many of these children to die.
Understand that Unicef has very liberal ideas on abortion, infanticide, and whether or not they would admit it, eugenics--you know, genetic preferences for the strong and able and no preferences for the weak and suffering. Remember, this is the same group of people that frequently hold the opinion that there are too many people in the world anyway, so who cares if a few hundred thousand die--especially when they are the poorest of poor--the least of these. You think the hold on adoptions has to do with compassion and keeping children out of s*x trafficking?? I don't think so. I think they have very specific agendas about this and are allowing the deaths on purpose.
And even if one out of every five hundred children somehow did end up in sex trafficking, (and there is no evidence that that would happen) that is still 499 children who could be cared for and given a home, love and a future. By closing the borders, you could be sentencing half of those same five hundred children to death. Obviously, I am not sanctioning any trafficking, and even one child caught in s*x slavery is a horrific occurence. But the alternatives are even grimmer--if you were a Haitian mother, with three or four children during this time, and knew that your ability to provide for them was pretty much non-existent, would you want to wait day after day, watching your children cry, become sick, and perhaps die, not able to do anything to save them?? Or would you be willing to put them into the hands of people who would do their utmost to place them in good homes where they would be loved and cared for?? Don't be fooled.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What things are happening...

Life is so unpredictable. Just when you think things are settling down to a degree of permenance, the Lord changes your circumstances to see if you are still depending on Him, or whether you have started depending on the job, the schedule, the money, etc.
Curious?? Well, my husband got notice this week that the entire facility in Harrison Valley will be closing down as of April 9. All eighty-odd employees there will be out of work, and insurance by the end of that month. My dear husband says he had felt it in the air and knew that something was coming, just our heavenly Father preparing him...
So, we are busily (not frantically) putting together resumes, cover letters, and keeping eyes and ears open for any possiblity of work for him--especially work that would provide benefits for me (for the baby coming).
There is a possibility that he could be selected for some other position open elsewhere, as the company has promised that any willing to relocate would be given first dibs on jobs in other locations, but for as many that have lost their jobs, the few openings that there might be would not span to all of them.
I simply write to let you all know, as we could very well be moving sometime in the next two months--or at the very least, things could very well change in lots of ways--finances, schedules, location etc.
Please pray for us. However, this does come at a time when we have wondered what we should be doing, and whether any changes should be made. The Lord doesn't allow us to be indecisive. He comes in a makes the decision for us.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Gluten-free update

I had a request to post my recipe for gluten-free bagels. I haven't made them in a while, so last night I whipped up a batch for practice. The variety I made last night was cinnamon-raisin.

Laura's Gluten Free Bagels

1 1/2 cps very warm water
1 Tbsp quick rise yeast(slighty rounded)
1/3 cp sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cp oil
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
3-4 cps gluten free flours
1 1/2 tsp salt

Using a heavy duty mixer(like kitchen aid) with the regular beater attachment, mix warm water, sugar, yeast, eggs and oil. Mix a little and let sit to allow yeast to soften. Meanwhile, measure into another bowl three cups of flour(I like the combo of brown rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca starch,(mainly), with a few tbsp of sorghum flour, and oat flour thrown in. Just use a mix of gritty and starchy flours), the salt, and xanthan gum. Measure aside enough plain flour to add to achieve the right consistency. Scoop the flour mix into the liquids, mixing on low speed. It will get very thick and clumpy. After you add all the flour mix, check for proper consistency. Dough will be sticky, but if you take a clean spoon and touch it to a clump of dough, it should only leave a skimming on the back of the spoon when you pull the spoon away. It should not pull a long string of dough away. If it does, add flour 1/4 cp at a time, and mix well, till you achieve the correct consistency. On a floured surface (I like brown rice and tapiocal starch), and using a large spoon, scoop out eight or ten large clumps of dough, each one about the size of a racquet ball (bigger than a golf ball), or more smaller ones, if you like the petite sized bagels. Dust them with flour, and using your hands, push a finger into the center and form the hole, turning it flat on the surface, lightly pinch and turn, expanding the hole to about an inch. Do your best to keep the dough wad in tact,(no cracks or crevices) as it doesn't stick to itself once it has been floured, and will pull apart during the rising process. After you form all the shapes, brush with a mix of oil and water, to keep them from drying out. On a board, or pan lined with wax paper, place in oven that heat has been turned off(I also dump a half cup of water in the bottom of my oven to provide additional steam and moisture--you could also pour boiling water in a pan underneath).
Let rise till puffed (about 40 min). Preheat oven to 400* Boil large pot of water with a couple tbsp of sugar added. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, carefully insert each bagel into the boiling water for about 15 sec on a side. Scoop out, blot bottom of spoon on towel, and place onto greased (well) cookie/baking sheet(I use airbake). Brush with beaten egg. After pan is filled, bake at 400* for about 20 minutes (less if small ones), til very brown, and shiny. Remove onto wire racks and cool completely before cutting(better if you wait till the next day or several hours later--they firm up a bit).
TIPS--try adding 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cp raisins or dry blueberries, change your flours and fill one cup with amaranth, flax meal, and other meals or grains for a multigrain option. Add several Tbsp of dried onion flakes to batter for onion flavored.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Haiti Has Disturbed Me

I have to say, this earthquake in Haiti and the resulting devistation has disturbed me. The plight of the orphans has especially bothered me. I am usually a hard-hearted type who can watch sponsor-type commercials without any reaction, but I viewed a clip from Doug Phillip's blog(of of the children at one orphanage of which 58 are still alive, many of which only looked about 1 to 3 years of age. All were crying, and from what I have heard, there is no food, no clean water, and they are so scared they cling to anyone who will let them.
All I could think of was my own baby. Keith is 19 months old. What would I do if it was Keith who was one of those babies?? If he (or my other children), had no food, no water, and no one to care for them?? The terror they would feel would rip me up. If I was a mother in that position, and had to watch my children starve, or get sick, I would be panicky.
I tell you, every time I have watched that report, I can't keep the tears from flowing. Hubby and I have talked it over and decided that we are going to be keeping tabs on the coverage and if there is some way of sheltering (be it temporary or permanent) one or more of these many orphans, we are willing to do it. I don't know what will be involved, or how quickly rescue workers will enable these children to come, but we are willing!
Many may say,"But you are pregnant, how will you manage all that??" or "you don't have room in your little tiny house", or "are you sure this is God's will and not just your own imagination?"
All I can say is that I wondered when Nathan was a baby, how I could manage with more than one, and I have three now. Our house maybe small, but it is probably a mansion to any of these children, and as far as God's will goes, His Word tells us that true religion is to look after the orphans and the widows, if we obey His Word, how much more of His will do we need?? Christ wants us to view loving, caring for, feeding, clothing one of these orphans as if we were loving, and caring for Christ himself--for they truly are the least of these--not wanted by anyone really--many left to starve in fear, and isolation.
Anyway, if you want to help, go to and look under Doug Phillips' blog. He is currently on his way to Haiti to do what he can for these orphans, and is in need of funding. They are taking a medical staff, other workers and a film crew to try and get the story out as accurately as possible. This is one ministry that I guarantee will do all they can with money's given, and I am sure Doug Phillips himself (and his wife and eight children) would not hesitate to take a whole bushel of these children into their own home if need be. There is no false holiness there--they are all about following God in obedience no matter where it leads, or how hard or inconvenient it may be. Please join with us!!

I did it!

I have been itching to get at my sewing machine for awhile. I go through spurts where I sew a lot and other times when even buttons don't make it back on the shirts...
But I have had a few projects gnawing on me that I'd like to get done. One being to sew a bedskirt for my bed. We have hiked our bed up so we could use the space for storage. The risers worked great, but it's so high you can see everything underneath. So I thought if I stitched up a bedskirt to hide everything, that would make our bedroom look a little more presentable.
The other thing I have been wanting to try is to make myself some maternity clothes. When I unpacked them, I realized that I had very few winter maternity clothes. The friend who gave them to me was pregnant in Missouri in the summer, so there was little need for warm clothes for her. However, three out of four of mine have been through the winter, and I can't figure out how I managed with so few tops. I found like two pairs of pants and four shirts or so.
Anyway, with my frugal mind, I have been snagging cheap, pretty print/solid sheets at our local thrift store. So far I have a medium blue, light blue, pale yellow, tiny floral print, burgandy, and a pretty tan/brown print. Each sheet is enough to make a coupla shirts or maybe one longish dress. So the other day I measured myself carefully, added on an inch for seam allowance, and last night I drew out the pieces on the first piece of fabric(floral print), and cut them out and started sewing! I finished it tonight, and minus a snag or two, that I was able to iron out(sew many puns!!), it came out perfect and exactly what I was hoping to make. I have never tried making something for myself without a pattern before. I have sewed lotsa dresses and other things for myself, but never without a pattern. What a high!!
The fact that it fit comfortably and adequately shocked me...usually when I go off on my own I don't measure big enough, and it's small (even for non-clothing items). But it worked. It's just a high-waisted, 3/4 sleeved pull over with a scoop neck. I can't show you any pictures cause I'll have to wait until hubby can snap one for me(I can't take my own--nothing to put the camera on, and I can't hold it far enough away).
I still have lots of this print left, and am trying to decide which one to use next. The neat thing is that I could adapts this to a dress, a short-sleeved shirt or dress, a sleeveless shirt or dress etc. Yayyyyy!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I think I have given up

I realize that I only just started a couple of days ago, but my urge to experiment with the gluten free thing is already fizzling.
The sourdough starter I created seemed great--bubbly, slightly sour/yeasty smelling, about right, and not gross or anything. But I can't seem to figure out what to aim for. Am I looking for a batter bread recipe?? Where you don't really rise it, but just mix and bake?? (the presence of baking powder inclines me to think so) Or am I looking to mix a stiffer dough-type mixture that has to rise before baking...And the absence of xanthan gum baffles me. For all of you who may not know what I am talking about, xanthan gum replaces gluten in gf baking. In regular baking, the gluten is the binding agent that holds the starch and bran particles suspended in the dough, so the flour doesn't just fall to the bottom with a layer of water on the top. Well, in gf baking, the flours settle on the bottom and the liquid collects on the top, if your mixture is more of a batter. The invention of xanthan gum works as a defloculant (sp?), and provides enough tooth to the liquid to keep the particles afloat through the baking process. This is why you may see it in salad dressings, chocolate milk(to keep the chocolate from settling at the bottom) and other things that need this sort of thickener. According to the ingredient list, there is none in the gluten free bread from this bakery...All the ones I have tried to make not using it are heavy, dense, and/or gummy. The bakery bread is light, springy and has a good firm, whole grain bread texture.
Anyway, I have tried three different recipes and they all have flopped miserably...I just threw them away. They smelled overly sour, didn't rise well, and had a brittle, crumbly texture.
So for now, I think I shall leave gf bread baking up to the experts, and content myself with simply eating the fruits of their labor...
If I change my mind and try again, I'll let you all know.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Have Been Experimenting

Any of you who know me know that I was diagnosed with an intolerance to wheat and gluten some time ago. I have been eating a gluten free diet for I think two years now, (with the occasional--very occasional cheating).
Well anyway, I have been making my own gluten free bread because the gf bread you can buy, for the most part, tastes like cardboard, and has nothing nourishing to offer. The best bread I was able to create after much recipe use and going off on my own tasted pretty good for about two days, then it would start to dry out, and by the end of a week was so dry it would often have cracks acrossed it, and would crumble apart.
However, I found a bakery that sells wheat free bread that is delicious. The list of ingredients sounds so simple and calls for none of the ingredients that make good gluten free bread so expensive(ie several eggs, cream cheese, or xanthan gum, not to mention all the flour that is so pricy).
So I got online and started researching one night and decided I am going on a hunt. I cannot find any recipes that are similar to the list of ingredients on the bag of this wonderful bread. So, I am striking out on my own, and doing some experimenting to see if I can find a way to make a similar bread with similar ingredients to the bakery bread. I was used to making my own wheat bread, but would make it four loaves at a time, whereas I can only make maybe two if I stretch it (of gf bread), and half the time, the gf bread would fall, get gummy, or other similar problem, so I would go to all the work and still have to make crumbs out of it.
I am trying a sourdough method, which I had done with wheat and know the process pretty thoroughly, so we'll see how it comes out. If I have any success, I will be sure to let you know!! If I can pin it down to a science, maybe ya'll will see my name on a cookbook at Barnes and Nobles next year! So far this process seems like there might be merit in it, it just takes about three days to complete, which most people don't have time for(including myself), but if it creates good edible bread that I can make myself, and perhaps in larger quantities, three days is no big deal.
Hey Jen--out there in Cali, have you seen much of this kind of product??

Friday, January 15, 2010

Allow Me A Little Rant

My hubby and I have been keeping our eyes and ears open for housing that could be available for purchase, that would be in our price range(which isn't a whole lot). From time to time we hear of something and check it out only to find it usually in need of a lot of work.
So this morning we went to look at a house just a few miles down the road, to see if it had any possibilities. It might. Let's just say it was very rough, needed lotsa TLC, but it wasn't impossible.
The rant that I want to share has to do with a mindset that we come in contact with periodically that drives me crazy. It's this mindset of people whining about their finances, and not having sufficient income, and yet if you get a chance to see how they have spent the money they have, you kinda wonder about their priorities.
I am NOT downtalking people who are poor. Many people could look at us and call us poor. We live within our means, but as respectfully, and as civilized as possible.
I mean the people who don't repair their homes, claiming insufficient income. People who close their eyes to the mess and chaos around them, whine about their circumstances, but own big screen tvs, and multiple dogs, or other large animals that need a lot of care and expense, and are unwilling to change things and make the hard decisions.
I have often said I would love to be a budget coach, to help people get out of debt, as the journey has been so satisfying to us. There are other times when I am not so sure I would make a good budget coach, because I would be telling people point blank that certain things about their life style would have to change...Sell the tvs, the horses, pay your utility bills. Get rid of all but one dog. Make do with fewer cars. Cancel the tv and internet service(gasp!). Too many people want to spend their money on what they want, and not on what they should. Unfortunately, it seems like people who don't work for their money(disability/welfare) tend to have this mindset more than anyone--which is a shame, because dependence on the government is what the government wants, so they are playing into the government's hands. Not everyone, mind you, but many many do. (My husband and I have met many people in our service as youth/senior pastors that we have helped with groceries and utilities etc. as ministry of our churches. I am not blowing hot air.)
I am sorry if this sounds harsh or even judgemental, but it is the truth as I have observed it over and over. Even the Scriptures don't condone laziness--just read Proverbs. All through the Bible, those that try to take advantage of others, those who want someone else to pay their way, or who aren't willing to do the work at hand are pretty much told that they can expect lotsa problems, little wealth, and in the New Testament, won't eat.
I am not trying to make light of anyone's difficult financial situation, or pass judgement on them, but I am saying that I wish people would be more willing to ask themselves the hard questions about their money, and willing to do the hard answers. We have done it, and we have seen it work. The road to follow Christ IS the narrow road. It is also bumpy, uphill work at times. Spend less time wringing your hands in "prayer" and more time slashing your lifestyle, so you can meet your bills, have money to give generously, and not give Christ a bad name because of bad reputations in finances!RRRRRRR!!!!!!!!
I feel better, now...

Monday, January 11, 2010

What We Have Done

The rearranging continues. I think the fever has hit both hubby and myself. This morning we woke up itching to clean, straighten, and organize our house.
So far, I have organized our bathroom closet, and weeded out too many bath towels. We had 17 bath towels on those shelves. All of them were bridal shower gifts. I don't want to gross anyone out, but my children get one bath a week (in the winter), and hubby and myself get about two a week. There is no reason on earth to have that many towels in our closet. So I weeded out several whitish ones and put them aside for my brother and his wife. I gave a few to my mom and dad. I still have probably six that I could relocate elsewhere. That helped.
I have also decided to use the dining room closet for toys. I was struggling with what to do with our toys, so I decided I would reorganize that closet, and use it for toy storage. That way, I can shut the door, if it gets bad, and it keeps it out from underfoot.
We have another closet that I tackled half of tonight. It was full of games that we don't really play, but don't want to chuck, because eventually our children will grow into them. But they take up most of one narrow but deep closet off the kitchen. So I suggested to Chara that we get totes and pack them in the attic, leaving out a select few for now. He suggested that I get the bed props when I go out tomorrow to do errands, and shopping, and we could pack them and store them under our bed, after it's been propped a bit higher. So I unloaded all the games, minus a few, and repacked that closet with sleeping bags, blankets, empty canning jars, and some homeschool stuff.
Tomorrow when I am out, I will be picking up props for our bed, and at least two totes, if not three or four.
I still have to figure out where to put the baby's bassinet, as we are still using the crib, and will be for awhile. I have a piano I need to find a home for. And a mother-load of fabric to do something with--along with other sewing notions. The fabric I don't want to pack away too far, because should I need it to make a quilt or something, I don't want to have to go digging in the attic for a jean patch. A small used dresser came to my mind, but that is adding another piece of furniture, not removing it...hmmmm...
Overall I do think the house has felt somewhat tidier for all our effort. The laundry room even got a going over today!! Hooray!
We sorted all of our garden carrots and potatoes, and pulled out the smushy or rotten ones. We finally used (pretty much) our garden carrots. I haven't bought carrots since October. I probably will tomorrow--ugh--I am such a tightwad...We still have about a month's worth of potatoes left. I couldn't figure it out--none were sprouting and only six or eight were bad. YESSSSS!!
Back to the grind. Gotta load of dishes calling my name...

Friday, January 8, 2010

I hab a cold...

I know I haven't posted lately, and tonight, I might have, but alas!! I have a head cold...can't breathe...can't even stay awake...zzzzzzzz.....oh! sorry...
Ya'll hafta wait til I get better before anymore dazzles appear here...
take care!!