Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New venture

I am definitely a woman who likes to get on soapboxes.  I can express my strong opinions on most anything and though this is not one of my best character trait and one I am working on taming, it is still undoubtedly true.  Topics that I am able to express my opinions on are not always topics that I am passionate about I just get excited about something and then my loud mouth does the rest.  Really, I am allowing God to change me in this area and it is one of the things that God is working on with me.  That being said, I do have a topic which I am very passionate about and in an effort to share that passion and advise with others my husband Justin and I began a new venture today.  We are co-authoring a blog about marriage and sexual intimacy called Do Not Disturb.  We wrote a bible study by the same name for our church 2 years ago and since then have thought about the best way to bring that information to a larger audience and this seemed like the best way to do that.  If you are married and want some refreshers on how to make marriage better or if you just have some burning sex questions check it out.  Thanks for reading. 

Here is the link to the blog.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 things I am loving (frugal or not!)

Ok, everyone seems to have read my last post on frugal ideas but only one of you commented with any ideas! Some of you may even have been scared by reading some of the things we do in our house to cut costs so I wanted to post some of the things I am loving right now. Some of these things are borderline frugal and some are not. Enjoy!

1. Dawn with Olay hand renewal - I wash all this dishes in our house so even though I would love to use natural and homemade dish soap I am really enjoying this right now. My hands get quite dry and this is helping take the edge off the cracking and bleeding that usually comes this time of year.

2. Coconut oil and coconut flour. Justin and I are not 100% committed to a grain free diet but are replacing some staple foods with grain free alternatives and these products are essential to do that. I love making pancakes and muffins with the flour and the coconut oil is great for sauteing. I also use the coconut oil as hand salve to prevent the dryness that comes this time of year.

3. Arm & Hammer Advance White Toothpaste - I have been struggling with a very sensitive tooth and after trying a few sensitive toothpaste brands Justin came home with this and I have found our new toothpaste. My tooth is definitely healing and feels much better. I have looked up a few homemade toothpaste recipes to try but I just may stick with this one.

4. Since I was having some tooth issues and Justin was too we decided to pre-spend some of our Christmas money. We always get Christmas money from our grandparents and we had a little "cushion" in the bank so Justin came home with a Phillips Sonic Care electric toothbrush. My teeth feel so clean and I am glad we made that investment.

5. Speaking of "cushion" Justin surprised me by buying me a new Christmas tree this year. After 11 years we finally own a tree. My grandmother had given me one when we got married and a few years ago the pre-lit lights went dead but being cheap and frugal I still didn't replace it. I have looked after Christmas the past few years but never justified the expense so Justin did it for me. We don't exchange gifts usually for Christmas so this was a nice early present.

6. Bonus: I have a friend who recently threw a birthday party for her son and instead of the guests bringing gifts for the child they brought gifts to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes. I absolutely love this idea! After a year and a half of being on the birthday party circuit I know just how frustrated I can get by seeing kids get all kinds of gifts they could care less about. I am all for celebrations but I know what my kids are likely to want, need and play with. Giving a gift to someone else that really needs it speaks to my heart so much. Just something to consider.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Frugal ideas (yours)

I have a dream.  A dream that includes visiting the continent that stole part of my heart 12 years ago within this calendar year.  However, this is a rather expensive dream and as such there are more sacrifices to be made in our home life to make it happen. I am by most standards a very frugal person. Radical even for most but not as much as some. Here is where you come in, I need your best money saving ideas and tips.  Even if you don't regularly leave comments I want to hear from you.

I already do quite a few money saving tips and there are some suggestions that I have considered and am just not gonna do (paper products...enough said). I probably have some readers out there who could teach me a new tip or two so please let me know your ideas.  Thanks!

Here are some of the things I/we already do:

Homemade laundry detergent, window cleaner, all purpose cleaner
Hand soap - we use homemade foaming soap in dispensers
Dishwashing soap - I use dawn and won't give it up (my hands are too important when you wash all the dishes)
Electricity - set thermostat, turn off lights and unplug everything not used daily
Cloth napkins, reuseable containers (no ziplock) 

Health/beauty -
Basically here I just buy on sale and when we run out
I don't buy a ton of cosmetics but will continue to buy makeup and wear it
We buy supplements, herbs and vitamins and I am not really willing to budge on the brands we use

Food -
We don't eat out (very often) it really is a very special treat for us
Pack lunches everyday
Menu plan and I know exactly what I buy and where to buy it the cheapest

Clothes/shoes -
I know the free thrift store and when the sales are at my favorite thrift shop
I yardsale but only with a list in hand so I am not tempted to buy even something cheap if I don't need it
Shoes - I often buy secondhand but nice sneakers and shoes are a must for Justin
Clothes - I just don't buy much in this area, I have been very blessed by some swaps in the past and continue to get by with what we have

Medical expenses -
This is by far the biggest money waster and frustration I have, not sure what to do about this one

These are just a few of the things we do. Please advise if you have anything to add to my list

Friday, December 9, 2011

Encouragement of naming things

Horror and shame came over me immediately upon hearing about a new Bible study that the women's ministry at our church is starting in January. You may wonder why horror and shame may accompany anything that has to do with studying the Bible, well, let me tell you. When you have walked the road as long as I have with food issues, shame and defeat tag along with you quite often.  A few months ago I mention to some close friends and then on my blog that I felt completely defeated in the area of surrendering food to God. I felt completely out of control and completely unable to move forward. So, I have been going back to resources that have proven very beneficial to me and supply me with an ample amount of God's Word, love and grace. I am on the freedom trail....but I am not there yet. I have not arrived at freedom from my serious need to control.

So when I heard that a study using the very same material that I have found to be instrumental in my life in dealing with the very spiritual aspects of food you would think I would be excited. Instead I was upset and mortified.  I have had this information in my life for over 10 years and yet I haven't found my way out of the muck and mire.  I still have not let God lead me into the truth of all that He has for me.  My immediate thoughts went to how mortifying it is to admit to having sound biblical truth in your life yet not consistently applying what you know. In my case it may even be magnified because the principles of living the Christian life are not only things I know but that I also teach. Could I really believe that I have any ability to believe that things could be different?  If it hasn't happened in 10 years is it ever going to happen?

It didn't take long for me to feel God prompting me to reflect more on what I was feeling.  Shame and fear are very different feelings than Godly conviction.  I am willing to confess my sins in this area and I admit I need help in learning how to repent and turn from my sin.  My desire to run and hide from the people leading this study kicked into full gear and that is never a good thing.  My mask needed to come down and I needed to deal with the emotional upheaval of being able to admit that I still struggle and still need help.

I called the leader (who already knew of the struggle from past conversations) and I just said how awful it makes me feel that I have known for so long what to do but still after all this time struggle to do it. She was very encouraging and as we talked further I began to realize how much victory I actually do have in areas I had forgotten.  I believe we all as humans have very short memories or that at least our memories fade quickly when it comes to blessings and victories in our lives.  We have to consciously apply our minds and hearts to remember what God has done for us, in us and through us.  As we were talking the Lord encouraged my spirit to remember that I am not the same woman I was 10 years ago and He has given me consistent victory in certain areas of my life.  I found great encouragement in naming things, in giving utterance to the ways God has been faithful, gracious and loving in tangible ways in my life. I am victorious because God has made it so through the death of His one and only Son.

My encouragement to you is to remember. Take time to name the things you know that God has done for you, in you and through you. There is no better way to rest assured in God's loving faithfulness than to look back upon His loving faithfulness. God is good and if we let our current circumstances prevent us from seeing His past provisions we truly are blind.

Lord, open my eyes to see You. To see how you have loved unconditionally, given generously and provided skilfully all that I have and need.  You are a God who is able to do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine and I want to see You for Who You are. Thank You God! Amen.