Another year

Wow!  2008 is almost over and what a year it turned out to be.   Challenge after challenge,  there were many times when it didn’t feel like we would make it!  But, like the saying goes, “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle.”  Amen to that!

I’m looking at the list of resolutions I made around this time last year.  Amazingly, I accomplished a large portion of it.

Stick to my schedule.  This is definitely an ongoing process.  However, the (free!) Blackberry I recently acquired has proven to be most helpful in this area.

The little device that keeps me together!

The little device that keeps me together!


Procrastinate less.
This bad habit has gotten a lot better.  But, I’ve been reading a book that just might have the answer to my problem!  I’m 3/4 through it and strongly recommend it!

To Do, Doing, Done ~by G. Lynne Snead & Joyce Wycoff

To Do, Doing, Done! (by G. Lynne Snead & Joyce Wycoff)

Recycle more. Check!  I used to only worry about newspaper, water bottles and cans, but I’ve added several other items to the list of recyclables – magazines, batteries, paper towel rolls, cardboard boxes (i.e., cereal, pasta, crackers), plastic bags, and the wrapping from paper towels and toilet tissue.  Also started reusing glass containers…

Soap, water, a new label and...voila!

In addition, I uploaded FREE software from GreenPrint so I only print what’s absolutely necessary, plus I get PDF conversion capabilities (BONUS!)…

Check it out!!!

Check it out!!!

Set aside time to work on creative projects. Yes indeed.  From (finally!) painting my daughter’s room to making beaded jewelry to sewing pillows and sacks to making my own Thanksgiving Day cards for the very first time…

Blessed and thankful, I was inspired and got creative!

Blessed and thankful, I was inspired and got creative!

Be more consistent. This one is a general goal and always ongoing!

Be more patient with my kids. Yes.  The Lord is helping me out with this one!

Attend church regularly. For sure!  I don’t miss a Sunday or a Bible Study.  It’s like a car and gas – I need my weekly filling to keep going!

Manage money better. Oh yes!  My honey and I took a Crown Financial Ministries class early this year and loved it!  Despite the difficulties we’ve had with income, we make better choices now as a result of what we’ve learned.

Learning to view finances Gods way...you cant go wrong!

Learning to view finances God's way...you can't go wrong!

Eat out less. This is still a little bit of a challenge, but we’re doing A LOT better in this area!

Cook at home more. Yes – my honey more than me, but we’re saving money and love spending more time at the table together as a family!

Quick, easy and yummy!

Quick, easy and yummy!

Pay bills on time. Most of the time.  It all depends on whether or not the funds are available.  But it’s awesome how God is providing!

Watch less TV. For sure!  These days I only put it on as background noise or flip through channels only to find that nothing of value is on!  We even removed the TVs in each of the kids’ rooms and are down to only 2 sets!

Read more books. Always!  Definitely much more into reading now than I’ve ever been before!

Volunteer at school more. Working on this one.  I haven’t volunteered this year as much as I did last year, but I’m still chaperoning field trips as finances permit.  I’m working on doing more within the community and think that’s where the majority of my focus will be next year…

Shoebox project for the elderly at Christmastime.

Shoebox project for the elderly at Christmastime.

All in all, it’s been a very blessed year.  I’m looking forward to an awesome 2009!!!

Today’s Daysie says…

“EVERY LIFE HAS ITS DARK AND CHEERFUL HOURS.  HAPPINESS COMES FROM CHOOSING WHICH TO REMEMBER.”

…so thankful for those choices!

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It wasn’t over…

The last time I blogged was exactly one month ago.  It feels like just yesterday.  Well, that lovely September day brought more surprises than I knew what to do with…

Power Off by jamesmuckia on flickr

'Power Off' by jamesmuckian on flickr

Just as I was leaving to pick up the kids, the power got turned off.  GREAT.  I did what every helpless person does and took a deep breath, nodded my head, and – oh yeah, I bawled my little heart out!!!  That lasted about 15 minutes and with no cash to turn the power back on, I felt hopeless.  I came close to throwing something through the window (as if THAT was going to solve my problem, sheesh).  Instead, I got this bright idea to look in my jewelry box – still owning a small collection of gold pieces, nothing extravagant – they were something of value that could produce some much needed cash.  Back in the day, I used to wear a ring on every finger along with several bracelets and necklaces – can you say, Mrs. T?!  LOL  (If that wasn’t funny you’re probably too young to remember the A*Team.)  Anyway, once I made up my mind about which pieces had less sentimental significance, off on a field trip to the pawn shop I went.  This is where the fun began.

The power bill was $215.86.  Somehow I had to come up with it…SOON!  Well, I picked up my kids from school and headed straight to the gas station.  The cashier insisted I enter the pin # to my checkcard so the transaction would ring up as a debit, but I knew I had nothing in my account to draw from so I insisted he process my purchase as a credit.  After a couple of tries, it went through and I was able to fill the tank halfway and get a phone card to reload my cell phone (nevermind the $35 in nsf fees I’ll pay later).  I wasn’t happy at all that I had to resort to that, but I really had no other choice.  Talk about robbing Peter to pay Paul, yikes!!!

I arrived more hopeful to the pawn shop.  For some reason, I wasn’t surprised to see that the place was busy.  Not a lot of people were buying; most were in line waiting to be told how little their items would be worth.  When it was my turn, the nice young man (he couldn’t have been older than 21) inspected my items and asked the most peculiar question.  “Are you Catholic?”, he said.  I responded, “No, I’m Christian, but not Catholic – why?”  “All your gold is 14k and Catholics only get 14.”  That was a new one to me!  I used to be Catholic, but I never picked up on that one.  I guess you notice those things working in the pawn shop business.  Who knew? He offered me $185 for everything.  Before he could open the drawer, I dared to ask, “can you make it an even $200?”  I had no idea what I was saying, but I was a little desperate, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  He gave it to me.  I was grateful.  Then, I sat in the car brainstorming.  $200 down, $15.86 to go.

I got home and went through the books on my bookshelf.  Again, deciding which books I wouldn’t miss or could get me more than 50 cents.  I filled a box and headed to the book store from where I left only $10 richer.  So close, yet not quite there…uughhh!!!

By this time, my husband had gotten home and after I filled him on on the exciting details of the day, he made a phone call to a buddy who lent him the rest.  Finally, around 6 in the evening, I was able to make the full payment and call in my receipt number to get service restored.  It didn’t happen right away.

sad rain by yu+ichiro on flickr

"sad rain" by yu+ichiro on flickr

It poured down rain that entire evening, which might be why it took forever for the serviceman to come.  We snacked on what we could for dinner and lit candles for some light.  We waited patiently.  I laid in bed for a  while, feeling upset about the whole situation.  But, I refused to let it keep me down so I sprung out of bed and invited everyone to go out in the rain to play!  Crazy, huh?  Yeah, that’s what they thought too!  PARTY POOPERS!  Only one taker – my daughter.  We slipped off our shoes and stood outside letting the water drench us.  We laughed and enjoyed ourselves!  Later, we each took showers and although most of us were already asleep, our power came back by midnight.

Whew!  What a day!  Everything seems to work out in the end.  Like Mary Hunt shared today in her Everyday Cheapskate newsletter:

“TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST, BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO.”

Please God, help us to be tough!

Summer break is coming to a close

School’s just around the corner again. Where did this summer go?

When school let out in June, I read somewhere that sometimes kids go through some type of “separation anxiety” during the summer break. I can understand how that can happen with the change in atmosphere and normal day-to-day activities. Thankfully, my kids didn’t experience any of that. I wonder if me staying home with them has anything to do with it. Probably.

We haven’t done a whole lot this summer – it was pretty lazy compared to others. However, we did manage to:

go grape stomping for the very first time…


have a yard sale…

discover and appreciate nature…

redecorate…


organize…

do crafts and spread some joy at the same time…



cook and bake…


and (of course) sleep a lot!

The kids are, however, excited to return to school. One of them has gone as far as getting the school list, gathered items listed (if we already have it) and given me a list of what’s missing! No procrastination allowed here! Again, I’m grateful for that because procrastination was a challenge. It’s very refreshing to know that God is helping me break that off so it doesn’t affect my kids!

I have been preparing as well. This weekend, for example, I put together a shopping list of school supplies after going through all the sales circulars in the Sunday paper. Walmart, Walgreens, Target and Office Depot have deals priced under $1, with most under 50 cents! Stock up time!!! I’m sure I’ll be doing it for weeks after school begins. Hey, God calls us to be good stewards and so we should be. With the economy the way it is, we’re being forced to be much thriftier than ever before. But, we can do it! Creating a list helps – organization in everything brings peace of mind. And I’m looking forward to a much more peaceful existence all the way around.

Today’s Daysie says:

“It is not so much the power of God but the love of God that conquers in the end”

Thank you God! John 3:16

Still Making Progress

Wow, I haven’t written in over 6 months – YIKES! When I started this blog, the goal was to write daily in order to:

  • share ideas and information
  • connect with others with similar likes, goals, and experiences
  • become a better photographer
  • learn new techniques and experiment with graphics and fonts
  • give a reader or two a glimpse into my life so that (maybe) they could relate and realize they weren’t the only one thinking, feeling, experiencing the STUFF life throws at you – good and bad
  • get things off my chest
  • and to have something to read down the road

But after a while, it just took too much time to sit down and type. Plus, the frustration of “not achieving the goal I had created for myself” simply sucked all the FUN out of it.

Today, someone sent me a comment. It turned out to be spam so I deleted it, but it forced me to log back in and say a little something. I do believe this is God working out His plan because recently I’ve been more motivated to write a book. So, this must be His way of getting me moving in that direction. Nobody’s going to read a book that doesn’t get written, right? LOL

Writing a book has been a goal of mine for a very long time. I love to read, I’m organized, I enjoy proofing things, I’m creative, conscientious, and tend to build on thoughts in hopes of making the ideas better. That sounds like a good recipe for getting started. So, why haven’t I begun? I guess I’ve been intimidated by the whole process. There exists, too, that issue of procrastination. But, let’s NOT focus on the negative. I’ve already come up with a title so I’m making some progress. My book will be titled: “A minute late and a dollar short” (don’t you steal it, now!!!)

I’ve often visualized myself at book signings and speaking engagements and I don’t even enjoy being in front of crowds! I wonder if it’s wishful thinking? Daydreaming? Or a realization of what God’s dream is for me? We won’t know until we give it a try. If He is the driving force behind this desire, then He will equip me and open the right doors. In the meantime, I’ll blog every so often and do my best to maintain balance with Him at the center.

…’til the next time, here’s today’s Daysies quote:

“CHALLENGES MAKE YOU DISCOVER THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU NEVER REALLY KNEW.”

Go ahead! Face one of your challenges and see where it grows you!

Books, Camping, Buttons

What do these things have in common? Not a whole lot by themselves. But, they’re things that are happening in my life today.

BOOKS:

  1. I have several to return to the library today.
  2. I started reading the book “Five Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman with my Friday night bible study group.
  3. I continue to read the Bible daily.
  4. I WON A BOOK!!! The ‘Christian Work At Home Moms’ site had a contest a couple of weeks ago and the winner or winners (I can’t recall if it was one or many that could win) would get the book titled: Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture” by Mary DeMuth. I don’t typically win anything I enter, so I’m excited about this!

CAMPING:

  1. My boys went camping this week!
  2. For most of the week, our home will be boyless. Well, there’s the BIG boy, but you know what I mean! 🙂 Dad and I cannot wait to see them come home and hear about all the things they learned and experienced!!!

BUTTONS:

  1. I love to create and so I love crafts! When I received my newsletter from ‘Clean Home Journal’ and saw ‘Button Boy’, I had to share! It looks like a very simple project!
  2. Click HERE* for instructions on how to create him.

* 05.05.08:  Oh, oh!  I just realized this link is no longer active – sorry!  I’ll attempt to find that little ‘Button Boy’ wherever he’s hiding and post again.  Thanks for your patience!

* 08.29.09: I found Button Boy! But, he’s become a man! LOL  Check him out below, and click on his photo to view instructions on how to make him.

 

Button Man

Button Man