Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Backwards to Move Forward

It sounds counter productive, 
but sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward.

As most of you know, I will be leaving work in January and, in order to help compensate for the loss of income, we have to cut costs where ever we can.  

No area is safe from possible "tweakage"!

First up for adjustments...cell phones.

As a society, we have come to believe that we have to have the latest and greatest technological breakthrough.  Why use the old version that serves all your needs when you can buy the new version that serves needs you didn't even know you needed?!  Somehow I survived my teenage years with a quarter in my pocket for an emergency call and now I can't leave the house without my cell phone.  

For those of you too young to know, this is called a pay phone, the original "pay as you go" phone.
It cost you a quarter to make a local call. 
I think there have been a lot of different factors that have moved our society into such a state of mobile communication.  Some good, some not so good.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it is all bad.  However, what I find the most frustrating is how it has become harder and harder for us to differentiate between what we truly need and what we want.

For our family, we have determined that Matt needs a phone due to the whole baseball schedule.  Some have argued that they don't even need one for that, just pick them up whatever time practice is over.  I would agree, except we never know when practice is going to be over and game schedules can change at moments notice, both with cancellations and additions.  

Matt needing a phone means I need a phone because Brian is constantly in meetings.  Granted, we could still make it work without either of us having a phone if we had to, but we also have to into consideration what will help make the family function a little better.

So, here is where we start moving backwards...

Even though I enjoy some of the perks of an iPhone, I just did not use it enough to justify paying the $15 a month for the data plan.  I liked the instant Facebook notifications and the simple texting functions (hated auto correct), but I don't need those features.  

So, as Brian so eloquently put it, I have changed to a dumb phone.  

I have gone backwards in cell phone technology.  

Not only have I have chosen a dumb phone over a smart one, I purchased a refurbished one for $10, which was half that of a brand new one. I hate that I am now under contract, but we are now saving $15/month. (On a side note, you can get new ones for free or purchase at Walmart/Target/Best Buy.  By purchasing from somewhere else, you can avoid being under contract.  Because we have a business discount for Brian's phone, 
I had to choose one directly through AT&T.)

So, in order to move forward in the journey of returning home, I had to move backwards in technology.  And I'm not done yet...there is more tweakage to come!  Which is going to be a little more painful to some family members than others...

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I'm Back!

Sorry I've been MIA! I started feeling bad on Thursday, over did it on Friday and Saturday, and went down hill from there.  Sarah shared her germs with me and, of course, they weren't kind.  I ran a low grade fever for about 3 days.  Not high, but just enough to make me feel bad and be pretty much worthless.  But, thankfully, I'm back at work today and ready to get back in the swing of things.  I think!

My Thanksgiving turkey wasn't my best this year, but my apple pie turned out amazing!  At least that is what I've been told.  I wasn't up to eating it that evening and they ate all the leftovers. 

Of  course I got a picture of the turkey and not the pie!

We did manage to get the tree up on Friday and the guys put the outside lights up on Saturday.  However, before we could put up the tree we had to move some furniture and Brian took the opportunity to turn over the couch to see why we were sinking in the middle.

One of the springs was completely out and a middle piece was broken.  When Daniel was little we were constantly telling him to stop jumping on the couch.  I knew they would give out one of these days.  Brian was able to get the spring back in place and secure things a little bit better.  The middle cross piece is still broken, but we are no longer sinking in a hole!

I want to show you some better pictures of the Christmas decorations later, but here is a little taste.

Check out what I did with the stockings!  We do not have a mantel, I didn't want to put nail holes in the wall, I couldn't find the clear command strips, and I really didn't want to spend any money.  So I took down the valance and hung the stockings!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and pray that your Christmas season will be filled with joy as we anticipate the arrival of our Savior!

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 118:1

First, you need to know that I have a little stubborn streak.  
I would say I get it from my mother. 
She would probably say I get it from my dad, which probably means I get it from both of them and you may want to watch out when it shows up.   
I admit it doesn't always look pretty.

We have been going through a period of testing over the last week. 
Which brings me to the second thing you need to know.
When I know I'm being tested, I get stubborn. 
I dig in my heels and will not be moved.  
(This is when that stubborn streak comes in handy.)

We knew why we were being tested.  It was all about me giving up my income to stay home to care for my family.  I will share more about how we were being tested next week, but I wanted to share the results with you now.  
Sunday morning our pastor preached on Psalm 118.  God used his words and the words in the worship music to reaffirm my decision.  
I dug my heels in deeper, trusting in a God who will love me forever!

The service ended with the beautiful hymn " 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus."  How those words touched my soul that morning!

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

With all the things I have to be thankful for, the one thing I am most thankful for is that I have a God who loves me, who fights for me, who never leaves me, and who will always carry me when I cannot walk on my own.

Living thru faith,

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's been 19 years!

19 years ago I married my best friend.
About three years before we went to a Bon Jovi concert with friends.   A few months later we discovered we had been set up on a blind date.
We can be slow sometimes!
I passed out during the encore from not eating all day.  He forced me to eat a Burger King chicken sandwich after leaving the concert and has been taking care of me ever since.
It has been a crazy journey since he accepted his call to ministry in our last pre-martial counseling session, but I wouldn't trade it for the world!
We have never done much more than dinner and a movie for our anniversary, but we have always been together...until this year.  Brian is in San Francisco at a conference and I really miss him today.
Happy Anniversary, Brian!  
I love you and miss you!
Living thru faith, 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bring on the Kleenex

Yep, it's time to stock up.

The first tears have begun to form.

Matt's senior ring arrived in the mail this week.


Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Our Family is Growing

 For those who saw that caption in Facebook, I gotcha!!

We have gained a family member, but only for the next few weeks.  Daniel's friend Dane will be staying with us until the end of the month while his grandmother is in California for a couple of family events.

We all went to the mall this weekend to do some jeans shopping for Daniel.  As we were walking into one shop, I looked around at our "brood" and thought he fits right in with the blond hair.  The nose gives it away though.  All of mine have my nose.

(Notice the ketchup on the macaroni and cheese.  He definitely fits in. Matt and Sarah eat it the same way.  Yuck!)

Dane broke his leg a week or so ago, so he is sporting a cast and crutches.  

We had to do some moving around to make the sleeping arrangements work.  Since Dane is on crutches, that ruled out him climbing into the bunk bed so Matt got kicked out the opportunity to give up his bed and move in with Sarah.  Now Matt is in Sarah's bed, Sarah is in the trundle, Dane is in Matt's bed, and Daniel is in his own bed.  The four of them are sharing a bathroom, which makes it interesting in the morning.  But, it is all working out and no one has killed anyone yet.  

Of course, we are only on Day 6...14 more to go!  :-)

Living thru faith,

Monday, November 14, 2011

You Won't Let Me Go

Even though I can't sing a note to save my life, music has always moved me, spoken to me, expressed my thoughts for me, and comforted me.  

My life is somewhat organized chaos on the good days and absolute insanity on the not-so-good days. So, of course, now I want to add quit work and do everything with less income...

There are times I just want to shout 
"Lord, what were you thinkin' ?!"

And then I hear a song that speaks to me just in that moment.  
I may have heard it a hundred times before, 
but for some reason just that particular time it says 
"Hey, are you listening?"

Which is what happened with this song last week.

Welcome to my latest disaster
Same book just another chapter
Never thought it could be worse than last year
But here I am again today

I laugh cause it hurts when I scream
But I'll make it through cause I believe

That even when my heart breaks
And everything's shaking
I'm left alone in the rain
You won't
You won't
You won't let me go

Life's insane
And everything's crazy
You carry me through the pain
And You won't
You won't
You won't let me go
You won't let me go

Here we go it's a three ring circus
Juggling it all trying to find my purpose
With each new day
I'm praying just to make it through

When my next disaster is near
I know that You'll meet me right here
So I won't fear

Cause even when my heart breaks
And everything's shaking
I'm left alone in the rain
You won't
You won't
You won't let me go


I feel Your love that surrounds me
My world can shake but it won't drown me
Cause I'm trusting You
No matter what I'm going through

Cause even when my heart breaks
And everything's shaking
I'm left alone in the rain
You won't
You won't
You won't let me go


You won't
You won't let me go
Yeah, You won't
You won't let me go

No matter what we are going through or how alone we may feel, God is there and He won't let go.  How lonely and hopeless life would be without knowing He was there with me, loving me and carrying me.  But there are times that I need reminding and maybe you need a little reminding today as well.

God loves you and He won't let you go!

Living thru faith,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Birthday

Yesterday was my nephew's 5th birthday.

 He is such a cutie!

He is going to have to fight off the girls, just like his brother. 

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Living thru faith,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Ginkgo Trees

We have the most beautiful ginkgo trees in front of one of our buildings at work.  

Their fan like leaves turn a beautiful bright yellow in the fall and then in just a matter of minutes they rain down and create a golden blanket on the ground. 

All the leaves fall in this beautiful show of God's creation.

Those with offices with a view of the trees, spread the word and folks come to watch the show. 

They gave a us a little tease on Tuesday when some started to fall, so it shouldn't be long now.

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Check it out!!

Check out my new blog header!

A friend created it for me yesterday.  

Stephanie is a talented designer, a great friend to all who know her, and a wonderful new mom (she has the cutest little baby girl!). One day I mentioned that I needed to figure out how to create a new header and she was willing to share her talents with me. 

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Thanks so much Steph!

Living thru faith,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Menu

A friend asked me to post my monthly menu again.  So, Sarah this is for you!

7 - Tacos, chips and salsa
 8 - Crockpot Honey chicken, rice, salad
9 - Chicken fried rice
10 - Pasta Primavera, salad
11 - Sloppy joes, fries
12 - Homemade mac-n-cheese, lima beans, carrots
13 -Biscuits and gravy, eggs
14 - Spaghetti, salad
15 -Pork chops, stuffing, green beans
16 -Chicken noodle soup, crackers
17 - BBQ meatballs, coleslaw, corn
18 - Pizza Rolls
19 - Leftovers
20 - Shrimp, coleslaw, fries
21 - Chili, cornbread

22 - Cheesy bowties, salad
23 - Leftovers
24 - Thanksgiving Dinner 
(Turkey breast, mashed potatoes, carrots, salad, rolls)
25 - Homemade Pizza
26 - Potato Soup, cornbread
27 - Leftovers
28 - Chicken pot pie, salad
29 - Leftovers
30 - Quesadillas, Spanish rice

The links are for new recipes that I will be trying this month.  They look yummy!

Living thru faith,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stepping Out in Faith: A New Journey Begins

A while back I told you about some decisions that we were trying to make for our family (here).  

We have finally made the decision that I am going to stop working in January and 
go back to being a stay-at-home mom.  I had a desire to be home with my kids, but I didn't trust myself to know whether the desire was my own selfishness or a call being laid on my heart. 

 It has been a real struggle getting to this decision because on paper it makes absolutely no sense financially.  But one day I came to a realization... In an effort to be better stewards of the income we received, we had slowly started relying more on ourselves than on God to provide each month.

Over the last three or four months, God spoke to us in many ways.  However, the day this scripture verse popped up in my daily email from KLOVE I knew I had to listen and listen good.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?   Luke 6:46

How could I live by faith and not trust Him?  He had been gently speaking to us all this time, but now He was laying it all out. Each time I said "but, God" I was really saying "I do not trust You."  

I was calling Him my Lord and not doing what He was asking me to do.  

When God gives you a desire in your heart, He won't let go until you figure it out.  I was saying I was willing to do what He wanted me to do, but not completely trusting Him in the details.

Once I stopped saying "but, God", I had to wait for Brian to do the same.  I knew we both had to be on board on this one and it was a painful few months while we struggled trying to discern and accept His will.  But now we know that we are on the right path.  We are already seeing changes in our family in the anticipation of what is to come.

I know that I am going home to take care of my family, but I also feel like there is something more that God is calling me to.  He just hasn't revealed it all to me yet...

So, as we take our first steps on this new journey, I invite you to come with us.  It is not going to be an easy journey, but with God as the guide it will be a great one!

Living thru faith (finally),

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sarah's Birthday Party

Sarah's birthday celebration started with cupcakes and popcorn with her friends at daycare on Friday.  The extra bonus was that it was movie day!  She loves movie day!



Her party on Sunday was a small affair, but she had a great time!   

With everything going on we kept it simple.
She invited three friends for cake and ice cream and a little play time.

(In her words)  
We had 3 Sarah's and a Janna.

Yep, we had Sarah, Sarah, Sara, and Janna.  Oh, and Janna's mom is named Sarah!  
There were a lot of Sarah's in our little house!

Janna's cute little brother Simon jumped right in to play with the girls. 

I found these buckets at Target for $1 and painted each girl's name on them.  Then filled them with princess items.  I thought they turned out so cute, if I do say so myself.

I didn't get any good pictures of her opening presents because they moved so fast!  

  But Sarah was absolutely adorable!  She had the look of sheer delight after she opened each gift and then gave each girl a big hug before moving to the next gift.  It was precious!

It is hard to believe that my baby girl is already 5 years old!  
I must stop blinking!  It's getting me in so much trouble!

Living thru faith,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Honey!


Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!

I love you!

And just so you know, I'm on a mission...a mission to get more pictures of you.  
I discovered that I don't have many and I need to remedy that situation!

Living thru faith,