Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Words of Encouragement

Yesterday we discovered that money that we thought was coming for Emily's college bill is in fact, not coming and we owe quite a large sum.  We also discovered that unlike Stephen's college, they don't give you the option of 10 months to pay it off.  It must be paid by in four monthly installments that equal half of Dan's paycheck.  As this realization hit yesterday my stomach started knotting up, I felt my hands shaking and my head began to throb.  I truly felt like I was going to throw up.

I woke up in the middle of the night and once my sleepy brain kicked in so did the anxiety.  But in the middle of my worried thoughts, one phrase came clearly to my head, "Be still and know that I am God."  It kept playing over and over again and surprisingly, I was able to focus on that and drifted back to sleep.

This morning I looked up the Psalm that it came from and found this encouragement.

Psalm 46 (ESV) ~

God is our refuge and strength,    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

It sure feels as if the earth is giving way and waters are rising and crashing over my head.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

No matter what I'm facing, I have a shelter in which I can run to and find safety.

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.

When I reflect on ways He has helped me in the past, I remember that God can overcome anything I face!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I need to stop worrying; stop striving; stop pacing back and forth and be still.  Relax.  God's got this.  He will show us a way to deal with this issue, just as He has helped us with other problems. 

I'm glad for that reminder that I received in the middle of the night.  Do I still know how we are going to pay for it?  No.  But, in the light of day God has given me some thoughts and the knowledge that He is in control is helping the fear to die down. Thanks to a gift, we have the first installment and I know the Lord will help us to come up with the rest.  I'm resting in the fact that He is God and I don't have to keep worrying because it'll work out.

What are you facing today?  No matter what it is, be still and know that He is God.  He will work and He will be exalted.  Be encouraged today!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Multitude Monday

We had such a wonderful weekend of celebration with family and friends.  I enjoyed every single moment.  So much so, that I forgot about my camera and ended up only getting a couple of pictures of the day.  It is almost impossible to host a large event, visit with people, make sure everything is running smoothly and take pictures at the same time.  That is my one frustration!  I was also a bit disappointed that I didn't get to just sit and relax and chat with anyone for any length of time.  Each time I'd sit down, I would see something else that needed refilling or doing. 

However, overall it was a great party and weekend!  I am exhausted and resting my leg which is what I was instructed to do was impossible for the most part.  However, I did spend most of the afternoon with the leg up and slept for 10 hours last night.

This week I'm thankful for blessings #3051 - 3062.

3051. I am so thankful that I have a daughter (and actually, it's all my kids) that is grateful for the things I do for her.  She was helping me on Friday and said, "Mom, you put so much thought into parties."  "Thank you."  I've seen teens that throw fits whenever things don't go their way so I appreciate what a gem I have.

3052.  I loved having all of our families here.  I wish I had more time to chat with them.  My sister, whom I haven't seen in 2 years, was only able to stay for a few hours and then she and her husband had to get back.  I was so happy they were able to come too.

3053.  I was thankful for friends who took over the grill for me so I could mingle with people.  Plus, I kind of stink at grilling anyway so I was happy! LOL

3054.  I'm thankful for those who came to celebrate Emily's graduation.  We had about 55 people come and it was nice to see the love they have for her.

3055.  Usually in large crowds Nathan is quiet and keeps to himself.  It was nice to see that he felt comfortable enough that he was holding his own in conversation.  My step-father was telling me that he's really quite articulate.  I knew that, but most don't because he's so quiet.

3056.  I'm thankful that Dan's family, as well as my parents hung around for another day so we could spend time with them.  I had waffles and sausage for breakfast on Sunday breakfast and then Dan's family had to leave. 

3057.  My parents are leaving late this morning so I was thankful for having time with them yesterday and then again, this morning.  We are meeting them for breakfast in a while. 

3058.  I'm very thankful that despite the amount of stress I put on my leg this weekend, that it actually feels pretty good this morning.  I have a torn MCL (medial collateral ligament) as well as fraying of the ligament that runs under the meniscus.  It's non-surgical but requires a knee brace, ice, anti-inflammatory medicine and rest. 

3059.  I'm so thankful for our church family once again.  They are a wonderful group of people.  Someone slipped an envelope in with Emily's graduation cards for us and it was a wonderful surprise.

3060.  I'm thankful for the friend who donated 2 bags of clothes for Emily.

3061.  I'm thankful for so much leftover food that we were able to have some for dinner on Saturday night, for refreshments for church on Sunday, and still send some home with a family from church.  I think I went overboard. ;-)

and finally...

3062.  I'm thankful that we are so blessed with good friends and family. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Frugal Friday

I love sharing on Frugal Friday here because it's good motivation for me to keep trying to figure out how to live well on little.  Being frugal isn't always easy and it certainly does take work, but it's been a necessity here but is so ingrained in me now that even if we had a ton of money, I would still live this way.

I actually love being frugal and working to make our dollars stretch.  I like the simplicity that comes from being appreciative of the small things in life and being content with little. 

Here are some ways I've saved this week:

$  Because I couldn't go with Dan to Emily's orientation last week, we canceled the hotel room which was going to be a large expense that I wasn't happy about paying anyway.   Dan just came back home at the end of the first day and then went back the next.  Even with the cost of gas, it was so much cheaper than staying in the hotel.

$  We had to pay $175 for the orientation ($100 for the first parent and $75 for each family member after).  It thought it was non-refundable.  However, I decided to go ahead and ask the question.  I emailed the person in charge and told her the circumstances surrounding why I couldn't attend (my knee).  She got back to me immediately and refunded me the $75. Whoo-hoo!!

$  I used art supplies that I had at home to create the decorations for Emily's party tomorrow.

$  Because I purchase specialty items (such as baking chips, etc.) when they are on sale, I have a well stocked pantry which makes it nice when I have an event coming up and need some baked goods. One of the cookies I made for tomorrow is minty-chocolate chip cookies because I had Andes mint chips in my freezer from after Christmas when they were on sale.

$ I got the table cloths for the party tomorrow on sale at 50% off.

$ Regardless of how frugal I am, the party is costing more than we normally spend on groceries.  However, one way I saved is by hitting the regional farmer's market.  I spent $58 on the following: 10 tomatoes, 1 head of cabbage, 1 head of green leaf lettuce,  1 bag baby spinach, 1 bag basil, 1 cilantro plant, 2 bunches parsley, 9 large green peppers, 6 heads of of broccoli, 7 orange sweet peppers, 6 jalapeƱos, 3 large Vidalia onions, 2 bunches of scallions, 3 bulbs of garlic, 10 lbs. small red potatoes, 4 limes, 7 small cucumbers.

$ We ended up owing on our taxes this year.  We paid half of the bill back in April and then waited to get a bill for the rest.  Then Dan sent in another $100 and called them about setting up a payment plan.  It turns out it costs $200 to set up the plan.  The woman from the IRS told Dan that we have until November to pay off the rest before we will be charged a penalty, so rather than set up the payment plan, Dan saved the $200 and will just pay it off in monthly increments between now and then.

$ I did think yesterday that it would be so much easier just to cater the party, but I'm saving money by doing it myself.  It's certainly more work, but it's within our means so that's what I'm doing.  Being frugal does take effort, but is worth it.

So that's my frugal offerings this week.  I like to share here because it keeps me motivated and I know that it helps encourage others to be frugal as well.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Showers of Blessings

It's been a rainy summer and last night was no different.  I woke up to a soaked deck and had to wipe everything down before I could sit out there.  It seems like at least 4 days out of 7 it's been raining. 

A number of things have happened over this past week and I feel like I've received a soaking from the showers of blessings that have rained down on us.  Money is always tight because we are in full-time ministry in a small church, as well as living on one income.  But when we have to plan an unexpected event such as a graduation party it becomes even tighter.

My heart is full this morning:

❤ I have watermelon on my menu for Saturday and two different people offered to bring it which makes that one less purchase I have to make.

❤ Yesterday, a friend stopped by and she had purchased all the plates, cups and utensils for the party. 

❤  I had asked another friend on Sunday if we could borrow his charcoal grill since we have a tiny, tabletop one.  He said he would drop it off.  I was in our shed yesterday when I saw a brand new grill in a box.  When I messaged him about it, he told me that it was a gift for our family! 

❤  Last night I received a text from a friend who has some shirts and shorts that would fit Nathan or Stephen and she wanted to know if we could use them.  Yes!

To me these are all beautiful blessings that I didn't expect which makes them doubly sweeter.  I am so appreciative of the generosity that others show to us. 

I've been enjoying myself this week by coming up with decorations on a budget.  I purchased table cloths yesterday but have been able to come up with beauty from things on hand.

The flowers I had in my yard were the inspiration for the color scheme, and then I used my creativity for the rest. A double blessing was I didn't realize how therapeutically relaxing it would be!

I've been busy baking and today, I'm shopping for all food, in between a doctor's appointment for my knee.  It's been a busy week but a happy one for me.  I love showering blessings on my daughter, just as I've been showered upon too!

It's going to be a great party, and I'm especially excited since our families will be there to celebrate with us.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Words of Encouragement


Psalm 34:8 (NLT) ~

Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

We are all busy and time does seem to zip by.  But I want to encourage you to stop, look around you and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you each day.   

One way I do this is through my camera.  I'm so thankful for God's beautiful creation from the morning mist rising off the field to a gorgeous full moon to chirping birds and beautiful colors.

Take a time-out today and just enjoy all you can see, smell, taste and hear around you.  You will be refreshed!  God is GOOD!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Multitude Monday

I have very few pictures to go along with this post this week because I was obedient and spent most of my week, parked in one position with my leg up.  However, I have plenty to be thankful for, despite the fact.

This week I'm thankful for blessings #3041 - 3050.

3041. I'm so thankful that despite the fact that my knee is in almost constant pain, it is nothing like what I experienced a week ago.  It's settled down to a dull ache and I go for my MRI this afternoon and the doctor's appointment on Thursday.

3042.  As I go through pictures for Emily's graduation party, I'm so thankful for wonderful memories.

3043.  I'm thankful that we discovered a small, dripping leak in our portable air-conditioner that was starting to soak our bedroom carpet.  If we hadn't caught that it could have caused a huge problem.

3044.  I'm thankful for lower humidity.

3045.  Emily and Dan went to her parent/student orientation at her new college. She enjoyed herself and is looking forward to the end of August when she starts.

3046.  Nathan can be like a yo-yo at times with his emotions.  He loves his job, but gets frustrated because in the summer they cut his hours back so they can hire college students.  When his hours are cut, then he starts to spiral down because his negative thoughts start such as, "I don't want to work in retail", "this is the only job I'll ever be able to get because of my disabilities", and "I'll never have a normal life" and on and on.  Of course, that requires a whole lot of discussion on my part to get him back on the right track with his thinking.  Anyway, I'm thankful that they've increased his hours again so he is back to working about 32 hours a week.  He is happiest when he is being busy and productive.

3047. I'm thankful for all the beautiful flowers blooming in my yard.

3048.  I'm thankful for good meals that only take a few moments to make, taste delicious and yet, are inexpensive.

3049.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to sing on our church's worship team.  We love making music together, we are friends, we laugh and pray together.  It's sweet.

and finally...

3050.  The ability to feel thankful!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Party Planning

I'm in the process of planning Emily's graduation party for next Saturday.  I love entertaining!  It's been such a long time since I've hosted a big party and yet, I love doing it.  We are on such a tight budget, but I love a good challenge so I'm determined to make it a great party and yet, not go broke.  I'd rather spend money on the food and not worry so much about decorations, though it will look nice.

Today I worked on the menu, though I'll probably be tweaking it a bit.


Veggie Burgers (for the few vegetarians in the crowd)
Hot Dogs
Sausage & Peppers
Baked Beans
Macaroni Salad
Potato Salad
Broccoli Salad
Deluxe Coleslaw
Veggie Platter with dill dip & hot artichoke dip
Pita chips with homemade hummus
Chips and dip
Tortillas with fresh, homemade salsa


Bars & Cookies


Iced Tea

I'm so looking forward to seeing family, as well as local friends.  This week will be flat out planning mode, along with Emily. I'm in my element and happy!