Now that my travels are over, life has settled into an ebb and flow of days. I've been making jam and sauerkraut, canning items, doing laundry, cleaning, making soap, catching up with emails, and trying to make ends meet. Every now and then I think things are under control and then I get some new obstacle and challenge to face.
Yesterday's challenge came in the form of Stephen's college bill. We have different options to take care of it. We can pay the semester in full which won't happen since we don't have the money. We can make monthly payments which will hurt greatly since it's about 40% of Dan's monthly income. Or we can take out another loan which is not something we really want to do. I could do some tutoring for the school system but the only problem with that is that while it'll help pay the bill, it will also throw us into a different tax bracket which won't help us in the long run since it wouldn't be enough to make any real difference in our finances.
But during my time with the Lord this morning, I was reminded that God called us both into full-time ministry and He is also faithful to provide. I went for a walk this morning and saw signs of His hands everywhere. We are in a drought and desperately need rain, yet berries and apples were ripening on the vines even without water. Birds were being fed. There was life everywhere I looked.
It was a good reminder that even though I may not see Him working, He does. I may not know at the present time where the money will come from, but it will be provided. I just need to trust that God is good. And He provides those reminders!
So I'm tightening my belt and getting to work to squeeze out a few extra pennies.
This week I was frugal in the following ways:
$ Found 2 heads of cabbage with the outer leaves removed at the local farmer's market for .25 each. I used them, plus another head and a half I had to make sauerkraut.
$ I continue to make my own goat's milk soap.
$ I went to the regional farmer's market here yesterday and for $40 I got the following items: 1/2 bushel of cucumbers, a bushel of tomatoes, a bag full of green peppers, 6 jalapeños, 2 eggplant, a bag of kale, 3 onions, 2 delicata squash, a bag of green beans and 2 baskets of potatoes. They were all home grown and fresh from the ground in the past day.
$ The blackberries in our field continue to amaze me. I've picked about 15 quarts and given 8 away and still have more on the vine.
$ We have two apple trees that always produce fairly small apples. The one is stunted this year due to the lack of rain. The other is near a stream and is doing much better. My plan is to pick some this year for apple sauce. It's more work with the smaller apples but hey, they are free!
$ I made 9 jars of blueberry jam with the berries a neighbor gave us.
$ Despite the heat which is terrible this week, I've been working at making dinner anyway. Yesterday was the exception. It was so terribly hot in my house so we did take-out food. It was 90 degrees in my living room when we went to bed at 10 p.m. Crazy!
The plan today is to make some cheese and get started on processing those cucumbers and tomatoes. We will see how it goes since it is already 81 degrees at 8:30 a.m.