Quickie and What's ahead

This is a just a quick little tidbit and some info on what I have planned for future posts. First of all, Christmas is coming up, and WeUseCoupons has a great artcle running about cutting holiday costs before they hit. Check it out:)

I am hoping to do some more posts on "practical" ways to live like the Proverbs 31 Woman. I am hoping the research and study involved will help me as much as you. I have read MULTIPLE bible study/ devotional books on the subject and will share some of those with you, as well what I have done to try to put some of the principles into practice.

In the mean time, what are some things you are wondering about, as far as actually LIVING everyday life like the Proverbs 31 Woman? I've shared some of my struggles with you, and there are so many more. Remember the post about making the beds and having an empty sink before work? I can tell you it happens about 1/2 the time, and that may be generous. A lot of what is done around the house depends on the mood of my almost two year old... is that okay? What does the Word say about that? I want to discuss these things as well as some issues you might be wondering about... let me know:)


Worry and Peace

How do we get peace? I believe the Lord’s word is full of instruction on how we gain peace. Salvation, of course, provides peace. Our God is a God of peace… but what about peace in the everyday. Peace while doing laundry. Peace while praying for friends with a sick child. Peace when you are fired. Peace when your child or you or your spouse is sick. Peace when you burn supper, snap at someone you love, forget to send a permission slip to school, miss a deadline, or on and on and on. Consider the following verses.

Proverbs 3: 21-25
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;
24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

It sounds to me that verses 23-24 are describing sweet, sweet peace. We will not (or do not have to) go to bed worried about a child waking up sick (yes, that is my stronghold), we do not have to worry about safety, nor do we need to fear sudden disasters. We can have perfect peace. How? The answer is in verse 21, sound judgment and discernment…. That is wisdom. We know Proverbs is full of verses on wisdom. How does wisdom give you peace? How does sound judgment and discernment? Well, if you have wisdom from God, you know His ways, and you will be in His will. If we are in His will, what can we POSSIBLY fear? Does this mean bad things won’t happen? Does this meant that your stronghold, the thing that you worry most about, however big or small, will never happen? Unfortunately, no, it does not. However, it does mean that we no longer have to fear those things. We are in God’s will, where he wants us to be, and He will take care of us, carry us, through it. We are His children. We cannot protect our children from everything bad, but we can comfort them and help them learn what they are supposed to learn through it. Our God is different in that He could shield us, but how would we ever learn anything? We humans are hard headed and often have to experience something first hand, sometimes more than once, in order to get the idea.
We just have to remember if we preserve sound judgment and discernment, our sleep will be sweet and we will go on our way in safety.
What does this look like in daily life? How do we “preserve” sound judgment and discernment? How do we gain wisdom? This is what I plan to be the topic of my next post, and maybe the next couple of posts, but I want to know your thoughts on this…





Traveling with Friends and a Free Night at a Hotel

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.


Hampton_logo

Have you ever traveled with friends? Our family loves to go places alone, but sometimes going with friends makes it extra special. We have loads of fond memories of trips we have made with friends and pray we get the opportunity to make more. Right now Hampton Inn is giving away free weekend stays at a Hampton Hotel, and one lucky winner with recieve a weekend stay for themselves along with pretty much all the rooms in the hotel for a TON of their friends! To enter, visit the Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes website and sign up, or book a stay online at a Hampton Hotel during the promotion period with code "FRIEND" or "COF."

If I won, I would invite our friends that live between us and Dallas, and we would all go stay in Dallas and visit with our other friends who now live in Rockwall. The six of us have been friends for what seems like forever and we still keep in touch. We have 6 kids between us now and we desperately want to get together. I think winning the prize would be a GREAT opportunity for that:)

Click Here
Visit my sponsor: Win a free Weekend Stay

Pinecone Research in Recruiting!

I waited for what seemed like FOREVER for an opportunity to join Pinecone Research. I finally got in and I love it! They send a few surveys and month, you qualify for each one you receive, and you get paid $3 per survey. I understand they occassionally offer product testing also. I haven't gotten to participate in that yet. You can recieve a check or a paypal deposit. Paypal is faster, but I had my check in a week, so it wasn't that slow either:) They are currently recruiting females ages 18-24 or 35+. If you fall in this group, enjoy surveys, and want to make a little extra spending money, check them out!

Boost and Re-boost- Boost Mobile

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boost Mobile. All opinions are 100% mine.


I have to admit, though it is a sin to covet, I have seriously coveted my friends with Blackberries. The ability to check e-mail and browse the web seems to be invaluable when sitting in hospitals and doctor's offices, and I am sure other places. I just cannot justify the bill on our budget. I recently found a GREAT company that offers a plan with a blackberry for the SAME price I am paying now.


Boost Mobile is a relatively new mobile phone company with numerous plan and payment options. The best part is NO contract! Their Blackberry plan offeres unlimited calling, text, web-browsing, and numerous other services for around $60! Isn't that AMAZING! When I was spending a lot of time at the hospital with my youngest, they turned off the TVs and computers at midnight because it was a children's hospital. This made for LONG nights with an nursing baby. I would have LOVED to have had the ability to get on facebook or myspace when she woke up at all hours of the night to eat!

Boost Mobile has many flexible payment options in what they call their Re-Boost program. This is how money is added to your account. You can pay on-line, in person, or by phone. You can use credit/debit cards, and even family members and friends can add money to your account. How AWESOME would that be for the new college student?! Instead of sending calling cards, you just add money to their Re-Boost account. You can also sign up your debit/ credit card to make automatic payments so you do not even have to think about it!

I was so excited when I discovered Boost Mobile, and then so very bummed when I realized they didn't have coverage in my area. But, if you, like me, have been looking for a more affordable way to have all the social networking/ internet browsing capabilities on you phone, check them out. Maybe you'll have better luck than me:)


Visit my sponsor: Reboost

The Grief of Others

Long time no post… sorry about that. I really try to post two or three times a week. I tend to post about what is going on in my life or what has in the past. My goal is to post about practical ways to be more like the Proverbs 31 Woman, and resources to aid us in that journey. As the description at the top says, I tend to lean toward financial responsibility only because of my accounting background. This post isn’t really about that though. It kind of is, but only indirectly. This post is about grief. Not our own, but how we handle other’s grief. My grandfather passed away Saturday night and I have been out of town to be with my family until after the funeral. Of course I am sad, and I will miss him, but I know he is with our Heavenly Father, and he is happy.

I observed the differences in how others grieved. Some broke down, some just sat with a spacey look, some recounted memories, some sat silently with a tear slipping every now and then. Still some went back and forth between these. When I was younger this would have all made me VERY uncomfortable. As I’ve grown, not so much. You see, I’ve learned how to handle the grief of others. You do not have to say anything. You don’t even really have to DO anything. Flowers and food are always nice and appreciated. However, I have found the BEST thing to do is to BE there, listen, and maybe even cry if you feel the need. Cry with them, not for yourself, but for them. It helps to know others care. I believe this is scriptural. When Lazarus died, Jesus went to Mary and Martha, He was THERE with them, and Jesus wept. He was grieving also, as Lazarus was His friend, but he was Mary and Martha’s brother. As Christians we are supposed to love our fellow humans, and love on them.

These are just some random thoughts on grief, and how as I’ve grown I’ve become less awkward being around it. What have you learned about helping others grieve over the years? It’s something we’ll all have to deal with. How does a Proverbs 31 Woman do it?





The "Everyday" Struggles

If you walk with the Lord, you know the way it works. Our lives are not peachy keen just because we are Christians. We love the Lord, but he still allows struggles into our lives. I know this, and I have done fairly well at remembering this during the "big" struggles. We have been VERY blessed that there have been so few "big" struggles in our life... the biggest would obviously been Ashton's diagnosis with CF. The Lord had prepared me for that to the point that I of course knew He was in control and it was to be used for God's glory. Now, I do NOT want to gloss over this. It is true, He used this time to draw us closer to Him, and it is amazing how He prepared us for this before it happened.

But that is not what I want to post about today. Today I want to post about the "everyday" struggles. Perhaps it is your weight and making healthy food choices. Do I eat that cinammon roll or whole grain toast with peanut butte? It could be one without the other. For example, I do not have a weight problem, but I do have a problem choosing to eat healthy foods and excercise. Maybe it is debt and spending, or a combination of food and spending. Do you have any idea how much a few Sonic drinks or McDonald's Frappes can add up to in calories and money in a week's time, or a month, or a year? Maybe it is sleep, or lack of it. Maybe it is organization, or laundry, or just general housekeeping. Do you ever feel like everyone else in the world can easily keep their home peaceful and picked up except for you? (Trust me, my husband wonders this about me often, lol!)

I did get some quiet time with the Lord this morning, and during my devotional reading, He revealed that He created each of us with our own, unique, everday struggles on purpose. He created us with the particular struggles that would draw us closer to Him, and KEEP us close to Him EVERYDAY! One person was created with a predisposition to make food his/ her idol, and was given a body that would easily show the consequences of poor food choices so as to remind them that they do not get to indulge that way, and the ONLY way they can deal with that struggle is in God's power.

With another person, God knew that person would have a propensity put too much importance on material posessions, so they do not have an abundance of money. He knew that it would take His strenghth to help that person be a good steward of what He gave him/her. That was the POINT. We are SUPPOSED to lean on Him and His power.

He knew the one lady would have a barren womb, and that she would cry out daily for a child. He also knew she was the PERFECT person to parent the soul just waiting to be born, that for another reason, known only to Him, would not have any parents on this earth to take care of it. He could place that baby in her womb, but He has a beautiful plan for that also, truly, seriously, really it is for the good of everyone. All the pain and suffering that goes along with that is meant to bring you to a beautiful, intimate relationship with Him.

Still another was created with a desire to have a neat, tidy home where everything is always done. But if He were to let that person get all of that done in her own power, why would she need him. Really, if everything was perfect in our lives day in and day out, we would only come to Him when the "big" things hit. That is NOT the relationship He desires with us. We were NOT created to simple live here and be happy. We were created to BRING GLORY TO HIM:)

So hard, I know. I am not trying to gloss over these struggles, some of them are my own. I know they are real and raw, and that is just how God wants us to be with him. He MADE us how we are when we are real and raw anyway. Be honest with Him, cry out to Him, go ahead and be angry with Him if you must, He already knows you are anyway, but LOVE Him and Trust Him, and when the storm is over, when the tears subside, open your heart and mind, ask Him how you can use this to glorify Him, listen... and EXPECT Him to speak!









The "but"

The births of each of my children were text book, picture perfect. No complications, no c-section (not that a c-section birth cannot be perfect), nothing. Everything went exactly as it should have. I have been able to breastfeed each of my children well into their second year, and they each took to it fairly easily from birth. My point in all of that is that I have had the kind of “baby” experiences that a lot of mother’s dream of, and I feel very, very blessed for that.

When Ashton came, it was just a normal birth and get accustomed to the new baby process. My son did have a stomach virus our second night home, no fun! He also had to have tubes in his ears when she was 9 days old… no fun either. But she was growing VERY well, was nursing well, and was all around a healthy baby. She was a December baby, and she occasionally had a runny nose. She went to her 3 days and two weeks check ups and had glowing reviews. She was the perfect picture of health!

So, I was NOT concerned when the pediatrician called and said that one of the tests done from the heal stick before she left the hospital showed something irregular. She had tested positive as a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis. She explained to me that hundreds of kids were testing positive as carriers due to the fact that they were now testing for it at birth, but only about 2% of those actually have the disease. She also assured us that Ashton was showing absolutely NONE of the symptoms characteristic of CF. We were to go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital and have a sweat test done to determine if she actually had the disease.

Over the next few days we of course prayed and researched and were absolutely convinced that she could NOT have this. She had NO symptoms, it was EXTREMLY rare, and neither of us had anyone in our families that had ever had the disease.

During the testing we spoke with several people that told us that in the 6months our state had been testing at birth, there was yet to be one that had tested as a carrier in the newborn screening that actually had the disease, other than those that already had some of the other symptoms that would have caused them to check it out anyway. We were a-ok.

Until the lady came in with the results... We could see it on her face. She was shocked, we were shocked… everyone was so shocked they wanted us to come back in two days to retest.

It wasn’t until on the way home that evening, after all those months, that I remembered the “but”…

If you want to know more about the whole CRAZY situation that ensued after and what I consider to be the miracle of how healthy my baby girl is, start at the beginning here.






Legitimate Survey and Product Testing Companies- They Do Exist!

I really do not push a LOT of this, but there are a few survey/ product testing companies that I really, really do think are GREAT. Two of these are Opinion Outpost and Synovate. Since I joined up with each of them, about 4 months ago, I have earned $30 and got to test two products that were extremely practical and has actually made a dent in my household budget for the past couple of months. Each time they came totally unannounced and were great surprises:) The cash came from Opinion Outpost, and of course it will vary based upon surveys that you qualify for. I know of people who have made hundreds. For me, it is just a fun, easy way to make a little extra spending money (aka: Sonic drink money, lol!). The products came from Synovate, each time after I had completed a survey about the product, but they didn't tell me they were sending some for me to try! I highly recommend each of these companies. Check them out today!

As always, if you are worried about junk e-mail (which I really do not get a lot of with these particular companies) you could always set up a separate, free e-mail account and use it to sign up:0)



Fitness Coffee

I can't wait to try this! Kind of pricey, but if it's good, it might be worth it...I heard about it and checked it out... this is what their website has to say about it...

A Healthy Way to Start the Day -
• The most functional all natural fitness beverage on the market
• Naturally rich in antioxidants with over 3.5x the antioxidants of green tea and significantly more than red wine
• Known to help consumers lose significant weight by naturally enhancing metabolism
• Gourmet Italian blend for a rich and full taste
• 100% all natural product with gourmet coffee and 16 of natures finest supplements
• Does not contain any artificial additives, sugars, flavors, GMO or MSG

The first 5 people to blog about it get a free 1/2 bag... check it out here...
http://www.fitnesscoffeeusa.com/blog/?p=115



Preparation for the "but"

I am not going to tell you what the "but" from my last post is yet, although some of you already know. First, I want to tell you that when I was 6 or 7 months pregnant we watched a video in our Sunday School class. It was all about how God created us, fearfully and wonderfully, He knit us together in the womb, He made us exactly as we are, He had us planned from the beginning... all I could think of was the precious baby in my womb. I had NO IDEA nor did I have any reason to believe that ANYTHING could be anything BUT normal. Yet, that baby is exactly where my thoughts were during the whole video, as probably would be any expectant mother's. Here is the video... I still get goosebumps...



The fact that the Lord had us in this exact Church (we move often) at this exact time in our lives, in this classroom (how we ended up there becomes amazing in it's self when we look back), to see this video, is truly the amazing, supernatural, awesomeness of our Amazing God!



Why I Blog and Other Amazing Stories

Why did I start blogging? Well, it started about 5 years ago when I read “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith” by Lysa Terkeurst. In the book, she encourages women to let other’s know what God has done for them. Don’t let the information die with you. Journal it so your children can read it one day. Share it with the world! I was praying over this and pondering it when I heard the Lord’s gentle whisper mention the word “blog.” Lysa talks about her blog in her book, and it was a fairly new idea at that time. The only place that I knew I could do it was Myspace. So, I set up a myspace account under a different name and wrote a few feeble blogs. I didn’t try to add friends or anything, I trusted God to bring whoever needed to see what I wrote to that page. But I didn’t keep it up… apparently the timing wasn’t right.

Fast forward a few years. The Lord continues to amaze me. There are some CRAZY God things that have gone on in my life and now I have SO MUCH more to share. I hope they grow everyday. I LOVE to see God working, and to see the supernatural at work. In the next few posts, I want to tell you about how God has provided money, peace, comfort, and preparation in the most AMAZING of ways. There is so much to tell it is going to take a few posts, but I will share one quick one now.

One morning about two years ago, I was having my quiet time. It was a season in my life when I was able to have a “real” quite time, and was flat on my face, praise music in the back ground, having an amazing conversation with my king. My husband and I had been off of birth control for about a month and a ½, just letting nature take its course, and we were discussing the possibility of me trying to get into teaching. I was asking the Lord about the teaching, to just show me one way or the other (funny how we do that when we have a decision to make) and he very, very clearly spoke… the words were in my head and heart and were NOT my own… I was not even thinking about having a baby at that moment. He said “I am going to give you a baby, but…” Well, I was so shocked I literally jerked my head up, and then I continued my prayer, completely forgetting the “but” and just said, “Thank you Lord.” I can tell you I thought about the baby part all morning, but the “but” was pushed to the back of my mind until about 10 months later. (That is another story.)
When I got to work that day I checked my calendar and realized that I should be getting my period that day… but I am one to jump the gun, so at lunch I went to Walgreens, bought a pregnancy test, and drove across the street to the Taco Bell to take it. With my son the positive showed up right away, and it was the day I was to start…so when I didn’t see anything, I thought to myself “Well the Lord didn’t say He was going to give you a baby TODAY.” I went to my car, tucking the test in my purse. When I got to the car I looked one last time, and there it was, those two pretty pink lines saying I was going to be a mommy again, and verifying what I already knew was AMAZING! God had really, truly spoken to me that morning! Here it was, He said He was going to give me a baby and here is my positive test! J He chose THAT morning for THAT message… wow and AMEN!

If you don’t have chill bumps yet, stay tuned…


Season of Life

I was heading to the doctor with my baby girl yesterday morning, and I happened upon a radio show by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It was totally a God thing that I heard it. It was before 7 am. I am NEVER in the car that early, but we have to leave at 5:30 am to get to these quarterly appointments. You can read a transcript of the program here. Somewhere near the end she talks briefly about how bible study looks different during different seasons of life. I have been meditating on this for a while...is it true or is it a cop out? I truly thing the Lord had me hear this program to put me at peace. Yes, we have to dig deep into His Word. No, a few minutes of Christian radio or listening to the preacher on Sunday is not enough, but there are season's in our lives when we may have to be more creative about our Bible Study. Pray about it! At the bottom of the transcript there is a list of creative ways to soak in the word:) What about you guys? Do you have any creative tips for getting in some serious, down and dirty Bible Study in you particular season of life?



Made to Crave Week 3

Below is a link to a post that describes PERFECTLY the "plan" I have pretty much been using as my personal eating plan for the Made to Crave Bible Study. I was having hard time describing it... it isn't a "non-plan" but it is very much different from the one the author (Lysa Terkeurst) uses, or maybe not so much. Reguardless... I am trying very hard at this plan... continue to speak Lord, I love You and I LOVE hearing from You!

Check it out here.



Fun and Frugal Family Vacations

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Memphis Travel. All opinions are 100% mine.




Our families (and ourselves) need to be rejuvenated from time to time. The most popular cost effective way to do this currently is the "staycation." However, sometimes you just NEED to get away. There are less costly ways to do this. For example, many popular vacation destinations have the same "free stuff" that your town has, or better. You can find these listed on tons of websites. Of course, proximity to your home makes a difference with gas costs, food on the road, etc. But with websites like Priceline you can book hotel rooms for extremely discounted rates, you can take an ice chest with snacks and drinks, and if you get a room with a fridge you can keep sandwich stuff in the room. Poptarts for breakfast are always fun and do not require special storage. There are all kinds of things you can do to get away AND save money.

One of the BEST low cost vacation destinations we have found was Memphis, TN. We used to go walk Beale Street before it got too dark when our son was younger. We would usually eat at one of the local places (split a meal at Hard Rock or some other equally family friendly place), then walk the street and end up at the nearby park with the free blues concert. My son LOVED dancing to the music and we loved watching him. If the budget allowed we would walk to the nearby Ben&Jerry's and get ice cream. Almost always we would see a horse and carriage, which is great fun for a little boy, and mom and dad too really:) Other times we went to the Mud Island Riverpark. General admission here is free and it is GREAT fun. Of course, if you have a little more in your vacation budget, there are all kinds of fun things to do, including Graceland! I encourage you to check out all kinds of fun destinations online for coupons, deals, and free things to do. If you are interested in Memphis, one of the best sites out there for planning a trip is Memphis-savvy travel guide. And right now, they are giving away trip packages! To check it out, simply click on over and enter to win a trip package. They are giving away and array of packages for all kinds of vacations including:
Family
Carriage Ride
Memphis Zoo
Pink Palace
Dinner for 4 at Rendezvous
Madison Hotel
Flipside item
Couple
Carriage Ride
Sun Studios
Orpheum Theater
Peabody Hotel
Dinner at Majestic Grille
Single
Back beat tour
Graceland
Orpheum
Cockadoos coffee shop gift card
Madison Hotel
Blues City Café
Flipside
Single & Friends
American Dream Safari Tour
Rock n Soul Museum
Civil Rights Museum
Dinner at BB Kings
Show at Hi-Tone
Gift Certificate towards Hotel
Sounds like fun to me... who knows, you might win!
Whatever you do, and whatever site you use, if you decide to go or stay, be sure to use the resources available to you to find the best deals out there and get the best vacation your budget allows:)
Visit my sponsor: Plan a Memphis trip and enter to win a trip.


Time

One of the most frustrating issues of my life has been time. Time to be what God has created me to be. Of course I realize that He has given me ALL the time I need… I just have to prioritize it. So, okay, I know I am first and foremost His child, I am to spend time with Him, get closer to Him, glorify Him, and serve Him. It has taken some time, but I am getting better at doing these things in my everyday, ordinary, “gotta get this done” life. We can glorify Him while doing the laundry! That whole thing is really a life long process…

My frustration is more on the detail level. I am supposed to do laundry, keep the house clean, have nutritious meals on the table, spend quality time with the hubby and kiddos, AND take care of myself. OBVIOUSLY that last one is the first to go…. I mean, seriously. I have read TONS of books on how to organize your day and life to get all of this done, and how to prioritize and weed out so that you are doing ONLY what He means for you to do. There is a kicker though. Almost ALL of them are written by, and therefore from the perspective of stay-at-home or work-from-home moms. Do not get me wrong, my life long desire and the goal of a huge part of what I do daily, survey’s, coupons, etc, etc, etc, are with the sole purpose of being a stay at home mom. I TRULY feel God’s plan is for each of us to raise our own children. You do not have to agree with me, and remember, I am writing this as someone who is NOT at stay-at-home mom. I do not feel I am in line with God’s ultimate desire for my life… however, no one EVER tells you what to do once you are in the boat, for whatever reason. It does not matter why a mother has to work. If it is not a mother’s desire to work, there are ALL kinds of reasons that one my have to, at least for a time. The point is, these mothers, including myself, do not need to hear how they are wrong by working, how they screwed up and now have to work, they need to know how to best serve in their roles as wives and mothers in spite of the fact that they have to work.

Sooo, I am working on a few posts on the subject, and I would like some input… I still struggle with this DAILY. The guilt, the sadness, the desire to cook for every hurting family, teach Sunday and Wednesday classes at Church, have long quite times with the Lord, go to mid-week women’s Bible studies, do crafts with my kids, have date nights with my husband, etc, etc, etc…. these things are there daily. Usually it is all I can do to make sure we have food on the table, clean clothes (even if they aren’t folded and put always) and get everyone bathed and in bed each night.

The first thing I want to tell anyone out there that might be like me, your children are only small for a short time, really. My baby girl is not quite two, but parts of my life are beginning to get easier. I do not ALWAYS have to cook a meal one handed with her on my hip anymore… occasionally I get to fold a load of clothes without her crying around my knees… you get the point. And those days with her will NEVER come back. Cut yourself some slack. Know that although it may seem that the WHOLE WORLD expects you to do it all; your Father in heaven sees everything. He knows when you are doing your best (so be sure you are), and He loves you… the kiddos will grow up and leave, but the laundry will not…