Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WFMW: Raspy-Grater-Zester!

Thanks to Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer for hosting the weekly Works for me Wednesday Carnival! Head on over for a lot of useful tips!

These have got to be the "funnest" set of tools that I have in my kitchen. Before I got them, I tried everything, and I do mean everything... a box grater, a knife, a cheap hand-held grater I got at WalMart... the list goes on and on. All I would get is a slimy, juicy mess, or big pieces of peel (not zest).

But then, I started seeing the two different Microplane brand zester/graters on all of my favorite cooking shows, so, I went out and purchase each one, at different times, and it has revolutionized my zesting and grating! I also have a Pampered Chef zester, but I only use it for decorations, as it leaves me with long strings of zest.

The Microplane "rasp" is awesome for zesting citrus fruit, ginger, coconut, and even for grating hard spices like cinnamon sticks or whole nutmeg. The Microplane "grater" is awesome for grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, as well as coconut, too. The Pampered Chef zester is great for getting long, thin slivers of a citrus peel (they sometimes curl nicely) for decoration.

How to use them:

1. Rasp-style Zester and hand-held Grater: Hold the item being grated or zested (like a piece of hard cheese or a lemon) on the top, and run it on top of the grater. I use the grater for grating cheese which I use for my home made Caesar dressing/salad, over pasta, or in an Italian recipe.

2. Pampered Chef Zester: Hold the zester in your dominant hand and the fruit in the palm of your other hand and pull on the zester from top to bottom of the fruit.

Of course, as with all graters or zesters, you must use caution that you don't "rake your fingers!"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Laura and I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts the weekly edition of Menu Plan Monday -- make sure you check out her website! She's amazing...

(Go HERE for today's post)

Anyhooooo -- here's my menu plan (for what it's worth--lol!):

Penne and Meat Sauce with Salad
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salads
Asian Salads with Grilled Beef Strips
Grilled Pork Chops with Baked Beans and Corn on the Cob
Creamy Sherry Chicken over Rice with Broccoli
Dinner for a dollar at Church on Wednesday

This coming weekend, I might take on the daunting task of teaching myself how to make homemade bread... all the frightening details coming your way next week!

And that's about all the excitement my household can handle right now! Head on over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu plans!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

5 Classes I Wish They Taught in School

Michelle at Life with Three tagged me for this fun meme. Usually, I drag my feet on memes, but since my brain is pretty much empty and exhausted (for no good reason), I'm jumping all over this bandwagon... As usual, I've dragged my feet on this Meme -- but it was a ton of fun -- thanks, Michelle! She wants to know the five classes I wish they would have taught in school.

1) Joneses-economic-ology: This class will tech you how to Develop the courage to kick the Joneses to the curb by developing the fine art of creating adequate and balanced cashflow plans that help you pay tithe, the mortgage, your bills, feed your family, and buy gas without bouncing any checks or getting into credit debt. In other words, living with Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget without being intimidated to keep up with the Joneses. This class is a prerequisite to THINK-ACT-RUN Wildlife Economic Philosophy.

2) THINK-ACT-RUN Wildlife Economic Philosophy: Learn to Spend Less than You Earn so that you can live a debt-free life. In other words: view credit card debt as a Cheetah coming to get you and RUN with Gazelle-like Intensity! Think like a Gazelle. Act like a Gazelle. RUN like a Gazelle! (thank you Dave Ramsey!)

3) Avoiding the "June Cleaver Paradigm Paralysis": As you may already know, a paradigm is a model or a pattern. It's a shared set of assumptions that have to do with how we perceive the world. Paradigm Paralysis occurs when we poses the inability to see beyond the current models of thinking. For example: when some young couples first get married and have children, many think that their world will fall within the "June Cleaver Paradigm" or rather, the image of perfection, and paradigm paralysis sets in when they discover that real life is, in fact, nothing at all like June Cleaver's and they resist seeing beyond that unrealistic model of thinking. This class will help prepare your mind to see beyond ridiculous home models and encourage you to shape and mold your perspective in a more realistic fashion. Preparation is everything! Which leads me to...

4) The Revised 80/20 Rule -- The 80/10/9/1 Rule: This class is crucial for all to take so that they CLEARLY understand the 80/10/9/1 Rule. In fact, many people may confuse this with The 80/20 Rule, or the Pareto Principle which basically says that 80 percent of the value you will receive will come from 20 percent of your activities. However, the revised 80/20 rule -- the 80/10/9/1 Rule means that 80 percent of your time will be spent on changing nasty diapers, wiping runny noses, cleaning spit-up or vomit, nursing bloody scrapes and bruises, flipping grilled cheese sandwiches, smearing peanut butter, heating up chicken nuggets, chasing after balls, stepping on toy ninja warriors with sharp spears, moping up spilled milk and/or apple juice, etc. Ten percent of your time will be spent sorting/washing/folding laundry, sweeping and moping sticky and crummy floors, wiping down and sanitizing surfaces, vacuuming stained carpets, scrubbing marker off of the couch and crayon off of the kitchen table (among other surfaces), changing sheets, making beds, cleaning toilets, and sorting/washing/folding the rest of the laundry. Nine percent of your time will be spent on lavishing attention on your dear spouse -- take advantage of all 9%. And finally, 1% of your time will be spent on yourself -- showering, shaving one leg, one arm pit, rinsing part of the shampoo off your hair, and slapping some comfortable clothing and shoes on to face the rest of the 99% of your day. Make the most of it. (You may want to pair this class with the hands-on field trip to a filming of SuperNanny.)

5) Finding the Hidden Joys in Parenting: Despite the overwhelming reality of the "80/10/9/1 Rule", and despite the frightening truth of the "June Cleaver Paradigm Paralysis," there is joy in parenting. Joy so overwhelming that it often takes your breath away. This course will focus your attention on the beauty of being a parent: the soft sighs a baby makes when held by its mother; the pleasure of tiny fingers wrapped around your own; the joy of your little tike handing you their first bunch of dandelions; the pleasure of hearing "I wuv you" for the first time; the sweet intoxication of your little one planting a firm sticky kiss on your cheek, or nose, or eye lid, or wherever their uncoordinated limbs will allow him or her to plant it; the thrill of hearing your child say "tantu momma" (thank you) or "peas mommy" (please) for the first time; and many more.

Now I tag: Pam at Without Fear; Susanne at Living to tell the Story; Christina at Serenity How?; Barb at A Chelsea Morning; Beth at Life with two little Vikings; Oh, this is too hard... you're ALL tagged too. Just let me know if you did it.

And just to clarify: I love being a mom and wouldn't trade it for the world -- I'll keep all the good stuff and the bad!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WFMW: Slow Melt Popsicles

Thanks to Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer for hosting the weekly Works for me Wednesday Carnival!

With the wonderfully warm weather arriving, I thought I'd share an awesome product with you... and trust me, if you have kids, you'll want to stock your freezers full of them (although probably everyone knows about these by now)! The product? SLOW MELT POPSICLES Oh, my word ... I ADORE this product! In fact, I thought I did a WFMW post on this last year, but I can't find it anywhere, so it probably didn't make it out of my brain.

I don't know about you, but my son takes for-ever-and-a-day to eat a Popsicle, an ice cream cone, or anything else that seems to melt... which leads to goo all over his hand, arm, clothing, neck, chest, stomach, legs, table, chair, carpet ... or anything else it can drip on. That's why I love this product so much -- it takes much longer ... MUCH longer ... to melt! These Popsicles don't have any chemicals that retard the melting process -- they are just made with gelatin. Genius. (ingredients below)

Hunter can take as long as he wants to eat it, because it doesn't drip down his hand like water. About a half hour into the whole Popsicle licking time, it may start to drip in blobby-gelatin-like drops which he can lick up real easily.

Total calories per serving? 40. Total Carbohydrates 10g. The down side? Slow Melts don't come in sugar free.

One other semi-slow melt: Big Stick Lick-A-Color Sours with a slow-melt core, and 90 calories (that's a TON of calories for a Popsicle, but they are large).

Just as a side note -- here are a few other Popsicle brand Popsicles: Peel-A-Pops have 80 calories for ONE serving!!! Dora pops and Twister Pops each have 60 calories per serving.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Laura and I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts the weekly edition of Menu Plan Monday -- make sure you check out her website! She's amazing...

Whew! This has been such a busy weekend, that I haven't had a moment to breath, let alone plan a menu! And, do you THINK I even got one thing cleaned this weekend? Ummm ... No. Well, I actually did dust off my mantle, so technically, that's one thing. So, off the top of my head, here's what we'll have based on what's in my pantry and refrigerator or freezer:

Tonight for sure: Unknown -- flying by the seat of our pants because we have our Financial Peace class tonight and I'm swamped at work. Maybe... Spaghetti and Meat Sauce???
Tacos (carried over from last week)
Chicken and Rice
Dinner for a dollar at church
Terriaki chicken and noodles
Pasta Alfredo with chicken and roasted broccoli

I thought I'd leave you with a picture of Hunter... many people think I'm exaggerating when I say that my little mischievous "superman" is quite a handful... and when I tell them that sometimes he climbs into the refrigerator, they don't believe me. So I thought I'd share the proof. My niece "M" said: "What a little Dennis the menace he's become" -- which had me laughing and thinking to myself... "That's a perfect nickname for him!" Of course, we'd have to keep "superman" so it would have to be something like, "superdennisthemenisman." Sorry it's a bad picture, but I grabbed the closest camera on hand (my cell phone)... but you'll get the idea.

He's going for the apple juice in this picture!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fabulous Father Friday

Notes from my Nest has tagged me to participate in Fabulous Father Friday -- and since my husband happens to be a Fabulous Father -- I thought I'd play along!

Here are the rules: Write your own post with your own FFF musings. You may write about the father of your children, your own father, or any other beloved father figure in your life, past or present. Your post may take the form of a random assortment of thoughts, an appropriate photo, a poem, a letter to the person (your husband for example), a funny story, or a unique tradition that you (or your kids) have with this person. If you are writing a post on your own blog, please mention Fabulous Father Friday in your post and post a link back to Notes from my Nest's FFF post and then enter your link into Mr. Linky at the bottom of her post.

You will often see Hunter and my husband together pal-ing around. Hunter adores his Daddy, and wants to help him any way he can -- and even though at times, Hunter's "help" can get in the way, my husband always lets him feel like he is involved. My husband is a hands-on Daddy who will not hesitate to bathe, dress, feed, or care for Hunter in any way necessary. We both work full-time jobs, and even though he is tired when he comes home from work, he picks Hunter up from daycare, plays with him, fixes dinner, and does much of the work around the house. He is so patient with Hunter, and is so loving and gentle. He even disciplines in a loving manner -- even though he doesn't always "feel" loving or gentle because Hunter has pushed every limit possible. I admire the way my husband constantly puts his own needs aside for the needs of his family, and love the way he'll get on the floor and play with Hunter. He is an awesome, God-fearing, Bible-loving, Godly father, and I am so blessed that he is the father of my child! My husband once heard on a family talk show that rules without relationships lead to rebellion, and it is evident to anyone who knows him that he is actively pursuing a close relationship with Hunter. I love you, honey!!

I know I don't share many pictures of him, because I want to respect his privacy, but here is a picture where it shows him "in action" with Hunter, while protecting his privacy (this was a hard one to find!).

I'm not EVEN going there!

To Google, that is...

I mean -- everyone knows I have my medical degree from Medical University of Google, but this time, I think I'll let y'all diagnose me ...

Here are my symptoms:

I am LOSING HAIR ON MY HEAD. Seriously -- in one spot that I'm aware of -- right above my bangs ... what is that, the crown of my head? Isn't hair supposed to be my crowning glory?

All righty then.

Here are my other symptoms: I'm exhausted all the time. Even after 10 hours of sleep. My skin (especially my hands) has gotten really, REALLY dry... and even though I'm exhausted, I still have insomnia. And the weirdest one of all -- I can't stand the heat. My face turns beet red and I get insufferably hot to the point of wanting to pass out. In fact, back in the fall, I thought I was going through menopause with wicked heat flashes, but when I mentioned that to my OB, he just laughed it off with "you're too young." Why thank you!

So -- I'm trying to stay away from Google because I don't want to know if I'm dying... ehem ... you know what I mean. Have any of you had these symptoms, or know what it might be? Really, I guess it could be just about anything -- but I'm thinking it's got something to do with those dreaded hormones.

Actually, I've made an appointment with an endocrinologist. Because, while I know many, many things... I'll concede that in this instance, I need to seek the help of a professional -- because a girl doesn't mess around with FALLING OUT HAIR. That's just sacred.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are your lungs expanding with God's praise?

OOOOHHH MY GOODNESS -- I wanted to share something soooooo exciting with you -(at least it is very exciting for me!) - I am just BESIDE myself in praise to our almighty God, and I need to share it with you all or I think my lungs will burst. I don’t even know how to make this short... so here it goes.

As you all know, I am very open about our personal battle with infertility. I feel that God has called me to share my story so that at some point in time, I can help or encourage someone else… and glory to God, he has sent many, many women my way with questions, or women who are just looking for encouragement.

Back in December ’07, I received an email from a sweet woman who was struggling with secondary infertility, has had two ectopic pregnancies, a baby who had recently passed away in-utero at 7 months, and a new diagnosis of something called MTHFR As she went in search of information on this diagnosis, she came across my first blog called Infertile Meanderings, and was able to find some of the information she was looking for. She emailed me to tell me this, and to tell me that she had begun taking the cocktail of vitamins that I had been taking (and still do) for MTHFR.

I was able to share with her how my faith had been tested greatly throughout the past 12-15 years, but I have learned that the only way to get through such cavernous pain and loss is to lean on Christ and seek him for peace that only he gives. There are many questions that I have ... all the "whys" and "what ifs" -- but I'm convinced that I will never know the answers until I meet Christ face to face. And I've learned to be okay with that. It was a long process to get to that point, but eventually, you do

Like I shared with this sweet woman, not only she, but YOU can be blessed by God. Of THAT I'm confident. I'm not sure what form that blessing will take, but just remember that you are resting in the palm of his hand. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to yell out loud and question God. It's okay to cry your heart out. Just remember to turn to him for comfort.

I didn't hear from her after that... until yesterday, and her email was the best thing I've read in a while...

Last Friday she found out that she is once again pregnant.

Isn't that AMAZING?! God is so good.

How was God involved? Here’s what she said...

"So let me just share how God has been working this out for a long while. In February, the hematologist said that he wanted me to go see a fetal/maternal specialist to see if he could help me get pregnant sooner. There was 6 years between my last pregnancy and the baby that passed away so we were a little wary of another six years going by. The earliest the specialist could see me was yesterday, April 15. I was already pregnant by the time I got there!! He did prescribe a few special tests though so it worked out well. I am too early to see anything significant on ultrasound but yesterday my regular OB checked anyway and we saw that it wasn't another ectopic pregnancy and there was the tiniest little beginnings of a gestational sac. So praise God, all looks well. Mentally, I’m doing well. The last pregnancy I was so afraid and I worried constantly. I promised God that if he blessed us again that I would not worry. I would trust and walk in faith. I am so peaceful because of it. I do have my minutes of sheer panic but for the most part I’m just terribly ecstatic."

Would you venture to agree with me when I say... God is good ALL THE TIME, and ALL THE TIME, God is GOOD!!!

So, why am I sharing all this? Because my lungs are expanding with his praise ... and I want to spread the word that God is TOTALLY in the business of miracles and wonders, and all praise is due him! Be encouraged!

"I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let's get the word out. God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see-how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness."

"Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath."

Psalm 34:1-10, 17-18 (in the Message version)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

WFMW: Insomnia Help

Thanks to Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer for hosting the weekly Works for me Wednesday Carnival!

I struggle with insomnia. I have a tough time getting to sleep, and once I get to sleep, if I wake up for any little thing, like to go to the bathroom (which I do), I can't get back to sleep. I will lay for hours just tossing and turning. Recently, I've been noticing the volume of people discussing problems they have with insomnia, and I'm so surprised at how many people actually experience insomnia in one form or another! In my family alone, my mother, father, sister, and myself all struggle with it. I read where an estimated 30-50% of the general population are affected by insomnia, and 10% have chronic insomnia -- so basically, I'm a statistic.

A while back, I actually mentioned it to my doctor, and he suggested that I try taking 2 Benadryl to get to sleep before trying a prescription sleep aid. He explained that Benadryl is actually the active ingredient in medicines like Advil PM or Tylenol PM, but without the pain reliever. It is also the same active ingredient in Tylenol's Simply Sleep, but the beauty of Benadryl is that you can get the generic brand WAY cheaper than Tylenol. Diphenhydramine HCl is the active ingredient I'm referring to, and not only is it an antihistamine, but it is also a sleep aid, and a motion sickness aid! I can get a mega bottle at Costco (100 pills) for about $5. I don't take it every night... only when I've laid in bed for more than 45 minutes unable to fall asleep. Usually, within 15 minutes, I'm drifting off.

Now -- here's the thing ... even though Benadryl helps get me to sleep, I still wake up in the middle of the night and am not able to get back to sleep. This is just as frustrating, and another form of Insomnia that I can do without, thankyouverymuch!

I mentioned this to a friend of mine who has a certificate in homeopathic stuff (not sure what it is), but she recommended that I try Valerian. It is natural, homeopathic, and it works like a charm at keeping me asleep! I get mine at Vitacost, and it is called "Relax & Sleep" -- I take two at bed time along with my 2 Benadryl, and voila. I sleep through the night. Praise the Lord! I like that it's natural, and I like that it's gentle.

One thing you need to know... I do take other prescriptions on a regular basis, so I ran these two sleeping aids by my doctor, and he is totally okay with me using them. I would not combine things (whether prescribed or not) willy-nilly, and don't suggest you do, either.

It TOTALLY works for me! If you try this, I hope it works for you, too. Head on over to Rocks in my Dryer where you will find hundreds of other helpful tips!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Get Service...

My sweet friend, Lauren -- founder of, and author at Blogged In News and Networking shared a really cool video today.

Edited to add: Speaking of Blogged in News and Networking... one of my posts was featured today! What an honor!

Anyway, the video made me think about how rushed I can get, how I look at other people (obviously), and the labels I place on them -- which aren't always accurate. I may label someone as "obnoxiously self involved" when really, their label should read "I need someone to love me." Wow! This totally challenges me on how I can serve others. How do your eyes see people? Thanks, Lauren, for giving me something to think about...

Get it??

Monday, April 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

For today's Post on Gentleness, go HERE.

Money is WAY tight, because I was off from work for 6 days without pay when I had Pneumonia a few weeks ago. That paycheck just hit us, so my wonderful in-laws helped us out with some groceries. Another way God has provided for us!! thank goodness, Laura and I'm an Organizing Junkie hosts the weekly edition of Menu Plan Monday to help keep me accountable! This week, she has a list of recipe sites that allow you to enter in a list of ingredients you have on hand in order to get a list of corresponding recipes. She also has most of her menu plans linked to the recipes. Go check her out!!

Anyway, for the next two weeks, or menu will be simple, yet hopefully filling and nourishing. The following is a list of meals I have planned for this week (not in any particular order). One thing I noticed... I have found it easier for me to just make a list of meals, and then pick which meal I think is appropriate for the day.

Tonight for sure: Crockpot Creamed Chicken* with Sherry over Rice, with sweet peas
One-skillet Tamale Pie (ground beef) with salad
Grilled marinated Chicken with Parmesan Rice, and brussel sprouts
Spaghetti and Meat Sauce with salad
Dinner out one night for my brother-in-law's birthday

*Crockpot Creamed Chicken

6-8 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 large can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 ounces Sour Cream
1 can sliced mushrooms (or about 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms)
1/4 cup Sherry or white wine
Garlic Powder and Season Salt

Sprinkle the chicken breasts with garlic powder and season salt. Set aside. In the crock pot, mix the cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and sherry (or wine) until smooth. Add the mushrooms (with their juice) and stir. Add the chicken, and coat with the mixture. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over steamed rice with a side of sweet peas or salad (or both!).

And ... Just for Susanne:

Parmesan Rice

2 Cups rice
4 Cups water
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoon heavy cream
1/4-1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly chopped Italian Parsley

Place rice, water, and salt in pot with tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is done, about 20 minutes. To hot rice, add butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese. Toss to mix and coat thoroughly. Toss in parsley. Serve hot.

Variations: You can add the juice of one lemon and lemon zest, or you can add a handful of frozen peas and maybe some chopped ham.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Comments... and such

A week of Gentleness:

Post 1 -- Post 2 -- Post 3 -- Post 4

As we reflected this past week on being gentle, several of you have left some really good comments that I wanted to highlight.

Christine from Serenity How? said:

"As Christians, we really need to hold OURSELVES to a higher standard,

not just other Christians."

GiBee's Take: Absolutely! In the grand scheme of things... I'm held accountable for MY actions. Further, how can I be a witness if my own standards aren't patterned after Jesus' standards? Great comment, Christine!

Susanne from Living to tell the Story said:

"In this blog world it is way too easy to let ungentleness and unkindness surface under a measure of anonymity."

GiBee's Take: Well said, Susanne! It's so true -- there is a certain "veil of anonymity" in the blogosphere that gives us a sense of security and a level of comfort which allows us (including me!) to take too many liberties. I guess when we sit down to pound out a post, or to leave a comment, we should keep this in mind -- Jesus saying: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

Koryn from Mother's Precious Gems said:

"I am a mom of four teenagers. All born in five years time! Now, those were some very stressful 10 years! I look back with a bit of sadness as I remember yelling a lot and screaming and being grumpy many many times. God brought a lovely neighbor into the duplex we lived in who had three small children but was always so kind and loving and warm towards her kids. That great example showed me that I was certainly not being the kind of mommy He would have me to be. The tongue, who can tame it? God can! It is so destructful. But it can also be the greatest blessing. Now, these teen years are such a sweet time with our kids and they are proud to say they have a home free of fights and yelling.

Thankfully I do not think they remember the type of mom I was when they were little."

GiBee's Take: Words of wisdom, Koryn! How true, that our tongue can be so destructive! I appreciate that she pointed out that while at one time she was convicted of not being the mommy God would have had her be (with respects to how she spoke to her kids), she took steps to change that, and now, her kids are ... "proud to say they have a home free of fights and yelling." That's AWESOME! Imagine the stress that raised voices causes our kids? I've noticed even with Hunter that if Dan and I are having a disagreement and raise our voices, it aggravates him (Hunter) and he begins to say, "Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy" as if to say: "Cool it you two!" So, don't wait until your kids are older... start speaking gently now! Food to think about, Koryn!

Another thought: Koryn mentioned to me the fact that her kids don't remember the mom she was when they were little. Praise God that he has cleared their memories and they will grow up remembering her great, patient, kind and gentle mothering skills! God is so good! He is in the work of restoration!!!

My sweet Real-time friend, LvlyRita from Good Things said:

"Even when discussing our husbands with our friends, I try to keep it as funny stories, not complaints or whining gossip.

Hmm, is it possible to gossip about our husbands?"

GiBee's Take: What, are you CRAZY? Of COURSE it's okay for us to talk bad and complain about our husbands! Oh, I'm KIDDING... I can't even pull that off as a joke.

She is so, SO right... it IS possible to gossip about our husbands, and that only serves to break our trust-relationship we have built. I appreciate the fact that she pointed out that when talking about her husband, she tries to keep it to generic funny stories, and tries not to complain or whine and gossip about him. One thing to know about Rita -- her husband is an Associate Pastor at our church -- they are both actively involved in our worship ministry. Talk about putting pressure on a relationship! They are being watched by everyone in our church, and that alone puts added strain on daily life... but think about this lovely gift she has offered her husband ... one we can ALL offer our husbands -- to give them the sense of security and let the know that they can place their trust in us, and... KNOW that we will never bash them in public! Ladies, please -- always, always uphold your husband. Always talk good about him. Even if there is a ton of bad stuff -- don't share it! Go by the old adage... if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Yes, I know there are times when you may be frustrated, exasperated, and want to rip him a new one (ummmm, lovingly and gently, that is). But -- instead of bad mouthing him, might I suggest taking him to the Lord in prayer? Yup -- PRAY for him. Then, pray for yourself that God will soften your heart towards him and help you be a cheerful, loving, gentle and supportive wife, no matter what. I know it sounds so "old fashioned" but, it works! Besides, I don't know about you, but I think I've said this before -- when I hear a woman bad mouthing her husband, two things happen: first, I feel sorry for the husband; second, I find that I shy away from friendships like that, because if she's bad mouthing her husband, she'll bad mouth me. Harsh? Maybe. Safe? Yes. Thanks for your great insight, LvlyRita!

I hope you all did well being gentle last week, and I pray you continue on through this week. I know I had a few trying bumps over the weekend, but my husband would sweetly remind me... "be gentle, honey." remember: It takes about two weeks to form a habit, so don't stop now!

Gently Chatting... and other stuff

How has your week of gentleness gone? Any testimonies you want to share in the comment section? Tomorrow, I'll try to get a moment to highlight a great and powerful comment Koryn from Mother's Precious Gems (I think that's the right link) left in one of my posts this past week about being gentle to your kids.

Okay -- so last night, my husband and I lay in bed... he was surfing the internet, checking out all his cool little fishing spots (he calls them forums... I call them glorified blogs). I was just chilling out, enjoying the quietness (except for Hunter crying out "MommyDaddyMommy!" from his room every 2 minutes). The TV was off, and it was relatively quiet.... and once Hunter actually fell asleep, my husband turned off the computer, and all the lights. We just lay there chit-chatting for a good long time about various things going on. Then we said good night, and I rolled over to go to sleep. He reached out and touched my shoulder and told me he enjoyed the time we had to just chat.

Wow. At first, I though he was being sarcastic, and I got all defensive (that happens a lot with me!) but he reassured me that he was being sincere in his comment. It left me thinking... we all need to make time to chat with our spouses.

Just chat.

That's all.

Just the two of you.

No competition from kids, TVs, phones, computers, or anything else.

It's so simple, that it's silly, isn't it?

Seriously -- when I mentioned on my post yesterday that we (me and my husband) get so consumed in the day's BUSY-ness, I really meant it. We miss out on sweet moments of down time with each other, as in -- just the two of us -- and we forget what "chatting" is all about! It was so nice. No TV, no computer, no lights. Just gently chatting with each other.

On another note, I have a real problem with my tongue and my attitude. Oh, and my patience level -- can't forget that one. If I'm not careful, it can really affect my gentleness with my husband, or with Hunter. I know. You're shocked. Me too. But I wanted to get real with you, because blogs can sometimes leave the impression that the author is perfect, and their home is all rosy and cheery, and ... well ... perfect. But trust me when I say, Casa Sunshine is far from perfection, and so am I!!

Anyway -- the problem is, when I'm feeling excessively tired, emotional, stressed, or out of sorts (which shockingly seems to be almost every single day lately), I tend to respond to my husband in snippy, snide, impatient, and at times, explosive ways. I HATE it when he or anyone else does that to me, so what should make me think he particularly enjoys it when I respond to him like that? See?? Like I've said before, I am FAR from an expert when it comes to marriages -- that's just further proof. Proof that I have a lot to work on.

Yes, I feel as though my husband and I have a great relationship, with a lot of love and mutual respect. And, yes, we bicker and argue (because one of us [ehem -- that would be me] has a terrible need to be right all the time), but in the end, we love each other dearly. We do treat each other tenderly and gently, but there is always room for work in any marriage, and it seems to me that right when I'm feeling "comfortable," and like everything is just falling into place and clicking together like clock work in our relationship, BLAM. The enemy slams us with something that causes disharmony in our relationship. And sadly, it's usually when I'm feeling excessively tired, emotional, stressed, or out of sorts. I need to overcome my weakness in reacting with my emotions, and begin reacting with my mind and the spiritual strengths I know I have.

Speaking of spiritual strengths... one of my own personal goals that I carry in my heart (which NOW, the cat is out of the bag, and my husband will know), is that I want to always encourage my husband and help him to be spiritually set on fire... which, as anyone who has been married in like -- forever -- will agree that after a while, the spark can fizzle out! But I can reignite it! And so can you. How? By maintaining my own spiritual fire... and maintaining and growing my own relationship with the Lord. Then... I can work on my husband's spiritual fire by praying for him and simply encouraging him.

I can NOT change or strengthen my husband's spiritual fire with my own strength, resources or powers... just like YOU can't change your husband, either. But God can, and if I place him in God's hands daily, God will change him. Then, he'll begin to see my own enthusiasm and feed off of it. I've done it and I've seen it happen!! Nagging wont change his spiritual growth (trust me on that one girls ... been there, done that). "Discreet suggestions" wont change his spiritual growth. Forcing his hand wont change his spiritual growth. Prayer will. And just so that the men that are reading this know... it works both ways. You can do the same in your relationship with your wife!

Yeah -- off my soap box now. Chances are, after all my posts this week, the enemy will attack our little family this weekend and I'll be eating all of my words... again.

On a side note... can I get your-all's (technical word) opinion on something?

It really bothers me when I see a disrespectful, demeaning, wife (who is a Christian and in a Christian relationship) mow all over her husband, whether in public or in their home, and/or tear their husband down. It also bothers me when they remove the "spiritual head of the household" title from their husband by micro-managing everything in their homes and not allowing their husband to be in charge of anything (whether he does it well or not). It also bothers me when the same Christian wives will say that it's just the way they are, like it or leave it...
It almost leaves me feeling like they are "cutting God's feet off" -- yeah, I know that sounds weird, but if as a Christian, we're called to pattern our lives after Christ... to change our attitudes and behaviors that are not Christ-like by allowing the Holy Spirit to clean our house -- but instead say "that's just the way I am, like it or leave it" -- it feels like we're saying, "God, that's just the way I am, and I don't want you to have control of my life" or possibly, "God, that's just the way I am, and you or anyone else can't do anything about it"-- in essence, cutting God's feet off -- rejecting the gifts the Holy Spirit has waiting for us -- rejecting the beautiful person God can form us to be!

I know it took me a good 7-8 years of marriage before I took that same attitude and threw it out the spiritual window and let God in to clean house. And even now, after 18 years of marriage (in June), I'm still finding that I have to let God in to clean house! Yes, it may be for different attitudes or yuckiness than when we first got married, but I find it's a constant, and evolving process that has to be turned over completely to God. And it's not just in a marriage either. It's in our daily lives and attitudes that I find we need constant spiritual re-adjusting and fine tuning

Does that make any sense? What are your thoughts on that?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Being Gentle ... with your SPOUSE!

I'm not even going to pretend that I'm an expert. In fact, I have so much room to grow in this area, it isn't even funny. I am, however, going to encourage you to finish off the week by speaking gently to your spouse.

I honestly feel that one of the most common problems in marriages (please note I said "one of"), mine included, is communication. We're often frantically rushing around, shuttling kids around, working full time, gliding in and out of the house at all hours of the day, multi-tasking chores, homework, dinner, dishes ... that we rarely find time to sit down with each other and fully and lovingly communicate what is on our hearts and minds. Because of this craziness, I believe that we tend to speak to our spouses more gruffly, hurriedly, and lacking in gentleness than what we may have intended to. In my own home, I've noticed that many conflicts within our relationship tend to be "further intensified" by our lack of gentleness in innocent responses.

It doesn't matter how deteriorated your marriage may be at this point ... if you are Christian, there is NO PLACE in your relationship for being mean, bad-tempered, angry, quarrelsome, or harsh. Especially if you feel your spouse is being that way ... two wrongs do NOT make a right! I have a friend who is very gruff with her husband and often calls him "butt head" or "stupid." I cringe every time I hear that. It is cruel, and it is demeaning. But after 20-some years of marriage, it has become accetable. WHAT? Never. Ever. should that be acceptable. It is not encouraging, uplifting, or gentle!

Instead, try to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving, kind, calm, gracious and gentle. Not only will it keep the lines of communication open, but it will encourage your spouse, leave them feeling valued, and over time, encourage change and growth in both of you. My mom and dad always said... soft, kind and gentle words will always pour cold water on the burning coals of a stirred-up discussion or heart, but harsh words only add fuel to the fire. In fact ... it's Biblical!

So if you have a great relationship with your spouse... Praise God! Continue being gentle to each other. If you are at a point in your relationship where you are struggling with each other, try changing tactics a bit and throw in some kindness. I'm not guaranteeing that your relationship will magically become perfect, but it will go a long way to break down walls that have been built.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

WFMW: Instantly Numbing Earache Pain Relief

Remember two weeks ago when I mentioned a little teaser about a magical ear drop that totally numbs ear pain for 6 hours? I'll repeat myself... a magical ear drop that TOTALLY NUMBS EAR PAIN FOR 6 (SIX) BLESSED HOURS of sweet relief for your child?

Well, as you all may remember, my family has been slammed sideways with illness over the last three months. My poor little baby has had 2 ear infections, the flu, the stomach virus ... twice ... the flu again, or a cold... on, and on, and on. Not to mention the adults that live in the house, too.

A friend of mine from church ... we'll call her Angel Friend, because she uses the perfume Angel, and it smells so good (I walk behind her sniffing the air she leaves in her wake) -- anyway, Angel Friend happened to ask me how Hunter was feeling, and I told her the battles we've had with his ears. She happened to mention to me that her kids swim, and her doctor prescribed an ear drop for her son for whenever he gets swimmers ear that numbs the ear for 6 hours.

Wait, WHAT???? What did she say? Six hours of blessed numbness?

Yes. That's what she said! Fortunately, the following Sunday, she brought me the empty prescription box, and it's a good thing, because that very night, Hunter woke up screaming with another painful ear infection. I called the doctor at midnight-and-a-half hours, and asked her to call our 24-hour pharmacy and prescribe it for Hunter. She acted as if she had never heard of the drops, but I insisted she prescribe it. Hunter wouldn't let me touch his face, let alone place a warm compress on it, it was that bad. After a few mishaps (one including a parked police man taking radar), I finally got it, dropped it in his ear, and ... within 5 minutes, IT WORKED.

The magical drop? Quick ... go get a pen and paper to write this down. It's THAT important ... I'll wait...

The drops are called: A/B-Otic Drops. The prescription contains: Antipyrine, which is a pain reliever, and Benzocaine, which is a blessed numbing medicine. It is a thick drop the consistency of a heavy oil or lubricant, and one or two drops is all you need. Antipyrine and Benzocaine are used to treat pain, and swelling caused by ear infections. Magical, I tell you!

To be honest, Hunter's Pediatrician has always told us that there is "noting that can be done for the pain other than Motrin or Tylenol." That's just not true, and it is one of the reasons we CHANGED Peds this past month... a child shouldn't have to suffer such severe pain if there is something out there that brings true relief.

So please... do three things: 1) write down the name of this prescription; 2) tuck it away next to the number of your Pediatrician; 3) include the number of a near by 24-hour pharmacy in the event you need it.

Thank you Angel Friend ... for caring enough to ask how my son is doing, and caring enough to share your tried and true mom advice... You rock!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Week of Gentleness -- Starting with our Kids

Wow -- you all have left such great comments on my post yesterday about Gentleness in the blogsphere ... in fact ... all over the place.

Michele from Homeschool Housewife made an excellent point that I'd like to focus on today:

"I think that the hardest thing for me is to stay calm, stay kind, keep looking for joy in life if those around me are grumpy and critical. But I also notice that when I am stressed out and grumpy and critical, the tone of voice my children use is worse."

If I understand her comment correctly ... meaning that when we get grumpy, or critical, and when the tone in our voice changes, so does our children's tone of voice.

I can totally relate. I have long been a proponent of speaking gently to our children. Even before I had a child, I would try to encourage moms around me to speak gently to their children. That is... until I had my own willful, determined child (I've been told that John the Baptist was quite willful, determined, and a difficult child so there is hope). He has challenged every belief I have about speaking gently to children, and he may have broken me on more occasions than I care to admit. But my husband made a wise observation recently...

He noticed that when we raise our voices at Hunter or speak harshly to him, Hunter reacts in much the same way. Did you catch that? Hunter reacts in much the same way. Literally, he screams back at us and gets overly excited. I know -- we're rocket scientists.

Is that how I want my child to become accustomed to interacting with others? Do I want my child to remember me as a screaming, neurotic momma? No. In fact, I don't think any parent wants that. If my assumption is correct, I think that most parents want their children to grow up being able to handle stressful situations in a calm manner, with all their faculties in order (unlike how I tend to react on a daily basis). But you know what? Children learn from example. They learn from the people that interact with them day in and day out. As parents, we are the ones that "set the bar" for their expected behavior. Not only are they observing how we treat them, but they are also observing and learning from how we treat our spouse (more on that later on in the week)! If we loose our tempers easily and frequently with our spouses, and we interact in an un-gentle manner with each other, they pick up on that!

I think it would be a fair statement to say the gentleness is a form of loving someone, and when we speak harshly, aggressively, or when we are critical or cruel, we are not acting in a loving or gentle manner. When we treat others with gentleness, it shows them that we value and respect them, and shows them that we care enough to control ourselves and our reactions. I'll be the first one to admit that I am not always gentle with either my child or my husband. It is something I will have to work on daily.

Having said that, will it be easy for me to change the bad habits I've established? No way... It's going to be difficult for me to begin speaking to them gently (read: with a sane head, not excited, not yelling, and not hyperventilating -- in other words, with my faculties in order). Is it possible? Absolutely. If I have turned control of my life over to the Holy Spirit, all things are possible. In fact, it is one of the gifts of the Spirit... and it takes incredible, and true humility to acquire it.

Consider this scripture:

"What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?" 1 Corinthians 4:21 (NIV)

Check it out in The Message translation...

"So how should I prepare to come to you? As a severe disciplinarian who makes you toe the mark? Or as a good friend and counselor who wants to share heart-to-heart with you? You decide." 1 Corinthians 4:21 (The Message)

Ouch! Paul, Paul, Paul ... He was dealing with difficult people. He loved them, but he knew they needed discipline --- not unlike us with our children. Do we go to our children and correct them in a gentle and loving spirit or do we crack the whip?. Is it beneficial to speak gently to our family? You bet. I'm convinced that if I do, my child will learn that he is valued as a human being and that I love him beyond measure; he will learn how to interact with others in a kind and gentle manner; and he will learn critical communication skills that will benefit him as he gets older.

Is it to late to start? No... it's never to late to start. Try it out this week and see what happens.

Now... does anyone have any ideas on how I can capture Hunter's attention in a gentle manner before he unlocks and opens the front door and runs out into the street? Again???

Updated to add -- A bit of business: if you are a blogger who has at least 50 unique visitors a month, you can claim your FREE copy of Empty and Beautiful by Matt Maher right here -- but you need to hurry because there are only 100 free copies available!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Gentleness -- the way I see it...

You may have noticed that I've had a little "dress change" here at Kisses of Sunshine. And one thing I added was a blurb and a scripture at the bottom of my blog claiming that "This blog is a joyful and gentle zone."

I think one of the reasons I added that is because I get tired of surfing around different blogs and seeing fellow believers bash each other, as well as non believers. In fact, in one blog which was devoted to Bible study, I even saw one commenter "called out" into public and her (or his?) comment was open to all for their dissection and criticism. I can't begin to tell you how much this saddens me. Is stuff like that necessary? Are we sooooo addicted to hearing ourselves that we have to call others out? Or is it that we think we are the authority in all things, and feel we need to set others straight? WHAT IS IT? I just don't get it!

Folks, I hope I speak for the entire body of Christ when I say ... as Christians we are called to be "Christ-like," manifesting (displaying) the qualities or spirit of Jesus. Yes, I know that Jesus did show righteous anger... and I know he wasn't a pansy, but what we mostly see, time and time again, is his gentleness.

One of my favorite stories in the New-Testament is of the Adulteress who was presented in front of Jesus for judgment after having been caught in the act of adultery. The teachers of the law, and the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus, and demanded that Jesus decide what become of her. This woman -- a sinner -- was dragged out by men, and placed in front of men to be judged.

If I place myself in her shoes, I can imagine her being frightened to death, with the very fear of her "final judgment of death" itself looming over her head. I'm sure she was trying to pull every scrap of fabric around her that she could... trying to cover her shame in more ways than one. Men around her were gathering stones in their hands, demanding a stoning for her sins... and gently, and quietly, Jesus said: "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." I can't even imagine the fear she must have been feeling at that very moment, expecting stones to come hurling at her and begin tearing her flesh.

But one by one, the men began dropping their stones and walking away. If I were her, I'm certain that I may not have even noticed them, because I would have been in a heap, covering my head, and weeping, begging for mercy. I can only imagine the tension that was building -- but suddenly, Jesus said to her: "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" To which she replies: "No one, sir."

And Jesus said: "Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."

Just like that. He spoke to her with gentleness. With love, and with grace he told her that she wasn't being judged, and told her to go and leave her life of sin. He didn't ridicule her, he didn't bash her, he didn't belittle her. He just pointed her in the right direction.

Friends, reality is... we all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. Without his sacrifice, grace and mercy, we would never be worthy of forgiveness. Without each other's support, we would often find ourselves discouraged, beaten down, and left to feel worthless. The reality is... I'm no better than anyone else, therefore, who am I to judge? Who are you to judge?

In Philippians 4:4-5, Paul exhorts us to "rejoice and to let our gentleness be evident to all." In Titus 3:2, Paul instructs Titus to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, and to show true humble gentleness toward everyone. In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to be prepared to answer everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope we have "with gentleness and respect."

Time and time again, Jesus showed true gentleness in the midst of conflict. If we are to pattern ourselves to be "Christ-like" than sisters (and brothers), we need to watch how we respond to people. The old "take me as I am, or don't take me at all" phrase just isn't a good enough excuse for us to speak first and think second. It shouldn't fly with your spouse, it shouldn't fly with your best friend, it shouldn't fly with your church friends, and trust me when I say... it doesn't fly with Jesus, because he has given us the power to change!

Now, I'm not saying I'm perfect. Heaven's no. Remember ... when I point one finger at you... I have 4 pointing right back at me! In fact there are many times I stumble, and find myself saying things I wish I could take back. So, this week, I challenge each of you (including myself) to go out of your way this week to be gentle. Be gentle with the gruff grocery store clerk. Be gentle with the harsh blog commenter. Be gentle (yeow!) with your trying children and spouse (can someone shout out a prayer for me?). Be gentle with your pesky neighbor. Be gentle with me. And I'll be gentle with you. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life -- to bend you, to refine you, and to make you a more gentle person.

Think this might be too hard? Yes, you're right -- it will be hard, and the enemy will come at you in all directions. BUT... it isn't TOO hard. It's possible!! Go ahead and throw off the old "coat" you've been wearing, and spring into a new coat of gentleness and mercy on!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

What are your thoughts? I'd love to know what you think ... in fact, would you please come out of "lurkdom" to comment, if you could! I'd love to have an open discussion about this.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

7-Things Meme

***Updated to add... there's nothing new here, folks... If you should see a gazillion "new posts" on whatever blogline-type of software you use... just know that I'm still tinkering with my template and making a few minor adjustments. That's all.***

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

Beth at Life With Two Little Vikings tagged me with the "7 Things" meme... which was pretty hard to do, because I've already done similar memes, if not the same meme a time or two, in which I wrote a full expose of my life each and every time. Coming up with new things that you don't know about me already was tough! (after all, my life is an open book on this here blog!)

Here are the rules:

1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are my 7 Things:

1. I hate horror movies, movies with too much suspense, and especially, movies with a dark spiritual undertone. They leave me feeling unsettled in my spirit. Let's not even talk about the bad dreams afterwards!

2. I love beef. I could live off of beef for the rest of my life and be quite happy. I craved it when I was pregnant, and now Hunter loves beef too. He calls it "meat" -- which it is -- but so are other things, and if you give him something other than beef, he usually won't eat it.

3. I adore Italian food -- adore it -- but I am a simple girl, and could eat spaghetti and meatballs each and every time I went to an Italian restaurant. So in essence, I'm a cheap date.

4. When I was little, I used to love peanut butter and dill pickle sandwiches. Now that I'm all growed up ... I still love them.

5. I am obsessed with details... for example, I once found a dent on my husband's truck. It was in an odd location, and I was stressed about telling him about it. So, I called my sister-in-law and was explaining the dent to her, and trying to tell her how long it was. I actually took my ruler out to measure the span between my fingers so I could get the measurement exact. I'm sure it annoys other people, but it makes total sense to me.

6. I hate change. Hate it, and will buck it. Until the change happens, at which time I usually love it and embrace it. Which leads me to...

7. I will argue passionately and tirelessly about something I am certain is right but know nothing about... politics, music, religion, art, movies, etc. And when I'm proven wrong by the exasperated receiver of my argument, I simply shrug it off and say something like, "oh, okay" which exasperates them even more. For example, I'll argue passionately about the fact that a particular song on the radio is sung by Mercy Me, and I will insist and insist and insist as though I am completely convinced of the fact. My husband, who is actually very good about knowing the sound of people's voices, will argue back that it isn't. And when the radio announcer says that it is Jeremy Camp and not Mercy Me, I'll just shrug and say, "Oh, okay" which totally deflates the disagreement and leaves him feeling even more frustrated.

So there are 7 things about me. How in the world will I find 7 people who haven't done this yet??? Let's just put it this way... if you haven't done this Meme yet, or if you need a post that doesn't require a lot of thought, consider yourself tagged. Leave me a comment if you're posting this Meme!!!

Typing Around...

This is kinda cool ... I found it over at Watching the Flowers Grow. It's a fun typing test. Now, I'm not a typist, but I used to work in Administration a while ago, so I did pick up some speed there...

This is the first time I took the test...

72 words

Speed test

How'd you do??

Feeling Kramer-ish... & Thanks Tank

Remember on Seinfeld how Kramer would always "slide into a room," with his arms extended, and sort of bouncing his head around? A dramatic entrance, if you would...

Well, that's how I sort of feel Spring has introduced itself to my family... sliding in sideways, with its arms extended, bobbleing around saying, "I'm hear!" and with my family being so sick since February, I feel as though I totally missed Spring's graceful entrance, the buds peaking through the grass, the leaves coming out green, the grass turning lush ... and it is just smacking me in the face now, saying... "HEY! I'm here! Been here! Waiting for YOU to catch up with me! Allergies on the way... Can you feel it?" Anyway ... I just thought I'd share that with you before I share my Thanks Tank filling for the week.

Pam at Without Fear hosts the weekly Thursday Thanks Tank, and let me just say... it is a wonderful way to end the week and start the weekend. Especially if you've had a tough go at it -- finding things to be thankful about will change your perspective on life!

  • I'm thankful that we are all on the mend. It could have been worse, but God's protective hand was over us.
  • I'm thankful that the trees are budding, blooming, and sharing their pollen with my persnickety nose -- it only means Spring is here, and the beauty that comes along with it is popping up everywhere.
  • I'm thankful for Cheesecake Factory's Lemoncello Cream Torte, and even MORE thankful that Costco sells it in the frozen section!!! Sooooo good.
  • I'm thankful for a job that is challenging and uses my brain as much as it does -- even though half the time I end up scratching my head in confusion because I HATE algebraic equations. Just the same, it feels good at the end of the day.
  • I'm thankful that our Pastor is turning the tables on us in Wednesday evening Bible Study, and challenging us to study the scripture and find the lesson within the scripture.
  • Last, however never, EVER least... I'm very, VERY thankful for my husband. No, we don't have the perfect relationship, but when I hear how the men speak of their wives at work, and when I hear how they never give their wives little "I love you" gifts, or cook dinner for them, or clean the kitchen, or vacuum, or toss in a load of laundry because it's "her job"... Well, it makes me appreciate his thoughtfulness even more!
Have you given thought to what you're thankful for???

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Plunge...

I finally took it!

I've let go of my old template, and upgraded blogger to the latest and greatest... and I'm terrified I did something wrong.

There are a few odds and ends I'm trying to work out... like: How in the WORLD can I get the floogle (or whatever it is) code to work for the family friendly blog list? HOW?!? And, I lost some coding from my old template that I need back, and can't find where they put the "copy" they made for me!


Ehem.... as I was saying -- I'm sure I've done something wrong... so please bear with me!

Financial Peace is a Love Language

Last night, we attended our first Financial Peace University class. To be honest, I had so many mixed feelings about it, because we had already gone through Crown Financial, AND because I'm a financial analyst and like to think I know it all. Sound familiar?

Well, one of the teachers/facilitators seems to have made it his life mission to have every person in our church attend this class. He and his wife have had such a life-changing experience with it that his passion is spilling forth and pushing everyone onward. Sometimes, that can be an annoying thing. Other times, it can be just the catalyst that you need in your life for change.

My husband finally decided to take the plunge... and folks, the one thing that keeps my husband up at night... the one thing that makes him sick to his stomach... the one thing that makes him crazy... is not having financial peace. Our instructors asked us to introduce ourselves last night and state why we decided to attend this class. Many just want to get out of debt. A good enough reason. My reason? Because financial peace is my husband's love language, and because I want to leave a good legacy for my son.

Check this out ... this is how the Free Dictionary defines legacy:

leg·a·cy (lg-s)

n. pl. leg·a·cies
1. Money or property bequeathed to another by will.
2. Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past: a legacy of religious freedom. See Synonyms at heritage.

So -- of course I want to bequeath money to my son when I die... but long before that, I want to hand down to him skills that will enable him to set himself up financially so he never has to worry about money, never has to worry about unforeseen emergencies, and never has to worry about living pay check to pay check. A legacy of financial freedom. I can't teach him those skills unless I have them, and as much as I'd like to think I do... right now, I don't. It doesn't matter what profession you're in -- you can always learn something new, and always do something better.

My friend Beth at Life with Two Little Vikings has gone through it, has shared transparently about her experience, and has put up on her blog a debt ticker, and a button you can click on to get a free financial checkup. Head on over and check it out... it's in her side bar towards the bottom.

For now, our efforts will be concentrated on figuring out how we'll get a $1,000 emergency fund started, and putting together a quick budget.

So......... even if you think you've got it all together, and even though you think you're where you want to be... I would highly encourage you to attend this class. Your way of thinking will totally change. I promise.