Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bible in 90 Days update...naivity!! And a trip to BJ's!

 I have a few things to say today.  One of which is about Samson and Delilah and the like.  Another is about my trip to BJ's wholesale and what I think of wholesale shopping.  I want to give you some moments I have and last I want to share something about some of my very true, honest and trustworthy friends.

I am continuing in Judges.  For some reason there is a lot to say here.  The next noteworthy thin gI found was Samson.  Oh, dear Samson.  I must first say, God must have a great sense of humor.  He liked to do the, "You are sterile and childless...but you are going to bear a child" thing a lot!  Can you imagine us, who believe we plan out everything, know what we are going to do all the time (or at least think we do), all of a sudden becoming pregnant after knowing we would NEVER, NEVER be  able to have children?  HA!  But, God did it several times!  Isaac, Samuel, John the Baptist, even Jesus, though not necessarily to a sterile woman.  So, here comes Samson.  He is overcome with power from God to rip a lion apart.  So overcome, in fact, he keeps this a secret.  Until he puts it up in the form of a riddle to the groomsmen at his wedding the the Philistine woman he fell for.  He comes across this Lion again and sees bees have made a hive full of honey.  He uses this for the riddle.  They threaten his bride to get him to tell the answer so they can get the linen garments he has promised.  For 3 nights he gives a false answer to her...why he continued to answer her I do not know...because she finally coaxes it out of him on the fourth night he reveals it.  Samson's rage continues.  His strength is like a bull in a China shop.  He has it out for the Philistines!!  Then he goes and gets duped by Delilah when she tries to get him to reveal the secret to his strength, being that he cannot ever put a razor to his head.  Why, again, he continued to give her an answer and why she continued to believe him, I again, do not know, but that was the plan from God and when it was all carried out, he ended up getting his head shaved and his eyes gouged out by some very angry Philistines!!  That is what I call a bad day! 

I will stop there for now, thought still in Judges.

I went to BJ's wholesale warehouse yesterday.  My trial membership is expiring and I wanted to actually try it out.  I had a bunch of their coupons and I had a bunch of mine.  It ended up being a really good trip as I paid less for everything than I would have at the grocery store...HOWEVER, it is only because I had a lot of extra coupons, otherwise it would work out to be the same or even worse.  So, my original bill was $146 and I whittled it down to $83 (including part of a gift card and about $35 in coupons).  That being said, I will not be needing to buy a lot of that stuff anytime in the near future.  I can see how that place can be ok if you have enough coupons.  For instance, they stack manufacturer's with store, so I bought a giant box of Cheerios with 2 boxes inside.  I was able to use their store coupon for that box and 2 manufacturer's coupons because there were 2 boxes.  That worked out for most of what I bought.  You have to have the multiples to make this work out.

I made our entire food budget for the month and wrote it on our cash envelope system and now I need to work Mackenzie's birthday party into that budget, so wish me luck!!!  I need some seriously good shopping trips this month!

Today is Mackenzie's first birthday!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY BABY!!!!!! 

-Paige and Mackenzie hugging at Paige's party!!!  So sweet!!! 
-Waking up to Mackenzie on her 1st birthday...having a hard time with this one:(
-We have completed our first month's zero budget (very detailed might I add) and are onto week 5 of Dave Ramsey with a positive result so far!!!
-Realized a few moments ago that Mike is off tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just want to point out one last thing.  I have some really, really good, true honest friends.  Those I am referring to, love people for who they are and are slow to judge others without judging themselves.  I am challenging myself to remember those friends when I see others and before I go by hearsay, I want to give myself the opportunity to know them...without ANYONE else's judgement to make clouds...Thank you very much for being that kind of example to me!  We are not meant to talk about each other because there is plenty to say about ourselves.  We should be fact informed before we talk.  Like my grandmother used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then keep your trap shut!"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bible in 90 Days and living frugally (tips at the end!)

I am reading through the bible in 90 days (which unless I catch up is now 92 days, but who is counting??)  I am currently wrapping up 1 Samuel.  But I have so I have so much to say about the books that I have read.  I will have to be behind in my blogging so I can fit in all I am wanting to say. 

In Judges, we come across Deborah.  She is unique in that she is the only woman to be a judge for Israel.  These people continually found themselves in the same position.  (Hmmmm, sounds like most people I know, including myself!!)  And God was continually delivering them, like it was fun!  He enjoyed it to some extent, knowing, though, what was to come for these people. They were intermarrying with other tribes and turning away from God to pagen practices.  They were turning back and crying out, yet again, for God to save them.  Here is Deborah, an unexpected hero again.  Just as Christ would be.  God tells Deborah to tell Baraak to lead the severely outnumbered Isreal army into battle with the Cannaanites.  He agrees to go but only with her.  Here are the two things I see when I read this.  1.  He has faith in her, if not in God.  and 2.  She is an incredible courageous woman with all of her faith and trust in God.  Faith is a very difficult thing for most to grasp the concept of.  Why do you believe in God???  How about, why do you believe that you will win this battle that is sure, on paper, to destroy you, just because you say God is leading you to it?  Ha!!  Try that on for size!  Not only was she courageous and faithful, but she is humble.  She gives all of the honor of the credit to God, being sure to give credit where credit is due.  We often grab the glory for ourselves, failing to offer up the humility that God had all to do with our successes.  In this victory, without God, they could never have won!

The next part that truly stands out is Gideon.  I love the this story.  When I read about Gideon, I pictured this fearful little guy sitting under the tree when the angel of the Lord sat there beside him.  He was like the underdog!  "Uh, okay!  If you say so!"  Midean couldn't go any lower, really, but it teaches us that, as low as we can go, God has something to teach us that brings us back up...IF (and this is a big if!) we are willing to learn and listen.  Now, again, Isreal is crying out and instead of sending them a judge to carry them out of their despair, he sends them a  prophet.  He brings them to the realization that they are in need of God and that they are severely in the wrong.  Seems like a recurring theme, doesn't it?  What is the source?  We can't just say, "Please forgive me Lord."  and move on.  We must find the source of the problem and correct it.  I am often told, "I can do whatever I want, because all I have to do is tell God I am sorry and then I am forgiven."  Well, I suppose that is partially true, but then, that same person is still saying, 'Why does this keep happening to me?"  I must also add here, that this has happened to me.  Over, and over...and over.  It wasn't until I came to the root of the problem, that change happened.  Gideon did not give up in the face of strife.  He powered through.  He did as God wanted him to do.  He was weak, but with God, he was strong.  What if you are that weak person?  What if God decides to choose you to fight?  Can you do as Gideon did in the face of what looks like the liklihood of total failure?  Gideon wanted a sign.  Wouldn't you?  He was just an ordinary man!  God didn't reach down and pick out some WWF wrestler to beat down the opposers.  No.  He chose the underdog!  He chose you, or me. 

I will leave you there for now. 

Friday we will be on week 4 of Dave Ramsey.  We have done a full on zero budget.  Takes some time, might I add.  I thought we knew what we were doing, budget-wise, before, but now I feel like we have pennied outselves to death!  BUT, we can see our money working!  It is so rewarding.  I know there are a few people who don't like this method, and I understand why, to be honest.  But, where we are right now, this method will work for us.  Every year, we face the chance that Mike will lose one or both of his jobs right around mid-year.  With our bills and our savings, we are headed in a decent direction.  Seeing our money on paper in the detail that it is, feels so liberating!

I have not been shopping this week.  I have done some cooking ahead.  I made pot roast and chicken pot pie.  This gives us two nights of dinners and two days of lunches, (possibly more).  We also avoided some "I deserve it" eating out and some "Oooo, we need one of those" purchases!  I like to document those because it shows our growth and our discipline!  Not that we don't EVER make those purchases, but anytime we avoid them, I think of the money we saved!

We had an amazing fun family day at Sea World!  It was unexpected and so perfect.  Mike was able to join us, which is a rarity.  We even got to ride a roller coaster!

Mackenzie's first birthday is coming up Saturday and we used that Sea World day as our day out for her birthday.  We all get one of those for our birthdays.  So, in turn, we gave her her first taste of sugar in the form of a cupcake!!!  Oh, wow!!!  Can we say mess???  We got some great video and pictures!!

Hollywood Studios visit (last week). Random day.

Madi got to do the flag ceremony for Thinking Day

First Cupcake!  Happy 1st birthday Mackenzie!!!


Don't forget to check and if you are heading to the stores. 

TIP:  ONLY buy the sale items.  You can make it work!!!  Use and plug in the ingredients you have and it will spit out recipes you can use for what you have on hand!

-Mackenzie's face COVERED in icing!  Then her standing up, turning around in her seat and sitting in it!
-Madison and Mackenzie hugging.  She is the best big sister and is a total natural at it.
-Madison reading whole books and words that I don't know how she read!!
-Unexpected trip with all 4 of us!  Wish I could wake up everyday with that feeling!  There are endless possibilities when we are all together!

Our path as a family is getting wider and wider.  I love what happens when we are all on the same page!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Joshua and impulse shopping

Umm Qais, JordanImage via Wikipedia
I am updating again with several days combined equaling...Joshua.  Of course Joshua was following in the footsteps of a leader that no one would ever be capable of rising to meet.  I don't want to take anything away from Joshua, but Moses??  Those would be some seriously large shoes to fill.  Joshua did as he was commanded.  He was part of the promise.  Part of the grand story.  God's promise.  He brought the people through to their inheritance that God gave them. His path was clear, but not without its difficulties.  He sent spies  into Jericho who relied of a prostitute and her family for help.  An unexpected hero!  He brought the entire nation across the Jordan.  He led the fight of wars to take all the lands.  He defeated kings.  Many, many kings.  The depth of planning and the foresight he had made him great.  He may have been no Moses, but he was great.  When the Isrealites successfully inhabited their land, it was divided up among them and a huge part of biblical history was complete.  The cities of refuge were in place for those who may have unintentionally killed.  They could not be sought after by avengers in these cities.  Our pastor did a sermon about the covenants in the bible.  This covenant, when renewed, truly brought to light God's glory to these people who spent most of their time asking why God would put them through all that.  Wondering why he didn't just leave them in Egypt.  Why would he make them suffer so?  Then here in this covenant renewal, when they are being told to renounce all other gods, they respond with Joshua 24:16-18 "far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods.  It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes.  He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.  And the Lord drove out before us all the natoins, including the Amorites, who lived in the land.  We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God."  I find this a bit humorous because through their entire journey from Egypt, the miracles were not enough, the promise was not enough, the trials made them question why God would ever treat them this way.  He couldn't know what he was doing if they were suffering so.  Put this into people today.  We see suffering, we see sorrow, we see trials and we wonder if God has any idea what we are going through.  We wonder if there really is a plan.  And then when it all works out, however long that may take, we say, "Thank you God!  We knew you knew what you were doing all along."  We humans are like children all the time to God.  We act out.  We throw temper tantrums.  We even think we know better.  But when it turns out he was right, we act like we were following right along the whole time. 

Thank you God, for always knowing better and thank you for teaching us humility.  Help us to always remember you have the plan in your back pocket and even when we don't think it is the right plan, it is.  Even a good and gracious God has a reason for bad things happening.  Help us to know that these bad things will lead us where your plan says we should be, no matter how bad it seems.  You always understand when we revolt and you hold our hands through the worst of our behaviors.  You are a good and gracious God and model parent.  You have patience and kindness and you also have the strength to follow through when you tell us you are going to do something, no matter what we do to try and change your mind.  We are stubborn children.  But even in our stubborness, we love you and are grateful.

So, in our fight, us silly children, we do learn lessons.  We also learn the things that we can do to better ourselves.  To do more to help others.  In our family our effort has been to learn to save money more effectively AND efficiently so we can do more to help.  It is kind of our family mission.  Part of this effort is couponing and carefully planning when, where and how we spend our money.  We have eliminated the "we think we deserve it" purchases.  The "because I don't feel like cooking" dinners out.  When we want something we save for it.  We budget and we plan.  We make our mistakes.  We still have regrettable moments.  But our steps forward are bigger than our steps backward.  That is our motivation. 

I had a regrettable moment yesterday.  I went to the store and spent about $35 and only was able to use 1 coupon.  It was for some things that I didn't plan for that are hard to get coupons for.  I don't ever like to take a trip to the store without saving more than half of my total bill.  BUT alas, it happens.  So, I will move on and I will get over it.  I didn't make a large purchase.  I did buy 2 Ghirradelli chocolate bars for us.  $4 total.  That was the only thing for us.  I also purchased a cleaner for our shower that had to be specific and I didn't have a coupon for that, but I could have found one if I tried harder.  That cost $4.29.  That's a lot for cleaner, but Mike is very happy with our shower right now.  I look at that receipt and I wonder why I am so hard on myself about that bill.  Then I remember. It is because I have worked so hard on saving for so long that the concept of purchasing things without the saving feels like it is unnecessary and wrong.  I am asking you, for my sake, to tell me, "Christina, lighten up." Go ahead.  Tell me.  But then, know that I will again be hard on myself because I have taught myself how valuable those saving are.  And now I know I have learned this lesson.  CHECK!

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Deuteronomy and the beginning of the end of Moses

Sorry to bombard with 3 posts in 1 day, but I had to play blog catch up with Numbers.  Now on with Deuteronomy.  I am seeing the recurring theme of 40 days and nights and we know this continues in the New Testament as well with Jesus.  I am looking for anyone's interpretations of the number 40 and 7.  I have heard sermons on these numbers before, but would like to hear what others think.  There is a lot about cleansed after 7 days, cancel debt after 7 years, free your servants after 7 years, the feast of weeks happens 7 weeks from when you put the sickle in the grain (just to name a few).  Now, here in Deuteronomy, I have learned that after the first tablet that was given to Moses on the mountain with the 10 commandments Moses shattered, he was given another tablet.  I don't think I have heard that before.  This is intriguing.  I have also read the mention of acacia wood when referring to the tabernacle and it is made mention here again.  I am curious what this is.  I have never heard of it.  God's promise is made so clear to these people for the 40 years it has taken them to follow him, yet there is so much rebellion and doubt.  How hard it must have been to follow through all of the war and turmoil they faced, yet God continued to deliver on his promise repeatedly giving them proof.  Most of Deuteronomy give the lead up of Moses and his leadership of the people.  It gives the preparation of the fulfillment of the promised land and what the people need to do in the coming times.  The laws are set out for them.  It also begins to set up the leadership of Joshua and life after Moses.  The taking of this land is the ultimate end to the promise and essentially Moses's life.  A time in the bible worthy of shedding some tears quite genuinely in remembrance for what he had done and where he was going.  Moses and Aaron both died before getting to inherit the land because as God says they broke covenant with him a the waters of Mirabah Kadesh.  Wow!  Puts our current humanity into perspective doesn't it?  A man as worthy as Moses or Aaron!!  I have become very attached to Moses.  Isreal's rebellion is predicted leading to God's face no longer being seen by the people and no leader to come that would ever quite equal Moses.

Publixand other grocery stores deals (most are $1 or less)

Go here for Publix deals.  You will find most of these to be $1 or less and some are just really good per item but worth 30 of time to print some coupons.  PLUS, if you don't have Publix here is a list of all kinds of grocery stores all over the place that you can find $1 or less deals at!!  PLEASE ask if you need help!  You can gain a year ad a half of MY time by allowing me the pleasure of teaching you!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Numbers, Homeschooling, and Chickens...Oh my!!

I am finally getting around to blogging about Numbers.  I must say, some of it...flew right over the coo-coo's nest!  BUT, the rest was well absorbed and dually noted.  After a few discussions, I have taken not that these laws God set in place were to create some order.  Plain and simple...or not.  They were not simple by any means.  Now these people that were led out out of Egypt by a humble, faithful, honest, and blessed man, have done nothing but attack and behave ungratefully and like hundreds of 5 year olds.  The cloud over the tabernacle was symbolic to me.  Or I interpreted it that way anyway.  It in fact, this whole book was symbolic.  We are always covered in shadows as long as we are not getting the message.  God really wanted to get a message across.  They just weren't getting it.  And poor Moses, who followed everything he was told, just got to reap the lack of benefit from their lessons not learned.  God proved his might and his power repeatedly, yet it fell on deaf ears.  He even made the ground open to swallow those that would not follow what he wanted.  I, for the life of me, cannot figure why Moses hung on.  I, for one, would have wanted to see all of them fall into that hole! As for Balak and Balaam...again, a rather like a satire itself.  How dumb can one man get?  The message wasn't clear enough?  I think I actually hear Balaam laughing at Balak.  "Come and curse these Isrealites before they destroy us."  "Um, can't do that cause God told me not to."  "Do it anyway and I will make you rich and happy."  "What, like you could match God?".  AND the donkey???  Oh, come one!  My pastor did this sermon also a while back and I found it pretty funny then, but to read it word for word myself was taking it to a new level.

To wrap it up, God's promise is coming to fruition.  The sermon last week involved God's promise.  His promise is written all over this.  He would carry this out and knock anything or anyone out in his way.  God's plan was going to happen no matter who thought their hands were more trustworthy.  My hands are not trustworthy.  His hands are the ones that will guide me.  I just need to pay more attention to the words he is speaking.

We are hitting home schooling very hard and Madison is really taking well to it.  She is such an amazing student.  She is really into Little House in the Big Woods right now with Mike.  I look forward to some great science experiments coming up soon and Mike will teaching Madi to build from scratch a bird house.  She is also following us on our Dave Ramsey journey and quite supportive of our family saving money.  In fact, she will say she wants to pack our lunches so we can save money and she doesn't mind the leftovers.  She also likes to look for things in thrift stores because of the treasures we find as opposed to Toys R Us or Walmart where it costs more.  She also likes to help me hunt for coupon deals!  How lucky we are that she understands.

-All 4 of us sitting outside the other night looking at our chickens in their new home.
-All 4 of us snuggled up watching Mickey Mouse in bed!
-Mackenzie doing "nice" by rubbing my face softly.
-Madison, Mackenzie, and I playing outside together.
-Madi, Mackenzie and I having a day full of moments at Disney just being us together.

I was asked to think about what path I am on.  What is is that God has going on for me right now.  I can tell you this.  I feel right.  I feel good.  I feel stretched and challenged.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finished Leviticus and Advanced Level Couponing!!

I have finished Leviticus and and onto Numbers.  Leviticus is hard for me to say a lot about.  The laws of God continue.  I, again, want to take a note of the fact that we do not follow these in Christianity, but I am still unsure how or when we no longer looked in the Old Testament for how to live our lives.  I know the New Testament is when but I don't know the details.  Moses and Aaron's dedication to following through with everything God was directing them to do is mind blowing.  The number of years and the level of commitment of themselves and their families and their people was  one we do not see.  Upon the forming of an army, its like the forming of God's army.  The power behind the faith of these people...that's all I can say about that.  I am truly amazed at the complexity of the tribal camps that God created using the Levites and the Isrealites.  Each family or tribe having its specific location for camp.  Also, at first, when I read the Levites only responsibility was moving the tabernacle until I realized what this entailed.  The intricacies that I mentioned before in the construction of the tabernacle are prevalent now as it is like building and rebuilding something that, in my opinion, should be a permanent structure.  Then again, who am I to think that?!  I concluded, I did not want the job of the Levites!  I will begin my post on Numbers most likely tonight or tomorrow morning.

Now for CVS!!!  I spoke earlier this week about my trip of spending $19 and getting $18 back on cereal, crackers, some soap and other necessary items.  Well, I tok advantage of this months BIG TIME hot deals coupled with some valuable coupons and pulled another great trip out.  I needed some snacks and drinks last minute yesterday so I took my $18 in extra care bucks and for my chips and drinks AND some more cereal, 4 things of Oust, 2 sets of lightbulbs, pantene shampoo and conditioner and a few other items slipping my mind at the moment.  When I got to the counter, I pulled out my coupons and told the cashier I wanted to do this in multiple transactions and he smiled.  I said, "you must love people like me!"  And he replied, "Absolutely!  This is some seriously advanced couponing!  I love it!"  Yea!!!  That mad me laugh!  It turns out, most of those items were giving me ECB's back so breaking that up into 3 transactions and using the ECB's I had and the ones that were coming to me, I spent less than $9 out of pocket and came home with $4 ECB's!  I plan on going back for more cereal! Publix has some great stuff going on.  Check it out.  Easy to print most of it too.  Plus, there are some free rental codes for Blockbuster and Red box.  I have done these and it is worth it.  Also, if you have pictures you need to print there is a good snapfish deal to check out.  Don't forget to click on CVS at the top of the page to get hold of this months hot hot hot delas for building up your stash of Extra Care Bucks (ecb's).  Plus, if you have never done the "cvs-ing" there is a place to click so you can learn the advanced tricks too!

We are completing our reading homework for Dave Ramsey.  It is amazing how together we feel about the coming months of working out our savings and spending.  Being on the same page and really enjoying the commitment. 

Oh and one of our beloved birthday chickens has passed on!!!  Never even got to live in the new chicken coupe!!  

Keep the questions coming.  I am really enjoying your thoughts!!

Michaelangelo got a new house!

Madi fell on her face and busted her lip!BIG bloody mess!  AND her nose was double in size!

Home school project with straws!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Are you keeping up?

I meant to post this last night, but I am posting today a little incomplete.  I will tell you why in a moment.  This is a combo of the end of Exodus and the beginning of Leviticus.  I must say, I don't know if I have ever actually read through these laws and the description of the construction of the Tabernacle and then the descriptions of all of the types of offerings and rules and reasons for offering, but after reading it, my head is spinning.  For one thing, it goes through the description of the tabernacle when God is telling Moses, then it goes through it again when the Isrealites are building it.  And WOW!  How did they find all those materials?  Like I mentioned in my blog yesterday, God was better than any professional designer in existence.  EVER!  I suppose he knows since he created the universe after-all!  Now, I go back to a sermon our pastor gave.  This is the incomplete part.  I do not have the correct verbiage here.  I tried to find it unsuccessfully so I will do my best to convey my point.  Hopefully it comes across.  The sermon was on religions or more the beliefs of the people in certain religions.  There are those that are more the "rule followers" or they believe that they must "do" things a certain way to be considered followers.  Then there are the "feelers" per say.  The feelers are the ones that believe once they say they believe then they don't have any other responsibility.  As you can see this is one extreme to the other.  The people of this time were so consumed with what to do upon entering the tabernacle or if you can't afford a bull to bring 2 doves or 2 pigeons and what the table should look like, I wonder if that translates poorly in today's society.  If people read that and believe so strongly in their works and outward appearance they may forget what "from the inside out" means.  This is in no way meant to disrespect the gloriousness of what God did and what he envisioned in those people.  It is also not meant to downplay that you should have an appearance on the outside that says, yes, I do good works, but, in Christianity, that is not all there is.  Not in the least.  That being said, I will take out of my reading so far the intricacy of God's word and details of his desire for the people.  I also want to point out, it seems this is a time of him flexing his fatherly muscle.  You must do what he says or there will be consequences.  he would hold fast to that.  It was not an easy time to say the least, but to have God there to lay it out?  How would you feel?

Now, as for my query letter to send to children's book agencies, today is actually Saturday, though most of this was written Friday, as I mentioned.  My query letter will be complete as of today which meets my goal.  I have The Writer's Market for 2010 on its way so I can send that letter to everyone and anyone who will accept it.   Case and point this week:  I set a few small goals and made things manageable and it worked! 

If you can get to Walgreens or CVS this weekend there are some good deals there.  I suggest checking here and scroll to the appropriate store for deals and coupons to print.  I will be hitting them up today at Walgreens and I already got CVS as you saw in my post earlier this week.  Looking very decent at both places!

Do you have any good menu ideas for meatless nights?  I am looking for some menu ideas that I haven't thought of.  Preferrably something that leaves leftovers for Mike's lunch.  I also cannot eat anything spicey.

Homeschooling this week was actually pretty good considering we were back after a pretty long break!  But then again, Madi is such a great student I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.

Have a great Saturday and stay warm!  It snowed here and is currently sleeting!  We are heading out to a birthday party today!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

What do Moses, pantries, and dinner have in common?

What do Moses, pantries, and dinner have in common?  My day yesterday.  That's what!  I read about Moses some more.  Mainly about their exit from Egypt.  What a bunch of whiney cry babies the Isrealites were after all Moses and Aaron, (I have really become quite partial to Aaron), did.  They were griping and groaning at every difficult twist and turn that they would rather have stayed in Egypt than go through all this to get out.  UgH!!  I would want to slap them!  Hence Moses was chosen to lead the them out of Egypt and not me.  Now, I know the 10 commandments.  But after reading them in full context, and being a full blown adult, I think everyone should read these frequently.  I forget the details of the commandments so easily.  There are so many times I search myself for things I need to fix and work on and pray about, yet all I need to do is look at the commandments I break.  Something as simple as looking at something that belongs to my friend and wishing I had it.  Oh, their house is so pretty and perfect.  I wish mine looked like that.  Get it?  I read through all the laws God laid down for the Isrealites at Mount Sanai and was feeling a little overwhelmed and full of questions.  I do not understand how this part of the bible applies to my life as one of the laws was to give my first born to God.  I am pretty sure that does not apply to me.  I don't think Madi would be happy about that!  Maybe someone could shed some light to those of us who read those laws and put it into today's context. How do we take those laws now?  I know there is a new way of Christian life after the New Testament.  Hmmm.  Thoughts?  I get messages on Facebook and email too but you can leave comments right here on the blog for others to read.  I also feel like God had a great talent for envisioning interrior design work!  I mean the details that were given to Moses on the Tabernacle and  everything in or related to it were out of this world!  He asked them to make things in pure gold or out of specific wood  or what the heck does and almond flower look like?  The curtains had to be a certain color and tied together with goat hairs and there needed to be eleven and, well, I think you get the point, though I have barely scratched the surface of the level of details he gave!  I will be closing out Exodus today.

Are you wondering if I fulfilled my account of doing the pantry?  Well, I will keep you in suspense no longer!  I did it!  I organized my pantry yesterday!  It felt so good to clean out and redo.  Now, I just need to get to the junk drawers, which seem to be every drawer, and the other cabinets.  Do I say I am going to finish all that this week?  I think I will give that until next week.

I made 2 dinners yesterday as Mike's family all came over.  I made a pot roast with all the veggies and a whole chicken stuffed with onions and rice.  I also got to get rid of some fudge.  We had fudge, pudding, strawberries and chocolate for dessert.  It was our anniversary dinner with them.  I also had baby Paige yesterday who is starting to walk!!!!  BLOW MY MIND, why don't you!  She far surpasses Mackenzie's physical abilities.  Those babies are going to be 1 in 23 days!!!  Oh, where did it go?

Madison is back to home school schedule and is having some good fun.  We are doing Skippyjon right now.  We are also working on more cooking activities and learning about shopping and coupons!  Start her nice and early on saving money!

A good friend of mine is beginning a year of saving money and asked me to give a breakdown of how I do coupons.  I spent a good amount of time sending this out, so I thought I would do a post on it.  I will post this later on in a separate blog.  If you are interested to see what I do, you can read that.

****If you use Johnson and Johson Soap Buddies (or just want some free soap for kid's bathroom, Sunday's paper had a $1 off coupon and they are .99 at Target and I have heard even cheaper at Walmart.  In some places this means an overage!****

I only have until Saturday to finish my query letter for my kid's books to fulfill what I said I would.  Once thatt query letter is written, all it needs is an address!  Big steps for me!

If you missed grocery trips this week, see my previous posts!

Girls entertaining themselves with pots and pans!  Who needs toys anyway?
Geoffrey threw up in my living room!

-Finishing the pantry
-Madison playing outside in the ice yesterday.  (crunchies!)
-family dinner turning out delicious
-leftovers from family dinner!
-finding room to stash stockpiled food!!!!

I am making room in my life life I am making room in my house.  Cleaning out the bad stuuf to find room for all the great stuff!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Patience and perseverance...and some great grocery deals!

Today was our anniversary!  We went out to eat last night with some generous gift cards from Mike's parents.  As my husband sat across the table, I thought back several years and am continually baffled by how much more I can love someone than I did when I thought I loved him the most! Happy Anniversary baby!

On to Moses.  Wow!  A vast hurricane swirls in my mind about Moses.  I know who he is.  I know YOU know who he is.  But in full context, this man (and I must say Aaron too, as he gets swept over in most cases) has patience like no human has ever exhibited.  Aaron stood right along side Moses as God sent them in and out of Pharaoh's presence with the same result.  That being said, can I just point out Pharaoh for a second.  Um, blood in the Nile, hail, locusts?  What does it take to get someone's attention?  He is the symbolism for the blind and stubborn humans that we can be.  Have you ever felt like God was telling you to do something and you continued to ignore him and were continually pounded with the same issues over and over?  If Pharaoh would have listened and done as he was being asked to do, think about what the Egyptians would have been saved from.  A true control freak! Man, are we a stubborn people.  Moses questioned God.  He did as he was asked, but there were moments that he was unsure.  We are all unsure.  There are so many things I am unsure of.  I don't think I will part the Red Sea or anything, but I can certainly persevere my doubts and questions to do the right thing.  What a reward!

I did manage to get coupons printed and went shopping.  There are some amazing things going on at CVS right now.  I spent $19 there and got $18 in extra care bucks back!  I could have done some separate orders and spent less out of pocket, but I go there often enough that I will just use the ECB's next time on some other great deals.  Go here  and scroll down to CVS deals to get coupons and deal scenarios!  Sooooooooo worth a trip!  There are some decent deals at Publix, but I got some good meat deals, though not worth it if that is all you are getting.  Check out here for Publix deals linked up with coupons.  These deals are probably changing tomorrow.  Don't forget that Publix accepts manufacturer's coupons and competitor's coupons stacked.  Plus they price match! 

I did not do a pantry today.  I think I am procrastinating.  I am definitely doing it tomorrow while babysitting Baby Paige.  Hold me to it, okay?

I will have a query letter this week to send out to agencies for my children's books.  You can hold me to that as well.

Lots going on in my brain.  I have had a few people message me to say they were reading the bible along with me!  I would love to hear from you!

-A beautiful night out thanks to our friend Annette who graciously babysat! 
-YEAH!  Big people time! 
-Boooo, kids still wake up early!
-Mike and Madi asleep together on the couch while Hannity plays in the background.  Mike Mitchell would be proud!

Organization.  Exercise-physical and mental.  Ideas.  Creativity.  It is all my responsibility.  I have the ability to do something great!

Monday, January 4, 2010

New Day

I have finished Genesis.  Tomorrow I will begin Exodus.  I am well aware of several extraordinary stories of forgiveness throughout the bible.  We are taught to forgive.  But Joseph's story in Genesis is perhaps my favorite story of forgiveness.  Our pastor also did an great sermon on this a while back.  People today, myself included, are very quick to persecute and even deny people based on a poor decision or mistake and sometimes decisions or mistakes that really had no bearing on them at all.  They are quick to judge someone based on rumor or tales and forever label them as unforgivable offenses since they believe they should be powerful enough to make that decision.  I must admit, I have often taken years to forgive certain things that have been done to me to an unforgivable level myself.  Then we have Joseph.  His brothers sold him.  May I repeat SOLD him and not for very much, may I add.  Then they lied about it saying he was probably dead.  They weren't even sure.  Joseph lived this fate his brothers had condemned him to and had every bit of faith that God had done it to save the people from the famine.  He told his brothers that it was all fine that they had sold him into slavery for next to nothing and tossed him off as dead because he fulfilled a plan of God's.  Can I do that? Could I really forgive something so great?   He was human too.  I can't even use that as an excuse as we often do with Jesus.  On to Exodus!!

I have managed to arrange my freezer and my baking cabinet so far this week.  I love this idea of little tasks.  I feel like I can absolutely accomplish organizing my kitchen by the end of the week.

I will be going to the store most likely tomorrow so I will be getting my coupons at some point to head out.  It is my ultimate goal this month to get my bill down to $40.  I am also looking into group couponing with the hopes of getting an excess to donate to Busses and Backpacks at our church. 

I am still reading books on children's publishing and hope to have sent out my children's books to at least one agent by the end of February.

If you have kiddos who have Leapsters there is a $5 coupon off of games and Toys R Us was doing a BOGO sale.  I don't know if it is still on but $5 off is still great!  Plus Parade Magazine has one in it as well from Sunday's paper.  I will report any great findings I see when I get my coupons for this week!

-Mackenzie waking without a horrifying cough!  Thank God she is on the mend.
-Some more great revelations (kind of funny, that is the last book in the bible) about Genesis.  The Old Testament is so intense so so funny!
-Mike's mom finding long lost family and friends and changing so many things!

You do not have a set brain capacity.  You can put more in there if you want.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wow, what a soap opera!

Whew! I am so into this right now, I am into day 4 and it is still day 3. It is already changing my life! I know I have a lot of non-Christian readers, but even non-believers could apprecite reading a little Genesis. I would also like to point out that the person who came up with this bible in 90 days thing, was an atheist when he began!

I cannot tell you what a drama Genesis is when you read it from the beginning!  The family lines and how many wives could be a book on its own!  The stories are ones I have mostly heard, but not fully put into context.  Abraham shed a flood light on what we as modern day, specifically Americans, consider living and consider freedom.  In fact, how inwardly we focus is rather embarassing to me.  Even the best of people I know can't grasp it the way that these people grasped living for God. 

Jacob and Essau was done by my pastor not that long ago, but in its entirity, it is borderline satirical!  It is also quite an intricate tale with lots of twists and turns and seemingly flashbacks.  I couldn't put it down! 

I have noticed a few times I was a bit disturbed by some of the weirdness, but I suppose being the Old Testament, I need to just move on and appreciate what I do not have to deal with.

Is it even possible that we can be so shallow and narrow minded?  As a whole, we have no clue what faith really means.  I can sit and reflect for hours, probably (if I had that long without interruption), on outward actions and behaviors.  On believing that I have no control, no matter how intensly I want it or think I have it, over anything that happens in my life, so why not live it like that.

If you have ever read Genesis and have any feedback or thoughts, I would love to discuss it.  Just curious if anyone is reading this!

-Finding myself understanding the "begats" in the bible!
-Wrapped in a blanket in the garage reading, while Mike was buiding a chicken coupe.
-Yes, we are building a chicken coupe!
-Mackenzie and Madi in the bathtub, playing like friends.

How strong is my foundation?  Can it rock a little and then get stronger?  I feel it happening!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 1 and then some...

I have begun my Bible in 90 Days.  Of course this starts in Genesis.  Not that I have not read most parts of the bible in my life, but reading it this way gives another whole meaning and purpose.  It is also in context.  Let me first say, it has never really struck me until this time that it talks about Adam and Eve leaving the garden and then it talks about Seth, Adam's son having children.  Who did he have children with???  Where did other people come from??  Seems like I have never learned this but maybe should have.  I have read about their ages in that time before but it blows me away that they lived 900, plus or minus, years.  It took, what is now and entire human life and then some, to build the ark, and that women were having babies long after we, as humans, would be dead.  I am also in love with the beauty of how God woke up one day and said, "I think I will build a world this week.  That will be my project."  And then He did it.  I just want to clean out my pantry.  Or maybe wash, dry, AND fold the laundry all in one day!  Can we as humans really ever grasp what He did, or will we always read that story like it just is what it is.  Kind of like the story of Jesus' birth and how it is just the story we are told and we regurgitate it like a bedtime story.  First there was emptiness, then, BOOM! There is a universe!  Good night!

I cleaned out my freezer yesterday.  I know it not creating the universe, but it is a start on my daily project, daily accomplishment goal!

Also, got some great meat at Save-a-Lot on BIG sale.  I also got a food saver for Christmas from our friend Ralfie.  He rocks!  That item rocks!!!  Saves room AND food!!!

-Mike bowling with Madison as if she was a pro!!
-A pork roast with apples that I found to be absolutely delicious.
-Rocking Mackenzie in the middle of the night.  She is very sick right now and I just saw how much love I truly have for her in the wee hours of the morning.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year! Where are you heading?

It is the time of the year for reflecting and then moving forward.  Reflecting.  Check.  Moving forward.  In progress.

The calm before the storm

I have never been one for making New Year's Resolutions.  I am still not.  I am one for evaluating what I have accomplished in the past, learning from it, and DECIDING (since I know I can can do that) what I will do with what I have learned.  My faith in God tells me that I do not need to worry that I will end the year better than I was when I started it.  The evaluation of what is better is up for human interpretation but sometimes when things are worse, you are actually better!  Sooooooooo, I have evaluated that I am still poor in the area of organization but have made some huge strides in that area since beginning a full home school year and having a second child.  I am also lacking in the area of focus which would be very helpful in organizing things.  I decided I am going to list only a few small projects each week to accomplish.

The first week of January, I am doing my pantry and kitchen cabinets to prepare for the stocking up of more food I am doing.  I am also planning the coming 4 weeks of lesson plans for Madi.  I will also be writing my blog more often as I am going to blog about Dave Ramsey and my weekly projects.  The biggest challenge I am embarking in is a "Read the Bible in 90 Days" journey.  You can join me and read my blogs about it.  It would be great to open up some lines of discussion!   I am asking anyone who reads this blog to hold me accountable for what I tell you I am doing.  Feel free to do some projects along with me and lets chat about them!

Our New Year's was pretty low key.  Madi, Mackenzie and I went to visit grandma and Pop-Pop for dinner on New Year's  Eve.  She was supposed to have a sleep over.  Didn't quite work out.  Madi still loves us too much to stay away!  My parent were so sweet in planning a fun dinner and New Year's party for just us Sawyer girls complete with a rubber ball drop!  Love my parents!  Mike's sister got engaged was was great news in our family.  I was on the couch at midnight with ice cream while Mike was at work on the phone with me.  Not that exciting, but he came home at 2 and we stayed awake for a while to ring in the New Year together.  We have great plans for this year and we are looking forward in such a great way to the things we were meant to do with ourselves.  Nothing like feeling like we are on a great path!

I would love to know what some of your ideas and goals are about the coming year.  I do not really refer to them as resolutions as growth is a constant process.  It just so happens, we review ourselves best at the changing of the calendar!

Is it possible that my kitchen was actually UNDERNEATH the Christmas mess??

-Madison still loving to be with mommy and at home so much.
-Mackenzie grasping Mike's shirt saying, "Bye-Bye" and pointing to me.  She loves her Daddy!
-Mike coming home to ring in the New Year and staying up late with me so we could act like we were young!  (Paying for it now!!)
-Fireworks with my parents and my girls for a very special New Year's party planned out very well by a loving and perfect grandma and pop-pop.

Where is it that I want to go this year??  Only God knows, but it is going to make me better no matter where it is!