Friday, November 25, 2011

Counting My Blessings

It's hard to believe that the holiday season is already fully underway.  Yesterday, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving, complete with lots of yummy food and sweet fellowship with family and friends.  I have to say that I have really been blessed to see how so many people on the social networking sites have made a point of daily sharing the things that they are thankful for.

The list is endless...everything from their friends and families, to their favorite pair of shoes!  Isn't it interesting how this particular holiday causes introspection, and the desire to share with others how the Lord has blessed our lives?  I, personally, think that it's fantastic.  Mainly because I needed the reminder.  Too often I find myself getting caught up in the busyness (and occasional frustrations) in my life. My mind goes from one task to the next, rarely slowing down to appreciate the glimpses of sunshine that the Lord has infused in my day.  It shouldn't take a national holiday to remind me to give thanks!

I love how God loves me enough to prod my heart back toward the narrow path that He has set before me, to allow me to go through the growing pains that will cause me to more closely reflect His character.  So, starting now, I am purposing to take time each day to give replace the grumbling with gratefulness.  I know that it won't be easy.  Honestly, for me, change rarely is. But I know that it is something that I need to do.  Not because it will make the Lord love me more, or because it will make me better than anyone else.  (Neither of which are even possible!)  I'm just praying that it will help me be a better version of myself.  That it will make me see more clearly how truly blessed I am.  And that, little by little, it will help conform me into the image of Christ.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; 
His love endures forever."  
Psalm 107:1

And for this journey, no matter how easy or difficult, I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coupon Crazy Momma

Well, I've really done it.  I have finally joined the throngs of happy homemakers who coupon.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to get into it.  I think it just seemed too overwhelming.  Trying to figure out how to juggle the sales with the coupons available in the paper, and then arranging it all for the best prices...WHEW!!  Who knew that saving money was so much work?! 

I'm still trying to decide how to keep all of those coupons organized and orderly.  I keep wondering "How should they be date or insert?  By the month you get them in the paper, or by the expiration date?  Or how about by the type of item?"  Yep.  You guessed it.  I am one of those annoying people that is more than just a little bit OCD.  I know.  It's a sickness.  But my Prince Charming calls it a beautiful I am pretty sure I won't be getting any psychological help anytime soon!  

I'll be honest...I'm still a bit overwhelmed by it all.  But I made the decision that I needed to push through the frustrations (and frequent feelings of inadequacy...probably brought on by those "get $1000 worth of goods for $4.27" homemakers), so I can be a good steward of the means the Lord provides our family.  I know I'll make mistakes.  I probably already have, and I just got started today!  I haven't figured it all out yet, and I know that I'll never be the perfect shopper, but saving some cash does feel pretty good.  :)

So, what's the verdict?  Well, on our first day shopping with coupons, we saved over $200!  It isn't as much as I hope to save in the future, but I'm still on the upward slope of that coupon shopping learning curve.  But I have to say I think that amount is well worth the frustration of wading through all of those inserts, don't you? 

What about you?  Do you use coupons when you shop?  What other frugal ideas do you like to use to bless your family (and others)?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Unfailing Love

As I sit on my sofa, blissfully surfing my favorite blogs on my laptop, I am bombarded with images of love.  Of course, Valentine's Day is upon us, so as you can imagine...romantic images abound.  Whether it is the depiction of an adoring glance across a crowded room, a romantic table for two, or a velvet box with a diamond studded halo inside, all of these things cause me to focus on what love really is.

I could try to come up with lines of beautiful words to express my findings, but I have no need when the perfect poetic expression already exists.  It's in the Bible...the greatest love letter ever written.

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self‑seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails."  
1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 8

It may be difficult to imagine, but this love is not only a possibility, but it is a reality.  The truest embodiment of this love is in the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  You may have heard of this Bible verse:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3: 16

This verse in itself is the clearest sign of what real love is!  But I hope you won't stop there.  I hope you will continue reading:

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
John 3: 17-21

What an amazing love!  It is the most beautiful kind of love...a love that seeks, a love that saves. Tonight, as I am overwhelmed by His love for us all, I leave you with this final verse:

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  John 15: 13

And so He did.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Scene Changes

Have you ever watched a movie, and upon the completion of a pivotal sequence of events, the scene suddenly changes...and you see the primary character further along in his life, maybe even years later?  Well, tonight I feel like I have just watched that movie again.  But instead of some Hollywood actress playing the lead, this time it was our little girl in the title role. 

Our little girl.  I have this picture in my mind of my sweet child of two, hugging her baby brother while leaning over his infant car seat.  I see her at six dancing across the stage during her ballet recital, dressed up like a dalmatian puppy (wearing a headband with floppy, spotted ears).  I see her drinking her milkshake the day she got braces, her eleven year old mouth full of shiny wires and rubber bands.  I see her at fourteen deciding that she wanted to be baptized, because she wanted everyone to know how much she loved Jesus.  I see her at our church at  seventeen, when she got her first class of three year-old darlings to teach on her own.  And I can see her at eighteen, an accomplished graduate from our little home school.

Well, tonight I have had a new vision of my sweet girl the way she is today...a beautiful young woman, with a heart completely in love with her Savior, willing to step out of her comfort zone to be the leader the Lord is calling her to be.  For over two years now, she has felt the leading of the Holy Spirit, lovingly urging her to lead a ladies' Bible study in our home.  Tonight, after much preparation and prayer, the group met for the first time.  It was truly a milestone.  The child that I loved and nurtured when she was so small, has grown up into the young woman I love and admire today.  She wants to be like Jesus, and more and more I see His face reflected in her own.

I want to be just like her when I grow up...