Monday, May 31, 2010

Ways God Provides!

I know that my blogs are usually on money saving tips, but this month as I was preparing to write this blog, God has been challenging me to journal ways He provides.

When I have taught "Money Saving Tips for Moms," I usually teach on topics like: couponing, bartering, yard sales, clearance shopping, making a grocery list before shopping, and telling others your needs (this includes GOD!)

It is so easy for us to get caught up in saying: "look how nice that person was," "look what a great bargain I found," or " I was able to....." You can fill in the blanks, but the truth is: God is the GREAT PROVIDER! He will meet all of your needs, more than you can ever imagine. So this month, I would just like to challenge you to journal how God meets your needs and sometimes even surprises you with WANTS. He is the best Father anyone could ever have, and I am sure He is smiling when He sees you smile.

When I teach classes on this topic, and the section of "Tell Others Your Needs," I often talk about how God doesn't want us to carry our burdens alone, (not that He wants us whining to others,) but He wants us trusting in Him. Sometimes God will say, "yes," sometimes "no," and sometimes "wait." Sometimes He provides Himself, and sometimes He uses others to provide for us. But always, He says: make your request known to Him. He already knows what your needs and wants are, He just wants you to tell Him, and trust Him to provide.

So..... I challenge you to give all of your finances to God, and trust Him to provide for your needs. He will, and I bet He will even provide your wants occasionally. Think about it, don't we do that with our own children sometimes? How much more does He love us, than we are capable of loving them.

On a final note, I will tell you of a few occasions, that I have kept track of over the years, where God has provided just what I have needed, and even sometimes my wants. He loves me so.... and He loves you too. Had I not journaled these moments, I might not remember them today. I might have also just looked at the situations and said... What a nice lady, or how lucky I am. Not "look how amazing my God is.... He is the great provider!"

1) Early in our marriage, I had decided to be a "stay at home mom." Money was very tight. We were having to go through Wendy's after church, (no time to go home and eat.) Our oldest son Drew, was maybe 4 at the time and wanted a kid's meal. We told him that we didn't have enough money that day, and were going to eat off of the $1 menu. He was disappointed, (he really just wanted the toy,) but we all sat and ate and enjoyed our meal.
About 3/4 of the way through our meal, a lady came across the room with a kids meal toy in hand, and said, "Excuse me, I wasn't very hungry today, and I ordered a kid's meal. I don't want the toy, and wondered if it would be okay to give it to your little boy?" I wanted to cry, because, I knew that God provided that toy... the lady's willingness, and maybe her obedience, but God's provision.

2) Around the same time, we were not sure how we were going to pay all of our bills, and get any Christmas presents for our son too. We didn't want to use credit cards, but didn't want him to do without. We received a strange phone call saying, " Open your front door, and look outside!" At the time, we were high school teachers, so we were a little nervous, but upon looking, we saw a brown lunch bag. My husband opened the door, we looked inside, and found a note with 100 $1 bills. The note read..."Don't spend your time trying to figure out who did this, just know that your family has been a blessing to ours, and enjoy! Merry Christmas!" Again, those people obeyed, and did not know of our Christmas conversations, but God provided just what we wanted. He is AMAZING!

3) Around the same time, we didn't not have enough money to pay all of our bills on this one paycheck. We were around $55 short. We received in the mail, a check for that exact amount. The letter said, "We sold our car, got more than we expected, received a blessing, and God told us to bless you. Hope that is okay." Again, they had no idea that that was just the amount we needed. God met our needs.

God will always meet your needs, if you are giving your first and best to Him. He tells us that in Malachi 3. He is the great provider. With all of the couponing tips that I offer, my greatest tip, is to tithe to Him, tell Him all of your needs, (even though He already knows,) and trust in Him. He loves you enough to provide, love Him enough to journal, so that one day, You can share your story with others just like this.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Key Verse: “If you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:4 NIV)

“It’s my treasure,” I said convincingly to my Kindergarten teacher. Wearing a worthless necklace of plastic beads around my neck, I pretended I was wearing priceless jewels. Though the strand was nothing more than a prize from a gumball machine, to me, it was as as precious as rubies. With a wild imagination and an innocent heart, I explained that my necklace was really part of a collection of exquisite family jewels. Of course, my teacher knew better, as she indulged my young imagination for the moment. And, when she called my mother to tell her of our good fortune, they both found my claim to riches be innocently amusing. After all, my harmless claim was nothing more than a little girl’s young infatuation with treasure.

Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to outgrow our fanciful desire for all that glitters in this life. Daily, we seem to be bombarded by ads that tempt us with the empty treasures of this world. Luxurious cars. Lavish homes. Exquisite jewelry. It is easy to identify the treasures in our midst. And yet, like my plastic beads, these distractions are nothing more than worthless trinkets that leave our spirits empty and dissatisfied. No real worth can be found in chasing after earthly treasures. Still, for many of us, we fill our days in pursuit after the eternally worthless.

Consequently, we come away with empty hearts as we chase after the treasures of this world. More is never enough. A house can always be bigger. A car can always be better. All that glitters does not glitter enough. It is a meaningless game of cat and mouse that robs us of contentment. For, “surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure.” (Job 20:20 NIV) Wealth will never bring us joy. In fact, God teaches His children that we are not “to put our hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put our hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV)

Certainly, we are not defined by our possessions. Nor will we find security in our finances. Instead, we, as Christians, are called to find our worth in Christ. It seems simple enough. However, in this modern world of marketing and commercialism it is a task growing ever more difficult for us all. Even so, we are assured that “the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 7:6 NIV)

Further, we are advised to “look where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34 NIV) If we are wise, we will value the things important to God as we honor Him daily with our earthly treasures. Whether it be monetary gifts or our reserves of time, gifts, and talents, we each have treasure to lay at His feet.

Dear Father,
We are so amazed at your lavish provisions for your children. Truly you meet every need and know every desire. Still, the treasures of this world are such a distraction. Often, we get caught up in the meaningless pursuit of materialism. Forgive us for our ingratitude and give us hearts of contentment. Let us be generous with our gifts, our talents, and our resources that we may honor you with our treasures.

Reflection: What do you treasure?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

MOPS: the 3 P's

MOPS - Mothers of Preschoolers. This is an amazing organization that has made an incredible difference in my life! I have been a mom for 16 years as of May 4th of this year! I found MOPS in 1998 when my two older kids were 4 & 2. My church started an evening group for working moms! Then I rejoined MOPS in 2007 just before the birth of my 4th child. It was absolutely a life saver. I found myself suddenly surrounded by other women going thru the same things I was. They shared my same passions, struggles, joys  & worries!  Recently the MOPS group I lead had the great honor to hear from Tracey Yukich who was on Season 8 of the Biggest Loser. Tracey is a mom of 4 like me. She devoted her life to her kids and her home. Putting her own health, dreams and needs last. I can so relate to Tracey! She started her talk by telling us that she explained what MOPS was to her husband by saying that they are MOMS of Prestige, Power & Purpose. They are MOMS of Preschoolers. Wow! Too often I just consider myself a mom - but now I realise I am a MOM of Prestige,  MOM of Power & MOM of Purpose. I am a MOM of Prestige - God has gifted me and blessed me to be the mom of 4 great kids here on earth and allowed me the privilege to birth 3 babies into heaven before they were big enough for me to hold. I know that one day my family will be whole and together in heaven. I am a MOM of Power - power to raise great kids, power to influence them for good or for bad, power to protect them and the power to guide my kids.  I am a MOM of Purpose - I need to live my life on Purpose - otherwise the chaos will take over so I work to be purposeful in all I do.

This year our theme for MOPS was "Life Together on Planet Mom." I do feel like I landed on a whole new planet when I became a mom. I am so grateful I don't have to "do" life alone! I have other Moms that I can go to with my joys and my sorrows. I can help them when they are down and they are there for me when I am down. Matthew 18:20 says " Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."  I am so grateful that I have Mom friends that are there with and pray for me. I would encourage everyone reading this to make sure you have other Godly women in your life that will feed into you and you need to find others to feed into. We are commanded to do life together! So go out there and find other women and do life!

For more information on MOPS at FBC or other opportunities to gather with women go to, click on the the" ministries" tab, then "women" under "Adults".

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exercise and God

I do not like to sweat (at all).

For the majority of my life, I haven't had to exercise to stay a certain size or weight, so I haven't been overly athletic in my endeavors. As I said, I don't like to sweat (at all). Besides, unless I'm working out with someone, I find exercise to be quite boring. I might find a video I like for awhile, but then I've done it a few times and have memorized it enough that I could do the workout in my dreams. Or take the gym. I might enjoy working out on certain machines for a few days, but then they too grow boring as I listen to my music and stare at the seconds moving oh so slowly. Exercise is not a natural enjoyment for me. I truly have to commit to it and make it a discipline, or I will let weeks (months?) go by without having completed one actual workout.

As I think about it, I realize that I oftentimes don't like to sweat when it comes to my walk with Christ either. It can be pretty easy to "look the part" without putting in the effort: go to church, listen to Christian music, hang out with Christians, maybe even teach a Sunday school class. I'm finding more and more, though, that Christ did not die so that I could look the part. He did not die so that I could be comfortable.

Let's face it: when we exercise, sometimes it's not comfortable. For instance, I'm doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred right now, and there are many times during that DVD that I do not feel comfortable. In fact, there are times when I don't think I'm going to make it. I want to give up or "phone it in" as she says. But, I don't. I keep on because I have determined that I want to be in better shape, and I understand that there is work that comes with it. I cannot just sit and watch the video each night and get into shape. I have to do something.

Likewise, in our Christian walk, we cannot just idly stand by and watch someone else do the work and then grow and mature as God desires. Instead we have to "sweat." We are called to love our neighbors--every one of them. We are called to take care of widows and orphans. We are called to take care of the poor. We are called. Our calling does not involve sitting around saying, "Oh, I wish I could help, but there's just too much to be done and I'm just one person." To see change in our life (and the lives of those around us), to become more of who Christ wants us to be, we are to go and be the Church--wherever God leads us, whether it's with the single mom whose child is in the same class as your child or the man in the wheelchair who could use help getting his groceries in the car.

I can't promise it'll always be fun, but I honestly don't believe obedience is synonymous with fun. Sometimes you will likely want to quit and you may even feel the need to cry out at how hard it is....You may even sweat a little (or a lot). But, just like with a good workout, the results will come. The results will not be the same for everyone, but they will come.

So, how about it? Are you in for the workout of your life? No, not the 30 Day Shred--the ride of a lifetime that God has in store for you. It might be tough, but I promise you won't regret it.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Monday, May 17, 2010

86,400 Seconds in a Day

"But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come."
Mark 13:32-33

There is a song that I just haven't been able to get out of my brain lately. I thought I'd share it with you here. I have been hearing Kris Allen's "Live Like We're Dying" on the radio, and it has made quite an impression.
Sometimes we fall down and can't get back up
We're hiding behind skin that's too tough
How come we don't say "I love you" enough
'Til its too late, it's not too late
Our hearts are hungry for a food that won't come
We could make a feast from these crumbs
And we're all staring down the barrel of a gun
So if your life flashed before you
What would you wish that you had done

It makes such an impression, I think because it brings you back to the reality that all we are guaranteed is not even this day.. it is the very moment you are in. And it is so crucial to make each moment.. no, each second.. count.
I know many of us already have tendencies toward "mommy guilt" and I don't say this to add any more stress to anyone's day. Rather, I'd pray that we all take the advice passed along by my pastor this past Sunday, and "fire yourself from being the general manager of your universe."
Let go. Turn it all over to God, and He will always direct you in His paths. You don't have to stress and worry about every little thing that way. You will be focusing on the important and not the urgent.
Yeah.. we gotta start
Looking at the hand of the time we've been given here
This is all we got and we gotta start livin it
Every second counts on a clock that's tickin
Gotta live like we're dying
I didn't see "Extreme Home Makeover" last night, but I did hear from a friend that there was a great quote by a man who is dying of ALS. He said, "You can't worry about what's going to happen a year from now, or two years from now, because then you will lose the joy of today."
This is so true. We plan, and plan, and plan some more, always with the assumption that we've been given those days, those months, those years into the future. Meanwhile, this second, this day.. slips away. We forget how to live in the moment and thank God for each moment like it was our last.
We only got 86, 400 seconds in a day to
Turn it all around or throw it all away
Gotta tell 'em that we love 'em
While we've got the chance to say
Gotta live like we're dying...
If you are reading this, and you are a Christian.. we are adventurers together on this journey called Life. We are strangers, aliens.. only passing through this world.. on the way to our true Home. Make the journey count. If you are not, please consider these words from Scripture.. please don't delay. Make this day, this moment, count more than all others...
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."
--Mark 13:26-27
"Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-- whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If He comes suddenly, do not let Him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone, 'Watch!'" --Mark 13:35-37

Monday, May 10, 2010

How Do You Do Mother's Day?

Yesterday was Mother's Day and, at our church, Baby Dedication Day as well. Since we have a newborn, we participated in the dedication ceremony, which was fun and meaningful to us and, I presume, to the other 15 families involved. (Yes, it was somewhat of a cattle call.)

Mother's Day evokes such a wide range of emotions, depending on your circumstances:
Lost a mother? It hurts, perhaps with fond memories.
Love your mom/being a mom? It's fun!
Have young children? Smile and laugh (and belly laugh) at their handmade, creative gifts. Cry when they hug you and declare you are the best mommy in the world (you understand that's temporary, revocable when you deny them candy tomorrow).
Miss a prodigal child? Not such a fun "celebration."
Endured a difficult mother? It's a struggle to find the joy in the day.

Can't have children but want to? It's excruciating. You may be unmarried, you may struggle with infertility, or you may have lost a child through miscarriage or still birth. Infertility in particular seems more common than ever: 1 in 6 couples of childbearing age experience fertility problems, and 600,000 miscarriages occur in the US each year.

And though God has blessed me with four healthy, wonderful children, I've been part of those statistics in the past. Those experiences left me more grateful to God for the kids he did give me, more appreciative each time I met one for the very first time.

My friends have been posting some interesting blogs and articles about Mother's Day. Each of these is worth a read, and I encourage you to click on them for further reflection. You'll be the richer for it.

It's Mother's Day, Not Motherhood Day (moms often lose their identities)
Mother's Day Musings (by a mom who recently lost her 4-day old daughter)
Infertility and Mother's Day: Where Are the Mourners?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

How He Loves Us

"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 (NIV)

Everyday I am reminded of just how much Jesus loves me when I look at my little girl.  I often wonder how I could love her anymore than I do today then tomorrow comes and it is as if my love grows deeper each day.  I often think if I can love someone so much how much Christ really loves us.  I think how I would do anything for my little one and that is just what Christ wants to do for us.

Can you imagine your child falling down and needing your help to get up and you just walking away?  Our motherly instinct is to run to her and pick her up just like Christ wants to pick us up when we fall. 

Can you imagine your child hurting and not wanting to go put your arms around her and comfort her?  Anytime we are hurting Christ is there with open arms just waiting to comfort us.

Jesus loves us so much that he died for us so that we would have eternal life.  Have you accepted Christ into your life and received His gift of eternal life?  He wants to pick us up when we fall and he wants to comfort us when we hurt.  Are you turning to Him?  Are you letting Him pick you up when you fall and comfort you when you are hurting? 

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

Last month I mentioned that I would post an easy, tasty recipe for several post - so here is the recipe for "Tuna Casserole".  This is actually a recipe given to me by my mother-in-law so I do not know what cookbook that it came from.

Tuna Casserole

1 Can Tuna (6 1/2 oz)
1 1/2 cups uncooked small elbow noodles
1/2 cup onion (optional) I do not add the onion to mine
1 - 5 oz. can evaporated milk (I have used regular milk before and it has turned out fine)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
8 oz. bag of grated cheese
1/2 - 3/4 stick melted butter
1 tube of Ritz Crackers

Cook elbow noodles and drain (do not rinse)
While the noodles are cooking drain and rinse the tuna and open all your can goods
After you have drained the water from the noodles ADD:

Drained Tuna
Cream of Mushroom

Mix all the above in with the noodles and then place in a lightly greased casserole dish.

Crush the crackers into small pieces and mix with the melted butter. Spread the butter/cracker mix over the top of the casserole and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.