Wednesday, January 28, 2009
When I picked Aaron up this afternoon, I found an envelope, a note and a dollar in his basket.
It says on the outside: "To Aaron: You are a good friend."
On the inside: "Dear Aaron, I want to give you this card and doller sence you have kind of suckish cards."
Yes, you read that right. Some sweet? little kid feels sorry for my son's shabby Pokeman collection so he gave him a dollar to, I don't know...buy some cards that aren't suckish?
Well, I should probably just look at the bright side: at least that kid has compassion, right? :-)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
So I read it.
And I cried too. (But because it's good. REAL good.)
So go read it: I'll wait.
See? Wasn't that awesome? Tell me what you thought about it.
Because I seem to do all the talking around here. Now it's your turn! :-)
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Wow, Eli! You are so smart! How did you know that?
Because I can count.
Oh? How high can you count?
Can you count for me now?
No. I can count for you when I'm five.
When you're five?
Yes. Then I can count to 209 when I'm five.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
I know many of you just shrieked in fear at the mere sight of the word, but stick with me for a minute. For most of our marriage, Jeff and I have been incredibly blessed. God gave us times of great abundance, but He also gave us times that I can simply explain as "the fish and the loaves." God took what we had and made it stretch until our needs were met. God has been so faithful to care for us, and now we simply want to be sure that we are being the best stewards of that provision as we can.
I remembered that some friends of ours had gone through some kind of money management program, so I asked them what it was. Turns out it was "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey, and Susan went so far as to call it "life-changing." He was running a special on his website at the time, so I ordered the book for $10.
I couldn't read it fast enough! I so desperately wanted to be like one of the many families profiled in that book: debt-free, big savings account, and financially fit! Not that our own situation was dire or anything. We aren't buried under credit card debt. We're not losing our house to foreclosure. We just want to do better. We're pretty frugal most of the time, but we still had room for improvement: lots of it!
At first, Jeff was a little bit skeptical. Once I convinced him to read the book though, we were on the same page. Whew! Sometimes agreeing with your spouse about money is pretty tough, right?
The first step of Dave's plan (and most any good financial plan) is to establish a budget. Let me tell you, that is no simple task. It opens your eyes to where your money is going, but it does even more. It empowers you to tell your money where to go, instead of wondering where it all went.
Establishing a zero budget isn't easy, and living on it isn't either. I'm a by-the-book kind of girl, and I like it when things go according to plan.
So when we had a very cold December and our electricity bill was WAY more than we budgeted (and way more than it has ever been), I was discouraged. There will be setbacks like that, but if we're diligent, one day they won't seem nearly as daunting as they do now.
So, List Number Two is our Budget.
What about you? Do you live on a budget? Have any "tricks" to share? I'd love to hear about it!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Seriously! As 2008 faded, I started evaluating my life and what exactly I was doing with it. Jeff and I discussed some things too, and all these lists are a result of those discussions.
Mostly. Except for the first one. Which isn't really a list. At least, not yet. At the end of this year it will be a list numbering 1 to 24.
What's it a list of?
This one came after having a few discussions with my Father - my Heavenly Father.
After reading the Bible in a year, I knew that I needed to continue working on my relationship with God. I decided to dig deeper into the Bible in 2009, and as a result my Christmas list (there's another one!) reflected that plan: a concordance, a Bible dictionary, a Bible commentary, and a study Bible. (I should just be a career student!)
I can happily report that I got those books, and I am especially loving my NLT Study Bible. It rocks!!
Anyway, in conjunction with digging deeper, I need to apply what I learn more as well. My word for the year is "surrender," and I'm trying very hard to get out of the way and let God do with me what He has planned, instead of what I had planned.
Application is sometimes where I hit a stumbling block. Application is easier when God's word is internalized. When you know what God wants you to do, it's easier to actually do.
Then along comes this great idea from one of my faves, Beth Moore: scripture memorization.
So, I will be memorizing two verses a month for the year with her and 3000 or so of her closest Siestas : 24 verses in all. You can unofficially "sign-up" on the LPM Blog.
The first verse on my list is this, which coincidentally goes ALL YEAR:
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less. John 3:30 (NLT)
New verses are chosen on the first and fifteenth of each month. Don't feel bad if you're just now hearing of this plan. Just jump in and start memorizing where you are right now!
Sweet little Beth has even made a video tutorial about scripture memorization techniques using the acrostic "RENEW." The video is here.
Verse number two?
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Then I'll tell you about List Number Two...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I'm afraid it is: I am now officially the mother of a teen aged driver.
How in the heck did that happen?!?!?!?!?
I am NOT old enough to say that!!!
But, as my loving husband likes to point out.......
APPARENTLY I AM. (sigh.)
Well, I'll just bet I get some good blog fodder out of this! :-)
Monday, January 12, 2009
Anyway, if you ever wondered what one felt like, it's pretty much like this:
Oh, don't forget to add in the blurry vision and the feeling like you're about to toss your cookies.
You're welcome for the visual.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
The beginning of a new year is always a time of reflection. We think back over the experiences of the last twelve months, and think ahead to the next. Something about changing the calendar gives us hope.
I told my husband that 2008 really wasn't all that. Nothing spectacular happened. No new house, promotions, or new babies (Thank the Lord for THAT one!) Nothing earth shattering. No big milestones. It was just an average year.
Or was it?
I almost felt convicted over making such a statement, and that got me thinking. What I discovered is that
- we had no major injuries or illnesses requiring medication, surgery or hospitalization
- we still have our home, and can still make the mortgage payment
- all of our cars are still running smoothly and are almost all paid off
- we still have three healthy boys
- I am still married, and still madly in love with my husband after almost nine years of marriage
- I still have a good-paying job
- we didn't lose any close family or friends
- and the list could continue if I really wanted to think about it...
So why did I think last year was just so-so?
Well, one was perspective. Now I realize how abundantly I was blessed in 2008. But at the same time, I still feel like 2008 could have been more.
What did I do for the kingdom of God? Did I make a difference? Did I grow spiritually? Did I do anything to make sure one day I hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant?"
Oh. That's where I feel kinda flat. I didn't lead a small group. I didn't write nearly as often (or as deeply) as I would have liked. I didn't share the gospel enough. Didn't teach my children enough. Was selfish often. Was negative alot. THAT list could go on and on, too!
Is it possible that God used me in ways that I don't even realize? Yes, and He probably did. But that doesn't change the fact that my nature likes to see tangible, measurable results. Like when you make a list, and can mark things off as they're completed.
Wait. Did I say list?
Why yes, yes I did. And I'll be seeing lots of them this year! Pretty soon I'm going to need a list to keep up with all my lists.
Over the next few days, I'll be sharing the areas I want to improve this year. I don't call them resolutions. Plans? Goals? Maybe. Or something cheesy like "How to Shine in 2009!"
(Ugh. Somebody stop me!)
Anyway, in the meantime, now that we're 11 days into 2009, what kinds of things are you striving for this year?
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Oh. (Blink. Blink.)
At least I know he was listening in class...
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
So, hi. I may need to re-introduce myself since I've been away so long.
I'm Beth. :-)
I really had not intended for the blog to be quiet this long. Life just kinda happens, doesn't it? (Seriously. I started writing this post about five hours ago. FIVE HOURS, people!) I had a nice 2008 review post in my head, but it obviously never materialized. Then I had a Welcome 2009 Post that didn't show up, either.
So here I am at January 4th already. Now what?
Well, whatever I want. Because it's my blog.
So, I'm going to start with a list of resolutions that I didn't write.
Because they're better than mine would be. And it gives you an idea of what that "Welcome 2009" post might have looked like. If I had time to write it.
Check out "5 Resolutions to Keep..."