Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The J.O.Y of Christmas...

So I just realized that Christmas is only nine weeks away! Yay, it will be so fun this year with the boys. All the new traditions that we get to create and pass on to them! What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children about so much...during the holidays. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas time. The traditions, being with family, the smells, when my mom puts a fire in the fireplace, Christmas eve service, Christmas carols, having a full belly...wow, I'm blessed! Okay, so back to October...it's not even Halloween yet and I just ran away to Christmas! Anyway, the reason for this post is to pass on something lovely that I read on, of course, diaperswappers the other day.

A mom posted (in a thread about saving money at Christmas time) that her and her husband taught their children about the J.O.Y of Christmas. They get three gifts (as Jesus did from the wisemen) one for J-Jesus (a Bible, devotional, cross, etc.), one for O-Others (something that they can do with others ie; board game, etc.) and one for Y-Yourself (a personal gift for them to enjoy). Is this a cool idea or what? I had heard about the three gift idea before...but I love this JOY idea. I think we will try and implement this with the boys. I hope some of you find this as wonderful as I do...maybe we can help our children find the true meaning of Christmas.

I just want to say a few more things as we move in to the holiday shopping season. Our family decided about two years ago to stop buying gifts for the adults in the family. Do you know what a relief this has been to everyone involved. No more racking our brains trying to buy the perfect gift for someone who has everything that they need anyway. It has taken so much stress out of the holidays. It saves us money, time & energy...what a lovely thing. But I think reducing the amount of gifts that you give and instead focusing on spending time with each other is such a blessing. So take the step, it can be uncomfortable, but ask your loved one to agree with you this season to have dinner together, or go some where special together, instead of exchanging gifts. Most people are truly relieved and it makes the holidays so much more enjoyable!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Life has taught me that the Bible is true. Which I knew...but sometimes seeing is believing. I was raised (reared:)) that tithing was what you are supposed to do. The Bible says that 10% of your first fruits should be given back to God. So that is what I have always done.

With that being said, I have never gone without. I have never been hungry, without clothes or shelter...and I have never had a need that hasn't been met. This has taught me that the Lord is faithful and that He blesses us when we are obedient.

So if you are reading this and are in financial troubles, please consider tithing. It may be very difficult at first and a huge sacrifice...but I promise that it will change your life. You will not only see a difference in your finances, but something miraculous happens when you surrender your money to Him.

They say that you can see what is important to a person by their checkbook (or credit card statement). I think it is important to make tithing our first priority when we receive money. I used to think it was just for our income but the Bible does say from our "first fruits". I believe that it means any money that comes in to our lives. Which means from tax refunds, gifts, sales on Ebay, etc. This may sound extreme, but when you look at it from the big picture it seems pretty simple.

We would have nothing without God. Everything we have is because He allows us to wake up everyday and breathe. We would have no job, house, car...health, if He didn't choose to give it to us. I think the least we can do is give a little bit back to Him.

So I would like to challenge you to try it. You may be thinking "I can't even make my bills now, how can I write a check for tithe?". But you will see Him work. He will amaze you at how He decides to provide for you. Try it! Just for a month...I challenge you! Then make sure you tell others of how He has worked a miracle in your life.

Blessings to you!

drinking from plastic...better alternative!

This doesn't seem natural to me! I do not like drinking from plastic and have began thinking about how I can be more responsible in this area. Especially with my little ones and sippy cups. I bought a used stainless steel portable cup from a garage sale awhile back...but I put it in the dishwasher and ruined it. Anyway, I am too cheap to buy a $10 cup from the store (that I am not sure how long it will last)...so I am still drinking from plastic portables. But, I ran across these online (diaperswappers.com) the other day http://www.kleankanteen.com/ . People there just rave about them. They seem very nice and sturdy...and they even have some with sippy lids! So now I am trying to find mamas to trade with me on diaperswappers so that I don't have to actually spend $ on them! How cheap am I?! No one seems to want to part with them...so I may try to sell some stuff to raise the $. Anyway, food for thought! I think we drink from and eat off of plastic too much! It can't be good for us.

the library...books, magazines, dvds, classes

I must tell you that the library is one of my favorite places to go! I really enjoy reading both magazines and books. My favorite magazines are Real Simple, Mother Earth News & Country Home. I enjoy non fiction books mostly and focus the majority of the time on organizing, home keeping, making things, simple living, and finding peace. The library has so much to offer and one of the best things is that it is all free!
Some of the wonderful things about the libray to our family are as follows; being able to order books & movies online and then pick them up at our convenience, requesting newly released movies and then waiting for the library to email you when they are in, and adult and children's classes on a variety of interesting topics . My oldest son loves to pick out an animal or holiday and then go find a book or movie that relates to it. He thinks it is so wonderful that he can borrow so many books. I just enjoyed a very relaxing evening making hand milled soap at my local library. A local mom brought in her homemade soap base, essential oils, dried flowers and molds and taught us how to make our own hand milled soap. The soaps that I made are shown above. I made a lavender, Eucalyptus and an orange scented soap. They smell heavenly! Can you believe the library offered this class totally free? They are soon offering basket weaving, jewelry making and scrapbooking classes for adults. I will take my oldest next week to a pumpkin painting night for kids. How fun!
With a little patience (waiting on the new release list for your movie to come in) you can get new movies for free, you can learn to make handmade goodies and you can teach your children how wonderful reading can be! The library is a wonderful resource. I have saved at least $60 a year on just borrowing magazines from the library. Magazine subscriptions add up quickly! So before you go to buy a book, order a magazine subscription or pay to take a class, check with your local library. When I was at the soap class the representative from the library was asking for ideas for other classes that we might have interest in. So they are even open to suggestions of what you may want to learn. Enjoy life...and take time to read!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Saving for a rainy day

My four year old found a dime in the parking lot at the grocery store the other day. Immediately he wanted to know what he could buy with that ten cents. I told him I thought he should put it in his new bank (my dad just got him this really cool oil filter bank) and save it. He only sees the blow pops he could buy with it! I'm trying to teach him about giving some, saving some and spending some. That is a huge concept for a four year old to grasp!

Being in real estate has been such an eye opener in regards to saving for a rainy day. I could have three closings this month, and then no closings for two months. You just never know. I live by God's grace, working hard (and also by having an over-achieving husband who works six days a week) and knowing that He will take care of us. When I was first in the business ( I have been in ten years), I would have my commission check spent before I even had my closing. Sometimes my expected closing was delayed, or didn't happen at all, but that credit card bill was still due. I now live by what I have in my hand and do not spend beyond what I already have.

Saving for a rainy day frees you of so much worry. You know that if an unexpected expense comes up, things will be fine. It frees you to think about other things and to enjoy a peace in your life. Without that safety net, life can be overwhelming. For many years we lived way above our means, and had nothing saved. It was a very uneasy way of living. I felt very insecure and worried. I would rather give up the little things, and even some big things, to have an emergency fund. The peace of mind that it offers is worth a lot more to me than the short-lived happy feelings that the other item would bring.

Saving can seem painful at times, but it is so worth it in the long run!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Today I feel especially thankful for the faithful friends in my life. I feel blessed to have many people in my life that love and support me...and what a blessing they are! I'm thankful for genuine, trusting, honest people who share their lives with me. I got to see an old friend the other day and it took me back many years. To a younger me, who was really influenced by how they treated me. People can have a huge impact on us. How they treat us, and make us feel. How they talk to us and respect us. This makes you feel important and respected, loved and cherished. I feel blessed to have been surrounded by people in my life that love me and have nurtured me. Most of who I am today is based on relationships that I have been involved in, in the past.

These thoughts made me overly aware that my boys are being molded in to the men they will be later in life, now. I heard someone say the other day that parents need to be the people that they want their kids to be. Whether I am ready or not, I am helping to form my boys image of themselves, their trust in others, their work ethic, outlook on life, regard for others, ability to handle money, ability to trust in God, etc. I have a huge job!

But what an opportunity! To know that we have the ability to love others fully and to help them to feel cherished and appreciated, respected and adored. I felt that way as a child. I am so thankful for people in my life that took the time to play with me, love on me, talk to me, listen to me, and treat me like I was the only person in the room. That may sound snobby, but I think we need that at times...to be made to feel like we are the only person in the room...or on the earth for that matter. Everyone wants to feel special and loved...even boys and men, I don't care what they say! :)

So let's spread the love, invest in each other and cherish one another! Oh, what fun!