Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Fergalicious Feet

When it comes to fashion, I'm usually pretty plain.

Or as my sisters call it.....Classic.

It's their nice way of telling me I'm boring.

The nice thing about it is that my clothes can last me years because they don't go out of style very quickly.

This fall I decided that I wanted a pair of skinny jeans and a tall brown pair of boots. You know since skinny jeans have been around for about 4 years now, I figured it wasn't a fad and I could join in. Besides, I have skinny legs, I might as well embrace this fashion trend.

Of course a couple months after I got my brown boots I noticed that the buckle was ripping the leather. So I brought them back to the store.

I won't bore you with the details (since I've bored you enough already) but last Monday I finally got a gift card in the mail to go buy a new pair. If you haven't noticed, this is not prime boot buying season. There is barely anything left because all the sandals are starting to come out.

So armed with my best worst shoe shopping partner ever, Isaac, we set off in search of a new pair. I tried on many pairs but none fit just right. Finally, I found a pair in the clearance section that would do and they were way cheaper than my first pair. Which means I get to go back later and buy another pair of shoes. Bonus!

We headed up to the register and as I stood in line, I looked at the box.

Fergalicious by Fergie.

I almost went and put them back. This plain jane can not be wearing Fergalicious shoes! But the clearance price was so good, so I went against my better judgement and got them.

I now have Fergalicious feet and if you see me out and about some time wearing tall brown boots and I randomly start busting out in awesome dance know that those are my new Fergalicious feet. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Family of Eucharisteo

Church, God, Jesus, Mom and Dad, Brothers and Sisters, cousins, that the weather is warm, our house, my bed, putting covers on the kids at night.

These are a few things that you will find on the lists of Eucharisteo (Thanksgiving) on the wall in our kitchen.

This past week, we became of a family of Joy Seekers as my husband and children started their list of 1000 Gifts.

Together we share our gratitude and seek joy. I love to see the joy on every one's faces as they read what the others wrote. I love to see their excitement each day to write on their list. I love that together we find joy in God and how He has blessed us.

488 ~ 2 boys that sneak out of their room to give their mom one more hug and kiss before bed

489 ~ Family game of Mario Kart

490 ~ chicken on the grill

491 ~ flowers

492 ~ time at McDonald's with Amanda

493 ~ cleaning up the basement with Brad

494 ~ praying with the kids before they head off to school

495 ~ sun shining and snow melting

496 ~ a good helper at the store while running errands

497 ~ the smell of fresh air on kids after playing outside

498 ~ dinner and Mario Kart with Brad

499 ~ A family counting blessings together and being joy seekers

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Winner!

Thanks so much for all your entries this week. I loved hearing what you are all thankful for! I wish I could give you all a copy of the book but if you didn't win, I encourage you to buy your own copy. It truly is a very good book.

I used to figure out the winner.

And the winner is Comment #3.

I am thankful for Godly teachers at my sons school.

Congratulations Nikki! I hope you enjoy the book!

Friday, February 18, 2011


Since I wrote about Stewardship last week, and part of being a good steward is giving, I figured that this would be the next logical place to go. I'll be honest, I don't really feel qualified to write on this subject since I am not naturally a giver. But God has been changing my heart in this area lately and I'm slowly learning and changing. My husband is a natural giver, it is his spiritual gift, and I have learned a lot from him. As I've done research on this subject, I've also learned a lot!

Before I go any further, I'd like to share what Larry Burkett writes on Giving in his book The Word on Finances.

Giving should be an outward, material expression of a deep spiritual commitment, an indication of a willing and obedient heart. We should give out of grateful hearts in an attitude of joy. Sacrificial giving is a way to honor God, but it should be the result of a good attitude.

There are 3 basic levels of giving.

1 ~ The Tithe, which means 1/10th. This is the minimum that we should give and the giving of our first fruits. We should be tithing on our Gross income, inheritances, profit made on the sale of a house. Basically, any money that we make. Malachi 3:10 says,"Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house." The storehouse here would be the equivalent of today's church. So, we should give our tithe to the church. There are many verses that speak of tithing. Here are just a few of them. Gen. 4:3-4, Exodus 34:19, Deut. 18:4, Numbers 18:12-13, Nehemiah 10:37-39, Prov. 3:9,10

2 ~ The Offering or Gift. This is what we give above and beyond our tithe to help other people or other organizations. Here are just a few Scriptures that talk about gifts. Exodus 35:5, Ezra 1:6, Ezra 2:69, Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9:7.

3 ~ Sacrificial Giving. This is when one gives to the point that they give up things that they want or need in order to help others that have greater needs. It's when you give as the widow gave in Luke 12.

The amount of proof texts that Larry Burkett sites when it comes to giving is unbelievable. Almost 80 pages worth! There is no question that we are called to give, to give generously, and to give cheerfully. Yes, this is going to look different for everyone. Especially since God gives to everyone differently. But when we remember that it is all His, it's easy to want to give instead of just keep it for our own selfish interests.

As a Christian woman, I often look to the Proverbs 31 woman for guidance in who I should be. In verse 20 we find that this model of a Christian woman, "opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy."

"Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:7-11

Some of my favorite stories of sacrificial giving are the ones where people did just this, they tested God.

I remember about a year ago, hearing a man on the radio tell how much he made and that someone had challenged him to give the next year just as much as he made. That year he continued living the same exact lifestyle that he was living and was able to give that same amount away. The next year he increased his giving and he continued every year after that. There was always enough money to keep his lifestyle the same but to give more.

God promises to bless us as we give generously, from our heart. Of course our attitude of 'giving to get' should not be one of selfishness but of 'giving to get' so we can then in turn can continue to give more.

Praise God for all that He has blessed us with and may we have grateful hearts that desire to give back to Him.

My Other Posts on Finances:

What Led Our Family to Budgeting

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lunch Dates

Last summer Brad and I started having one on one dates with our kids but it kind of got pushed aside this fall when he was working two jobs.

This month we started them up again. Last week I got to enjoy lunch at Chili's with Alex. (Thanks to kids eat free Tuesdays in February.) Alex even picked out my clothes so that we would be dressed alike.

And Today I got to enjoy lunch at McDonald's with Amanda. She got a Happy Meal, which is a real treat. And if you have more than a couple kids, you know what I'm talking about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Giveaway!

On July 15, 2009 I started my list of 1000 gifts and have had 35 posts with 487 items of gratitude and my list continues to grow. I can truly say that through doing this I see the world around me in a different light. I notice the little moments in life that just seem to pass us by, I notice the little gifts that we forget to thank God for and I feel joy in those moments.

Ann Voskamp over at A Holy Experience has encouraged hundreds, maybe even thousands to begin their list of 1000 gifts.

She has also written a book entitled One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. As soon as it came out I was so excited to buy it. Last week I received my copy in the mail, along with a couple extra copies, and I would love to share one with one of you!

I am about half-way through Ann's book and I can tell you it is definitely life changing! Her words encourage to seek God in everything and through thanksgiving you will find joy.

If you would like to be a joy seeker, I invite you to leave a comment below telling me one thing you are thankful for. And to give you more chances to win, I will let you leave up to 3 comments with items of gratitude. If you want to share more than 3 items, please do, just leave it in 3 comments.

I will leave the giveaway open through Friday and will then pick a winner using So come back on Saturday to see if you have won.

If you would like to learn more about Ann's book you can go to her blog over at A Holy Experience or you can head over to incourage and join the book club that is currently discussing her book.

* If you are leaving a comment Anonymously - please sign your name. Thank you!

Friday, February 11, 2011


As I began researching what the Bible had to say on money I was brought to probably one of the best books on this subject. The Word on Finances by Larry Burkett. Larry went through the Bible and found every reference to finances and then organized them by topic. He found over 1000 references--second only to the subject of Love.

I don't know about you, but this tells me that God knew what an idol we would make out of our money, that He needed to address it A LOT!

As I continued my research, there are just so many topics to cover and I just wasn't sure where to go. But I really felt that before we deal with any other sub-topic, we first should look at God's role when it comes to money and our role. This led me to stewardship.

What is a steward?

A steward is in essence "a manager". He is a person that manages another's property or financial affairs.

Stewardship would then be the verb form of this. To act or serve as a steward.

I'd like to share with you what Larry Burkett writes on Stewardship.

The key to understanding God's will in finances is to have the proper understanding of stewardship. A steward is one who manages another's property. We are merely stewards of God's property while we are on earth. He can choose to entrust us with much or as little as He desires, but in no case will we ever take ownership.

Quite often the demonstration of our stewardship is not how much we give but how we react when there is not much to give. We cannot experience peace in the area of finances until we have surrendered total control of this area to God and have accepted the role of steward.

So what does this mean to us as Christians?

The first thing we need to understand is that everything is God's. I Chronicles 29:11 reminds us of this.

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.

He has entrusted to us everything that we have. All our wealth. Our wealth is not just our money, it is everything. In Genesis 13, we see that Abraham's wealth not only consisted of his silver and gold, but also included his livestock. In Joshua 17 we see that the allotment of land that a man had was his wealth.

How do you view your things? Are you the owner or are you the steward? When we truly recognize that God is the owner and we are the steward or manager, our spending will change. When we view everything we have as God's possession, we will want to use our money in a way that is pleasing to Him and not to ourselves, especially since we know that one day we will have to give an account to Him for our managerial skills.

Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:19

When I look at these verses and so many more, it reminds me of what a huge responsibility Brad and I have when it comes to our families finances.

Seek His Kingdom First

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:19-21,24,33

When you look at your budget, what does it tell you? Where does it tell you that your heart is? Does it tell you that you are seeking the kingdom of God or the god of materialism? Is God pleased with you as a steward?

As American Christians it is so easy to get sucked into materialism, it is all around us. But the greatest investment we can ever make is to invest in God's kingdom and not the world around us. We must remember that it is not materials that are the problem, it is materialism which is a matter of the heart. A heart that is not focused on the things above.

I really liked what Woodrow Kroll had to say in his article God's Gift of Wealth over at Back to the Bible. (I highly recommend going to his site and reading the article in it's entirety.)

Don't treat what money you have, whether it's a little or a lot, as your own. Treat it as God's and it won't buy things you don't need. Treat it as God's and it won't rule your life. If you treat it as God's, you'll discover that it will go a lot further than it does now.

Everything you have is God's gift to you. What you do with everything God gives you is your gift to Him.

My prayer for all of you that have been following these posts is that you will completely surrender control of your finances to God. And that I will do that as well. I don't want you to think that I have it all figured out, I am a work in process as well and many of these areas that I will be writing about are daily struggles for me.

My other posts in this series:

What Led Our Family to Budgeting

Monday, February 7, 2011

I Will Praise You In This Storm

Tuesday morning I hopped into the car to run a couple quick errands before the big storm hit. As we took off down the street, Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns began playing on the radio, a favorite song of mine with a lot of meaning.

I laughed to myself that they were playing this right before the biggest snow storm in years was to hit.

Although this song is not referring to a snow storm but the storms of life, in the sense of snow storms.....this was a biggy. In the sense of storms of life, this is a small one.

As I was shoveling on Wednesday morning for what seemed like hours, I wanted to be complaining about my sore arms, my sore back and the fact that it felt like we were getting no where. As these thoughts came to my head, I was once again reminded of hearing this song the day before.

My attitude of complaining began to change to an attitude of gratitude.

"Yes, Lord. I WILL PRAISE YOU in this storm!"

I will praise You for the beauty of the snow.

I will praise You for the ability to be out there shoveling.

I will praise You for a husband that can be out there shoveling too.

I will praise You for the warm house I have to go into after I'm done.

478~ Thank You notes in the mail.

479~ snow boots

480~ homemade hot cocoa

481~ how mini marshmallows get all frothy in hot cocoa

482~ snow tunnels

483~ mounds of snow to sled down

484~ kind neighbors

485~ sore muscles after tons of shoveling

486~ piles of boots, coats, snow pants, hats, scarves, and mittens

487~ feet of snow

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blizzaster 2011

Here are a few pictures from the huge snowstorm we had this week.
I'm not sure how much we actually got, but it seems to be at least 2 feet.

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Led Our Family to Budgeting

Welcome to my series of posts on Money. If you didn't read my first post, you can go here to read it.

I have to admit, I am fairly new to the whole budgeting thing. I started after reading Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover a little over 2 years ago. How did I get to the point of reading this book? Well, I'm glad you asked.

I remember going through premarital counseling and we were asked to figure out a budget. So, we did. We really had no clue what our bills would be, so we roughly figured something out and I did not like what I saw. We didn't have enough money.

I decided right then and there I didn't really like the idea of budgeting.

It always worked out for us though. We just made sure we didn't spend more than we had. I married a very smart man that always took care of putting money in savings and putting money aside for retirement. After that, we pretty much spent how we wanted to.

Looking back now, I want to kick myself! If only I knew then what I know now. We most likely would not have a mortgage payment. Just imagine!

This system worked out very well for us for many years.

Then we had kids. Things had to get a little tighter.

Then there was a change in careers. That's when it all went downhill.

About 4 years ago my husband decided to take a buyout from Ford Motor Company. I have to say if it weren't for this decision, I would not know now what God has led me to know about finances. So, for this I am very thankful. If you are not sure what the buyout was, Ford was paying many of their employees to leave. We took the money and ran!

The plan was for my husband to get into insurance, but in the mean time he took over his dad's painting business. Starting a business brings a large cut into your income until you can get things going. Thankfully we had a large savings account to help out.

We began to use our credit card for our expenses. This is where we ran into trouble.

We would pay ourselves what we could from the business and then write a check from our savings for whatever we couldn't cover. Some of you who are wise with your money are completely shaking your heads at me. Don't worry, I shake my head at myself.

Every month when I got the credit card bill it would bring on a fight of what expenses were on there. I was getting sick of the fighting and our savings account was slowly being depleted to the point where it shouldn't get any lower.

I had talked to a couple people that had read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and decided I needed to get this book. I read it and was convinced. Thankfully, my husband had taken a class through Crown Financial many years before and so he was on board immediately.

See, when it comes to finances I feel that Brad and I compliment each other. I am one that seems to look at today and my husband looks to the future. He had been busy planning for our future, but I wasn't doing a good job of taking care of the day to day.

I have been budgeting our money ever since and it has seriously changed my life.

If you have never budgeted or would like to learn more I would highly recommend Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover or any of his books. Although, I have only read the one. You can also check out his website. Many churches also offer his Financial Peace University classes.

Next week I hope to tackle the topic of what it means to be a steward.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Another Quick and Easy Meal

One thing I am trying to do this year that I have never done in the past, is meal plan. I try to sit down at the beginning of the week and just write down each day what I am going to make. I'm hoping this will help me out a little, since Brad is gone every night, to make things that there are leftovers for him the next day and for us eat a little bit better.

Last week I made another meal that is really easy, really quick and I think it's pretty delicious.

I tried to take a picture for you all but of course I had left my camera on and drained the battery. I was hungry at that point and was not about to wait for my battery to charge. Sorry.

Quick and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo

1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese (cubed)
3/4 c. Parmesan Cheese
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan stir together all ingredients. Keep stirring until blended well.

You can then add optional ingredients of chicken, broccoli or mushrooms.

Add fettuccine noodles prepared as directions on package. Toss lightly.

I really like the Buitoni Fettuccine noodles, which you can find in the refrigerated isle for about $2.50.  Occasionally they have coupons in the Sunday paper too. That's when I usually buy them!

There you go, it's that easy!