Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Plan B Kind of Day

It has been one of THOSE days. You know, where you start out with a great plan, then it all gets shot to pieces? My plan was to get some stuff done around the house after my appointment this morning at the Sandusky Craft Mall here in Michigan. It's a new craft mall, and we're considering selling there. My real day? It started out with my husband and children being super sweet and letting me know I could sleep in. John was taking the kids to school, and as I had packed lunches the night before, I didn't need to get up. In theory. Of course I couldn't just let well enough be. I had to make sure everyone had everything they needed and were out the door on time. I decided that I could sleep in until 8 and still do everything I wanted to get done before the appointment. But, I've been having trouble falling asleep. So, I fall asleep around 7:30 and get a phone call around 7:50. I mean, I'm normally up at that time so I don't mind calls then. I just hope that I made sense this morning. I finally get to my morning routine at around 8:30 cuz I just didn't want to get out of bed until then.

I start getting into my routine, and John calls. The truck has a flat, the tire is here with me, and I don't have time to get it to him before the meeting. It's 45 minutes in one direction, and his job is 45 the other direction. Plus, it's grocery shopping day. It was just one big car trip for the rest of the day. I made it home in time to make what I had planned for dinner and have it hot on the table when John got home. The house is in reasonable shape, and everyone's full. So, although I didn't get to do my regular blog entry for today, it has still been a good day. I am now going to take a sleeping pill and really sleep tonight. I don't like doing that, but sometimes I go through an insomnia thingie. So, a few days of sleeping pills and my body will fall back into the rhythm. I'll catch up on the posts tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Great News Fast of 2009

Hello, my name is Chele and I'm a news addict. I mean, I will read news stories that have such a stupid sounding headline just to find out if it is as stupid as it sounds. I can quote obscure news stories from other countries and even try to make them relevant to everyday life. I have it bad. So, when my husband John pointed out God's orders on getting through these times, well, I was less than unenthusiastic.

Isaiah 33 (New International Version)

14 The sinners in Zion are terrified;
trembling grips the godless:
"Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
15 He who walks righteously
and speaks what is right,
who rejects gain from extortion
and keeps his hand from accepting bribes,
who stops his ears against plots of murder
and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-
16 this is the man who will dwell on the heights,
whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.
His bread will be supplied,
and water will not fail him.
17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty
and view a land that stretches afar.

You see from above, the righteous man doesn't pay attention to what is going on around him. He keeps his eyes on God, the great provider. If God is mighty enough to form the earth, He's great enough to let me know what I need to know. Concentrating on the problem and not the solution never fixes anything.

I can't say that I haven't seen any headlines or heard anything over the radio or TV. But now I am quick to turn those things off. I find that the world is a much more peaceful place now that I have my vision of it correct. I say this with almost a week of no news under my belt. Ask me in a month how I feel. lol Right now, I have to keep my eyes on the goal of the whole news fast.

Isaiah 33 goes on to end with

18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:
"Where is that chief officer?
Where is the one who took the revenue?
Where is the officer in charge of the towers?"
19 You will see those arrogant people no more,
those people of an obscure speech,
with their strange, incomprehensible tongue.
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals;
your eyes will see Jerusalem,
a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved;
its stakes will never be pulled up,
nor any of its ropes broken.
21 There the LORD will be our Mighty One.
It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars will ride them,
no mighty ship will sail them.
22 For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
it is he who will save us.
23 Your rigging hangs loose:
The mast is not held secure,
the sail is not spread.
Then an abundance of spoils will be divided
and even the lame will carry off plunder.
24 No one living in Zion will say, "I am ill";
and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.

When you take your eyes off the world's circumstances and put them on God, your whole perspective changes. When your perspective changes, your circumstances change. You may still have the same mess, but God's hand is on it and not yours. In verses 18-19, God tells us that you don't see any of the problem. You don't see the chief officer and his shenanigans. You don't see arrogant people or get confused from their double talk. Instead, in verses 20-22, you see the never changing, always holy Zion - the city of God. It is immovable. God saves us, not the news or the people in it. God is faithful and immovable, and will save from all problems. Verses 23-24 says even the lame - the handicapped and fallible (that would be us) - will carry off plunder and have our sins forgiven. The lowest of us can have our sins forgiven and God's solutions for our problems if we just look at Him.

This is a hard post for me. I really want to turn on the news, read the news, listen to the news. But I know that I need to not even let anyone tell me about the news unless it is something God wants me to know. My eyes are to be on Him. His Word can't get any more clear on that. Does that mean that a news fast is the right thing for everyone? I can't say that. Only you can listen to God for your own life. Seek His instruction in this. He may not have that in His plans for you right now. I know I was out of control with the news. I know that my reliance is to be on Him, and not anywhere else. God always blesses faithfulness to His Word. Does that mean we'll have lots of riches and material things? I don't know, but I just want the peace and joy that comes from following Him. The rest will come to us whenever (if ever) it does. I do know that God promises

Deuteronomy 28: 1-2 (New International Version)

1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:

If you want shouting and rejoicing, read the rest of the chapter. WAHOOOO!!!!! God is our provider, comforter, and security.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Vision of His Glory - Chapter Three Part One

Which church are you?

I know, that's a strange question to open a Bible study, but for the next few discussions we'll be dealing with the seven churches that Jesus commanded John to give Revelation to. The churches are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Each one had its own special challenge and correction given in Revelation. Today, we'll discuss Ephesus. Chapter Three will deal with three of the seven churches, and we'll probably do each of the seven separately.

First, Jesus praises the Ephesians. They are hard working and persevering. They don't tolerate wickedness and are discerning to see if someone is lying to them or is committing evil acts. They have been persecuted and gone through many things to glorify the name of Jesus. To me, this sounds like they were committed, right? But Jesus goes on to say this:

Revelation 2:4 (New International Version)
4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

Um, what? Jesus just said all these things the people were doing for Him, but He has a problem with them still? But, be comforted. Know that first and foremost, no matter what and how much you do for God, you are still not perfect and not deserving of the salvation Jesus gives us. It is only through God's love and Jesus' sacrifice that we have our salvation. The Ephesians were doing everything right, but they were only doing. Sometimes, with the busyness of life and ministry, we can lose sight of Who we are doing all this for. It doesn't matter how many conferences you go to, how many times you volunteer at church, how pristine your home is or even how much you blog about Christ. If you aren't putting Him first, then it is all just works. Faith, not works, is what should take first place. That doesn't mean that you will never be able to do anything. You just have to be sure the reason why you are performing these works is right. Our goal in life is to glorify God. We do that by showing His love and doing His will.

Here's a way to test your motives. If God told you to walk away, no matter the hurt feelings it might create in others, could you do it? Are you doing things as unto God, or are you doing things because they are a tradition and/or people expect it? There is a woman (Candy) who had a blog that I greatly enjoyed. Her love and excitement for God leaped off the screen at you. Now, did I agree with everything she said? Nope. But, I knew that she was being obedient to God and what He told her to do. We are in two different places in life, so what He tells her to do isn't going to be the same as what He has for me to do. (As a side note, please please please listen to what I just said. God meets you where you are and brings you up to His level. Please don't put on anyone the conditions you have for them. We are only to follow God's will because He knows what each individual person needs at any given time.) Candy shut down her blog yesterday because her family has moved onto a different path that the Lord had for them. I will miss her, but I pray that they have great success in their endeavors. Here's the thing. There were some women that were so hurt by Candy's closing her blog that they chose to run her reputation down and talk bad about her. In my opinion - and this is only my opinion here - they forgot that while the blog was a blessing, it wasn't meant to be their church or spiritual food. They forgot their first love that brought them to the blog for encouragement and uplift - God. Only God should be the head of what you believe. Yes, she had some helpful hints and recipes and things like that. It was great to read about another Christian woman's life and get encouragement from that. But, her season for that blog was over and she needed to move on. God told her to move and she was quick to obey. She left a note saying what happened, and moved on. I wish everyone else could too.

Are you worried you might have lost your first love? Do you know for sure that you have lost focus and the joy of serving Him? Here's what you do. Test everything you do against the Word of God and see what happens. I once heard a teacher say that people can tell what your priority is by what you talk about the most. That's always stuck in my mind. Am I talking more about myself, my actions, my life or am I talking about God and His plans and His will for my life? If this is convicting you about any area of your life, don't worry. God gives us the way to get back to our first loves.

Revelation 2:5 (New International Version)
5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

It's really simple. Think back to when you last had joy in your life. You know, that joy that can only come from the Lord. Here comes the hard part. Repent. Not just of the bad things, but of the good things done with a wrong attitude. Sin isn't just action. It's also attitude. Repent and do those things you were doing when you had that joy. Was it turning off the TV and not allowing anything to get between you and God's Word? Was it giving in secret, like surprising a family in need with a bag of groceries on the front porch? Was it some other way of being a blessing and showing God's love to others? Whatever it was, go back and do that. Jesus ends the passage to the Ephesians with:

Revelation 2:7 (New International Version)
7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

WAHOOOO!!!!! God is faithful and mighty to save. After telling the Ephesians the issue He had with them, He told them how to fix it, and promises to give them everlasting life and salvation with Him. How very much our Lord loves us!

Prayers Again Please

The first prayer request is for an unnamed family member who has had surgery. Please pray that this person not only heals well, but that they come into the Kingdom.

The second prayer request is for a schoolmate of my children. As you know, they go to small country Christian school about 10-15 minutes away. The young man was driving to the school when something happened (we don't know what yet) and he lost control and spun into a tree. He's in the ICU with a lacerated liver, bruised kidney and lungs, possibly a bruised heart, broken ribs, broken wrist, and other injuries. The Hand of God was on this young man. He is going to be fine, just have a long recovery. I saw the accident and stopped to see if they needed help right before the paramedics came. I didn't see who it was, so I came home and told my husband about the awful accident down the road. Imagine my horror to find out that it was this young man. Praise God because from the look of the vehicle it could have been much much worse!

Thank you for your prayers. We know we serve a Mighty God! He is good and faithful.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Monday - 2/23/2009

Here we go! This week's menu. I have to change a few of the things I was planning. We, um, had technical difficulties with our oven. I was roasting brussel sprouts, and the heating element kinda shorted out and had flames and some metal melted and is pretty much unusable. Our microwave has a convection oven feature that we never bothered to try using. We will be using it now. lol

Monday - steamed vegan dumplings, fried rice
Tuesday - chicken and dumplings (meatless option for me)
Wednesday - leftovers (note to family - there better be leftovers!)
Thursday - Burritos with red sauce
Friday - leftovers (just John and me)
Saturday - a surprise for John
Sunday - soup and homemade bread

That's it for me. Have a good one!

New $50 Meijer Card Giveaway at

That's right, it's no typo. They are giving away a $50 Meijer gift card over at Now you know how much I love that site. There are three ways to enter. But hurry. The giveaway ends this Wednesday.

The coming week

This week, we're starting our spring cleaning and purge. I'm also starting a grand reorganization for the home, our schedules, and our goals. Things have been so out of control that it is starting to wear on all of us. There is no small part of our lives that God doesn't want to help us with. The Bible says

Proverbs 16:3 (New International Version)
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

The word whatever is the key here. Not, what you think He's interested in, what you think is a BIG plan, not if it's only ministry or God related. Whatever! That means the plans for dinner, the plans for your child's chores. The plans to cut your hair even! WHATEVER! So, here goes our plans for this week. Keep in mind that if God tells us that we need to switch up our plans, then we will do so, without any doubt.

Our goals for this week:

Living room cleaned and organized, especially the bookshelves
Dining room reorganized, including computer desk and everything on it (once my bedroom is put back together)
Kitchen cleaned up, and maybe reorganized. Depends on a few other projects ongoing in there
My bedroom emptied out and carpets cleaned then everything out
Bathroom reorganized and cleaned
Katelyn's room completely cleaned
House hospitality ready by Wednesday night

New daily schedule in place for me
New chore chart in place for Katelyn and Michael
Start garden plans as a family
Make goals for the rest of the year with John
Start planning a tea for as yet undecided guests (part of our larger goal of practicing more hospitality)
Learn how to use convection oven to buy us some time to find the right oven to replace ours that died a horrible violent death (yes, my friends and family are cracking up at this. It's not the first - or last - mechanical thing I've killed. Recently.)

Work on Michael's room and organize what's left of downstairs. Will have to do production down there for a while.

Business goals for this week:

Revamp business plan
Redo cost analysis for our new business goals
Finish putting pictures up on website for everything
Send out email announcing launch of website
Post giveaway on blog
Make production schedule for this week and next week
Find at least one show for March that isn't canceled to get into.
Start getting together marketing and networking opportunities.

That's it for short term goals. We're going to look at long term goals probably next week. Oh wait! What's going on this week with the blog!

Monday - goals for the week, menu
Tuesday - Chapter 3 of The Vision of His Glory - Part one
Wednesday - The Great News Fast
Thursday - check in for goal list
Friday - Chapter 3 of The Vision of His Glory - Part two
Saturday - Giveaway announced

Goodbye to Candy at

Candy has decided to shut down her blog. Congratulations on homesteading! We will miss you. I've really been encouraged by your writings. I will pray for your success with your new endeavor.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Food for thought

So, have you ever thought the Bible was outdated? A nice book of stories? Well, I found a couple verses in my daily reading that should disprove it. Think about everything going on with the world economy right now. Then read

Isaiah 33:18-19 (New International Version)

18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror:
"Where is that chief officer?
Where is the one who took the revenue?
Where is the officer in charge of the towers?"
19 You will see those arrogant people no more,
those people of an obscure speech,
with their strange, incomprehensible tongue.

Does that ring a bell? Maybe Wall Street? I tell you, listening to the chief officers try to explain some of the financial mess sounds like crazy mixed up gibberish to me. Just a little food for thought.

The Vision of His Glory - Chapter Two Part Two

Well, things are finally settling down here. Everyone seems to be over their sickies, and there are no pressing emergencies. Phew! It's been a long few weeks.

I'm so excited about today's lesson. We get to see Christ! This is shouting time. The image of Him in Revelation 1:12-16 fills me with joy and hope. If He is for me, then there is none that can stand against me.

John turns to look and see who's talking to him in the first part of verse 12. Then, he turns around and sees seven lampstands. Now, this is the point when previously, I would have given up. The symbolism in Revelation really does seem to put people off. But those who pray and listen to God will find such beautiful imagery. Personally, I think that sometimes God puts the imagery in there to confound those who really don't want to understand, or aren't willing to lean on Him for understanding. But that's just my opinion.

The seven lampstands are the seven churches that Jesus mentions in verse 11. They are to receive the Words that He is speaking. Imagine Jesus mentioning your church by name. Mentioning you by name. He does know you and cares so very much for you. Here are verses 13-16. I'm going to show you what each symbol means. The portions in red are my notes.

Revelation 1:13-16 (New International Version)
13and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man (Jesus - remember John knew Him personally),"dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest (like the priests of those days wore, but more glorious - gold signifies royalty - our King). 14His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow (He is pure and wise), and his eyes were like blazing fire (His eyes burn with anger over the treatment of believers). 15His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace (to trample over everything that isn't pleasing to Him), and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters (His voice and Word will drown out everything else). 16In his right hand he held seven stars (The seven stars stands for the angels of the churches. He controls them to do His work and will), and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword (His Word brings a two fold surgery, if you will. One side of the sword cuts out everything that is contrary to Him, and the other side offers salvation to those who are willing to face the first side). His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance (He blocks out all darkness. Light overcomes darkness and He is our light).

Christ, the Son of Man, is our priest and king, our avenger and judge, our Lord and the Light to the world. And He loves us and calls us by name! This is also a blueprint for us to judge our lives by. No one can be perfect. But we can listen to God, let Him lead our lives, and be blessed with the knowledge that we don't have to have all the answers. We can strive towards walking in wisdom - His wisdom. We can judge if our own thoughts and motives are pure - His purity. We can allow correction to come into our lives - His double edged judgement that brings life with that correction. We can listen to His voice and not our own. We can let Him guide us. We can follow Him, and not ourselves. We can let His light penetrate every area of darkness we may be hiding in our own lives, hiding even from ourselves.

Does this all sound impossible to you? It is impossible, by our own efforts. But God. I LOVE those two words. BUT GOD! wanted us to have hope. He wanted us to regain that relationship with Him that He always intended. All you have to do is accept that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for your sins, and let Him live and work in you. That's it. Once you take that step and get out of God's way, He takes over and shows you what to do. I'm not talking some mindless drone-type living. No Stepford Wives here. God gives you free will. But having Him in you gives you this hunger for more and more - of His Word, His Presence, His Will, just plain Him.

If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then please, say this prayer with me. Then, send me a message or comment to let me know of your decision. I will rejoice for you and help you as much as I can.

Lord, I am a sinner. I have done things in my life that I know are wrong. But Your word says that if I believe in your Son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for me and the forgiveness of my sins, I will be forgiven and come into Your kingdom. Please Lord, forgive me. I need You. Transform me into Your plan for me. Praise you Lord. Thank You for this wonderful gift of salvation. I accept. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Welcome to the Kingdom! WAHOOOO!!!!!!!! First, I'd suggest that you read Luke 15 to see how much all of Heaven is rejoicing over this moment. I can send it to you if you need it. Praise God! He is so good. I can't wait to hear from you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eating frugally with allergies - a look at two meals

Well, I'm back to feeling normal, and getting back into my routine. What a rough two weeks it has been! Today is the start of a new week, and I'm raring to go. I've decided that instead of trying to do catch up posts, I'll just start this week like normal, and go from there.

Today, I'm going to show that you can eat frugally while eating healthy. Not only that, but I have to make two different versions of each meal, since my eating restrictions aren't shared by the family. We don't buy dairy that often, since there's two of us that can't have it. I use meat sparingly, normally as an addition to the meal, and not the meal itself.

First, we have nachos. There are two pictures of those. The first is what Katelyn, Michael (no cheese for him) and John ate. The cheese was leftover from the party. This is actually John's birthday dinner. We celebrated it a couple days late since he was sick on his birthday. The second is my nachos. You can't tell, but there's no meat, just beans.

And now mine, no meat, cheese, and lots of veggies.

The total meal cost lest than $10. Everything but the beans were on sale.

This meal - chicken, beans and rice wraps - are made from leftover beans from the nachos, some seasoned rice, chicken and veggies. My wrap had no chicken in it, but I forgot to take a picture. I stuck it all in a tortilla, and made some sauce that I wish I could remember how I made it. When will I learn that I should write this stuff down! The whole meal was right around $5. When I'm organized again from this round of illness in my home, I'll be back to doing the cost breakdowns. Plus, why does it seem that the family will eat anything if it's wrapped in a tortilla? I have to learn how to make my own, since they can be costly. That's for a dinner this week, probably tomorrow.

Well, that's an idea of what we eat to accomodate allergies and be frugal. I'll be more organized tomorrow, I promise. It's been two weeks straight of Plan B's. I'm praying for a week of calm so I can get us all back on as much of an even keel as possible. Of course, with us, that's relative. Not to mention, we're all crammed upstairs again, because of the flooding. Have a good Sunday all.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Me and my sweetie!

We are enjoying a great day together celebrating Valentines Day. I hope you and yours are enjoying it also. We have no kids with us this weekend, so we can relax, kick back, and get some respite from all the drama around here. I'll be back tomorrow.

Friday, February 13, 2009

When in a hole...


I pray the Senate will not pass this "stimulus" bill.

You know, John and I came to a point where we realized that our debt was keeping us from what we needed and wanted to do. We decided to stop spending on stupid stuff, follow a budget, work hard, and get ourselves out of debt. Why is it so hard for the people who lead this nation to come to the same conclusion!! GRRRRRR!

Now comes reports in the news that there was no way that lawmakers could have read what was passed. WHAT?! How do you not read something like this?!

Okies. I must go and calm down. I'll be back either later today or tomorrow. My eyes are the latest to deal with this whole whatever I've been fighting off. They are irritated allergy eyes and need lots of rest. This is the last thing I have to deal with, and then I'll be back and raring to go! I have a whole bunch of posts planned out.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thank you, and keep them coming

Thank you for the prayers. We're still under attack, and facing some stuff, but we'll get through this. God's Hand is on us, and I just trust in Him. I feel like we know what we're supposed to be doing, and we're on the right track. I just have to hold tight to the Comforter. Please keep praying. Please also pray for my attitude. I'm entering what John calls my "angry phase" where I get fed up with everything and everyone. I don't want to get angry at anything but this mess we're dealing with. I'm fed up with the shots being taken at us. Ok, and to be honest, I'm impatient for everything to be done and back to normal. lol Patience and calm. Not two of my strong points. hehehe

Well, I have to run to the kiddos' school. Michael's class is having a party, and I made my giant chocolate chip cookies for them. I'm just waiting for my eye drops to kick in so I can put in my contacts. I have some major allergy eyes today. If they get bad like before, people will think John's been knocking me around. That's what they thought before. Bah hahahaha! I had on sunglasses because lights were hurting my eyes, and I had huge puffy bags that were black and blue and my eyes were completely red. I really did look like I had gone a few rounds with someone other than unseen particles of annoyance.

This weekend, I have nothing planned but to catch up on some projects, including this blog. I have pictures of some great meals (including one I can't remember how I made it - I'm a little fuzzy around the edges) and a very valuable lesson. Ok. Buh bye!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Prayers Please

We're going through a time of testing here, and I could really appreciate any prayers. We're flooding again, my gallbladder problems (or whatever it is) is going overtime, and we've just had a lot of stuff that's going on. Please pray for us. I'm still going to keep praising God. He is in control, and as my husband says, we must be doing something right to have the devil shooting at us so much. I still know who my hope and faith is in. God is faithful and loving. I am going to rest in Him.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Giveaway here later this week

Oh, and before I forget, I will be doing a giveaway to celebrate the launch of my new website. So, keep your eyes open for that. My brother Michael (yes, we have a lot of Michael's in the family) has helped me get things together, and will be helping me more this week. Once we work out all the kinks, we'll put up the giveaway. In the meantime, if you would like to get an email with a coupon for the grand opening good for all of our candles, scented goodies, bath products, and fun stuff we've found, then please email me at chele @ bluewaterscentsations . com. Thanks!

I'm still around

But things have been incredibly busy. It culminated with John going to the ER late Friday night. I'll tell you all about that later, but for now, we're just trying to get some rest and relax. If I get a chance to post tonight, I will. If not, look for several catch up posts this week. John is doing well now, in some pain, but it's manageable. Trust me, you won't believe what happened.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dude, I'm cheap!

Seriously, I am. I enjoy it. lol I took a picture of all the groceries I bought today. Because the sales are so good this week, I'll be going back to stock up on some stuff. So, here's how this week's shopping broke down.


2 1/2 dozen eggs $3.88
2 3pks tomatoes $2
3 Avocados on sale for $.50 each $1.50
30 ounce Hellman's Mayo $2.98
2 15 ounce cans red beans $1.24
8 lbs navel oranges $3.98
Tostitos corn chips $3.98 (a splurge for us)
5 lbs Fuji apples $4.86
3pk sponges $2.47
2 26 ounce petite diced tomatoes $1.74
2 15 ounce cans black beans $1.36
1 box 40 count gallon not quite Ziploc baggies $2.18
8pk paper towels $5.43 (had a $.25 off coupon)
4 pk Scott toilet tissues $3.44
10pk AAA batteries $5.75 (had a $1 off coupon)
Woman's Day magazine $1.79 (was $1.99, but Wal-Mart discounts their magazines)
2 boxes Milk Bone Dog Biscuits $2.84 (Buy one get one free coupon)
Borax $2.98 (I make our laundry detergent and dishwasher booster with this)

Grand total including tax $56.15 - more than I planned to spend, but they had some good stuff. I always spend the bulk at Wal-Mart as they have the best prices on some stuff.


4 1lb boxes elbow macaroni $1.96
4 1lb boxes spaghetti $1.96
3 8 oz containers fresh mushrooms $3
4 cans pineapple in juice $3.17 (had coupon for $.50 off two and a coupon for $.75 off two. The $.50 one doubled. Plus, the pineapple was on sale for $1.23 a can)
2 10pk flour tortillas $3
2 bags salad mix $3.34
2 dark chocolate bars $1.96

Grand total $18.41


2 12 ounce bags Kroger chocolate chips (they are non-dairy and for Michael's school party next week) $2.78
Super Washing Soda (for our laundry detergent) $2.89
Honey Nut Cheerios $1.67 (I'll be going back for more)

Grand total $7.51

Total for all three: $82.07

Now, you might be asking if my budget was $70, how did I go over? I almost always use cash, and cash only. Well, I almost never spend change. At any given time, I have $10-$15 in change, in my purse. I also have a larger change cache at home. I keep it around for just such times. Not to mention, I also have soda bottles that I can turn in at any time. Ok. My purse was crazy heavy because not only did I have that, I forgot to get gas money from John and he had the debit card. So, I also pulled together $8 for gas so I could get to and from the stores and pick up the kiddos from school. I need to go back and get more pasta, and some tuna, and a few other things that we use a lot of. That will be part of the stock up stuff I'll be doing. I bought chicken a few weeks ago when it was buy one get one free, and I'll stock up on ground turkey again since it's $1/pound at Meijer this week. My plan is to learn how to can meat so I can keep it around, even during the summer. Out here in the country, it's just common sense to stock up and be prepared. Last year, we lost the power for several days due to a storm, had a brown out, and the fridge died. So, living out of the pantry just makes good sense. Not to mention, the closest grocery store is about 15 minutes away. There is no just running out to pick up something I forgot. lol I'll show you how we turn this list into cheap meals during this week. I'll take pictures, if I remember.

Talk to you all later! I still have the second part of the Bible Study to do later on tonight. I've missed my morning quiet time for the last few days. Today, it was -24deg out with the windchill, -15 actual temp. Michael and I are both asthmatics, and at those temps, we can barely breathe. So, John took Katelyn to school, and I took Michael later on. My schedule is now thrown off, but life goes on.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Vision of His Glory - Chapter Two

I hope that you all are being blessed by this book. I know that it blesses me immeasurably. I love the positive way that the Book of Revelation is presented.

Chapter Two deals with Hope When You Are Depressed by the Greatness of Your Problems. What an appropriate message for these times! It seems everywhere we turn, we are facing great problems. The failing economy, people losing their jobs and homes, corruption at so many levels from church leadership to the leadership of our country, wars and rumors of wars, and on and on goes the list. It is so easy to lose hope if all you concentrate on is the news. What a joy we have that our faith isn't in the world! Our hope is to be in the Lord. I love the verse at the beginning of the chapter.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God knew before time began that the economy was going to tank at this time. He knows the challenges that we face before we can even contemplate the possibility they could happen. When John was given the Revelation of God, he was on the island of Patmos because he had been preaching God's Word. He was on a prison island, being made to do back breaking work, and yet he knew where his faith lay. It was with God. John still took the time to hold the Sabbath holy and be in the Spirit with God. John made the time, in the midst of his suffering and problems, to spend the day with God. Because of his dedication, John was given the final words of the Bible. He was privileged to give us this hope and knowledge.

How many times have I worked a craft show on a Sunday without even going to church? I know that God will still bless me if I don't make it to church a few Sundays. But, am I taking another day to spend with Him? For that matter, what are the things that I do on the Sundays after church that take away from keeping His Sabbath? I don't want to end up hearing God speak the words to me that He gives to the seven churches in Revelation . I want to concentrate on the Messenger instead. The passage of Revelation in this chapter deals with that. Let's look at Revelation 1:9-20. I'm going to break this up into two days. Today, we'll deal with verses 9-12 and 17-20. These verses deal with our actions. Verses 13-16 deal with the Character of Christ, and that deserves a whole post of its own. It is so incredible to just concentrate on HIM!

As I stated before, John was on Patmos. He was in exile, being made to do back breaking work. Yet, he still took the time to spend with God on the Sabbath. He was praying and just spending time with His Comforter during his time of trouble. I think that John's faithfulness to God was what made God give him that revelation. After all, God wanted to be sure we had His Word, and that it was done faithfully. What if that happened today to you? What if God said that you should listen, and faithfully report to the world what He said? Would you unquestioningly do it? Or, would you count up the cost, lack of popularity, maybe even losing a friend? In today's American society, would you do it if it meant losing your job or your comfort? John was in exile for preaching the Word of God and telling the world about Jesus, and he was still faithful to ALL that God said to do.

Verses 13-16 show Jesus in all His Glory. Verse 17 says once John took that all in, he fell to Jesus' feet. I find it amazing that during this whole time, nowhere does it say that John opened his mouth to say anything. I mean, I'm still working on staying silent if God tells me to share my blog in a new place. I did that today. I shared my blog with a group of women that I talk to about almost anything. But I still felt compelled to give a disclaimer about what I posted here. WHY! I mean, as Christians, we are to share the good news with everyone. Why was I worried about offending someone? I offend people on a regular basis with the things I say - telling my children no when they want to do something they shouldn't, telling someone that I can't help them with their problem (if that's what God's telling me and He has in certain cases), shoot, just talking on a regular basis. I'd like to think that if God told me to do something, I would. The reality is that while I'm getting better, I don't always follow His leading and timing.

We surrender our lives to Christ when we make the decision to be born again. The eventual goal is to be used in service to Him. I want to be like John, wherever I am, knowing what comes first and following God's leading. I know that every day I get closer. I love this passage:

Philippians 3:11-14 (Amplified Bible)

11That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].
12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

I'm pressing on towards God's plan for me, and the life I know I can have in Him. Tomorrow, we'll look at the image of Christ. The passage is full of imagery so rich and incredible it takes my breath away! Trust me, this is going to be a time for praise and shouting!

How we eat frugally and healthy

My son and I have dairy allergies. Mine are more severe, but his are getting there. He had ice cream this weekend, and ended up throwing up all of his dinner. I get a whole host of issues if I eat dairy. In addition to that, I am allergic to onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, MSG, meat tenderizer, most preservatives, aspartame, and have trouble with my liver/gallbladder that makes it very difficult for me to eat much fat or animal products at all. Don't get me started on the non-food allergies, like latex, cylins, and other stuff. John has acid reflux, so we try to not eat a lot of tomato or acidy stuff. Katelyn pretty much eats it all, but occasionally has stomach issues. I hear from a lot of people, "What all do you eat?!" Well, we eat very well, and we do it all on $90 a week. That's for a family of four, two dogs, two cats, one rabbit now, and a bird. Occasionally, my brother-in-law, who lives with us, will eat with us. I'm going to share how we do it. Obviously, everything I make is without allergens, and I do make just about everything we eat from scratch.

First of all, my budget is actually more like $100-$110 a week. But John puts away $10 or $20 a week for our stock up. Because I have so few things I can eat, when some of them go on sale, we buy them in bulk. Other things just make sense to buy in bulk. We can save more money by doing that. For example, we have 50lbs of brown rice. I bought that at a local food service supply company for $35. That will last us quite a while. I buy my steel cut oats from the bulk food warehouse, and spend less than $1 per pound.

Next, I shop the sales. Tomorrow, I'll be grocery shopping at several stores. I'm blessed in that they are all near each other, so I don't spend a lot of gas money doing that. I'll be buying cereal from Kroger. I only buy a few kinds, and only when they are on sale under $2 a box. Honey Nut Cherrios are on sale for $1.67 each. They have leg quarters on sale for $.59 a pound (although I already bought them a while ago, and have them split up in the freezer). Pretzels are $1 each (even less if I get 11 of the $10 for 10 and get the 11th free) at Meijer. I probably will get the $10 for $10, since they have paper towels on sale too. I use a lot of paper towels in my business and home. I will eventually be transitioning us to cloth wipes for the house, but paper towels are still a large part of my biz. Meijer also has pasta on sale for $.49 a box. SWEET! I eat a lot of pasta. Tuna is 3 for $2, brown sugar is $1.98 (we use this for baking and oatmeal in the mornings). Fruit in juice is $10 for 10, and get the 11th free. I eat pineapple everyday. I also need olive oil, and that's 30% off. There are several other items on sale that I'll look at and see if it's a good deal.

Next are coupons and sure deals. I clip coupons and file them every Sunday. I try to get both the local paper, and the newspaper from the state's largest city. Kroger and Meijer double coupons. Wal-Mart doesn't. So, I see if it's cheaper at Wal-Mart with the coupon. If not, then I take the coupon to one of the other stores, and get it doubled. Wal-Mart also has 2 1/2 dozen large eggs for less that $4 all the time. We eat a lot of eggs here, as well as bake with them.

This all sounds complicated, but after a few weeks, it becomes second nature. Now, since I'm currently not eating meat, and sticking to eggs, fish, veggies, and grains and pasta, I have to make dinners that I can customize for me and the family. Tomorrow's dinner will be nachos - a splurge for John's birthday. I make them with one part meat, two parts beans, and lots of veggies on top. I'll post my shopping trip from tomorrow. I probably won't buy everything that I've mentioned here. We've stocked up quite a bit, and my budget is being cut this week because of last week's party. What I don't spend, I'll put on a prepaid credit card we have so that I have the money for another week where we need more than I have budgeted.

So, here's the menu plan for the week starting tomorrow.

Thursday - nachos
Friday - leftovers. There's always leftovers from nachos.
Saturday - something fish or seafood for me, and I'll do a chicken version for John. It's just the two of us this weekend.
Sunday - Chicken wraps (mine will be veggie wraps)
Monday - Shepard's pie (I'll do a mini-one with no meat or corn for me)
Tuesday - chicken and veggie pasta
Wednesday - leftovers

I'll post the recipes and price breakdown as I make them. A great website for reference is

I'll be back later on tonight with the Bible Study.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One down, one to go.

Well, Michael was feeling much better tody, and returned to school. Which was great because John's sinuses flared up again, and he was home ill. So, it was another plan B day today. I picked up severe decongestant, more sinus rinse stuff, and lots of tissues. I'll have to do the Bible Study tomorrow. Of course, my priority is with my family first, then any outside things like blogging. Thank you for your patience.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes...

Ok, maybe not babes, but a smart mouth tween. lol We haven't been watching TV for a while, but turned it back on this weekend. Well, we were watching a show this evening, and DS said, "You know, we like, um, talked more when the TV was off." (I did say he was a tween, right? Like and um are very important parts of his vocabulary.) How very telling. I'll have to discuss that with John tomorrow and see what we want to do with this.

This kind of reminds me. I've been thinking about God's command to keep the Sabbath and what that means. Now, during the summer, my work is mainly on the weekends. So, does keeping the Sabbath mean on Sunday, Saturday, or just a whole day during the week? I've heard arguments for all three. I think this is something that I'm going to have to pray about and see where God is leading me. But I do know that we need to start keeping the Sabbath.

Part two of the Bible Study

I'm going to do chapter two of The Vision of His Glory tomorrow. It should be done today, but I had a sick child home. Michael ate some dairy during the party. It was only one scoop of ice cream, but he threw up everything that he ate just from that. So, no more dairy for him. He knew that it was coming, and we normally don't have dairy in the house because of my allergy. The school asks that we not send children to school if they have thrown up in the past 24 hours. Several children were out in the past few weeks with the flu, so we kept him home just to be sure. Today, he's just fine. Have a good evening everyone, and I'll be back tomorrow. I'll be posting chapter two, and something about menu planning and/or eating with allergies.

Menu Monday - 2/2/2009

This week's Menu Monday will be easy! I am doing leftovers, all week. We had a birthday/Super Bowl party last night for Katelyn and John. What an overabundance of food! We had white chili, red chili, eggplant unparmesan, sloppy joes, coleslaw, chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, stuffed mushrooms, and cake. So, we have leftovers for days! I'll put some in the freezer too. I made enough for everyone, then everyone brought a dish. Starting next week, I'm taking a class on frugal eating over at I can't wait to get more tips on eating healthy and frugally!