Monday, July 28, 2014

On-Line Bible Study

Lysa TerKeurst says in “Am I Messing Up My Kids?”… “Maybe you’ve felt a little frustrated with the shoes scattered about your home. But the next time you pick them up, instead of letting frustrations whisk you away, listen carefully to the story they tell. Listen carefully and thank God for each and every evidence of life.”

I can relate.

Amanda got the speech today. "Do I have to remind you to do every single chore each day and then stand by while you complete them? Write it down. Write it down."

Yes, I said it twice.

It would be wonderful if my two children and one husband would use the designated shoe basket by the front door.

But they don't.

I get frustrated. Often. Dirty socks also accumulate in the living area. I guess they want to live too.

Here is a picture of the three pair of shoes that didn't quite make it to their home.

Curtis




Daniel had on sneakers to ride his bike



He wore these today when he went to the beach.
 
Then I took a picture of the shoe basket (near the door mind you) and the shoes in it. I picked them up with a happy heart tonight.
 
 
"The chores and tasks seem endless. Here is my choice: Will I complain and worry? Can I find joy in this? These are gifts, sweet mamas. Jump up and down and sing praises to God. Because all this MESS is evidence of beautiful life in your home!" Kristy Aiken

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week Six - Saving & Giving

We only have one more class. I use Mint which tracks all of my spending (except cash of course). At the top of the credit card page there is a notification that says:

TOTAL FEES
$483.63

This number is from January 2012. I saw that and immediately became angry. I have paid the credit card company almost $500. For what? For letting them let me use/borrow money. I was outraged and immediately paid the card off.

I am vowing to not pay any more fees. Please hold me to this statement.

I said to Amanda, "Today marks the 5 millionth time we have paid off the credit card".

It's sickening!

*********************

The first part is taught by Brenda:

Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps


  • $1000 to start and emergency fund.
This is to pay down debt before you actually have the Emergency Fund.

  • Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball (explained in Week Five)

  • Then 3-6 months of living expenses.
           a. liquid assets (money market or savings account)
           b. this is for emergencies only
           c. once used pay it back as soon as possible

  • Invest 15% income into Roth IRA & pre tax retirement
          a. Max IRA contribution is $5,500
          b. Max 401K is $17,500
         
  • College funding for children
We started saving in 1997 when we found out we were expecting. I think we are one of the very few.

Parents, you may have mixed emotions about funding this for your child/children. But this is NOT OUR responsibility.

  • Pay off the house.

We have four more years on our 1997 mortgage.

  • Build wealth and GIVE.

How to Protect What God Has Blessed You With

  1. Life Insurance
          a. If there are people that depend on you, you should have it.

I insisted upon it after my father died. We didn't have it until 2011. It's $134 a month for the two of us. Definitely affordable.

         b.  Base amount is 10-20x annual salary.

     2. Health Insurance

          a. This is one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy.

          b. If you can't afford a traditional policy, consider a catastrophic one.

    3. Home

         a. Renters insurance is super cheap

         b. Home owners: make sure you are covered for replacement value.

That is something I will have to check on tomorrow.

    4. Car Insurance

    5. Remember our trust is NOT in insurance but in GOD.

        a. He is ultimately in control.
        b. We are called to be faithful stewards (with His money).
        c. God CAN and WILL provide.

NO HOMEWORK! Next class is on mortgages, retirement and investing.

**************************

The second part is taught by Pastor Joe

Biblical Giving and Combating Greed
 
 
1. The challenge is how to build wealth without getting greedy.
 
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
 
a. The purpose of "wealth" is:
  • to meet needs (food and clothing)
  • to bless
You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:11
 
b. The snare of wealth is the more it increase our wants start to be defined as needs.
 
 
2. The antidote to greed is generosity.
 
Yes, there is a difference between giving and being generous.
 
 
What keeps us from giving? Unbelief, insecurity, pride, idolatry, control, power, jealousy, etc.
 
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10
 
 
3. Developing habits that foster generous living:
 
    a. Learn and practice contentment.
 
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." 1 Timothy 6:6-7
 
"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1 Timothy 6:16-17
 
     b. (Re) define what being successful is.
 
"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’" Luke 12:15-17
 
      c. You don't have to be rich to give!
 
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” Luke 21:1-4
 
Ask yourself:
How much is enough?
Who is successful?
 
 
"Generosity" has little to do with how much you give and more to do with:
  • why you do/do not give
  • how much you kept back to yourself.
 
 
       d. Often will have the element of sacrifice:
 
 
"And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving." 2 Corinthians 8:1-7
 
 
        e. Look for opportunities (greedy people find reasons not to give).
 
 
        f. Every act of giving is to GOD FIRST. (100% of our money belongs to Him anyway).
 
      
       g. Knows the difference between a hotel and home.
 
We don't rent a hotel and buy a big screen TV and new furniture to decorate our temporary home. This world, too, is our temporary home. Are we storing up riches?
 
 
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth." Hebrews 11:13
 
 "Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:16
 
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" Philippians 3:20
 
 
4. "Tithes and Offerings" when I am working through my debts?!?"
 
  • Old Testament "tithes" was not 10%. It was 23 1/3% + offerings.
  • Is there a difference between Old Testament and New Testament? Yes.
  • Is New Testament giving more or less than Old Testament? Yes
 
Jesus has filled all OT laws. But He has elevated them.
 
"But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises." Hebrews 8:6
 
"Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem." 1 Corinthians 16:1-3
 
"The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea." Acts 11:29
 
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7
 
In Context:
 
 
 
 
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:6-15


Questions and Recommendations

  • When it comes to tithes/offerings, is your question more about how to give the minimum and get away. Or are you looking for ways to give more?
  • Do you know to live in grace (versus guilt, shame, fear, etc.)
I am learning! Thank you, Brenda and Joe!!!

  • Give first to God.                                            It's between you and God
  • Give in faith.
 
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver". 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
 
 
 

 

   

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This Is All I Have To Give

Blog Hopping with the OBS ladies again. This is Week Two of my study entitled "Am I Messing Up My Kids? by Lysa TerKeurst. I am loving this study and it couldn't be more timely with the activities this summer.

I have been married to Curtis for 18 years (celebrating on July 27th actually). We have two really great kids. Amanda Grace is 16 and Daniel will be 12 in twenty-one days (he informed me of this fact yesterday).

I also borrow a little guy from Monday to Friday, from 8:15 am until 4 pm. His name is Robert and he will be 2 years old next Wednesday. He is totally and completely awesome. I can hand him the Bible and ask him "What does it say?" He responds "God so loved the world." I say "and..." Robert adds "He gave His one and only Son!" I just love him like he was my own!

Amanda and Daniel both know Jesus as their Savior. And I am confident that Robert will soon as well.

That's a "good mom" moment.

Getting an email from the soccer manager yesterday asking me about payment that was due on the 15th and medical forms that haven't been turned in yet...well that's a "bad mom" moment.

I sigh and thank God for ladies like Lysa who write books about me. I am thankful for on-line studies and blogs that are filled with more ladies like me. Ladies who love their kids like mad but who struggle with the every day details and wonder, Am I messing up my kids?

Then there is that tug at my heart that says, "I love you when you get it right. I love  you when you get it wrong. I just love you."

Thank you, Jesus!

*******

I started this post before the children woke. I had worked out and then finished reading Chapter 7. I was feeling accomplished. When I don't start my day with the LORD, I feel guilty. I don't know why because the guilt isn't coming from the Jesus. I remember the words from a dear friend:

I think the daily battle is to die to self or what I think should be instead of being a good soldier who needs to obey the orders given.

The morning didn't go well. I ended up scolding two of the three children in my care. I was frustrated and angry for the disobedience and put the baby down for a nap feeling like a complete failure as a mom and nanny.

I will read Chapter 8, I thought. Well two sentences in to Lysa's story about Christmas decorations I find myself nodding off. Waking at 4:20 to work out with my husband is rough. But not getting to bed until 10:30 pm is what is really doing me in. I am empty. Running on fumes. I can't function on 6 hours of sleep, I thought! I will just shut my eyes for 20 minutes.

NINETY MINUTES LATER I wake up. Little man is a champion napper so he is still sleeping. And I have wasted Nap/Quiet time sleeping instead of being with Jesus. More guilt!

I decide to not listen to the lies that the enemy is telling me. I still have time. Robert is a slow waker-upper.

Chapter 8 spoke to me:

I need to make the choice to be a child of God, day by day, reaction by reaction, moment by moment. I need to consider the reality of the situation I'm in without letting misguided emotions cloud my outlook.

When I feel those old insecure emotions start to creep back into my heart, I need to immediately give them to Jesus and ask Him to remove them and replace them with His Truth.

HE IS MY PORTION. HE WILL FILL ME UP WHEN I AM EMPTY.

And when I feel like a failure as a mom and nanny:

My Heavenly Father whispers to me, "I love you. I love how I made you. I notice all you do and I am pleased."

Robert woke by 3:30. He sat in the high chair with a snack as I read the verses that Lysa mentions in Chapter 8. "Abba Father. I am adopted", I tell Robert. I ask him what it says right here, pointing to any line on any page. Robert says, "God so loved the world".

Yeah, I respond. And Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Help Me?

Can you help me save money? I am not a coupon clipper because most of the time the items are not something that I buy. I contacted Smucker's, Kashi, and Muller to see if they would send me coupons. Kashi said no but Smuckers sent me  two Jif coupons. What's that about? And Muller sent me three!

So how can I keep my food budget at about $200 a month? It's my goal. I use to go to the grocery store every day. I am now going on Sunday night or Monday. I shop at Redners. I have tried Aldi and Bottom Dollar. They really are not that much cheaper. Walmart is not close to me (Thank God). I think I would spend the gas money in exchange for the discount. So it's a wash in my mind.

Yes, I meal plan. We also get our meat and pork from Rohrbach Farm.



Here is my list from July 13th. My goal was $54.00. I spent $53. 96 and was so proud of myself!

  • Beefaroni (2) $1.00 each
  • Black Beans (2) $.79 each
  • Redners Ranch Dressing $1.79
  • Lipton Cup a Soup $1.35
  • Fresh Salsa $3.98
  • Muller Greek Yogurt (2) $1.00 each
  • Nature's Own Bread $3.29
There IS sugar in this bread however there is no HIGH FRUCTOSE SYRUP.

  • Doritos $3.00
  • Fajitas $1.09
  • Fresh Spinach $2.98
  • Shredded Cheese $2.00
  • Bag of Apples $4.98
  • Kashi Cereal $3.00
  • Milk 1%   $3.86
  • Cottage Cheese (2)  $3.69 each
  • Coffee Mate Creamer  $3.99
This is something that Curtis HAD TO HAVE. He makes a pot of coffee and saves it for THREE days in the frig but requires the Vanilla Creamer!

  • Nellie's Cage Free Eggs (2)  $1.50 each
These were on sale and I got the last two.


OK, GO! Help me. Where can I save?






Thursday, July 17, 2014

Being a Mom is Tough

I am starting an on-line Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Already I am feeling overwhelmed because we have homework and I don't even have the book yet!

Add to my things to do list (which doesn't really exist) I have to blog with the topic of "Being a mom is tough".

Amanda Grace is 16. How did that happen!? Daniel will be 12 in 3 weeks. And the little boy I watch will be 2, yes 2, in two weeks!!!

I will first talk about the little man, Robert. I have been his Nanny since he was 8 weeks old. I have him from 8:15 am to 4 pm, five days a week. It's been like starting all over, a change of life baby. Except I didn't get the sleepless nights until just recently when we got a dog.

I am 46 years old and trying to keep up with an almost 2 year old has been a challenge over the last month. He has gotten so busy all of a sudden.

I look at him every day and think about all of the things I have done wrong with my two children. I try not to think about it too long because the enemy will lay the guilt on pretty thick.

I use to think that having a toddler was SO HARD. But to be honest, each stage is hard. When they are little, it takes a lot of patience and physical energy. When they are pre-teens, it takes a lot of patience and a lot of patience.

I have recently said that I am not sure how any of us make it out of the "middle school" years (about age 10 to 14 or so). And then I add 'some species kill their young'. (Kindness doesn't come easy for me. Honesty, well that's another story. I will tell you like it is).

When they hit 15, your bedtime suddenly moves from 10 pm to...LATE. Amanda's activities run late and she always needs a ride somewhere.

So when you have a teenager you need patience and...

Sleep? No that's over rated. I am happy with six hours on a good night.

Naps? Well that only works if you watch a soon to be 2 year old.

Less sleep? Do you see where I am going with this?

If you have a little one, rest up because one day you won't be sleeping much. Oh  yes, I guess you can compare it to having a newborn.

With each stage there are things that I have loved and things that I have...not loved. I always thought "this is so tough". Then we moved on to something else and I would look back and say "what was I complaining about?"

Little children, little issues. Bigger children, bigger issues.

I could ramble on for hours about our struggles with teachers, homework, AD/HD, bullying, etc but it really comes down to one thing...

BEING A MOM IS TOUGH.

But it is my greatest accomplishment. It's really the only thing I ever wanted to be. Young people have such pressure when they hit high school. What do you want to be when you grow up? I never wanted to be anything but a mom. I went to college and got a teaching degree in Art. But I never had any desire to do that. I worked in the insurance business for seven years. But my heart was always at home. The only thing I ever really wanted to be was a Mom.

I LOVE begin a mom. But...


BEING A MOM IS TOUGH

September 2013 (I need a better picture).

Monday, July 14, 2014

Financial Freedom Week Five

Cleaning Your Budget and Tackling Debt
 
 
 
1. How to live by your budget
 
  • Tracking throughout the month
  • Cut back on spending if a category runs out
  • Balance your budget
 
2. How to control your money
 
  • envelope
  • go cashless
  • control the flow of cash by not having extra on hand
 
3. How to tighten up your budget. (Look for ways to save)
 
  • Down grade cell phone/drop home line
  • Cut cable TV
  • Shop for deals - avoid impulse buying (48 hour rule)
  • Couponing
  • Menu planning
  • Grocery shopping less often (once or twice a week)
I am at Redners five of the seven days. It's too convenient.
 
  • Cut back on driving
  • Cut electric & water waste
  • Tackle oversized car payments & downsize homes/apartments
  • Consolidate debt to lower interest rate
  • For go immediate gratification for long term goals
  • Spouse accountability
  • Learn to say no to others & yourself
 
4. Dumping Debt
  • No new debt
  • Cut up credit cards
  • Sell stuff you no longer need
  • Sacrifice short term comfort for long term goals
  • Anything extra goes toward paying down debt
 
5. The Debt Snowball
  • List your debts from smallest to largest
  • List your debts from highest to lowest interest rate
  • Dave Ramsey Baby steps 1 & 2
    • Have a small emergency savings
    • Debt Snow ball 
 
Homework:
  1. Write down a debt snow ball plan (I didn't do this).
  2. Figure out where you can cut back on spending to pay down debt faster (groceries).
 
 
We don't have car/truck payments or a school loan. We have a mortgage. The credit card can be a source of annoyance. I need to just stop using it. It is currently at $472.28 because I used it to gas up for our Kentucky vacation. We have been using our Lowes card as well. It is at $293.45. Boo!
 
**************************************************
 
Debt Snowball by Interest Rate (example given)
 
DEBT            APR                    AMOUNT            PAYMENT
 
Credit card                12.99 %                            $10,000                                $600
 
Car Loan                   6.99 %                              $11,000                               $300
 
School loan              5.99 %                              $10,500                                $100
 
 
Debt Snowball by Loan Amount
 
Credit Card             15.99%                             $5,000                                  $800
 
Car Loan                 5.99%                               $10,000                                $300
 
Student Loan           6.99%                              $16,000                                 $200