Archive for January, 2009

Spend Nothing-Part 2

Ok, so it’s not a hair-brained scheme.  I think it’s just plain old common sense.  Being frugal.  Tight.  Daring to be different.  Spitting in the face of consumerism. Whatever you wanna call it.

Already a problem…2, in fact.  It’s a birthday month for the Kelley house.  The youngest darling turns 12!  Oh, my.  She wants to go ice skating with a friend for her birthday.  That’ll be $15-20 easy.  Cookie cake–which, by the way, she always creates the design and the lovely people at Eileen’s Colossal Cookie make it perfect every time!–$10.  Birthday gift, traditional birthday balloon, etc…$??

and problem #2…the spouse doesn’t get it/is not into it/wants to modify it/whatever you wanna call it.  So, I’ll just do what I can.

I’ve been averaging some numbers, thanks to some handy features on Discover.com and Quicken.  By the way, guess who gets the biggest chunk of our money (after the mortgage)??  You guessed it!  Walmart!  uggg…consumerism is alive and well, and it’s born and raised at Walmart.  I feel like such a mindless robot. shop. shop.shop.

But, it’s where we get most of our groceries (except milk which we get at Braums) and all of our spending cash (we use our Discover card to get cash back from Walmart–and get cash back on the card–get it?–seems to make sense to us), so I guess that makes sense that Walmart gets so much business from us.

My plan is to take what we normally spend per week (averaged) and cut that in half.  well, maybe two-thirds…what’s practical?  Can we eat mac and cheese  3 days a week?

Still working on exact numbers to aim for.

Spending nothing in Feb

nospend_challenge-726776From Leaving Excess, who got it from Mom Advice.

What a novel idea.  Spend nothing.

We have heard so much lately about the economic downturn/crisis.  You don’t have to look far to read about layoffs, buyouts, and foreclosures.   So far, my life has continued on as normal.   As if my family is completely immune to the effects of this global problem(is it a “global” problem…i don’t really know..)  But, reality check…we ‘re not!  So, I’m slow to react, but I am reacting!

Since we just refinanced our mortgage (reduced our interest rate by 1.75%!), we won’t have a mortgage payment in February.  This is a great time to:

A. spend a little extra on other junk   or    B.  save, save, save like crazy!

I’m not a natural-born saver, but I’m going to pick B anyway.  And February is a short month, and I love a challenge!  Now, of course, I won’t be spending NOTHING, we have to eat, you know, but I can come up with a plan to spend significantly less than normal.    So, I have one more day to come up with a solid plan—with actual numbers and everything—so check back.   and wish me luck talking the spouse into this crazy hair-brained scheme!

Buster–May He Rest in Peace

buster1

We’re mourning the loss of an old friend today.  Poor little guy, he’s been through so much!   Frequent tooth trimmings have been very trying on his little body.  Last week, when he started looking sick, I took him back to the guinea pig doctor where he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection, given medicine, etc…”that’ll be $86, please” says the friendly gp doctor.

After investing a ton of time and money into this sweet little rodent, he seemed to be feeling better.  He would come out of his hut  to say hello when someone entered the room and he was showing some interested in eating again.   Evidentally, we were wrong,  because he died last night–peacefully, I’m hoping–just went to sleep and didn’t wake up this morning.

So how long before Cameron stops crying…she’s heartbroken.  Who’s idea was it to get a pet anyway?!  Dang it…

We buried him this evening in the yard behind a bush.  There was a lovely ceremony.  Tears were held back bravely.  Prayers were said.  Then Morgan asks, “so…where are you going to bury Oreo?”  She’s already planning our last guinea pigs funeral!  Silly girls.

Old Habits Die Hard–or Must They Be Killed?

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. Margaret  Thatcher

I know that God has already won the victory, but there are certain battles I’m still fighting.

For example, how many times do I eat healthy, exercise regularly, convincing myself that these are life changes and then go back to my old habits.  Or…

How many times have I drawn closer to God, promised to read my bible and pray everyday, only to “fail” and drift away from God again–trying to do life on my own—miserable.

The words of Margaret Thatcher give me comfort–not that I’m using her words as an excuse, but at least it makes me realize that some battles are harder to conquer than others.

I also take comfort in Psalm 116:

I love the Lord for He heard my voice, he listened to my cry for mercy.  Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.

It’s because God loves me and responded to me that I will call on Him for as long as I live.  Not because I win every battle with laziness and sin.    Now if I could just stop beating myself up for every pan of brownies I eat!

Sunny Days, Stucco, and Being Comfortable

Cortina house, Queen Creek, AZ

I miss this house…a lot.  Among other things in Arizona…like the WEATHER!  Ah, beautiful Arizona.

I’m so comfortable now(except for the cold temps!), which is not necessarily a good thing.  Sure it feels good, but can I really be effective for Jesus and His Kingdom if I’m comfortable.  In Arizona, I was NOT comfortable (except for the weather part).  After the move it took me several weeks to change my watch to the new time zone.  I did not want to be there, I wanted to be at home in Oklahoma where I was comfortable.  I did not want to meet new people, start a new LifeGroup, make new friends.  But, we knew that God wanted us there, that He was going to use us there so it was worth it.

So, I’m praying a very dangerous prayer.  God, make me uncomfortable.  Shake me up.  Light me on fire.  Make me like Jeremiah…

His word burns in my heart like fire. It’s like fire in my bones!  I’m worn out trying to hold it in!  I can’t do it!” Jer 20:9

Watch out.  When God answers prayers like this, it’s newsworthy…stay tuned!

So, did I finish?

I know that’s the question that all who faithfully read my blog (all 2 of you according to my dashboard blog stats!) have on their minds this morning.  Did I finish reading the Old Testament by the end of 2008?

Sorry to say, no, I didn’t.  I’m still a little over 100 pages away from finishing.  Did you know that the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel are really long?  But make no mistake, they are  really good!

I’ve been praying for God to give me a intense hunger for His Word.   And, boy has he answered that prayer in the affirmative.  I must say, be careful what you pray for.  I can’t get enough.    I want to consume all of it at the same time immediately.  All of it.  The words in Jeremiah 15:16 speak it best:

When I discovered your words, I devoured them.   They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord.

Right now I could literally spend hours at a time drinking in the words of my bible.  Luckily, this is working out well with my current TV/Movie fast that I started back in October.  Cutting that nonsense out of my daily schedule has freed up hours/week.   I must admit this was extremely hard to give up at first, and even now I miss some of my favorite shows.  But, I’m busy–there just aren’t enough hours in the day  Can’t anybody relate!?

But what I’ve found is that what I’ve gained by giving that up is infinitely more valuable than what I’ve lost.    My heart breaks for the people of  Jerusalem and Judah (and everyone today) who’ve turned away from the God that rescued them.   They “exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!” Jer 2:11    My heart rejoices b/c  “O Lord, if you save me, I will be truly saved, My praises are for you alone!” Jer 17:14

Sharp-as-a-tack JC said to focus on the goal rather that the plan of action. Don’t just make a New Years Resolution to read the bible more, or read it in a year, or whatever.  But make your goal to know God better—then pray for help, and let Him lead you to that.  He’ll do what you can’t.

Love is also….

Cameron and Cory

I couldn’t ask for better kids!

Cory and Cameron

Fun times in downtown OKC!

A Strong Warning

The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. Isaiah 8:11

These words, spoken by Isaiah early in his years as a prophet of God, reflect the commitment to God that it takes to follow Him whole heartedly.  To trust in Him alone.

I’m looking for focus and a clear mind.  What do I do?  Shut out distractions.  Turn them off, make a choice.

In what way do you need to change the way you think so that you do not think like everyone else?

Love is…

I’m reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan(as is everyone in my circle right now) mostly in an effort to redefine love in my mind.  I highly recommend it, btw.

My desire is to love God again.  To feel love for Him, to fall in love with Him, to just be able to say “I’m crazy about Jesus!”  Somehow, I’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.  My relationship with Him has been ok, but I’m trying to figure out if I love Him, really love Him.  I don’t want to just say it b/c I’m supposed to.

Since I know that the most important command in the bible is to Love God w/ all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second most important is to love people, I need to know….do I?  Does this seem like an easy question?  You would think someone would know if she loved someone or not.  But what is love?  Is it a feeling?  Is it a choice?  An action?  An emotion?

I’ll go to the source of love to find out what love is.  The bible says in I Cor that:

Love is patient. Love is kind.  Love is not jealous, boastful, or proud, or rude.  It does not demand its own way, it is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

So…that’s it.  That’s what love is.  Not a feeling or an emotion.  It’s a choice to put someone else first.   If I love God, I’ll put him first.  If I love my husband, I’ll put him before myself.  If I love others, I’ll put their needs before my own.  To love my kids comes easy and natural, but beyond that…not so easy–I find that selfishness and pride get in the way of real, genuine love.

Is love obvious to everyone else?  Is it easy?

Gettin’ Healthy Update #492

I know, you all probably thought I gave up on my Gettin’ healthy “project” that I started back in October…well, you’re wrong!  Sure, the holidays have been tough.  LOTS of good food available all the time.  Someone’s always making some delectable homemade goodies and making gifts of them.    It seems the norm to over-indulge during this season.

I’ve done as good as could be expected.  I just went over to FitDay.com to see when was the last time I logged my food and guess what…it was the day BEFORE Thanksgiving.  What does that tell ya?  I’ve had 5 weeks of  free eating.  Surprisingly, the scale is holding steady…certainly hasn’t gone down at all, but hasn’t gone up either.

So, I’ve adjusted my goals over at FitDay and I’ll be back on track tomorrow. I’m most concerned with getting the sugar out of my system (again) and getting rid of the cravings (again).  The sugar always makes me feel so sluggish and yucky.  Now, if I could only commit to exercising more than once a week…who wants to join me?  I need someone to drag me out of my chair and out of the house!