Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Penny Saved

I just finished reading America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, by Steve and Annette Economides (yes, their real name). My dear friend Dana recommended it to me months ago, and the waiting list at the library was so long that I just got it last week. I guess all those other cheap people out there eschew buying books in favor of the library, too. Anyway, it was a good book to read. Much of the budgeting information was not new to me, since we became fans of Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Living a couple of years ago, but there were several new ideas to consider and much encouragement to keep the frugal lifestyle commitment. I really appreciated their attitudes about possessions and contentment. One thing they said in the book I have really found to be true: The more time you spend at the mall, watching commercials, or even browsing through catalogs, the less content you are likely to be. We are so influenced by what we put into our minds, be it watching or reading!

The ideas in this book even challenged me to try something I've never done before: actually look through the clothes at the Salvation Army. I admit it is a pride thing; I love garage sales and revel in a good bargain, but something about shopping for clothes from a thrift store has always caused me to shudder. So, last Wednesday, while Keely was at her art class, I ran into the nearby Salvation Army and looked at the kids' pajamas. I immediately found an adorable set of winter p.j.'s for Lily, as well as a nearly-new bathing suit for Keely for next summer. (I bought her a nicer one at Kohl's on clearance, but with our frequent pool trips, it's nice to have two.) Wednesday happens to be half-off on all clothing day, so I spent a whopping $1.00 total at the checkout. I have to admit, though, I was not totally happy with my purchases til I washed them in hot water and they were smelling nice and flowery. :)

So, I have done the thrift-store thing and actually had pleasant results. Who knows, this might become a regular thing for me. Here's a picture of the clothes--because everyone knows that half the fun of finding a great bargain is bragging about it!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Random Photos

Book Reviews for Kids

My friend Michelle and I have many times lamented the fact that we each have a voracious reader in our home--Wait...let me re-state that. We have lamented the fact that we can't keep up with pre-screening all the books that our girls bring home from the library. We rely on trusted book lists and certainly thumb through their selections, but have wished for a website that would provide book reviews from a Christian perspective. Well....Guess what? I have found one! Hurray! At this point the number of reviewed books is fairly small, but they are always adding new ones to the list. So, here's the link for all you Moms and Dads with the same dilemma.

Speaking of books, my super-supportive and gift-giving Mother has blessed us with some missionary biographies to enjoy. Our library system is sadly lacking in books on this topic, so I am so excited to be able to start our own collection. I never read about famous missionaries as a child, but I have so enjoyed learning about them with the kids. We have read about Hudson Taylor together, and George Muller. Keely has a book from the "Ten Girls..." series, which she enjoys, but these books just present a short synopsis of each missionary's life in a story form; and I don't think they're terribly well-written. Here are some pictures of Joseph posing with our new books.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Before I Turn In

Ahhh...Another day almost gone. Since I've been getting up to walk with my friend Michelle every morning at 5:30, I should be heading to bed soon...but I feel like rambling a bit, first.

I sampled some good eats at the Lenexa Spinach Festival on Saturday, and one of the things I snacked on was beer bread. I remember my Mom making this stuff when I was a kids, and forgot how good it is. So, Keely and I went directly to the store Saturday afternoon to buy self-rising flour and a six-pack of Bud. I felt kindof funny buying it, not because I think alcohol is evil, but just because I never do buy even feels funny cracking them open to bake with them, while the kids are running around me. Funny, huh? It's like I am picturing in my head what I must look like: barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen holding an open container. Anyway, it sure is good. And for any of you concerned, the alcohol bakes out. ;)

Last night we met with our new church group, and it was good to begin reading through the book of Acts together and beginning our study of the first century church. Please pray for us, if you think of it, as we begin this journey. We are excited and not sure what to expect. Just trusting God to lead us and direct our steps. Also, though I don't feel that I should go into detail, please, please pray for our current church. We are working through some issues and desperately need reconciliation and forgiveness, all around. I know it has to grieve the Lord when there is fighting among brothers in the church. And what must unbelievers think? "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35

Friday, September 07, 2007

Church Humor

Seen here during Sunday worship, Calvary Baptist Church of Farnsworth, Iowa, recently put their first four rows of pews up for sale. “We're asking top dollar for them,” said Pastor Vic Merton. “They've never been used.” Realizing that they would be closer to the front after the sale, the frantic congregation has begun assembling folding chairs in the church foyer.

Click here for more hilarity from H. K. Doolittle's Gallery of Dubious Photojournalism (

Thursday, September 06, 2007

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

This is a powerful video. I don't know of too many people, personally, who subscribe to this thinking. But, I know in my own life I tend to question God when difficulties come, and He doesn't take them away. Isn't it funny that that's our knee-jerk reaction: to expect peace and good but not accept the difficult and trying?

"Shall we accept the good from God's hand, but not evil?" Job 2:10

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor days

Here we are at the close of a long weekend. It was busy and productive for us; and we had a little bit of fun, too. Friday my dear friend Jo watched the kids for me and I had a wonderful time visiting some shops I have wanted to for a while; I had a fabulous cup of coffee and took my time looking and spending. A little. And some of it was for Christmas. Do I sound like I'm justifying?

Friday night we went to DeSoto with our friends Matt and Jessica for their annual city festival. (I will have to write more later about the significance of DeSoto...The quick word is that we are going to be a part of a church plant there.) There was a carnival, and the kids thought it was wonderful; even Joseph, who didn't ride a thing, was awed by all the lights and noise. I, myself, tried to put all horror stories about carnival rides causing death or bodily injury out of my mind. It was fun, though. Funny how something as un-appealing as a carnival (to an adult) becomes fun as you watch your kids get excited. Oh- and...we broke our sugar fast. Kevin with a coke, and me with some cotton candy. Although I had to share most of it with the little people. This weekend has been a sugar-fest around here. Ice cream, candy bars, you name it. We have gone a little wild. But, we are going to reign it in and try to limit our sugar from now on to the weekends. Try.

Saturday was spent mostly working in the yard, trying to resurrect our sad excuse for a lawn. As of today, it is re-seeded and on the mend. So, we'll see some results in a few weeks, hopefully.

Today was a bit of a challenge. We started off with a battle of the wills with one of the kids, and it wasn't pretty. I think Kevin and I both felt a little out-of-sorts today. We all went to the grocery store together tonight, and by the time we were ready to get everyone in bed I was feeling less than gentle and sweet with the kids. Lily was freaking out over a 2mm scratch on her toe, and I was, shall we say, less than compassionate with her. Then I just *happened* to read something afterward about how our children learn compassion and grace with others by our example. Oh, help, Lord! I don't want my kids to be callous and impatient people. I continue to pray for refinement and change in myself, and God's grace poured out on my children. Here's my verse to meditate on tonight:

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23