I don’t know about you, but I am a list maker. I love checking off things I have accomplished, and I love making budget spreadsheets, vacation checklists, and even grocery lists are a weekly occurrence in our home. Lately I have been feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate. So, today, I decided to start making a daily list of the most important things I want to accomplish. It can’t be a long list or it will feel overwhelming, and I won’t get anything done (did I mention I’m a procrastinator!). I am going to try to just put 4 or 5 things on the list each day and see what I can get accomplished. I also have read organization books that say to just spend 15 minutes a day quickly cleaning up each room in your house, and it will stay a lot cleaner. And having a clean home will make you happier! So I am going back to doing that as well. After having a baby 3 months ago, my life kind of got out focus. Now that things are settling down, I am determined to get back to my routine. So, 15 minutes of quick cleaning per room, and deep cleaning/organizing one room a day is on my list. Also, of course, is homeschooling, and making my meal/grocery lists. The last thing on my list, I hate to do almost as much as I hate doing dishes. Laundry. It seems like no matter how many items of clothing I give away, we accumulate 10x that! Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful that my kids have clothes without rips and stains, and I am soooo thankful for the hand me down’s people have blessed us with and the awesome deals I get shopping for clothes. But, having a baby with reflux is like having a never ending cycle of laundry to clean. But, anyway, that is on my list for today as well. Learning, cleaning, organizing. Doesn’t seem like too much to handle. I hope the baby cooperates and lets me get this stuff done. I forgot how hard it is to get things accomplished when all you want to do is snuggle all day 🙂 So, if you are having trouble getting motivated. Try to make a list. Just a short list. And see what you can get accomplished today. Doing something is always better than doing nothing!
Wow, I have been gone for awhile! A lot has happened in this past year. Not only did we move to a new state, we also added a new member to our family!
Our little cuddle bug is 3 months old already, and an awesome sleeper! We are still homeschooling, still budgeting, and still planning on taking some awesome trips in the near future. Our trip this year is just a mini trip since we had a bundle of joy, but it will be just as exciting as a large trip! We are spending a few days at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX next month. I will let you know how it goes. We are also planning on moving (nearby) sometime next year *hopefully*! Budgeting our emergency fund and our down payment is taking a lot of work, but will be worth it in the end. We got to join Costco for free with my husband’s work, which saves a ton of money. When you have a family of six, finding savings where you can is very important. We also have been using the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app. That too has helped a lot-without any effort-which is great! Well, I will blog more later. I have lots to say on Christ, moving, budgeting, homeschooling, marriage, and a plethora of things to write! So stay tuned!
I usually try to write happy posts. I like to keep it light, but today has really made me think about what really truly matters in life. Most people hate trials. They hate it when bad things happen. Now, I’m not saying I like it when bad things happen, but I am very much thankful for the trials I have been through. Whether it be the death of a young loved one, or financial hardship, or physical pain, I am thankful for the things I have been through. Yes, it is extremely hard when bad things happen. I have had many times where my life felt hopeless and the grief was unending and so hard to bear, but after the storm is over, there is always a rainbow. There is always a purpose for my suffering. No matter what the situation is, it always brings me closer to Jesus Christ. It helps me to relate to others going through the same struggles. It helps me to grow wiser, stronger and to become a better person. A better Christian. I know it is hard when bad things happen, but instead of pushing away God, try clinging to Him. Try coming through the pain, not as a victim, but as a survivor. Whatever your struggle, you don’t have to remain in victim mode. Yes, grieving and crying is very healing, but after the grief and tears comes healing. And it only truly comes from Christ. Trusting in Jesus was the best decision I ever made. Did it stop anything bad from happening to me. No. Did it change how I handled the sorrow? Absolutely. If you have trusted in Christ, you will never be alone. Your trial is for a purpose. You may not see it now, but through your struggle, God can do great things. No matter what happens, I choose peace. I choose joy. Some days is harder, much harder, than others, but we have a choice. We can choose to have peace knowing God has a plan, or we can choose to wallow in our pain, in our suffering. I honestly believe that I am a better person for my struggles. I am wiser with money, more sympathetic to others, smarter, safer. . . I thank God for my struggles, because they made me who I am today.
**If you are not sure how to get saved, I got this from: http://www.christianevangelism.net/tools/abc.html
ABC’s of Salvation
The ABC’s of salvation are an easy way to explain salvation to someone. In addition to being easy to explain, they are easy to remember so anyone can share the gospel without a lot of memorization. The ABC’s are:
Accept that you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” To sin is to miss the mark. God has set standards for us to live by and no matter how good we are at keeping them, we’re not going to be perfect. Even the youngest of children know right from wrong and they know when they have done wrong. We need to accept that we’ve done wrong things.
Believe that Jesus died for our sins and then rose from the dead. Romans 5:8 tells us “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If we only accept that we’re sinners, we’re in trouble because the first half of Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” Sin means separation from God eternally which means we would suffer hell away from God in heaven. Fortunately Romans 6:23 doesn’t end there but continues by telling us “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We were dead in our sins but God did something about it by sending Jesus to die in our place. We must believe that Jesus was able and willing to take away our sins by dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
Call upon Jesus to be saved. Belief requires action to back it up. Romans 10:9-10 says “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Continued belief calls for continued action. We don’t have to keep getting saved but we should continue to put our faith into action by the way we live. We should continue to confess that Jesus is Lord of our life.
Money is always a touchy subject. A lot of people don’t like to talk about it. Parents don’t teach their kids to be wise with money, and kids don’t go to their parents for advice about money. It seems like it’s a don’t ask, don’t tell subject. So, of course, I am bringing it up here 😉
For those of you that have not read Dave Ramsey’s My Total Money Makeover needs to stop what they are doing and go and get this book. If you don’t have any money, your local library will have it in stock. It is an amazing book and will change your life! Simple things, like pay off your debt (the borrower is slave to the lender), and to save for a rainy day (you WILL have problems, you NEED to prepare for them). Having an emergency fund is not hording money. It is being wise and preparing for WHEN you will have a problem. No if, only when. Your roof will leak, your car will blow a tire, you will have medical bills. No matter what happens, you will not have the stress if you have money saved up. If you are married, having no debt and a 6 months expenses savings account will take the financial burden off you both. We all know financial problems are a leading cause of divorce and marriage fights. How would you feel not having any debt (no car loans either), and having a bunch of money in savings? That would really lighten the load. You may have a small shovel and can only save $50 a month. But you know what? $50 a month is so much better than nothing a month, and it will grow over time. The older you get, the more money you will be making and the more money you can sock away. This book that Dave Ramsey wrote changed my life. It changed my husband’s life. It taught us to be in control of where our money goes. We don’t drive fancy cars, or eat out every week, but we have peace. The peace that comes from having freedom. Start today and pay off your debts, build up a savings cushion, and taste the freedom that comes with it.
Since my husband and I refuse to use credit cards and rack up debt, we have to find creative ways to make our new house into a home. One cheap and fun idea I had was to take a kids table/chairs we got a couple years ago from a yard sale, and repaint it to make it look nice and new. I went to Lowe’s (they sometimes have rejected paints for only $5) and I found a nice pale blue color I thought would look nice. The kids and I spent the day painting the table and chairs. Now they look nice and new and it only took a few hours and a little elbow grease! (The little grooves were a pain to paint and kept dripping!) It might take some time, but if you are willing to do the work, you can have a nice home at an inexpensive price.
Spending a vacation with your family is a great way to make memories, but what about when the vacation ends? How can you keep your family close the rest of the year? As our kids get older, and they start becoming independent, how can we stay connected? The answer is simple. . . Time. Give your family part of your time every day. Whether you work outside the home, or stay home with the kids, our time can slip away very quickly. We need to make a conscious effort to spend good, quality time with our families EVERY DAY. We do not know how long we will have together. Accidents happen every day. Who wants to live with regret from what they should have done? We need to make the effort. Just 20 minutes a day of one on one alone time, will mean the world to your child, or your spouse. Play a game, just the two of you. Read your child a book, snuggled up in a chair. It can be very hard to do this while you have little ones in the house, but times like that make one on one time that much more meaningful. Yes, you are exhausted, but 10 years from now, you won’t remember being exhausted, you will only remember spending time with your kids, or ignoring them. You will either have fond memories, or the sinking feeling of regret. Even with teens, you can find something to do with them. Be creative. It doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, my teen is studying Italian this year. So I taught her how to shuffle cards properly (a lot of laughs ensued!) and then we played a modified version of an Italian game. We didn’t have the proper deck of cards, but our American cards worked just fine and we had a blast. Simple, little things can make a huge difference. Bake together, build something together. The point is to spend quality alone time with each member of your family. Make them feel important and worth your time. One more thing, and this is a HUGE one. . . do not, under any circumstances have any electric devices with you when you are spending your time together. Nothing sucks the joy out of special bonding time like a cell phone or tablet. Kids will most certainly feel ignored and unimportant. If you can’t be away from your phone for 20 minutes at a time, you may have an addiction. Show the people you love that THEY are important to you. Not some cyber friend, or game, but that person you are face to face with is worthy of your undivided attention. I even tell the other kids that they will get their turn, but not to disturb our time alone together. They are pretty good about respecting that. Not always perfect with the waiting rule, but pretty good 🙂 I challenge you, for one week to spend quality time each day with all the members of your family. Even 5 minutes a day can make a difference. I guarantee it will change your kids attitudes, it will make them feel loved. Do whatever it is they want to do, let them win the game, let them experiment with their own baking recipe. You will have fun and bond your relationship for life.
I am a HUGE stickler for safety. I have always tried to teach my kids to be safe when they are at and away from home. Here are some important tips everyone should know, to help keep them safe.
I always put an emergency number list somewhere down low that they can see. It has 911 with a green dot after it (to show you have to push the green button on the phone to make the call work). Then it has our address under 911. I don’t care how old you are, if there is an emergency, your address can easily slip your mind. I then have Nathan and my numbers listed, also I have listed “Mom” or “Dad” next to the numbers to show who we are. Then I have another set of numbers of someone that is a friend/family member that could help with their relation next to their names. If the police have to come to the house, they can easily find those numbers as well. We hope we never have to use it, but are thankful that it is there!
Keep your doors locked. Most break-ins happen through open or unlocked doors, it’s so easy to flip the switch, and will keep your family safe. Also, teaching your kids to NEVER answer the door is a must!
Away from home:
When you are walking in a store or on the street, glance around and make sure no one is following you. Especially if you are alone. Always make eye contact with people.
When you are with your kids, keep a close eye on your purse. Don’t leave it in the cart, carry it on you. Also, a purse with a zipper is far safer than one with an open top.
When leaving a store, if you feel you are being followed, turn around and go back into the store. I know someone was following me once to my car, and I went back in the store. They stopped for a minute, and then kept walking. It may have been nothing, but you never know. Which brings me to my next point:
Once you get into your car, lock your doors before doing anything else. If you have to buckle in a child, glace around first. If you are distracted, it is very easy for someone to come up to you without you knowing.
If you feel the need to carry a gun, get a concealed weapons permit. Protecting yourself and your family is so important. Don’t be foolish with your firearm and leave it in a purse or somewhere that a child could reach it. Always keep it on you if it’s loaded. Whether or not the safety is on, a loaded weapon can be dangerous, and needs to be out of reach of children.
I’m not trying to scare anyone, or seem as if I live in a bubble. But always being aware of your surroundings and doing simple things to keep you and your kids safe is always a great idea. Have a safe and happy summer!!