Monday, December 28, 2009
But instead of frustration, I found myself feeling grateful. Our lean law school years--when a hot cup of tea in my special tea cup was one of life's few luxuries--had taught me a profound lesson: things don't buy happiness.
It's a trite phrase, to be sure, but when you've found much happiness in spite of the lack of things and the lack of money to buy things, it seems anything but cliche.
There are likely many reading this right now who are experiencing financial difficulty. Maybe your husband is unemployed and there are no job possibilities on the horizon despite your incessant knocking on doors. Perhaps you have no idea how you are going to pay your rent or your mortgage and you're beyond tired of eating endless varieties of beans and rice.
No matter your current financial struggles, you can have happiness. In fact, you can find the very same kind of happiness I had when we were living on $800 a month in a little basement apartment in a new town with few friends.
You've likely read here about a lot of deals I've scored over the past few years, but today I want to tell you about the best "deal" I've ever gotten--one which changed my life forever and gave me lasting happiness and peace.
Two thousand years ago, in a humble manger in Bethlehem, a little baby was born. This baby, Jesus, would grow up to be the Savior of the world.
When I was 11 years old, I committed my life to Jesus and He became my personal Lord and Savior. Since then, my world has been turned upside down.
Where once I lived in constant fear and worry, I now have lasting peace. Where once I had emptiness, I now have true fulfillment.
Is my life perfect? Far from it! But I am loved unconditionally by the Creator of the universe. And that, my friends, is worth more than all the money in the world. He is what brings me true happiness.
As I swept up those pieces of shattered glass, I realized I wasn't upset over my favorite tea cup breaking because I have something which pales in comparison to a thousand expensive tea cups--I have Jesus.
The things of this world will fade, crack, break, and die. Jesus is Eternal. He will never leave me or forsake me. And someday, I get to spend Eternity with Him!
This Christmas, my prayer is that you also know Jesus, too. If not, don't delay another day until you get to know Him and commit your life to Him. (Go here to read more about Jesus and how He can change your world, too.)
I promise, this will be the best deal you'll ever find--worth more than all the money in the world can buy!
Borrowed from "MoneySavingMom" blog at Financial Freedom and Peace
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Those whose lives and hearts are filled with the hope that lies in their heart because their heart belongs to Jesus Christ, because He has redeemed them, because He has set them free to depend on Him for strength in time of sorrow and hope in time of distress. For those without Him, there is no hope. For He is Hope.
I recently learned that a dear one in our family has multiple friends who are struggling with sorrow upon the recent death of a loved one, or the nearly unbearable sorrow of knowing that a loved one is dying. Though not family, they are dear friends with whom friendship has spanned decades. But they have Hope because they have Him. Yes, there is sorrow, yes there is pain, yes there is distress but there is HOPE!
As the old hymn says . . . .
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Some days when you put on your big girl panties, don't you feel that even they won't help because the elastic is all worn out, you've had to pin them so they'll stay up, and then they still wiggle down when they shouldn't????? Don't you feel that all the chocolate has been swiped from the secret hiding place you so desperately established? Don't you feel that the gray of the rain and the cold of the day won't ever go away?
I know I've been there, done that, an still have my moments. However. . . . . . . . . . .
I have a portion of God's Word that I've clung to for years
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3And, no, just thinking about the peace of God, or praying for His peace, or seeking and coveting His grace doesn't make it come instantly. God is there in the grey of the day, the dark of the night, the hurt of the moment as well as the song of the bird or the leap of joy or the moment of peace and the moment of rest. I know. I've been there. I've had many moments and many long nights when I've felt there was no peace, no joy, no worthiness in me, no sense of being, no sense of achievement. But God has been there, too; and He has held my hand and protected me with His Shield of Faith.
Friday, November 20, 2009
At this time of the year, there is so much food for festivities in the grocery stores and it seems to be sprouting from cracks in the walls, floors, ceiling. It's everywhere! It's everywhere! With Thanksgiving a week away and Christmas right around the corner, whatever your heart (or gastric system) should ever desire is probably within the four walls of the grocery store down the street.
Today I went to the store to get my Thanksgiving turkey and other things so good, and it struck me at the absolute abundance of every imaginable taste treat. The good and simple food of sweet potatoes and collards. The Little Debbie Christmas cakes. The richness of nuts, candied fruit, marshmallows, brown sugar, white sugar, exotic meats, and exotic fruits and veggies. The beauty of flowering plants you see only at this time of the year. The specialty coffees and creams. You name it, you can probably find it.
And are we thankful? Oh we might say a "Thanksgiving Blessing" as we gather together and form a circle by holding hands prior to partaking of our blessed Thanksgiving feast replete with turkey, ham, duck, turducken, venison, etc. Specialty vegetable dishes and desserts. Bowls of down-home collards, taters, rice, gravy, biscuits. But are we really thankful?
Do we pause and really say "Thank you, dear Lord and Father of all, for this Your provision to us so abundantly laid before us. Thank you for those who have grown and harvested this food and those who have brought it to market for us. Thank you for those who have prepared it to be eaten. Thank you for the strength to labor so we can earn our livelihood to pay for it and for the strength to prepare it to be eaten."
So I am thankful for abundance. And I pray that I will continue to appreciate with a thankful heart what the Lord has so abundantly provided for me.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
One item I prepare that my kids really enjoy (my grown family and their grown or nearly grown children) is “stuffing.” Now I make my own but I don’t go the real old fashioned route of baking biscuits, toasting loaf bread, and baking cornbread to use. I buy Pepperidge Farm sage seasoned and also Pepperidge Farm corn bread stuffing. I also use a couple of boxes of Stove Top Turkey stuffing. I mix these up in a large bowl.
I chop onion and celery and then sauté them in a couple sticks of butter (real butter) in a sauce pan. Once they begin to look a little bit done, I measure in some uncooked grits (yep! I said grits) and water. I cook this until the grits are done. Then I pour this over the bread stuffing. I then use chicken broth (or turkey broth from cooking the heart and neck of the turkey) to thoroughly moisten the bread stuffing (the stuffing packages give a guideline for this).
I stuff the turkey with as much as it can hold, skewer the opening, and bake until the turkey is done taking into consideration that it takes longer to cook a stuffed bird than one that is not stuffed. The remaining stuffing is placed in a greased baking dish suitable to place on your table and baked for about 30-45 minutes at 350F.
Quantities of the ingredients depend on how many you are going to serve. For our large family I might use one of each type of the Pepperidge Farm stuffing in the larger bags. Two boxes of the Stove Top stuffing. A couple or three stalks of celery and a large white or Valdia onion. I think it would take at least 2 sticks of butter but perhaps 3. I would cook probably ½ cup grits with 2 cups water in the sauteed onion and celery. Don’t forget that you need a bit of black pepper. It will have enough of salt and other seasonings in the other ingredients.
Monday, November 2, 2009
All that being said, I have narrow-angle glaucoma. That is I have narrow angles in my eyes that could at some time pose a problem and therefore result in blindness. In order to avoid this terrible calamity (and believe me, I realize it would be terrible), two doctors of ophthalmology have recommended a certain laser eye procedure – PI (a form of in-office eye surgery) – to avoid the possibility of narrow-angle closure which would be abrupt and very painful. The procedure has been done, successfully, in my left eye and, unsuccessfully, in the right eye. The right eye will be repeated soon. In the meantime, another situation has arisen that is being treated with warm compresses to the eye, eye-scrubs, and Systane Ultra lubricant eye drops. This is a four-times a day procedure that assists in keeping at bay the gritty feeling in the eyes.
So now the eyes have it. But all is not lost. I needed a new bottle of Systane Ultra drops and so I "dropped" in at the local CVS Pharmacy and picked up a bottle. I had a $1 off coupon from the "sample" the doctor gave me. But what a joyful surprise to discover that the drops are on sale this week! Instead of $10.99 for a tiny bottle they are $7.99. Pricey. Now I thought I'd drop back by CVS before the sale goes off and grab another bottle. But prior to that I went online and found a $2 coupon at the Systane website. You simply register and are able to print twice in 60 days. That will help pay for this pricey water that I'm dropping drop by drop into my eyes.
So I encourage any of you Systane users to investigate the website, get your coupon, get to the sale before it runs out Nov. 7th and save a little green.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The saga of the lone tomato plant by the back door has come to its chilly, end-of-summer, lack of warmth, buggy, wormy end. My husband has dutifully plucked all the non-wormy green tomatoes (small, medium, and large ???), ripped the still blooming plant from its earthy nest, and released the nearly blocked back door (it was a very large plant) from its restrictive leafy arms. (note: The height decreased as the plan flopped over.)
We now have a large bowl of green tomatoes and husband is clamoring for "fried green tomatoes." Yes, we are Southern; and yes, folks DO eat GREEN TOMATOES.
Years ago at the conclusion of an almost futile attempt at gardening to feed our fairly large family, I harvested the green tomatoes. We had fried green tomatoes that year. Of course, we had no idea that our cholesterol was then or would ever be off the charts. We also had loads of green tomato mince meat which made delicious pies. I canned the mince meat, and we ate it for a couple of years. I also made green tomato relish which consists of green tomatoes, onion, green peppers, sugar, spice, and vinegar. And NO!!!! I do not plan to go that route again. We ate it, gave it away, and did not waste a bit. But that excursion into green tomato mince meat and green tomato relish was enough.
So this year I will fry-up a couple of pans of fried green tomatoes for husband and hope some of the others will ripen into rosy orbs of red tomatoes good on sandwiches and good in salads.
The plant that is now beginning to decompose was somewhat of a surprise to all of us. It grew to be about 5 1/2 feet tall and had a span of about 6 feet. I planted the one and only plant which I purchased at Lowe's for about $2.50. And NO, I do not have a green thumb. I simply had a green, miracle tomato plant that we enjoyed lots of sandwiches from.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Fall is Fast Forwarding,
Soon it will Frost
Filling us all with
Are not these flowers the epitome of the fall season! While at Food Lion last Saturday, I saw the pot of flowers and thought these just "speak Fall" to me! So in the buggy they leaped. And I was so full of happiness to be taking home a bit of Fall beauty.
While shopping, several other shoppers remarked on the beauty of the flowers. So therefore my joy was compounded.
Now the extra measure of joy will be played out next year when (or should I say IF!) these beauties return to bloom again in their Fall splendor. We shall see and only time will tell.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Who among us is not in need of asking God’s forgiveness for some act or inaction on our own part? Who among us has not slighted God? Who among us has not acted as though we don’t need His, our Saviour’s, forgiveness?
Mark 11:25. . . .
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
King James Bible
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
American Standard Version
And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Matthew 18….21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
- Laundry your clothes in COLD water. Most of the time cold water and liquid soap will clean the clothes fine. You save on heating the water.
- Hang clothes to dry. You can do this inside on coat hangers from the shower rod for small wearables. Use a dryer rack for undies and such. Line dry sheets, etc. outside. Drying clothes inside the house during the winter will generate moisture in the air which makes a lower-set heat more comfortable and also is better for your breathing.
- Use fans to circulate air during the hot weather. You can tolerate a higher set thermostat for your air conditioning if the air is moving. Floor fans, and ceiling fans work for this.
- Avoid eating much sugar during hot weather. Your body converts the sugar into fuel which your body goes into gear to burn. So you start getting warmer.
- During the winter, cook moisture generating soups, etc. to heat the house. Bake to heat the house.
- During the summer, cook large batches that need long cooking. Rewarm these meals quickly in microwave. The pre-cooked meals are convenient and one-cooking time uses the heat for several meals. During hot weather, the one-cooking time heats up only once saving on your AC and also saving on the fuel to cook. Microwaves are great for no-heat cooking.
- Cook up a batch of boiled chicken. Make chicken salad. Freeze meal portions of cooked chicken for other uses - salads, tacos, casseroles, quick-stir frys.
- Remember, to eat cold meals on hot days.
- Eat hot meals on cold days.
What in the world is going on? First the back goes out in early July. And you all know what a pain that can be (pun intended!)! Then in late July something closely akin to "flu" hits! I recover somewhat from both (therapy on back) and whamo!!!!! Something closely akin to "flu/common cold" hits! Down for the count - again!
Now folks, this is not fun and this is not good! I surely hope it is not a foretaste of dire things to come with the onset of seasonal flu and (Yikes!) H1N1. I work in a school and there is so much hand sanitizer being used and Clorox disinfectant spray being applied to desks, etc.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I am not in agreement with most of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, of which Bernard of Clairvaux was a monk, I find this statement of his to be so true today as it was during the time in which he lived.You have got to check out this short excerpt of a piece of writing from Bernard of Clairvaux. He wrote it somewhere around the year 1125. It is amazing how clearly and relevantly it comes across after 900 years. Check it out!Posted by Shane S.
"Churches are full of people who are fairly miserable because they are still bound to earth, and not free in spirit to soar with the joys of heaven. And as for good character and godly living - it seems that the quality of Christian character goes down as our numbers increase.
For now, it must be so. You and I must live among others who fill up the church and whose hearts are truly dark. Run from any 'Christian' who lives to please his flesh, as if you were fleeing from the worst danger. For fire is prepared for all those who lead little ones astray. Do not let your profession of faith - 'I am following Christ' - turn out to be a mockery.....
Do not be led out of your place in Christ, I tell you. Instead, remain true to God and you will know the true working of grace, which gives strength within."
Monday, May 25, 2009
God Bless the USA
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Reusing aluminum foil and plastic zip/fold-over bags has always been a great way to stretch your pennies. Just be sure you don't reuse the bacteria that clings. Yep a few cracker crumbs or something can be "sudsy-water-washed" out and you're o.k. A bologna sandwich baggie washed out might be trickier and remember you don't want any of the bacteria to travel with the foil or baggie when you reuse it.
I cut tops off the bottles of lotion and use a small-blade plastic scraper (spatula) to get the lotion clinging to the side and very bottom out. I then put it in a small margarine tube (w/ lid) and use it all. Jergens stress lotion is particularly thick and hard to get all out unless you do this.
Any cooking water is great to save to use for soups, sauces, or veggies. (Now you may want to draw the line on collard greens or turnip greens ?????) You save this vitamin rich and flavorful broth in Coolwhip container or (square is better if you have it) other containers and place it in the freezer to use later. Veggie water or meat broth (chicken, ham, fresh pork, beef) is great, and you can use the water from cooking potatoes or pasta as well. You can use it for soups. If you don't add salt to the initial cooking, this liquid can even be used to reconstitute concentrated soups that you purchase. The meat broths can be used to cook fresh veggies as well as the base for soup. These veggie and meat broths make great liquid bases for your sauces and gravies as well.
I don't save liquid from cooked fruit. Usually it takes such a little and I usually add sugar so the fruit is cooked pretty "low." These liquids left over are simply great to "eat out of the pot" or pour over a bit of ice cream. Now if you cook your own preserves or jams from fresh fruit, and if you somehow end up with more liquid that your preserves need, you have an absolutely wonderful syrup to pour over your waffles or pancakes.
Pepperidge Farm and Arnold breads are close to $4 a loaf now. So ever-so-often I go by the outlet and stock up. It costs $1.89/loaf there. Usually though, they have a "featured" bread or so on the counter that is going for $1 a loaf. Also, on Tuesdays they give 10% off to seniors. (just another perk for going grey) So every three weeks or so, I run by and buy our bread They have crackers at about $1 box as well as cookies. Sometimes they have Godiva coffee. I bring it home and place it in a plastic bag, and place it in the freezer. Yesterday I got a pack of 8 Pepperidge whole wheat hamburger buns ($2.89/pkg) for $1. Really nice buns.
When I save my "bread bags," I make sure to shake out all the crumbs. I then "roll" them. Later, when I need a baggie, I can then peel one off and they take less space to store.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
- Catching the water potatoes were cooked in during draining to use in soup, gravy, or for cooking other veggies in.
- Catching the water pasta was cooked in during draining to use in soups and gravy.
- Taking old towels and cutting them down into wash cloths and hemming the edges. Or making a smaller towel to use as a hand towel out of a bath towel.
- Remaking clothes to fit smaller bodies.
Now I have been vindicated! I was reading "Nature's Place," a free magazine distributed at Food Lion grocery stores. There is a mini article that I will quote below:
savings, al dente
Has a large pot of pasta water ever seemed too heavy to hoist? Don't laugh - mericans cook around a billion pounds of pasta a year, and besides muscle, we use lots of energy and water to do it.
So here's some welcome info: you can cook pasta in about half the water called for. Save energy and water (and your strength) by using three to four quarts for a pound of pasta. Gradually add it to boiling water, stir until water returns to a boil, and cook to your liking, stirring occasionally. Besides tasty noodles, you'll end up with thick pasta water you can add to sauce. Even better, use whole-wheat pasta; it's nutritious and results in flavorful water for sauces and pestos. (Selected Sources. "How Much Water Does Pasta Really Need?" by Harold McGee, New York Times. 2/25/09, "How to Cook Pasta," www.savvyvegetarian.)
Now the funny thing about this whole article is simply that I always felt that the amount of water called for in the directions to boil your pasta was too much, so I have NEVER used as much. Yes, my water was kinda thick, but that was so much better for my later uses of it.
So get cracking, folks, and save your strength using less water and save your pasta-water to use later. You'll be glad you did. You'll be being frugal - by not wasting ANYTHING - and you'll get every smidgen of good out your food products.
Rethink what you are throwing away! Save the water any veggie is cooked in. You can use it in soups, sauces, etc. You'll be glad you did.
And while you're thinking pasta, you might want to look at The National Pasta Association website.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
STILL SWEETER EVERY DAY
To Jesus ev'ry day I find my heart is closer drawn;
He's fairer than the glory of the gold and purple dawn;
He's all my fancy pictures in its fairest dreams, and more;
Each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.
His glory broke upon me when I saw Him from afar;
He's fairer than the lily, brighter than the morning star;
He fills and satisfies my longing spirit o'er and o'er;
Each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.
My heart is sometimes heavy, but He comes with sweet relief;
He folds me to His bosom when I droop with blighting grief;
I love the Christ who all my burdens in His body bore;
Each day He grows still sweeter than He was the day before.
The half cannot be fancied this side the golden shore;
Oh, there He'll be still sweeter than He ever was before.
by--- W. C. Martin
You know, folks, it just might be the Scotch in me that loves the song so much. Who knows?
Saturday, January 10, 2009
However, some shoppers will surely still choose to maintain as healthy a food plan for themselves and their families as possible. How they will do this frugally will be a challenge unless, of course, they have the opportunity to grow some of their own food or have access to reasonably priced fresh produce, etc. During WWII (no I don't remember all this first hand 'cause I was too young), even people who lived with tiny patches of yards managed to grow a "Victory Garden." So you may need to plant cabbages and tomatoes, etc., between the bushes in front of your house and in other little spots of dirt you have. Each plant you can harvest is something you don't have to pay full price for, and it is good for you. Do I know how to do this? No, and it's a bit late in life to learn and be able to do, but it is a possibility for most people.
So formulate for yourself a plan to further your methods of frugal living and saving pennies.
Pennies make dimes, and dimes make dollars, and dollars put food on the table and pay the electric bill.
Monday, January 5, 2009
I have found that ANY cream at ANY price is better than NO cream! So ladies, take heed and get some cream on your face, your hands, your neck, your legs, your feet. You will be glad you did for not only will they look better now and in the FUTURE, but they will most certainly feel better right now and in the future.
You can purchase a pretty good line of creams and skin care items from Yves Rocher online. I have used them for several years. I love Lancome products and use them whenever I can. I particularly like a Lancome creamy lotion (it is white) to cleanse the face and also a Lancome hydrating toner (it is pink). These are wonderful, but they are pricey. I do use Lancome foundation regularly, and it has a good sun screen in it. I always purchase my Lancome items when they offer their "gift" packages. You get wonderful freebies this way.
The Yves Rocher line is a good one to watch as they have really tremendous sales where the items are half price. They also offer some free item/s whenever you make a purchase.