Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Thursday, February 28, 2008

I think it's funny...

...that I'm really not reading any of the books in my Current Reading (see sidebar). Those are definitely books I've started, but haven't quite finished. Don't get me wrong I want to finish them. It's just that I find there are other books I want to read that seem more interesting at the moment.

What am I really reading?

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Mrs. Piper is getting picked up about once a week these days. It's a shorter book and should be classified as a "quick read," but I just haven't committed the time.

Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by speaker/radio host of Revive Our Hearts Ms. Nancy Leigh DeMoss. (Truthfully, whenever I hear her name I can only think of it as my husband imitates it as a high-pitched Midwestern woman.) I'm reading this with my accountability group. We're reading a chapter a week. It's good. I'd definitely recommend it. I'm also excited about her new book with Dannah Gresh Lies Young Women Believe.

Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan & Sarah Edwards by Elisabeth D. Dodds is my latest read. I started this on our trip to South Carolina a few weeks ago and by the time we got home only had two chapters left. We've been home a week now and I have about 1 1/2 chapters left. Almost there! It's really good and interesting. I'm finding that I'm enjoying biographies more and more these days.

That's it really. I'm about halfway through Lipstick Jihad, but I haven't picked it up in months. Next weekend, we're heading out to Indiana for a friends wedding and it's my plan to bring it on the plane. We'll see how that pans out. *wink*wink*







Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time for a Change

I'm starting to get tired of my blog's decor, so to speak. It's time for a change.
But how?
And to what?

We'll see...we'll see...

It's that time...


I participated in this last year, but I have such a hit and miss blogging style (something I'm trying to work on) that I don't know that I have many consistent readers. Maybe four, that I know of. And three of them are related to me. The fourth I've known since diapers.

But I'd like to get out there in the blogging world and meet more people. I definitely enjoy perusing the blogs of others and I have my top 4 blogs that I check daily. But this year...maybe, hopefully, it's at least my plan to blog more...be more specific (but random as life leads, because it always does) and whatever else!

You don't have to be a mom to join (I'm not). You don't even have to be a girl! (Yew, boys have cooties!) Leave me a little note if you're joining in (or even if you're not). I'd love to make some blogger friends. I hope to see you at The Ultimate Blog Party!


(Oh, do you want to know a secret? I'm planning to launch a new blog on my favorite hobby...scrapbooking!)

Sponge Bob?

Yesterday, this is what I wore to work:



This is what the kids called me:



Apparently, my yellow shirt and my black eyes (ie, black-rimmed glasses) remind them of a certain sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Oh me, oh my!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven Monday

Well...I don't have many drawers in my house and all of those stay in a pretty tidy shape, at least most of the time. But Friday I was working on straightening up a few cabinets. Here's my before and after pictures:




This is my craft cabinet. I forgot to take a picture before I started taking things off the shelf.


Here's what was on the top two shelves. I decided to make this cabinet our "extras," all the things we've stocked up on from sales. And a few crafty things that wouldn't fit in the new cabinet. I also have lots of lotions and potions from my students. It's great to get gifts--and I definitely won't need to make any trips to Bath and Body Works any time soon! ; )

This is the new craft cabinet. I still haven't gotten to the top right shelf, but I'm working on it.

To see what others are doing this Monday, check out Biblical Womanhood.

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Frugal Shopping (& Blunders)

So...here's my "shopping report" for the week:


First Stop, Monday - CVS


I'm always a little disappointed when I go to CVS and nearly all the coupons I brought with me the shelves are empty! : ( So, I ended up getting things I didn't have coupons for to get the ECB's I wanted. I was working off the buy $30 of participating products and get $15 ECBs.

Kotex Light - 2/$5
Kotex UltraThin - 2/$5
Kleenex - 2/$5
Ziploc Sandwich bags - 2/$4
Glade Infusion Air Freshener - 2/$3
Glade Scented Candles - 2/$3
Glade Carpet/Room Odor Eliminator - 2/$5
Gillette Shaving Cream - $1.99/B1G1

Total: $31.99
Total after ECBs: $18.32

ECBs Received: $15

(I used our last giftcard from our prescriptions for our Ethiopia trip and to my surprise we had $50 left on the card!)

After this I still wanted to use my Colgate coupons. So, I stopped by the other CVS on my way home from Henry's. I had coupons three $1 coupons and the promotion was buy 1 at $2.99, get $2 ECBs. Except for I messed up a bit and got 2 that were originally $3.49 and 2 were $2.99. So, my total after coupons came to $7.30 (including tax) and then I got my $8 ECBs.

Total: $7.30

ECBs Received: $8

Monday's Total Savings: $53.82
Monday's Total Spent (on giftcards): $25.62
Monday's ECBs Received: $23



Second Stop, Wednesday - Henry's Farmers Market



I love Henry's. It's the best place for produce around and I love that spring is coming--berries are here! This weeks total $22.20, just a few dollars over what I like to shoot for. My own little saying is if I spend more than $20 at Henry's then I've spent too much.


Third Stop, Friday - CVS


After reading Money Saving Mom's post on the SunSilk promotion I had to make another trip to CVS. I have a ton of SunSilk coupons from requesting samples and here. This is where I blundered (or my first blunder). I didn't know you could use a coupon on the free item. If I had done that and only got a shampoo and a styling product it would have been free. But I thought you had to buy 2 to use the $1.50/2, not including the styling product that'd be free.

Anyways...you live and you learn. The end result? $5.06 (including tax), which comes to $1.27 per product which isn't bad...just not free. ; )


Total Savings: $12.48
Total Spent (on giftcards): $5.06

Fourth Stop, Friday - Vons



Vons/Safeway promotion this week is the Savings Rally. Buy 25 participating products get $20 Catalina, buy 15 - 24 participating products get $10 Catalina, buy 10 - 14 participating products get $5 Catalina. I was going for the 25 products/$20 Catalina. I'll go ahead and tell you up front my blunder...I was counting the price of my items when I should have been counting the number of items! Of course, I didn't realize this until I got to my car.

Anyways...I'm thinking I'll try it again. There's 2,000 participating products, but only 25 shown in the advertisement. The benefit in my blunder was seeing different participating items and their price, so now I can get more specific coupons.

Here's what I got:

Cheerios - 2/$5
Yogurt Cheerios - $2.50
Brownie Mix - 2 @ $2.19
Water (2.5 ) - $2.25
Honey Bunches of Oats (the chocolate kind!) - 2/$5
Propel Water - $1
Minute Maid OJ -$3
Irish Spring Body Wash - $3.50
Softsoap Body Wash - 2/$7
Suave 2-in-1 - 2/$4
Pork Stew - $4.17 (this had a 50% off coupon!)

Club Card Savings: $20.71
Coupons: $19.36
Total Savings: $40.07
Total: $24.10 (used a $50 Safeway giftcard, so free for me!)
Catalina Received: $5 (& a General Mills cereal coupon)


Weeks Total Savings:

Total Spent: $76.98
Cash $22.20
Giftcards $54.78

Total Savings: $106.37

ECB/Catalinas Received: $28

All of this and I only spent $22.20 of our money!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (on Tuesday)


Monday - flying home from SC

Tuesday - Black Bean Chiptole in Rice

Wednesday - Power Salad

Thursday - Curried Carrot Soup

Friday - Mashed Garlicky Potatoes with Portobello Gravy

Saturday - Lentil-Sausage Casserole

Sunday - Family Dinner

Thursday, February 14, 2008

In honor of Valentine's Day



Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day today, we're flying to South Carolina to visit my family. So, instead of sitting over a candlelight dinner we'll be sitting in close quarters for about 7 hours. But I just wanted to say to my sweetheart...

I love you and am so glad you choose me to be your wife. I love living life and growing with you and am so eager to become parents and grow through life. There's so much ahead of us...you give me so much joy, my love. I thank God for you...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh, so cute!

I was perusing Biblical Womanhood today and came across her post on 56 free apron patterns. They are so cute! Here's a few of the ones I like best...I might be making some of these soon. Especially with the denim apron!

This one's called a Tea Apron...oh, so cute!


I've got plenty of these to try out...


Isn't it adorable?

I can't wait to get to sewing!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

What we're doing this weekend...

We're dog/housesitting this weekend. What are you doing?



Friday, February 08, 2008

Frugal Fridays


I love cooking, but I usually avoid using spices that aren't already in my pantry. Curry, dry mustard, and, you know, other stuff like that I don't have. When spices range from $3.99 to $5.99 (and higher) it's just too expensive, especially when a recipe will only call for a teaspoon.

But at Henry's on Wednesday, I decided to go ahead and get a few spices that I usually avoid. To my surprise they had the normal shelves of spices, but also a few shelves of spices in large containers. I had never seen this before! There was a scale and little spoons in each jar and little bags. It was so much fun!

Excuse my excitement, but instead of buying a whole bottle of a spice I can measure out the amount I need and go. So instead of $4-something for the curry I bought it only cost me $ . 12. So, that's my Frugal Friday tip for the week. See if your grocery store (or a whole foods type store) does a similar thing and save!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Finally...Book List 2008

I've been wanting to post my book list for the year these last few weeks, but never really got to it. The reason, in part, being I haven't finished my list. I figured blogging about it would help me to put my thoughts down on paper. So, this is my "working" book list:

Biographies






Flannery O'Connor (I haven't decided on which biography)

Fiction/Literature











On Writing


(I've started this last year, but it's a long read...)

Children's/Young Adult Literature









This is just my running list. I still want to add one more category. There's likely more I'll want to add, some I'll put down and not pick back up, and some that I'll forget altogether. What are you reading lately?


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Lectio Divina



Lectio Divina is a slow, contemplative praying of the Word
that "calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray from God's Word."

Here is a brief overview of Lectio Divina:

The Four Moments

Lectio Divina has been likened to "Feasting on the Word." The four parts are first taking a bite (Lectio), then chewing on it (Meditatio). Next is the opportunity to savour the essense of it (Oratio). Finally, the Word is digested and made a part of the body (Contemplatio).

Lectio

This first moment consists in reading the passage slowly, attentively for several times.

Meditatio

A reflection on the text of the passage takes place, in which the Christian thinks about how to apply the passage's meaning to their own life. One may gravitate to any particular phrase or word that seems to be of particular importance. This should not be confused with exegesis, but is a very personal reading of the Scripture.

Oratio

This is a response to the passage by opening the heart to God. It is not an intellectual exercise, but an intuitive conversation or dialogue with God.

Contemplatio

This moment is characterized by a simple, loving focus on God. In other words, it is a beautiful, wordless contemplation of God, a joyful rest in his presence.



Ash Wednesday


Ash Wednesday is here, but what is its purpose? It's the seventh Wednesday before Easter Sunday and the first day in the season of Lent preparing for the Holy Week and Resurrection. The practice of putting ashes on the forehead comes "as a sign of humility before God, a symbol of mourning and sorrow at the death that sin brings into the world. It not only prefigures the mourning at the death of Jesus, but also places the worshiper in a position to realize the consequences of sin" (CRI/Voice, The Season of Lent).

Ash Wednesday is just the beginning of a long journey to the Cross and before the cross there is nothing to do but be humbled. It's the beginning of inward reflection as we look into the face of Christ. It's the beginning of repentance as we see the sorrow our own sin is before God and others. It's the continuation of hope, for where there is humility, Christ, and repentance there is always hope.

2 Corinthians 7:9-11

I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.











Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Beginning of Lent


Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Growing up Baptist, I never really understood why some denominations put ashes on their forehead on this particular day or what Lent was. The idea of giving something up for Lent seemed foolish to me. Not because I didn't see value in fasting from something, but it seemed people always decided to give up soda or chocolate and then be eating or drinking. Lent seemed to be more about what was being given up then drawing closer to Jesus. Seeing others "practice" Lent never turned me away from the idea, but there just seemed so little authenticity in what I saw.

As I've growing older church liturgy and old traditions seem to attract and invite me to gaze their way. Over the years, Lent has become less ambiguous and more of a mystery in the same way it is to view the sweetness in the life of one who looks passionately into their Savior's eyes. There's a depth and mystery there that propels you more toward Christ. Where am I at? I've seen this mystery in others and cannot help but be thirsty for that passion in my own life as well. I'm excited, but also nervous. My thoughts at times feel overwhelming, 'What if I forget? What if lose heart or patience in the waiting? What if I can't endure? What if...? What if...? What if...? What if I fail?'

The last 'What if...' plagues me the most. What am I doing this for? Myself? Others? To mark my spiritual checklist? For the glory of God? My honest answer? I don't know. What I hope for is purification. I want to be purified. Not condemned, not striving. Just open and made whole before my Lord. I want to trust Him with my whole heart, to strive for nothing but intimacy with Him. Even striving toward intimacy, I want to "cease striving."

What spurred this? Two weekends ago, I was talking with my pastor's wife, Tricia, at a Jesus Ministry conference at our church. We covered a wide variety of topics in a short amount of time, spanning from struggles with food to reading the Bible. The latter is what I'll focus on more, yet the former is also involved. I was sharing with Tricia lately I've found myself reading the Bible, but not really receiving from it in a relational way from the Lord. What I mean is sometimes I get in the habit of reading my Bible as studying the Bible rather than it being a time of interacting with the Lord. I feel those are two distinct things, although I might not be communicating them well. I told her I was looking forward to working part-time (which I've now started...yeah!) hoping that having more time would change that.

She encouraged me to think of using Lent (I really don't like the word "using" there, but it works) as a time to focus on each of these things: food and Scripture reading in my relationship with the Lord. One thing she encouraged me to do for my Scripture reading was to take a break during Lent from studying the Bible (like you'd study a subject in school) except for what was needed for the ministries I'm in and to meditate on Scripture in the tradition of lectio divina.

Tomorrow I start. There's nothing particularly magical about Ash Wednesday, other than it's 40 days before Easter. But it's a beginning, a place to start.

The Joy of CVS


This is what I got on my trip to CVS this morning. All of this came to a total of $36.50. After the sale promotions and coupons I paid the remaining balance with 2 CVS gift cards (from when we got our Ethiopia prescriptions there, which equated to about $150 to gift cards). The balance came up to $1.81. Instead of whipping out the last gift card, I paid it from the change in my wallet.

So, $1.81. I saved$34.69. And got $15 in extra bucks, plus a coupon for $5 off $25. I'm excited. CVS is so much fun!

For more of the fun, check out Money Saving Mom---she gives you the break down on how to do it all!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Miss Austen Regrets

Miss Austen Regrets

Sunday night The Complete Jane Austen took a break from the adaptations and turned to biography. It's hard to say whether it was good or not. Interesting? Yes. Accurate? Who knows. The thing about having a personal biography about Jane Austen is there is so little about her personal life. Now, we know about her family, schooling, upbringing, and her general relationships. But it's her intimate, personal life that is such a mystery. The thoughts that she must have some great love story in her past to be able to write so many touching and lasting novels on the subject. But the world will really never know. Austen's family burned her personal journals and many of her personal letters after her death--doesn't that in and of its self make you think she had some big secret?

Were there regrets with this adaptation? I never knew Jane Austen, but I know her heroines. She's lovable, because she's Jane Austen. But here she was painted like a great big teenager who was trying to persuade her niece to marry for love--make that love with a fortune. She was a tired, dying Jane Austen with the weight of the world on her shoulders. They throw a past proposal in the mix that I hadn't yet heard of. Tom Lefroy is mentioned a few times. {As a side note: My personal bet is for Tom Lefroy. Any guy who name's his daughter Jane Christmas (Christmas was when Tom & Jane met) still has a thing for his former love interest. Of course, only one or two letters from that period survive.} Jane's mother was painted as a monster, her brothers as men incompetent with money, and poor old Cassandra was the lonely housekeeper.

The older Jane Austen seems largely annoyed, opinionated, independent, jaded, and jilted. The movie seems to say she wrote wonderful novels, attempted to be a woman who provided for her family, but was never really in love. It wasn't the best picture of my Austen. Or at least not the one I'd like to see. {If you're interested in a younger version of a Jane Austen film biography check out Becoming Jane. It's the younger, flirty, independent, opinionated, but yet still forming Jane Austen.}

Menu Plan Monday


Monday - Havana Chicken, potatoes, & spinach

Tuesday - Meatballs

Wednesday - Broccoli Rabe w/ White Beans & Potatoes

Thursday - Wild Mushroom & Tomato Casserole

Friday - Colcannon

Saturday - Rustic Greek Pie

Sunday - Family Dinner


Check out more of Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.com!