A Marriage After His Heart

My journey and life unscripted as I transition from the role of a single mom living for God to a newlywed trying my best at blending and expanding my family, all while pursing a marriage after God and my husband's heart. Join us on this journey!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Frugal Friday Scanning, Decluttering and Other Musings

Today I decided to do a Frugal Friday post as I haven't done one in a while. Also I posted another Frugal Friday post over on my other blog SingleMomForGod. Since I have been trying to connect with my nesting phase, coupled with the fact that we won't be out of our apartment until the end of May I have been thinking of ways to de-clutter my home. I have to make room for baby, it's a must, it's inevitable, and it's getting closer. The main thing I struggle with is paper!

Having a daughter who is an aspiring artist, I have tons of drawings, paintings, notes, pictures, and other stuff, and having another daughter who seems as if she goes to school just to collect awards and certificates I have tons of certificates and awards that are collecting. I don't and can't throw them away, but I just don't have enough room for EVERY single picture, or award certificate. I have a husband who loves to write love notes, plus I just hate to throw away stuff that I always feel will come back to haunt me and I won't have letters and forms to refer back to if needed. So while at my job the other day, we were purging files and shredding old documents, the thought hit me to start scanning some of the older things! So I am going to go and see how many inexpensive flash drives I can purchase for each member of my family and I am going to use my 3 in 1 printer and start scanning some of these items on individual flash drives. I am then going to keep them in a safe place, more than likely a fire-proof safe with other valuables and documents and eventually once we get a safe deposit box I plan to transfer them there.

I know computers update, and by the time my kids are old they may not be using memory drives, but the good thing is I can always upgrade to whatever the newest thing is. My idea sounds good in theory, and it may or may not work but it is a very good idea in my eyes and I don't have to worry about loosing important childhood items. I could scrap book and all that stuff, but you know what, it's not me. And I am just not organized enough.

As I stated earlier I posted on my other blog and I am starting to feel led to try and post there at least twice a week. I saw that I still get traffic daily and have been praying for God to direct me on how to keep it going. Now that I am married there are so many things that I see in retrospect and hindsight that I desire to share with those desiring to be married. There is so much advice I have to give on preparing while single for the transition of marriage. So with the Lords help I hope to start posting there when I don't post here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Holding God's Promises While Things Are Looking Worse

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8

Lately I have been thinking deeply and meditating hard on how to conduct myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually while waiting patiently and faithfully on the Lord to deliver through on a promise made. Last night my pastor touched briefly on Paul's ordeal during the shipwreck and how even though things didn't look so good, Paul held on and firmly relayed the message delivered by the angel, that all would be safe. Everyone on the ship believed him and felt safe in Pauls words of encouragement. Then my pastor's wife made a comment that hit me like a ton of bricks, she said " Paul believed in God's word, and so the people believed in him, but then the ship wrecked and tore apart" What do you do when the storm tears up your ship before you are brought to safety? Good question.

Now we all know how the story ends, the ship wrecks yet they are all saved, the people on the island treated them well, Paul healed the sick, and fast forward three months later they set sail again with donated support from the locals. Now did God keep his promise to Paul? Yes it's very obvious. But if you rewind back to the passage where the soldiers on the ship tried to save their lives by lowering the life boats and Paul tells them "no one will be saved unless we all stay on the ship" You will see that this is when the battle between confidence in God and human reasoning to save oneself because there is no good end in sight originates.

Imagine being in this situation, someone has told you that they were told by an angel that everyone will be fine, so you assume the storm is going to let up, and all will be fine. But soon after that the storm gets worse, you see no good ending in sight, so you do what comes natural, you try to save yourself from the storm and hope for the best. During the midst of the worse of the storm as you are trying not to drown you're told , no one will make it unless we stay on this ship. While on this ship that is being battered by a horrible storm, you have a decision to make in that split second. You can trust what you have been told and ride it out or, you can jump ship and try to save yourself forgetting about the promise for your safety that was hand delivered by an angel of God to a minister of God. Not only that, but even when you trust him and stay on the boat, it still wrecks and breaks in little pieces, now you are stranded. Where is the promise of safety? Who is going to rescue you? You can't turn around and go back, YOU HAVE NO BOAT!

I have been here many times, and many times my faith fails in this one single area. God has promised me something, given me his word to stand on, I claim it, hide it in my heart and patiently wait, then things don't ever seem as if its getting better, it starts to get worse then I question my faith. I question if I am really going to get out of this situation? I start doubting myself and my relationship with God, I start to wonder did I pray amiss? Did I really hear God on this? Did I find this scripture myself to support what I want or did God really reveal it to me? Am I deceived? Am I still in God's will? I could go on and on with the things that run through my mind.

But after reading this story and really, I mean really stewing in meditation, it really registered
that even though we go through things in this life, and God promises to deliver us, or to make us stronger, or that we need to just wait on him, that things can actually get worse for us before they get better. It doesn't mean that God has forsaken us, or forgotten us, or that we didn't receive a promise from him. He's testing us. He is testing us to see if we will get off the boat that is about to crash into a million pieces in the middle of nowhere during one of the most fiercest storms of the season. That says a lot right there. It shows us where we are in our faith, where we are in our human reasoning, where we are in our trust. Think about how powerful Paul's testimony had to be, not only did they trust him as he trusted God, but even after they wrecked, the soldiers wanted to kill all the prisoners for fear of escape, but because of the favor given to Paul, it didn't happen.

There will be people around us who only look at our outward circumstances, they only see us as a prisoner who may try and escape, but God can give us favor with those who can save our lives and the lives of those just like us. People may never understand, empathize, sympathize or even care about us. They may just want to cast us aside and write us off. But it is our trusting in God through the most difficult of storms, shipwrecks, and castaways that gets us through.

It's hiding his promise in our hearts when the pregnancy test comes out negative again and you know he has promised you a child, or when the husband neglects you yet another time but you know God promised you a marriage after his heart, when you have trusted in him for financial blessings that are direly needed, but the main breadwinner becomes un-employed, the mortgage is in foreclosure, the baby won't feed from the "free milk" and you now need formula that costs the same as a utility bill. Through all of this, God is trying to see how close you are to him, how well do you know his voice, how fast will you look for a way out of your own, and how loud you cry to everyone but him during your time of distress.

I don't know about you, but I am in the process of tearing apart all my little lifeboats. I am asking God to help me keep a calm piece during the midst of my storms, and to know that while storms don't last always, they certainly can become more tempestuous before they end. I want to have the same peace as Jesus, when He and the disciples were also on a ship during a bad storm and during the storm Jesus was asleep. I don't want to be like the disciples running around frantic and frustrated waking Jesus up out of his slumber to quiet a storm that only requires me to have the faith as His to ride it out in deep, peaceful sleep.

Stay Blessed and Encouraged.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time To Shop For Baby!

ergo sling w/ infant carrier
evenflo travel system

graco portable crib


medela breast pump system

Well it's about that time for us, that time to start looking at purchasing items for the little one. I will admit that I have purchased absolutely nothing at this point. Not one single thing.
A lot of it had to do with the fact that we were dealt a curve ball one day after finding out we were expecting, I had to leave my job and we were forced to regroup and focus on merging into one income. I planned on trying to work a little, but as most of you know, the first six months or so were up and down for me physically. God has been faithful however that he opened a door and I was able to take a 6week temporary assignment earlier last month. This was right on time because now we have been able to start looking at buying stuff for baby.
For me this is a challenge. I have been out of the baby game for over 7 yrs. I saved nothing because frankly, I never saw this day coming. As a single parent I vowed never ever to have anymore children. Funny how the Lord changes things though, because here I am a little behind on the times, but in the game nonetheless.
So I thought I would first focus on the main items of interest to me. I know that pampers, bottles, bibs, Binky's, onesies, and all the other bells and whistles will more than likely be given to us as gifts, or can be purchased more once the baby gets here. So it's not the top priority for me. However the items I have pictured are the main items of cost and I am going to focus on getting these. Also they are on my must have list. I know that I can probably find them cheaper at Wal-Mart, Craigslist, EBay, Burlington Baby Depot, and even Big Lots. I really just posted the pictures so that I can get reviews from you guys. Like I said, I have been out of the game for a while, and I am older and not as energized as I used to be. So anything that can help me save time and energy gets an A in my book.
We decided not to go with a traditional crib,and/or bassinet. I had all that fancy stuff with my girls and I really don't remember one single night that they slept in it. Since it was just me, it was easier for them to be bed babies, and I nursed which made it so much more easier to feed in the middle of the night. We really had a system going on, I really didn't have to wake up, I could feel them both rooting, I would roll over, pull it out, they would snuggle up, latch eat and fall asleep. I remember burping them both half asleep. I think they knew I had to get up and work so they tried to work with me as best as they could. However, now that I am married and share the bed with someone ( or should I say corner of a bed) we have had the discussion about the baby sharing the bed with us, I have been told a solid and firm no. I submitted and we came to a solution that worked best, we will keep the sleeper by the bed so that I don't have to physically get up and walk in another room. Plus I hate the idea of not sleeping in the same room with my baby. It just doesn't feel right. I think Mark may change his mind though once the 2 hr feeding times come rather quickly. LOL
I really want a nice sling. No reason other than I had used ones before and couldn't really enjoy the benefit of them fully. This time I want a really nice, durable sling. I heard Ergo was the best on the market, if you know of a cheaper, yet goodie, please let me know.
We weighed the option of the car seat/ stroller combo. I found that it was a little cheaper than buying separately. Since this baby will be born in the spring, it will more than likely spend a lot of time outdoors. Especially if the girls get to play softball or soccer. Baby will be at the field with us. And I can't wait until we can take long family walks in park and all that good stuff.
I also want a good breast pump. Mark really wants to be involved in feeding and I want him to have that bonding time with his child. Plus there is a possibility that I will have to return to work to help us reach a goal that we have agreed on. I'll save that for a later post, if I do then I want to still be able to pump my milk. Also with all of the formula recalls this past year, I am terrified of giving my baby formula.
Well I think that about covers it. I am anxious to see what you more experienced ladies have to offer. Where can I get a better deal, what's a better product, any advice, tips, or stories are welcomed.
Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thorns, Grace,& Thick Skin

2 Corinthians 12:7-97 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me.8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me

Many times when we think of being tempted or temptations, we think of a big obvious pulling for us to do wrong, but I am starting to see that it is not always the big things that tempt us, but the little subtle temptations to not die out to our will that ends up being a big battle. For me lately I have had to stay before God and ask him to give me the grace to continue to remain in his will in dealing with someone who I feel is a thorn in my side. A very hurtful thorn that is just scratching away at my skin, which I now know is not as tough as it needs to be.We know that as saved Christians we are supposed to show love to everyone at all times, even our enemies.

I have been thinking a lot lately about really having "thick skin" spiritually. I don't know what it feels like literally to have a thorn in one's side, but I imagine it is extremely hurtful. I have scraped my thumb on a rose thorn or something like that and it hurt like the dickens, but to have one stuck in my skin and to have the doctor tell me " we can't remove it, but we can give you something to make it more bearable" would seem crazy to me. But this is what God told Paul, he told him, "No, I won't take it away, but I will give you the grace to withstand it".

We repeat that Scripture over and over in our Christian walk, but I am actually meditating upon it. These are just some examples of the No's God has told me.

  • NO: I won't make that person be nicer to you; but I will give you the grace to show extra kindness even when they are becoming more vindictive.
  • NO: I won't make your financial situation change at this moment; but I will give you the grace to be more resourceful, appreciative, frugal, and I will make you cleave to closer to me for your daily portion of bread.
  • NO:I won't make them understand your point of view; however I will give you the grace to take and hold fast to your faith unwavering and bold.
  • NO: I won't make your child become first time obedient; but I will give you the grace to grow in first time obedience to me and leave an example for your child to follow.
  • NO: I won't take away all your pregnancy ailments; but I will give you the grace to endure and to love this child even more for your sacrifice.
  • NO: I won't make your life as easy as you want it; but I will give you the grace to be content in the state that you are in.
  • NO: I won't give you support on that issue that you are seeking, but I will give you the grace and mercy to see that you are wrong and I will turn your feet around to the right path. I will keep that person in your life who will tell you my truth, and I will give you the grace to measure up to it.
  • NO: I won't allow you to receive the appreciation you feel you deserve; but I will give you the grace to realize that you are doing all things unto me and not unto man. I will also give you the knowledge and understanding that I am a rewarder of those who diligently seek me.

None of us likes to hear the word NO. If we say we do all the time, then we are not being totally honest. But the good thing about that is, that we have a Father who not only may tell us NO, but will help us through surrendering our hurt, swallowing our pride, and yielding unto his will in order to receive a higher blessing of His grace.

Scripture tells us to heap coals of fire on their head and to love our enemies. This also applies to our loved ones who are not our enemy, but may not be treating us as mandated by Scripture. If we know and believe what we read, how then does this become a test for us; and how does it become a test not to fall victim to our own will and retreat to our turtle shell of protection? We protect ourselves in many ways, we lash back, we render evil for evil, word for word, we whine to others, we sulk, pout and stomp our feet until we get our way, or worse, we retreat into our shell of silence and distance. Flesh by far does not like to be hurt, not even a slight nick or scratch, but our tests are only to make us stronger and if this is the case, then we should be seeking God for a total strengthening of our mind, body, soul, even skin.

Just as the skin on your body is an outer layer of protection, so is your spiritual skin. If it is too thin and dry, then it will tear and little infectious things will start to penetrate through and work on deteriorating your heart, and mind, and eventually your soul. If your skin is thick, then it will protect you from tears, and things will not be able to penetrate it as easily allowing you to remain focused on God's will and not the annoying pain of dry, scaly skin.

I was reading this article about temptation and how just as Jesus had only the word to use on the enemy, we too must use the word and the word only to fight him and to fight ourselves when tempted to yield unto our understanding, feelings, or will. We have to find those skin thickening scriptures and say them out loud at times in order to fight the hurt from those thorns that Satan uses to buffet us. Some thorns God may not remove, but I truly believe that as our skin thickens, the thorns buffet us less until eventually we will not even know they are there.

Be Blessed today, and Stay Encouraged and Spiritually Nourished!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Coupons Really Do Work

We've all been sick with the yucky stuffy head cold stuff that has been going around and actually this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I decided that I was going to conquer the piles of coupon inserts that I have been saving since last year. While most of them expired and I randomly used any of them, they did come in handy for me this week. Normally, it is hard for me to grocery shop under $100 bucks.

I am not one of those wives who cooks stuff up for a rainy day, although I do freeze left-overs, but I am married to a man who believes in nothing going to waste and is athletic to match. I learned to cook in the quantities that are just enough for the four of us with maybe a little left over for the hubs to take to lunch. And I have failed miserably at menu planning. I tried but really each day my cravings and desire for food changes, so it is hard for me right now to just make myself want to eat something that I really don't have a taste for. However I have done really well with planning my meals from the cupboard and almost eliminating the stopping to pick up what I have a taste for and that has helped tremendously!

Thursday- I finally finished clipping, sorting, and somewhat organizing the coupons that I have.
Friday- I went on the Money Saving Mom website and I was looking at some of the deals that were posted, I realized that I had coupons for a lot of them. I normally shop at Kroger and Wal-Mart so I went on the Kroger website clicked on the sale items that I had coupons for, organized them from lowest to highest ( since Kroger doubles coupons) and away I went.
My bill in the end was almost 90 before taxes ;after coupons I only paid 53.00 after taxes for a ton of groceries. I was proud at that moment, and while I realize that some could have gotten away for much cheaper, this was a huge step for me. Then I moved on to Wal- mart and used those coupons that were like $1.00 or more on things I knew I could get cheaper. I walked away saving over 28$ in coupons only paying around 40$ for the household stuff and other things that we use from there. So in the end I was able to shop at two stores and spend the same amount that I spend at one store on groceries.
Saturday- The family and I took advantage of Sam's super bowl madness and made a treat day out of just the samples. We do this at least once a month because #1 its free snacks and the kids love it, #2 it's great exercise for me and fun time for the girls. Saturday they really had some cool eats and despite all the heavy traffic for those shopping for Super bowl parties we had a blast! I also snagged some great near free deals at Wal-greens. They has some items on sale and rebate that we actually used so it was nice taking advantage of their deals and I walked away with some register rewards which I have never done before for next to nothing once I stacked the manufacturer's coupons with those items.

I think this coupon thing may actually work for me although I can't say that I am ready to make a full time chore out of it, I do appreciate that there are blogs out there devoted to them! Have a wonderful and blessed day!