Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - When Christ Comes

I'm playing the piano for worship this morning. I fill in when I'm needed. It's always hard to get up early, but I don't like to be stagnant in my playing.

Anyhow, I just started reading Max Lucado's When Christ Comes Again. I'm going to let you read an excerpt from the very beginning. It roped me in to the book so quickly and really made me think about how I felt about Jesus returning. Read and think about how it makes you feel. It's long, but once you start reading - you want to continue.

You are in your car driving home. Thoughts wander to the game you want to see or meal you want to eat, when suddenly a sound unlike any you've ever heard fills the air. The sound is high above you. A trumpet? A choir? A choir of trumpets? You don't know, but you want to know. So you pull over, get out of your car, and look up. As you do, you see you aren't the only curious one. The roadside has become a parking lot. Car doors are open and people are staring up at the sky. Shoppers are racing out of the grocery store. The Little League baseball game across the street has come to a halt. Players and parents are searching the clouds.

And what they see, and what you see, has never before been seen.

As if the sky were a curtain, the drapes of the atmosphere part. A brilliant light spills onto the earth. There are no shadows. None. From whence the light came the light begins to tumble a river of color-spiking crystals of every hue ever seen and a million more never seen. Riding on the flow is an endless fleet of angels. They pass through the curtains one myriad at a time, until they occupy every square inch of the sky. North. South. East. West. Thousands of silvery wings rise and fall in unison, and over the sound of the trumpets, you can hear the cherubim and seraphim chanting, "Holy, holy holy."


The final flank of angels is followed by twenty-four silver-bearded elders and a multitude of souls who join the angels in worship. Presently the movement stops and the trumpets are silent, leaving only the triumphant triplet: "Holy, holy holy." Between each word is a pause. With each word, a profound reverence. You hear your voice join in the chorus. You don't know why you say the words, but you know you must. 

Suddenly, the heavens are quiet. All is quiet. The angels turn, you turn, the entire world turns - and there he is. Jesus. Through waves of light you see the silhouetted figure of Christ the King. He is atop a great stallion, and the stallion is atop a billowing cloud. He opens his mouth, and you are surrounded by his declaration. "I am the Alpha and the Omega."

The angels bow their heads. The elders remove their crowns. And before you is a figure so consuming that you know , instantly you know: Nothing else matters. Forget stock markets and school reports. Sales meetings and football games. Nothing is newsworthy. All that mattered, matters no more, for Christ has come...


WOW. How does it make you feel? The book goes on to detail all of the negative emotions we might feel, fear, discomfort, disappointment, panic...I was searching the pages for a description of my emotion as a read the words...excitement. Yes, it scares me...Yes I want to see my baby go up and when I think about it, I really don't know if I'm ready to leave the planet and go to heaven. BUT I DO KNOW - that when that happens, the SECOND it happens, I'm going to be jumping out of my SKIN to touch my Jesus...to be with him...to fall on my face before him. 

It's scary to stand accountable for the wrongs you've done but that's why Jesus died...so that death no longer has a hold on our sin. 

Lucado goes on to mention that Jesus does NOT want us to fear his return. He's not a monster coming back. In fact, he says in John 14: "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me...I will come back and take you with me." (v. 1, 3)

Ahh...what will that day be like. How does it make YOU feel?

Family Friday - Scrumptious Saturday

Well, Family Friday was interesting. We spend $830 for an oil change...which obviously ended up being more than an oil change...We needed struts (which we've been saving for - and rotors). Grr. I know it's not that big of a deal but we're so close to being debt free that any stinking hit moves the date back and that really bugs me. Luckily we got our tax return - so, even though that didn't change my figures (because I already had that figured into my deadline) - I got to put some cash down. We should be under $7,000 by the end of March - but I digress.

After that we stopped at Macy's...I had to return a dress Hannah got for Christmas and had $16 to spend - which isn't that much when you are talking designer brands at department stores. WELL - they had all of their clearance items buy-one-get-one-free! So I got 4 shirts for her...including a PUMA shirt with 19 cents left to spare! I love that! And she looks so darn cute!

Then we came home to make dinner and the power was out. It was only 6pm so we figured we'd wait around. I called my neighbor and she said someone hit a phone pole and it the electric company said it should be back on by seven. At quarter to NINE - the lights FINALLY came back on. We were starving. Hannah gave up and settled for a half a peanut butter sandwich and canned green beans. It was fine with her! We actually had a good time talking and playing...and thank GOODNESS Hannah's portable DVD player battery was charged!

So she went to bed, and I made the Popover Pizza Casserole recipe I posted for last week's Scrumptious Saturday. It's SOOO delish! In fact, I'm not posting a Scrumptious Saturday recipe because I REALLY want you to make that recipe...so, go find it and make it.

Anyhow, after that we ate some A-MAZING Giradelli brownies I had leftover, warmed up with some Turkey Hill Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream on top while watching Super Nanny. You can make fun - but that is my ideal Friday night! Hanging with my sweet family. 

Tonight - Saturday - we went to Shogun for Matt's sister's and dad's birthdays. I really do love it there. Hannah had fun too, and was so amazingly well behaved - even blowing kisses to the hostess! I have no idea how the HECK she was eating with chopsticks one-handed...now that's natural talent. Had to stop her from jumping into the coy pond though - hey you take the good with the bad. She even let the waiter try and shoot chicken into her mouth. She's a champ! Love that kid. Love my husband. God is good to me. I really have a fabulous family.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday - FINALLY

Well, I am thankful thankful thankful today. This is long but it's HUGE.

I went to the nutritionist yesterday. The bacteria is gone and I've been feeling sick because my system started to turn around and so I didn't need the one supplement I was taking anymore - and I was taking a huge dose of it.

Everything else checked out clear. As I mentioned in an earlier blog my spleen and small intestines have been testing weak. The spleen is the deepest part of your immune system and your intestines are second in command. 

At my last visit, the nutritionist asked me, when I was first diagnosed with my autoimmune disease, if I had been sick or if I remembered anything that might have triggered something since my disease really doesn't appear to be hereditary. This is 18 years ago, so it would be difficult to recall. But, there was one thing that has vividly stuck with me since that day. It's made no sense, but ever since I was a kid, I've connected the two...so I told her...

Right before the iritis began I blew into a bag of white powdered pool chemicals which blew into my eyes and face. (My sister asked - "Why did you do that?" My answer was, "Because that's what I do...I'd probably do it today!) Anyhow, I clearly remember my mom immediately rinsing my eyes and face with water and that's really then end of the story. I've just always in my head connected the two even though I've just accepted the fact they are unrelated.

Well, at this visit (the one after we had the above conversation) Dr. Palombini asked her assistant to pass her the vials of environmental toxins while asking me what kind of chemicals I blew into again...Well I immediately tested weak for one of them. When they discovered which one it was (formic acid) she pulled the vial out. It only tested weak on my spleen...my immune system...interesting.

So, she gives me 2 supplements to get the toxin out of my body and two more to strengthen my spleen and my immune system in general. She said she truly believes my autoimmune disease begins and ends in the spleen and that she can get rid of it! Do you know how huge this is??

Anyway, there are tons of vials to test for, so she had to look up what formic acid is. It's found in some dyes, insecticides and furniture stains...She told me to wait while she did some further research and sent me out the door with a couple printouts.

So, I go back to church to teach my junior high babies and RUN home to do my OWN research. Just out of curiosity I tried to link the formic acid and pool chemicals...I found a couple things but it was mainly confusing chemical formulas and such. 

Stay with me...

I then look at the printout the doctor gave me...The first line on the sheet says that formic acid is used as a chemical intermediate for oxalic acid. From my understanding a chemical intermediate is a chemical formed from the altering of another chemical. So, I look up oxalic acid and pool chemicals and...Guess what...BINGO

Oxalic Acid is used to treat and prevent stains on swimming pool liners. It is usually sold as a white powder. Two of the sites are actually SELLING the product...and one is a .gov site explaining it's toxicity...HIGH...Level 1.

I haven't called the nutritionist to discuss my findings with her - but do you REALIZE what this means? I've been suffering for 18 years. I've seen TONS of specialists, doctors, surgeons, and NO ONE can explain it. No one knows how to get it under control or manage it or where the heck it came from. 

Can 4 visits with a nutritionist really change my life like this? I mean, can it really give me the answers I've been looking for most of my life? Can it put an end to this disease and get me off chemotherapy? Give me another little baby? Does it mean Hannah and any future children will now be spared? The implications of this are HUGE.

My eyes have already improved in ONE month of being on the supplements. My eye pressure is lower than it has EVER been without being on a strong diuretic.

I definitely felt God telling me I needed to take care of myself. I now hear him SCREAMING at me to run with this.

The medical community wants to make our health completely scientific. Well my health is spiritual too. And anything the medical community can't explain they write off. I feel like this nutritional testing works with mind, body, and spirit...not just scientific data. They don't THROW drugs at you here - they actually test the supplements first with your body to see if they are truly what you need. Doctors just guess. Don't get me wrong. We need doctors. I would never just STOP taking my chemo meds...but I truly believe there needs to be some balance between these two communities. 

Man, I could go on all day...But, I'm just so excited. So SO SO encouraged and thankful to God for his blessings and for speaking to me so clearly, AND for giving me hope that I haven't felt in as long as I can remember. I'm so excited.

I'm also thankful to Shelly who pushed and pushed for me to do this for myself. It's so difficult to spend the money on myself (as it would be for most mom's) and that's why I think God used Hannah's success with them to get me there - since I took her there first. He knew I'd do ANYTHING for her...and she's 100% healthy now. I'm babbling - but too many things are falling into place. I hope you were able to follow and that you're able to share in my joy - which is abundant.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wellness Wednesday

I'm looking out for your wellness today because someone is looking out for mine!

Thanks to my beautiful and talented friend Shelly Marsh, I have something FABULOUS to offer you. 

Ok this is kinda gross but I need natural deodorant...and if you've ever purchased a Natural Deodorant (i.e. TOM'S) you know that you smell better not wearing ANYTHING under your arms. 

I have sensitive skin and get irritated with any kind of deodorant but I wear it anyway.
Even if you don't have that problem, it's still  not a bad idea to switch. Antiperspirant and some deodorants are known for having aluminum in them. They are also being linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's.

Shelly found this deodorant that's all natural, made from Aloe and smells very good. It had good reviews so she bought us both one. Isn't she sweet.

So I tried it...and I LOVE IT. It works every bit as well as my Degree and it's all natural and my skin irritations hare healing up. You need to buy it.

It's called Alvera All Natural Roll-On Deodorant. I use the Almond scent but you can get Herbal and Uncented. It only costs $2.94. Go here to purchase for yourself. It's just as cheap as regular deodorant, works as well, and is SO much better for you!

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Another Clean Bathroom Tip

Nothing bugs me more than a soap scummy shower curtain and getting into a grimy tub. I never actually wash the shower curtain liner, I just throw it a way and buy a new one when it gets gross. But, I've found a way to keep it clean without spraying toxic chemicals. 

I keep a spray bottle of half peroxide/half water in the shower. At any point during my shower, I'll spray the whole curtain and the tub with the mixture. It's non toxic so it's safe to spray when you're in your birthday suit and it bubbles up and kills any mildewy bacteria, keeping your liner and your tub squeaky clean with NO elbow grease for a long time...

Love me more :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Money Monday

Does it bug you when companies try to charge YOU for their mistakes?

I just happened to open the prescriptions I got by mail the other day and to my SHOCK, there was 1 (read: one, single, uno, lonely little unit) pill in the bottle. Seriously...what HUMAN or..non human filled this prescription???

So I call them...on my cell phone...which only has 500 minutes per month...and I'm ON HOLD FOR 50 minutes being passed from one confused representative to another. Somehow I end up in Phoenix.

Well, apparently it's the DOCTOR'S FAULT?? Yes, my doctor, who prescribes these chemo pills a MILLION times a day prescribed me 1 pill instead of the 72 I've been getting for the past year...hmm.

So, I tell them - I don't care whose fault it is, but I need my pills overnighted by Friday and I don't think I should have to pay for it. And they act like that's not possible because it's "the doctor's fault?" 

So I say...I understand, but it's amazing that the front of the bottle says take SIX tablets a week for 3 months and no one thought it was odd that they were putting one pill into a huge bottle? COME ON!!

I refuse to PAY overnight costs when I did everything right...and they WILL overnight it to me by Friday. I have enough to pay for.

So, 52 minutes later, my friend Jason in Phoenix, Arizona, the 5th person I've been transferred too after spending 30 minutes on hold listening to Amy Grant's "Lucky One," tells me he's sorry, he's going to take care of it, he'll stay on it all day tomorrow, push it to the front, call me when it goes through, tell off the doctor, and overnight the meds at no cost to me.

Thank you Jason - I wasn't going to pay anyway...but thanks for making it easy on yourself.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Healing

Well, I went to two doctors last Thursday - one for some lumps (which don't seem to be a big deal -ultrasound on Monday.) And, the other for my irritated eye. Something has been weird about it. When I go outside, I can't see right out of my right eye. It's like...filmy. 

After going to the doctor - my eyes are doing REALLY well in terms the iritis. My pressure is lower than it has been EVER without being on the Diamox - that's awesome. BUT - my cataract has grown. GRR...that's the filmy vision and light sensitivity cause. SO DEPRESSING. I pray that the cataract stops growing. My doc won't operate at this point because I'm at too high of a risk for complications.

So, I can't help but think about healing. I'm grateful that I felt encouraged by God to take better care of myself at the beginning of this year. The nutritionist really seems to have made a difference already...but what does God say about healing? I decided to take a look, and what He spoke to me kind of took me aback a bit. We all have a burden we'd like God to take away. A thorn for Him to remove from our flesh...but what does He SAY about it?

Proverbs 3:7-9 Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.

Proverbs 4:20-23 My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body.

Proverbs 12:18 Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Proverbs 13:17 An unreliable messenger stumbles into trouble, but a reliable messenger brings healing.

Proverbs 15:4 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.


I guess after reading these versus, what God is trying to tell me seems obvious, but maybe he's just trying to hit ME over the head with something. All of these versus seem to give healing to those who have pleasant and kind words who hear and obey the Lord and aren't too cocky. Uhmm...yeah. I guess I have a lot of work to do.

Do I think if I master the above verses I'm guaranteed healing of this body? Not necessarily. Is that the only reason I'm going to attempt to work on these areas that I so OBVIOUSLY lack in? No. I'm going to try to pay attention to these areas of my life, because if God is using my illness to try to tell me he wants me to be different, then I'm going to accept that and try my best to be what He wants me to be. He's given me so much. He's blessed me with more than I could have ever imagined and I am unworthy of everything He has given me. At the VERY LEAST I can try to be just a little better, to hear him just a little more clearly, and to be used as He wills for me. It's worth it...It's just easier said than done.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Scrumptious Saturday - Popover Pizza Casserole


Popover Pizza Casserole

I haven't made this in a while because it's not really that healthy, but I just thought of it on my way to the grocery store today and I'm going to make it this week!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey or ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green sweet pepper (I omit this)
1/2 a 3.5 oz pkg sliced pepperoni halved
1 15oz. can or jar of pizza sauce
1 2oz can of mushroom stems and pieces, drained (I omit this)
1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed (I omit this)
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 6oz pkg thinly sliced mozzarella cheesed (I've also used shredded and it works the same)
1/4 cup grated Paremesan Cheese

Directions:

1. In a large skillet cook turkey or beef, onion, and green pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are tender. Drain fat. Cut pepperoni slices in half. Stir pepperoni, pizza sauce, mushrooms, fennel seed, oregano and basil into meat mixture. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, for topping, in a small bowl combine eggs, milk and oil. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Add flour; beat 1 minute more or until smooth.

3. Grease the sides of a 13x9x2 inch baking dish; spoon meat mixture into dish. Arrange cheese slices over hot meat mixture. Pour topping over cheese, covering completely. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts:
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Calories:316
Total Fat: 16g.
Saturated Fat: 6g
Cholesterol: 91mg
Sodium: 688mg
Carbohydrate: 22g
Protein: 21g

Monday, February 16, 2009

Money Monday -Woo Hoo!

Ahh - The taxes are D-O-N-E. We should have our refund in 7-10 days!! That's the good news.

I guess there really isn't any bad news. I was hoping for at least $2000 but we're getting a total of just under $800. I guess I was kind of expecting that. We need to have another little tax deduction so I can get some extra money back (and a sweet little bundle of joy to cuddle and love, of course!)

More good news? Ok, our last debt (besides the house) is now well under $10,000!!!! We hope to be debt free by July of this year! It's not that far away! I'm so excited.

Also, my good friend Carrie confirmed my lovely mother's news that if you get internet through Comcast, you can get free cable. OR, you can get basic for $10 a month for a year. Ahh...very tempting.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Our Bodies Long For Heaven

It's a sad day. It is also a spiritual day. Today, a very special woman, has gone on a journey away from this earth to the ultimate vacation. She will, from now on, be pain free, worry free, and carefree. She will also be sorely missed as she leaves those who loved her with an empty void where her presence and beauty once resided.

This morning, Grandma Dolly went to heaven. It was peaceful, for her. We were able to spend the evening with her and Matt, David and Audra were able to sit by her bedside and reminisce. Our little Hannah went to her great grandmother's bedside and immediately began taking care of her. Bringing her pillows, covering her with blankets, pulling a chair up to sit by her head and rub her arm, and signing I love you. What a special time. This week will bring sorrowful activities, but we rejoice because Grandma Dolly has broken free from the chains of this world and is where we all long to be.

Enjoy your new body Grandma Dolly. We miss you.

2 Corinthians 1-8 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, and eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. 

So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather by away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

Family Friday

We had a jam packed Valentine's Day weekend planned which has been brought abruptly to a halt.

Matt said he was feeling nauseous around 11pm last night and by 1am he was puking his guts out, poor thing. I went in to help him and he told me not to come in and wanted me and Han to leave...which we did at 2am. 

I'm really hoping Hannah and I can avoid this illness. It's pretty violent. I hope Matt feels better very soon. So, today's family Friday is stinky. I'm feeling really guilty for not being there to take care of my baby!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Grandma Dolly

I'm thankful for the woman in this picture. This is Matt's grandma, Dolly. She's feeling pretty sick right now and it's just impossible not to look back on the long life she's had and all of the lives she's impacted.

It's certainly not easy to age, and it scares me to death, but I've known this woman for ten years and she is another grandmother to me. Grandma Dolly has always had a huge impact on everyone she meets. I know Matt just adores her. She's been such a special part of his life. She makes THE best cinnamon jumble cookies and I know Matt's favorite game to play with her as a child was "hide the quarter." She's always treated me like another grandchild...her nickname for me is Molasses.  Ha.

Anyhow, she looked pretty bad last night, so after church we went to see her. It was sad to see her unresponsive. It was sad to say goodbye just in case it was the last time we saw her. This morning she seems to have rallied a bit. Not sure if that means they'll still call in hospice or not.

As a parent it's hard to know what to do with Hannah in these situations. Matt and I are kind of letting her lead. I tried to prep her a little bit, but how much of that can you really do? She did really well and went over to stand near Grandma Dolly and tried to sit next to  her on her bed a couple times. They have such a cute relationship. Hannah always climbs onto  her bed with her and loves to share her Cheerios with her great-grandma. Grandma Dolly even lets Hannah feed her. Anything for her Hannah.

So, today I'm thankful for a woman who is absolutely hilarious, vibrant and special. We love you grandma Dolly!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wellness Wednesday - Update

Well, I'm feeling REALLY GREAT in general health terms!

I can't WAIT to go back to my eye doctor to see how my eyes are doing.

I've been on the supplements from the nutritionist for about one week. My stomach is doing awesome, I feel great, have more energy and most importantly, my eyes feel AWESOME.

When my eye pressure goes up, my eyes do this "blackout" thing. My vision will go and reappear when I stand up...but the worse my pressure is, the longer and more sensitive the blackout is - meaning, it happens just by turning my head. It's scary and discouraging and I hate it.

My eye doctor just took me off the last bit of diuretic I was taking because my pressure has been doing ok, although I had two episodes between visits. Well, after he took me off of that particular medicine I was having blackouts every day. 

Well...drum roll please...I haven't had one since I started the supplements!!!!!!! This is AMAZING! I don't know if it's the vitamin she gave me to strengthen my eyes, or the stuff she gave me to make my digestive system work better (since that's where your immune system is), the stuff to flush the bacteria out of your system, or the extra fish oil (which is a natural anti-inflammatory.)  Or maybe it's my "now God" moment beginning. Go here for the details on that.

I'm just so excited. I really felt God telling me I needed to take care of myself for not only my well-being, but for the well-being of those I love. My husband and daughter can only be at their best if I'm at my best.

I can't more highly recommend Health Horizons in Oakmont. They've helped Hannah in a way no pediatrician did and now they're helping me!

Take a Nap Tuesday

A shout-out to Matt for giving me the title for Tuesday's Tip

I am not a nap taker. I have no idea how someone can just lay down in the middle of the day, close their eyes, stop thinking about all that needs done and go to sleep. What in the world?

Also, the term "cat nap" ticks me off. I just can not comprehend how someone can lay down for a 15 minute nap (it takes me AT LEAST that long to fall asleep) and then spring up as if they've just slept for 8 hours. It's all rubbish and it annoys me.

That said - I took a FABULOUS two and a half hour nap today with my sweet little girl. I knew it was going to happen at the beginning of the day. For me to take a nap, all of the specifics have to fall in place. I had a headache after hurting my neck exercising (I do neck squats - ask if you're interested.) I'm also physically and emotionally drained. Sometimes I just feel like there's nothing left. A nap was just absolutely necessary. So we watched a movie and went to sleep. I always have the hardest time waking up from a nap, too. I'm just not a good napper. But it felt good; and although I'm still tired, I have a much better attitude.

So, squeeze in a nap today. Take some time to recharge your body with a little daytime sleep. But, don't sleep too long, because before you know it, it's 1am and you're wishing you hadn't taken such a long nap!

Money Monday - I spent some

The cheap chick has been blowing the dough this month.

I bought Matt one of those Super Bowl hats...no huge biggie. Then I got an evening to go out by myself. I told Matt, "I just need makeup, I'll be right back." Right back in two and a half hours.

I spend $65 on just stuff for ME. And, to some of you, that might be nothing. But, I have never in my married life, done that.

I found a bathing suit that I love. Two adorable pairs of jammies, foundation, concealer, lip gloss, hairspray, cookie mix (for Matt - they were gross)...umm, I think that's it. I think that's a LOT of stuff for $65 and I'm very excited about my new things.

I've been a little down lately and some retail therapy was JUST what I needed.

Dave Ramsey always says to have a "blow" category in your budget. You're going to blow some money each month, so at least budget it. We don't...ever...blow money. So, I don't beat myself up when I buy us a few little thrills. We've been working really hard. I'm waiting for the end of summer baby!! I really hope we're debt free by then (and maybe the beginning!)

But nonetheless - I'm not Frugal Franny on today's Money Monday. I'm Big Spender Bambi and I'm ok with that :) 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spiritual Sunday - Now God

Well, I missed Spiritual Sunday, Money Monday and I have 11 minutes to bust out Tips and Hints Tuesday before the clock strikes midnight. 

Two of my favorite girls have noticed - that's about it :) 

But I will catch up.

As for Spiritual Sunday - church was awesome. One of our associate pastors, David Kennard, preached as our lead pastor was away. He, as always, is incredible. As our church moves along through "The Story" of the Bible, we're now through Daniel. Pastor David talked about Daniel and his 3 buddies Rack, Shack, and Benny (as Veggie Tales like to call them) and their rescues from the lions den and the fiery furnace respectively.

He gave an inspiring message on never wavering in your faith or giving up hope or perseverance. We can do so many things on our own, but many of us need a "now God" moment. What's a now God moment? So glad you asked! If you read these stories in the Bible, we often skim over the parts that say "now God." We look at their stories and think they're incredible, but what we fail to remember, is that these amazing rescues happen (even in the following story of Esther) because God chose to protect the people he loves, the people who stuck by Him, the people who were really trying to stay close to him - not compromising.

What really touched me about the message was when Pastor David said..."Maybe YOU need a 'now God' moment." It was almost as if a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. With a "now God" moment, all of the stress wouldn't be on my shoulders...And with a "now God" moment, things would be done right and I wouldn't feel the stress of my need for control. With a "Now God" moment, I can let go...let go...It's so hard to let go and let God.

I highly recommend listening to the podcast of Sunday's message. It's VERY uplifting. Go here to listen for yourself.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Family Friday/Scrumptious Saturday

Gosh, can I just tell you, I'm in such a good mood lately? I don't know if it's the supplements giving me some energy back, or exercising, or the extra fish oil, or maybe just God's grace but I'm just LOVING LIFE!

I gotta give a shout out to my dad for working his magic and getting me something for free at the Mac store and saving me $200 yesterday. Woot! Woot! Dad you rock!

Anyhow, I didn't write Family Friday yesterday because I was spending time with my family! Good excuse right? And now, Hannah is vying for my attention as we speak. She wants to play with her sign language flash cards. I'd also like to add that we've been practicing cutting with scissors and coloring inside the lines and I am AMAZED at the progress in 2 days!! Go Han!

Last night we went to Cici's pizza where, if I have a coupon, the three of us can eat for a total of $6. I know, right? Then we bought a baby shower gift for a friend and let Hannah play at Mister Roger's Neighborhood at Monroeville Mall. It was so cute. She didn't realize we were watching her as she climbed to the top of the bridge, reached her little arm down, and tried to pull up the boy who was struggling to climb. He, of course, was pulling her down with his weight, and she grabbed the side to keep her balance and help her new little friend. I know she's just three, but I just beam with pride when I see her loving on other people and being helpful. I hope that little spirit in her just continues to grow in that way.

I guess you want a recipe now? Maybe you don't. I don't think anyone ever uses my Scrumptious Saturday recipes, but I have a good feeling my blog will be famous one day. Ha! A girl can dream, right?

I'm posting a link for a recipe for homemade peanut butter granola. With everyone struggling to lower their grocery bills in a rough economy, it's necessary to start cooking from scratch. Convenience foods will kill your budget! This recipe is great with or without milk and so easy, you'll wonder why you keep buying it. There's also another recipe at the site for granola bars - although I've yet to try it.

I've sent you here  before, for bread...so make fun of me again if you must, but enjoy your granola! Go here for the delicious cereal recipe!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday!


Well today was a crazy one! But, I'm thankful today that my little one is bright and well behaved.

Matt and I met at her school today for our first parent teacher conference. 

I wasn't very surprised by anything they said, but I've always worried if she turned into a monster when she went to school or church. I'm proud to say that my little preschooler is ahead of the game in most of what she was evaluated and there are only minor things that need practice. Easy enough! 

Her teachers also said she's a joy to have in class. They love how she loves to dance and sing and dress up. When they go down to music class on Tuesdays she amuses her teachers as she runs to the front of the room to rally her peers and conduct. 

I really think she'll be very musical. She's already able to match pitch, harmony and key changes!!

I came home and told her what the teachers told us and let her add 2 stickers to her book for doing so well in school.

I'm proud of my little one. What a blessing she is.

I know I've bragged about my kid this entire blog but I can because, she's my kid and this is my blog :)

I'm also thankful for my amazing husband for forcing me to lay on the couch and read a book while he made dinner. Thanks baby! 

It's a thankful kind of day. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wellness Wednesday -My road to health

I went to my follow up visit on  Monday and $250 later, I have my first "regimen." Basically, though there are a couple other issues present, we have to get my digestive system working properly. I'll spare you the details on that by just leaving it at: I have issues. 

So, along with an eye support supplement which I'm very exited about, she also gave me 3 other supplements for digestion. And let me tell you - they worked in LESS THAN 24 hours.

1. One puts hydrochloric acid back into your system
2. One is a digestive enzyme
3. The other is magnesium

She told me I need to start eating breakfast and drinking more water.

In the morning with breakfast I take

my eye drops
fish oil
3 digestive enzymes
2 of the hcl pills
1 eye supplement
vitamin b complex drops

mid morning I take magnesium

lunch I take 

fish oil
3 digestive enzymes

mid afternoon I take another magnesium

with dinner I take
3 digestive enzymes
2 hcl pills
1 eye supplement 
1 fish oil
1 multivitamin

bedtime  2 more eye drops

Other than the supplements tasting like garbage, I'm very excited to start being proactive with my health. I finally feel like I'm putting GOOD things into my body and not just that chemo poison. I truly feel that this is what I need to put my iritis into remission and I can't WAIT to see that happen. It has been much too long of a road!! I'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TIps and Hints Tuesday - Grocery Shopping

Ok, maybe it's just me, but if it is, I learned it from my mom (and my sister does it too!)...but, I'm super anal about how my groceries go onto the conveyer belt at the grocery store.

I decided to go this morning while Hannah was at school. Why in the WORLD have I not done this before?? Do I REALLY want to take her WITH ME???

Anyhow, when I get to the checkout line, I have to put all the heavy stuff on first...cans and such. Then comes boxes like cereal and pasta. 

...frozen items
...produce
...paper products
...bread and eggs

Then, the fabulous bagger today packed the bags PERFECTLY.

And, I took them home in a rush and everything was so easy to put away because it was already separated. If you're in a rush, like I was trying to get Hannah at school in time, you can run in the stuff that needs to go into the fridge right away and save the rest for later.

I love that tip :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Money Monday - What's in your wallet...er...checkbook.

I'm always amazed at the people who don't balance their checkbooks. I guess I didn't do it for a while, but now I'm so anal about it that it has to balance to the penny every time. This weekend I spent a lot of time re-subtracting and scratching out a bunch of entries in our checkbook. I'm old fashioned ok, back off. I don't like Quicken. I like my transaction register with my medium point blue pen. But, usually it's no problem. I get such a nerd-like exhilaration when my checkbook balances...like it's Kennywood Day and me and my friends have matching outfits.

Anyhow, it's February 1 - BUDGET TIME.

Trying to figure out how much my paychecks are going to be and remember what in the world we're going to spend money on this month that's out of the ordinary drives me nuts. I can never remember it all...but I'd never forget little Nicky's 4th Birthday!!! (Not to mention I found a mistake in my paycheck...AGAIN!)

But, we still follow a very tight budget and I love to look back and see how far we've come. Many people look at a budget as restricting, but in reality it's very freeing. By telling your money what to do - it will do what you tell it to...GO FIGURE. Our so-far-paid-off-debt-total is over $23,000 in just over a year and a half. Just a tiny tiny bit over $10,000 left to go!!! You have no idea how much I want my school loan GONE!!! Do you know what I could DO with the money we're putting to debt every month??

Here's the thing - even though I feel like I'm putting thousands of dollars through a paper shredder to pay of this debt - I SPENT THAT MONEY YEARS AGO!! I BLEW IT! And, now I'm paying for it. Literally.

But without the budget, We'd be lost. I'd have no idea where our money is going.  I'll follow a budget even when I'm rich...Yes, I said WHEN. It's really not a good idea to have no idea where your money is going. Even in this economy, you can not only survive, but THRIVE!

DEBT FREE FOR ME - Coming this FALL 2009!

P.S. I've emailed out many copies of my empty Excel budget. It's easy, plug and go, and does your addition for you. Let me know if any of you are interested. I'm glad to send it out!

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