Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Touch It Once

Yesterday I showed you my "bill space." I told you how quickly it can get cluttered. In order to keep things tidy, I must employ the ever-so-popular touch it once technique when it comes to mail.

I get the mail, take out what I need, put it where it needs to go and TOSS THE REST IMMEDIATELY. I'm so obsessed with this that I'll try to read the Advanced Leader as soon as I get it so I can throw it right into the recycle bin. *Side note - don't put anything with your personal info into the paper recycling unless you shred it first.

So do this today. Touch it once! If you can get the hang of it, you will be amazed at home much less paper clutter you're sorting through daily!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Money Monday - Back to Basics Part 1 - Organize A Space

Well, we’re on pace to save $300 less than I was hoping to save this month. If I can curb the medical spending maybe we can do a little better.

Since it’s the start of the new year, I just want to encourage you all to take some baby steps to get your finances in order. Only you know which areas need some organization. Over the next few weeks we'll talk about a few basic things to get you started on a healthy financial path without overwhelming you.

Today's first step is to clean up and organize a "bill space."

Maybe it's on your desk at home, or on a table when you walk in the door. I have two cheap-o black trays on my desk that say "needs paid" and "need filed." When I get the mail, I open up the bills, stick them inside the mailing envelope inside and stick it in the "needs paid" tray. I then toss the original envelope and inserts to eliminate clutter. These trays get messy and full quickly, but I know where to go when it's time to pay bills. I have a third try that has Hannah's school stuff in it.

Also in that space, have a drawer that has your checkbook, a calculator, deposit slips, stamps etc. I keep much of this stuff in an old makeup bag so I can grab it and go if I need it.

We also have our file cabinet right next to the desk where I file...well everything. I do try to go through them every so often so things don't get out of control. It's one of the most clutter-prone areas of the house, but things rarely get lost and bills aren't late or missing.

It's a small thing. Go clear a space and organize your bill area. You'll be glad to have a nice place to get your finances in order!

Spiritual Sunday - Winter Retreat

What a great…and exhausting weekend!

We took almost 70 kids in grades 6-12 to Family First Sports Park in Erie, PA for Winter Retreat.

I really tried to get enough sleep, but it’s really just impossible. I went to bed at 1:30am Friday night and 2:30am Saturday night and took half the group to Splash Lagoon for the day on Sunday. I write this on the bus ride home and I AM TIRED.

My eyes have held up remarkably well and I’m hoping this is a sign of better things to come with them. I have made a commitment (over and over again) to just trust God to take care of me…which is what he speaks to me loud and clear.  I have my moments of panic and fear, but for the most part I’m trusting well.

As I sit here cranky and feeling extremely nasty for the awful-for-you food I’ve been cramming in all weekend, it’s a good feeling too; all of these kids in one room reaching toward heaven to get closer to Maker of Heaven and Earth. And you know what? They met Him there this weekend. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - Resolutions

So many people make resolutions to eat better and lose weight in the coming year.

Is that you?

How is it coming?

We all should be eating healthier and exercising more, but are you sabotaging yourself?

Here are some simple and basic hints to get you started:

1. Fill your fridge with healthy food. No-brainer right? But, seriously - clean and cut up fruit and veggies so they're easy to grab. Toss some hummus in the fridge for dip cravings. Take it out of the house people! Keeping junk food in the house is like keeping crack in the house of an addict...it just doesn't work. You need to take away the temptations!

2. Meal plan. If you're meals are planned, you're less likely to go out because you have no ideas for dinner.

3. Move for 10 minutes a day. Give yourself a goal to exercise for 10 minutes every day. Sometimes that's all you need to get started. If your goal is an hour, you'll quit when it gets hard. If your goal is 10 minutes, you can push through and continue longer if you feel like it.

My suggestion for exercise is short bursts MOST days. Some days may be stretching, but I believe you need to make exercise part of your DAILY routine, not just 3 times a week. If you only exercise SOMETIMES, it doesn't become a habit like brushing your teeth or making your coffee. If you do it every day, you're less likely to skip and tell yourself you'll do it tomorrow.

That may seem difficult, but all I'm suggesting is to start at 10 minutes. Go for a brisk walk around the block, do some jumping jacks and sit ups, or, if you have Comcast OnDemand try their MANY workout videos - some of which are only 10 minutes.

No excuses.

Get healthy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tips and Hints Tuesday - Taxes

This could be a Money Monday I guess, but it'll do here since it's a tip.

Have you started getting your taxes together?

Today's tip is to start getting things in order NOW so you're not running around at the last minute.

Create spread sheets for mileage and different expenses.

Yesterday I went through all of my medical receipts and entered the date, location, reason and amount into a spread sheet that added everything up. Now I can just print that sheet out....not that it'll do me any good. It's not enough for a deduction.

Grab a three ring binder and some dividers and then start a list of all the things you need to start gathering.

TRUST ME, you'll be glad you did this. It's less painful now than on April 15!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Money Monday - Good Deals

I'm very excited.

I've needed new dress clothes for...well....as long as I can remember. I bought black pants last week...Isn't that a staple??

Last night Matt and I had a date night. It was lovely. I'm always reminded how inhumanly amazing he is when we get to spend time alone.

Well, we went to old Navy and I bought two dresses, a skirt and a work-out top for $30. I'd say that's a deal! The one dress was $17, everything else was about $5.

It's so nice to have some dress clothes to wear.

Now I just need some leggings!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Trekking along

Well, I'm still on my "read the Bible in 90 days" journey. I think I'm a day behind schedule, but I'm still going.

Right now I'm reading Judges. So far I've completed, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Joshua since December 22.

I just have to say that I'm being spoken to the same now as when our church read through The Story of the Bible last year.

We're no different from the Israelites. God asked them to love Him and serve Him in return for His protection. He moved mountains to free them from slavery and save them from their enemies. Yet, the Israelites still screwed up. They still blew Him off.

How does it happen? We say: "If God will do this, I will do that."

We are liars.

He keeps his promises and we do not.

Why is it so hard to just keep His commands?

Because we live in a world full of sin.

Decide today who you will be. It's not an easy road, but make the commitment again...and again. Stay on the path. It's the only one worth your attention.

Joshua 24
 14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wellness Wednesday - No more meds?

I'm desperately trying to get off the last of my prescription medicine. Two different eye drops for high eye pressure.

Before we think about having more kids in the coming months, I really want to be off everything. The eye drops have not been studied enough to know how they affect an unborn baby but have caused some problem when given to animals at extreme doses which really tells me nothing. My doctor thinks it's fine to take them, but in general it's recommended to try to get off of them.

I have been trying to reduce the drops and was doing well until I had a rough night sleep. The other night I slept only 3 hours and that always makes my pressure go up. I feel disappointed but I know I can get off these.

Please say a prayer for me. Maybe I'm asking too much, but God has blessed me and healed my body in SO MANY ways, why not hope for more?

Deuteronomy 33:26 (New Living Translation)

 26 “There is no one like the God of Israel.[a]
      He rides across the heavens to help you,
      across the skies in majestic splendor.

Tips and HInts Tuesday - Storing Sheets

I love this tip on storing sheets. I've heard it before, but I'm inspired now to try it. My linen closet is a mess and so are the sheets!! Maybe I'll post some before and after pictures!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Money Monday - Goals for 2010

What are your financial goals for 2010?

Will you attempt to pay off a bill? A credit card? A car?

I really had a lot of Financial Goals. I know they probably won't all be accomplished this year!

Here they are:

Save $15,000 by July. 
I'd like to have $10,000 in an Emergency Fund and $5,000+ for a car.
In order to do this, we'll need to save $1700 a month. It might be a stretch.

Get pregnant/have a baby! 
This is not strictly financial of course, but because of our insurance it will probably cost us at least $3000 I'm guessing, so we need to plan!

Finish the floor in the attic and get all of our junk up there. 
This shouldn't cost much. Hopefully less than $200.

Get the plumbing done in the basement for a bathroom. 
This is going to cost around $4,000. Hopefully we can do that this fall.

Start contributing to retirement funds
This will hopefully start in June when Matt's fiscal year turns over.

I'll keep you posted on the progress!

I'd love to hear your financial goals for the year!

Spiritual Sunday - Trust...Ok, I get it!

Okay, so technically it's Monday, but I must write about this because today was amazing for me.

I have been struggling spiritually. Fear has always been my biggest enemy. I try to hear God's voice, but fear sets in and I feel like it totally clouds my ability to hear from God....(Good way for the devil to distract me, huh?)

*Side note: Why does Matt always fall asleep with the weirdest stuff on TV??? Tonight: Nacho Libre.

Anyway, I've been praying a lot. I've been asking God to speak to me, tell me what to do, confirm that my future will be secure. I've asked him to speak through other people because my emotions change with the wind, so it'd probably be best for him to use someone else to help me out :) Lastly, I prayed that I would not be stubborn by ignoring God if he told me something I didn't want to hear.

*Another side note: For those of you who are interested, I'm still on track in my "Reading the Bible in 90 Days" attempt. Since December 22 I've read through, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and most of Deuteronomy. Interesting to say the least. I'm thankful for the support I have in this challenge, though I'm not confident that I'll finish it!

Sorry for my tangents! But, DID GOD ANSWER MY PRAYER!! In fact, because I needed it, he beat me over the head with it.

Two weeks ago I wrote a Spiritual Sunday post - Topic: Trust

Last week I read a devotional online for those doing the reading the Bible in 90 days thing - Topic: Trust

A couple of days ago I read the blog of a woman who's suffered so much in the last year and is overcome by fear. She had lunch with a friend who gave her a Scripture and biblical words of encouragement - Topic: Trust

Today, Pastor David's spoke in church. For some reason I was just overly excited for his message. Topic: TRUST

It really took me up to this last megaphone message from God to be brought to my knees. It finally clicked. God has been walking with me and speaking to me for TWO WEEKS and I finally GOT IT. It felt so good, I couldn't stop the tears.

Here's why the message was so hard to grasp. Sometimes I feel like trusting in God and knowing that he'll see me through thick and thin means accepting that something bad will happen. It's almost like superstition. Obviously this isn't the case and hasn't been my entire life. BUT, I need to let go of control and trust God to take care of me. That's my ONLY JOB. I can pray and let him know what I want and then trust him to do the rest.

And, for some reason, today another very basic concept hit me straight to the core.

He loves me.


HE loves ME.




His plans are for me to prosper, not to harm me.

I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. He's in control, and he knows better than I do. Ahhh, relief.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Family Friday - Happy New Year

Happy New Year friends.

Today is a day of celebration.



What will you do today? Recover from the excitement of last night?

I don't have much to recover from. I had to wake Matt up at midnight for a New Year's Kiss.

I have to tell you, I'm getting old, or antisocial, or something. I've come to enjoy a quiet New Year's Eve. I'm peopled out from the holidays. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with out loved ones. It's been a laid back and enjoyable holiday season...but i also enjoy quiet time with my lovely family.

I don't really know what the plans are for today, but if it looks anything like the last three days it'll involve many hours of sleeping!

Happy New Year!

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