Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Here it is in print!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had the opportunity to write a short article for our local post magazine. Here is how it turned out. it was so exciting to see it. If you want to read it you can read it here. On page 38. I am not a writer so the more I read it the more I wonder if I could have done better. But I can't torture my self it turned out pretty good.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Couponing part 1.

So I have been asked many times how I learned to save money while grocery shopping. Well I use coupons. It is a very hot trend this last couple years, and even more so since the show “Extreme Couponers” started earlier this year. I will tell you first off that you will save money, but until you get your stock pile, about 6 to 12 weeks, you won't see that big change. I do not have brand favorites which I think makes it so much easier to save that extra cash. I also do not buy (use cash) to get items I wont use,(if it is free that is another thing) for example we dont use diapers anymore so I wont buy them even if it is a good deal. I am a healthy eater and try my best not to buy junk food, so just cause I have a coupon for it doesn't mean I will use it. In fact most times when I seperate my coupons I put those to the side and give them away.

So first off I guess I will let you know that should start off by getting your local Sunday paper, and if you can get more then one that is even better. Also find out if you get a discount by subscribing and getting more then one. I only pay 15$ a month for three Sunday papers a week. That is 1.25$ a paper, I dont think that is too bad. You can also get the magazine 'All You', it carries an average of 70-100$ worth of coupons for each month, and if you get a subscription to that mag it will be cheaper. Here is a small list of websites you can find more coupons from.

Other good ways to get coupons are to grab from the 'blinkies' (the little blinking dispensers), Tearpads (pads of paper found around the store with coupons on them) and store coupons books. Good thing about all of these is you dont have to use them at the store you got them at. If you print of coupons from your printer at home it will only let you print 2 from each computer, and also note that you can not copy your printed coupons it is theft. The coupons have you IP address on it.

OK! So this is were it gets a little tough. Most of us go out and buy what we want or are getting low on and need to get for that weeks dinner. But a real couponer only uses coupons on the items that are on sale. So when you get you Sunday paper also get out the ads for the grocery stores too. If you dont see a store ad for a local store you shop at call and find out if they do mid week sales (starting Wednesday to Wednesday) Waitng for the sales is when you get your biggest reward! So last week at our local Publix they had V8 jucies on sale 2/5$. I had .50c off 1. Publix also takes store coupons as well as the manufactures coupons, plus they double any coupons .50c or less. So my coupons turned into a 1.$ for each item, then I used their store coupon 1.$ off any V8. Used two of those, which made it 4$ off the sale price of 2/5$. I paid 1$ for 2 58 Oz bottels of V8, .50c each. Amazing!!! That is why I love couponing.

You have to use a coupon for each item you have. So if you have 5 cans of tomatos and only 3 coupons you will only get the sale price for those three item. If your store is selling Chips BOGO (buy one get one) you can use 2 coupons even though one is free.

If you have watched the show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing” you may know what I mean when I say there is a difference between stockpiling and hording. It is good to keep a stockpile of items that your family uses and might use up between this sale and the next, about 12 weeks. So when that cereal goes on sale and you can get it at it's lowest price that is when you buy big. Please be kind and dont hord the items by grabing the whole shelf.

This took me awhile, so dont go out and spend all you have for you groceries trying to get your stockpile up. It is August and I started I think in April, and am just now feeling that I save regularly and have a good stockpile of foods. It can take a good amount of time each week to find what you want and clip all the coupons, but stick with it, it is well worth it.

Tomorrow I will post part 2 about great sites to use that tell you what stores have what great deals and what coupons to use. They are so helpful. Hope this helps you start your coupon journey.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Has it really been a week!

I know I haven't posted in like 2 weeks, but do you know what great things have happened this last week? My husband has returned home after being gone for a year to Iraq!! It has been so nice to have him back. So many things make it wonderful. Having time as a family, giving him back some of the responsibility of parenting, being able to go grocery shopping alone with no kids, even having time to myself has been so amazing. But of course we all know most of all having my man back in my arms is best of all. It still has been a little bit of a whir wind with all this going on. Seems like this has been the most busy time during this whole last year. I have had things going on pretty much everyday. Sadly life doesn't stop just cause he comes home. I can't wait till vacation though. Life now is still a little crazy. Hopefully more posts to come on a regular basis.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The article I wrote for FYI magazine.

A year ago this month, I was facing one of the biggest challenges in my life thus far. You were leaving on a on year long deployment. We knew this day would come when we got orders to come here. But it just came so fast. I didn't think about all the training that would take place. The 2 weeks here, or the 2 months there. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with you, but I kept my mouth shut and dealt with it. This wasn't our first time with you leaving us, but I was sure it wasn't going to be easy for the kids to understand. As time got closer I did my best to keep myself open and emotionally there for you, I couldn't shut myself off to you as I had in the past before deployments. I remember thinking that whole month, “I will be fine, it will be the kids that will have a hard time, I am ok, I can handle this.”

As the day came for you to leave, I don't think I was all there. I didn't know what this year would throw at me! In the beginning It wasn't so bad, we kept so busy with school, birthday parties, friends, church, and play time at the park. I soon got the feeling of being very alone. I didn't get touched, I didn't have very many adult conversations, and I seemed to keep to myself because of feeling alone, but I covered it up with all the activities I filled my weeks with. Surprisingly I look back, and some would say I had it pretty well, you being able to call most days and all the support I had, but didn't take advantage of, you'd think I would have done better.

Finally in November while attending a huge Christian woman's conference I broke down and gave my pain to God. He reminded me the love he has for me, and that no matter where we go, He is always there in my heart. I hope I never forget the feeling that I felt as He reminded me of that. As a little girl whenever I was afraid or felt alone at night I would pray for His comfort and picture He and I in this big open field with wild flowers just walking around picking them. But this time I prayed and would picture me as a woman walking with her best friend and protector. I am not sure I have words to describe the love I felt inside, the comfort that gave me on nights I felt alone in bed or on days one of the kids got sick or when things just didn't seem to go right that day.

And though now, months later I can't say life was perfect, (far from it) I can say that during those days or weeks I would get down and feel attacked, having that image in my mind seemed to help me from falling into a deep pit of dispare. It was my life line to hold on to and help me to take another step each day as I choose to continue on towards a life with God and a wonderful husband and family, instead of depression and sadness that could hurt my marriage and family. This year has now come to an end and I am so happy to say God is bringing you, my wonderful husband home to me tomorrow morning. God has givin me the best blessing, to see your face and being able to feel your arms rapped around me. I love you so much.

Monday, August 8, 2011

To clean or purge, that is that question.

Do you think that I could take all my clutter, put it in a box and deal with it later? I dislike saving bill stubs in a filing box, never knowing what to with misc instructions to whatever we recently bought, old light bulbs, old batteries, the gazillion cords to old cell phones, cameras, laptops, computer and MP3 players. Not to mention the head phones that could still be used but that are too big for my ears. I have a broken plater that went to our Fine dining wear that broke during our move, I don't have the heart to get rid of it, but can't fix it. My house really isn't dirty, it just has clutter, but I also have two kids that seem to have to take out all there toys at once, not just what they want to play with . I keep up with laundry, dishes (most times) and vacuuming.

I am so glad that we are having a garage sale next month, that is one thing my husband and I are looking forward to, is that weird? We get to down size so much. I am super excited about purging things that have no place in this house. Like my husbands bachelor lava stand up lamp that is now broken, but insisted on keeping for the longest time. A wooden coffee table that is like 60 lbs that just sits on our room collecting my clothes I don't want to put away yet. :) A china stand we used in our old kitchen in Italy, but now holds DVDs, DVD's go, china stand goes. I am selling most of my Stamp n up stamps, books, kids books, kids clothes, extra kitchen stuff I don't use, and whatever else I can get out side. I better feel clutter free after all that work.

I think one reason I feel the need to get rid of so much stuff is because that whatever God has in mind for us next, we wont have as much room as we do now. Basically since Weston left on his deployment I have felt this way, not sure why it started then, but it has helped to keep me busy. We are lucky to have the house we have now, but I could have done with something smaller, less to clean too. At some point in the future when we move I am sure it will be a shock to our family, having to live in a smaller house.

The future is kinda uncertain, we could leave in a year, or stay for many more. But less is more, right? So here is to de-cluttering and organization!! Here, here!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Continuing my walk (part 2)

"When we stand firm in the faith, remaining secure in our relationship with God, we can resist the enemy's advances." - Sara Horn

But how do we do that? I know that I should have devotions and quite time with God, pray and possibly have an accountability partner. I am sorry but if you have no motivation, How do you start? I have found the easiest way for me to start is to talk to God or just do one of the above. Plus I never know where to start or where to go when doing my own quite times. So that is why I started this book. It was something I was interested in and I could follow it easily.

What is Faith? "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1

I Remember a great deal about my senior year in high school.
(Some of my Senior class -->)
It changed who I was. The previous year I had switched from a large public high school to a small (tiny) Christian school. (I was in a class of 13.) I was challenged immensely about what my true beliefs were. I loved learning about all of it, and yet I was conflicted on what the truth was. I grew up in a Christian home, but that did not save me. What made me have faith and believe in God? We seniors had a "World View" class, and I learned so much, not just as a Christian but as a student as well. LOL. We learned about world religions and how some are so similar to what God has taught so that you can be sucked in with out even realizing it. I learned truths about the Bible instead of what I just thought was being said. I learned about what it meant to be a proper woman and wife, and be proud of it. Faith comes from knowing in my heart that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, so that I can live eternally in heaven with Him! I do not have to prove myself to Him in order to go to heaven. I am who he made me to be and He will always LOVE me!!

"Faith requires that we trust God and place our hope in Him, whether or not we feel His presence in the moment."

During this last year, if you haven't already caught on, I felt very alone. It wasn't that I has a lack of trust in God, just a lack of feeling loved. I wanted to be pursued, feel the love and the longing of wanting to be wanted. "I forgot that a Christ follower is never alone". That matched me to a T! I had lost my connection with God, I had not followed behind Him in his foot steps, I had lost my way and seemed to forgot how to get back on the path. Romans 8: 31-39 says:

31-39 "So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We're sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."

So nothing can or will ever take our Father Gods love away from us. As my pastor has said before, "Storms in life are inevitable, you have either just been through one, are going through one, or about to go through one." So to me that means we need to be strong in our faith, so that when storms come at us, we can use the word of God to stand strong and weather the storm. So can you walk with me as I strengthen my walk with God? Will you tell me what you do to stay strong?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When you haven't had it as long as I have.

Fellow blogger Mrs T wrote a blog about SEX, well not exactly, more like what to wear to bed so you can get some. I thought it was a pretty funny blog as I am always in big T's or flannel PJ's in bed, even as a kid. That is just the way I always dressed, likely why it still is now. When I first got married my husband wanted me to come to bed naked. Totally normal. But it made me feel weird, not around him, just cause I didn't have clothes on. There are times now I go through my PJ's and think I should get rid of these, or get some cuter ones to were to bed. Then I think what if we go somewhere, I need Pj's that cover all. So why don't I just put those aside and have cute ones for him? Well for one, currently I am the only one in my bed, so I want to be comfortable. Or what about the winter when it gets cold? Well I do have a fix for that one now, my husband sent me this -->. I look like a big pink easter bunny in them! But they are super cozy.
So as time gets close for his arrival, I am wondering, what I will be wearing to bed? I think I would prefer it to look more like this.

Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Do you dress up for bed? Or are you just comfortable? Does your husband like you in cute or sexy PJ's for bed? I just always wonder why does it matter. I don't go to bed with the lights on. He isn't going to see me, and even if we have sex tonight I am not going to turn the bedroom light on just so he can see what cute thing I am wearing to bed. But that isn't the point, is it. Its that if we put the effort in looking cute for our man, then he will notice, and you know what, I bet sex will be even better, because you are both in the mood for a little sheet music.

The above was more or less an extension of what Mrs. T wrote in her blog. But I wanted to share my own little funny tidbit on SEX! Mark Gungor is genius. He is funny, smart, and relatable. My husband and I first heard on him on a couples retreat we went on last spring. We later talked about about using him as a tool to share about sex with our own kids, when that time comes. He has a teen learning series you can use to help out. We both believe that training our kids about the physical and emotional attachment you get when you have sex is very important. Wes and I were both each others first and only when it came to sex, but he knew way more about sex then I ever did. That came from our parents input or rather the lack of input. His parents did a wonderful job of informing him on all kinds of things. Body parts, what to do, when to do it. (Some I also think came from school and being an attentive male) My parents on the other hand, put me in a purity class when I was a high schooler, and that was it. I learned about sex from TV, friends, my Dr., and then from my husband. Surprisingly having such a lack of information never made me shy about it, I would ask questions or say things loudly, when normal people would whisper it. So which has helpful in having kids. My son is four, and I tell him not to touch his penis. I don't say weenie or ding a ling or peter. (He doesn't get it from me, and yet he still laughs at the word, is it intuitive?) I just wanted to share that if you start talking to your kids about body parts at a young age and then transition into sex later on, I don't think it will be such an odd thing and an uncomfortable subject. You are there best advisor on what sex should be like, tell them the truth. I don't think my parents would have ever told me sex would be fun! (But only after marriage!!) Enjoy the clip below. =)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Finally feeling excited! (kinda long) Part 1.

Sunday Morning I woke and finally felt a feeling of excitement about my husband coming home. To you that might sound odd or bad. But with this last month upon us I still didn't feel like I wanted to put my emotions out there and get invested on a date that didn't exist. I don't know when he will arrive, only that this month I will see him again. What person wants to out themselves out there with the possibility of getting hurt? Not me. I think my heart is now willing to open up a little and see that things will get better and understand that I am not alone.

I told you about the Women's study I started. Well if you looked in my book you could definitely tell I was enjoying it. I have underlined, written in the margin, circled and stared large sections on pages, and I am only on page 40 now.

"Most military spouses start their deployments with great intentions. We do our best to adapt to the new normal. We learn to do things on our own. We go to church by ourselves, and we try to do the best of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions by the light of the webcam.Others tell us to stay busy and we do. We work. We volunteer. We run the kids from one activity to the next. But eventually the busyness stops and gets harder to keep a positive attitude."

Chapter 2 Walking on water.

Though a majority of this deployment I can really relate to this paragraph above. Thankfully shortly after my son stopped school for the summer was my husbands R&R. But since he left from that I have felt... mostly in the gutter.

When Weston left, I was really busy. Glenn to school, the gym, PWOC, Sunday night bible study, naps, play times and cleaning. I was also able to talk to Weston pretty much every day for long periods of time. I went through up and downs, but I don't think it really hit me until christmas time. I drove up to NC to spend Christmas with some friends. Christmas eve I had left my Cell phone charger in the car. I didn't feel like going out to get it right away so it died. before bed I got it and charged it while leaving it down stairs. Christmas morning came, I went down to look at it and had just missed a call from him. With further inspection I had found out I had missed 16 calls from him. I knew this wasn't good. He called a few min later and was terribly upset, I could say almost irate. I felt awful. I was a harmless mistake by missing his calls, I didn't hear the phone ring. But he didn't see it that way. He thought I was ignoring him. At first he thought I was mad at him, then later in a voice mail I heard his anger. He just wanted to hear from his family on Christmas morning and he couldn't get through. Hearing his voice made my heart break. It was the first time I think he also realized I wasn't putting my life on hold for him. I was trying to keep busy and happy, ignoring the fact that I wasn't able to spend the holidays with my husband as a happy family.

Since the begining of his departure, I would say about a month into it. I felt very alone. Something that the devil falsely pushes on us spouses. We are far from alone, but we don't open our eyes look around or ask for help, let alone talk to someone else going through the same thing. Other wise we would realize they feel the same way. Over and over I have been told "You are not alone!!" Has it stuck? No. Sad, right? And yet again in my study I read it again. (There are so many things in this book I would love to share but that would be too much typing)

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It's the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. 1 Peter 5:8-11 The message bible.

This verse above reminded me that I am not the only one in the world with those feelings and thoughts. Another of the "I am not alone" in the face feelings.

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