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Today on Financial Friday I bring to you the beginning of my journey to claw my way out of the paycheck to paycheck struggle.

Have you ever heard the phrase there is too much week left at the end of my paycheck?

Maybe like myself and millions of other Americans this describes your financial life to a tee.

At the beginning of the year I vowed to do something about this. I put pencil to paper and worked on a very tight budget. I decided in order to pay my monthly bills I needed to set aside $90 a week so I set an automatic transfer from my checking to savings.

Most weeks I or more often my husband has overspent and blown through this cushion I have tried to create. So I pushed back, grounded him from use of the account without asking first if money is available and took steps to get this under control.

My first step was to open an account in only my name that I will deposit part of my pay into. This account will become my emergency account. This is a no fee account that I was introduced to from the Pennyhoarder blog. The name of the bank is Aspirations.

I have just today changed my payroll to put most of my check into our main account (where my husband’s payroll is also direct deposited), a small portion into this new account and a very small set amount onto a netspend card that my daughter has saved and earned for a school trip she is taking in two weeks.

Today my main savings account has 2 weeks of savings in it and I am excited that I can finally make this work the way it is supposed to.

Wish me luck, I am inspired. I will update in two weeks. A look forward to next Friday will be fitness Friday where I will share the sleep remedy that has jump started my new weight loss regimen.

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Matthew 5:3-16

3- ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4- ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5- ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6- ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7- ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will have mercy.

8- ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9- ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10- ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs will be the kingdom of heaven.

11- ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12- Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13- ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no good for anything but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14- ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15-No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16-In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

 

OK, I know you all know it… sing it with me…

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

 

Every child of God has her light. No matter the age you are, you have the same light. Sometimes we put it on the back burner and everything else in life may hide it. It is always there and the more you seek God the brighter it becomes. Others may try to dim that light with their judgement and ridicule. No matter the troubles you face, seek the Lord and let your light shine brighter still.

Proverbs 31:25-26 “She is clothed in strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

Every woman was brought into the world with the same light, the same strength, the same courage to overcome the persecution of others. Let your light shine brightly. Let the Spirit of the Lord guide you through the mysteries of your journey and give you the strength to overcome your trials.

 

I used to be afraid to tell my story. I was afraid of hurting others the way I had been hurt. One day it became perfectly clear that what is done is done and it was done to me. I was abused. I did not ask for that to happen but it is my truth. I have forgiven all my abusers. I have learned from my personal life lessons. I have let my light dim because of the words and actions of others. Today, my light shines brighter than it ever has. God guides my steps (I don’t always follow) but the guidance is there and the path is always there when I stray. Pull your light out, allow it to brighten your path. Allow it to show you the way. Find the person that is fighting to come out.

 

Move the mountains that are stopping you from achieving the you of your dreams. You have a purpose and your light will help you find the way.

 

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YOLO!!!

I have been reliving some old memories as part of an assignment given to me so I thought I would share this again. 

I have a feeling it might help someone close to me.
https://becomeawomanofstrength.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/yolo/?preview=true

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My Lenten goal is to post every other day my feelings regarding the Gospel reading for that day. I have really been slacking my blog duties lately and really need to get back into a routine especially now that I will be going back to work.

Luke 9:18–25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?”

What does it mean to deny yourself and take up your cross?

In my opinion, This is a direct description of how people observe lent. They deny themselves something of pleasure and agonize for 40 days through chocolate withdrawals. Is this really what Jesus wants? See if we can last 40 days without chocolate? How does giving up chocolate or any bad habit bring you closer to God?

Maybe it is in the take up your cross part?

Giving up something of yourself is not enough. Deny yourself and take up your cross. Follow Jesus. Pray a little more. Read the Bible a little more. Attend a bible study. In my personal experience, my Lenten disciplines have come to me from prayer and discernment. Sometimes I know months ahead of time and sometimes like this year my cross doesn’t appear until Ash Wednesday.

I have embraced my calling. I may not always follow my path but I have a chance to deny my laziness, take up my cross and get the job done.

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Teach the Boys

Today on Wake Up Wednesday we ask…

Did you know that boys who witness domestic violence are two times as likely to abuse thier own partners and children when they become adults? This fact is included in the Corporate Alliance to end Partner Violence, “Impact on Children”.

What do you teach your boys?

Men and women were created equal and were meant to work together as one. Genesis says Man will leave his mother and father and become one with his wife. Relationships are hard and only work with teamwork. It takes the talents, love, trust and willingness of both people to build a lasting relationship.

Teach your boys to be protectors and to be able to accept help.

Teach your boys to live, laugh, love, cry and to lift others up while still valuing thier own self worth.

Teach your boys to cook and do dishes because a woman’s place is beside her man working together to get the job done.

Teach your boys that violence against women is unacceptable but more importantly violence against anyone is also unacceptable. Remember men are victims of domestic violence also.

Today I leave you with this quote from Don McPherson, NFL and CFL quarterback and a national leader and advocate for the prevention of violence against women.

“…the socialization of boys regarding masculinity is often at the expense of women. I came to realize that we don’t raise boys to be men, we raise them not to be women (or gay men). We teach boys that girls and women are “less than” and that leads to violence by some and silence by many. It’s important for men to stand up to not only stop men’s violence against women but to teach young men and broader definition of masculinity that includes being empathetic, loving and non-violent.”

What do you teach your boys?

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We are very much a paycheck to paycheck family. Christmas usually happens for the kids with a few meaningful gifts in the parent stockings.

This year marked two firsts that I have been quite upset about, I have been out of work with a knee injury so I couldn’t go out to go shopping and this is the first Christmas that all my children know the truth about Santa.

Through this injury and all the things I have to rely on others to do, I have made it a point to find something to be thankful for each day. On Christmas day my three children each had a full stocking and about three nice gifts under the tree. I had a gift that Hannah worked on with our Sunday School director and my hubby and I had a few small things in our stockings.

This year though, because of my focus on the positive I have compiled my list of eight gifts we’ve received.

1. The love of a twelve year old child that would rather my kids have a good Christmas than receive something in a family exchange so she asked for a pair of black socks.

2. The Joy of watching our children open thier gifts on Christmas morning. This is my gift every year and it was no different this year knowing not one of them believe in Santa. My son says I’m too mushy, lol.

3. The patience needed to get through the decorating of the Christmas tree without telling people how to do it.

4. Generosity of the family and friends who helped with groceries, bills and holiday preparations during our limited income this year.

5. The kindness of strangers holding doors and helping this old lady hobbling around on crutches.

6. The strength and Humbling spirit that allows my huge ego to accept the changes happening around me.

7. Time- I have not learned how to fully accept this gift but this injury has given me time to spend with the family, time to pursue my passion for writing and time to reconnect with my husband after such an awful year.

8. A healing spirit- I have been researching and committing myself to a life of physical, emotional and spiritual healing not just for myself but for my family as well.

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A Humbling Experience

It is a very Humbling Experience to have to rely on your spouse and children for all your needs. This knee injury has knocked me down a peg or two. Not being able to put weight on one leg has severely limited what I can do.

I cannot climb the stairs so I have been sleeping in my living room, having my husband help me with sponge baths in my half bath downstairs, having kids get food for me and do my laundry. 

Today was the first day I was able to climb the stairs on my own. I took a shower with my stabilizing brace on for the first time in two months … without any help.

Yesterday I was able to take a short walk (six houses down and back) while I was home alone.

These milestones may seem like baby steps to some but to me they are amazing, God praising hurdles up this mountain that has been dropped in my path.

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