Quote

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bring on 2009


2008 is almost over. I can't believe this year is over already. I feel like it just started. It has definetly been a fun, exciting year. This is the year we really decided to jump on Dave Ramsey's plan. We completed Baby step 1 ($1000 Baby Emergeny Fund) and we made a plan to finish Baby Step 2, which is to pay off all debt.

I don't think we really made a New Years Resolution last year. If we did, I honestly don't remember what it was. It was probably something about eating better, getting out of debt, or losing weight.

This year we:

1. Celebrated our First year anniversary. We spent the day in Michigan where we went on our Honeymoon the first night.

2. We paid off our last credit card in May and trust me, that felt good.

3. We took a vacation to to Texas and Tulsa in March, then buried my best friend's husband a week later.

4. Went on a journey with some friends to lose weight this summer. Congrats Greg on winning the contest. Steve got second place. Even though we didn't win, it was still fun. I lost 10 pounds. Steve lost over 20.

5. Even in this "recession", we got a raise at work and picked up a second job working part-time at Sears.

6. We had a house literally fall in our laps. It was a foreclosure that my dad's bank foreclosed on and the price was just perfect for us.

7. This year because of how we budgeted we were actually able to spend more this year on Christmas then ever before. We saved and spent what we had.

8. We took a week vacation this fall and just stayed home. It was our "staycation."

9. We welcomed a new neice into the family (Steve's side) on December 22 and she is so cute. I can't wait to meet her.
10. We welcome a "Great Cousin" (My cousin and his wife's son) into the family in April. He is precious. He is our first "Great Cousin", so it was excited to see our family grow again.

11. We found out Steve has high cholesterol because it runs in his family, so it changed the way we eat and what I cook. It also raised our food budget. Why is healthy food, so much more expensive?

I'm sure we did other things too. The year flew by really fast.

I'm excited and ready for 2009. Almost every news story you read in the paper or on the internet is telling us that we should give up hope. They are telling us of a horrible recession that is coming and "we will never recover from it." I don't know, but I refuse to live my life without hope. We have a plan to be financially responsible and God that is good. Now are there people that are legimately struggling, of course, and could something major happen next year to derail our plan, of course, but I like to live with a positive attitude. I have amazing friends, an amazing husband, an amazing job, and an amazing God. Together there is nothing that we cannot do.

I think we can get through this suppossed recession if we live on budget, get out of debt, and build up our emergency fund. I'm excited about what is store in the next year.

Do I have a resolution for next year? Well it will probably be the same as the last year.

We will try to eat better, get out of debt, and build up our Emergency Fund.

I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. - Helen Keller

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Americans' debt shrinks - 1st time ever

Source

Oh no, say it ain't so. You mean to tell me that Americans have stopped overspending and actually starting saving and paying off debt. You mean Americans have actually starting not buying things they can't afford on credit cards and then not paying them. What a horrible thing? We are truly in a credit crisis now. Maybe it's just me, but I see this as a good thing.
Steve and I have been working really hard this year to lower our spending and get out of debt. We didn't lower our spending because the country is in a suppossed recession. We lowered our spending because we wanted handle our money better so we had more opportunities.
We are in a good place financially right now and our actually probably going to spend more on Christmas presents this then last year because we planned for it. At the current plan, we plan to be completely out of debt, expect the house, in 5 years. Hopefully it will happen sooner but that will depend on how sucessful our Garage Sales are this summer. Our Net worth declined this quarter, but that's because we bought a house.

I do get a bit frustrated sometimes because it seems to be taking so long. One month at a time, right?

By David Goldman, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: December 11, 2008: 2:58 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) --

In a sign that Americans' spending habits are shifting, their household debt fell for the first time ever, as their net worth declined by the largest amount on record based on data going back to 1951.
According to the Federal Reserve's flow of funds report released Thursday, consumer debt fell an annualized $30 billion, or 0.8% in the third quarter to $13.91 trillion.

Americans holding less debt may sound like a positive, but it also means consumers are spending less, as debt has become more expensive and harder to come by.

As the credit crunch intensified in the third quarter - and exploded late in the period with the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers - Americans were increasingly unable to finance big purchases like homes, cars and big-ticket goods.

"Interest rates have shot rapidly higher in the last few months, and people are borrowing less because they don't want expensive credit hanging over their heads," said Michael Englund, chief economist for Action Economics. "The other component is the credit crunch, where qualified borrowers are unable to get credit."

That's a worrisome sign for the economy, as consumer spending makes up 70% of overall U.S. gross domestic product. The economy entered a long and deep recession in December 2007, and the prospect of a turnaround will weigh heavily on consumers' confidence to spend money.
"Everyone over the past three months decided to become thrifty at the same time, but our incomes depend on other people spending," said Englund. "If we all start saving and cut back on our spending at the same time, it means more people will ultimately get fired."

The U.S. economy has shed 1.9 million jobs so far in 2008, with precipitous declines since September. As more Americans keep their wallets closed, Englund said the economy has entered a vicious cycle, in which Americans spend less and have less to spend.
And fourth-quarter debt data is likely to be even lower, as the peak of the credit crisis came in mid-October.

"There has been a particularly steep rise in the savings rate recently," said Englund. "With a large part of thriftiness due to panic, this trend could continue for a long time."

Net worth in 12-month tailspin
Consumers watched their net worth decline for the fourth quarter in a row as it dropped by $2.8 trillion, or 4.7%, to $56.5 trillion, dragged down by precipitous declines in home values and the stock market. It was the largest decline in the 57-year history of the report.

The first quarter's decline follows wealth declines of $393 billion in the second quarter, $2.4 trillion in the first quarter and $1.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Until then, net worth had been rising steadily since 2003, climbing nearly 31% over those five years.

The four quarters of declines have resulted in a net 11.1% decline in Americans' wealth in the last 12 months. During the bear market of 2000 through 2002, household's net worth dropped just 6.2%.

The net value of financial assets for households fell by $2.1 trillion, or 4.4%, led mainly by declines in stock holdings and mutual funds.

Americans' share of corporate equities plummeted $943.5 billion - an 11.5% drop - in the quarter to $7.3 trillion. With major stock indexes like the S&P 500 falling 40% or more since January, shares of mutual funds, a primary investment of 401(k) retirement funds, declined $597.4 billion, or 12.4%, to $4.2 trillion.

Financial assets account for about two-thirds of households' net worth, but consumers have also been hit hard by sinking home prices. Home values declined by $347 billion in the quarter to $19.1 trillion.

"Consumers are going through a major change in their spending and savings habits," said Lyle Gramley, a former Fed Governor. "Throughout the housing bubble, consumers had a savings rate of zero, relying on the rising price of their homes. Now they're saving money for the future instead of spending it." -->> Oh no! That's horrible.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Is Rudolph a Religious Figure?



Why do they atheists and anti-God people always come out at Christmas and ruin the season for everyone? Attention all Atheists: The Constitution says Freedom OF Religion not Freedom FROM Relgion and why is Christianity the only Religion that is allowed to get attacked.

Come on, it's an aborable children's movie. There is nothing religious about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Diabetes Meal Plan Recipes

Diabetes Meal Plan Recipes
It's not always easy to follow your diabetes meal plan day after day, but these delicious recipes may help.

Appetizer recipes
Almond and apricot biscotti
Apples with dip
Avocado dip
Chickpea hummus
Chickpea polenta with olives
Chipotle spiced shrimp
Cranberry spritzer
Crispy potato skins
Eggplant with toasted spices
Fresh fruit kebabs with lemon lime dip
Fresh spring rolls with shrimp
Ginger-marinated grilled portobello mushrooms
Grilled pineapple
Hummus
Marinated portobello mushrooms with provolone
Pita wedges with green olive tapenade
Shrimp marinated in lime and Dijon mustard
Smoked trout spread
Southwestern potato skins
Sweet and spicy snack mix
White bean dip

Beverage recipes
Almond and apricot biscotti
Blackberry iced tea with cinnamon and ginger
Cranberry spritzer
Frosty almond date shake
Fruit smoothies
Iced espresso latte
Island chiller
Minty-lime ice tea
Morning mojito
Orange dream
Strawberry banana milkshake
Sweet ginger tisane
Watermelon-cranberry agua fresca

Bread recipes
Almond and apricot biscotti
Apple corn muffins
Buckwheat pancakes
Chickpea polenta with olives
Cinnamon rolls
Creamy polenta with roasted red pepper coulis
Double-corn spoon bread
Irish brown bread
Morning glory muffins
Muesli breakfast bars
Popovers
Pumpkin-hazelnut tea cake
Rhubarb pecan muffins
Southwestern cornmeal muffins
Three-grain raspberry muffins
Whole-grain buttermilk biscuits

Dessert recipes
Almond and apricot biscotti
Ambrosia with coconut and toasted almonds
Apple berry cobbler
Apple-blueberry cobbler
Apples with dip
Baked apples with cherries and almonds
Berries marinated in balsamic vinegar
Caramelized pear bread pudding
Carrot cake
Casaba melon with creamy sweet curry
Chocolate pudding pies
Cookies and cream milkshake
Cran-fruit coffeecake with crumb topping
Creamy fruit dessert
Date-walnut cake with warm honey sauce
Fresh figs with walnuts and mascarpone
Fresh fruit kebabs with lemon lime dip
Fruited rice pudding
Grapes and walnuts with lemon sour cream sauce
Grilled angel food cake
Grilled fruit with balsamic vinegar syrup
Grilled pineapple
Lemon custards with fresh blueberry sauce
Melon fool
Mixed berry pie
Mixed fresh berries with ginger sauce
New England trifle
Orange dream
Orange slices with citrus syrup
Peach crumble
Peach floats
Peaches a la mode
Pineapple cream cheese pie with berries
Poached pears
Pumpkin-hazelnut tea cake
Red plum tart
Rhubarb pecan muffins
Rustic apple-cranberry tart
Sauteed bananas with caramel sauce
Seasonal fruit palette
Strawberries and cream
Strawberries and cream cheese crepes
Strawberry balsamic sorbet
Strawberry shortcake
Summer fruit gratin
Tropical fruits with mint and spices
Vanilla poached peaches
Warm chocolate souffles
Watermelon-cranberry agua fresca
Yogurt-almond ice cream
Zucchini bread

Main dish recipes
Acorn squash with apples
Asian pork tenderloin
Asparagus, tomato and red pepper French bread pizza
Baked chicken and wild rice with onion and tarragon
Baked macaroni
Baked salmon with Southeast Asian marinade
Balsamic roast chicken
Banana-oatmeal hot cakes with spiced maple syrup
Barbecue chicken pizza
Barley and roasted tomato risotto
Beef and vegetable kebabs
Beef fajitas
Beef stew with fennel and shallots
Beef stroganoff
Black bean burgers with chipotle ketchup
Braised chicken with mushrooms and pearl onions
Breakfast burrito
Broccoli cheddar bake
Broccoli, garlic and rigatoni
Broiled grouper with teriyaki sauce
Broiled scallops with sweet lime sauce
Broiled trout with tomato and red onion relish
Broiled white sea bass
Brown rice pilaf with asparagus and mushrooms
Buckwheat pancakes
Buttermilk waffles
Caesar salad with grilled chicken
Caribbean red beans and brown rice
Chicken and asparagus tossed with penne
Chicken and spinach calzones
Chicken quesadillas
Chicken salad with Thai flavors
Chicken stir-fry with eggplant and basil
Chicken strips with honey mustard sauce
Chili
Chinese fried rice
Chinese noodles with spring vegetables
Cinnamon French toast
Cod with lemon and capers
Corn tamales with avocado-tomatillo salsa
Cornmeal-crusted sole with chili vinaigrette
Cranberry-walnut oatmeal
Creole-style black-eyed peas
Curried pork tenderloin in apple cider
Farfalle with fresh tomato sauce
Fettuccine with clams, basil, tomato, corn and garlic
Fettuccine with Swiss chard and mushrooms
French country chicken with mushroom sauce
Grilled chicken breasts with roasted yellow tomato sauce
Grilled chicken salad with buttermilk dressing
Grilled chicken salad with olives and oranges
Grilled miso salmon
Grilled pear and watercress salad
Grilled pork fajitas
Grilled portobello mushroom burgers
Grilled turkey burger
Grouper with tomato-olive sauce
Halibut with tomato basil salsa
Ham, pineapple and asparagus crepes
Hawaiian calzone
Hearty turkey chili
Herb-crusted baked cod
Herb-rubbed turkey au jus
Honey crusted chicken
Jamaican barbecued pork tenderloin
Lasagna
Linguine with mushrooms
Mahi-mahi with macadamia nut crust
Mango salsa pizza
Mediterranean-style grilled salmon
Moroccan fish tagine
Mussels mariniere
New York strip steak with whiskey-mushroom sauce
Nutty berry granola
Orange rosemary roasted chicken
Orange roughy with lemon and thyme
Oriental chicken with braised pineapple ring
Orzo with cherry tomatoes, capers and lemon
Paella with chicken, leeks and tarragon
Pan-braised swordfish with feta
Pasta primavera
Pasta salad with mixed vegetables
Pasta with grilled chicken, white beans and mushrooms
Pasta with marinara sauce and grilled vegetables
Pasta with spinach, garbanzos and raisins
Penne tossed with cherry tomatoes, asparagus and goat cheese
Personal pan pizza
Philly steak sandwich
Pineapple chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Pineapple chicken stir-fry
Polenta with fresh vegetables
Polenta with roasted Mediterranean vegetables
Pork chops with black currant jam sauce
Pork medallions with five-spice powder
Pork medallions with herbes de Provence
Pork tenderloin with apples and balsamic vinegar
Pork tenderloin with fennel sauce
Portobello and blue cheese salad
Potato soup with apples and brie cheese
Prawns puttanesca
Quiche
Quinoa risotto with arugula and Parmesan
Red bean chilaquiles
Roasted duck breast with lemongrass and green onion
Roasted rack of lamb with parsley crust
Roasted red pepper and chicken wrap
Roasted red snapper
Roasted salmon with maple glaze
Roasted turkey with balsamic brown sugar sauce
Rolled ham and Swiss omelet
Rotelle pasta with sun-dried tomato and black olive sauce
Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts
Salade Nicoise with tapenade
Sea bass en papillote
Seared salmon with cilantro-cucumber salsa
Seared scallops with new potatoes and field greens
Seasoned baked cod
Sesame-crusted tofu
Shrimp and mango curry
Shrimp scampi
Soft tacos with southwestern vegetables
Southwestern chicken and pasta
Southwestern frittata
Southwestern wraps
Spaghetti with summer squash and peppers
Spicy beef kebabs
Spicy ground turkey tacos
Spinach frittata
Spinach lasagna with sun-dried tomato sauce
Spinach-stuffed sole
Steak with steamed vegetables, soba noodles and ginger sauce
Stuffed chicken breasts
Stuffed eggplant
Sweet peppers stuffed with scalloped corn
Sweet-potato waffles with blueberry syrup
Swordfish tacos with lime and cilantro
Swordfish with roasted lemons
Thai crab cakes
Three-bean chili
Tofu hoisin with baby bok choy
Tomato-basil pizza
Tuna steak sandwiches
Turkey and broccoli crepe
Turkey club sandwich
Turkey or chicken stove-top casserole over toast
Turkey potpie with baby vegetables
Vegetable and garlic calzone
Vegetable wrap
Vegetarian chili
Vegetarian kebabs
Vermicelli tossed with roasted asparagus and tomatoes
White chicken chili
White sea bass with dill relish
Yellow lentils with spinach and ginger

Salad recipes
Ambrosia with coconut and toasted almonds
Apple salad with figs and almonds
Apple-fennel slaw
Avocado salad with ginger-miso dressing
Baby beets and carrots with dill
Bean salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Black-eyed pea and sweet corn salsa
Bulgur and chickpeas with preserved-lemon vinaigrette
Caesar salad with grilled chicken
Chicken salad with Thai flavors
Citrus salad
Crab salad
Cucumber pineapple salad
Dilled pasta salad with spring vegetables
Dilled shrimp salad on lettuce leaves
Edamame and summer bean salad
English cucumber salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Fattoush
Fennel and leeks with roasted onion vinaigrette
French green lentil salad
Greek salad
Grilled chicken salad with buttermilk dressing
Grilled chicken salad with olives and oranges
Grilled flank steak salad with roasted corn vinaigrette
Grilled pear and watercress salad
Mesclun salad with radishes, avocado and blood oranges
Mixed bean salad
Pickled onion salad
Pineapple chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Portobello and blue cheese salad
Quinoa risotto with arugula and Parmesan
Roasted red pepper with feta salad
Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts
Salade Nicoise with tapenade
Seared scallops with new potatoes and field greens
Shrimp-apple salad
Spring greens with butternut squash
Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh salad (cracked wheat salad)
Tossed greens with pasta, fruit and balsamic vinaigrette
Tuna pasta salad
Warm coleslaw with honey dressing
Warm potato salad
Yellow pear and cherry tomato salad

Sandwich recipes
Chicken and coleslaw wrap
Chicken and portobello baguette
Chicken Caesar pitas
Grilled portobello mushroom burgers
Grilled salmon on sourdough bread
Hot ham and cheese sandwiches with mushrooms
Philly steak sandwich
Sloppy Joes
Tuna pita pockets
Tuna salad sandwiches
Tuna steak sandwiches
Turkey and broccoli crepe
Turkey club sandwich

Sauce and dressing recipes
Apple and sweet onion marmalade
Avocado dip
Basil butter and sun-dried tomato sauce
Cranberry orange glaze
Grilled mango chutney
Lemon or lime glaze for chicken, fish or vegetables
Orange basil vinaigrette
Peach honey spread
Peach-nectarine salsa
Pear and toasted pecan chutney
Raspberry coulis
Sherried mushroom sauce
Spinach dip with mushrooms
Turkey gravy
Vegetable salsa

Side dish recipes
Artichokes alla Romana
Asparagus with hazelnut gremolata
Baby beets and carrots with dill
Baby minted carrots
Baked acorn squash with pine nuts and garlic
Bean salad with balsamic vinaigrette
Black bean and corn relish
Black bean cakes
Black-eyed pea and sweet corn salsa
Braised celery root
Braised kale with cherry tomatoes
Broccoli rabe with toasted garlic
Brown rice pilaf
Brown rice pilaf with asparagus and mushrooms
Brussels sprouts with shallots and lemon
Bulgur and chickpeas with preserved-lemon vinaigrette
Butternut squash and plantain mash
Cannellini beans with wilted greens
Chinese-style asparagus
Classic Boston baked beans
Creamed Swiss chard
Creole-style black-eyed peas
Curried vegetable couscous
Edamame and summer bean salad
Eggplant with toasted spices
Fava beans with garlic
Garden peas with fresh mint
Garlic mashed potatoes
Ginger-marinated grilled portobello mushrooms
Glazed root vegetables
Granola with raisins, apples and cinnamon
Green beans with red pepper and garlic
Grilled portobello mushrooms with thyme and garlic
Grilled radicchio
Honey-glazed sweet potatoes
Lean country-style breakfast sausage
Lemon rice with golden raisins and almonds
Lentils with wild rice and crispy onions
Lima bean ragout with tomatoes and thyme
Pan-braised onions with rosemary
Quinoa risotto with arugula and Parmesan
Ratatouille with roasted tomato vinaigrette
Roasted potatoes
Roasted potatoes with garlic and herbs
Roasted root vegetables with cumin and coriander
Sauteed fresh corn
Sauteed zucchini coins
Savory buckwheat pilaf with toasted spices
Seared endive
Sichuan broccoli and cauliflower
Soybeans with fennel, thyme and oregano
Spicy Oriental snow peas
Spicy red cabbage
Spicy red lentils
Spring greens with butternut squash
Steamed summer squash with warm leek vinaigrette
Stewed flageolets in lemon broth
Stuffing with cranberries
Sugar snap peas with fresh marjoram
Sweet carrots
Sweet potatoes and roasted bananas
Tabbouleh
Tabbouleh salad (cracked wheat salad)
Two-potato gratin
Warm potato salad
Wild rice pilaf with cranberries and apples
Wilted greens with warm balsamic vinegar

Soup recipes
Beef stew with fennel and shallots
Carrot soup
Chicken adobo soup with bok choy
Chili
Cold potato-leek soup (vichyssoise)
Corn chowder with roasted poblanos
Creamy asparagus soup
Curried carrot soup
Curried cream of tomato soup with apples
Easy chicken stock
Easy vegetable stock
Fresh tomato soup with crispy herb toasts
Gazpacho with garbanzo beans
Gingery chicken noodle soup
Home-style turkey soup
Minestrone soup
Miso soup with watercress and shiitakes
Moroccan fish tagine
Posole with fresh corn gorditas
Potato soup with apples and brie cheese
Potato-fennel soup
Pumpkin soup
Split pea soup
Summer vegetable soup
Three-bean chili
Tuscan white bean stew
White chicken chili
Zesty tomato soup

Source

Friday, December 5, 2008

Planned Parenthood Excuses Rape



Planned Parenthood suspends employee after video on abortion counseling

A local Planned Parenthood employee has been suspended after the release of a video surreptitiously shot at a clinic which shows a woman who identifies herself as a 13-year-old being given advice that is a violation of the organization’s policies.

A press release, sent by e-mail today from liveactionfilms.org, identifies the video as being shot on June 24 by UCLA student Lila Rose. It shows a blond haired female and a nurse, identified as “Diana.” The nurse’s face is blurred during the interaction.

In the video, the “patient,” who is accompanied by another female identified as a friend, states that her name is Brianna. She tells the nurse she is 13 years old and has missed her monthly period. The nurse responds that anyone under the age of 13 needs parental consent to get an abortion in Indiana. “Brianna” further reveals that she doesn’t want to explain who the father is because he could get in trouble. She later says that the father is 31 years old.

In the video, which has breaks and cuts, the nurse advises how to lie about the father’s age. The “patient” is then shown a piece of paper which Rose alleges showed her that she could get an abortion in Illinois without parental consent.

Rose, who has done previous videos at Planned Parenthoods in Los Angeles, where she posed as a pregnant teenager under 18, is a 20-year-old history major. She said Wednesday that Indiana is just one of many states chosen by liveactionfilms.org for “audits.” She called Bloomington a “major” clinic in the state, explaining why it was chosen. She said she expects videos of other clinics will be released that show similar scenarios.

“In the vast majority of cases, you’re going to find sexual abuse cover-up,” Rose said in a telephone interview.

Rose said the scenarios are similar, in which a “young girl” purports to abort a pregnancy by a much older man. She said Indiana’s case is one of the more “severe” cases because of the extreme age differences.

Rose said one of the concerns she had was that the clinic advice directed the teen to avoid reporting the abuse, which put her back in the hands of her abuser.

This is not the first time that Planned Parenthood has been embarrassed by illegal and/or immoral behavior by employed staff. Why do they continue to get government funding when they have been shown to have utter disregard for not only the law, but for women in general?

Neighbors shocked by toddler's death, father's arrest

Source

This is such sad story. Steve and I have been working all week trying to get everything moved over to the new house. Our friend, Greg, came over and helped us with the bathroom.

Tuesday night our neighbor across the street welcomed us the neighborhood by backing into car while it was sitting parked in front in the house. Our next door neightbor also welcomed us to the neighborhood by getting arrested. This story just breaks my heart. We actually saw this little girl standing in the front yard the night before he got arrested.

People that abuse children deserve to rot in Hell. I know that God is a forgiving God, but I find it hard to understand why anyone could do this to a child. This is so heartbreaking.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving is a day to think about all the things you are thankful for. It's about being with family. I know there are some people that aren't able be with family during Thanksgiving and I feel for them. If you are able to spend time with family, I hope that you do it.


I will be spending Thanksgiving in Ohio visiting Steve's family. The day after Thanksgiving I have to work at Sears from 7am to 3. If anyone is out and about, feel free to come visit me back in the Hardware Department.

In wouldn't be Thankgiving if I didn't reflect on why I am thankful.

1. First, I am thankful for a God that is patient. We serve an amazing God and I think sometimes I forget that. He has done so much for me that I know I will never be able to thank him enough.

2. Second, I am thankful for a husband that is patient. I have the greatest husband ever. You may think you have the greatest husband, but you're wrong. :o) The way he loves and serves me is something that I really appreciate and love about him.

3. Third, I am thankful for my family. My parents are just great. They have been married for 28 years and after all these years they still love to hang out together. I hope that someday when we are in our 50's that our marriage is as strong as theirs. My siblings are crazy but I love them.
They are the people that I know will have my back no matter what. We are a pretty tight-knit family. Maybe that is because there isn't many of us. In my entire famiy, on both sides, there is about 35 of us.

4. Fourth, I am thankful for my friends. I have the greatest friends anyone could ever ask for. Some of the best friends that I have right now have been my best friends since Elementary school. We have been through so much together. We have celebrated eachothers weddings, births of kids, getting new jobs, getting raises, purchases of our first homes, countless Holidays, passing of tests and exams, becoming a CPA (soon), College graduations, High School graduations, and so much more. We have been there for eachother through the death of spouses, job losses, moves, marriage stress, roommate stress, kids stress, financial stress, stress because it's Monday, and countless others. How many people do you know that have friends that would drop everything and help you move during the Holidays, not once but twice. I truly am thankful for you guys. I hope you know that I would not be who am today without you. We have laughed together, prayed together, and cried together.

Philippians 1:3-5 (New International Version)
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Discrimination?



How is this not discrimination? Can you imagine if Hollywood was "blacklisting" supporters of Gay Marriage? The ACLU would be all over it crying discrimination. But discrimination against Christians and supporters of traditional marriage is ok.


Romans 8:35-39 (New International Version)


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."[a] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (New International Version)

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

School Children Advise Obama

These kids seem pretty smart to me. They wrote some pretty well thought out papers, I thought.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pre-Marital Sex Destroy Real Love Everytime



This story is heart-breaking to me. These girls have totally lost their innocence and not even their parents are standing up for them. It seems like parents have just given up. Parents today just assume their girls are going to be having sex, so instead of teaching their daughters to respect themselves and wait, they just stand back and watch. Then these parents always seem so surprised when their teenager tells them their pregnant or has an STD. Then the parents steps in and decides to be parent again. Where was that parent BEFORE she throw her life away?

I have been doing middle school ministry for almost a decade and I have seen girls give themselves away so many times. Girls, you are so worth the wait. Any guy that tells you different is not worth the ground he is standing on.

There is absolutely no love in pre-maritial sex, girls. Pre-maritial sex is all about lust and relationships based on lust never last. Really true love is based on so much more. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of believing that you have to have sex to be popular. It's just not true.

There are ways to protect yourself:
* Avoid tempting situations: Double date, don't go into your bedroom with a boy, always tell people where you are, etc

* Decide in advance: Choose your values in advance so when tempation comes you have them to fall back on

* Find an Accountabilty Partner: An accountability partner is someone who is going to watch out for you. An accountability partner is one of the most important things you can invest in. Find a friend or family member that you can trust. Pick a time and location to meet with them every week or more often if you want, and discuss what is going on in your life. What have your struggles been this week? What have your success been? Where have to you trimphed? Where have you failed? Honesty and trust are key because you can't be afraid to tell the whole truth to your accountability partner.

What Every Teenager Needs to Know:
They are not alone on this journey of life. Sometimes tough things happen but everything happens for a reason. I am convinced that the Middle School years are the toughest. In some situations they are expected to still act like children, because they are. But in other situation, people expect them to act like adults, so when they encounter a new situation they either act out or withdraw because they feel lost and confused. And to add on top of that they are experiencing hormones and feelings they don't understand and that can be painful. They search for whatever they can find to take the pain away and most of the time those solutions are only temporary, so they try the "drug" again. So the next thing you know, you have a middle school student addicted drugs, alcohol, sex, or whatever they chose for their "drug". As an Oasis leader, I try to give my girls a permanent solution to the pain and that is Jesus. Jesus's love is never temporary.

Parents WAKE UP!!! Sex is every where. Teenagers are being bombared with it from music, TV, and other media and seldom do they show the negative consequences. Girl are sexualized in music and treated like sex objects. What is that teaching our girls or our guys? When was the last time you saw someone on Gossip Girl get an STD or come home pregnant and heart-broken because now the guy wants nothing to do with her or her baby? Even in Juno the movie, the 16 year old gets pregnant and there was no negative consequence. She just moved on like it never happened. In Friends, Rachel gets pregnant and somehow is able to afford a baby and her huge New York city apartment with a job at small coffee shop job working part-time. You never see her struggling with money, trying to get food stamps or welfare, or trying to find a babysitter. Somehow everything just always seems so perfect. That is not reality and our girls are being handed a pack of lies. Our men are too. They being taught if they aren't having sex, they aren't cool. Guys need to hear this too. There is nothing "cool" about it. Just think, someday you might be a father. Would you want someone to be thinking about your daughter they way you are thinking about your girlfriend. I doubt it. She deserves respect and so do you.
The most important thing you can teach your daughter is self-respect and confidence. Fathers, I think, are the most important person in a daughters life. Daughters without fathers in their lives are far more likely to get into destrucive behavior. The girls are looking for love and they think love=sex, so the first guy that comes along and says sweet things to them...they are hooked. The first guy a daughter hears "I love you" from should be her father.

1-800-Quit Now

Quit Smoking. It's the best thing you can do for your health.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Domestic Violence Hurts Everyone

Domestic Violence does not just affect women. Men can also be victims of Domestic Violence. The most innocent victims of Domestic Violence; however, are the children. Last year at the YWCA of St. Joseph County were served about 600 children. 10% of the children were victims of some sort of physical, mental, or sexual abuse. Children that are victims of abuse of significantly more likely to be involved in abuse as an adult, either as the abusee or the abuser. We have to break the tragic cycle of abuse. Almost 70% of the children were born to single mothers, most with no income or high school diploma.

These children need someone to be on their side for a change.

Here's how you can help:

* Become a Women of Vision

* Donate Cell Phones

* Have a Garage Sale and donate the proceeds to the YWCA

* Have a food drive or collect winter coats, hats, or scarves drive for the residents

* Plan a "Baby Shower" and donate the items to the YWCA

* Help us with our Christmas Wish List

Thank you in advance! The children are worth it. Never think that if you aren't a big donor, you can't help.

Mark 12:41-44 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society

The Widow's Offering
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,[a]worth only a fraction of a penny.[b]

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."

Send all Support Checks or bring donations to:
YWCA of St. Joseph County
1102 S. Fellows
South Bend, IN 46601

All contributions are tax-deductible.

Our New House

It has been a crazy few weeks. Apparently, I haven't been updating people on the house very well. Sorry Shere.

The process seemed to be going really smoothly until we got the inspection back. The Realtor didn't think we should get one, but I'm glad we didnt listen to her. The inspection said the furnace was bad and several other things like the electrical panel and roof have problems.
We got several different quotes from different companies on the furnace and the electrical panel. Steve's dad, who is does electrical work, said that the electrical panel is fine and that the inspector may have been wrong.

Steve and I sent a counter-offer to the bank with a request that they put in a new furnace before closing. They refused and said they only sell foreclosures "as is." Needless to say, I was pretty upset with that. We almost walked away from the deal because we dont really have the money for a new furnace. We could probably scrape it together out of our emergency fund, but i dont really want to do that. My dad has offered to pay for our new furnace and have it installed before closing. I am so greatful for that. I wish we didnt have to do that though. I hate borrowing money from my parents.

Our originally closing date was November 21st, but the bank changed it to December 3rd. I guess this is sort of a good thing for us because now we wont have a mortgage payment until February. It does make things busy for us during the Holidays though.

We are trying to plan our budget right now around all the work that needs to be done. Most of the work is cosmetic, except for the furnace. The previous owner left the place a big mess, tore all the light fixtures out of the ceiling and even stole the air conditioner. The biggest challenge right now is finding the time to get in the new house and clean up before we move in. With the original closing date, we would have had 2 weeks with both the house and the current apartment, but now we will only have a few days. The bank did say that we could get in and clean before closing but we wont have the utilities turned on yet.

Our budget is going to pretty tight for the next few months but we can survive. We have done this before. When Steve and I had our hours cut last summer, we lost almost $500 of monthly income and we managed to survive. It sure wasn't easy. Last month, Steve got a raise and they put him back to 40 hours. Thank God for that. I told Steve this is the last time I want to move during the Holidays. It just way to busy during the Holidays. I have this afternoon off from Sears, so I plan is to start cleaning and packing a bit. Anyone that's bored and wants to come over and visit, give me a call.

I'm still a little nervous about the whole process but I think we can get this done. Once we get started on the process I think I'll start to feel better. I do look forward to going to Lowes and picking out the light fixtures and sinks and stuff.
WWDRS? What would Dave Ramsey say? If we play our cards right and don't get to off tract, this should be a great thing for us in the long run.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Extreme Savings Plan

Extreme savings plan
Extreme savings plan


Extreme Savings Plan
Nov. 12: From unplugging appliances before going to work, to bringing their own lunch each day, WRC's Jim Handly profiles one couple's mission to save their cash.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Can You Survive Without a Credit Card?

Source

3 Steps Back to the Sanity of Cash

Waiting until you have the money in your pocket has its disadvantages (we're hand-washing our dishes) but it will buy security later. Call it "real-income living."
By MP Dunleavey

"While many Americans can and do handle borrowed funds responsibly (taking out what they need, repaying what they owe), millions more have slipped into a fantasy world, thanks to credit -- a fantasy that you could buy now and pay later. And that somehow, somewhere, when you least expected it, you'd pay it all back. "

Thanks to all that easy money, a fog descended: Credit made us all believe we were richer than we were.

Step 1: Get out of the fog Here's a giant reality check question:

If every ounce of credit now available to you, in the form of cards or home equity or whatever, if all of it dried up, what would your life be like?

The fact that that's hard to imagine is a sign of how deeply entrenched credit-think has become.
Studies by behavioral economists show that credit divorces you from the "ouch" of spending actual money -- and thus it not only changes how much you spend (people typically spend more when they use plastic), it also creates fuzzy thinking around your finances.

One study showed that shoppers who paid with plastic didn't remember what they'd spent, whereas those who used cash did. (If you've ever been to a mall, this isn't news.)
Credit creates a fog. Cash will snap you out of it.


Step 2: Think of Grandma

The second step is switching to a cash-based mindset. That doesn't mean giving up all forms of plastic. It means learning to think and spend based on how much money you actually have.
That's how your grandma did it, and my grandma, and anyone's grandma who lived back in the 1930s, '40s or '50s -- before you could borrow yourself into oblivion.

Grandma (and Grandpa) somehow managed to furnish a house, raise and feed a family, procure a car and save for emergencies -- all with cash. Why? Because credit as we know it today did not exist. Actual credit cards became common in the 1970s. When you bought something, you paid for it and then got the item, not the reverse.

What was it like, living on cash -- and why is it so powerful that it can turn your financial life around, even now?


Step 3: Find your means

Alas, "living within your means" is just a giant personal finance cliché at this point. People have lost track of what it signifies. LWYM has come to mean that you're fine if you spend every dime you make.

If you have to use plastic to cover a few gaps here and there -- your vacation, the holidays, some groceries -- that still counts as "living within your means" because you eventually pay it all back. Probably.

So it's really about spending a small portion of your income to live, and saving a large chunk of it -- for emergencies big and small, for the unexpected and for a warm, cozy, secure and happy future.

You're not going to turn Tupperware containers into shoes. And I'm not suggesting you grow a bailout garden and can green beans (unless you're so inclined). As scary a time as this is, we as a country are unbelievably wealthy compared to those who survived the 1930s.

But we all need to come down to earth, to a more solid and sensible way of living, with cash as the anchor.

Published Nov. 5, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election is Over

The election is finally over. This is the longest election cycle that we have ever had. I voted for McCain. McCain had his faults, but I liked his stance on social issues. McCain also has the experience that this country needs. We are in 2 wars and in the middle of a perceived financial crisis. This is the not the time for eloquent speeches and fancy ads. We need change, but I don’t think it’s the change that Obama wants to bring. My vote for McCain was more of a vote against Obama then a vote for McCain. I am nervous about the direction this country is heading. I believe most American people want less government interaction in their lives, not more.

I understand that everyone has to pay taxes, but I do not believe it is “patriotic” to pay more taxes, so people who don’t pay taxes can get more free money from the government. I do not agree with Obama’s stance of "spreading the wealth around." I already pay a bunch of taxes so lazy, high school dropouts can keep having kids out of wedlock paid for by my taxes. I pay for Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, WIC, TANF, and some people that qualify for those aren't even American citizens, so they don’t pay taxes either. Why do they feel entitled to more of my money? Maybe they should get an education, go out and get a job, and better themselves, so they don't have to rely on the government for money. I'm glad I don't have to rely on the government to be successful. Welfare was originally designed to be a temporary help to the poor, not an excuse to be dependant on the government. It has become a “hand-out”, instead of the “hand-up” it was intended to be. If Obama said he wants to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. Does he not realize that 30% of Americans don't pay any income tax? You can't give someone a tax-refund when they didn't pay any taxes. What you giving them is a government welfare check?


I have to say that I am very disappointed in the results. I had a least thought that my state of Indiana would think with their head and not blindly follow the media. Indiana did look like it was going to go for McCain until the very end. I guess more money still trumps substance. I don't think that it's fair or right that we elect a President because he has more money and can give better speeches. This year people didn't know or care about the issues. I heard so many people say that they were voting for Obama because he made them feel good, or he got young people to the polls, or he is historic because he can be the first black president, or he was energizing, etc. Those are not reasons to vote for someone. What does he stand for? What is he going to do as President? They don't know or care and that scares me.


I hope NBC and Hollywood are happy their candidate won. It is a sad, scary place we have gotten in this country when news stations can actively campaign for a particular candidate. What happened to objective journalism? What happened to when journalists would fully tell both sides of the story and let the audience decide their opinions.


I pray for this country. I can only hope that Obama can bring action to his "inspiring speeches."
I hope that I am better off in 4 years then I am today, but if I am it will not be because of who the President is. It will because I worked hard, got out of debt, spent less then I made, and strived everyday to better myself.

"You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."
- attributed to Charles Jones

Monday, November 3, 2008

The 10 Cannots

The 10 Cannots

By William J. H. Boetcker
(misattributed to Abraham Lincoln)

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.

6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

William J. H. Boetcker (1873 – 1962) was an American religious leader and influential public speaker. An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots. Originally published in 1916, it is often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln.

Source