"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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Stay-cation" 2010

Steve and I both took a week of vacation time this week from the YWCA.  I had to work a few nights at Sears, but Steve had off from both jobs.  Steve and I decided to use our vacation time to fix up our bathroom.  It's been on our to-do list since we moved in, so we figured we had the money saved up, it was as good a time as any.  The bathtub was chipped and really dirty, so it is being replaced with a Whirlpool tub with tile on the wall around it.  The toilet is being replaced with one that is more water bill-friendly and will not leak.  We are getting a new vanity and sink too.  The cabinet and mirror, we are keeping because we like them.  My dad put in the tile floor new when we moved in, so we are keeping that too.
Steve spent Tuesday, with the help of our friend Stacy, planning the project, taking measurements and ripping out the dry wall.   Stacy helped with the drywall part mostly.  I think they had some fun doing that. The drywall had to be replaced because there was some mold behind the old tub that we have to get rid of.  Wednesday and Today was spent going to Lowe's and Menards way too many times to get everything we need for the project.  Steve is working on the electrical right now, so we can put up the dry wall tomorrow and put everything in where they go. The plan is to have the project completed by the end of our vacation.  I'll post pictures of the finished project when it's done.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Interesting Stats

I was looking at my blog stats for the past 30 days and I thought that is pretty interesting what countries people are coming to my blog from.  I wonder how they are finding it.  I work with numbers and statistics all day, so statistics are fun for me.  It does make you realize just how interconnected we are with the rest of the world.

Counties They Came From
United States528
South Korea8
The Top 5 Visted Blog Posts

Friday, December 17, 2010

Six Months to Thirty (30)

Well, I'm sitting here listening to Christmas music and it occurred to me when I looked at the calendar that six months from tommorrow I am going to be 30.  I know to many people 30 doesn't seem like that old, but I remember thinking when I turned 20 of all the things that I wanted to do before I turned 30.  Back then 30 seemed so old, but it's funny how it doesn't seem that old to me now.  When I turned 20 I remember thinking that I wanted to married and at least have a child by the time I'm thirty, but I think that goes back to the fact that I thought 30 was really old.  When I got married at 25, I thought, "I want to be debt free by the time I'm thirty."  Well, we are still working on that.  Maybe by 40, we will be.  :o)
Well, in just six short little months, I will reach to milestone of 30 years old.  As I look back on the last decade, I think I did pretty good.  There may be a few things that I would do differently if I could go back and do them over again, but not many.  I consider myself to be very blessed.  I will be celebrating my half-birthday tommorrow by making Christmas cookies after work.  Yum!

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 Pitney Family Christmas Weekend

Me with our newest niece, Heiress.
 This weekend was great.  Friday night, Steve went to the YWCA Christmas party and I had to work, so I couldn't go. :o(

Saturday, we both had the day off from Sears because it was the day of Steve's family Christmas.  Steve's family never has Christmas on Christmas and that's nice since my family always have Christmas on Christmas.  It was such a relaxing day of just hanging out with family.  The party was at Steve's brother's house in Bourbon, IN.  He lives out in the country, so he has a lot of space for playing for the kids and the guys had room to shoot guns at targets.  There was only a few minor injuries, so I guess they were successful.  The weather was a little rainy, so we did have to stay inside a lot.  On Steve's side of the family, there are ten kids between all of his brothers, so there were kids playing all over.  The kids range in age from school age to 3 months.  The little cutie in the picture above is our newest niece that was born in August.  It was a great day of family fun and eating really good food.  Steve's brother, Randy and his family stayed the night with us on Saturday night.  When we returned home, it was bedtime for the kiddos.
Sunday, we got up a little early for a normal Sunday.  We woke up and ate some breakfast.  Cheerios with banana was a big hit with the kids.  Steve and I wanted to give his bro and family the gift of Christmas family pictures this year and we were going to have Erin take them.  She had to work on Sunday, so packed up the family and headed to Sears.  Our adorable little nieces and nephew had fun meeting some of our co-workers.  Erin took some great pictures.  Casey kept looking at my funny when I was holding her. I'm not sure she knew what to do with two Aunt Bridget's.  Steve and I even got to get in one with the kids.  They love their Aunt Bridget and Uncle Steve.
They had to leave after we ate lunch in the food court.  It was a great weekend. :o)
We didn't do much else for the rest of the day since mother nature decided to dump tons of tons on us over the weekend.  Steve did rent a movie from Red Box, so we watched G-Force (which is a very cute movie) and ate some popcorn.
Red Box Movies - $1;
Kroger Popcorn = $1 for a box; Not having to pay more than $20 for the movie and popcorn at the theater=Priceless. :o)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reason #5042 I love My Husband!

I got home from work tonight and I noticed that the house looked a little different.  The table was all cleared off.  Then I walked into the bedroom and the bed was made and the floor was clean.  The living room floor was clean too.  My amazing husband hired a cleaning crew to come out today and clean our house for my Christmas present while we were at work.  The cleaners did a spectacular job.  This is the perfect time for this great gift.  I have been feeling so overwhelmed with everything that had to be done before Steve's family came into town this weekend. I had planned to come home from work and start cleaning and hope that I got it all done, but now all I have to do are a few loads of laundry and some dishes.  I love Steve!  I have the greatest husband ever!

1 Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hope Deferred Makes the Heart Sick

I feel a little better than I did yesterday.  I just felt so overwhelmed and stressed yesterday it was making my stomach hurt.  Work has gotten really busy and things just seem so out of control.  I know they aren't but I can't help but feel so disorganized.  I find myself getting angry at the really small stuff that shouldn't matter.  I am so thankful that Steve and I have two jobs, so we are able to make some good headway on our debt, but I'm tired.  I really don't like weeks like this week when I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights and Steve works Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.  We won't see much of eachother this week, except for the at YWCA, in the morning, and at bedtime.
On top of that, Steve and I are trying to get our house organized.  We have lived in the house for two years now and there are projects that were started that aren't done and we still can't use our garage.  The house seems to messy and cluttered.  I know I need to get more discipline to get everything done, especially if we plan to have kids someday.   "How do you eat an Elephant?"  One bite at a time, right.

I know that I have no reason to complain.  I have an amazing husband that is such a hard worker.  I have so many blessings.  I have a job that I love, amazing friends, a great supportive family, and so much more.  I am really looking forward to the Pitney Christmas get together this weekend.  It should be a much needed break with family.  Steve's brother and family are going to be staying us over the weekend.   This means we have to kid-proof the house and do some de-cluttering.  I'm exciting that they are coming though.

Lately everytime I feel overwhelmed and just want to quit and take a break from the two jobs, I just focus on this verse.  We are so close.
"Owe nothing to anyone--except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law." Romans 13:8

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

Monday, December 6, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

I love the first snow of the season.  It looks so beautiful and peaceful when you are looking out the window.  Today is one of the days that I wish my office at work had windows.  I can see outside when I leave my office though.  The picture is the view out of the Admin office window.  It really does look like we are living in a snow globe.
This week is going to be pretty busy for Steve and me, so it is definitely nice to look outside and see such peace.  I'm not sure if I'll feel the same way when I leave work and start driving to Sears.  Let's hope that the people of Michiana remember how to drive in snow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

YWCA North Central Indiana Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are critical to the mission of the YWCA.  Whether the project is small or large, long-term or short-term, many people or just one, volunteers make the YWCA the best it can be. THANK YOU!

Opportunities Available
* Special Group Projects- The YWCA serves over 1400 women and children each year. We are always in need of sprucing up.  Help the YWCA by organizing a clean up day! Cleaning, painting, minor maintenance, sewing, playroom and toy cleaning, restocking and reorganization.
* Supply Drive- Organize a drive for art supplies, baby blankets, children's school uniforms, diapers, toiletries, food etc with your family, friends, office, church group or other group.
* Neat & Tidy - The YWCA receives many donations and can always use help keeping them organized.  Help us sort and organize donated merchandise.
* Love Books? - Help the YWCA pull together a top notch library by volunteering to organize and clean the library/resource room or having a book drive.
* Enjoy the Kitchen - The YWCA serves over 50,000 meals each year. Help restock the cupboards, prepare, and even serve meals. The kitchen is always in need of help on holidays and special occasions.  Join our staff and help us make the holidays special.
* Bi-Lingual? - The YWCA serves women and children of diverse cultures. Your knowledge of other languages could be a wonderful resource in helping us to translate needed materials for our clients.
* Host a Party benefiting the YWCA - Invite you friends to attend an event and bring either monetary contributions or wish list items to donate to the YWCA. The could be done in lieu of birthday presents or could be a party specifically to raise awareness of YWCA program.

These are just a few opportunities available.  For other ways to help, to get more information or to sign up, contact Peggy King at 574-233-9491 X 307.  You can also donate with a monetary gift online at ywcancin.org.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man (or Woman)

The Honorable Dean Alfange was an American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and attended Hamilton College, graduating in the class of 1922.

* It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

* I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.
* I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.
* I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.
* I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.
* It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

By Dean Alfange
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil 3:14

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks!



Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is Not About Turkey!

Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into God's presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

YWCA Christmas Wish List 2010

Once again the YWCA has had a busy year with a large increase in the amount of women and children we are serving.  We have also recently merged with the YWCA of Elkhart County greatly increasing the number of families we will be serving.
When you are shopping for gifts for your family this year, consider picking up an extra present for a hurting child at the YWCA.

Below is a list of items that would be wonderful gifts for the many women and children that will call the YWCA home this Christmas season.
Note: It will be most appreciated if all gifts are non-violent in nature.
CD players, MP3 players, watches for male and female, hand held videogames, music CDs, DVDs (G, PG, PG-13 only), young women's toiletry items, young men's toiletry items, hats and scarves, hair accessories, age appropriate art supplies, gift cards, books, footballs/basketballs/soccer balls, make-up
Children (age 4-12)
Legos and other building sets, dolls and accessories, books, trucks, cars, educational games, craft projects, hats, mittens, socks, transformers, zu-zu pets, hand held games, play sets (such as farms, schools, houses for preschool age), nerf balls
Infants and young toddlers
Baby action toys, educational toys, stuffed animals, books, hats, mittens, socks, teething toys, rattles/small hand held toys, baby wipes, baby lotion, baby powder, baby wash/shampoo, and baby monitors
* batteries for toys are always appreciated and needed

Adult Women
Robes, slippers, pajamas, throws, alarm clocks, MP3 players, portable CD players, CDs, cameras, watches, costume jewelry, calendars, organizers/day planners, book bags, perfume, bath/body lotions, hair accessories, hats/gloves and scarves
In order to ensure that all the YWCA have a wonderful Christmas, it would be helpful to have donated gifts by Monday, December 13th.
If you have any questions, plese call Peggy King at 574-233-9491 X 307.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Newlyweds: What Do We Need To Know About Money?

Unity over money will build a strong foundation for your marriage
from daveramsey.com on 12 May 2010
If you’re getting ready to tie the knot, then one thing you definitely want to talk about with your honey is money!

You probably have lots going on, and emotions are running high. But believe us: now is the time to get on the same page about money. Money fights and money problems have been the leading cause of divorce for decades—but the good news is that these issues are preventable! Getting on the same page creates a strong foundation for a healthy, lifetime marriage. Plus, you’re stopping money fights before they start!

A lot of couples find that being unified with their money increases their intimacy overall. Like Dave says, “When you can talk about money, you can talk about anything.” Talking about money is easier than you may think—especially if you start before you say, “I do.”

The process of bringing your money together doesn’t have to add stress to a time of pre-wedding bliss. It can actually be fun! Here is a quick five-step checklist to get you started building a solid foundation for your life together:
  1. Put It All on the Table
    Transperency is Key!
  2. “Marry” Your Accounts
    When you get married, combining your money into joint accounts is a crucial step.
  3. Start Budgeting Together
    Get tips for uniting over the budget.
  4. Make A Plan
    Set priorities together and make a plan for moving through Dave’s Seven Baby Steps as a team.
  5. Put Your Relationship First
    Whatever you do, don’t stress!
    It’s just money. Your relationship is so much more important.
Financial Peace University (FPU) is Dave’s class that is perfect for newlyweds! Take a break from the hassle of wedding planning for a couple of hours each week to have a great time connecting over money. FPU classes are offered at locations all over the nation. Learn more about this life-changing class and locate one in your area as you prepare to say “I do.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Join a Special Group of Women!

I love this time of year. The leaves are changing into beautiful colors and there is such a spirit of giving everywhere.  People wake up every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas and seem to realize there are poor and hurting around us.  They will go out of their way and give and I love it.  I sometimes wonder though, if those people realize that the poor and hurting are with us in this community the other ten months of the year, as well.
I would like to suggest that this year be different.  Become a Women of Vision for the YWCA North Central Indiana.  Join a select group of women who are changing the world one family at a time. YWCA Women of Vision help provide the resources needed to care for women and children in need in our community.   You can give a one time lump sum donation or you can spread your pledge monthly throughout the year.  If you can't give much, that's ok because every little bit helps to provide a safe shelter and resources for the 1300 women and children we serve every year.

If you have any questions, please contact Peggy King at 574-231-9491 X307 or email her at pking@ywcancin.org.

You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9:11

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recognizing Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, racial, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religious, and socioeconomic lines. Domestic violence can happen to anybody. In fact, studies suggest that one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime. In heterosexual relationships, 95 percent of all victims are female; and 95 percent of all perpetrators are male. In same-sex relationships, domestic violence happens with the same statistical frequency as in heterosexual relationships. Find out how to recognize domestic violence by clicking here.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) is always open.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Overcoming Domestic Violence: There is Hope!

Source for video

Amy Grant: Ask Me

I see her as a little girl

Hiding in her room
She takes another bath
And she sprays her mama's perfume

To try to wipe away

The scent he left behind
But it haunts her mind

You see, she's his little rag

Nothing more than just a waif
And he's mopping up his need
She is tired and afraid
Maybe she'll find a way
Through these awful years
To disappear

Ask me if I think there's a God up in the Heaven

Where did He go in the middle of her shame?
Ask me if I think there's a God up in the Heaven
I see no mercy, and no one down here's naming names
Nobody's naming names

Now, she's looking in the mirror

At a lovely woman face
No more frightened little girl
Like she's gone without a trace

Still she leaves the light

Burning in the hall
It's hard to sleep at all

'Til she crawls up in her bed

Acting quiet as a mouse
Deep inside, she's listening
For a creaking in the house
But no one's left to harm her
She's finally safe and sound
There's a peace she has found

Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the Heaven

Where did He go in the middle of her shame
Ask her how she knows there's a God up in the Heaven
She said His mercy is bringing her life again

She's coming to life again

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Cycle of Violence

The cycle can happen hundreds of times in an abusive relationship. Each stage lasts a different amount of time in a relationship. The total cycle can take anywhere from a few hours to a year or more to complete.

It is important to remember that not all domestic violence relationships fit the cycle. Often, as time goes on, the 'making-up' and 'calm' stages disappear.
For more information

Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. If you are concerned about your relationship, please do not hesitate to call the YWCA's 24 Hour Hotline at 1-866-YES-YWCA.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October is a Month for Celebrating Woman's Issues!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!
Did you know:
  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the US is sexually assaulted.
  • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
  • About 2/3 of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim.
  • Domestic Violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States.
  • Every 9 seconds in the US a women is beaten, usually by her male partner.
  • Between 15 and 25% of pregnant women are battered.
  • 50% of homeless women and children in the US are fleeing Domestic Violence.
  • 80% of children from homes where partner abuse occurs will become an abuser or a victim as an adult.
October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Did you know:
  • Breast Cancer is the number one cause of death in Hispanic women.
  • The risk of breast cancer increases as a woman grows older. The risk is especially high for women age 60 and older. Breast cancer is uncommon in women younger than age 35, although it does occur.
  • Breast Cancer accounts for 1 in 4 of cancer diagnosis in women.
  • The risk of developing breast cancer increases for a woman whose mother, sister, daughter, or two or more close relatives have had the disease. It is important to know how old they were at the time they were diagnosed.
Both of these issues are very important to women.
To find out more information on Domestic Violence go to: http://www.ywcancin.org/.
To find out more information on Breast Cancer go to: http://www.nbcam.org/.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2010 YWCA Walk a Mile

The YWCA Men's March Against Violence Against Women

I think the event was a success.  It's so great to see men standing up against violence.  There were some pretty great men there.  The top pledge raiser raised almost $3000.  Steve had a goal of $300 and as of today, he has raised $248 in pledges.

He even accessorized and dressed in red to match his shoes. It was a pretty cold morning, but I think the men had a good time anyway.
It's not too late to support him if you want.  Every little bit helps.  All the money goes to help women and children escaping domestic violence and sexual assault.  Last year the YWCA served almost 1400 women and children.  Many of the women are young, single mothers who have a high school diploma or some college education with little or no income.  These women come to YWCA with almost nothing and the YWCA helps them get back on their feet, so they can take care of their family in a safe environment.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
To support him follow the link.
Thank you so much to everyone that has supported him and YWCA so far.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Family Biggest Loser

My family is starting a "Family Biggest Loser" contest.  It should be fun.  Steve and I just bought an exercise bike from Sears a few weeks ago, so should really help us.  The bike was on sale, plus our discount, plus Friends and Family Night, so we got a good deal on it.  Steve has actually gotten up early and rode on the bike a little almost every morning since we got it.  We got it mostly because Steve is trying really hard to lower his cholesterol and our doctor wants him to lose about 50 pounds.  This contest should be even more encouragement for us.  We are pretty competive and so we really want to win.  Hopefully Kroger has fruits and veggies on sale this week.  We will be stocking up.  I'm not really a morning person, so I mostly ride it after work in the evening.  We put it in the living room, so we can ride it even while we watch TV.  :o)   
Hopefully all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins will get involved.  I have a pretty great family, so this should be fun.  The contest starts today and ends on December 24th, so I guess that means Thanksgiving will be more healthy this year.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Second Project is Done!

Good Luck Bear likes the hat too!
Today was a pretty relaxing day.  Steve went to Chicago to a Cubbies vs Cardinals game with Damian.  So I was home all alone to relax and work on my next crochet project. I made a little white baby hat with a green border and a green/brown pom pom.  It's pretty cute. 
I did get some laundry, dishes, and cleaning done today too.  It was a great end to a very busy and stressful week.

I got some new yarn today.  Hancock Fabrics had it on sale for 90% off. I wonder what I should make next. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

My First Project is Done!

Good Luck Bear likes the blanket. I hope Baby Butts likes it too!
I decided earlier this summer that I am a little domestically challenged.  I can cook pretty good, but when it comes to sewing or anything like that I am useless. I can barely sew on a button.  I decided that I wanted to learn how to crochet a baby blanket.  It's not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty good.  It's a cute little yellow baby blanket.  It took a long time to finish it, hopefully as I get better at it I will get faster.
I wonder what I should make next?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

YWCA Men's Walk Against Violence 2010: October 2, 2010

This year's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event is October 2nd, 2010.  This is the second year for this event and last year it was a blast.
To Register and collect pledges of your own go to ywcancin.org.
If you can't walk yourself, then please make a pledge and support Steve.

Follow This Link to visit Steve's personal web page and help him in his efforts to support YWCA - north central Indiana.

Support Steve Here!

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Hit and Run Story

So, I'm driving to work yesterday on Eddy (23) South on my way to work in the pouring rain when a black 4-door decides to speed out of the Dental Central parking lot, heading North right in front of me.  I slammed on the breaks and luckily he was driving fast of I would have T-Boned him completely.  He swiped the front driver side of my car and the headlight.  I stopped on the street and put my 4-ways on like you are supposed to, but since all the other cars on the road were honking at me I pulled over into the Dental Center parking lot.  I guess none of them saw the car hit me or more likely they just chose not to see it.  I called the Police and made a report, but I don't have real high hopes that they are going to try and find the person who hit me.  On a funny note though, when I called Police dispatch, the guy who answered the phone goes to GCC. He is one of my former student's dad.  Thanks Tim!
The car was drivable and probably (hopefully) won't be to expensive to fix. I guess that's what the Emergency Fund is for right?  I wouldn't even worry about fixing it if the headlight wasn't cracked. Most of it just scrapes and dents, luckily. It could have been a lot worse.

I think I was mostly in shock when it happened and then angry because not only did the other car not stop, but it didn't even slow down.  I wasn't really sore at first, but last night my neck and shoulder started to really bother me.  I'm pretty sore today, so I'm thinking a good massage is probably going to be on the agenda this weekend.  Even though I'm sore, I do feel lucky because I know it could have been a lot worse.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

NY Times: Consumers Are Saving More and Spending Less

Consumers Saving More Than Thought

Published: August 3, 2010
Consumer Spending Stagnates in June (August 4, 2010)

Economix Blog: G.D.P. Probably Worse Than Reported (August 3, 2010) A new government report released on Tuesday showed that consumers saved 6.4 percent of their after-tax income in June, and that this savings rate had shot up as high as 8.2 percent in May 2009. Before the recession, the rate had hovered at 1 to 2 percent for many years.
The questions now are whether America’s newfound love affair with frugality will continue and whether families’ reluctance to spend will hold back economic growth.
In earlier reports, the government had estimated that families had not changed their spending patterns much in the last few years, despite the economic tumult.
As a result, many economists had worried that a big shock might be coming soon, when consumers finally faced the music and began the painful process of reducing their debt. So on the one hand, the fact that consumers really have been saving could be taken as very good news.

“The optimistic view is that this means consumers have built up a bit more of a cushion than we thought,” said Nigel Gault, chief United States economist at IHS Global Insight. “If they’re in better financial shape than thought, then maybe they could spend a little bit more freely going forward.”
That is not likely to happen anytime soon, though, he said. “It’s difficult to see consumer spending doing a lot better until we see more job growth,” Mr. Gault said.
Many other economists agree.
Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, said in a speech on Monday that Americans would start spending once they got a healthy increase in their wages or salaries. But it is not clear when that will actually happen.
Private payrolls have shown slow growth all year, and economists are forecasting that the jobs report for July, to be released on Friday, will be similarly disappointing.
“There are signs that hiring will pick up, as growth continues and as companies become more confident,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics. “Still, I don’t think it’s going to be an incredibly robust pickup that’s big enough to bring unemployment down sharply and put consumers’ minds at ease.”
Along with high unemployment, high debt levels continue to discourage consumer spending. American households, though borrowing less, still are paying for their free-spending ways in the credit bubble of the mid-2000s. Their debt levels are far higher than they were in the 1980s and 1990s, when they had less than a dollar of debt for every dollar in disposable income.
At the peak of the housing boom, consumers’ liabilities rose above 130 percent of their disposable income. That ratio has been falling ever since the financial crisis, and for the last year has averaged in the mid-120s, according to the Federal Reserve.
“Whatever happens with incomes, deleveraging is still the biggest constraint on spending,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief United States economist at High Frequency Economics. But he said “nobody knows where what the final stopping point for the household leverage rate is.”
Given the June spending data and reports of tumbling consumer confidence in July, many economists say a best case for consumer spending would be an annualized growth rate of 2 to 2.5 percent for the rest of this year. Spending rose at a rate of 1.6 percent in the second quarter and 1.9 percent in the first quarter.
“That’s better, but it’s still not the 4 percent growth we used to see back when the U.S. consumer was considered the engine of global growth,” said Paul Ashworth, senior United States economist at Capital Economics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Celebrating 30 Years!

I Will Be Here by Michael W Smith

When you feel the sunlight fade into the cold night
Don't know where to turn
Don't know where to turn
And all the dreams you are dreaming seem to lose their meaning
Let me in your world
Baby let me in your world
All you need is someone who you can hold
Don't be sad, you are not alone
I will be here for you
Somewhere in the night
Somewhere in the night
I'll shine a light for you
Somewhere in the night
I'll be standing by
I will be here for you
In this world of strangers
Of cold unfriendly faces
Someone you can trust
Oh there's someone you can trust

I'll be your shelter

I'll give you my shoulder
Reach out for my love
Baby reach out for my love
Call out my name and my heart will hear
I'll be there
There is nothing to fear

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wedding Weekend!

My little brother is getting married this weekend!

Romans 12: 9-21:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Collosians 3:14

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Vacation Fun!

Last week, I took a few vacation days.  I realized a few weeks ago that I don't have many real crafty skills.  I love to scrapbook but that's really all I'm really confident with.  My Grandma was in town this week for my brother's fiance's shower, so I decided that I would ask her to teach to me how to do something.  She gave me some private lessons on blanket making on Wednesday.  Crotcheting is a lot harder than it looks.  Wednesday night was my brother's fiance's Bridal Shower.  That was pretty fun.  Eleven days and counting and little brother will be married.

On Thursday and Friday, I drove back over to my parents house for another crotcheting lesson and some more practice.  I started my project but I'm not far on it yet.  I had all day to work on it and practice some more.  It's pretty exciting that I'm actually creating something. I hope it turns out really good.  Thursday and Friday night, I had to work at Sears.

Saturday and Sunday, Steve and I requested off from Sears because we were going to go camping with his brother but those plans fell through.  Steve found out this week that one of friends from back in Lima passed away last week, so on Saturday we drove three hours to Lima and spent a few hours there and then drove three hours back home.  We did stop at the Elkhart County fair on the way home, so that was fun. 

On Sunday since we had the day off, we went to church then we went to Potato Creek for some relaxation.  We went Paddle Boating on the lake for about an hour and a half.  It was so peaceful just relaxing out on the lake.  I had forgotten how much I loved Potato Creek.  It was Steve's first time there. I think he enjoyed the experience.  I love that Sears has been giving me Sundays off lately.  Having Sundays off gives us an actual day off from both jobs, so we have time to do fun things like go to the fair or go boating at Potato Creek.  It's also a good day to destress from the week and catch up on cleaning the house.

My Grandma lent us the book The Shack this week and I loved it.  The imagery in just made the pictures jump out of the book.  It starts with such a heart-breaking story, but it ends as a story of hope.  Even in our deepest hurts when we are angry with God it does not mean that God has left us.  God does not cause hurts, but sometimes he uses them.

"Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person's throat......Forgiveness does not create a relationship. Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible. When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgment, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.........Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation.........Forgiveness does not excuse anything.........You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness......"
— William P. Young (The Shack)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garage Sale Weekend

This weekend we had our multi-family garage sale.  I really do feel blessed that our family is surrounded such amazing people.  I swear these other 3 families are the greatest people on the planet.  Really, I'm not kidding. If you knew them, you would love them too.  We definitely had more business on Friday than we did on Saturday, but I think that was because on Friday we had a lawn full of baby stuff to attract people.  The baby stuff sold really fast which I guess is pretty normal.  We didn't sell any really big stuff, but we did bring drinks to sell.  I think we probably made more for us with the pop and water than we did with our nic nac stuff. 

At the end of Saturday, the other families left me in charge of all their stuff to do with what I wanted.  The good stuff I kept for the YWCA and the rest I gave to Goodwill.  That was how I spent my Saturday afternoon, driving around dropping stuff off.  It was a beautiful weekend for garage sales. It was a little warm but in the shade it wasn't too bad.  Mom said if it was a neighborhood garage sale and people were walking around I probably would have sold more drinks, but I'm still happy with how much we made.  It was also nice to have the weekend off from work.  Friday I took a vacation day from the YWCA and I requested Saturday off from Sears.  I thought I would have to work on Sunday at Sears, but I had that off too.
I sold two of the dolls we were trying to sell for the YWCA, but we still have 4 left.  Do you know a doll collector?  They need a good home. The blue and red one have already been sold.  Click here for more pictures.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4th of July Weekend

Wow!  I had such a great weekend.  Steve's brother called him on Wednesday night and told us that they were going to visit us for the weekend.  My first thought was, "AHH...my house is not child proof and clean at all."  Steve's brother and his wife have three precious kids.  They are 4, 18 months, and 10 days old.  So Thursday night, I ran around the house cleaning up, doing laundry, dishes and such.  Then our vacuum stopped working so we had to borrow my parents fancy expensive vacuum.  They have one of those Rainbow vacuums and I have to admit it was pretty neat and it did a pretty good job.  I'm not sure I could be convinced to spend 2 grand on it though.  We did get the house looking pretty good by the time they got here though.  They arrived on Saturday afternoon. I had to work at Sears until 9, so I had to wait until I got home to see them.  I so excited though knowing that I would be meeting our newest niece, Casey.  Look at that picture.  Isn't she precious?  She really likes Eskimo Kisses.  I think she slept most of the time we were awake.
Sunday: On Sunday, we woke up and went to the church that Steve's dad preaches at down in Wakarusa.  He spoke up how the road to Christ is a narrow road and the road to destruction is a wide road.  The wide road is easily and often more inviting in the short run, but it leads to death.  The narrow road to Christ is hard to stay on if you don't keep eyes straight ahead, but it always leads to better life. After church and some family time, we headed back home.  Steve put together a new toy for Keegan and Kyleigh to play with.  Keegan "helped" Uncle Steve put it together.  For lunch, Steve made some ribs and I made corn and mashed potatoes.  My sis came over and brought some cake and ice cream.  Keegan even helped me shuck the corn.  He was a very good helper.  Kyleigh helped a little too.  The ribs turned out perfect.
After dinner, we decided to take the kids to the St. Joseph County Fair for fireworks.  We got there with a little bit of time for Keegan to go on some rides and to see some animals.  We ran into some strangers...I'm mean the Radabaughs while we were there.  It's been way to long since we've seen each other.   Cadence and Keegan are only 21 days apart so I think they enjoyed seeing someone that was just their size.  The fireworks were great, of course.  Kyleigh enjoyed watching them from high up being held by Uncle Steve.  When we got home, it was bedtime.  Keegan was excited to get to sleep in the Ohio State room.
Monday:  On Monday, we actually had the day off from both jobs, because it was our Holiday from the YWCA since the 4th was on Sunday.  Steve got up and made breakfast for everyone.  Before lunch, Randy and Alexis and the cleaned headed home.  It was so fun having them visit for the weekend.  They should visit more often.  The rest of the day was not really planned, except for lunch.  We met a missionary couple that we met in Dallas for lunch.  They are actually from Mishawaka so they were in town.  We actually had a pretty productive rest of the day.  Steve cleaned out and vacuumed his truck and I got some garage sale stuff ready for our sale next week.  Then I cleaned out and vacuumed my car and Steve installed my new back seat.  My car looks so clean, at least on the inside, right now.  Now the next task is to re-clean up the house.  We gave Kyleigh some Cheerios for snack, so now we have de-Cheerio our house, put the toys away, wash all the sheets, etc.  It was a tiring weekend, but I loved every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

YWCA Run Jane Run:

August 21, 22, 23

5kwalk/run, 10k run for women
Saturday, August 21
$25 online registration, $30 day of event

Bike for Women
Sunday, August 22
$25 online registration, $30 day of event

Golf for Women
Monday, August 23
$85 per golfer, $340/foursome

Register Online Now or call 574-233-9491 ext. 324
All proceeds from the events benefit the programs for women and children through the YWCA of St. Joseph County.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Storms Again

Wow, we sure got pounded again with storms again last night.  We lost power for a few seconds, but it came right back on.  The news anchor kept saying that the storms weren't as bad as they were on Friday.  They sure felt worse to me.  On Friday, we were at Bethel watching the Desert Theater play and they never even stopped the show and we couldn't hear the storm at all.  We did watch the beginning of the storm before the play started, but it was all over when the play was over.

Is it just me or does it seem like there are more really bad storms this summer, then in the past? Last night, we got a different view sitting in our living room.  I did get confidence that our large tree could handle the storm though.  In the heavy winds, the large branches were barely moving.  This made me feel much less worried about waking up with a tree in my living room.  We went to be after 10 when the storm seemed to be dieing down a bit.

On a really exciting side note, Steve got a text message from his brother this morning that said, "The baby is coming today."  Do you know what they means?  I am going to be an Aunt again some time today.  This will be number 9 on Steve's side.  Let the spoiling begin!

Last night reminded me of a song by Casting Crowns.

I'll Praise You in This Storm

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

29th Birthday Weekend

This year was a great birthday.  Steve and I went to the Bethel College Desert Theater play, "Christmas Belles."  It's a Christmas comedy and it was hilarious.  The deserts were great, of course, too.  My friend, Stacy, was the director and he did a great job on the show.

We actually showed up at the play about an hour early and we were going to walk around the Bethel campus for a little beforehand, but the weather had other plans.  We decided instead to stand under the safety of the dining commons porch and watch the storm.  It was actually cool to watch and the rain misting us felt really good.  We watched several tree branches fall on the Bethel campus.  This made me really nervous that we would come home to fallen branches in our yard (or on our house.) Luckily, we did not lose power at the dining commons though or we would not have been able to watch the play.  That would have been sad.  When we got home, we noticed that all our clocks were blinking, so we must have lost power at some point.  Many people in Michiana are still out power three days later and many had trees/branches come down, so I am very thankful that they tree in our front yard did not fall.  Our neighbor lost the massive tree in his back yard.  If it would have fallen at an angle, it would have crushed his house.

Saturday was my cousin Joe's wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding. Carrie is so awesome. I'm so glad she is officially part of our family now. 

Sunday was Father's Day.  We went over to parents for dinner for the Father's Day/Our Birthday celebration.  Fun times were had by all.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Must-Try Recipe: Mali Peanut Butter Sauce (Tiga Dege Na)

Below is the recipe for Peanut Butter Sauce (Tiga Dege Na) that we ate on Monday of Total It Up.  It was really good.  The lady who made it sent us the recipe.
If we were in Mali, I would use everything fresh from the market and not use any canned items. However, since we are not in Mali, I use canned food since they are less expensive.  You can use the fresh tomatoes if you like, but I use tomatoes in cans.

1 14.5oz Can Diced Tomatoes
4 Cloves of Garlic-Pressed
1 lg Onion-Diced
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
about 1/2 of the Chicken (chunks/strips of beef can be substituted)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter with no sugar added
3 Okra Sliced Thin
4 Large Hunks of Pumpkin (or squash)
1/2 Head of Cabbage

Heat the first five ingredients in a large stew pan. Add a fourth of a cup of oil and the raw chicken (or beef). Brown the chicken in the tomatoes mixture for about 15 minutes and then cover the chicken with water. Add salt (I like to use Seasoning Salt) and pepper. Let the chicken simmer until the meat is done. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool and to remove from the bone. Put the Peanut Butter into a cup and then add water until the Peanut Butter looks more like chocolate pudding. Add the Peanut Butter to the Stew. Add the Pumpkin and Cabbage to the stew. Let it simmer until the veggies are done. Remove the veggies and add the Okra. Cook the okra until it has become part of the stew liquid. The Peanut Butter and the okra are the thickening agents in the stew. The Peanut Butter will burn on the bottom if it is not stirred often.  If you think that it is too thick then add water, if it seems to think then let it cook for a while longer or add more Peanut Butter. Put all ingredients in the stew pan and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over white rice and eat it with the right hand.
IT IS SO GOOD. I hope you enjoy it.
Serves approximately 10 people.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Total it Up: Thursday and Friday

Thursday was our final full day of classes. We did some more "Fun"etics and "Fun"ology.  In the evening, Steve and I got to eat lunch with a retired couple that lives on campus.  There is a beautiful apartment complex for retired Wycliffe workers.  They both served in Peru.  They met in Peru and have known each other for about 40 years but they have only been married for 4 years.  Don and his first wife served Peru at the same time Lucy was there. Don's first wife died some years ago.  After all these years, they find themselves both living in the apartments and they hit it off again.  Isn't it awesome how God brings people together?  One of the things I think I have loved most about this week is listening to the stories of the missionaries and hearing how God brought them to Wycliffe and what they have been doing.
After dinner, the Total It Up crew had a campfire and S'mores.  It was pretty fun, even though we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. 

Today was kind of a closing day.  We talked about what our next steps could be and basically debriefed the whole week.  We all got graduation certificates, so I guess we are officially graduates. :o)

Since after lunch, we have been a little on our own since the program is technically over.  We helped the leaders clean up a bit, took a walk, ate dinner, and went swimming in the pool.  At the pool, we met a missionary couple that is about to go to Papa New Guinea.  They are apparently Financial Peace grads, so it was fun to talk to them about their journey.  Now we are just relaxing in our rooms. It seems way to earlier to go to bed.  "Daddy" Steinbach is picking us up from here tommorrow morning.  We are going to spend the day with him and then we head home on Sunday afternoon.

I was a little nervous about this week at first, because I thought the classes were going to be really hard and way over my head. I don't have skills in Linquistics like Steve does.  I have actaully learned alot. I'm excited to see what God has in store for us next.  I don't think I will be serving in a Language role, but there are so many support/administrative and Computer/IT roles that, with a little more training, I could definetly do.  I'm really glad Steve talked me into going on the trip.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Total It Up: Wednesday

Today was a great day. I even enjoyed the Grammar class.  I'm still trying to figure out exactly where I fit into the Wycliffe organization, since I don't have an interest in languages like Steve does.  I'm learning a little more everyday.  It's been a pretty great week.  The campus is beautiful.  A few of the other girls and I walked the trails around the campus for about an hour tonight.  It was such a beautiful night.  It was a little hot, but not too bad.  It looked like it might rain, but it never did.  We brought umbrellas with us, just in case.

Tommorrow is the last full day of classes.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Total It Up: Tuesday

We have computer access today, so I can actually type in more than 160 characters.  Woo Hoo!
Today, we started with a tour of the campus.  Since there was so many of us, we actually watched a video of a tour, instead of walking around everywhere.  It was such a beautiful morning, so I was a little bummed about that.
Our second class was another Language Learning class.  We have been learning Mandarin.  I actually learned a few words. I'm not sure how long I will remember them though.  The rest of the day was Phonology and Ethnomusicology. Phonology is the study of sound and Musicology is how music and arts are used in Bible Translation.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Total It Up: Monday

Today was full of classes: Phonetics, Anthropology, Literacy, etc...All very good. Dinner was an African Meal. It was really tasty.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Total It Up: Sunday

We landed safely yesterday.
Today, we spent a fun day with the Steinbach family and Lizzy. Tommorrow, the classes start.

Friday, May 28, 2010

One More Day!

Tommorrow, we leave for our trip. I'm not sure if we will have access to a computer while we are down there or not. I'm going to attempt to post from my phone, for the first time, during the trip. Apparently, I only have 160 characters though. That's alot harder than I thought.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Summer 2010

For the past few weeks, I have been working about 60 hours a week.  I know for some that seems like way to much and for others sounds easy, but I'm starting to feel a little tired.  I love my jobs though, so I guess that's a plus.  I'm trying to make as much as I can with the second job, because it's going to be a busy and expensive summer. 
Steve and I taking a vacation during the first week of June down to Dallas, TX.  The Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics is where Steve wants to do his Graduate work to enter Wycliffe.  We are visiting to attend a Total It Up week long workshop.
"This five-day course includes introductory classes on phonetics and phonology, grammar, language and culture learning, translation and semantics, as well as field reports, videos, and personal testimonies. Learn in a relaxed, informal setting with experienced translators from many different countries and language projects. Devotions, prayer time and group living build meaningful relationships between staff and students."
It should be a very stretching experience for me.  We also get to see one of my best friends, Lizzy, and her family while we are down there, so I excited about that too.
On top of that my cousin Joe is getting married in an amazing girl named Carrie in June and my brother is getting married in August.  My parents 30th Wedding Anniversary is also this summer.  Not to mention, we have 2 sister-in-laws that are expecting (one of them due very soon), one of my best friends, Tabby, is expecting in October, Steve's cousin had twins last month, my friend Esther is also expecting in the fall, our chef at work is pregnant (also due in October)...This summer/fall is apparently the time for babies.

And...Steve wants to do some work on the house this summer.  He wants to build a porch on the front, so we can sit out there when it's nice.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

I can't believe it's been three years already.  It feels like just yesterday we were getting married.  I think I learn something else I love about him every day.  We celebrated our Anniversary by going to Ruth Chris's Steakhouse for dinner.  It's an upscale restaurant in Granger.  I had heard some really good reviews about it and I have had also heard that it was really expensive.  Both of those are very correct.
The service was great. I love when I can see the servers helping each other out, working as a team.  The food came out really fast and very hot.  When they warn you not to touch the plate because it's hot, don't touch the plate because it's hot.  We both got steaks and they were REALLY good. 
Would I recommend that you save up and budget and go at least once for a special occasion?  Yes.  It's definitely a once in a while restaurant choice.  My dinner came with a desert and the sugar coma I was in later that night was Totally worth it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents? ~Peg Bracken

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that, my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” --Dr. Adrian Rogers

"In 2009, roughly 47% of households, or 71 million, will not owe any federal income tax, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
Some in that group will even get additional money from the government because they qualify for refundable tax breaks (aka. the Unearned Income Tax Credit Welfare check)."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Goodbye Sallie Mae!

Today I made the last and final payment to Sallie Mae.  It feels kind of strange actually. I have been making monthly payments to Sallie Mae for since I graduated in 2004.  I don't think I will miss them though.
For the past few weeks, I have been working about 50-60 hours a week.  I have been called a work-a-holic by some and crazy by others, but today it all became worth it.
She has officially been kicked out of our back bedroom FOREVER.
We are not debt free by any stretch of the imagination. We still have Steve's student loans to pay on, but this is a success on the journey.  I'm so excited to finally be done.  During the past few Budget Committee Meetings between Steve and I, I could see the number falling and it started to make me angry that it wasn't gone yet.  A healthy anger, of course.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:19

Thursday, April 1, 2010

YWCA Tribute to Women: May 5th, 2010

YWCA Tribute to Women

Please join us for the 31st annual YWCA Tribute to Women

This year's honorees are:
Nancy Hellyer
Maggie Kernan
Barbara Warner

YWCA Women to Watch
Amy Hill

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gillespie Conference Center
Hilton Garden Inn
South Bend, IN

Purchase seat/table

Sponsorship opportunities

Go to YWCASJC.org for more details or call 574-233-9491.