Some Good News for a change!

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I want good news. I long to hear joyful stories. Often it seems as if there is one sad tale after another, do you know what I mean? Can I get an amen?!

Seventeen years ago, while pregnant with my orange hair, freckle face olive shoot, I knew a mother at church who lost her newborn baby. My husband attended the memorial service; my emotions were too intense as to offer any comfort to the grieving family.

When I told an acquaintance of this news, she followed by telling me an equally sad story about a mom who had lost a child. Every time I shared the tragedy that I was familiar with, though my belly was full of baby, it was guaranteed the listener had to tell me something worse, usually about a child.

Soon I learned to not share information like this while pregnant. It felt like the world was competing to tell me the most heartbreaking lament. Plus the OJ Simpson trial had also started. Bad news loomed everywhere.

Today I want to share Good News!

First, it is Penguin Awareness Day (my favorite animal) = yay.

Second, Jesus loves you and cares = He alone is freedom and redemption, a mushy kind of love you have never experienced. I made a mess of my life, Christ cleaned it up. I continue to stumble and goof up, Jesus grants me new mercies each day.

I like to read the Bible in French. It’s such a beautiful language and God’s Word speaks to me differently when I employ these parts of my heart and brain. I have my English Bible and my French dictionary nearby just in case something doesn’t make sense since I’m quite rusty. But today as I read Marc 1:1-8 (La Bible du Semeur version) these two words stirred my soul.

Bonne Nouvelle

Bonne Nouvelle translates to Good News. In English we say “Gospel,” I just like it better in French.

This is the Bible reading I'm going to do for the next three weeks.

I’m doing the Deeper Into Scripture study for the next three weeks but the other ones look great too! Click here for info. 

Whatever language you speak, whatever your cir-cumstances, Happy day, sad day, seriously you need Good News, Bonne Nouvelle as badly as I do.

Different versions of the Bible in French! Formidable!

Different versions of the Bible in French! Formidable!

For the next 21 days, I’m participating in a Deeper Into Scripture: A 21-Day Plan Reading Plan through YouVersion. Although I’m involved in a weekly women’s Bible Study, I need more time with the Lord. I’m praying that this simple commitment will help me connect with God daily through His Word. I’d love some friends to join me. We can share Good News together, Lord knows we need it!

Here’s the link if you want to learn more. Scroll down the page on the link for all the options, you will find one for you! What have you got to lose? Reading the Bible could truly change your life!

Friday, it’s Friday

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Soon, very soon, I will be singing this song.

Oh, how I have been counting the hours until Friday…you have no idea.

Since taking Financial Peace University, I have been learning things about money and myself. Sometimes I’m just learning about money. Other lessons pierce my heart. Usually both happen, I feel smarter about financial decisions and more convicted about my own spending habits. 

Oh yeah

With this new system of budgeting, we have an allotted amount of money for things. When the money is gone, it’s gone. I have never lived this way and it’s a struggle. Denying oneself of the things SHE wants or needs is my Achilles heel. I want what I want when I want it, especially when it comes to food. I’m do not have an eating disorder, we are all within normal weight guidelines but food is my weakness. I like to cook, I REALLY like creating healthy meals. What is wrong with that???

Working in a soup kitchen in a poor village in Peru

Um, I can answer that question. When you spend too much money on groceries and you throw away food, that is a problem. When you have gone to third-world countries and really seen hungry people, trust me, pangs of shame pervade your spirit. I have despaired over my wastefulness and lack of culinary creativity. I have felt embarrassed bringing in bags of groceries when the refrigerator was already full. It’s like I’m never satisfied and I really beat myself up afterward. 

My fridge and freezer are emptier than they’ve been in ages. 

I’ve always been able to justify my food spending. I don’t wear lavish clothing, I’ve had a manicure maybe twice in my life, we don’t live in a mansion. My indulgence is food. The Hubs knew better than to question GROCERIES! Hrmph! Did he want us eating JUNK? Did he want us to starve? Just keepin’ it real.

But the Lord is doing a new thing and when the money for groceries ran out this week, I didn’t run out to the store or farmer’s market. What a battle with my flesh to not go and get some food staples! Instead we have been surviving on what we have in our cupboards, freezer and fridge. No one is starving. No one is deprived. I live with a sweet and generous husband who isn’t a tyrant. If I wanted to go to the store and buy bananas, asparagus, flour, quinoa, sweet potatoes, firm tofu, carrots, kiwi, agave nectar, applesauce, butternut squash, rice milk, mozzarella cheese, onions, lettuce, cinnamon, milk, kale, aluminum foil, pineapples, wakame seaweed, etc., etc. (can you notice the zeal with which I wrote this list???)  I could have done that. 

It’s obvious Dawn dishwashing liquid is DEFINITELY on my list!

But this has been between the Lord and me. Not the Hubs and I. And oh how I have valued being in contact with like-minded women via blogs like Lizzie, and Mary and Jenn and Julia along with facebook, phone and just regular fellowship. YOU have blessed me and fed me in ways the food couldn’t. Thank you. 

I have about a tablespoon of gas in my car. Not complaining, just waiting until FRIDAY!!!!

God has been telling me to hang on until Friday. And with great confidence, He’s promised me that this isn’t going to be an April Fool’s Day joke with Him. He has been saying, “Girl, I got you. I am providing. Let me do this.”

I believe every word of this apron I made.

I’m still going to write my “obituary” but I just had to share. Can you relate? 

88 cents, actually 82 cents!

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At the start of our $50 grocery challenge, I never anticipated God would leave many touchstones for me this early. Our decision to attend Financial Peace University isn’t a mistake.

Since my birthday was last week (Thursday), admittedly I was worried that the day would fall flat. I mean we only had $12 left for food and that was Tuesday, how could MY birthday be properly celebrated?


As I mentioned previously, we are now using the “b” word regularly. Not the foul word bantered about without a care. And we are also using the “f” word. Not the offensive word that used to flow from my lips prior to knowing Christ. These new words are “budget” and “finances.” I wouldn’t say they are rolling off my tongue but they are slowly becoming part of our family lexicon.

We went to Trader Joe’s night after Ike’s basketball game. The team experienced a win against a formidable opponent. My orange hair, freckle face OS scored FIVE points and upon making one sah-weet basket, Ike looked my way and through his bright orange mouth guard, gave me the biggest grin. Melted my heart as I jumped from my seat.

As you get older, you worry less about how you look and you just go for it! 



With $12 remaining in last week’s $50 challenge, I chided the Hubs. We must stay on task even if it was the most notable day on the family calendar. Nervously we approached the check-out line at Trader Joe’s. A cart was barely necessary for our meager groceries. I pulled $10 out of my homemade tomato wallet (which I recently made and love!) and listened as the cashier announced the total.



We had 88 cents remaining on our food budget! Cha-ching! Resentment because we didn’t buy everything I would have liked was replaced with joy. I did not feel destitute, why I even recall spontaneous moments of smiling!

Tomato wallet in action

I do not want this to be some quixotic, fleeting adventure. I want our family to change and for God to be pleased with our efforts.


With the items purchased and the food we already had at home, the Hubs made a tasty dinner of rice, roasted asparagus and shrimp with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and Trader Joe limes. Yum.

Birthday dinner = wonderful!

This is the right thing for us to do. The time is right.


And just like those commercials for Ginzu knives, let me end with “but wait, there’s more!” In my next post, I will share the rest of this ridiculously memorable day! 


Oh and thank you so much for your ideas about eating healthy on a budget and couponing. I’m listening, give me more, people!

My Grocery Challenge

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On average, our family spends over $1100 a month on groceries. I learned this last week upon beginning Financial Peace Univeristy. Throughout our nearly 24 year marriage, I have made it a point to stay mostly ignorant on all things related to money. “Blah, blah, blah, blah…” is the script which ran through my head whenever the Hubs would want to have “the talk.” 


But now, for some reason, the Lord is giving me courage to open my eyes and share the responsibility with the Hubs. I feel both empowered by knowing our finances and encumbered because I now need to seriously participate in the process. We are not in financial straits at all yet the time seems right. 


We discussed our food budget. Aside from our mortage, it is the place where we spend the most. Although we narrowly averted a verbal altercation about lettuce right after attending church (!), we had a pleasant conversation about finances that night. My spirit was  challenged to consider ways we could cut back. 


I like to cook, it is my gift to my family. Cooking for others, entertaining, making new recipes; all these things are my passion. Coupons don’t work because we eat mostly fresh food or unprocessed items. I just see junky food in coupons. (Enlighten me if you feel otherwise!) For me, a cupboard full of food means stability. Bringing home groceries feels like I’m carting in Christmas presents for all to enjoy.


Yet as we were driving home from this week’s FPU lesson, I said something unexpected to the Hubs. When he told me that we had already spent $1100 on groceries this month, I blurted out the most preposterous thing.


“Let’s spend only $50 this week.”


HUH? I couldn’t take it back. The Hubs heard me and albeit he was shocked to hear those words coming out of MY mouth, he agreed. Here is a dramatic re-enactment of his facial expression. 

My husband. My muse. 

We announced the budget cut to the OS and a look of panic swept over their faces. Fear of starvation and famine, eating gruel and mush filled their adolescent minds and appetites.


So here we sit on Wednesday. According to my records, we only have $12 left until Sunday. 


For some time now, God has reminded me of this verse…



It’s Wednesday and everyone has a belly full of food. No one has gone hungry. Nutrition is plentiful. We even have shrimp in the freezer! Strangely, I feel a measure of peace. I have already prepared another meal for a family who has a wife battling breast cancer. I am in charge of snacks for my orange hair, freckle face OS’s basketball team tomorrow. I brought food to share during my women’s Bible Study. 

My daily longing for purchasing a large, unsweet iced tea is being satisfied at home with Trader Joe’s Mango Tea. The warm smell of turkey tacos, Guatemalan rice and seasoned tortilla chips permeates the house at this very moment. 


“Be content with what you have.”



I have spoken to the Lord and questioned Him about the timing though. “Um, Lord, I’m not sure if you realize this but it’s MY BIRTHDAY tomorrow (Thursday)! We only have 12 bucks, what are we going to do about that, hmmmmmm?” 

“Be content with what you have.”


I have requested homemade angel food cake (Ike’s specialty) for tomorrow. I’d love some fresh blackberries and homemade whipping cream if we can squeak the remaining $12 out to do so. I’m not sure what is on the menu for tomorrow’s birthday meal but as I assess my possessions, both earthly and those set on things above…


a sewing machine 🙂
a loving family
the blessings of treasured friends
stable finances and 
an enduring faith in the Lord,
and so much more


This will be my desire

to be content with all that I have

my bountiful life