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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Last night, we were on our way to a dinner obligation when we got into a little fender bender. I don’t even think fender bender is the correct term.  It was more like a fender chipper/door smasher.  I’m not going to go into details, but I feel pretty strongly that it wasn’t our fault.  Unfortunately, the other party may disagree with me.  We’ll see what happens.

The first time I was ever in a car accident it definitely was not my fault.  I was idling in a long line of cars at a stop light.  All of a sudden there was a huge impact and my car slammed into the rear of the car in front of me.  That car crashed into the car in front of it and so on and so forth.  It ended up being a five car pile up caused by a teenager who didn’t stop and hit the car behind me.  Fortunately, no one was seriously injured.  I remember making it to work later in the day and being so upset.  It was so unfair! I was just sitting there minding my own business and then suddenly my car was damaged beyond repair. I was out time at work, my car was gone and I was totally innocent.

A few hours later I was thinking about the accident and something occurred to me.  What about all of the people whose loved ones are taken away from them in senseless, unfair crashes.  How must they feel?  Immediately, I had perspective.  Losing a car was nothing.  Yes, it was a hassle and a nuisance but I could deal with that.  A car could easily be replaced.

That first crash was about seven years ago.  Since then I have had some major life changes, and I try to always remind myself that life isn’t fair and doesn’t always go the way we think it should but sometimes I forget and have to be reminded.

Last night, the accident was all I could think about.  I felt wronged, damaged and unjustly punished.  We JUST bought the car a few months ago.  How could that happen? I blamed it on about twenty different people.   I went to sleep still feeling angry.

This morning the first thing I saw when I turned on the news was the story about the man who lost his life going for a baseball at a game.   How must his family feel? My heart broke for them and is still breaking for them.

I then thought about another friend of mine whose father is going thru and very serious cancer battle right at this moment.

The truth is, I should know better than to be upset about a stupid car.

Just three years ago, it was my family who was watching as my late mother battled the disease.  Talk about perspective.  I can remember at the time being so mad at co-workers and friends who would complain about things that seemed so pointless to me.  Work problems, money problems,minor  health issues and of course, PETTY LITTLE CAR CRASHES.

It’s amazing how soon after having seen actual tragedy and loss, we become immune and callous to others who are going thru the same thing.  I know it’s happened to me.

My prayer is that I will always have perspective and that I will never forget what it feels like to have your heart truly broken by actual loss.  I don’t ever want to be unaffected by someone else’s suffering and I never want to be so self-absorbed that I think that losing something without eternal value matters.

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Every few months or so the husband and I get down on ourselves and decide that we need to buckle down with our finances.  To be honest with you, we are very blessed and have so much to be thankful for.  We try to live not just below our means, but well below our means.  We started listening to Dave Ramsey shortly after we got married and we have made every effort to follow his sound financial advice.   As he says, it’s nothing complicated, just advice that your grandma would give you.

This doesn’t mean that we are perfect, though.  We are far from it.   We both like to shop and we both like nice things.  We love to eat out, drink fancy coffee and download lots of ninety-nine cent songs.  Oh, and we really love our smart phones and hi-tech gaming systems.

I’m sure most everyone has noticed that their grocery bills have creeped up recently.  I have definitely noticed that I am spending more and more at Wal-Mart every week.   Yesterday, one of my Facebook friends posted a picture of a bunch of items that she got from Walgreens for what seemed like a low price.  I decided to check out my circulars from the Sunday newspaper to see if I could find any good deals.

Now, I have never watched the show about couponing.  I am assuming that they combine store deals with coupons to get the most bang for their buck.  My strategy for my first couponing session was to just find the best deals from either Wal-Mart, CVS or Walgreens and go to those stores to get the deals.

My first stop was CVS where I planned to buy two bottles of Pantene Pro-V and combine their store offer with a coupon from the paper.  Alas, I was too late.  The shelf had already been emptied of the specific bottles that the coupon was for.  (should I have asked if they would honor coupon anyway or for a rain check?)  The other deal that I wanted at CVS was seventy-nine cent two liter cokes.  That was a very good deal.  I bought five bottles.  I usually pay around a buck twenty-five or more for Diet Pepsi.   I also picked up two boxes of Kashi cereal for six dollars and then got an extra care buck from CVS, making the cereal only two-fifty each.  My total bill was about ten bucks.

I then went to Wal-Mart.  There, I got my meat, veggies, milk and the bulk of my shopping list.  Shockingly, I only spent fifty-six dollars.  My normal bill there is over one hundred most weeks.  My last stop was Walgreens.  Their flyer from yesterday had good coupons on eggs, tuna, tomato sauce, and foil. Also, they were running a sale on Starbucks coffee and Right Guard deodorant.  My big score there was buy one, get one free on their store brand Zyrtec.  Total bill there was about thirty dollars.  So, total I spent about one hundred dollars this morning but I am sure that I got more than I normally would have.

Also, this morning I spent some time online researching coupon sites and blogs and also asked a friend how she does the coupon game.  She said it’s kind of a pain at first but once you get the hang of it and your coupon pile starts getting bigger things start paying off.  Here are a few links that I found helpful.  Please share if you have any more advice!

forthemommas

iheartCVS

http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/family-money/5-best-coupon-clipping-web-sites-23634/

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To say that I live for the weekends is an understatement.  They are what gets me through the long weekdays, many without any adult conversation.  I need stimulation. I need adult interaction.  I need to spend time with my husband.  He’s my best friend.  And was long before we ever had any romantic relationship.

So when he decides to play golf on Saturdays, it really upsets me.  I don’t want to be mad. I really don’t. It doesn’t feel good to get mad about it for the twentieth time.

I have a visceral reaction to his golf announcements.  My adrenaline gets going.  I can’t look at him. I do the silent treatment thing for a while.  It’s really quite embarrassing to admit this all.

A while back, I tearfully tried to explain to him why the golf thing upset me so much.    I have a thousand reasons but they all seem to have one common thread.

I’m jealous.  I want to go away for an entire day.  I want to spend money on ridiculous things. I want to be the one that he spend his time with.

I really hate this feeling.

Lord, help not to get mad about this again. Amen.

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Growing up, I struggled with self-esteem issues.  When I was a kid, I was a little chubby.  Not obese, just pleasantly plump.   Good nutrition in our house meant eating because it tasted good, not because it was good for us.  My mom worked outside the home and we were always in a hurry in the morning.  When I was in junior high, we would (please don’t judge my mom for this) stop at a convenience store before school so that I could pick up breakfast – a Snickers bar and a coke.  Lunch was a bag of chips, Snickers and another coke.   And contrary to the claim, Snickers really isn’t that satisfying, so by the time I got home from school, I would be starving.  My after school snack was usually a bowl of cereal.  Then, my mom would make a huge dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Delicious, yes.  Good for us? Not so much.

Needless to say, this way of eating caught up to me and I was picked on occasionally for my weight. Nothing extremely cruel, just a remark from horrible tween boys here and there.  This (along with my horrible late 80’s perm) caused me to have a lot of insecurity about appearance and low self-esteem.

Fast forward to high school when something pretty awesome happened.  I lost weight.  The good old-fashioned way.  I exercised and cut out a lot of the junk. I had a part-time job that kept me busy. I was tan, I was blonde.  It was awesome.  Everyone remarked on how good I looked. Boys noticed me. Cute boys. Even the boys who had picked on me in the past.  My brother used to say I had turned into a swan.

Over the next 10 years my weight fluctuated a little bit. When I was unhappy, I gained and when I was happy, I was thinner.  After college and marriage, I consistently stayed at a healthy weight and felt good.  Then I got pregnant and gained 60+ pounds.  Since then I have struggled to lose the last 20 pounds.  It’s been a big thorn in my side.  I just can’t seem to make it click.

Inevitably, it’s opened some old wounds.  I question my looks a lot. A few weeks, ago it had gotten really bad.  It wasn’t just about the weight either.  One night, I looked through old pictures and studied my face in the mirror.  I felt so ugly.  When did my nose get so huge and weird-looking?  Ugh.  Things that had never bothered me before started to bother me a lot.  I felt like I was turning back into an ugly duckling.  My husband tried to tell me I was crazy.  I didn’t believe him.  I went to bed feeling very low and depressed.

Now, I know that there is much more to life than outer beauty. That beauty is fleeting.  This was beyond me wanting to just look attractive, this was me feeling like a troll who shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house. Or walk the earth.  Honestly, this felt like a spiritual attack.  It was that dark and deep.

It couldn’t have been more than 2 days after my really low point that I met the Angel at the park.

I had taken my little girl there to play with a friend.  My kid, being the moocher that she is, kept going up to another group of moms and kids and trying to eat their snack.  I would run after her and try to keep her from bugging them.  After about the third time, one of the moms in their group looked up at me as I dragged my little one away.

“Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Drew Barrymore?” She said, holding her sunglasses up around her forehead so she could look me in the eyes.

“Uhhhh no, I’ve never heard that in my life.” I was kind of flabbergasted.  I quickly glanced around, making sure that it was me she was talking to.

Well, you do.”

Oh, well Thank You!” I wanted to hug this woman.

Now, like I said, I have never heard that in my entire life, but this statement from a total stranger really, really impacted me.  And not because of the Drew Barrymore thing.   As I thought about it throughout the rest of the day, it hit me.  The Lord had worked thru this woman, no doubt in my mind.  He used her to show me that He will meet my needs, that He knows meKnows what matters to me. Knows what I’m battling right now.

I saw the woman at the park again last week.  We chatted for a bit and she said that she goes there a lot.  I hope I see her again and get to know her better.  I would love to share that story with her.

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