Archive for March, 2008

The Work and Play Update

So real quick, an update to the weekend…

secret mission – added a couple for each kid…I REALLY need to work on this. =/

chores done yesterday – laundry and grocery shopping. Spent a fortune in part due to buying stuff to de-tick the house/yard/car/pets/etc. The drain from the washer got looked at…salt, vinegar, and Drano all tried. Also vent on roof checked (???!) Still no luck. No idea what’s next.

family play time – about 8:30 we finally sat down to teach canasta to the kids. Played one demo hand (everyone looked at everyone’s hands), then one regular. Didn’t finish the game as that require 20,000 and neither team broke even half that. (Each game typically consists of several hands) Currently the boys are ahead, but we girls intend to fix that next weekend!

Today was church for the kids and I. Daddy got called in to work overtime today from 2-10pm. Between church services, I did a little work in the master bedroom. I cleared off a dresser top and moved a couple of media cabinets. A little more walking room in there, and a lot more ‘clean’ look. Gonna go change sheets now and climb in bed. Night!!


On Tithing

Sunday School we learned about stewardship and tithing and how it is a picture of Jesus’ return (after the Resurrection, He took the firstfruits to Heaven, we are the main crop and those who will be saved in the Tribulation are the gleanings, just like the bible teaches for us to tithe the firstfruits to God, then leave the gleanings for those who are poorer than us…in other words harvest your main crop, but don’t go back and be nitpicky about picking up every last grain or penny…leave it for the poor to harvest).

I just thought I’d throw that out because I’d never looked at it that way before, and I thought it was really neat. Also I learned that if you are tithing off the $$ your husband is making, it better be with his permission, because if you’re sneaking it, you’re stealing. OOPS! Boy am I glad that Jesus forgives all sins, even the ignorant ones (ones we do not knowing we’re sinning)! I did that!!

I’d wanted to tithe for years (really, call me weird, but there ya have it…I just knew God would bless if I did, I don’t know how I knew, but I did…me thinks it must’ve been the Holy Spirit livin’ inside-a me!), but since I didn’t have a church, I didn’t know how to “give 10% to God”. I was so happy when I found a church home, I was excited to start tithing, but since Mike didn’t go, I was afraid he might get upset, so I found ways to “tithe” without him finding out. Since I was handling the budget it wasn’t too difficult.

Some weeks it was as simple as my brother giving me $$ in cash and asking me to write him a check to pay his bills. I’d take the cash, write the check to pay his bills, then I’d use the CASH to put our tithe into the offering plate on Sunday morning. Other times I’d buy stuff for the kids at church (like candy or treats for Sunday School prizes or whatever) that cost as much as the 10% would be and considered that our tithe. I remember once I rationalized that paying for Meagan to go to church camp was our tithe. All kinds of things. None were right, though I totally had no idea at the time.

Soon, the cash wasn’t coming in from my brother anymore, because he had his own checking account now and so was writing his own checks. I realized I wasn’t trusting that God would take care of things in regards to Mike getting upset or not. What I mean is, I knew the bible taught tithing, I knew God wants us to tithe, and I wanted to obey, so I wanted to tithe. I was worried that if Mike got upset and said no, I might get in trouble with God because I wasn’t obeying by tithing. So I decided that just like worrying about Mike causin’ a fuss about us going to church at all, I needed to just trust that God would take care of things so that I could tithe. I needed to quit hidin’ it from Mike. I didn’t plan to make a big deal about it and announce it, but I’d start writing checks for the tithe and if he did ever notice and ask, I’d tell him what it was.

That went on for a few months, but something still didn’t seem right. I was tithing…with a check so there was a record in the checkbook register which I left in the same place as I had for years, so it was completely available for him to see…but it still didn’t seem right somehow. I was still worried he’d get upset, for one.

A little later, a woman at church said something that somehow made me think that maybe something was ‘off’. I don’t remember exactly the conversation, but it was something like her asking if Mike was telling me not to tithe or was stopping me from doing it. She never said anything about that would be wrong or right or whether it was wrong or right to tithe or anything other than asking me that and saying that we were supposed to tithe 10% of the gross. Somehow just the fact that she asked me whether he was telling me not to made me wonder WHY she asked me that. I figured there must be a reason, but the actual conversation at the time was not tithing, so I didn’t ask. I did, however, learn tithing was supposed to come off the gross, not the net, so I re-figured our tithe based on that.

The very fact that my friend had asked if Mike was telling me not to tithe, not the question or answer, but just the fact that she’d asked, kept buggin’ me. I figured there must be some reason for her to ask. Slowly it dawned on me. It dawned on me that I needed to be sure Mike knew we were tithing. Actually point it out, that way I wasn’t hiding anything from him even by accident. So, one day, when the subject of tithing came up, I asked him his thoughts, and his comment was that he didn’t know whether we could afford to or not. I replied that we had been for a few months, and also apologized that I’d done so without asking him. I told him I should have asked him first, and also pointed out that we hadn’t gone broke from it. I also told him I’d like to tithe, and asked if we could keep doing so. He said yes! I don’t know if he would have or not had I not been tithing already, BUT that doesn’t excuse my SIN of tithing without his permission. I just didn’t see it as such, then. I just knew I felt better having it in the open and his ok. (It was around this time I relinquished the budget over to him, as well. I don’t remember which came first, but when he asked for the bills to take over I fussed a minute, then remembered I was supposed to be letting him be in charge, and so handed everything over.)

Today, I learned that not only is it OK… for the wife that is in church, but her hubby is not, and he earns the money not her… to not tithe, I also learned that it is wrong for her to do so without hubby’s permission. Two things. I learned I was wrong for tithing all those months. Actually in a sense I’d already figured that out…since I’d figured out I should’ve asked first…I just didn’t look at it as his money, and so therefore I should’ve asked, I looked at it as he’s in charge and so I should’ve asked. I also learned that it was ok to not tithe. What I mean is, there was a long while that aside from worrying about tithing because God says to and I want to obey and if I can’t I’ll be upset and maybe in trouble with God, I also was worried about the pastor and others in church thinking I was wrong and selfish and greedy and had no right to come to church if I didn’t tithe, so I worried about that, too. I learned today that GOD says I shouldn’t tithe off of my husband’s $$ without his permission (because actually I can’t…he has to, if I take it, it is just stealing) and so I would’ve been ok with Him to not tithe, AND I would’ve been ok with the pastor and the others at church, also, and have every right to go to church because I’d have been obeying. I didn’t have to tithe off Mike’s $$ to obey, because I can’t. He has to. I never really saw that until today.

And so these final thoughts:

  • If you go to church, but your hubby does not…if YOU earn (or are given) money, tithe off of what YOU earn (or are given). Don’t worry about tithing off your hubby’s income. It’s not your place, responsibility, or worry. Don’t do it. It’s stealing.
  • Thank God for His wonderful mercy and forgiveness. I’m not going to stew on this anymore because, although I was wrong and sinned by stealing from my husband in ignorance, Jesus has paid for those sins and has forgiven me. I thank God that Jesus was the sacrifice for ignorant sins as well as those we do intentionally.
  • I’m also not going to worry about the upcoming missions conference where we will be renewing our faith promises. I’d kinda been worrying because a little while ago Mike mentioned all the $$ going to the church each week. I reminded him it was tithing and a certain amount each month for faith promise, and that that amount was equal to the amount I used to spend on cigarettes for myself. He hasn’t said anything else, but I’ve been kind of worried about him telling me to quit giving the money. I’ve been scared of what would happen in terms of church and being in trouble with God and so forth (like I explained above) if he does tell me to quit giving that. I’m not going to worry anymore, and if he does tell me to quit, I will, and I’ll know then, that I am obeying… not disobeying, as I was scared I would be. I’ll also know what to say if anyone at church does think ill of me for it, or says something about it, and I’ll know that it really doesn’t matter what they think or say, anyway. God says I’m obeying by obeying Mike, and that’s who I’m trying to obey. Not them. I’d rather please God than man.

Family Work and Play Day (and my secret mission)

So the jar was pre-decorated, so I haven’t done anything else to it, because sometimes I’m lazy and procrastinatey like that. So sue me. haha And also? I only have a few slips of paper done up and in there. Why? Simply put…we need practice.

I need practice at recognizing the good, and they need practice doing it. I know they don’t do much spontaneously good (like helping each other with chores kind of thing), out of habit, but it’s also true they’re doing more good (like playing nicely together kind of thing) than I give them credit for, out of habit. So it’s practice all around that is needed to start really filling that jar. That means, of course, it’s going to take a few days to get it plump enough that their curiosity is peaked, since I’m not going to SAY anything. As with most things, Mom’s gotta practice and get good at something before they can.

So that’s my secret mission for the day. In other plans… =)

We’re going to attempt a work/play day today. Mike and Matthew are going to work on some projects around the house (not sure which ones, as we had different ideas about what needs doin’ first…), and Meagan and I are on laundry and grocery duty.

Laundry around here means loading up and going to the laundromat to wash, then home to dry. I have a washer, but it has not drained properly for about as many years as I’ve had it, that would be all of Matthew’s life span. It’s not the washer, though, it’s the plumbing. Something is amiss and we’ve yet to figure out what.  For the first several years the solution was to hang the drain pipe out the laundry room window and let it run outside. That worked fine in regards to being able to wash clothes normally, BUT it made a major disaster out of the ground, the side of the house, and the foundation (pier and beam, this house is O L D). About 3 (?) years ago, my mom decided the thing to do would be to put a 55 gallon drum under the window and run it into that. We did that for a couple of years, but it sure slowed the washing clothes down, since we had to manually empty the drum with a 5 gallon bucket (onto the garden and backyard) between every load. For reasons I’m hoping to verify soon, it got to where I could not do this anymore, and getting my teenage brothers or my dad or even Mike to do it was next to impossible. This left Mom to do it. I hated that! =(

Well, somewhere in the middle of caring for Dad during his colon cancer days (fully recovered now, praise the Lord!) we decided trying to take care of everything was just NOT working and one of the things we let go of was the stupid laundry barrel. We started hauling the laundry to the laundromat once a week, reminiscent of my high school days, when we were hauling laundry for 10. Now it was only 8, but it seemed the laundry was just as abundant. Around 30 loads a week.

So that’s where I am now. I haul the laundry, wash it, then bring it home and dry it over the course of the day and sometimes into the next. It’s actually working out pretty well, BUT Mike is anxious to try and tackle the plumbing and get the drain to working finally. YEA!!! This is where the different ideas come in. I would LOVE the washer to drain right, but I’d kinda like to do that next week and do these this week…

  • treat house/yard/dogs for ticks
  • get the half of the cubbies we do have painted re-installed in Matt’s closet
  • get the tack board and staples pulled out of the back hall so I can mop and move furniture back
  • get Meagan’s IKEA lamp installed

So I don’t know what the guys are gonna be doing, but we’ll be doing laundry and shopping. I’m gonna buy a bathroom scale, because guys? I’m so seriously considering trying to shed some of this extra weight I’ve gained this last year. I may not be able to do much on my own without fixing underlying probs with the doc, but I’m SO itching to try. I haven’t willingly gotten on a scale since high school, so this is kind of a big thing. I’m more than a little scared. Last time I tried losing weight I went all OCD and quit eating totally for 3mo. Orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and diet pills were my only sustenance. Needless to say it didn’t end well. Only through God’s grace did I manage to come out of it with only a several hours long ER trip and some big ol’ bruises from the needle-sticks and chest massages to get my heart goin’ again!

Anyway! =) After all this work, then comes the play. I’m thinking the kids are old enough to learn their grandparents (Mike’s parents) favorite ‘get-together-with-friends-for-an-evening-of-fun’ game….Canasta. Family game time!! Too cool! Something I’ve been trying to figure out how to get Mike willingly involved in for awhile. Me thinks this just might do it!

I love it when I am given new GOOD ideas!

Ok, this may prove to be another of those good ideas that never really takes off, BUT I am really thinking I am going to try this, along with some other techniques found on their site. I have already gotten Matthew started with their book reports. Oh does this website ever speak of a blessing straight from my best friend, Jesus, today! =) Thank You, Lord, for leading me to this:

Faithful Servant Jar – basically catching the kids doing good things, writing them down with scripture references, then after the curiosity has peaked…sharing.

I think I will wait to start the bean jar for bad behaviors until after we have some good stocked up. Both kids are a little deflated at the moment because they’ve had a rough couple of days behavior-wise. They have charts on which I’m giving out stickers for specific things and poor Matt’s was nearly empty yesterday and the day before. Meagan’s isn’t looking much better. I won’t get rid of the charts, as they are an “in-your-face” kind of reminder of what they need to take care of or work on each day, but these good/bad jars will make a great supplement. Something a little more tangible, and perhaps I can have a little more concrete way of knowing at what point to punish or reward, as well.

I will try to get the jar decorated tonight after they go to bed, so that the mystery will be kept intact until time to reveal what it is I’m doing with all those slips of paper. I’m also thinking I may need to pre-cut slips of paper, study the ideas for things to catch them doing, and perhaps fashion a pocket apron of some sort so that I will have paper and pencil ready immediately thereby eliminating my procrastinatin’ excuses of “I don’t have paper handy…I’ll remember and write it down later” because the truth is? I won’t remember.

Cold chicken and expensive humiliation

~~This really was posted last night, but I made a boo-boo and posted it as a page instead of a post. Oops!~~

Tonight’s dinner for hubby and kids:

  • Oven-fried chicken
  • Red Potato Salad
  • Corn on the cob
  • Peas

Tonight’s dinner for me:

  • Hard as a rock chicken
  • Red Potato Salad, cold version
  • Corn petrified to the cob

I had a ladies meeting at church to go to at 7pm. I got started fixing dinner on time at 2:30pm, but was delayed while I went to Wal-Mart, so ended up an hour behind. I plopped everything on the not-cleared-off table as soon as it was finished at 6:50pm and headed out the door. I even forgot my bible. It’s been one of those days.

After 2 really good weeks, Matthew had an all-out fit last night, followed by another this morning. I barely managed to grab a shower while the chicken was in the oven. I did manage to the monkey toy finished for the new baby at church, at least. Oh, and I found a really cute ceramic red cross with hearts and “God is love” on it for $3 at the dollar store. (I’d take a picture, but at the moment getting photos uploaded is a pain. I need to go figure out the new puter…that should make things easier) I love it! It’s hanging in my living room up against those purdy blue walls.

Yesterday was one of those days, too, actually. Matthew wasn’t the only one who had a fit yesterday. So did Meagan. I guess I did, too, in a sense.

Meagan had an orthodontist appointment yesterday and got another C for brushing. That makes 3 in a row, after a D. On top of that, both bands were loose and had to be reseated. According to the ortho that never happens after only 6mo, so she had to be jiggling the headband thing up and down to get it out. All in all, I got the feeling he thought I was the absolute worst mom ever at controlling my kids dental habits. Certainly the worst in his practice. He’s talking about taking all her stuff off and calling it quits because she does such a lousy job at brushing. That would mean, of course, being just plain out the $3,000…no fixed teeth/jaw. Just pay for the privilege of being humiliated. Plus we’d get to pay again later on as a teen to get the work done, only then it would likely require oral surgery. Great!

Here’s the thing though, she’s 10. I’m not going to brush them for her. I make her brush them. YES, I send her back if they’re not clean. Yes, I make her brush. I’m not with her at lunch, and most mornings lately I’m not awake before she leaves for school, either, so the only time I can say for sure she is brushing is at night, and YES I make her do it then. Every night. I also watch her put her headgear on nearly every night, and she does NOT move it up and down (which is the no-no that she must be doing for those bands to be loose…). She does it properly, every time. Now the take-off? I don’t know. She has it off before I see her. I have seen her take it off, and when I’ve seen it, she does it properly. She says she still is.

So why is it this is such a huge issue? Why am I the awfullest mom? No, he hasn’t said that, but I totally get the idea he’s thinking it. I don’t know, maybe not, but I’m definitely not comfortable in there. He keeps saying it’s a control thing and she gets more attention this way. Umm, ok, maybe so but unless HE is going to come control her for me….ya know? Plus she totally does not like the attention she’s getting this way. Truly. She gets more (like goodies like shopping trips and ice cream trips and stuff) when she does good. The difference is striking enough she totally knows there is one. So the more attention thing? Only in so far as she gets more chewing-outs.

What else can I do? I don’t know. I’m on her case all the time to brush, brush better, floss, etc. ALL the time. I just don’t know what else to do. She is brushing, just not well, and it’s a fight every night to get her to go back and try again. As for now, she’s grounded. Also she’s been told that she must do the 30sec mouthwash, 2min brush, spiral brush, floss, 30sec mouthwash, precisely the way I’ve shown her (again!) every morning and every night or she will get a spanking every time.

So, yeah. Been a couple of those days in a row. Fun, fun.

Grillin’ Without A Grill

Works for Me WednesdaysSo the other night I was going to try a new recipe for grilled pineapple, and then I realized…I don’t have a grill! So I quickly thought of all the times I’ve roasted marshmallows over my gas stovetop (because it’s easier than packing the kids and all the gear and going out to the boondocks to build a campfire). Why couldn’t I do that with the pineapple, I thought. So I did. And then it hit me. Hey! I could post this as a Works-For-Me-Wednesday post…if I can remember to do it. So I am. =) Here ya go…

To make a grill inside without a grill you will need:

  • gas stovetop
  • broiler pan

That’s it. Really. What I did was this: I took the two left-hand side grates and stacked them on the right-hand side ones. Then I put the broiler pan on top. To be sure it was not the steadiest thing in the world, but if you’re reasonably careful and don’t get super excited with your turning-things-over-on-the-grill technique, it should be fine.

With the broiler pan perched on top of my double-high grates, I could turn the two burners on to high and the flames would not touch the bottom of the pan. True, the heat is not just real even, but hey, this isn’t a hundreds of dollars model, either!

As for the pineapple… I sprayed some butter-flavored nonstick spray on the broiler pan, then turned up the heat. When it was hot, I laid the slices of pineapple on top and grilled them for a few minutes on each side. Not only did this work, it worked well. The broiler pan I have has raised lines (I’m too stupid to know if all broiler pans do or not…), and I was surprised to find that not only did the pineapple heat, but it came out with the browned ‘grillmarks’ too! Too cool!

Works for me!

The Strong Butterfly

The following was taken from a FLYlady email I received today. It was said to be a forward, so I, too am forwarding it…to you. It’s not FLYlady original content, since it was forwarded, and I would post who the author is in order to give credit where it is due, but I simply do not know who the author is. Anyway. This is really good, and it was a blessing to me to read it today. It’s a good reminder that God is good ALL the time, even when we’re struggling. It was an encouragement for me to hear this. I hope it is to you, as well.

“A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening
appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it
struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed
to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far
as it could,and it could go no further.

So to help the butterfly

he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the
cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body
and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly
because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and
expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of it’s life
crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that
the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to
get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the
body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for
flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometime
struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to
go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We
would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!

Remember…what we struggle with makes us strong!”

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March 2008
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