Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mothering Through a Crisis, Or, ‘The Gift of Procrastination!’

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IMG_2548 Sarah’s note to me, when on top of all of the other crises, and during naptime, her favorite purse was lost. The purse was found 30 seconds later, but I still cherish the note. 🙂 Also, the famous lost tooth!

IMG_2535At a friend’s request, I considered writing a blog post about the deep clean I was doing to my house. It was more than just a deep clean, having been yet another adjustment in creative space use for our children’s bedrooms. Having 3 girls in a bedroom that is roughly 12 x 12 takes some ingenuity to find places to put all their *stuff.* Ava also just graduated out of her toddler trundle that we were storing under the girl’s bunk bed, and into a twin size bed of her own! Having chosen to commit our reproductive futures to God’s capable hands, we are constantly finding new and improved ways to use the space we have wisely to accommodate our growing family. I must confess to being entirely inspired by the practical solutions from Large Families on Purpose. She has been a great blessing to me as far as challenging me, and giving practical and detailed advice to this VERY disorganized Mama! My creative personality is helpful when paint or fabric is involved, but ask me to make a schedule or be practical, and I’m lost.

My posting was also delayed by a few sad events. I meant to post Monday, and didn’t, with Wednesday (yesterday) as a fall back, but yesterday was a bit weird, and was derailed as a fallback. First, we IMG_2540had one bunny die. Then another bunny died. Then Sarah lost a tooth, and then we had VBS. So yup. Yesterday was fried. I was instead contemplating the meaning of death with my 6 yo, 4 yo, 2 yo and 4 month old. It is amazing what our children tell us about ourselves. Their responses were a moment of conviction for me, and how I have modeled how to survive a crisis.

I need to just follow Brooke’s advice,to  Keep Calm, and Carry On!

Now I am sitting down to enjoy some peace and quiet, and beating the heat in our non Air Conditioned house, by listening to the girls watch a movie while we all eat some cold popsicles and wish it wasn’t so hot!  Meanwhile, I’ll tell myself I’m being productive by writing the promised post. It’ll be a nice break from pushing through the heat!

Before we get to the photos, My disclaimer: I feel as if we are nowhere near the paragons of virtue that I’d like to be when it comes to having an organized and clutter free home, but we are doing better! I did struggle over the idea of whether or not I was comfortable with sharing these photos on my blog. All I see is what is NOT right in them, but I hope it is a helpful reminder that no Mom blogger is perfect, and that yes, living with 4 children under 6 is HARD, not perfect, and involves a slightly modified idea of ideal housekeeping. I marvel in wonder, and truly respect the women I know who maintain spotless homes. Bit by bit, I am taking their advice, and learning their secrets, but I am nowhere near their level of success yet.
I do know that one step at a time, we will eventually have a home that looks just as glorious as the ones in the magazine, or the ones that don’t deal with the daily stretch of young children being trained, or have the fiscal limitations of a young family on a tight budget, catching whatever thing/furniture will do the job via Craigslist and Yard Sales.
In any case, it isn’t how your home looks, it is how you use it! Is it a place where Christ is honored? Is it a place where God’s Word is applied daily, and on a moment by moment basis? If it is, the looks will one day follow, and reflect a commitment to living in a way that honors God. And no, your home may not look like the Hilton, but it isn’t a hotel! It is a home. With all of the warmth, and lived in feel, that the word home entails!

I have the unique blessing of having my Mother in Law take my children to VBS for an entire week, once a year. During the time she has them, I generally make it a point to deep clean. It has become quite the tradition. Since we had to do a bit of reorganizing and rearranging in the bedrooms to better fit our space, I started with the bedrooms.  I wanted to refresh the deep clean I did in the kitchen and living room from a month ago, but I underestimated the impact children have on their bedrooms… Furthermore, I (foolishly) waited to take my triumphant “after” pictures until almost a week later. So they’re not as beautifully shiny and new as they would be, had I taken them the same day as everything was completed! In other words the bedrooms have been a bit lived in, and are now the responsibility of their occupants. Some age appropriate housekeeping is displayed here. I didn’t take pictures of the Master Bedroom, or Bath, since they’re pretty straightforward anyway. Our Master bedroom is also a mix of home office and bedroom, and I can only go so far with the deep cleaning until I hit a pile of bills that my hubby wants undisturbed. And who wants to see pictures of a bathroom anyway?

The Girl’s Bedroom
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The pictures, L-R are:
Top left: Hooks for purse, bag, backpack, or coat storage are screwed into  the bunk bed.
Top Middle: Hooks for yet more storage on the back of the door.
Top Right: A broken clothes rack, repurposed and anchored to their dresser added hanging storage for a room with no closets. The rubbermaid bin is storage for outgrown clothing for one child that is atill too big for another. keeping it there makes transitions easier.
Bottom Left:Their comfy reading corner for quiet time during the afternoon.
Bottom Middle: Sarah’s bunk bed and shelf. Can you tell they make their own beds?  What I find funny is how you can see their skill level by looking at all three beds together…
Bottom Right: Emma’s Bed, made summer style with the covers folded at the bottom. Nobody wants covers during the summer!

Not pictured: The entire bunk bed. Ava hadn’t made her bed yet when I took these pictures. Also not pictured? The new paint job their room needs! Saving that for another day, when everyone is over the “coloring everything” stage.  Still fighting that fight, and if anyone knows how to keep their artistic children from decorating their room rabidly, do let me know. On the bright side, they have, (so far) mostly contained it to their room, and the hall outside their door. One day, probably when Ava is 8 or 10, we’ll re paint it, and the girls will help. Until then, we’ve succumbed to the idea that young children means dealing with each foolish indiscretion as it comes, even if that does mean following up a VERY quiet naptime with the horrifying discovery that the ENTIRE bedroom has been “re-decorated.”

The Details: The girl’s bedroom is a challenge. I have 3 twin beds (one is a bunkbed, mercifully.) and three children’s worth of clothing and stuff to put in there. We do have a playroom, so I do aspire to have a minimal amount of toys stored in their room. It is limited to books for quiet time, and dolls/My Little Pony for girly time. My oldest has the privilege of the top bunk, and so I installed a shelf for her to keep her most precious items.  I did have a ‘no one in the top bunk but Sarah’ rule, but it has been suspended upon invitation from time to time. Generally though, I jealously guard each child’s bed as a precious space that is theirs alone, and consider it an excellent tutor on property rights. If someone has a precious item, I encourage them to keep it on or near their bed, in their space. I also discovered the joy of those little screw hooks, and placed one for each child on the bed, and on the back of the door to store other precious items. Nobody may invade someone else’s bag, jacket, or bed. The rest of the room is all 3 girl’s common property, because, frankly, I don’t have enough space for either a family closet (I wish!) or to give  each child a dresser. As it is, they’ve all been trained to ascertain the size of clothing, and wear from there. If it fits, you can wear it. I cull the clothing several times a year as well, because with 3 girls, it accrues quickly!
The girls are solely responsible for keeping their room clean, their beds made, and their walls free from further crayon encroachment. They do an age appropriate job with my supervision. I have long since learned not to sweat the small stuff. If things are (mostly) clean, and everything is put away, I try not to obsess over the things that I see as childish, imperfect, or that drive me nuts. One day, they will notice the details, and care for them. Until that day, we tackle one task at a time, until they master it, then move on to a new one to master. I’ll just have to live with the clothing corners sticking out of drawers, and piles of treasured drawing on top of the bureau until then!

The Nursery:

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The Photos, L-R:
Left: Our steamer trunk which is used for clothing storage for what is not in season, or not fitting the current child’s needs.
Left Middle: Sewing space and nursing chair, complete with rocker. I have to admit the toys stored here do end up being a sort of “secondary play room.”  when we are doing school. Our home office contains the computer we also use for school, and so often the younger children use the nursery as a playroom while we do school on the computer. The nursing chair also comes in handy on tough nights when a child is sick. I can sleep in there, without disturbing my husband’s sleep on work nights, and take care of any needs for any child without waking him. I cannot say how many times that has come in handy!
Right Middle: The Rocking Chair Allen found at a sale for a few dollars. I LOVE it! It is fabulous come naptime, or for those late night crying sessions!
Right: The crib that has been through 5 children. Next to it is a wardrobe that contains 5 drawers and a closet. This contains ALL of baby’s clothing for the first year entirely, and perhaps even a bit longer. Each drawer is used for 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, and 12-14 months respectively.  The hanging space houses all of baby’s shoes, hanging clothing,  and jackets etc. Under the crib is a fantastic storage space, as is on top of the dresser.

The Details: Isaiah’s room is easy. He doesn’t mess it up.  (yet)  It provides ample storage space, not only for his things, but for some of his sister’s hand me down toys as well. It also doubles as a sewing room, for now, and contains my cabinet sewing machine. When the machine is tucked away, it looks like a tall end table. When it is out, it transforms into a lovely sewing table. All of my “at hand” sewing project needs (DVDs for watching while I’m sewing, my sewing kit, and mending basket, plus Sarah’s sewing kit) are all kept in my room, which is adjoining to Isaiah’s room.

Mending Space: My room
IMG_2573 This is our mending center. Complete will full basket I am procrastinating about emptying…

Here are some pictures from previous deep cleans of my kitchen:
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There you have it. My not so perfect, cobbled together old home, complete with smiling children, Goodbyes to Bunnies, and unmade beds some mornings. I dream of the day when I will preside over a pristine historical Farmhouse with no clutter, only rag rugs and old rocking chairs, and absolutely NO wood paneling, but that is not where God has placed me. He has placed me HERE, NOW. I have a lot to learn before I reach a level of faithfulness in housekeeping, child training, homeschooling, etc that is worthy of an 18th century Farm house. Meanwhile, I’ll try to keep my home as if it WAS an 18th century farmhouse, and prepare for the day when that kind of delicate beauty is my responsibility.

“What you do for the Least of These, You do for Me.”

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As I have been watching events unfold in Texas regarding the 20 week abortion ban, I am yet again convicted about my role in the abortion debate. My own story has led me to a passionate response to this atrocity our nation allows day in and day out. While I rejoice in the thousands of babies who may be saved by the legislation just passed in Texas, our work is far from over. There are many more babies heading to be killed, and many more Mothers who are in a moment of desperation, and fear.

I have spoken with my husband at length about my burning desire to be of use, to do more than post my testimony on my blog. To be a tangible blessing to another Mom. Even if it is just one. I want to HELP. I want to do more than talk about abolishing human abortion. I want to be an active part in living my life in such a way that my actions are a direct result of scripture. Of Christ’s work. So I talked to my husband about the options, and he had some valuable insights and suggestions. After speaking with him, and a few other trusted advisors in my life, I found some practical ways in which I can serve, and I ask you to help me.

Titus Family Outreach

Some time ago, unable to fathom the idea of *only* serving in my home, I jumped at the chance to try and found the Titus Family Outreach in my church. I meant it to be a homeschoolers group that encouraged Mamas to homeschool, and not to be scared off by pressure from friends, family members, and anyone else who thought homeschooling was one giant crock. Due to lack of interest, the group lost steam, and I was left with a plane that barely left the ground. Oh yeah, and an empty FB page with 4 likes. Fail. So much for my plans. God had other ideas. I still don’t know what they are… but I do know what I’ve got in hand.

So, tonight, as I purposed to follow my husband’s advice, and set up a *new* facebook page to suit these purposes, I was reminded by facebook about my abandoned page. Whoops. Wait a minute…. this is empty anyway! And I am looking to help families… Ok. USING!

So it has a new purpose.

What is the plan?

Those in the Pro Life community know about the concept of sidewalk counseling. You stand outside of a clinic, pray with those who enter, and then pray that they are convicted of the value of the life they carry. You hope against hope that they do not abort. You may direct them to a nearby Crisis Pregnancy Center, which may or may not be an option for them at that very moment, or ever.
I recently read about this ministry I found to be inspiring, and a direct response to Christ’s command to care for “The Least of these.” It is called Save The Storks. In this ministry they park a van that is equipped with the tools needed to do a sonogram, and to deliver the gospel to hurting women. They park this bus near abortion clinics and bring help TO these women, as opposed to directing them to help that may or may not be nearby, or immediately available. This ministry makes themselves available at the place of greatest need. I am not a sonogram technician, I am just a Mama of 4 who wants to help, but doesn’t have the talent or the ability to go it alone. I was inspired though by another Mom who wrote a beautiful post (which I can’t find, sadly!) about how she and her children handed out flowers the week of Mother’s day, with scripture and encouragement, all near an abortion clinic. Her courage, and her conviction was a balm to my soul.

I would like to invite you to join me. I would like to ask you to join a community of women, who are able, and willing, to offer help to those who may consider an abortion, but who have needs that must be met. I want to live out what I know is true. Speaking is not enough, we have to be doers of the word. (James 1)
Christ spoke during his ministry about the importance of serving others.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Matthew 25:35-40

James 1:27 says:

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

How will we do this?
By creating a community of able women and families, we can work together to provide tangible help to women in need. I will do the legwork in my city, visiting the local Planned Parenthood on the days they perform abortions, and offering women help. I will ask them what their needs are, and share their testimonies, and needs on the Titus Family Outreach page on facebook. This will be a Pro life craigslist, if you will. We will be a physical resource to women in our community, offering our talents, our abilities, and also importantly, our blessings to share with those in need. We have so much to share, to give, and so many ways to serve.
For example, if I had met 18 year old pregnant me at an abortion clinic, I would find that I needed items for the baby, help meeting baby’s specific needs (nutritional needs, and housing needs.) and emotional and spiritual support. I will be the hands and feet, and you will be the source. I will publish the needs, and as a community, we will try to meet them. I know I have the resources and abilities to be of assistance, I have no shortage of baby clothing, baby items, and a willing heart, and ear, ready to listen, and ready to comfort. What do you have that you can contribute? Will you join me in being that tangible help outside the clinic doors? Will you join me in praying for these women before we meet them? And in being ready, and willing, to help meet their needs as they arise? So many people accuse those who are pro life of not caring for these babies once they are born, let us not be hearers of the word, but let us be doers, caring for the fatherless in their moment of need, and let us be his hands and feet, living out the gospel to those in need.

How to: Save On Groceries

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I know, this is totally an exciting topic that everyone is dying to dive into. But seriously, my husband has made an art of this! On average we spend $60-$100 for two weeks worth of groceries for our family of 6. He has a lot of *trade* secrets that help us to make our budget, and eat fairly well. I have some as well, being the cook, on how to make food last throughout the week, while giving everyone plenty to eat.

First, a few qualifiers, our youngest, Isaiah, isn’t eating food yet, and our three daughters, Sarah, Emma, and Ava eat about the equivalent of 1 1/2 adults. Sometimes of 2 adults. Depends on what the meal is. (Emma generally can eat more than I do!) So we are pretty much paying for the food of 4-5 adults, depending on the appetites that week. Our budget does fluctuate because sometimes we just don’t find fabulous deals, and sometimes we do. On some weeks, we don’t buy any food because we do some modest stockpiling. No, we are *not* the family with scads of shelves in the basement and enough food to survive Armageddon, our pantry does get empty too! And no, we do *not* empty the sale shelf on a regular basis. We do try to leave some good deals for other folks too. But we do get more than one when there is a great deal. Our rule of thumb is this: If it won’t be used fast enough, if it would spoil before we could use it, we won’t buy it. We buy enough to last our family until the next time we go shopping, and then a little bit more for the nonperishable pantry stockers. This comes in handy for our own needs, or if someone else is in need, we have some to spare immediately.

For all of you folks out there who prefer organic items, and have special dietary needs, portions of this list may help you, but I will tell you, when someone in our home has a dietary issue (it has happened!) our entire grocery budget goes downhill fast. We aren’t picky, we just eat what is on sale, unless someone is sick and needs a particular type of food or foods to help recover.
Stomato and garlichopping tips: (This is my husband’s set of secrets! I love a man who can do a killer shopping trip! I don’t do any grocery shopping unless it is the emergency kind!)

  • Buy reduced. We can’t say it enough! Reduced everything! The dented can? Still good. Buy it.
  • Note what pantry staple items are never on sale, buy those (2 at a time) every time you go to the store. This way you get quite a nice pile without spending a lot all of the sudden when you are out of these pantry staples. My husband does this with kidney beans (we eat them a lot, cheap and nutritious!) and tomato paste. (Same thing, I use it for everything from chili to veg. soup, to spaghetti sauce. One can at 30-something cents can make an entire meal tastier!)
  • Don’t do brand names. Coupons can save you a lot, but generally we have found it is cheaper to buy at Aldi than to coupon brand names at Wal-Mart. There are exceptions to this rule, but not always.
  • Buy local. You save more in fuel. Some staples cost the same no matter where you go. So buying milk up the street when you are getting low is a lot cheaper than going to Wal-Mart 20 minutes away and then buying a ton of food because you went hungry.
  • Don’t shop hungry. You buy more.
  • DO buy reduced fruits and veggies. Yes, the nutrition isn’t as fabulous, but they are great for soups and stews.
  • Have your own Garden. What you pick, you don’t have to buy.
  • Buy pantry staples on sale, get multiples. When he finds flour, or sugar on sale, he will buy 2-3 bags. I package them and keep them in the pantry. This usually gets us to the next sale for the same pantry items that are staples. This doesn’t mean he gets more than I can package, but he does get more than he would if I were out and needed enough to complete a recipe.freezer-bag
  • Skip the snacks! You don’t need them, they aren’t healthy for you. We rarely buy beverages, chips, pretzels, breakfast bars, or any kind of prepackaged food really. I cook a lot from scratch, so it isn’t necessary. We drink water, and if necessary, I make home made soda or Gatorade.
  • ALWAYS look in the pantry/fridge before you shop. You save a lot of money this way. It keeps you from buying things you don’t need, and then having them spoil.
  • Go (semi) vegetarian! Beans, Eggs, tuna etc are all an excellent protein cheaper than meat.
  • Don’t shop at big box stores, or specialty stores. Hunt the deals, then stick with them. We like Aldi, Produce Junction, etc. In your neighborhood it might be something else, Like Wegmans or Costco, I don’t know, but do sniff out the deals, and then keep shopping there.
  • Plan your shopping. Try to minimize trips to the store by going when you know there is a sale, with a list of items. try not to do mini trips when you need something. Do once every two weeks, and limit yourself to trips for staples in between if absolutely needed (like a gallon of milk.) This saves money by reducing unnecessary expenses. Example: You go every two weeks and buy a bag of apples, 10 pounds of meat, 2 gallons of milk, 1 5lb bag of onions, and a 10 lb bag of potatoes, 2 cans of kidney beans, and listed items going short/on sale, like flour, or sugar, or noodles.  This is cheaper than going on Monday to buy chicken breast, rice, and veggies (in small amounts) then on Tuesday for steak, potatoes, cheese, and sour cream, etc. When you buy your cravings, instead of sticking to staples, you spend more than if you buy your staples, and make food based on what is in your kitchen.

Prepari63933_179254385434638_120861161273961_594105_1792248_nng/Cooking tips: (This is MY set of secrets! Combined with my husband’s set, it makes for even more savings.)

  • Cook right away. My husband brings home meat they sold that day because it WAS the sell by date. Before you get squeamish, here is the secret. I cook it THAT day, or the day after. This prolongs the preservation of the meat. If he gets a LOT (once he brought home roughly 15 lbs of hamburger.) I cook it as plainly as possible (I fried it with onions) and then pack it into 1 and 2 lb baggies and freeze it. This makes for an easy “frozen” dinner later. Pop out a baggie of meat, fry it up in a pan, add spaghetti sauce and boil some noodles. VOILA! in 15 minutes you have a meal that costed pennies on the dollar. I love using these as prep for times when I know cooking will be hard. Like weeks I am canning, or when I’m coming up on a due date for a new baby. For hamburger you can use the meat for anything from tacos, to shepherd’s pie, vegetable soup starter, spaghetti, lasagna,  onion gravy starter, Beef Stroganoff, the list is endless.
  • Cook from scratch. It really is cheaper. Generally I find baking bread from scratch is comparable, and sometimes storebought bread on sale is cheaper, but literally 9.9 times out of ten, it is ALWAYS cheaper to make an entire meal from scratch, especially if a home garden is involved. There are other things too, which are cheaper to make from scratch, such as Home made Gatorade, Home cleaning products, etc.
  • Preserve right away. If you have meat or fruits or veggies which you can’t cook now (no time, or whatever) pack them up to freeze. My husband keeps freezer baggies on hand so I can package food however I need to to preserve it. I will take a pack of 8 chicken breasts, and separate it into 2 or 3 portions, and freeze them that way. The same goes for reduced fruits and veggies. clean them up same day or next day, and then freeze or can them. I like to freeze berries, and use them all year in scones and muffins, I also like to clean and freeze bell peppers, as they come in handy in all types of dishes.
  • Substitute. If you find that it is cheaper to make your own baking powder, then do it! I often will use milk in recipes, but I’ll half it with water to limit the calories and the cost. 1/2 c. of milk in cornbread? Nope! I do 1/4 c. of water, 1/4. c of milk. Most recipes it does not affect. Also, if you want to eat a particular thing, find a recipe that uses ingredients already in your pantry. I try to skip recipes that have expensive or exotic ingredients in them. Generally I can find a simpler version that tastes just as good, but doesn’t require a special trip to the store.
  • Stretch the meat. Using beans, peanut butter, eggs, etc, find ways to make meat go longer. Don’t make everyone two hamburgers, Make enough other foods that one will do. Baked beans, salad, potatoes, etc. Fill up on the other foods, preferably fruits and veggies. Don’t rely on a meat heavy diet. It isn’t the healthiest, or the cheapest. Be creative in finding ways to use your meat as a base, not a main food.
  • Reduce the sugar. IF you are making a recipe, easy way to make it cheaper AND healthier is to reduce the sugar. Eventually you find it DOES taste better that way anyway! canning
  • Find a cheaper, healthier, version. Like ice cream? Cool, buy a ton of bananas reduced. Peel them, freeze them, then when you want ice cream, toss those babies (still frozen!) in a blender with a smidge of yogurt or milk, and some chocolate syrup or fruit for flavoring. No sugar required. Cheap ice cream. Healthier too.
  • Portion control. I know, sounds awful doesn’t it? We have 3 meals a day, and 2-3 snack times. Snacks are generally fresh fruit or veggies. Can be a handful of frozen blueberries on a hot summer day, or a muffin on a cold winter day. But most of the time it is carrot sticks, or apple slices with PB or something like that.  This kind of self discipline is good for the waistline, AND the wallet.
  • Limit waste! Use all your leftovers (I try to use them up in lunches, this keeps them from languishing in the back of the fridge!) And re use what you can, or use all parts of a fruit or veggie. I know, it sounds crazy, but we try to use all parts of a food if we can. If we have lemons, we use the juice, and then use the rinds to make our cleaning vinegar smell nice! If we have an empty jar of pickles, we put a fresh cucumber in there for some crunchy no cook pickles! (I wouldn’t recommend doing this more than once though!)
  •  Limit your condiments. Keep it simple. Using ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and relish, white vinegar, and olive oil we can pretty much cover anything. We do get some salad dressings from time to time, but we do a lot of home made ones!
  • Keep a lot of fresh fruits and veggies handy, and always have a steady supply of onions, garlic, and salt to make broths and stews from scratch.
  • Don’t experiment without a recipe. No matter how much you think you know how to make something, taste, taste, and taste again. Follow the recipe, and make sure you know what you are doing! This reduces nasty food that nobody likes. Same with keeping on track with your baked goods. If you know you’ll be distracted, don’t bake, it isn’t worth a ruined panful of biscuits that burned!

My Disclaimer: This list is to help you better budget your money, and work with a little. As I’ve said in the past, we are far from rich, and live off of very little. If I had a nickel for every time someone squeals: “You guys work with THAT little?” We wouldn’t be so tightly budgeted! But we live this way because it enables me to stay home with the children. We buy what we can afford, no more, and very little less sometimes. We depend on God to provide our needs, knowing that any day, a disaster can, and has happened. We do not have a lot of “surplus” in the way of finances.
Every family, large or small, goes through tough financial times. We have had times of need, where we didn’t know where we would have enough money to buy the next bunch of groceries. It doesn’t happen all the time to us,  but it has happened in the past. Know that whether or not you have the money to buy that next meal, God will provide, somehow.  This doesn’t mean we should spend irresponsibily and assume God will give our children food. Scripture says it is worse to evade your responsibility to provide for your family, than it is to not believe in God. (I Timothy 5:8)

This does mean that if we are doing all we should, and can do to provide for our family, and yet some surprise happens (a totaled car, a roof to replace, a surprise expense.) that God has his hand on us. God WILL come through.

If you have all of your needs met, and you see a family in need, be the hands that help. Step up. Buy them a box of groceries, pass them the extra potatoes your family just can’t eat before they spoil. People have done that for us. We never got to a point of asking for help, because help came before we could ask. I know in the future, as we see families in need, when we have blessings to share, they will be passed on, not just because we know what it feels like to be on the receiving end, but because it is what we ought to do.  BE the person who gives. This isn’t the responsibility of society, of our state, or our country. In other words, it isn’t *someone else’s* responsibility. It is OUR responsibility. WE should step forward to help the people we know and love in our own church and community.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.  Proverbs 19:17

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ … Matthew 25:35-40

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ Deuteronomy 15:11

Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. Proverbs 14:31