Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Husban!

I just want to take some time to talk about my husband.

Because really, he’s quite wonderful!

I came down with a pretty hearty sinus/head cold. (Can you catch a virus via blog? Because I read about sick people, then came down with something… just wondering…)

I was feeling awful, Silas had the same kind of thing that I did, so we were up a lot. Mark was exhausted because Gideon had decided to wake up extra early. We got in bed after a long, long day, and, despite his exhaustion, he immediately pulled out our massage book. He was looking up acupressure points for relieving sinus pressure and neck/shoulder pain. I didn’t ask for it, at all, he just did it. (It actually helped quite a bit, it was temporary relief, but relief just the same.)

Here’s the thing though, Mark didn’t get up with Gideon because I was sick. Mark didn’t search our book shelves for the massage book. Mark got up with Gideon because that’s what he does. Every morning that he doesn’t have to work opening shift, he gets up with Gideon. Mark knew exactly where the massage book was, because it’s always right by our bed, because nearly every night he massages my feet, or my shoulders, or my arms, or my back, or my face (which sounds kind of weird, but feels incredible!) Obviously, because he has a book to reference, he’s not just doing a half hearted, lazy massage. He cares enough to spend at least a few minutes before each massage to check certain pressure points, techniques, or special information about the area that he’s working on. I know that’s not normal. My husband is extraordinary!

I could go on writing page after page of all the amazing things he does, and all the wonderful things I love about Mark. I will, however only keep it at this - he loves me so much, and he figures out how to show me that he does. I feel that I don’t deserve him, which is why I’m so thankful that love is not something you must deserve.

I genuinely love to spend time with him. He is my best friend. He is my favorite.

I know not all of my readers are married, but for those of you who are, I encourage you to take some time to see how your spouse is showing you that he loves you. So I guess, consider yourself tagged - Tell me how great your spouse is too. : ) Remember that no one is perfect, and most are almost completely flawed, but focusing on even just a small act of kindness is unusually uplifting. The really great part about speaking good of another, is you can’t speak wrong of them at the same time! : ) Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it might impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speak be put away from you, with malice. (assuming malice is already put away from you… if it’s not, do it all at once.) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

P.S. I have to give my beautiful sister-in-law special credit, because she gave me the massage book along with some wonderful massage lotion a few years ago for Christmas. Thanks Kate!

P.P.S. For those of you not married, just pick someone, anyone, to write about. Or write about Jesus, we all need to hear about how wonderful He is. : )

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ethical consumerism - Save more, live better?

~Lifestyle - Reducing our standard of living. Looking at every possible way to “cut back.” Sharing, blessing, giving. Selflessness. ~

So, I feel a little silly. The other day, at my parents house, Mark was looking up his usual on-line news sites. There was a little news clip that said something about lowering your standard of living. “Cool, can you play that? It’s kind of funny, that I’ve been blogging about it, and here’s a clip on the same sort of thing.” with a bit of a giggle in his voice he said “Jane, the “standard of living” topic is all over the place. That’s kind of the new biggest news coverage stuff.” “Oh, uh, well, okay. That’s what I get for staying home with the kids all day, with no internet, no TV reception and only the tri-county newspaper to keep me up to date.” : )

APPARENTLY, Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock has had this “standard of living” stuff coming at them from all sides. So, if I’ve simply been redundant , in adding to the clamor of abc, nbc, cnn, fox news and all the others out there. I’m sorry. Truly I am. I do, however, hope that, unlike the standard media, I have helped to shed a positive light on this subject. I honestly believe that for the average American to WILLFULLY REDUCE their standard of living would be a really good thing. Not because you have to, not because you’re fearful in the presence of a sickly economy, but because you want to have more. More to share, more to bless with, more to give.

Walmart’s new catch phrase is “save more, live better.” (I like “rollback with a smile” better… why’d they have to go and try to get sophisticated? It’s Walmart for goodness sake!) Anyway - I’m still not sure how I feel about this new catch phrase. If the idea of saving, is cutting back on excessive spending, and the idea of living better is living with a higher commitment to charity;

char·i·ty n
1. organization providing charity: an organization that collects money and other voluntary contributions of help for people in need
2. provision of help: the voluntary provision of money, materials, or help to people in need
3. material help: money, materials, or help voluntarily given to people in need
4. tolerant attitude: the willingness to judge people in a tolerant or favorable way
5. impartial love: the impartial love of other people, especially as a Christian virtue

[12th century. Via French charité < Latin caritas < carus "dear"]
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Then I’m all for it. Somehow, I don’t think that’s what they mean… We can, however, glean from this slogan, and choose to save, in order to live more charitably, better.

I read somewhere (disclaimer- I’m just passing along a rumor, I believe it, but quote me not, and do not consider this your daily history lesson) that the idea of a “standard of living” was concocted by the US government, shortly after the industrial revolution. They realized that the average American no longer needed to work to survive. I suppose that people understood that their government wouldn’t just let them starve or die from exposure. So, the government came up with ways to encourage Americans to continually aim for a higher standard of living.

But, when is enough , enough?

God save us from the American dream!

“There is enough to meet everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed” - Gandhi

Funny how God works. This morning we were watching Veggie Tales “Gideon - tube warrior” and I was so comforted when I heard “pa grape” say to “Larry the cucumber” “Trust Him [God] Gideon, He’ll never let you down.” Now, as I write, I hear Steve Green singing on i-tunes Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.” (This childrens CD is great, “Hide ‘em in your heart” by Steve Green)

I’ll leave you with that.

This concludes “Ethical Consumerism - by Janice Leverenz” Tune in next time to read…

Monday, February 23, 2009

The "sock"

Oh yeah, here's the sock. I still laugh at myself...

I think I'll keep it. Tucked away as a little reminder, a reminder of so much...

Ethical consumerism - Stewardship, not always what it seems

~Stewardship - When faced with a purchase I ask myself, can I actually afford this? (Which is far different from “do I have the money for…”) I ask myself “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?” I ask, “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?”~

In my last post I addressed most of the first 2 questions. “…Can I actually afford this?“ and “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?”

Now I want to spend some time on the second two questions. “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?” I know they seem like kind of the same question. And Maybe you would only need to ask yourself the first question. I, however, need the second question in order to keep myself honest where the previous question is concerned. Here’s my example; If I’m in Target (I thoroughly enjoy that store) and I resist buying a pair of black flip flops for $10.00 because I have a brown pair of flip flops, and I have black flats, I reason with myself and say “even though having a black pair and a brown pair of flip flops would be easier, I could certainly be creative enough to find outfits that would work just as well with either brown flip flops, or black flats.” Then I think to myself “Yes, this is good, $10.00 would pay half of my monthly phone bill. Or I could just stick it in our jar of change that we save for the 30 hour famine (a fund raiser through world vision.) $10.00 would feed 10 kids for a day. I certainly don’t need black flip flops.” Here’s where the second question comes into play. On my way home I realize it’s 1:30 and I haven’t eaten lunch yet. I pull into Tim Horton’s and buy a large mint chocolate ice capp, a chicken salad sandwich on a whole wheat bun, and a honey dipped doughnut. It comes to about $10.00. Blast! Instead of buying black flips flops to make my wardrobe a little easier, instead of paying half of my cell phone bill, instead of feeding 10 children for a whole day, I had lunch 20 minutes earlier than I would have if I waited ‘til I got home and made myself lunch. Should have just gone with the flip flops, at least they would have lasted more than 10 minutes.

Do you know what I mean?

Here’s the thing though - I’m not anti-dining out, in fact, just the other night we went to Pizza Hut and had dinner there. But there was thought behind it, thought put into it. Mark had th day off, we had errands to run, youth group at 7:00, and we had to drop Gideon off at my in-laws before youth group. It was nearing dinnertime when we realized it would be crazy hectic to try to run home, make something for dinner, then get all 4 of us back out the door in time for youth group. So instead, we went to Pizza Hut, had a nice time eating together as a family, I was able to nurse Silas while we waited for our food to come, and everything was calm, relaxed and we had some quality time together. Our alternative option would have been much more stressful and Silas would have cried his head off ’til I could sit to nurse him during dinner, making us late for youth group. So, thank you Jesus and thank you Pizza Hut for an alternative to that!

Dining out isn’t JUST what I’m talking about. I’m trying (and maybe not doing very well) to get a point across.

I suppose this is really what I mean to say; A steward is a property manager: somebody who manages somebody else's property, finances, or household
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

If you believe that God has given you your property, finances and household, it is prudent (and far beyond beneficial for everyone) if you give them back to Him. So, if these things are His - consult Him as to what to do with them. I don’t think that the average Bible believing, Jesus loving person is surprised when God leads us to use our money doing something “churchy” like giving to a charity or buying a bag of groceries for a less than well off family. But I personally begin to second guess myself when I start to feel that God wants me to spend money on something less “churchy” like… a pedicure. Yet, several months ago, I did feel that way, and I believe it was God’s leading. My closest girl friend and I have drifted apart a bit, over the last few years (funny how husbands, kids and real jobs will do that, huh?) I honestly believed that God was having me treat my friend, and myself, to a pedicure for her Birthday. And we had a lovely couple of hours together, catching up, and feeling a little closer than we had been. I believe that God was smiling like a father on that sunny autumn afternoon, as he watched 2 woman become 2 little girls again, chatting, giggling relaxing and catching up like they used to. His daughters making time for each other. Doesn’t that seem like something that would make a Daddy happy?

I feel like this kind of thought process can apply to most, if not all money spending situations; What will help build a stage for God to do what he wants?

God, I believe, has created us to be relational. Eating at Pizza Hut, in my opinion was ministry to our family, we didn’t do it out of laziness or neglect, we did it because eating-out was the best dinner situation for us at that point. God wants us to have healthy relationships. Thriving, growing, loving, blessing relationships. If that means God is leading you to treat a friend (and maybe yourself) to a pedicure, at a locally owned, earth friendly salon, then so be it. Because that’s relational ministry, not frivolousness.

P.S. God is so faithful! When you do with God’s money what he wants you to do, he always provides. : ) Always, always, always. Isn’t that incredible?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ethical consumerism - enough really IS enough

~Stewardship - When faced with a purchase I ask myself, can I actually afford this? (Which is far different from “do I have the money for…”) I ask myself “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?” I ask, “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?”~ (Ethical consumerism - So it starts)

~I’ve come to realize, to an extent, how frivolous we can be. Last April we went credit card free (don’t admire us, I’ll tell all in the next post.) Since then, when I think “hm, food to eat? Or this pair of shorts for Gideon?” the answer is a no brainer. On our one income, you get creative, or you go without. It’s that simple. Next time I’ll share our story of going credit card free, along with a silly story of my pride. Socks.~ (Ethical consumerism - I expound)

When Mark and I got married we were NOT good with money, and on top of that, we were literally not earning enough to make ends meet. Our solution? Marks credit card. Instead of spending less, we just charged everything. Please don’t go shaking your head at our parents for not educating us on proper money management skills - they taught us, we just chose not to learn from them. To this day, I wish we had. So, to make a long story short, we maxed out, and missed or was late on several payments. Our monthly credit card bill was usually about $400.00, minimum. At that point, Mark was earning enough money for a family of 3 to make ends to meet, but with a bill of $400.00 just to pay the interest on our card, we were in the same financial boat that we had been in. Mark was earning more, but we owed more. So, last year we were referred by a friend to a debt management program, and we enrolled. Payments were much more affordable, we got to chose the day of the month that we paid the bill and there was an end in sight - to be debt free. However, the company that we had our credit card through, has a policy that if you enroll in a debt management program, you MAY NOT OWN/USE ANOTHER CREDIT CARD, AND YOU MUST STOP CHARGING. Which really makes perfect sense. If we did use another card, and they found out, they would kick us out of the program and we would be back to square one. That, my friends, is not a risk we are willing to take. (This is how I learned to ask “can I actually afford this?” (Which is far different from “do I have the money for…”)

So it became official, on April 3 2008 in the year of our Lord, we went credit card free.

And we were/are in a good spot financially, because if we stretched just a bit, we can make ends meet. Without owning anyone anything further. Unless, the car needs new tires. Or we had a co-pay for the Dr.. Or we were in a wedding. These things were not and could not, be a part of the budget. On more than one occasion my parents stepped in to help us with something that needed to be charged, so we do owe them some. (For instance, there was just no way to get around the fact that in November I needed a $300 satin cognac maternity gown for my brothers wedding, don‘t blame the bride… someone else picked out the dresses.) So Like I said before, you get creative, or you go without. Speaking of that November wedding, and creativity - it’s now time for my story.

Before Gideon was born, we were handed down plenty of very nice baby clothes. Some as big as 3T. There was an adorable little pants and vest suit. That just so happened to fit Gideon in November. So for the wedding we had several dress shirts to choose from, a clip on tie, and my mom found a pair of perfectly sized perfect condition dress shoes at goodwill. However, we had 0 dress socks. All we had for Gideon to wear under his new dress shoes were white, tan or red socks. Did I mention that because of a job position switch , Mark was making less than we needed, with his first commission check weeks after the wedding? Well, we were broke. We literally only had a few cents in the bank. So, I start thinking “what am I going to do? Gideon needs dress socks. I don’t have a card to charge it on! If Lisa’s (the bride, and now my sister-in-law‘s) family sees Gideon with a suit on and white socks, they’ll think our family has no class. They’ll think we’re a bunch of country bumpkins (which isn’t far from the truth) and they’ll forever hold us in judgment. They’ll think of John and Lisa’s children‘s “other grandparents” as unsuited to be their grandparents. They’ll fear that Lisa’s children will grow up unprivileged and uncivilized. They’ll look down on John . I can’t do that to them! I can’t do that to him!” Worry. Pride. Sinful. Silly. Socks. So, what did I do? Out of shear brilliance, and obvious desperation- I crafted toddler dress socks out of 2 mismatched toddler socks and one mismatched men’s dress sock (on a side note, how does that happen? So many socks, non that match.) For your enjoyment, I will post a picture of said dress socks soon… well, only one, I’m not sure where the other one is. : )

And you know what, At the wedding reception, I realized that Gideon’s beautiful “dress socks” never even showed. The pants were just a tad too long, which hid his socks completely. He could have worn NO socks and no one would have been the wiser. *Sigh* Some things, most things, just aren’t that important.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How did we get here?

I’m taking a short break from writing on ethical consumerism to post this, at my husbands urging. After I mentioned this in another post, I started writing, and just finished. I hope you are inspired, or at least challenged. Please, let me know what you think.

How did we get here? It seems as though we’ve taken so many steps to the side, we must go backward, to find where we veered off. Yes, to retrace our steps and move backward is the best option for us now. To come to the place where we first lost our way, and continue in the appropriate direction from there.
Walking through church history of the decades 2000-2010, 1990-1999, 1980-1989, How have we reached where we are? Yes! Good things happened. Yes! God moved. No, it wasn’t a waste, but why does our generation look so shabby compared to Faith’s Champions of yester year?

Where are the spiritual disciplines? Where has forgiveness gone? Where is temperance?

I’m speaking in reference to second and third generation Christians. Those whose parents or grandparents were saved from lives of obvious sin, and needed severe lifestyle changes. I’m speaking of the people that have “always been saved” the ones who said the “sinners prayer” at age 4. The ones whose earliest memories are playing in the church nursery, and can fluently speak Christianese on demand, or even worse, don’t even know when their speaking Christianese. Why do we look the way we do? The real question is, where is your mark? How can one tell that you are sanctified?

(sanc·ti·fy [sángktə f]
(past and past participle sanc·ti·fied, present participle sanc·ti·fy·ing, 3rd person present singular sanc·ti·fies)
1. make something holy: to give something holy status
2. free somebody from sin: to perform a ritual or other act intended to free somebody from sin
3. bless something through religious vow: to give a religious blessing to something such as a marriage, usually through an oath or vow sanctified the marriage
4. officially approve something: to give social, moral, or official approval to something
rules sanctified by tradition
5. make something route to holiness: to make something a means of achieving holiness or a source of grace )

Simpler put, where is holiness?

God is into symbolism, just look at the scriptures and you’ll soon see, God likes symbols. He likes there to be illustrations for things, He likes parables, He likes signs and marks. What better sign or symbol of the presence of Jesus in our lives, than a life transformed? If the life of a “believer” remains untransformed, if the life of a “believer” continues to look the same as the life of an “unbeliever” then one has to ask, “is Jesus actually present in the life of the ‘believer’ at all?”.

My parents, and the parents of many of my friends, became Christians during the “Jesus people” movement in the ‘70’s. The “Jesus people” were a part of another movement, the “Holiness movement.” As far as I can tell, it pretty much went like this, “We read what the Bible has to say about how we live, and then, to the best of our ability, we live that way.” (otherwise known as obedience.) That’s how a movement should be. Simple.

I’m not saying that obeying is a simple thing to do, I am saying that the concept of holiness is simple. But in order to obey God, you have to know what He is asking, commanding and requiring of you. In order to know this, you have to know what He says in the Bible.

I want to live in such a way that someone, anyone, can tell that Jesus is why I live the way I do. I want to live different from the common man. Not in a way that makes those who were burned by the church cringe, or in a way that people think “great, someone else to judge me.” But in a truly Christ like way - in love and compassion, in truth and confidence, in forgiveness and understanding. In a way that God has asked me to. In a way of obedience. I want to live a holy life.

Can anyone else sense something coming? It’s like a big wave, or a wind, a storm, a rain cloud, something is coming, something new. It’s almost here. Something is stopping it. Has there been a great movement since the ’70’s? Like I said before, yeah, plenty of good has happened since then, but I mean a real movement. Has there been an environment changing movement in the past few decades? I don’t think so.


My theory is this: As the children of those who were a part of the “holiness movement” grew older, we began to rebel against the ways our parents did things. We saw this “holiness” as traditionalism, we saw it as prudish, and judgmental. In an attempt to create our own movement we entered the areas of “grace and freedom.” As a whole, we began drinking to the point of drunkenness, we stopped listening to moral and edifying music and began filling our homes with profanity, we started focusing more on “self” and stopped caring, we stopped heeding the law and started smoking marijuana, we had sexual relations with people who were not our spouses, we let profanity flow from our lips and let bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness reside in our souls. We let every manner of sin become a part of our daily lives. All in the name of “grace and freedom.” This is what we embraced, this is what we even took so far as to call a movement of God. This is the church. And this is what’s kept the “new” from coming.

We must go backward. To the placed we veered off. Yes, to retrace our steps and move backward is the best option for us now. To come to the place where we first lost our way, and continue in the appropriate direction from there. We must choose to live a life of holiness. We must raise our children in not just good behavior but in the way of holiness, and obedience to God. We must live a life that’s imitating Christ. We must earnestly search the scriptures and let our lives reflect it.

Then, I think, we’ll be in a place where God is free to let the new things come. So live in a way that the new can come. Do it for our children. Do it for the church. Do it for the rest of the world that needs to see Jesus the way He is, and not the way we’ve been portraying Him. Do it for your soul. Do it for the One who asked you to do it in the first place, the One who loved you so much that in order to be with you forever, chose to die in your place.

This is where I was going to put a scripture to back my point, when I realized, my point is backing scripture.

All: of-it

A man walks into a party, he’s very late. “sorry I’m late,” he says “I was hit and run over by a semi-truck on the way here, it messed me up pretty bad.” “No you weren’t” said the host. “How do you know? You can’t judge me like that” replied the guest “You weren’t there, you wouldn’t know!” “Well“ returned the host, “No one can actually have an encounter with something that big , and not be changed. If you were truly run over by a semi-truck, we’d know, because you would look like you were.” (my own morphed version - original story told by Paul Washer)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ethical consumerism - I expound

~Ethical consumerism - when I spend money I want to know who and what it’s supporting, whether or not it is ecological, how it was manufactured (I’m anti sweatshop), and if I do indeed NEED to buy (or consume) it at all. ~

Who or what it’s supporting - I take great care to (and urge you to do the same) look closely at as many companies as I [you] can. Especially the ones that you frequently patronize. Find out what they financially support, because they support with your finances. Giving your money to company X, so that they can turn around and give it to “cause that goes against something you believe in” is, in my conviction, the same as giving your money directly to that “cause that goes against something you believe in” … I’ve been using this ethical consumerism strategy for about a year. (If you’re looking for an incredibly challenging piece of literature, here’s my favorite - Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne.) Yes, I’ve had to go out of my way, and put in some extra work to buy certain items. Yes, I’ve on occasion given in and painfully walked away with a purchase from a company I can’t in good conscience support. But overall, it’s really not so hard to shop this way. (Most companies have a list right on their website of the charities they support .)

Whether or not it is ecological - This is pretty self explanatory. For the record, I’m not a tree hugger. I just feel that when God gave us the earth as our domain, he expected us to take care of it. I try to apply the same stewardship to the earth as I do to my kids, my money, and my body.

How it was manufactured - I suppose I am a bit of a civil rights activist (supporter is the more appropriate term for me.) I think of the movie Amazing Grace, my mind goes to the part when the girl says “I actually told my friends that there was slave blood in their sugar…” (I probably misquoted it, if you haven’t seen the movie, you MUST! Then you can correct my quote.) I take care to see that the item I’m purchasing was made in a fair trade/fair wage standard. I understand this is often very hard to track for a manufacturer and even harder for the consumer to truly know, but it’s worth a shot. Chances are, if it’s way cheaper (when it’s not on sale) than it is anywhere else, corners were cut somewhere, and I don’t think it was the CEO’s paycheck. Actually, it’s so hard to tell, that as a family, we have switched over entirely to making or buying things secondhand. (because at that point, even if the item was made in an abusive way, it’s no longer supporting that company. Instead it is supporting something like Salvation Army…) Not to mention, you’re spending WAY less on something , therefore freeing up some extra money, hopefully to give away or save for something important, like an adoption. : ) (often, if I need to chose an item that was made outside of the US, and potentially made in an unjust way, I’ll opt for buying from a small mom-and-pop kind of store, rather than a huge corporate x-mart. To at least support local economy…)

And if I do indeed NEED to have it - This is a good one. I suppose by good, I mean hard. : ) We, as Americans (or Brits, in Tash’s case.*wink*) have such a misconstrued idea of the word “need.” I’m going to quote my friend Sarah, and at first you’ll think, “no, that’s not true” but the longer you reflect on it, you’ll realize just how much of a consumer you are. “Really, the only thing [that you don’t already have] you NEED [when you have a baby] is a car-seat.” (I feel like I should put a “Selah” here) I know that you are intelligent, so I’ll leave it at that, you know exactly what you need and what you don’t.

I’ve come to realize, to an extent, how frivolous we can be. Last April we went credit card free (don’t admire us, I’ll tell all in the next post.) Since then, when I think “hm, food to eat? Or this pair of shorts for Gideon?” the answer is a no brainer. On our one income, you get creative, or you go without. It’s that simple. Next time I’ll share our story of going credit card free, along with a silly story of my pride. Socks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ethical consumerism - I'll start here

So, I said I would try to commit to writing my thoughts on finances. Well, I guess it’s not really finances… more like lifestyle.

A primary goal for our family this year specifically, is to consume the least amount possible. We discovered that by reaching this goal, we will be inadvertently reaching or at least working toward, almost every other goal.

I remember saying several times throughout the summer “and maybe I’ll blog about ethical consumerism soon…” but was too chicken to do it.

I’ve posted little bits here and there about frugality, and that’s good too.

I’ve mentioned once or twice about our various financial struggles, which wasn’t difficult, but I was unsure about what should remain taboo even in the blogoshpere.

I’ve mulled over my ideas for how to write something that reflects the kind of spending practices that we try to adhere to. (key word, “TRY”)

Broken up, seemingly naive or just plain weird, as it may be, makes no difference to me. I have made up my mind to dive into this subject and spend as much time and space on it as I feel necessary. Because I believe it is right.

For my own sake, I have outlined points of discussion regarding this topic:

Ethical consumerism - when I spend money I want to know who and what it’s supporting, whether or not it is ecological, how it was manufactured (I’m anti sweatshop), and if I do indeed NEED to buy (or consume) it at all.

Stewardship - When faced with a purchase I ask myself, can I actually afford this? (Which is far different from “do I have the money for…”) I ask myself “Can I do without this, or figure out how to get this in a better way?” I ask, “What could I do with this money that would serve a greater purpose than this item would?” I ask, “If I don’t purchase this, what will I do with this money?”

Lifestyle - Reducing our standard of living. Looking at every possible way to “cut back.” Sharing, blessing, giving. Selflessness.

Think on this and leave a comment. Maybe your thoughts on the matter will help me sort through the enormous jungle of ideas that I have. Thanks!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oops, I did it again. : P

Hahahaha!!! I didn't post the link to the givaway! Here you go. : D

Baby wearing givaway!

Thanks to my lovely
sister-in-law, I found this baby wearers giveaway. I’d love if someone I knew won this! So enter to win, and keep wearing your babies!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

And baby makes how many?!?

Last night I came across a really interesting article. Called And baby makes how many?

I’ve been planning to write something about finances, and after reading a quote toward the end of the article that said “life styles are expensive, not kids” I became determined to put solid effort into this new blogging topic.

I’m keeping this short so you have time to read the article rather than my post about the article. So head over to the NY times and read And baby makes how many?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh Man, I hit enter by accident!

Go the the previous post and read... But to see what we were talking about go to
Danica's Blog

I was going to post a picture of us in NY, but... it's very interesting, so I won't. : P
“We’ll start today with a little update of our week.” Is the way I started the rough draft of this blog, 5 days ago… ugh, we have hit the ground (or rather, pulled into our driveway) running. Craziness galore!

On [last] Sunday morning we learned that my grandfather had passed away. Precious is the death of the saints, so we rejoice. (He would be laughing so hard if he knew I just referred to him as a saint.) : )

So on [last] Monday evening we packed up the car and headed out to Long Island. I was nervous about the trip (which on average is about 7 hours in the car) because, if you catch the kids at a bad time a half hour trip seems like an eternity… so, I’m sure you can understand my reservation about such a trip. It was fine though. Silas slept the whole way, and though Gideon only slept 2 hours, he was SO GOOD!

It was a bit difficult for me to be there, Mark and I have only made it down to Long Island once since we’ve been together. It had been 3 ½ years since our last visit. So, to see my grandfather (at his wake… open casket) was hard, I didn’t really ever say goodbye. He never met my boys. But I know he knew I loved him, which I guess it what matters. We’ll see him again. : )

On a lighter note -

::Both of our boys were SO good, I said that already, but I just felt I needed to reiterate. My uncle asked me what was in the water in Rochester that made kids so good. (Shiloh, my niece was also there and was awesome as well.) It blessed me to be honored by my children’s behavior already. I always thought that day would come when they were in their teens. (Speaking in faith) ; )

::On our way down, we drove through the Pocono’s mountains, our ears were feeling that altitude change kind of pressure. Gideon started hitting his ear saying “hurt, hurt. Ear hurt!” I handed him a chip, “here, take this, it’ll help you” “No way! Ow! Hurt.” “Gideon just eat the chip, it’ll help your ear.” I insisted, “Okay” he said as he took the chip from my hand and proceeded to stick it in his ear. He cracks me up.

::Mark and I had a really nice time together. The long car ride was a good opportunity to chat about all of the “back burner” topics that we don‘t usually have time to talk about. I love my husband. : ) (One of the topics discussed was blogged about the day after, by Danica)

::Almost our whole family was there, which was nice, as we got to everybody.

::Mark and I (and Silas, thanks to the Moby wrap) joined my 2 older brothers and their wives in a quick trip to NY city. We just walked around Time Square grabbed a cup of something hot and a slice of pizza. We had a nice time though. Plus, Mark and I reached a goal that we’ve had. To make-out in the back of a minivan while someone drove us around. I don’t even think anyone else noticed… but it was kind of fun. : P

So, I just realized how mundane this little trip was. But I’m glad to have done it. I thought I needed to give a bit of an explanation of my frequent absence from the ramblings of. With this post and the previous, I’m sure you understand. (There is a whole host of other “just life” kind of things…)

I promise, soon, very soon, I will type out something more meaningful and thought provoking. In the mean time think on this -

“If you have never felt God telling you to give, than you need to pray more.” - John J. Ebel