Friday, October 30, 2015

What Will Really Matter?

Who would have thought I would have gotten a blog post from a menopause video but I did.  No, I'm not in menopause but I'm preparing for the future so I can do it in the most natural way.  I found some interesting information from history that I had no idea about it and so far, everyone I've shared it with had no idea either.  Menopause is actually a modern problem because up until the 1800's, women's life expectancy's didn't go past age 50!

In Ancient Rome, women normally only lived until age 25!  In Renaissance times, most women rarely lived past age 35!  By the Victorian era, they were living till age 45 and it wasn't until the beginning of the 1800's that they lived until 50!  Today, it is around age 80 that we can expect to live on average as women.  WOW!

Here is a chart showing average life expectancy for men and women from the 1850's to 2000 showing how much longer we live now:

Image credit: Oregon University

Think about that for a while - I probably would have been dead had I lived in Renaissance times!  Now, I probably could have a good 45 more years to go.  Amazing how time changes so many things.

This, along with a message that was preached recently, reminded me of the importance of what really matters.  Ultimately, it is God, salvation and living for Him but as women, our importance besides that comes from what?  We don't start churches.  We don't pastor or preach (generally).  So what are "we" doing for God as women?

This is something that most women forget to think about until it is too late.  Well, I decided years ago that I didn't want to be "too-late Nanci!"  I want to be right-now, no-regrets Beverly!  I still need reminders when my priorities get out of sync but I always come back to God and my family - being that wife and that mother training my children, so that they can continue on the legacy that our family is.  That which is done for Christ, the modeling of the minds of our children to know Him, is what will last.

I will leave you with this great quote from the video I watched from Dr. Low Dog that sums it all up so well:

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of job women had, what she did, what kind of house she lived in.  The only thing that will probably really matter, is how well she taught her children, her neighbors and her grandchildren.

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Preparation for the Future

If it had not been for God and the lessons we learned the hard way, I'm not so sure we would have done what it was going to take to make it through the past couple of years financially.  Most of you remember our story that I blogged about in, Our Financial Story, and how we realized that health insurance was a must.  We went on to pay off debt, insure ourselves and plan for future crisis's.  Thanks to that planning, we have spent the past few years being able to pay off all medical bills through the numerous surgeries I've had and ER visits, etc.  We don't have to be covered in piles of debt anymore!  Preparation really does spare you the extra burden on top of a health crisis!

This week, I will be paying our last medical bill for the year.  It was a rough year with 2 surgeries and a surgical procedure, many ER visits, CT scans, ultrasounds and an MRI - along with all the doctor visits and more ahead the next few months.  However, we reached our out-of-pocket maximum and will have no more bills the rest of the year and will have paid all we owed already.  What a difference planning for crisis makes!

We haven't used a credit card in 6 years and it has almost been 5 years since we became debt-free.  I'm a number-cruncher and love to do it and I love seeing how things can be removed as financial stressors, if we just plan for it.  God allowed us to go through hard things to really cement these lessons in our minds.  God knew what was ahead with my health in the coming years and thank God I listened and learned the lessons beforehand.

What are some things that could happen to any of us that we must prepare for?

  1. Health Crisis - Insure your family with medical insurance and make sure you have that year's out-of-pocket maximum in your reach with an HSA or savings.  If you can't have the full amount, at least have the deductible.
  2. Job Loss - Have an emergency fund of your expenses for 3-6 months worth in your savings in case of a job loss.  That way, you can go on living, pay your bills, ease your worries and it will give your husband time to find the right job.
  3. Disability - This could fall under health as well but make sure you prepare in the event that your husband becomes disabled and can no longer work.  Have long-term disability insurance up to at least 55-65% of income along with a good emergency fund.
  4. Death - Have life insurance on both spouses and all children in the event of death to pay funeral costs.  Insure the husband's life at a higher level to cover lost income and even possibly the wife to cover childcare in the event of your death.
  5. Auto Crisis - Auto accidents happen and autos break down - make sure you have car insurance and include rental car coverage if needed.  We had our car stolen in Alaska and thanks to our car insurance, we got money to cover the cost of the vehicle's damage (which was totaled) and put towards a new vehicle.  Also having a fund set aside towards the purchase of a vehicle once you know yours is nearing its end.
  6. Home Crisis - Insure your property and home or have renter's insurance if you rent to cover your possessions in the event of devastation.  Also having a home security system will benefit you from burglaries or even protect your family from harm as the alarm will give you time to retrieve a weapon and protect your family.

Doing these things is not only wise, it will spare you a lot of extra heartache and burdens!

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Trump, Carson or Cruz - Let's Talk Politics

I'm very interested in this upcoming Presidential election because I'm really wanting to see a good man in office for a change!  I've been a longtime Ted Cruz supporter, though I also like both Carson and Trump.  I even like Rubio but I'm sticking with the current top 3.  Let's start out with talking about Ben Carson.  The guy is smart and obviously a bit too smart for the media because they can't even take his logical statements in the correct way.  That may be the downfall of Carson being able to win because a lot of Americans don't get it either because they are too dumbed-down for a smart President like Carson.  I think he could do a lot of good but I think he would have to spend most of his time explaining what he meant when he said what he said.  I also don't think he has the demeanor to get the job done, he is too soft.

Next in line would be Ted Cruz, who I think is a an awesome pick but one that might be too conservative for the nation.  Sure, it would be nice but we have to remember that we want the candidate to win and he might not be able to bring the vote.

Lastly, we have Trump.  On the surface we see a proud, arrogant man that has a wife that isn't seen as a "Presidential" example BUT... here is why I like Trump.  This man could get the job done.  His pride and ego would not let him fail - he wouldn't except no for an answer.  He would build the wall.  He would bring jobs back to America.  He would probably do most of what he says because his pride is at stake.  It may be time for a man like this - you know, the kind that can stand up to other countries and get rid of ISIS!  I think he is the only one that could actually get things done (except for Rubio also).  He is intimidating to many but it may be time for the world to be intimidated again instead of laughing at our President.

Trump says it all just right.  Trump brings a manliness about him that we don't see that much these days.  Trump isn't a shining light for a Christian but at least he supports Christians.  The guy can motivate, inspire and bring courage back to our country.  If anything, maybe he will give men an example of a man with a spine!

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God Created Family

A lot of people forget just who created family.  Who came up with the idea to make a man and a woman produce offspring?  Whose plan was it for us to have children?  Whose plan was it for there to be future generations?  Who would have wanted such a thing - oh wait, that would be our Creator; God!

If everyone took on the mentality of some family-opposers, we wouldn't even be here.  Some Christians say we shouldn't have children during these evil days but they forget that when Christians stop bearing offspring, there is less a chance that there will be those that will bring others to Christ.  If anything, we should be having more.  The Muslims get this and they are more eager to promote their religion and they know the key is to produce children and in the future, they will most likely be the majority.  Of course God is more powerful than numbers but even God Himself, wanted Israel to increase in number by bearing offspring.

Did Christians fail in the spreading of the gospel because they limited their children?  You could make this argument because there are less hands, less feet and less mouths to share the gospel but all that is considering that your children actually become Christians.  What we can't forget is that the ultimate design that God set forth was for male and female and that of creating families.

What if Adam and Eve had said they would rather do more for God in the garden and decided to prevent children?  Could they really have done MORE for God just themselves?  Was it Satan's sick idea for them to have children so it would hinder their work for God?  Oh wait, it was GOD who commanded them to be fruitful and multiply!  I still can't find that verse of scripture we reached "enough" and God said STOP being fruitful and STOP multiplying - it has got to be in there somewhere right!?  Or was it just supposed to expire at 100 people, or was it a 1,000... a million... hmm.  I guess I will have to ask Dr. Prevention to find out when we were supposed to quit.  The commandment to stop must have been after Paul because he actually told Christian women to marry and bear children.  It must have been so recent that it didn't make it into God's Word, that along with the new definition of marriage....

God created families, he doesn't try to prevent them!

What we must do as Christians is examine everything that brings itself against the design of God and His Word.  Just because one man says that anyone can marry, no matter their gender - doesn't mean we just accept it because it seems "loving."  What does God say?  What is God's design?  THAT is who we must consult.  We either follow God or we follow man's perverted views.

Thank God for family!  Though my days of bearing children in my flesh are over, if God wants to send some my way to raise, I will have open arms and be willing to raise those that others did not want!

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 9, 2015

This Week's Menu

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, green beans & brown basmati rice
One-Pot Cabbage Casserole
Vegetarian Korma & brown basmati rice
Crockpot Split Pea Soup & Bread
Baked Salmon With Garlic and Dijon, broccoli & baked potatoes
Hamburgers & Fries
Chana Saag & brown basmati rice

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Who's At Fault for Gender Confusion?

You can sit back and scoff at gender confusion and even go so far to say it is demonic but what most people miss is that being confused about your gender is exactly what comes from past generations' lack of gender distinction.  Masculinity and femininity used to be clearly defined.  It wasn't just dress, though this plays a big part, but rather the manner of each gender that was carried out in everything they did and didn't do.

Men throughout time took care of their wives - you know when marriage was between a man and a woman?  Then, women decided they wanted to be equal with men and so began the "equality" or what was really the mimicking of being a man.  Then we had women leaving the home, leaving the raising of the children, leaving the wearing of feminine dress and ultimately leaving the delicacy of the female.  Here she was - acting like a man, dressing like a man, working like a man and even carrying herself like a man.  The children were raised by whoever and the feminity was not being displayed.

It wasn't just the women.  The men sat by and let all this happen (as usual).  They slithered down into a submissive, spineless, effeminate "man."  Instead of letting their sense of manhood be about providing for their families, being that masculine figure of the home - they became lazy and didn't even try anymore.  The children were raised by whoever and the masculinity was not displayed.

So... with mom wearing the pants and bringing home the bacon and dad sitting around playing video games and caring less about his family - you want to blame WHO for gender confusion?  I think for some, it may take just looking in their mirror or their family photo album.  The examples of male and female for the majority, died out a long time ago.  We are just living in the age of the result of the lack of proper distinction of the sexes.

I know it is easy to judge and speak evil against children who are confused of their gender - but they are the result of a society that has left God and left His Word that has ALWAYS called for gender distinction and given us the roles of men and women.  Then we have "Christians" that want to say that those who actually look like a woman or a man and do women or man things are LEGALISTIC.  Way to go Satan - you really got them working on your side.

So who really brought the CONFUSION?  If I can't tell you are a woman standing behind you in line with your man haircut and clothes, then what do you think that has done to others?  Why would gender confusion matter to women (or men) who are cross-dressing already?  You are promoting it!

Try putting on a dress and acting like your gender ladies.  Men, try wearing the pants and providing for your family like a real man does.  Then maybe, your children can pass down to future generations what male and female really is all about because they might need a reminder 40 years from now because body parts evidently don't make a difference these days!!

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 2, 2015

What I Want to Blog About

Since I've been gone for 6 months and now getting back to blogging, there are some things I do want to blog about.  My life is spent on the couch and bed these days as I recover from surgery and I have another 3-5 weeks of rest to go before I can be doing normal things since I've had some complications.  So... seems like I have a lot of time to write if I feel up to it and here is what I have on my mind:

  1. Frugality - I have taken months off being frugal due to my health and inability to make my normal homemade foods.  The past 5 weeks, my parents flew in and have been taking care of us by cooking, cleaning, babysitting, etc.  I really need to get back to a budget now, try making dinner a few times a week if I can.
  2. Decluttering - I can no longer have children, so I will be selling all of my baby stuff in our storage and let me tell you - it is a LOT of stuff!  I may even open my ebay store back up to sell all of the clothes and even my clothes because I've lost 29 pounds being sick!
  3. Health - if health wasn't important to me already, it is VERY important now.  I can not stand medications and what they do to my body, so I decided to quit them and find natural things for my pain and I have been able to find a lot of things to help me.  I want to experiment more with natural things.  I would also like to continue to lose weight since I'm down 29 pounds the past few months and it feels great!
  4. Political & Social Issues - we are gearing up for what looks to be a wild Presidential election next year and I will share who I like and why.  I also want to blog about the gender confusion, gay marriage and what that means to us as Christians and how I feel we should approach it all.
  5. Recipes - there are some foods I can no longer have, so I have to try new recipes and plan on sharing as I go as I've done in the past with my recipe reviews and meal plans.  I no longer freezer cook as I feel it may have contributed to health problems, but that is my theory anyway.  I lean towards fresh foods and meals made daily now with fresh ingredients.

I'm sure there will be more but those are at the top of my list right now!

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Times are SO Bad Now

Times are so bad now, the schools are so bad now, the government is so bad now...

Well - times are not "so bad" just now - they were already BAD many, many years ago when they took GOD out of schools and the government.  I guess you have to decide what you personally feel is "bad".  It is either your children not being taught about God and excluding Him from their day or it is a long list of things that ends at, "Oh my goodness, they are teaching about gays now, I can't let my kid hear that."  It was ok to let them hear that God wasn't real, that He didn't create anything, and all that goes along with humanistic education but now that they are teaching changing families, it is a disgrace.

It is time to realize that it was a disgrace when they took God out!  That is more awful than a gay, than a transgender, than gay marriage, and all the other perversions they can come up with.  God is more important.

The government decided that killing babies was ok but that's ok because who cares about children, must less having them, these days anyway.  That isn't a fight many Christians wanted to have because hey, they were sold on birth control - which commonly kills babies every year since they made their uterus a killing machine.

We have let all these things slip for the past 70 years and what we have today is the generations of children raised by the parents that allowed these horrors.  They were caught up in the American "dream" of having a house and all they could fill with it that they put money above family, education and God.  What we have left is the result - the "times are so bad NOW" syndrome.

Thank God we have those that will still fight for what is right and try to save this great country but is it too late?
Can generation X turn the tide of the boomers and the mothers that left their homes to work and decades of neglect?  Can we change that most adults today need psychotherapy and antidepressants because of the neglect of their parents?  Can we change the many lives that aren't even sure their own gender because they didn't see the distinction in their homes or those around them? Can we undo any of this!?!?

What kind of children will we raise - ones that continue the cycle or ones that break the cycle!!  The future is in your hands mother, you can raise that generation that WILL turn the tide, that WILL get back to the truth and holiness!!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

I'm Back

I had thought I was done with this blog but could never bring myself to delete it completely.  A lot has happened to me the past 6 months since I closed this blog down.  I felt like putting my blog up last week but dismissed the thought.  Then tonight at our church conference, I had a few people talk to me about my blog.  I've missed my blog, I've missed writing and sharing my thoughts and I've missed the "community" of readers.

I let criticism really get to me and I decided I would rid my life of this blog and be done with it.  Then, the battle of my life came and I went through the hardest, darkest, most painful time of my life the past 6 months.  You can't even understand the horrors I went through but I'm going to share that in future posts because I'm hopefully on the other end of this time in my life and praying life gets better.

I need healing!  I need prayers!  I've been sentenced to a lifelong disability in my body by doctors but I'm not accepting it and I'm expecting God to heal me in this conference that my church is in this week!  I will share more later but just wanted to bring this blog back to life... hopefully it will also bring me back.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Robbing God, His House & His Pastors

I was waiting for the final thing to put this post together that I've been considering the past week and I got it this morning from the sermon!  God is always right on time!!  I'm going to blog about our financial role in supporting the house of God.  I'm here to state why every true Christian pays tithes and gives offerings to their church.

The house of God, or the Church, does not run by itself.  Did you know that!?  I mean someone has to pay for the building, the land, the upkeep of both, the electricity, water, heat and even the pastor!  So, for those of you who don't believe in paying tithe - do tell me how all that gets done?  God is a God of order and He has set up a way that the Church and the Pastor will be taken care of and it is our duty to take care of them as Christians.

Abraham paid a tenth of his increase, which is tithe, before the law was even given - so that is for all those that say "we are not under the law" in their excuse to keep their money.  Abraham didn't need a law, he honored God with a tenth of increase!  All throughout the Bible we see the giving heart of God's people and even about giving God the first-fruits.  God calls those that don't pay tithe and give in offerings as robbers of Him - yes, you rob God!  Let's bring out some scripture to show this continuing work that has always been and is still is required:

Hebrews 7:1-2 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all.
Hebrews 7:8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth.

Abraham paid a tenth tithe to Jesus, who is our High Priest and who appeared to Abraham as Melchisedec, which you can read about in the entire chapter of Hebrews 7.  Abraham was before the law was given, that shows how ancient this tithing custom is - it was started by God and it has never ended as Paul was stating in verse 8 that it still continues.  Even Cain and Abel brought offerings to God that were required, and Cain used the same teaching that is spreading today that "you don't have to give what is required, just bring what you want" and we all know what God said about Cain's offering!  Don't be a modern-day Cain and think you can do whatever you want - God still requires a tenth of your increase.

Pro 3:9-10  Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

You are honoring God when you give him the FIRST of your increase!  I like what Henry says:

God, who is the first and best, must have the first and best of every thing; his right is prior to all other, and therefore he must be served first. ...We mistake if we think that giving will undo us and make us poor. No, giving for God's honour will make us rich, Hag_2:19. What we gave we have.

Notice what God says:

Mal 3:8-11  Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.  Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

God counts not giving your tithes and offerings as robbery!  You bring the cursing upon yourself - thinking you will have more if you don't give God the first, the tenth.  The opposite is true - when you give God what belongs to Him, He WILL open the windows of Heaven and bless you!!  Not just that but He will make sure that the devourer will not be able to ruin you financially.  WOW!!  Too bad that was just for Old Testament people and not for us right?  WRONG!  It is STILL the same today!!  It is God's money from the get-go and it never was yours - so when you keep it all to yourself, you are robbing God of His required portion of His money - you are a thief and no thieves will be in Heaven!  There will be robbers of God filling up hell - those that didn't honor God and kept their money to themselves and didn't take care of God's House and His pastors.

Notice how God even told us WHERE to bring His money - to the house of God, the storehouse that there would be supplies in His house.  Henry says it so well:

Robbing God is such a heinous crime that those who are guilty of it are not willing to own themselves guilty.

God set up a way for the church and Pastors to be taken care of - by tithes and offerings.  When you do not give your portion, you are robbing God because you are preventing the support of the church and the Pastor.  You rob God out of the money, HIS MONEY, that was reserved to take care of GOD's Church and God's man!  And you call yourself a Christian!?  Let's look at biblical examples of people like you:

Haggai 1:4-11 Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?  Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.  Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.  Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit.  And I called for a drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the new wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands.

Here we have people that took care of their houses but let the house of God lie in waste!  They didn't put God first.  A great example of what can happen to God's house when there is no tithe or offerings (or in this case, willingness to help in building God's House).  Notice the curse that came upon them!  Notice the evil heart of people that are against giving God a tenth and offerings and do not take care of the church or the Pastor!  Selfishness, greed, covetousness and forgetting whose money it is in the first place because you wouldn't even have an issue of giving God a tenth - it is honoring God!

These notes from the Geneva bible say it so well:

Showing that they sought not only their necessities, but their very pleasures before God's honour.

You dishonor God when you withhold HIS money from Him, that shows where your heart and treasure truly is - you have made money an idol.

Let's travel on over to the New Testament and what God's Word says about who provides the living (money) for a Pastor:

1 Cor. 9:11  If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
1Co 9:14  Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Paul explains how wrong it is to not take care of the Pastor.  The Pastor should reap carnal goods, or money, for what he gives us spiritually.  The Lord ordained that Pastors should LIVE or earn their income how?  Of the gospel!  Barnes expounds on this law that the Lord ordained:

...the minister is entitled to a support; and then also a people are not at liberty to withhold it. Further, there are as strong reasons why they should support him, as there are why they should pay a schoolmaster, a lawyer, a physician, or a day-laborer. The minister usually toils as hard as others; expends as much in preparing for his work; and does as much good. And there is even a higher claim in this case. God has given an express command in this case; he has not in the others.  ...Are not ministers often in distress for that which has been promised them, and which they have a right to expect? And is not their usefulness, and the happiness of the people, and the honor of religion intimately connected with obeying the rule of the Lord Jesus in this respect?

Paul did not take the pay he had a right to from one church but he later apologized to those he didn't allow to support him.  He also said that he robbed other churches because he didn't take pay from this church but from others.

2 Cor. 11:8  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
2Co 12:13  For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

Paul acknowledged his wrong in not having this particular church to support him or provide his income.  He made them inferior to the other churches by not allowing them to receive the blessings that came along with taking care of the man of God!  Clarke expounds on Paul's realization of his mistake:

It was your duty and your interest to have supported your apostle; other Churches have done so: I did not require this from you; in this respect all other Churches are superior to you. I am the cause of your inferiority, by not giving you an opportunity of ministering to my necessities: forgive me the wrong I have done you. It is the privilege of the Churches of Christ to support the ministry of his Gospel among them. Those who do not contribute their part to the support of the Gospel ministry either care nothing for it, or derive no good from it.

One last thing that non-tithe payers and non-supporters of the church and pastors like to use is a verse about the Pharisee that paid tithe:

Mat 23:23  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Notice that Jesus said they should not leave the other undone - Jesus, the Son of God, saying you should pay tithes!  It is doing one thing and not doing the other is what Jesus was pointing out.  Pharisees like to pick and choose what they will do - much like people today pick and choose to not pay tithe but follow other teachings religiously.  Pharisees also prayed, so was prayer wrong too?  No, it was the manner in which they prayed and their motive that was called out just as Jesus was pointing out their doing one thing and not the other, the most important things.  Pharisees exalted themselves yet they left out the weightier matters showing they don't prefer the FULL gospel as Henry points out so well:

They were very strict and precise in the smaller matters of the law, but as careless and loose in the weightier matters, Mat_23:23, Mat_23:24. They were partial in the law (Mal_2:9), would pick and choose their duty, according as they were interested or stood affected. Sincere obedience is universal, and he that from a right principle obeys any of God's precepts, will have respect to them all, Psa_119:6. But hypocrites, who act in religion for themselves, and not for God, will do no more in religion than they can serve a turn by for themselves. The partiality of the scribes and Pharisees appears here, in two instances.  ...They that are taught in the word, and do not communicate to them that teach them that love a cheap gospel, come short of the Pharisee.

What I've shared with you is God's Word on tithing and offerings and how they are used towards the support of the church and the income of the Pastor.  It is our duty, but we should do it cheerfully as we know that God let us keep 90% and we have the privilege to take care of God's House and His Pastor!

Christian Homekeeping © All Rights Reserved.

Part 8 - Q&A - Living On One Income

I have to apologize because one of the questions submitted was missing the last part, which contained more questions.  I missed this somehow and only found it when I went to delete the file from my documents.  So, I'm reposting the entire question here and my answer - sorry to whoever this was!

Q. Hello,

I have been following your blog for some time and had a few questions on one income.

My husband and I are both currently working full time high stress career fields, which has definitely taken a toll on our marriage. We have talked about me eventually quitting my job and either pursuing homemaking full time or an accounting/or bookkeeping job that is under 10 hours a week that I can work from home. I want out of corporate accounting.

The catch is like most Americans we are currently in debt. My husband currently has around six thousand in student loans. Thankfully, my husband paid for my college, so I don’t have any loans. We have three cars, two of which still have car payments, and I have $2,400 left on my credit card.

Our plan that we came up with a month ago was for me to continue working for the time being and to contribute a majority of my pay check to pay down the remaining of our debt before me quitting my job. This would allow us to see what it would be like on one income and to eliminate debt before our income gets cut in half. Last month I was able to pay off $3500 on my credit card and I made a double payment on my husband’s student loans and one of our car payments. I was able to do this by not eating out and by not spending money on frivolous work clothes, ect.

My first question is when you decided to be a homemaker, was money at all taken in consideration? Did you go into being a home keeper with ideal circumstance of not having debt and high savings or did you just do it and gradually pay off debt and build up savings?

The other issue that has arisen from talk of me staying home is all the negativity from friends and family on the issue. We are twenty-nine and thirty, and have been married for ten years. We are unable to have children, so everyone has expected me to work full time, since I’m still somewhat young. I don’t necessarily need validation, but it has been hard to receive so much criticism on the subject. Had we been able to have children, this would have not been an issue, since it is generally culturally acceptable to be a stay at home mom. I was wondering if you ever received such criticism from staying home before you had children and how did you deal with it?

I might also add that huge contributing factor of me wanting to be a home keeper is I am an insulin dependent diabetic since I was a small child as well as having an underactive thyroid which I take medication for, too. It is extremely hard to take care of myself when I work such long hours. Also, my coworkers are not excited by the fact that I give myself insulin shots at work when I eat lunch or snacks and several have complained. :(

A.  First of all - get out of debt and save an emergency fund and then destroy the credit cards.  You can do that on one income even, as many do.  Is the stress worth the money?  Can you even enjoy the money if you are working and stressed at that?  You didn't mention children, so I wonder why 3 cars - I would sell one at least.

I think your plan sounds good but it really isn't something you try out - to me, it is honoring God's Word for women.  You do have to learn to live on what he provides and look at it that he is being what a man should be and you be that woman and you will be amazed at the added peace to the home.

I honestly didn't even think of the money when I stopped working.  I let my husband think about that.  I felt like the burden of my life had been lifted off me and it was one the best feelings I've ever had to know that my husband was going to take care of me and I didn't need to anymore.  I felt like and still do feel like, I had/have a real-life Prince!  We had no debt as we were just in our lower 20's at that time but we did have to stop eating out all the time and budget our money.  There were some scary times that first year when we didn't know how to pay the rent - but God always provided and made the difference.

The second question about what others think is something you will have to deal with but you have to not care what they think.  I know that is easier said than done and I still get criticism even though I am a mom staying home, I've heard it all: "Quit making your husband do so much and get out and get a job."  The ironic thing is that these comments come from people where the wife works but they are STILL in debt up to their eyeballs and I don't work and we have no debt.  I think it isn't about the wife working, it is about our hearts and greed and covetousness.  Most men should feel like they are a man to take care of their wives and families, we shouldn't take that away from them.  Men that want their wives to work are lazy and/or covetous or maybe they just didn't know what God's Word said and just followed the culture.

You should be at home enjoying your life as a loving wife and taking care of your home, yourself and your husband!  I think you will find the greatest peace if you make the step.  Life isn't a bed of roses for anyone but it can be blessed by God if you trust Him, obey His Word and the roles He made us for and lean on Him!

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2015 Recipe Reviews #1

I haven't done one of these posts in a while and we have tried a lot of new meals this year.  I can't remember them all, as some were not good and I just deleted them from my computer, but these are the ones I can remember.

  1. Loaded Baked Potato and Chicken Casserole - this was way too fatty for me, but hubby and the kids liked it.  We decided not to make this again though because of high fat content and there is another recipe we make that is similiar but lower in fat.
  2. Southwest Chicken & Potato Bake - this is the recipe we like better than the above one and that is not as high in fat.  We loved this recipe and I add extra BBQ sauce (we use Stubb's Sticky Sweet BBQ) and I make homemade onion soup mix.
  3. Crockpot No-Boil Manicotti - SO GOOD!!  We loved this and it is going to be a regular now in our favorites.  I used a jar sauce instead of making my own and the sauce was more sweeter than salty and that isn't the kind of marinara we prefer, so next time I'm making my own.  This was so easy and fast and delicious!
  4. Chicken Tikka Masala with Homemade Garam Masala - LOVE!!  This is a favorite in our house now and we put it on brown basmati rice.  I saute the onions and garlic in olive oil first and added in the ginger, tomato paste and spices.  We also use fire-roasted diced tomatoes and we use 2T of garam masala.
  5. Cheesy Stuffed Pepper Casserole - Another favorite now!  I loved this and the rest liked it enough to have it 1-2 times a month.  My husband hates stuffed pepper dishes but he liked this since the peppers are cut up.  I added 2T taco seasoning.
  6. Rice & Bean Casserole - this was good but my son just refused to eat it the next day.  Not sure if I will make this again but I liked it and may try it with pinto beans instead of kidney beans next time.
  7. Homemade Cheeseburger Helper - we all liked this and it is in our favorites but something we would only have 1-2 times a month.
  8. Chana Saag - we all love this one and have made it a lot the past few months.  We have it over rice and it gives a lot of leftovers for us.
  9. Crockpot Beef & Broccoli - OH MY THIS IS GOOD!! But it is so expensive to make as the beef for this dish cost us $11.  This is a luxury sort of meal for us and way healthier than take-out!  We serve over rice.
  10. Chicken Alfredo Baked Ziti - good but on the dry side, just not enough sauce for us, we actually prefer the next recipe without chicken.
  11. Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo - good but not a favorite but we prefer over the chicken one above.  I use more liquid to make it creamier.
  12. Crockpot Enchiladas with Homemae Red Enchilada Sauce - FAVORITE!!  My husband could eat this every week and so could I!  There are no leftovers of this meal.  I don't use the Ranch style beans, I simply use pintos and add in spices (you can find many recipes online for the ranch style beans but I just use extra cumin, garlic/onion powder).
  13. Lasagna Casserole - favorite and I use my own homemade sauce and rotini noodles.  This is what I usually make for others/fellowship as it is always a winner with garlic bread!
  14. One-Pot Mac n' Cheese - I add in peas and 2 cans of tuna to make this stretch.
  15. Crockpot Cheesy Beef & Potato Casserole - good but not something we would make a lot.
  16. Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken - we couldn't stomach it but we did eat, burned our insides for a day or so and made us sick.  I'm pretty sure it was all the apple cider vinegar!  We threw away the leftovers.
  17. One-Pot Pasta - we liked it for a while but know we don't want it anymore.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Part 7 - Q&A - Living On One Income

Q.  Hi Bev,
My dear husband lost his job of nearly 25  years suddenly on Good Friday. His job was funded by the State of IL and the Governor ceased all spending on Human & Social Services with NO warning.  My husband's program was NOT a government handout program, but one that prevented juvenile delinquency. 
I have been home from my job as a public school teacher for 13 years.  I LOVE being a stay at home wife and mother and my husband says it's his top priority to continue that.  Any ideas on what to do in this situation?  This is my first time dealing with this.  Thank you in advance! 

A.  I think the person that asked this, also asked in 2 other comments and so I'm copying/pasting my answer from there to here.  First of all, PRAY! God will open another door where it was closed I believe. Next, seeing that he has 23 years experience, he will probably be able to find another good job I assume in his field. A possible move to another state or area to find a job may be something you need to pray about. Did you prepare for something like this? I know that is what is optimal but most people aren't prepared for these things. He would need to find another job soon but in the meantime draw his unemployment compensation, which he paid a lot into over the years. Pray, pray, pray and trust God to meet the needs and it doesn't hurt to encourage your husband to be proactive and find another job - who knows, he may find one that is better!

In the event of a job loss, they say to cut all expenses down to the crucial needs - kind of like skimming all the fat off a piece of meat.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Part 6 - Q&A - Living On One Income

I only received a few questions and we will start with the first few in this post and finish up the rest in Part 7.

    Q. What activities do you do as a family for fun?

    A. We are pretty easy to please and it doesn't take much for us to have fun.  We like playing board games (7 Wonders, Funglish, Rummikub, Made for Trade, 10 Days in.., Homeschoolopoly to name a few).  My kids and I watch Netflix (my husband doesn't watch movies).  Things we like on Netflix are educational, documentaries, cartoons, home & craft shows and some Christian films they have like Ace Wonder that are clean.  We do things outside and sometimes go to the park or for a drive.  Church is our big family activity - I guess you could say that is fun but more so, it is the basis of our family life.

    Q. For retirement do you only fund one account in your husbands name or do you both have seperate accounts?

    A.  We have a joint retirement account - nothing separate because we are married and that ends the separate accounts when you join together.

    Q.  Ways you save on household goods!?

    A. I'm not sure what you count as household goods but I'm assuming you are talking about cleaning supplies?  I make my own all-purpose cleaner, detergent and hand soap and have for over 10 years now.  Those are big savings.  I buy the blue Dawn dish detergent or the generic brand of it and it does so many things in the house (dishes, grease, tub, laundry).  I use a steam mop, so I don't need any floor cleaners as the steam is the best, in my opinion, to use for your floors and make them safe for children and it is easy, efficient and kills germs and only takes distilled water!  I use SOS pads for our tubs and sink because they are very old plastic material that is frustrating to clean.  I use a generic window or rubbing alcohol for my mirrors but a friend showed me how I could use a hot water and a microfiber rag to clean them and it worked!  I use a piece of an old t-shirt as a dusting rag by soaking it in hot water and squeezing it out and then I wipe my bookshelves, tables and other surfaces.

    Q.  How do you plan for the unexpected expenses?

    A.  I plan for the unexpected expenses by actually planning for them in the budget.  I usually plan $50-$100 a month for miscellaneous things that come up.  If we don't use it, we put it in savings.  I've gotten better at knowing what to expect each month, so eventually I can lower this because we are finding that unexpected expenses are more expected as I track our detailed budget.

    Q.  Tips on gift giving, please!

    A.  For our family we buy gifts on birthdays and Christmas.  For outside of our immediate family, we only buy gifts as we feel led to do so.  I believe the money that God gives us should be used as He sees fit and I just don't go out and buy everyone I know a gift all the time.  I also limit my attendance to events that expect gifts.  My tip would be to not spend money you need for your family to soothe your guilt in giving gifts as I know a lot of women that are stuck in this trap.  It isn't really a gift anymore because you are giving it out of expectation or guilt.  God does touch our hearts occasionally to give someone a gift and we do so - I love when He leads like that!  It is His money and we want to do our best to use it wisely.

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    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    Part 5 - Budgeting - Living On One Income

    I've blogged about budgeting in several series before - Financial Budgeting 101 and Living Debt Free.  I did want to touch on a few things about budgeting in this series for those who haven't read the other series.  Your husband can do the budget or he can defer that to you.  My husband always did the budget until the past year when he let me take over.  I'm very good with numbers and so, he has given me reign over it now.

    In Part 4, we talked about the home management fund, which includes food, necessities (toilet paper, etc.), clothing and some maintenance (cleaning supplies, light bulbs, etc.).  There are still other categories left to budget for and they are:

    Tithe - should always be first and foremost! Here's why:
    Tax (federal, medicare, social security)
    Savings/Retirement (emergency fund, college funds, etc.)
    Housing (mortgage or rent)
    Housing maintenance
    Housing insurance (home owner's or renter's)
    Utilities (electric, gas, water, garbage, sewer)
    Phone & Internet (cable if you use that)
    Cell Phone(s)
    Security system monitoring
    Gasoline for car
    Car insurance
    Car maintenance (repairs, oil changes, etc.)
    Personal Insurance (life, disability)
    Health insurance
    Health Savings Account or Fund for medical bills
    Vision costs (contacts/glasses, solution, exams)
    Dental Insurance
    Medications and/or Supplements
    Job fees or Union dues
    Entertainment (Netflix, books, etc.)
    Home Management (clothing, food, necessities, small maintenance)
    Miscellenous expenses (gifts, toys, etc.)
    Music lessons
    Vacation or trips

    DEBT - should be zero but if you have it, get rid of it!

    Yearly Expenses
    Homeschool Legal Defense (if you homeschool on your own, you need this!)
    Memberships (like Amazon Prime)
    Car tags and registration
    Property taxes
    Homeschool curriculum and supplies
    Identity Theft Protection

    I may have missed something or there may be things you pay that aren't listed.  You need to find ways to cover the above categories based on your income.  The best way to do this is by first subtracting tithe, offerings, tax and other payroll deductions and then budgeting your take-home pay.  Most families of 4 pay anywhere from 11-15% tax, so make sure you allot for that and thank the government for their continued wise spending of your money and take joy in the increases to help them. <-- You didn't think I was being serious there did you!?

    Once you write down everything you need to take care of monthly or yearly, you will get a clear picture and then be able to budget your money and purposely budget for savings instead of wondering where your money went each month.  Dave Ramsey has a new, FREE program for budgeting called Every Dollar and I use it and love it!  It includes some tutorials in the help section if you need them.  Or you can simply budget on paper - I do both.

    Work on lowering the categories and eliminate those you can, to bulk up your savings.  Create funds for whatever you need or will need - car, clothing, furniture, etc.  Make sure you have an emergency fund to cover 3-6 months of expenses if your husband loses his job or until disability becomes available.  Fund your retirement so you will not burden your children when you are older (and to have something to leave them!) and so that you can support the both of you.  Fund or don't fund your children's college - that is up to each family.

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