Monday, October 16, 2017

Why We Bought a Home - Without Seeing It

After we became debt-free in 2011, our goal was to not buy a home until we had a good amount to put down and we had a fully-funded 6 month emergency fund.  Well, you long-time readers know my story, it was medical situation after medical situation for several years.  By 2016, we had rented for 16 years and we had nothing to show for it.  Thankfully we had good landlords who liked us and they kept our rent very cheap the whole 9 years we lived in our last place; a mobile home.  There just wasn't a time we could save up money for this elusive down-payment.  I even called Dave Ramsey and you know what he said - No way, keep renting till you get there.

Sorry Dave, but we decided to go forward and buy a home after much prayer.  The rent in the area we were moving to in Ohio for a 3 bedroom in a decent area, was just too much and would have put us in a situation of no savings.  We needed something that was 25% of our income for all that the housing entailed and housing prices were very affordable compared to rent.  We got a very low-interest rate and no down-payment thanks to being veterans.  I'm glad we did buy because now we have our mortgage locked in for 30 years and we are only using 25% of our income for housing costs (including taxes/insurance) and we can build everything else around that.  I think was the smartest thing we ever did!  I wish we hadn't waited so long to do so and just took the plunge.

We are fixing up all the regular maintenance issues that come up and it is still proving to be better than renting for us.  One thing I highly recommend to any homeowner is American Home Shield home warranty.  They have been awesome and fixed whatever came up with our older appliances.  We have the full plan that covers just about everything (HVAC, plumbing, appliances, electrical, etc.) and it is something that a home inspector we knew in WA, that was a pro, even has for his home.  Other than that, we are paying an extermination company to come 4 times a year, as we live across from a lake and have a few more insects than we care for.  We are learning to DIY with a lot of things that have come up.

You have to have a place to live and God will provide!  You either owe the landlord or you owe the bank.  With the landlord, you have nothing left to show after your years of payments.  With the bank, you will eventually own the home yourself or at least be able to sell it for the equity you have in it.

We actually bought our home without even seeing it!  The first time we saw it was when we pulled up before we went to sign the papers.  It was everything I had hoped for and more actually.  God just knows how to pick 'em!  My husband decided to heed the Holy Spirit and go to this city that God gave him in prayer 3 years prior one night.  It was the next morning after that, that this house was listed for sale.  It was in the area I got in prayer from the Lord and it had everything on my "wish" list.  It was in a perfect neighborhood too.  There was no need to go check it out.  When you go on faith - you BELIEVE and God delivers!

We didn't even have all the money to move and take care of what we needed to but FAITH got us there.  And just like that - God gave us all the money we spent for our move back.  I sit back and look over this past year and think - HOW!?  Then, I hear God say - according to YOUR FAITH!

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Garage - Home Tour Photos

This is our first time ever having a garage and I'm amazed how much stuff we have accumulated.  A friend said God touched his heart to build us shelves in our garage when we first moved here.  It was a blessing and all we had to pay for was the materials.  I don't know where everything would have went without these shelves!  He also built in some areas to hang the weed-eater, shovel, ladder, etc.

Here they are when they were first built:





Then, what our garage looked like with what was left to store:



I did the best I could with what I had.  One of the white cabinets is food storage and the other is art/craft/school supplies.  We have a lot of board games and they got their own bookcase.  Then, we have food storage and other items we stock up on as we can.  I also have bins full of my "skinny" clothes that hopefully I will be back in this coming year.  Then, the outside toys, yard tools, etc.  My son likes to play in the garage a lot and it is nice and cool because the garage doors are insulated, which was a bonus that was included with our home.  Then there is all the homeschool-related stuff - and it is a LOT!  We have been saving everything for our son and I'm so glad I did.

A lot of this still out with no where to go, is to sell or throw away.  I haven't finished everything but here is what we have so far.  The shelves are full as you can see.  You can see the garage floor! 


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Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Kitchen - Home Tour Photos

I haven't really showed many pictures of our new house and it has almost been a year (in 2 weeks) since we bought it.  This is the first house we have bought, as we had rented for 16 years.  It truly is a blessing!  I kept waiting to get my kitchen just right for photos but I gave up on that, this is good enough.

I've always wanted white cabinets but most houses we had seen, had brown or pine cabinets.  I thought I would have to settle but then we found this house and the cabinets were white!  They were originally pine but the previous owner painted them white.  I also love the gray counter-tops and the white sink that is deep and I think it is ceramic.  I also love being at the sink and being able to see outside or into the living area.



There was nothing on this wall and we needed a pantry of some kind in the kitchen, so we put a white cabinet with doors and then a microwave cart that we are using for other things since our microwave is built-in over the stove.  One day, I want something built-in here for food.  We keep our long-term food storage in the garage.



The fridge is a big one and I love how the freezer is on the bottom and it has a lot of room and a pull-out drawer.





One of my favorite things is the cabinets and drawers.  The cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling and I can store a lot of things.  I actually have a few cabinets empty because of all the space.  Then, the drawers - oh my!!  These are some of the biggest drawers I've ever had or seen and they roll out and in very smoothly, not sure if there is a special kind of drawer but different than any I've had.






We had our water tested before we bought the house and found that it was hard water but also very high in copper.  I did my research and decided it wasn't something I wanted to drink without filtering out.  We got a Berkey and it has been great and the water tastes SO good from it!  Even friends comment on how good the water tastes.  Definitely worth the purchase.



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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Our Perceptions vs. God's Omniscience

I've prayed in earnest over the years in various situations with various people for what I (or they) perceived that they needed.  However, in many of those situations, I learned that my perceptions are not always right as I saw what happened when God answered my prayers.  I learned that God's omniscience surpasses our human capacity of perception.

Let me give you some examples of what I'm talking about.  One situation was where I prayed and asked God to bless someone monetarily for the years they went without for the cause of the gospel.  I really sorrowed over this person's financial state of extreme debt and I thought money was the answer.  However, upon God answering my prayer and this person coming into large sums of money (more than once!), they didn't use it to pay off their debt, they spent it and then went on vacations, etc.  I was so mad!  I was thinking how could they just ignore God's blessings like that (and more than once!) and not free themselves from their debt?  Then it hit me - God knew that money wasn't the answer to their problem.  Their problem wasn't a lack of money.  Their problem was a spirit of debt, greed, etc.  God showed me that I should have prayed for them to be free from the spirit of debt and greed instead.

Be careful when you pray for others.  Be careful what you perceive to be the answer for them.  Really stop and pray and wait on God to give you the wisdom on what to pray.  I've had people ask me to pray for something specific but I felt the Holy Spirit letting me know that wasn't what they needed or what they needed to be praying.  I try not to agree to their demands of specific prayer but rather tell them I will pray what God leads me to pray.  Here are some examples to help guide you in this process:

  1. Praying for money for someone - be sure money is the solution!  Do they have a spirit of greed or debt?  If so, pray for their deliverance of these spirits.  Do they have a problem handling their finances?  Pray God gives them the ability and wisdom to handle their finances.  Are their money problems because they have a bag of holes because they are seeking after money more than God?  Pray they return to their first love and put God first.
  2. Praying for a bodily or physical need - will healing truly heal them?  If they are wanting healing of structural or muscular issues, do they have a problem with laziness or not moving much that will still be there after healing?  If so, pray for the spirit of laziness to be removed and for God to give them the ability and desire to get up and move around more AND for them to be healed.  That way, when they are healed, they will also not continue in the same mindset as before that got them there.  A lot of our bodily and physical issues are from our own making.  We can pray for healing and God WILL heal us (He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities) but if we want long-lasting deliverance, we must pray for what caused it in the first place.  This is but one example.
  3. Praying for someone to get a specific job/position - Be very careful with this one!  Is this the job or position that is right for this individual?  Is this truly what God's will for them is?  Seek God in how to pray for this situation.  I've known situations that if the person had gotten the job that they sought after, it would have ruined them.  I've also known those who did so and got the job or position, and it did, indeed, ruin them - sometimes in God and sometimes in other ways as well.  So many men are led away by this and it is combined with the spirit of the pride of life and even greed in some cases.  I liked what my husband prayed this year when he got laid off due to company cutbacks.  He prayed for God to close every door of the other companies he was applying for, if it wasn't what God wanted for him.  Not only did God close the doors but He busted open the closed door at my husband's job and (long story) after a lawyer got involved with a workaround with the union, they saved my husband's job and he is still there today.  Thank God for a man that knows how to pray correctly!
  4. Praying for someone to get away from someone else - this is quite common believe it or not.  I hear it a lot: "Pray for me that I can get a different desk at work to get away from this person that is making me angry and/or causing me problems."  Is it truly the other person that is the problem?  If it was, then you moving away should solve it.  However, that is not the case a lot of the times, you just find another person that bothers you just as much, if not more.  Rather, let us pray that this person be delivered from their irritableness, lack of long-suffering, anger and/or becomes easily intreated, but in most cases the deliverance prayer needs to be that of - from pride.  There are some cases where it is best to get away from someone when the above things are not a problem with the person involved.
  5. Praying for someone's child and their behavior issues - Most, if not all, behavior issues from children are because of the parent.  Behavior issues in children sometimes stem from a lack of attention from the parents, especially and most importantly, from the mother.  Many adults are walking around with mother-hunger because their mothers were not there for them - physically, emotionally or psychologically.  It is a need that MUST be met in all of us and if not, we will be prone to addictions in adult life, seeking after what only our mothers could have given us.  So - check yourself as a mother.  When I get asked this from women, I usually pray for the mother unless I'm impressioned by the Holy Ghost to pray for the child.  Another cause of behavior issues in children is not enough sleep.  Other causes of behavior issues in children could be abuse, demonic spirits or medical issues.

I could go on and on but I think you can begin to see the pattern and understanding with these examples.  The smarter we pray, the more we can help others and ourselves!  Don't let your perceptions get in the way of someone that you love and their deliverance.  Seek God and allow His omniscience to guide you into how to pray for others.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Equifax Security Breach - What To Do

You have most likely heard about the security breach at Equifax, which is one of the 3 top credit bureaus that store your personal information.  Not only were most adult's credit information in America stolen, but if you ever had to send in or upload your driver's license, that was also stolen.  If you don't know what these bureaus have in regards to your personal information, you can read it below.

What Personal Information Credit Bureaus Have

  • Full name and other names you have used
  • Social Security Number
  • Addresses past and present
  • Employers past and present
  • Salary information
  • Driver's license (if you ever had to prove your identity to one of the bureaus)
  • Credit accounts open or closed 
  • Mortgage accounts open or closed
  • If you pay on time, what your balances and credit limits are
  • How much total credit you have available and how much you are utilizing
  • Any debt collections (including medical bills sent to collectors)
  • Any illegal or derogatory information such as bankruptcy, foreclosure, tax evasion, repossessions, etc.

As you can see, that is a lot of information that these bureaus have that you never gave to them.  So, how did they get it?  Banks and businesses give them our information and then they buy our information when we do business with them.  I see a lot of regulations coming up over this and probably more thumbprint readers, face scanners and who knows what else.

So, we all have lost all of the above information and it is out there and there is no turning back.  At any moment, someone could steal your identity and you would have to go to great lengths to prove it wasn't you.  Obviously, you will need some form of protection because of all this, so, what are your options?


How To Protect Your Identity

  • Place a security freeze on your credit with all 3 bureaus - You may have to pay a small fee for placing a freeze with TransUnion and Experian but Equifax is doing it for free.
  • Place a fraud alert with one of the bureaus - only do this if you are not doing a freeze and from what I've read, you only need to notify one bureau and the rest will automatically be notified from the one.
  • Enroll in Equifax's free protection that covers you up to $1 million - not like they are going to have the ability or even a business left to protect us, but it is free and gives us some sort of feeling of protection.
  • Monitor your credit report frequently - you can get a free copy from each bureau of your report from annualcreditreport.com once a year.  You could also sign up with companies that give you access to your reports to monitor them or pay these companies to monitor them for you.  This isn't needed if you froze your credit.
  • Buy identity protection - there are many companies offering identity protection out there but when fraud happens, they make you do all the work of calling, filing papers, etc.  It can take over your life!  There is one that I know of that is a full-service company and will do that work for you in the event your identity is stolen, that is Zander Insurance.  You may have heard about them from Dave Ramsey, as he highly recommends them and uses them.  You can cover your whole family for $145 a year.
  • Stop bank and credit offers in the mail - opt out at https://www.optoutprescreen.com/?rf=t of getting pre-screened bank and credit offers and even insurance offers through the mail to prevent identity theft.  You can do an electronic opt-out for 5 years or a permanent one by sending in the form by mail.

What To Know About Freezing Your Credit

  • You won't be able to apply for any type of credit (cards, mortgage, car loan, etc.) while your credit is frozen.  However, you can temporarily "thaw" and even "unfreeze" your credit at anytime from the 3 bureaus in the event you need to.
  • Your employer or landlord will not have access to check your credit in the event you apply for a new job or a new place to rent.  You will need to unfreeze your credit to do these.
  • Freezing doesn't guarantee your identity isn't stolen.  Thieves can steal your identity in other ways as well, such as: medical fraud (pretending to be you for a surgery or hospital stay by using your SSN), Tax fraud (get ready for a crazy tax year come January!!  You may find someone has filed a fraudulent tax form in your name and got a refund), etc.  This is why you also need identity protection like Zander that I mentioned above.

You can't really stop the thieves completely now, but you can hopefully be covered in the event they do commit fraud against you, by having a company to pay the costs and do the work to restore your identity.  Thanks Equifax for creating the largest personal information breach in American history.  Now that it is out there, it will always be out there until the day you die - but hate to tell you, there is even fraud for people who have died!

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Update: Life in Ohio

We are one month away from having lived in Ohio for a year.  I have to say that the newness has not worn off, I still love it here!  This is by far my favorite place that I have lived in my life.  God has really blessed us here.

Even though our pay was substantially lower, we are finding that the quality of life here is far more superior than in Washington state.  The income taxes are horrible here but it may be worth it because it is so beautiful here and full of life.  Did I just say that? LOL!  At least the sales tax is low and there is no tax on food.  We were able to purchase our first home before we moved here and have our first brand-new car.  I believe the time was right for us to enter into these "luxuries" and keep our debt-free lifestyle.

The kids love it here too, they are happy all the time and we never run out of things to do.  If anything, there is SO much to do in our area alone that it is overwhelming and even after a year, we haven't even touched the whole of it.  Then, there is all that is out to do just 90 minutes from here and then on - there is nothing like living in the eastern part of the US!  I was on the west coast for 18 years (Alaska and WA) and though I loved Alaska's scenery, it was horribly lonely there.  Washington was probably the worst place we have lived in my opinion, although my husband loved it but he is loving it here now possibly more than WA.

God led us in a new direction as He is showing us just what He called us to this city for, it is becoming very clear we have a purpose.  Many amazing things have happened as God opened doors to show us He is not limited in how He can use us in the future.  Our church is wonderful and the people are very loving and our oldest daughter is really growing in her walk with the Lord.  I also experienced something that I never thought I would experience in my life.  I thought that because of my past traumas in life that I would never feel like I "belong."  However, I finally feel like I belong!  It had nothing to do with my past traumas, it just had to do with being where God wants us.  I hope to blog on this very topic in the future about heeding God's voice above all and really having faith in Him.

The weather here is better than I expected.  I was thinking it would be horrible with the humidity but I've found after now living here through every season, it is not bad at all!  The humidity is hardly noticeable to me and I've only felt it "muggy" on a few days this summer.  I'm loving every season here and it is wonderful to have fall and see the leaves change - we missed that for 10 years in WA.

I think that about sums it up so far - thanking God for this city and our new life here.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Satan's Directives for Christians

  • Make sure you only post sweet, nice things on the internet, make people feel good all the time.
  • Never tell anyone what they must do or be to go to Heaven.
  • Tell everyone they are good enough as they are - no need for following those "laws" in the Bible.
  • Never take a stand for anything or you will hurt other people's feelings.
  • Don't dress modest because you may offend someone with your holier than though attire.
  • Make sure you fit in as much as possible with unbelievers or they will think you are weird and you will never reach them for Christ that way.
  • Keep your friends after you are a Christian, continue to do the same activities with them and you will win them to God.
  • Get on social media and rant and rave about how bad the left is.
  • Talk bad about other Christians who are keeping God's commandments and call them Pharisees and mock them as legalists.
  • Make sure the music you listen to is hip so you can reach others in sin.
  • Don't worry about praying to God, just let your priest tell you what to do.
  • Make sure you follow popular Christian bloggers because they have so many followers they can't be wrong.
  • Pornography doesn't count as adultery.
  • Expose your flesh with minimal clothing, you are not at fault if men lust after you.
  • Watching sin on TV is not the same as doing it, so enjoy.
  • Movies are just entertainment and have no effect on you or your children's minds.
  • Spend your time fighting for statues, flags and political issues.
  • Refuse to bake homosexuals a cake, that will teach them.
  • Give your children access to the internet at all times, better yet, give them a phone with internet and make sure they have SnapChat.
  • Ask non-Christians for advice for your life, marriage and raising your children.
  • Wear the other gender's garments, it is acceptable now because everyone is doing it and God no longer views it as an abomination - trust me, He told me so.
  • God made a mistake in your gender, so you get to pick or even be genderless. 
  • Marriage is whatever you want it to be, have at it or don't and with whoever you want.
  • Prevent children at all costs and if one gets through, just have an abortion.
  • Focus on success - career, houses, lands, cars, wealth, etc.
  • Remember - you only need to say a prayer and you can toss your Bible away because there is nothing in there that you need to do - your good to go.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Homemade Laminate Floor Cleaner

My email subscription program had some glitches, so the past few posts didn't go out to everyone. This may be a repeat for some of you. 


Our new home has laminate floors downstairs and I wasn't sure how to clean them.  I did a lot of research and found that you do NOT want them to get too wet and then you don't want to use certain cleaners that leave a film and create a 'haze'.  I love how this cleaner cleans and makes the floors look.  It removes all the footprints and smears and makes them shine.


1/3 of each:

Rubbing alcohol
White vinegar
Hot water

Pour into your spray bottle and turn upside down a few times to mix.  Then spray and wipe as you go.  If you don't like the smell, you can add in a drop or two of your favorite scent.


I found that using a microfiber mop works really well.  I use Rubbermaid's Reveal mop and I found it is so wide that it covers more area with one swipe than other brands.  Not only that but it has a spray bottle attached and you just pump the handle and spray and then wipe.  It also has removable cloths that easily go in the wash (I have 3).  My daughter loves cleaning the floors too because it really is easy, fun and rewarding to see the results!


Mop image from Amazon

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Plans for Christian Homekeeping

Since moving to Ohio, I haven't really been into blogging.  I've concentrated more on my spiritual walk and my own personal issues.  I do miss blogging and as soon as this season of my life is over, I see this blog really taking off and being more active.

These are things that I envision having time to blog about.  I do have a challenging upcoming year with my daughter and she is already doing some high-school level courses to earn credits early and then I have my son who is ready to read, so this is really more like a wish list!

Future Blogging Topics
  • Home-care tips - pictures and videos - since buying our first home late last year, I've learned to take care and clean things that I had no experience with before, such as ceramic tile and laminate.  I've also learned how to do DIY things around the home.
  • Marriage - a much needed topic these days and I do have a lot to share on this
  • Faith and Trusting God - devotionals on what I've learned about stepping out on faith and trusting God when you don't understand why and reaping the benefits (ram in the thicket)
  • Budgeting - I want to blog on how we moved across the country, lost $13K a year in pay but are still living a good quality, actually better, life on a budget.
  • Video Tour - I've always wanted to do one of those video tours of my home back when we lived in a mobile home but somehow couldn't get the whole house clean (and stay clean) at the same time to video.  I probably could have done clips but didn't think of it until now.  I will try and do one of our new home.
  • More as I go..

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