12 Blessed Years of Marriage!

I cried for a while yesterday thinking of the past 12 years.  We have gone through some trials that maybe couples don't even experience until many years into their marriage.  I thought of the wonderful husband I have and his deep love for me.  Even though for the first part of our marriage, he had to endure watching me change with a disease that got worse each year, he never stopped loving me.  When maybe some men would have left or pushed me aside, he stood by side and helped me through it.  When we met and I shared with him all I had been through in my life, he comforted me and that is when I knew he was made for me.  God knew what kind of man I needed and I have no doubts that Nate is my true soul mate.  I couldn't have lived with a macho, king-of-the-house, egotistical, narcissistic man and God knew that!  I needed a compassionate, loving, understanding, a man of steel, yes, but also of velvet and Nate was all that wrapped up into one.

I believe in the mindset I had carried for so many years that I expected him to not want me eventually and to leave me.  It was almost as if I couldn't understand why someone would love me.  Years of abuse had broken down my spirit and it would take God years to repair it but he sent Nate to be that tool.  Through the toughest years of our marriage at the height of my disease, Nate never wavered in his love towards me.  He knew me and he knew that the disease was covering up the true me inside.

God healed me in 2007 and our marriage has only grown even stronger and has a strength that it seems that no trial could break.  When your marriage has been tested in all ways, through extreme circumstances and made it through, you realize that you have something rare in today's society.  You want to hold on to it, never let it go and nurture it, so it grows and never dwindles!  Ever since my healing, I was able to finally become that woman I had always wanted and strived to be.  I was able to love my husband and child properly and serve them in the ways I had wished I had been able to before.

It all taught me, not only that my marriage was a gift from God, but that without that disease, I may not have known it.  Without that disease, I may not have had the compassion on others I do now.  Without that disease, I may not even be whom I am today.  I may not have known how truly and dearly my husband loved me and that he would stick with me through sickness and health.  It made me love him more and let go of the fears of my past and increase my self-worth and lift my spirits.

None of this would have been possible, if not for God.  If not for God sending Nate by my way to invite me to church when I was 19, I may not have been saved and met the man God made for me.  Thank you Lord for your blessings on me and these past 12 years of love, learning and growing!  To my husband, I love you dearly and may I always be the wife you need.

8-yr Old Making Freezer Jam

My daughter begged me to let her make the strawberry jam this time and I didn't think she was old enough yet to do the whole process, but she did it!  She picked off the stems, soaked them, rinsed, blended and added them to the sugar and pectin mixture and stirred.  I also thought that she couldn't pour them properly into the containers with the ladle without spilling them all over the sides but she sure showed me lol!  She did it almost perfectly!  Even though we only make jam twice a year, it is now her chore and one she loves doing.  I'm so glad that she is willing and enthusiastic about learning these things, it sure makes my job of teaching her that much easier.

Stop Trying to Do it Without God!

This message is for homeschooling mothers but it could also apply to those who send their children to others to be taught.  I've heard a lot of complaints among Christian homeschoolers on how hard it is to homeschool and how things just aren't working out.  Some that have voiced that they knew that God called them to homeschool, have even out of desperation said they are thinking of putting their child into school.  Then, as I try to encourage or offer a word of advice, I'm given something like this: "Well, you are so different because you are organized and self-motivated."  No, I'm sorry that is not it, it isn't in anything that I am!

Upon asking about the Bible curriculum, I'm met with "Well, we don't have any and we don't really read the Bible everyday, we are just trying to get the other subjects done and I don't have TIME to add anything else."  Sorry God but could you just go away?  Can't you see I'm trying to homeschool my child and I don't have time to teach them about you.  After all, I'm protecting them from the public school system that leaves you out and I know you will bless my efforts.  Meanwhile, God is shaking his head as he sees the same "leaving God out" happening in the homes of Christian homeschoolers.

If you don't put God first in your homeschool ladies, you might as well pack it up, sell your curriculum and send them off somewhere to be schooled because you are wasting your time!  If Bible isn't important in your homeschool, then what are you teaching your children?  You sure aren't teaching them that God comes first and how important it is to know His Word!  I personally believe that Bible and prayer should come before other studies every morning.  I don't care if we don't even have time to get to math, as long as I taught my daughter God's Word that day - to me, that is what matters most!

I see the eyes of a girl looking into mine as I teach her about God and her eagerness to know more.  As I was teaching Katie the bible lesson a few weeks ago, she stopped me and said "Mommy, you are planting seeds."  I  was amazed and wondering what she meant.  She went on to tell me I was planting a seed in her and one day she would plant a seed by telling someone else about God or teaching her children.  My heart melted!

Mothers, go plant some seeds this week!  Realize that you are doing one of the highest callings in this world of being a mother and homeschooling your children!  If you try and grow your garden without seeds, you will end up with a bed full of weeds that come in to invade the empty space.  Don't let that empty space be in your children's hearts!  Fill it with God and His Word!!

How to Spend Only $100 a Month on Groceries

I wanted to explain how my budget system works with my meal plan.  With this system, I stockpile and buy enough to make dinner freezer meals for 3 months.  I spend small amounts on certain months and then a large amount the month I buy for my 3-month freezer cooking and keep my stockpile going, which will be next month in June.  It all averages out to $150 a month.  Let me explain:

Month 1 - spend $100
Month 2 - spend $100
Month 3 - freezer cooking shopping/stockpile, spend $250

Average costs of groceries over 3 months = $150 a month

So in order to make it on an average of $100 over 3 months, I will need it to work something like this:

Month 1 - spend $50
Month 2 - spend $50
Month 3 - freezer cooking shopping/stockpile, spend $200

Average costs of groceries over 3 months = $100 a month

I can't really cut down on my stockpile month too much, so that means that the other 2 months are pretty lean.  It is easy to do it on the $150 budget, but will be a challenge on this budget for sure.  I could do $75 for months 1 & 2 and then cut my month 3 down to $150 but I'm not sure I can get that month's food AND 3-months of dinner meals AND keep my stockpile up cutting it that low.  I will see how this month goes and go from there.  Once I get canning going next month, I can can soups, sauces and other things that will lower our budget even more.

The main way I save money is buy making homemade foods - this is not just meals, this is snacks, condiments, bread items and desserts.  Making homemade organic whole wheat bread, pita pockets, pizza dough and on and on is FAR cheaper than buying it from the store, and it tastes better!  This will require a LOT of work on my part but since I'm coming upon my second trimester, they say you get a burst of energy during this trimester and I'm counting on that.

I realized this was a 5-week month, so I'm trying to not do the bulk of my shopping until next week, so I can just purchase for 4 weeks.  I suppose you could call this eating-out-of-the-pantry week.  This also gave me more time to plan.