Friday, February 17, 2012

Budgets: A Mom's Best Friend

Thinking back to when a was a teenager, I never thought about or was concerned with money.  If I needed gas in my '72 Oldsmobile, I asked my parents for the gas card.  If I wanted to go to the skating rink with my friends one Friday nigh (I WAS an 80s child!), I asked for the money to do so and to get snacks while there.  When I got married, my husband and I stayed in denial of our financial irresponsibility and we were constantly in debt.  By the time we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary, we had filed bankruptcy.  We believed this would really help us get back on track with money.  We were clearly still in denial.  Our habits had not changed as far as spending was concerned, and we soon fell back into the same bad decision making we had been rescued from a few years earlier. 
As our family grew and my husband began working two and three jobs to support our family, we realized we were in need of intervention to fix our financial state.  We began to adhere to a budget in which we organized envelopes for bills, gas and tithe.  Additionally, we had an envelope for extras/misc.  This system worked well for a while...until we began borrowing from certain envelopes for our extras fund.  We still battle with the temptation to spend outside of our means, especially when we receive financial stipends such as student financial aid as college students and our tax refund.  This year we didn't blow the tax refund on frivolous things (at least not too many!), and we were able to bless members of our family with much needed items from a new stove to a washer to a new mattress.  I read an article about one of their giveaway items: a book called "The Money Saving Mom's Budget" by Crystal Paine.  In her book she gives practical ideas of how to: 
  • set big goals and break them down into bite-sized pieces.
  •  prioritize your time and life in order to live intentionally.
  •  streamline your home and life in order to have breathing room to work toward your financial goals.
  •  go from no budget at all to a full-fledged, realistic, written budget by following a simple three-step plan.
  •  make a cash envelope system work for you.
  •  cut your grocery bill in half (including 25 ways to save money without using coupons!).
  • save big on restaurants, travel, clothing, utility bills, prescription glasses, gym memberships, and much more.
  • And cultivate contentment, embrace today, and live a rich and full life, no matter your income.           
Whether we win this book in the Giveaway or not, one thing is certain, my husband and I know that we need to change, and we need help to do it.  God can cause things to work on our behalf and can help break this cycle of bondage we feel money has over us.  He can do it through this book or another book or can supernaturally cause our eyes and minds to be open to the wisdom of finances.  Do it for your children; do it for yourself; do it for GOD!

For more information on RooMag, visit:  For more information about Crystal Paine and her words of wisdom regarding budgeting, visit:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frustrated or Free: Allowing God FULL reign over your life

Setbacks seem to happen when things are going well for my family: We worked ahead a week in homeschooling and then my kids got sick; in faith we moved back to Colorado with jobs lined up, but then they were withdrawn once we got here; and we received a financial blessing only to have an unexpected bill come up.  At one time in my life, I would get frustrated, worried and try to remedy the situation on my own.  But now, as a child of God heir, I can see the attacks that the enemy fires at me, meant to disable my faith, my reliance on the ONE who can correct me and my path.  The Word says that God is not mocked; what a man sows he will also reap.  The choices we make WILL influence our lives later on, but the confidence we have is that whatever we ask in Jesus' Name we WILL have!  With that, the Lord works ALL things for good to those that love the Lord and are called according to HIS purpose in Christ Jesus.
Walking in faith takes strength, perseverance and commitment.  Have you heard the phrase, "You can do it!"?  Let me assure you, the Lord KNOWS you CAN do it; He wants to know you are WILLING to do whatever He asks of you.  He won't ask anything of you that doesn't line up with His good and perfect will for your life and His overall plan to reach the lost through each of us!  When setbacks or attacks come, it is because you are working for the Kingdom and getting into a deeper and closer relationship with the Lord.  This makes Satan very nervous and he works at getting us and our minds off of the assignments and callings our Father has given us.  Don't waver and sway from what God has told you about who you are, what your assignment is in this world and about how HE will provide for you in every way!  Remember Joseph, Job and David...losing everything as Joseph and Job did, but they were promoted and given MUCH more than they lost and David making his own choices to be and adulterer and murderer, but repenting and coming back to the Father.  It's not too late to stop worrying, stop being frustrated and allowing the Lord to have control over your life!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Someone is following you...

In today's world of technology, we are nearly inundated with Friends lists, followers, Tweeps, etc.  People are constantly viewing our status updates, the links we share and the causes we forward that we believe in.  Aside from all the techie stuff, however, there are others who are following us.  Those who look to us as their example in life, in their Christian walk, as role models and as those who they want to emulate.  If you are a parent, your children are often those who are watching to see how you react in various situations...
Do you become overly concerned and filled with worry when a bill is due but your bank account lacks the funds to pay?  Do you run to God in prayer and fully turn the problem over to Him never looking back as you see the Lord's hand taking care of you?
Many more people other than our children are watching us.  What kind of witness are you to them?  Are you walking the walk or merely talking the talk?  It is not necessarily what others HEAR us say that affects their views of Christianity but rather what they SEE us doing in our daily lives.  Consider who's watching you and the image of the Lord you are portraying to others...