Friday, June 27, 2008

More Money Than Brains

Okay, maybe that title is a bit harsh. However, I must say that because there are people in this world who are foolish with their money, I have benefited regularly. Obviously, yard sales are a great hobby for me - but stuff there still costs money. Today I'm talking about the free stuff. The perfectly good, barely used, over priced as new items that people just give away. I am talking about the re-use-it sheds at the local landfills.

In my area there are half a dozen landfills that utilize this practice of seperating items that can be used again from what is dropped off as garbage. Over the years I have acquired tv tables, bikes (kids and adults), a three piece glass mixing bowl set, a full children's china tea set, outdoor planters...the list could go on for awhile.

For those of you who are feeling squeamish about shopping at the dump, let me assure you that these items are in excellent shape, the workers from the landfill become aware of what will be taken away and what is truly garbage. For the most part, those individuals that fit the title of this post live in a materialistic manner - but don't appreciate the material that they acquire, and just throw it away! It never ceases to amaze me what people will throw away.

God has used these situations to bless our family repeatedly...proving, yet again, that He does own it all and will make sure it is used as He sees fit; even using the re-use-it sheds for the process.

I encourage all of you to check your local dumps - Happy hunting!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Gift, part 2

Daughter (go here for the beginning) grew up learning about her Father in heaven (Proverbs 22:6).
Her parents spent time sharing their trust in their Father in heaven and taught her to esteem others more than herself.

"God will always provide for us, Daughter. Knowing this, we can fill our baskets from our garden and pantry to help the family in need."
(2 Samuel 22:2 & 3; Proverbs 3: 5 & 6)
"The money you earned from helping with Mrs. Grandy's garden is an opportunity for you to show your dependence on your Father in heaven. Let's figure out your tithe together."


She learned that her body is the temple of her Saviour and she prayed for forgiveness to clean her heart.
(Luke 11:34 - 36; John 2:20 & 21; 1 Corinthians 6:19)

"Father, I thank you for your Son. Please forgive me for my sins. Live within me and help me to become more like your son each day."

She learned the importance of purity for all young people and continued to study what would be God's will in this area of her life.

(Proverbs 30: 8 & 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:4 & 5)

She was learning to live for God's service and glory. Daughter was beginning to understand the gift her Father in heaven had given to her.

(1Thessalonians 4:6 & 7; Titus 1:15)


When she became 14, her parents sat down and talked about all she had learned about her gift. They talked about the importance of committing herself to be the young woman God would have her to be, as well as committing herself to a pure heart and body for any future husband He may send her (Proverbs 31:10 & 11; Proverbs 12:4). Finally, they discussed the challenges that she could expect as a young woman and how important it was to have a personal conviction to be pure of heart and body. Her parents were confident in Daughter's personal convictions and her faith in the Lord.

"We believe you are ready to take back part of the responsibility for this gift, Daughter. This ring is just to be a reminder to you of the commitment that you have made to your Father in heaven, to us and to yourself. We will continue to protect you as we can, but you will have to be responsible for the purity of your heart now, as well. Remember though, you are never alone."

(Ephesians 6:11 - 18)

Everyone is encouraged to look up the scripture references and study for further proofs of God's plan for the unmarried.

( be continued in part 3...)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What a Week!

I haven't hit the computer in awhile, but I'll blame it on the busy week we had last week. Our end-of-school trip to Center Island was last Tuesday. We had a group of 5 homeschooling families load into two large vans and headed out on the long road to Toronto:

We arrived just after noon and it didn't take long for the Duck and her dad to head off for our day of adventure:

One of the main reasons my husband comes for this trip (or any other to Toronto) is the street vendors - check out the sausage!

When we boarded the ferry to cross over to the island, the big ships were out with full masts - very neat for the kids to see:

The Duck and her lifelong friend HH were ready to hit all the main attractions (it was pointed out that HH's mom and I have been friends long before these two ever came along and how cool it is that they have become such good friends, too)

In the above shot, they had to check at each ride if they were tall/short enough to get on. They are both just the right size for this park!

They also took duties with the little ones whose parents can't fit on the ride (see below) - already working as mother's helpers for our friends!

But when they could get off on their own, they had a blast! My husband and I were deemed the escort for these two and we stayed at the swan ride for well over 1/2 an hour! Boarding over and over again...eventually the young people running the ride just let them keep going:

This shot is HH's mom taking one of several pictures of the swan drivers.

Then it was over to the antique cars where "you really get to drive!" Again we were there for multiple rides around the track.

We didn't let them have all the fun alone, of course. This is my hubby saddled up on the merry-go-round:

Then we hit the bumper boats - here the girls are in line after they realize that they are going to be riding with a bunch of boys! We think this is where they plan their stategy to hit as many of those boys as they can:

Action shots!
High Five!

Once the girls realized they hadn't reached the halfway point of the park and we had been there almost three hours, they decided to move a little quicker from ride to ride:

The log ride - that's me in the back. And by quicker from ride to ride, I mean they only took the log ride about 6 times ;)
One of my favourite places in the park is the little farm, but I only got as far as the front gate - the roller coaster is right next to it and I lost the vote on where to go next. But not before this shot of the funny goats:

The roller coaster was too fast to get a good picture, but the girls were on it for 2 or 3 runs. Unfortunately, HH wasn't tall enough to get on the bumper cars this year - but for sure next year.

So here is some of the gang on the ferry headed back to shore. The excited faces from the morning were replaced with tired eyes and calls for food.

We found our van and loaded up everyone for another year. Good friends, good fun!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Credit Card Crusader

What's this? Talking about using credit cards as a frugal tip?

Yes, I say, yes! I have been on a crusade lately to use the banks the way they have used me for the majority of my life. For almost 6 months now, I have used my credit card for just about every purchase made. When I return home from that purchase, I take the first available minute to pay off the balance that was just created. This means there is always a zero balance on my card and I have racked up the 'bonus' points that the credit company promises for using their card - in my case it is points towards free groceries.

Now the point system is a bonus, but a very slow one. It takes alot of purchases to collect enough points to get even $20 of free groceries. True, any amount of free is good for me - but there is a more recent cheapskate habit I wanted to share today. It is another way I have trained myself to get "free money".

When I sit down at the computer to pay off my credit card purchases, I round up the amounts from each receipt. So, if there are 3 purchases at $5.25, $9.87 and $11.05, I pay a total of $6, $10 and $12 respectively on the credit card account. This habit has generally meant I have the credit card company owing me anywhere from $10 - $20 each month when I receive my statement.

Now, I know it isn't really "free money" - it's my money. But, with the nickel and dime savings I am forcing myself to make, it is always a nice surprise when the statement does arrive. Really...I don't miss that little bit of change each time I make a payment anyway.

The only warning tag to add is that it takes alot of self control and solid conviction to follow through with payments when using a credit card this way - even one missed payment can really throw off the budget! However, now that I have been doing it successfully for this long, I feel like a real grown up with my finances.

If I could just convince the credit card company that they should pay me interest on my overpayment...that would something to post about!

(You can find more tips on frugality by following the Biblical Womanhood link on side bar.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Bubble

In my church we have a tradition for Sunday evening service, where someone will get up and give a personal testimony. Now, because it is Sunday evening, most of those in attendance are people who have been members for awhile(visitors usually come in the morning) - and we know each other pretty well. So when it was my turn to get up for a testimony the other week, I had to consider what I could say that everyone didn't already know about me. Fortunately, God has always pointed something out to me - just like the epiphany He gave this time.

Lots of people comment that they see me about town. They tell me they wave at me or honk, but I don't respond to them. That's because I don't see them - or anyone - when I'm out walking/driving/shopping. That's because I'm in my bubble; my own world of thoughts. I accomplish so much more in my day when I stay in my bubble and avoid all distractions. I like my bubble and it has served me well throughout my life. It is a comfortable place where I am content to live without letting anyone in.

But recently something happened to change my life in my bubble. My family had taken a vacation and when we returned home, several families from church were on their own vacations. This meant that there were several weeks where our common congregation was missing some of the commoners. This is where the epiphany comes in - I realized I missed these people! I actually looked for them to return. This was a revelation that my bubble had somehow developed a hole.

Now, I would not have chosen to open my bubble to others. I had no inclination to do this. Then during a Bible study, God showed me this verse:

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
John 21:18
God had opened my bubble for me. He knew I needed to let some people in; He knows I need to step out occasionally to be effective in my witness, too. Just as He saved me without waiting for me to 'make a choice', He is changing me without waiting for me do it myself. Thankfully!
So, I ended my testimony by welcoming these people to my bubble. Then, my old self spoke up and clarified that this did not mean they could hug me. I am not a hugger - until He chooses to change that part anyway!