Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The Blessing Song"

(originally by Dennis Jernigan) The Blessing Song - Songs of Freedom for Men



{The following lyrics don't quite match up to the video. I couldn't find an actual video by DJ, but this guy is pretty good. The lyrics I've posted are DJ's. I could have just typed up what's on the video, but you'd miss half the song. And it's good!}

"May the Lord answer you in the day of your trouble
May the name of the Lord be your strong mighty tower
May He grant you your heart's deepest dreams and desires
May He answer each time you call

May He pour out the blessing of heaven
May you cast your cares on Him and daily fall
May you live to see your children's children
May Lord Jesus be your All in All

May the Lord Jesus Christ satisfy beyond all measure
May His Word light your path
May His Peace guard your heart
May your days be filled with gladness, joy and peace through any sadness
Filled with love that will not depart

May your strength be renewed like the eagle
As you run the race may joy flood every part
May your memories all be sweet in each parting
May the peace of Christ rule in your heart

May His word be to you health and life, joy and treasure
May your home be a light
May the Lord guard your ways
May the Lord be your shepherd
May His goodness and mercy follow after you all your days!

May His mercies be new every morning
May His grace and Holy Spirit help you stand
May you live your life to die for the gospel
May you hold to His unchanging hand

May the Lord answer you in the day of your trouble
May the name of the Lord be your strong mighty tower
May He grant you your heart's deepest dreams and desires
May He answer each time you call
May He answer each time you call"

I am honored to tell y'all that my bloggy friend Becky posted an email that I sent her a few weeks ago.

It's about a boy.

And a crisis of faith.

And God showing up!


[edited to add the text from Becky's post ~ just in case she ever deletes her blog or something!]:

If Your Older Child Has A Crisis of Faith...

I thought this might be of encouragement to some of you....

As soon as Grant asked me the, "Mom, is God really real?" question, I remembered an email that I received the week PRIOR from a friend/reader, Amy.

Talk about God's perfect timing.

She was sharing about her son, Cody, and a sweet night of growth he had in the Lord. Here is her story:

Monday night my 10-year-old was having a bit of a "crisis of faith". He made a decision for the Lord when he was very young, so I knew that conversations like this were bound to come up. Like me, he doesn't remember the decision, but he knows he made it. He loves the Lord and considers Him a huge part of his life. But the other night, he was struggling with really feeling like He was real. He said that he knows He's real, because that's what he has always known, but it's so hard to really feel it when he can't see Him.

We had a lengthy conversation. I was honest with him and said that I've had moments (of doubt), too. I told him of a time when I was in college (Bible school, even!) and was going through that. I encouraged Cody to seek God ~ to pray and read the Bible, asking God to speak to Him. I told Him of scriptures that say that when we seek Him we will find Him. I also told him that the Psalms are great during times like that.

About 30 minutes later, he came into my room and plopped his Bible down on my desk, with it opened to Psalm 34. Of course it has all those marvelous verses like, "I sought the LORD, and he answered me, Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD" and others that have to do with calling to the Lord and Him hearing. It was really cool! Then I showed him my favorite (Psalm 27), and then he skipped over to Psalm 20. That's when I sorta freaked him out, because I starting singing "The Blessing Song" unexpectedly! Anyways, I thought you'd enjoy that story of how God worked in my boy's life! He is so good! :)


Isn't that amazing? The Holy Spirit moved in Amy's house that night. He confirmed in Cody's spirit that His Word is truth, that God is real and when you seek God he may be found.

I thought this to be so insightful for those of you who have older kiddos with questions. The Word is living and active to them as they knock, seek and find.

Amy

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Grace Enough"

(by Echoing Eternity)



{If you didn't click the "play" button, you totally should! While the band no longer exists, it consisted of some really great guys. The singer is our friend Jeremiah, whose wife is one of my dearest friends.}

I've briefly mentioned the local mission trip that is coming up in May, but I haven't really said much about what we'll be doing & why I'm so excited about it. Our church actually has several outreaches going on in our area during the same weekend. There will be a group doing some work at the nursing home and another group going to the prison (where my baby brother is) & providing a carnival-like atmosphere for the inmates and their families. Where I will be involved is with an in-town mission to a low income area. We'll be sharing the love of Jesus through VBS, Youth Events & Sports, Door-to-Door Evangelism, Food Outreach and prayer.

Last night, a few of us went to the site to look around and talk to a few people. A little incident occurred while we were there, and it reminded me that I really need to be praying for these people. They need Jesus. And they desperately need the grace, peace and hope that He alone can provide. I know that ~ not just because we visited the area last night, but because I've lived it myself.

I know I've mentioned the financial instability I experienced while living with my mom when I was in high school (in my ED story), but I think that's all I've ever said about those years. As I said in that post, we were on food stamps ~ but I don't think I mentioned that we lived in government subsidized apartments. Due to the fact that my mom's MS prevented her from working, the only income we had was $240 a month in child support from my dad. Rent was based on my mom's income, so we were able to live there for free. Even still, it took over two years for my mom to be approved for disability benefits ~ so needless to say, times were hard. I remember digging under the couch cushions to scrounge up enough change for milk a time or two. I also remember walking to the store to buy it, because we didn't have money for gas. I know that there were/are people in even worse situations than my mom and I were in, but it was certainly a very hopeless situation for us at the time.

The best thing about it all is that I knew Jesus and had a wonderful church body that helped support us. God not only provided for us, but He gave me a hope for the future. He also opened the doors for me to work in a job training program at my high school during the summer after my freshman year. I was fairly intelligent, so I was actually able to work in the superintendent's office rather than doing maintenance and yard work like most of the other students. I started working a "real" job as soon as I turned 15, so that I could help pay the bills. My senior year of high school I only needed one more credit to graduate, so I was able to participate in the vocational education program (where I only had a half-day of school so I could work the other half). There again, I was able to work at the bank rather than the manual labor that a lot of students did. I'm not trying to brag ~ I just totally see God's hand on me during those years, and I know that He showed favor on me. We still struggled financially, but I can't even imagine how bad things would have been if I hadn't worked.

I don't say all of that so you'll feel sorry for me. I'm just trying to express the fact that I know how these people feel, and I hope that helps me minister to them. I look forward to loving on the kids who come for VBS and sharing the love of Jesus with the teenagers and moms as well. And I love the people that I'm serving with! They are just a bunch of people from all walks of life who love Jesus and love the people who need Him. And I'm so excited to serve alongside them!

Amy

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Count On Me"

(by Bruno Mars) Count On Me - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (Deluxe Version)



I have my first request in the "friends' theme songs" randomness!! Amy's husband Wade has asked for his song to be "Wade in the Water"! Request granted, Wade! :)

While I'm talking about Amy's family, I might as well go ahead & mention that Alex's song is "Call Me Al"! It makes me happy to see him & think of that song!

I've decided that Natalie's song should be "One Girl Revolution". It's totally fitting. Plus, I don't think I had heard of Superchick until she had the girls do a human video to that song back in 2002 (I think).

While some people have only recently acquired a theme song, there are many who have had a song for decades. I can't even believe I'm going to tell you this, but there was a boy in my church youth group that I was totally crushing on in middle school. His last name was Tumey (pronounced "to me"), and I thought of him every time I heard Erasure's "A Little Respect". {Can you hear it? "Give a little respect toooo me"!} To this day, I can't hear that song without thinking of him!

And one final theme song for today: my college roomie KTQ's...I got home from a date one night, & I was quite excited to tell her about it! She was already in bed, & I think I woke her up when I ran into the bedroom squealing got home. Though she was happy to hear about my first date with a cute boy, she was quite tired. And I was quite talkative (surprise, surprise)! So after I said the important stuff (like, "No we didn't kiss"), she was ready to go back to sleep. So she turned the fan on ~ the loud box fan we would turn on at bedtime to block out our roomies' noise. {Mainly the fan they turned on to block out my voice lesson practice! ha ha!} What she hadn't realized was the fact that: a) the fan was pointed directly towards where I was sitting & b) I was sitting on the floor on a rug. I'm sure you can guess what happened next (if you know me at all)...I started singing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin! Oh. yes. I. did! And it has been her song ever since!



Amy

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Where We Gonna Go From Here?"

(by Mat Kearney) Where We Gonna Go from Here - Nothing Left to Lose





I don't know how I've never heard this song before, but I'm loving it! We've been watching reruns of Kyle XY, and it was on the season one finale. I thought it sounded like Mat Kearney, so I decided to look it up & found out that it is him! And I've been listening to it all week! I'm not really sure what it means, but I'm thinking it's about a friend that he has developed feelings for, but she loves someone else? Or maybe he's not sure what God's plan is, so he's letting her go for now? I don't know, but I like it anyways!

Well, I've found myself alone in the house on a Saturday afternoon, so I guess I'll get a few things done around here before heading to a crop later. I hope y'all are having a wonderful weekend!

Amy

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"The Stone"

(by Jars of Clay)



"For I proclaim the name of the Lord;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He."

{Deut 32:3-4}


I've been reading through Deuteronomy, and I'm sad every time I read about the end of Moses' life. He wrote the song (in Deut. 32) knowing that he was about to die without having entered the Promised Land. I know how the story ends, but I always have this hope that he'll actually get to enter & not just see it. I know that's weird, because I know the story won't change! I'm sure you've all done it when you watch a movie that you've seen before, and you hope that somehow it'll change & the beloved character won't die! {or is this another one of those instances when I'm the only one who does that?} I also do it when reading through the Gospels. I know it's silly, and I obviously know God's plan for salvation involved His Son dying. I also know the end of that story & the fact that Jesus is resurrected! But it's so devastating to envision my Lord enduring such a brutal death.

Anyways, while reading the end of Moses' story today, I thought of this song. And since I don't have much blog-worthy stuff happening these days, I decided to post it. {And let's face it: aren't you kinda glad to not constantly read me whining about cancer?!}

Alright, I'm off to reconnect with my friend & hold her baby. Doesn't that sound just about perfect?!

Amy

Monday, March 21, 2011

"You've Got a Friend"

(by James Taylor) You've Got a Friend - James Taylor: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

You've Got A Friend by James Taylor on Grooveshark

I know y'all must think I'm rather quirky, but I decided to do another "friends' theme songs" post! In my last one, most of the songs I mentioned had to do with my friends' names. That's definitely the case a lot of the time. Like with my college friend Jesse ~ as you would expect, his name has always induced random outbursts of Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl".

I've also been known to serenade my brother Kerry with Europe's "Carrie".

And every other time I say sweet Layla's name, I start singing Eric Clapton's song!

But other friends' songs don't have their names in them at all. They are associated with a memory or the lyrics have some special meaning. I've already told you about Karikins' song "For You" and how my beautiful cousin Kendra & I are "One and the Same".

There are others, but for now I'll share just one more...

It's funny how one moment can cause you to never think of a song in the same way. This is really random, but my high school friend Kim & I always said that "I Got You Babe" was our song! It goes back to an extremely minuscule moment in the grand scheme of life, but it's one instance when the habit of bursting out in song resulted in a lifelong memory. One evening about 20 years ago (cough, cough) we were volunteering in the concession stand at the baseball field ~ where we spent every spare moment of time. A couple of the other girls let us know that they had plans the next night of the tournament, so Kim & I would be volunteering on our own. That song came to mind, and it has been "ours" ever since! Yes, I know it's a love song! But seriously, to this day I can't hear it without thinking of her, & I can't think of her without thinking of the song.



I have some more stories that I plan to tell you later, but I want to hear from YOU! Do have a song that you simply can't hear without thinking of a certain someone?

Amy

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"Whatever It Is"

(by Zac Brown Band) Whatever It Is - The Foundation (Deluxe Version)



I haven't been around all week, and I haven't been listening to much music! So in lieu of my usual Scrobbled Saturday post, I thought I'd share a little about our Spring Break! The kids & I went to see Uncle Dan & Aunt Sheryl at the lake from Sunday until Thursday. When we got there, we were surprised to find out that they had a couple of their grandkids there, and their other two grandkids came on Tuesday! I had the pleasure of taking care of all 6 kids for a few hours, and they all played SO well together!


Cody & Josiah loved taking the canoe out!


We had a cookout one night and roasted hot dogs & marshmallows. The little girls were adorable ~ after Layla had dropped her 2nd marshmallow (out of 3), she plopped down on the log & said, "I will NEVER have a marshmallow!" Mackenzie tried to help her out by saying, "How bout this Layla: you cook your marshmallow & I'll carry it on the plate. I only dropped ONE of my marshmallows!" Cute, huh?!


I enjoyed relaxing on the dock & watching everyone canoe, fish, swing & text! {Yes, my girl had her phone with her every second except for when she took the canoe out!} I also did plenty of eating, a little reading, & I didn't put on makeup for THREE days!

My mister was able to get tickets to the Rodeo, so we picked him up shortly after we got back in town on Thursday. My camera battery had died at the lake, so I wasn't able to take any pics while we were at the Rodeo. Chris took a couple on his phone of me with my funnel cake & Elly with her turkey leg, though.


My dad met us up there just in time to see Zac Brown Band. They put on a good concert, but the kids weren't huge fans! Their only comments had to do with the amount of times he used bad words! ヅ

Elly's friend Melody came over yesterday. I meant to take a picture, but I completely forgot! Amy & Alex also came over, so we each had a friend to hang out with! Then today, Chris & Cody went go-cart riding with Wade & Alex while Elly & I hung out with Amy & watched Food Network shows that she had recorded. One recipe looked so good that we decided to make it! We ran to HEB to pick up a few of the ingredients that she didn't have on hand. See, our mindless TV can be great if we produce something positive from it, right?!

Well, that's all folks! I could've posted a bunch more pictures, but I didn't want to bore you! Spring Break has gone by super fast, & I'm SO not looking forward to getting up early on Monday! I hope y'all are having a super great weekend!!

Amy

Monday, March 14, 2011

"I'll Be There For You"

(by The Rembrandts) I'll Be There for You (Long Version) - Friends (Music from the TV Series)

I'll Be There For You (Long Version) by The Rembrandts on Grooveshark

I decided yesterday that life would be so much more enjoyable if all of my friends had a "theme song". It all began with a lady at church named Charlene. When someone says her name, I can't help but think of "John Deere Green"! {OK, if you know me at all, you know that I can't just think it! I do sometimes burst out singing it, but you have no idea how many times I restrain myself!}

Then there's Gary Cooper. Who doesn't think of "Puttin' on the Ritz" when they hear his name?! When I hear it, I always think of the part of the song that goes, "Super dooper!" And it makes me smile! :)

I had the Acapella song "Go Tell John" on my mind yesterday (because of a story we had read in church). So when I decided that my friends needed theme songs, I picked that song for my friend John. Only I couldn't find it for the playlist. :/ So for this blog post, his song will be "Swinging on a Star" ~ one verse in particular. [Sweet friend John, I know that you don't even know that this little blog exists. But if somehow you ever stumble across this, I hope it makes you laugh!]

And what would this post be without an Amy song or two? My dear friend Amy gets Pure Prairie League's "Amie" of course! Anyone with my name can attest that people have sung that song to us numerous times. But she's special enough that I threw in All Star Weekend's "Amy", too!

And finally (for today, at least ~ cuz y'all know I'll be back with more friends' songs one day!), there's Tara. {Who happens to have a birthday today! Happy birthday, friend!!} I think of her every time I hear "Definitely Maybe" by FM Static. "I met a girl named Tara, & she lived in the heart of America..."




So...do any of your friends have theme songs, or am I the only one who does this?

Amy

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Changes"

(by David Bowie) Changes - Best of Bowie



"Time may change me but I can't change time." - David Bowie
"I guess David Bowie did not observe Daylight Savings Time." - My mister

Time change: what a great way to help kick off Spring Break!
{that was written in "sarcastic font" in case you couldn't tell!}

Oh well, at least I can sleep in a little this week...I won't be around too much though, because I'll be Spring Breaking! I hope you recuperate from your lost hour of sleep this week, too! And if you're on Spring Break, be safe & have fun!!!

Amy

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Long Time Coming"

(by Jonny Lang) Long Time Coming - Long Time Coming



My mister had an appointment with his ocular oncologist this morning, and all is good! His pressure is still down (though it remains on the upper range of normal), and the tumor looks good & is smaller than before! And the best news of all is...

WE DON'T HAVE TO GO BACK TO ANY CANCER-RELATED DOCTOR UNTIL JULY 7th!!!!!!!!!

We're talking almost 4 months, people! {3 months & 27 days, to be exact!} This is the longest break throughout this entire journey! And I'm telling you, it's been a long time coming. Up until now, the largest stretch of time between doctor visits was 2 months & 25 days. Of course, there have been several times that we've gone three days in a row, but on average there have been monthly visits. I keep track of it all for tax purposes. And because I'm a numbers girl. Even though you probably don't care about the numbers like I do, I'll share the facts with you...

Since this all began, here are the amount of cancer-related trips we've taken to the Medical Center:
14 in 2008 {& he wasn't even diagnosed until September!}
17 in 2009
14 in 2010 {because we were finally able to schedule appointments on the same day on occasion!}
& 3 so far this year

As if the numbers I've given you don't already prove what a weirdo I am, I decided to calculate an exact average. It turns out that we've driven to the Med Center an average of every 19.83 days for the past 2 & 1/2 years. Nice. I realize that there are people who have to make daily trips for chemo & such [like my step-sister who is about to start daily radiation treatments for 6 weeks], so I'm not trying to outdo anyone here. It's just crazy that we've made that many trips, yet he has NOT been through a regimen of chemo or radiation treatments. Lord willing, we'll never have to do that.

Alright, I've gotta go! I hear some Girl Scout Cookies saying they'd like to celebrate with me! :)

Amy

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"Want to be Real"

(by Chris August) Want to Be Real - No Far Away



I don't really have much to say these days. I guess that's a good thing, huh? I don't have a whole lot of exciting stuff going on, but over the past week or so I've been busy doing things like:

  • enjoying mindless tv with Amy
  • a lunch date with my mister
  • taxes {Sorry! I should've warned you that I was about to cuss!}
  • a coffee date with Laura
  • meetings & working on a few things for the local mission trip! {I'm helping with VBS for it!}
  • a little bit of scrapbooking
  • putzing around the house
  • a new Bible study {"Me, Myself & Lies" by Jennifer Rothschild}
  • getting things organized
  • working in the yard
  • playing the role of "Little Bunny Foo Foo"
Just the usual stuff ! :/

Now I'm off to an exciting day of:
  • baking goodies for the nursing home staff {our church is throwing a party there tomorrow}
  • a dental check-up {woo hoo! never a dull moment around here}
  • waiting for the painter to finish up my one-year warranty work {yes, it has been more than a year. Long story. Not my fault!}
  • meeting with someone about something that I'm not sure I'm allowed to talk about. {Oooooh! Mysterious!}
  • & church tonight! :)
Such is my life. I'm so exciting, huh? Just keepin' it real!

Amy

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Shine On"

(by NEEDTOBREATHE) Shine On - Daylight





As you know, I LOVE NEEDTOBREATHE  I was listening to all of their songs on repeat this week, and this oldie came up several times. I forgot how good it is! I love the reassurance that we're not alone. God is with us, whether we feel like He is or not.

Whether you're in the valley or on the top of the hill.

I also love the encouragement to shine on & let others see our victory. And to remember that it's because of Jesus. My favorite part of the song is the Bridge:

Can you see My hands are open?
I am waiting just ahead
And you think you need it all now
But you needed Me instead



The kids & I went to see my mom today. My step-dad didn't tell her I was coming so we could surprise her! The kids stayed in the hallway, and I walked in & surprised her first. Then, she was doubly surprised when the kids walked in a couple of minutes later! She's doing much better & should get out of the hospital by Wednesday. Thanks so much for your prayers! A funny thing happened on the way there ~ while driving on the Tollway, I looked up & saw "www.BlingAndBowLady.com" on the vehicle in front of me. That just so happens to be my step-sister's business! She wasn't in there (it was her husband), but I gave her a call anyways. As often as I see people I know when I'm out & about, I must say that I rarely (if ever) see anyone on the Tollway that I know. So that was cool!

I hope the rest of your weekend is super great!

Amy

Friday, March 4, 2011

"Food in the Belly"

(by Xavier Rudd) Food In the Belly - Food In the Belly



Today's song really doesn't have much to do with my post, but I picked it for the title. To find out why, head over to my friend Laura's!! I'm guest blogging about stretching the grocery budget...

Updated in July 2011: because there are no guarantees that the post will always be there, I've decided to paste what I posted that day...


Hi again, Laura’s friends! I’m so excited to share another Frugal Friday post with y’all! Today, I want to share a few tips with you on budgeting for groceries. This is a no-brainer, but one huge key to being frugal is having a budget and sticking to it! For me personally, there were a couple of years when I didn’t budget. Way too often during that time, I overspent on groceries. It was easy to justify, because we needed food, right?! But we really didn’t need all those snack cakes & brownie mixes!

In preparing for this post, I did a little bit of research on family grocery budgets. [If you don’t have children yet (or you have younger children), please don’t disregard the rest of this post! It’s for you, too! Please know that I’m not trying to exclude anyone. I would like to encourage you that it’s never too early to start putting these principles into practice! If you are in the habit of being frugal now, then when/if you have children (or they get older and eat more) it’ll be that much easier for you to continue!] In my research, I discovered the following information (via this ehow article):

In 2010, a family with two adults ages 19 to 50 and two children ages 6 to 11, spent $582.60 a month at the thrifty level, $758.90 for the low-cost plan, $949.20 for a moderate plan and $1152.10 for the liberal plan.

I have to be honest with you, when I read those numbers I was quite surprised! I checked a few other sites, and they showed very similar stats. The majority of the sites I found recommend budgeting 10-15% of your take-home pay for food. My husband doesn’t make loads of money, but we are above poverty level ~ yet we manage to get by with a $300 grocery budget per month. And we are almost that average family mentioned: two adults ages 35 & 36 with two children ages 10 & 12. There are people out there who spend even less than we do, but I’ve found $300 to be perfect for our needs. It even allows for some splurges here & there.

One way that I’m able to spend so little is through stockpiling. When our staple items are on sale, I buy a bunch! For example, Kroger recently had a sale on canned tomatoes. I use diced, stewed, Italian-style, Mexican-style, pureed or crushed in almost every meal that I make. When combined with some coupons that I had, I bought 7 cans and paid only 59¢ ~ that’s only about 8¢ per can!

Yes, I mentioned coupons, but I’m not that crazy coupon lady! I have the Sunday paper delivered to my house, but that’s all. I don’t buy a stack of newspapers or trade with other people online. I simply clip the coupons for items that we already use. I don’t generally run around to five different stores in a week (though I did The Grocery Game for awhile, & it’s great to help you learn the process). I mainly shop at the Kroger near my house, with an occasional trip to Walmart or HEB. If a coupon can be doubled or tripled, I use it at Kroger. Otherwise I use it at Walmart, if I happen to make it by there before the coupon expires.

Another way my family is able to eat on a budget is through Angel Food Ministries. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s like a warehouse co-op ~ if that makes sense! It began as a food relief program for 34 families affected by some plant closings in Georgia in 1994. Now, Angel Food feeds over 500,000 families a month in 35 states. It is low-cost, but it is NOT limited to low-income families. There are no qualifications or income restrictions. Each month, they offer several boxes of food to choose from, and you place an order (either online or at the host site, usually a church). Then a week after the deadline, you pick up your food from the host site. One box is supposed to feed a family of four for a week, but we manage to make it last closer to two weeks. It offers more variety than my budget can usually afford, and my family appreciates some meals that aren’t the “same old” stuff. You should definitely check it out & see if there’s a host site near you. The picture below is an example of what you would get in one $41 box:


Finally, there are just a few more little tips that I have put into practice. I buy a lot of generic. There are a few items that have to be name brand (ie. Miracle Whip, Dr Pepper and Eight O’Clock Coffee), but most store brands are fine. I do some warehouse shopping, but only if it really is a good deal. {Sometimes the canned goods are nearly $1 each, and I just don’t spend that much on one can of green beans!} It definitely helps to have an idea of what you normally spend on each item before shopping (especially at warehouse stores), and I almost always have a list! That’s another no-brainer, but it really does help! It helps plan your spending, and it helps you avoid impulse buys. {And if you score a great deal on some items & have money left after you’ve picked up the items on your list, you can always go back & buy those Oreos on the endcap!} There are some “high ticket luxuries” that I just don’t buy at this point. For example, I only buy seafood and choice meats if they’re on sale or “reduced for quick sale”. I also don’t buy alcohol. I don’t have a problem with it, but it’s not something that I spend money on. My mister is addicted to Dr Pepper, so we splurge on that! (And if we’ve spent quite a bit at a warehouse store, he says for me not to buy it for a few weeks).

I hope these ideas help a little! I’m no expert, but this is what works for me! There are many blogs out there with many more tips than what I’ve provided here. If you have anything else to add, please leave a comment! I’m always looking for more ways to stretch a dollar!

Amy

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"How He Loves"

(by John Mark McMillan) How He Loves (Single Version) - The Medicine



With today being a "cancerversary" of sorts (2 1/2 years), I have attempted to process things again ~ as my friend Laura suggested I do like last year. I started the process after the post where I made people cry at work (sorry)! But some things take time. A lot of what you'll read today is what I wrote back then (only with more crying then than now). I typed it all out then, but I couldn't hit "publish post". I wasn't trying to hide my true feelings, but I felt like it was so gloomy. I'm really not a gloomy person overall, I promise! And I hate posting gloomy stuff so much! So this has sat in my drafts for 3 or 4 months. I'm posting it now, because it's still true, & it's still a part of my life. I still feel the way I did when I started the process, but I am less emotional about it now. Is that progress? I don't know, but this is how my mind attempts to deal with it all...

Sometimes, I feel like if I give in to my thoughts (and fears) & actually think it all the way through, then I'll never stop crying. & that thought makes me feel like I'm being a baby & just need to get over it. Ya know? Like, I have no business grieving, because he is still here. If he doesn't win his fight with cancer, then there'll be plenty of time for grieving later.

Other times, I think that if I allow myself to really break down & think it all through, then maybe I can move on from this place. And to me, moving on means that I might have hope for the future. Because honestly, right now I'm expecting him to die. I've only said that out loud once, but I'm being honest here & laying it all out for you. Obviously, I hope he doesn't die, but it's like I'm preparing for him not to make it. That probably sounds morbid, and maybe I need psychological help. But that's how I feel.

Sometimes I think that something is wrong with me because I feel that way. I haven't talked to a whole lot of cancer spouses (and obviously each person's situation is different), but the one person that I did have this type of conversation with felt the same. That makes me feel a little less crazy. Again though, I keep thinking that I can't give in to the sadness, because if I do that then I might lose all hope. But seeing as I don't really have much hope anyways, then what would it hurt to try to process it? And if I happen to come out the other side with a little hope, then that's good right? It sounds good in theory, but the pessimist in me responds with, "OK, but if you end up believing that he'll beat cancer, yet he still dies, then what?"




Well, the "what" that I have come to terms with now is the same thing I've known since nearly the beginning of our journey...

Jesus is still the same.

Knowing that, and focusing on Him, brings an immeasurable amount of peace. I don't always have that peace, but I've realized that I only have it when I am focusing on Christ, the giver of peace. To quote Charlie Hall (in this video), I've been learning "how to walk through it toward God and not give up on faith because life's so messed up. And also, still reaching out to people while you're in the midst of feeling crushed." Because this is the deal: my faith has been shaken, but I still trust Jesus. I don't want anyone to see what I'm going through and doubt Him. I don't want to be so weak that my kids or other people around me think He's not strong enough to carry me (or them) through the valley.

Today's song is one that has meant a lot to me throughout this whole journey. I thought I'd share this clip that my friend Natalie shared with me many, many months ago:



I can understand a lot of what he said & felt. Again it may seem morbid, but it's how I feel. I love the way he puts it though, when he talks about God not being offended that I'm angry & that He wants to hang with me through this. I'm not actually angry right now, but I definitely have been. And I may be again tomorrow or six months from now. But I am grateful for His unconditional love and the grace He extends. That He loves me enough to be right here with me through it all.

"As for me, I look to the Lord for help.
I wait confidently for God to save me,
and my God will certainly hear me"
(Micah 7:7)

"The Lord is good,
a strong refuge when trouble comes.
He is close to those who trust in Him."
(Nahum 1:7)


Amy

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"What Have You Been Doing Lately?"

(by Relient K) What Have You Been Doing Lately? - The First Three Gears (2000-2003)



I've been doing a few things lately, so this is a somewhat scattered post...

First of all, my mom ended up in the hospital on her birthday (Friday) ~ so not a way to celebrate! She had several blood clots in her leg & was in quite a bit of pain from the swelling. They had to put a central line into her chest, because her veins are too small to administer enough blood thinner through a regular IV. Because of her MS, her doctor is wanting her to do some rehab before she goes home (probably by the end of the week). She is in good spirits & is doing much better. We are incredibly thankful for a wonderful new doctor.

I got super great news a couple of weeks ago, but [at the risk of jinxing it] I didn't want to post about it! Now that it has officially happened, I'm excited to say that my baby brother now resides about 10 minutes away from me!!!!! I know that I've mentioned visiting him with my dad, but I don't think I've actually told you where. On one of his birthdays, I mentioned that he wasn't in a great place. If you saw the picture I posted from one of our visits, you may have figured out that he's in prison. I wasn't trying to hide that fact ~ it's just a long, sad story. Anyways, since he was first incarcerated, I have been trying to get him into the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), and it has finally happened! The IFI is a Christian prison program with a dramatic reduction in recidivism rate for those who graduate. The chaplain of my brother's unit goes to my church, and we have many church members that are involved in ministry there. I'm so excited that these people will have a chance to speak into my brother's life, and I'm even more excited that he's so close to me now! It used to be an entire day trip to see him in Beeville: a 3 hour drive there, with a wait of up to an hour or so before our 2-hour visit, then another 3 hour drive back. My poor dad would drive an hour to pick me up on the way, & then of course another hour home each time. We went to see Aaron right down the road on Saturday, and as we were driving through my neighborhood on the way home, I looked at the clock & realized we would just be getting to Beeville if we still had to drive there! I think that's pretty awesome! Since it was such a long ordeal before [& costly ~ have you seen those gas prices?!], we were only able to see him once a month. He is entitled to four visits a month, and I guarantee we'll be taking them now! Because of the closer proximity, my brother Kerry will also be able to visit him more often. His schedule makes it difficult to take a whole day, but now it'll only take a few hours! I know I'm rambling, but there are so many good things about this!! I'm just a little excited! :D

OK, one last totally irrelevant item: at my mister's work Christmas party, I met the wife of one of his co-workers. She is a Tupperware consultant and a cancer survivor! She brought up the idea of doing a fundraiser to help with my mister's medical expenses. Though I can accept help when offered, I have a hard time asking for help. So it has taken me almost three months to actually go for it! But I figure if a friend can get a quality product AND the purchase actually helps us out, then we both win! So with that being said, if you or someone you know would like to help us pay off some medical bills, check out my mister's Tupperware Fundraiser Page! Feel free to share the link with your friends. If you would like to help even more, I can make you an official "Seller" where you can create an account & send out fundraising emails to your friends and family. Just leave a comment or click the "Email Me" button to let me know! {No pressure, though!}

I hope y'all have a wonderful day!!

Amy