Archive for Family and Finance
This past January my grandfather passed away. He was older and I knew over the past few years he had been showing his age, though he still seemed spry for 87. The day before Christmas Eve we received the phone call that he was very ill and in the hospital. Something about the gravity of my aunt’s voice made me realize it was probably the beginning of the end. I went to bed that evening unable to sleep.
The following day my husband’s family was coming for Christmas Eve dinner and I was doing the cooking. Three kids underfoot, the in-laws for a holiday gathering and my heart screaming, “How can my grandfather be dying?”
The following weekend I made the 6 hour trip with my five year old daughter for company. With each passing highway mile I found the lump in my throat getting bigger. Only two months earlier I had seen Grampa at a family gathering. He had still been active, living at home, though walking with a little assistance from a walker. Was I prepared to see him feebly lying in a nursing home bed?
Two things made my grief over his illness run deep. My dad passed away when I was only seven and this was his father who now lay gravely ill. Growing up Grampa had paid special attention to my brother and I, taking us on yearly trips to places like Disney, Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, and Quebec City. He wanted to keep the family connection, doing for us what my father couldn’t do. It was like Grampa was my connection to my late father – the bond I had with him helped me feel I knew my Dad. I felt this slipping through my fingers, as if I was losing all I had left of my father.
Secondly Grampa and I never saw eye to eye on issues of faith. I wrestled with not knowing his eternal destiny. This also weighed heavily on me.
I spent that New Year’s Eve day visiting with Grampa, while my daughter enjoyed the day with her aunts. We spoke of faith and God, for which I am thankful. As I left I hugged him, told him we loved him, and felt him tightly grip my hand. I didn’t want to go. I knew deep down it was the last time I would see him alive.
As I hit the highway again I couldn’t contain the tears. Pulling into a rest stop I called my husband bawling. I was losing Grampa and I knew it.
Less than two weeks later the phone call came. It was expected. But still the finality of death was hard to bare.
Death and dying are all part of life. I don’t want to lose the people I love. Growing up I never grieved my father’s death – I just buried the pain, saying I was ok. Over the last few years I’ve been healing. I’ve had to grieve the loss of my Dad that occurred more than two decades ago. What I found is that God’s healing doesn’t mean the pain hurts less. Healing means I can feel again. I can feel great joy and great sorrow. While my pain was buried I couldn’t feel either of these. Read More→
Do you read your Bible every day? I don’t, but I do read scripture every day. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), so you need to be reading scripture daily for the health of your faith. But who has the time, or even the desire, to sit down with their Bible and read? So let’s discuss some interesting ways to get your daily dose of The Word.
- Decorate your walls — Put beautiful landscape pictures with scripture on your walls. Not only do you have something pretty to gaze upon, but you will also give your faith a boost every time you walk down the hall to wash another load of laundry. My goal is to put a scripture picture in every room of my house.
- Verse A Day App – Sign up for a verse of the day app on your phone or iPad. Apps are a fantastic method of keeping up with scripture without picking up a Bible. Even better, if you find the verse to be what you need, you can read the rest of the chapter right where you are, even if you are in the grocery store. Some Bible apps will even read the Bible out loud to you while you commute to work. You can even sign up for a verse of the day in your email.
- Wallet cards — Many Christian stores, and even some regular bookstores, will carry credit-card sized cards with a pretty picture and verse. Whenever you reach into your wallet, you will be reminded of God.
- Scripture a Day Calendar — Everyday you rip off the sheet from yesterday and start a fresh verse to feed your soul.
- Answer Questions — I found a website where I answer Bible questions for other people. Those who do not understand The Word can benefit from the knowledge of others. By responding to questions, I have to dive deep into the Bible to find the right answers to the questions. Mind you this option might not be the right one for everyone. If, like me, you have a relevant degree, this might be a viable and unique way to immerse yourself.
- Facebook — Join a Facebook or Twitter group which shares scripture often. Let your news feed fill with verses, in between pictures of cats and your friend’s babies of course!
- Devote a little time — Get yourself a devotional book. Not only will this give you a little lesson every day to uplift, but will have a verse at the bottom for you.
- Listen to music — Find a Christian group you love who incorporate scripture into their songs. You might not know the exact location of the verse in the Bible, but the words will be in your heart.
- Keep a journal — whenever you receive a verse you want to remember to write the scripture in your journal, and when you need it, the verse will be close to you to read on a whim. Fill it up! You can even write prayer requests or prayers in the journal.
- Play Bible games — Find a Bible trivia game to play with your children or friends. What a wonderful way to have fun and feed your faith!
- Use Scripture on your background — Use Google to find a scripture background for your computer. Seeing scripture daily might even help you memorize more verses. When the verse is deeply planted in your head, find a new one!
- Drink your coffee or tea — Shop for a few mugs with your favorite scriptures to make your morning coffee more enjoyable.
- Read to your children — Before your kids head to school educate them with a daily verse from the best book ever created. Reading scripture to your children is beneficial to help them grow their faith as well.
As a church, it can be hard to work as a unified group when you only see each other once a week. Of course, their are council meetings and other occasions for people to meet. But, these are usually out of reach to the wider congregation of the church. This poses a problem when trying to get things done as a group effort. Or, simply for members of the church to get to know one another. Thankfully, there’s a way to solve this problem. And, this post is going to be going through exactly how you can do it.
A lot of churches take their congregation on regular retreats. These retreats are like short vacations for the church. You spend a long weekend in a beautiful location with loads of things to see and do. This is an excellent chance for members of the church to get together and plan for future events. It also enables church leaders to get a good amount of time talking to their flock. This all helps to build a stronger church. The members will form friendships that they wouldn’t have had outside of church. And, you will be able to get an idea of how the church is going. This also gives everyone a chance to go on a vacation. And, of course, who wouldn’t want that?
Of course, at something like this, you’re going to find loads of church related activities. You will have sermons on most days. And, you’ll even find some fun things to do. The activities that you will find will greatly vary between places. Some of these retreats will have swimming pools and wooded walks. Others will have sports like golf available. This will depend on the place that you go to. Thankfully, most of these places are designed with families in mind. So, they will have things for people of all ages to get involved with. This can be an excellent chance to get away from the kids for an afternoon; without having to have them too far away.
Finding one of these places shouldn’t be too hard. Most cities have options. And, a lot of towns have them, too. Finding a christian retreat center that will suit your church may take some time. So, it’s worth getting ready to do some research. It’s important that you make sure that the place that you choose suits your church members. It would be unfair to choose somewhere very expensive if most of your church-goers are low income families. Likewise, having to travel a very long distance will also put a lot of people off of the idea. You have to make these considerations when thinking about something like this. It’s important to make sure that as many of the church members are included as possible.
Hopefully, this will inspire you start working on a retreat for your own church. It can be hard to make sure that you’re doing something that everyone will enjoy. But, once people are out there, they will struggle to complain about what you’ve prepared for them. So, don’t worry; just enjoy the break.
By Kathy Wilson
Valentine’s Day is a special day in my household, and I try to share the feeling of love and romance with all my family! One of the best ways to do that is to set a holiday table, and spend time enjoying good food and drink with your loved ones. (Include your kids in dinner, and save a special after dinner and dessert for romance!) Here are some great ideas for setting the stage for a romantic dining experience, without breaking your budget.
* Set a background for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Layer your table with fabrics to invoke the sense of a luxurious hotel. Use sheets, quilts, tablecloths and placemats in coordinating colors. Pink, red and white are all indicative of love, but so are deep jewel tones. Look around your linen closet to find what you may already own! Flat sheets can be found at the discount shop for $3!
* Invest in a roll of wire edged ribbon from the discount store. Tie bows around chair backs, glass stems, and silverware bundles for that extra touch.
* Use a paper punch and create confetti to sprinkle over the table. This is a great use for used wrapping paper, greeting cards, or even the funnies! It adds a great festive touch, and you can even put the kids to work on this one!
* Buy a few boxes of Valentine’s message hearts (they are only a $1 for three boxes!) and leave special love messages for each family member on their plate. Or use chocolate bars and cut out the letters to spell their name or initial as a sweet place card.
* Make each family member a “Scroll” of love. Write them a personal note telling them all the wonderful things you love about them, then roll it up like a scroll, and tie with the ribbon. Tie to their chair with the ribbon, or tuck in with their napkin. Make sure their names are marked on each scroll. Read More→
Especially as women I find we are more susceptible to false guilt than men.
How often do you find these words coming out of your mouth “I feel guilty….”?
“I feel guilty for not spending enough time with my kids”
“I feel guilty for losing my temper.”
“I feel guilty for not having a better relationship with my mom.”
Can you distinguish between false guilt and real guilt or conviction? False guilt leaves us striving in our homes, work and church.
The enemy is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Satan is working to make our thoughts accuse us – it gives him great delight to see us fall into the trap of feeling guilty for everything. On the other hand with Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1), because if we confess our sins He forgives us (1 John 1:9) and doesn’t remember our sin anymore (Hebrews 8:12).
When we have sinned and we go to Christ asking forgiveness our guilt is erased and our sin no longer has hold over us. However, guilt can produce compulsiveness because it torments us. (Beyond Head Knowledge)
The tormenting voice of guilt stems in part from our childhood. A good article from Focus on the Family points out that “hypercritical upbringings create a hyperactive conscience.” Perhaps growing up you never felt good enough, your best efforts didn’t measure up and you felt like you always had to apologize for everything. It could be that you always feel guilty for not trying harder. Or maybe you struggle with feeling bad that you haven’t done better even though you have tried. Read More→
With the New Year at hand we think in terms of goals of what we would like to accomplish in the coming 12 months. Maybe weight loss, traveling, a mission opportunity or something else. Frequently New Year’s resolutions focus on building our businesses, becoming better moms, getting physically fit or reading through the Bible in a year.
What kind of goal would you set for your mind and emotions? Learning what a healthy mind looks like will help us see where we want to be. According to, Dr. Leaf ‘research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% to diet, genetics and environment. Studies conclusively link more chronic diseases (also known as lifestyle diseases) to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections and allergies just to name a few.” (Who Switched Off My Brain, p 4)
God doesn’t want us to suffer physically because of our anxieties but desires our minds to be in a state of peace. Look at Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Through Jesus God has given us the gift and ability to have a peaceful mind. In John 14:27 Jesus makes us the promise ‘Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.’
The pressures of life get me down. I can feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities but God extends peace to us, even if we are weary in our work and homes. The load is not for us to bear alone. God doesn’t want us to be carrying the weight of it all. Instead He desires that we turn to Him for His peace. Read More→
When I was six and in first grade, my teacher told us to write down our future career aspirations. She meant for our goals to be career-oriented. Other kids wrote down their desire to be firemen, doctors, and even a princess. My list was short, concise, just three goals that reached beyond a job. My block-print read in order: mom, wife, writer. Other kids grew up and their goals changed. Suddenly being a fireman sounded more dangerous than thrilling. Being a doctor required more years of school and money than everyone was willing to put forth. The one girl was still plotting her engagement to Prince Harry. She and I alone knew our hearts desire at the tender age of six.
Today I walked past a box of ornaments, a pair of sandals, two candy wrappers, and a pile of Rice Crispies on the floor, on the way to my white refrigerator. Picking this fridge was a time-consuming computer search of reading reviews on several websites and picking my particular specifications. A real grown up endeavor. Another reminder that I am now in my late thirties. Well past the days of stuck with whatever appliances come with the place we are renting. Now, my floor is a patchwork of cereal and tiny pink socks. Then I shut the fridge door and found out this is the magical refrigerator of my dreams.
Why you ask, is this icebox so magical? This one is decorated with a picture of me with unicorn hair and large black eyes. This fridge has my son’s A/B honor roll ribbon on the freezer section. I have a tin turned into a pen holder, one of my Pinterest wins. A poem my middle child wrote is on the other side next to progress reports and the phone number for the local pizza shop. There is a stuffed bat adorning the door because my family loves stuffed animals. Basically, my fridge is covered in the same stuff as every other family in America who are peppered with children from two to twenty, and I love it!
All the random bits of my life with my husband and children end up on the fridge as a constant reminder of the mundane to spectacular details of our lives. These details, however, are unique to my dreams and goals. This appliance sits there as a giant ice-making reminder that all my dreams have come true and I haven’t even said, “I’m forty” once in my life. My writing is not gracing the fridge; I might need to print out this blog to prove to my magical fridge all three of my goals are current. Read More→
Do you love being out on the road, driving to new places and meeting new people? If that’s the case, a driving career should be at the top of your wish list. There are lots of options to consider here when looking for a career that will keep you on the road and away from the desk. Let’s look at some of the best possibilities.
One of the best options would be to work as a paramedic. With a career as a paramedic, you won’t just be driving around all day. Your job will matter, and you will be helping people on the scenes of accidents. Instead of working in an operating room you will be challenged by new environments every day. It could be something that is incredibly enjoyable as well as exhilarating.
If you love having a chat or a good chin wag and driving closer to home, you can be a taxi driver. You can either set up as an independent business owner. Or, alternatively, work for an existing company such as Uber. Although you do want to be careful working for a business like this. They have developed a poor reputation for paying their drivers close to nothing.
Last but not least you can work on the road delivering products to customers and business owners. It can be quite a fun job, and you’ll get to travel massive distances which some people love. To start this career, you’ll need your CDL. You can find out more about this license in the infographic below.
Infographic Created By www.Express CDL Practice Test.com
Have you had one of those days where you just wanted to quit? I reached that point recently – I just wanted to lay everything down and take a nap…
…a five year nap.
I felt overwhelmed, stretched-too-thin and had convinced myself that certainly anyone else could all these things better than I could. So why bother? Why not step away from it all and quit?
What do you do when the world feels like it’s crumbling around you? When all those plates you’re spinning in the air seem as if they are tipping in different directions, ready to crash down upon your head at any moment?
Do you give in and run away, like I was tempted to do? Or do you dig your heels in and tell yourself, “This too shall pass.”
It frustrates me that at times like these my first reaction is always to run and hide (and long for that nap…). I’m grateful that God places people in my life to remind me of His truth and my responsibilities.
I shared my feelings and sense of being overwhelmed with a trusted friend during this time and they gently nudged me with the truth straight from God’s Word. In 1 Peter chapter five, we’re told, starting with verse six: Read More→
This is one situation but it happens so often that when there is a difficulty with technology I spend hours in frustration trying to fix it. I’m sure you have all been there, whether it is an app you use for business, a website crawl error for sales, or a missed message on your voicemail that you can’t seem to retrieve. The technology that helps us to have businesses in this generation can also be our biggest source of anxiety.
Around the same time I had a conversation with my Dad about how especially in Africa the people draw together to pray – often large groups praying for someone who is sick or in need.
Why is it that they are so fervent in faith and here in America we are not quick to run to God? We live with technology at our fingertips. When we don’t feel good we can run to the doctor for medicine or run to google to self diagnose.
When I think of my own mindset – I’m focused on finding my own solutions, doing what we all do, running to the Internet and technology to make life work. Whether it is our time spent trying to make technology for our businesses or whether it is running to the internet for the answers to our questions like, “What are could cause a stomach pain and a headache?”, “How do I know if my child is up to grade level?” “How do I clean my washing machine?” Whatever it is, if you are like me you probably type things in a search bar multiple times a day for various questions.
All that is well and good but what if I stop trying so hard? What if when technological problems arise rather than wasting many hours and frustration consulting Google on the answers to fix the problem, what if I spent more time dependent on God. Praying “Father I need help with this please show me the way.” Read More→