budgeting and generous giving

I told my husband the other day that I want to create a real budget since we now have a house payment (something we’ve not had in our 11 years of marriage). Sure, we’ve had other payments, but none as big as this mortgage and none that will last for such a long period of time. The past several Sunday School lessons at our church have been about work and money management, so this comes at the perfect time.

After teaching my spin class yesterday, I got into a conversation about budgeting with one of my students, who has been on a budget for quite sometime. She follows the Dave Ramsey principles which I’m somewhat familiar with (thanks to my cousin who gave me that book many years ago!). I need to pull that book back out because I only made it to the second or third step in the plan. Either way, this gal was so helpful and emailed me the neatest spreadsheet on budgeting that she uses. I plan to get into the meat of it this weekend and figure out our budget for next month and see how it goes. I don’t think our house payment will start until May which is nice so we’ll have a month to practice.

This week’s Sunday School lesson is about “Our generous giving should glorify God and reflect Christ’s giving.” My mom raised me to understand the importance of tithing (giving the first 10% back to God) and over the past several years, I’ve really practiced this. I’m a good tither, but I’m not good at “offerings”, so I plan to work that into the budget. I was proud to hear my sister say she gave a good chunk of her earnings to the church last year. I guess mom’s words DID sink in after all!

Some points from the Sunday School lesson this week (2 Corinthians 9:10-13):

  • The Lord is the One who provides our necessities of life and more
  • The reason for multiplying our material resources is to increase the harvest of our righteousness
  • God prospers us not so we can move on up and enjoy a bigger piece of the pie but to enable us to do more to bless others
  • Our generosity will result in people offering thanksgiving to God, thus bringing glory to Him
  • Generosity supplies the needs of the saints
  • Generosity expresses thanks to God
  • Generosity confesses the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone

So, I’m praying over our new budget and asking God to guide me in creating it and following it. I know it won’t be easy to change some of our habits (like eating out WAY too much), but I know we can do it. One reason we got a house is to stay here and enjoy it, so I plan to work on meal planning on the weekends and this gal is going to be grilling out a LOT more this spring and summer!

On another note, I got me some Starbucks Veranda Blend Blonde Roast at the grocery store the other day and it sure is tasty. I had been drinking my favorite Jamaican Me Crazy blend, but I was almost out and was ready to try something new. Plus this was half the price. Yes, I’m pregnant, but I don’t worry about one cuppa joe a day.

Have a blessed day!

A pretty sunset one evening this week

A pretty sunset one evening this week

farmin’ photos

My father-in-law is out of town and he normally feeds the cows, so my husband got to fill in. It was such a pretty morning that I thought my son and I would join him. We had fun “farmin” – all I did was take pictures and open a gate. My son loves to be outside and especially loves being around tractors, so it was a big adventure. I thought I would share some pictures I took and some from the past week as well.

On another note, my husband and I had a wonderful date evening as our son is staying with a relative tonight. We got a bite to eat, watched “Winter’s Tale” (I give it 3 stars), and ended up buying our dining set! I had my eye on a set from IKEA, but when I saw this “Jesus” table at a furniture store we stopped at on a whim, I knew it was the one. It cost just a little more, but it’s fully assembled and they will deliver for free! Seems to be good quality and very heavy.


Days like today leave me elated and feeling so blessed. I truly wonder why God takes such good care of me and my family and gives us all that we have. But, when I stop and think about being a child of God, it’s a little easier for me to understand as a mother. I would do almost anything for my son and I will give him all that I can in this life (but not spoil him, you know).

Anyhoo, enough typing, time for pictures!

happy groundhog day!

I hear ol’ Phil saw his shadow today, but what the heck does he know? My dad says it will be an early spring and that’s what I choose to believe.

I celebrated Groundhog Day with my pal Tonya. She came to church with me and then we went to a local winery for tastings (her, not me) and lunch. Very good food! I had a take on shrimp and grits, but the grits were smoked Gouda grit cakes. My beverage was a very nice cup of decaf coffee. The dessert menu wasn’t tickling my fancy, so I came home and had a leftover piece of my son’s birthday cake from his party yesterday. Yummy.

My son’s party went well yesterday. It was a small family gathering of about 10 people. I fed them slow cooker chicken and dumplings (big hit), green beans, and real mashed potatoes. My mom made the prettiest cake and it was very tasty. She used to make a lot of our birthday cakes when we were little. Tonight, my little toddler decided to eat a lady bug! I had left him watching it crawl on the couch. When I came back, I asked him where it was and he drooled all over everything. I smelled that squished lady bug smell and he confessed to eating it. So gross.

The most exciting part of the weekend? The excavators came and dug the hole for our new house!!! I was so discouraged going to work yesterday morning because they were supposed to come Friday and never showed. They didn’t even call. When I left at 9:30, they still weren’t here and I was all messed up because everything has seemed so slow and delayed. I should have known God was taking care of things. My mother in law called at 10 am to report we had equipment at our house site. That made my day! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate so we can get the footers and foundation in soon. I still have my fingers crossed that we’ll be moving in our new home the first week of March.

The big game half time show is over and I didn’t hear of any weddings. So glad.

Just think folks, only 6 more weeks of winter, either way. Enjoy this little photo recap of the past week or so.

my thankfulness

An early morning sunrise I recently caught on film

An early morning sunrise I recently caught on film

I was very tempted to blog about something negative this evening. I even got a few lines typed before I decided to be positive instead. I had been thinking all day about what I am thankful for, seeing it is Thanksgiving week. This morning in my son’s Sunday school class, they made little crafts showing what they were thankful for. It made me think about how we always rattle off things like food, family, friends, yada, yada. That’s all fine and good, but I thought I would be specific with my list this year. Here’s what I’ve come up with after mulling it over most of the day:

  • a loving God who blesses me daily and is building me a home in heaven right now
  • a wonderful, hazel-eyed husband who puts up with my craziness and lets me snuggle up to him each night
  • a beautiful son who makes me laugh and smile every day while showing me how innocent the world can be
  • a loving mom who raised me in a Christian environment and taught me the value of thank you notes
  • a loving dad who has shown me the value of a dollar saved and hard work
  • a sister who turned me on to wheat pasta, reusable shopping bags, and cooking from scratch
  • another sister who surprises me with hand written notes in my mailbox and lives a carefree life I can only dream of
  • in laws that treat me like their very own daughter (and grand daughter)
  • fresh, clean drinking water in abundance
  • the ability and desire to exercise and stay healthy
  • a flexible work schedule that allows me to spend more time with my family
  • enough money to provide all of my needs and most of my wants
  • the freedom to worship and live the life I desire
  • healthy blue eyes to witness the amazing beauty of nature, sunsets, and all the other gorgeous things on the earth
  • a warm bed with clean linens
  • hot showers
  • a car that’s paid for
  • good books and colorful magazines
  • a church family that gets along and supports each other like a family

This list could go on and on forever, but I’m honestly pooped right now. It’s about time for bed, but if I think of anything else I missed, I’ll add as another post. I challenge you to think outside the box and come up with your own thankfulness list.

early autumn fishing, biking, and photos

It’s officially autumn for a few weeks now, but it feels like summer all of a sudden. Well, at my house, at least. It’s been in the 80’s for days and the nights have even been warm. But, it looks like tomorrow brings the 60’s and it will feel like fall again.

My husband and I took our son to a local pond the other day for some fishing. It was fun, but it was HOT! My husband caught one small mouth bass, which we threw back. It was funny, because our toddler wouldn’t have anything to do with the fish or the worms. He’s all boy, but he’s started to become hesitant of touching everything he sees. When he was smaller, he’d pick ANYTHING up and stick it in his mouth.

I took a 25 minute spin on our homemade cyclocross course a while ago. It is such an intense workout! After that, I did some triceps dips, lunges, squats, and push ups since I’d been lazy the past two days. I still need to practice before the race on the 19th so I can be somewhat ready. I intend for it to be something fun the hubby and I can do together, but it sure would be cool to place, eh?!

for God so loved the world…

It rained quite a bit yesterday after about two weeks of dry weather (and a very wet summer). After the rain quit, the sky turned gorgeous and out popped a beautiful, double rainbow. I love rainbows and my son even pointed it out in the sky. The scripture that immediately came to mind was John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I told my son the quick version of why we have rainbows and what they mean. They sure are a sweet token of a timeless promise. Then, we took a short walk around in the wet grass before bed. Enjoy the blessing of a gorgeous, Southwest Virginia sky!

end of summer photos

Yes, I know it’s my THIRD post today and I’m hogging the blog arena, but I wanted to share some end of summer photos that I’ve gathered over the past couple of weeks. I live in a beautiful place and I try to thank God for it every day. Enjoy.