Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Anniversary Post II

Today is the day!  July 27th - our 9th Anniversary!  I'm just a wee bit giddy!

For Wednesday's Woman this week, I want to reflect back on someone who had a part in our wedding, the pianist, Mrs. Whitten.

Mrs. Whitten was my middle school music teacher.  She did a great job!  I always looked forward to going to music class in fifth and sixth grades.  I only saw Mrs. Whitten in the hall after that because I had Advanced Art and couldn't also take music.  I was only in Adv. Art because Mrs. Whitten didn't choose me for chorus.  I hold nothing against her for this - she has good ears.

I did see Mrs. Whitten's beautiful home quite often though because I passed by it many days of my life as she lived very near where I grew up.  On occasion, I would see her with her husband (the high school art teacher) and twin daughters.  I knew her only from a distance until my senior year of high school when one of her daughers was in colorguard with me.  That's the colorguard in the marching band, not the ROTC.  It was then that Mrs. Whitten began riding on the school bus to competitions with us as a chaperone, but mainly, it was so she could French braid our hair.

Let me chase a rabbit for a minute.  I love braiding my three girls' hair.  Not just anyone can put their hand in your hair.  It's a deeply personal space up there on the top of your head.  It feels good to have someone brush your hair.  I like to do special things with my girls' hair because it is their crowning glory as little women, it's a way to give them something special that doesn't cost any money, and most importantly, it's a way I can spend time with them and connect.  I envision them as preteens opening up and talking with me as I do their hair. 

It was just that type of thing that would happen for me with Mrs. Whitten.  She and I talked as she braided my hair.  It was just before my senior year of high school that I met my future husband.  She listened to me gush about my new found love and saw me as I gave a sign language "I love you" to him when he came to our competitions.  I don't think she thought it was silly, at least she didn't let me feel as if that's what she thought.

The two years following high school graduation, I worked as the colorguard instructor for my alma mater.  This afforded me many more opportunities to spend time on the bus with Mrs. Whitten.  I talked with Mrs. Whitten about the classes I took and the still present boyfriend.  It was during that time that Mrs. Whitten shared some with me about her dating experience with Mr. Whitten, her college sweetheart.  I soaked it in.  I don't remember how long they had been married at that time, but not too many marriages make it that long anymore.  I appreciated hearing this Christian woman share with me how she and her husband had made it.

Flash forward another eighteen months or so, and I needed a pianist for my wedding.  We were kind of between pianists at my church at the time, my roommate was a music performance major who was also an international student and was going to be out of the country at the time of the wedding, so I was feeling stuck.  I drove by Mrs. Whitten's house as I so often did and felt as if God had given me the answer to my problem.  I called Mrs. Whitten and asked if she'd be willing to play for us.  She was willing, but her fee was a little beyond the budget my parents had allocated for a pianist.  I called Mrs. Whitten back to tell her I'd have to find someone else, and she told me she'd do it anyway. If memory serves me right, my parents did come up with her fee after all was said and done, but the offer was unbelievable.

The music was beautiful, and it was a major part of some of my memories of the day.  I remember being nervous as I heard "Canon in D" being played fby Mrs. Whitten for the bridal party to come down the aisle.  I rocked back and forth to the beat waiting for her to begin playing "Trumpet Voluntary" for my dad and me.  I remember the recessional, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" sounding just like my heart felt, exuberant.  

Mrs. Whitten gave me a great gift that day and on all the days that she spent time braiding my hair and listening and talking with me.  She was a wonderful Titus 2 Woman to me!   

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Anniversary Post I

July 27, 2002, I married the most amazing man!  I am so blessed beyond measure to have spent the last nine years of my life with my best friend!

My husband was gone from home last night doing some manly work on his 1984 GMC pickup truck, which we just so happened to use as our transportation leaving our wedding.  This left me in charge of the remote control.  Bummer!  Of course we had a special report to hear from our president and the speaker of the House.  I am all for knowing what's going on in politics, but I must say I was a little disappointed that it would be on the night I can watch anything I want.

This is not the place I choose to air my political thoughts, so I won't get into what I think needs to happen with our debt ceiling or otherwise in D.C.  If you've read this any time now or know me at all, you probably have it figured right that I believe God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman for life, that to have an abortion is to commit murder (whenever it takes place), and that to owe money to anyone for anything makes you a slave to the lender.  Well, maybe you didn't know all that already, but now you do.

Anyway, tonight's messages from D.C. got me thinking about how we've chosen to do things financially since my husband and I have been married.  It could benefit someone.

Married at twenty-one years of age, I with one semester of college left and my husband with two semesters, we didn't have much money.  That's an understatement.  I couldn't really work while student teaching, but my husband did work full time and do landscaping on the weekends while going to school full time.  It was then, and is now, his burden to bear, to make sure that all of our financial needs are met.  I'm super proud of how he has done whatever takes to make sure our bills have been paid on time.  As far as those bills went, we chose a small, but cute little rental home.  My husband's good family name led us by word of mouth to some great landlords who found renters only this way.  Being willing to work on this new property they had, by painting and other gritty work, brought our rent even lower than they initially intended to request.  We didn't pay for cable, then or now, so that's one other expense cut.  Really, pay for TV?  Maybe that's why we had four kids like stair steps, but I digress...

In that first year of marriage, we had to buy a car.  My little Honda Civic had had it.  We researched and watched prices at local used car lots, places my husband knew well and trusted.  Once again, my husband's good family name and the fact that we were "good people" got us a reasonable price for our Malibu.  We used our first tax return as a down payment, and when we came out of shock at how high our interest rate was going to be to finish paying for it, we found some family willing to give us a personal loan with a much lower interest rate.

As far as health expenses went that first year, we were very healthy, but were prepared if we hadn't been.  The day after our wedding, we drove to my husband's workplace to turn in a copy of our marriage license so that even if something happened on our honeymoon, I would be covered on his insurance policy.  I went straight from my dad's coverage to my new husband's, never a day without health insurance.

Our second year of marriage brought some major health problems for my husband.  We had a policy at that point that didn't cover as much as it could have, but we met our deductable and paid for it with some of our own savings, a few hundred dollars from my in-laws, and a love offering from the church we attended before we moved to seminary.

In that second year, we needed to build some credit because we had always paid cash for everything, so we got a credit card that was linked to our savings account and a little store credit card.  It was truly helpful to have a credit card to pay for my husband's classes and books rather than pay cash in one chunk, but we never let the balance go more than two or three months at a time. 

During the time of being strapped to death newlyweds, we always tithed, and God always provided even when things didn't work out on paper.  Looking at our budget on paper didn't seem to make perfect sense as we began to prepare for me to stay home upon the birth of our first child, but again, God provided.  There was never any question that I would stay home.  It was a conviction we felt strongly about.  I have to bite my tongue when I hear some working mothers say, "If I could stay home..." - some really need to work, others just need to be honest and say they don't want to change their spending habits.  I dabbled in couponing then, I breastfed (no expense on formula), used cloth diapers 85% of the time (no major expense with disposables), and obviously, with no child care costs, we weren't blowing that money every month.

Now, maybe you might think, we didn't have any fun, but we did.  We still went out to eat at least once a week.  We still go on vacation at least once a year, though we have yet to fly anywhere.  I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.  Our tribe, as we think of our family, is a fun tribe!  We boat with a good used boat and regularly go to the beach ("It's a sweet, sweet life livin' by the salty sea...").  I shop from time to time, but I really do love to get good deals.  Clearance racks, anyone?

We also save for unexpected expenses, save for a home in the future (right now we live in a parsonage), and we invest money for retirement.  We're not counting on Social Security.  We also don't hoard.  We give as we feel led and compelled by the Holy Spirit, and the Lord has returned it to us tenfold.

I don't want it to be that I'm tooting our horn.  God provides for our needs and most of our wants.  He has given my husband the work we've needed him to have, but what He has taught us from His word has helped us to face the financial challenges in life that most people will face in life.

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender." -Proverbs 22:7

"Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over - will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." -Luke 6:38

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday's Woman Guest Post

On Monday, I had the privilege of sharing a guest post with Heather at Raising Mighty Arrows.  Today, Heather is going to share with us about a Titus 2 Woman in her life.

My Titus 2 mentor was a previous pastor’s wife.  (Previous meaning the church I attended before I married…not previous in the fact that it was this particular pastor’s “previous” wife!!)  I was saved at the age of 19.  I wasn’t taught a whole lot about homemaking growing up.  Sure, I was taught to do my chores such as clean my room, do laundry, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, etc., but not in a cheerful, God-honoring way.  And definitely not with the intention to one day take on the role as a homemaker. 

Shortly after my conversion, I moved in with my pastor and his wife and three children for about a year.  It was in their home that I learned what a Godly home, marriage, and family looked like day in and day out.  It was there that I learned what submission looked like.  There was never any yelling or arguing….if there was I wasn’t there to notice it!  It was there that I saw first-hand the Mother and Father praying early in the mornings, and again at night with their children before bed.  There was peace and contentment and everyone seemed to enjoy one another.
About 8 years later, I am now the wife to a minister, a mother to two small toddlers, and a homemaker.  I try desperately to do it all correctly….or at least in a way that pleases God and my family.  I long to make my own home a haven of rest for all who enter here.  I long to teach my children the importance of prayer, and how that it’s best to start and end each day with it.  I desire to train my own daughter (and any future ones) how to be a Godly wife, mother, and homemaker. 

Heather joyfully works alongside her husband as they embark on a church-planting ministry in a small church in their community.  They have two toddlers, age 3 and under that keep them very busy.   Heather loves the Lord and her family with all of her heart and longs for the day her children come to know Christ as their personal Saviour!

Thanks so much, Heather!  I've enjoyed this week with you!

If anyone else would be interested in sharing, please e-mail me at

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raising Mighty Arrows

I'm excited to be sharing a guest post today over at Raising Mighty Arrows.  Heather writes specifically to minister's wives every Monday, but her writing every day is a great encouragement for all women.  Take a look around Raising Mighty Arrows and be inspired!  Also, look for a guest post from Heather with this week's Wednesday's Woman!

Raising Mighty Arrows

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Guest Post!

My friend, Amanda, will be sharing with us today about her Wednesday's Woman. I'm so excited to have her write for my first guest post! Amanda is a Titus 2 Woman herself, working with the Acteens at our church. She and her husband, Ben, have been married for three years and have one great baby boy. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I do!

My Wednesday Woman is my kind, self-controlled, and godly Granny. Throughout the past 27 years, my Granny has continually showed me love in various ways. She has looked for opportunities to instruct me and she has helped me to become the woman that I am today and still striving to become.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” Titus 2:3

My Granny took the time to teach what was good to me. Numerous times, my Granny talked with me about the three most important decisions I would make during my life. They were: 1) Surrendering my life to God and allowing Him to be my personal Lord and Savior. 2)The man I chose to marry...a man who desired to live completely for God. 3) The job I chose to have. (Younger ladies....this is so true! I am getting to reap the blessings from these three decisions that I have made!!) My Granny and I went on many walks together and ate many bowls of ice cream together. As I went through different struggles as a child and teenager, my Granny would seize these opportunities that these difficult struggles brought to teach me and help me realize that when I faced similar situations in my future to make decisions that would honor and glorify God.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:32

During my senior year of high school, my Granny was mugged as she was entering her home. The man pulled her down the front stairs as he was trying to take her purse. She ended up being in the hospital for four weeks as she recovered from a broken pelvic bone and other minor injuries. Just before the homecoming dance, my friends and I went to the hospital to visit her. Rather than taking this time to complain or have bitterness about the mishap, my Granny told us how she was praying for the man. Wow! I remember the night she got mugged, riding to the hospital, ready to find the man and for him to suffer punishment for what he had done to my Granny. Praying for him was the last thing on my mind! The forgiveness that she showed during this time was an impressing and life changing lesson on my heart.

“...It is more blessed to give than receive.” Acts 20:35

My Granny has a very generous heart and is willing to give whatever she may have that she thinks you will need. If I drive her somewhere, she tries to give me gas money. If she comes over to our house, she will bring a roll of paper towels or a can of vegetables. She is very selfless.

Granny, for these reasons and more, you are my Wednesday’s Woman!

Thank you, Amanda, for sharing with us today! For everyone, there's more guest posts coming in a few weeks! If you'd like to share, just let me know!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Second Honeymoon (and Third, Tenth, Thirtieth, etc.)

It has become the time of year for my husband me to plan our anniversary trip. We so love to get away with just one another, and it feels like it has been forever!

According to Danny Akin, in his book, God on Sex, recreational companionship is a man's third most important need. Men connect through activity, not just through talking the way that women do. It is so important to have fun with your husband, to do many of the activities you did when you were dating, to remember what made you fall in love in the first place! We should do all of this on a regular basis, but I believe it can be very upbuilding in our marital relationships if we can seek out time on a yearly basis to get away from home somewhere alone together.

We haven't been able to do this perfectly in our nine years of marriage. Nursing a baby for a year at a time every eighteen months to two years can put a kink in that. Instead, we've often had to take time as soon as a baby is weaned or before a baby is born to take a vacation together.

If you think that you can't afford to take trips alone at least once a year, you should know that part of the fun is the dreaming, planning, and saving together in order to achieve even just one night away. Right now, my husband and I have already made our hotel reservations for our destination, but we are having fun researching places to visit and restaurants we would like to try. These are something like mini-dates for us.

As you create memories together on your trip, taking pictures helps in the time between vacations. You can look back during busier seasons of your lives and remember the fun you had together.

While teaching about this in a marriage revival we had with our church a while back, one of the ladies with an empty nest said, "Why do we need to take a trip together when we see each other alone all the time?" to which I responded - There's something extra special about going away so that the ordinary tasks of being at home will not hinder you from focusing on one another. If you don't yet have children or if your children are grown and gone, still remember that you won't have to clean house while you're away from home or even answer phone calls if you choose not to turn on your cell phone. You will be able to completely focus on one another and your marriage!

Give it a try, y'all! See what wonders it does for you!

I'm linking up here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

You can do Cloth Diapers!

I can't ever help but comment whenever someone posts a question on Facebook about cloth diapers. Friends having babies very frequently ask me about cloth diapers. I've been using cloth diapers for six years now on four babyies' bottoms. How have I not shared about this already?

Keeper of the Home is sharing today how cloth diapering is easier than it seems. I personally think it is actually even more cost effective than the author shares and possibly even easier.
Here's my testimonial:

Over six years ago, my husband was in seminary in Louisville and I was pregnant with our first child. We had a neighbor who was a little eccentric. She was and is a wonderful woman, but when she shared with me how she cloth diapered, I dismissed it quickly. I totally did not see myself going there! I mean, who did that anymore? My mom had cloth diapered my brother some, but that involved pins and a lot more yucky work than I wanted to tackle.

A few weeks later, another woman whose husband was also in seminary, shared with me the many benefits to cloth diapering. Most everyone's poor while in seminary, so we were all about dishing on the best ways to save money. This by far was my main motivation, but other great benefits to cloth diapering are that babies have diaper rash much less than they do with disposables (mine only ever did if teething or if they ate pineapple), and they often potty train faster than if they wear disposables (my girls potty trained very quickly). As I say, saving money became my greatest motivation after I saw how easily it can now be done.

There are a myriad of types of cloth diapers available and at varying prices. I use Chinese prefold diapers with Bummis Super Whisper Wraps. They are the most economical, and the velcro holds up very well. Some people choose to use snaps because the velcro will wear out, but I only had to replace some covers with my fourth child. I don't know where I originally ordered them from, maybe Green Mountain. I just googled Chinese prefold diapers and began comparing prices. You can find package deals very often. I started with six small covers and thirty-six small diapers. The second size I ordered was for 15 lb. and up, which lasts until potty training, and I only got six covers and twenty-four diapers because they don't need as many once they're older.

If you strictly breastfeed, you can put the entire diaper into the wash. Once one of our babies begins solids, then it is time to use a rubber spatula (specifically next to the potty for this purpose) to scrape the contents into the potty.

I can't say that I was jumping and up and down eager to use the diapers as soon as my first child was born, but I started them at three weeks post-partum. I was them twice a week, and it isn't a major interruption to my week or a hassle to do. Once I got into the groove of using them, it wasn't difficult at all, and I'm so happy to know all the money I'm saving.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spanking Debate?

Every Thursday, I get an e-mail from Our 365. It wasn't something I remember signing up for when I was in the hospital last year delivering my son, but it has been enjoyable nonetheless to read every week about his developmental milestones. Rarely do I click on any of the links, but today, one caught my eye. The link read, Is it illegal to spank in California? I came to discover it's not, praise God.

In response, here's some of God's facts on discipline:

"for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in." -Proverbs 3:12

"My son, keep your father's command, and don't reject your mother's teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a commandment is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective instructions are the way to life."
-Proverbs 6:20-23

"Poverty and disgrace come to those who ignore instruction, but the one who accepts rebuke will be honored." -Proverbs 13:18

"The one who will not use the rod hates his son, but the one who loves him disciplines him diligently." -Proverbs 13:24

"A fool despises his father's instruction, but a person who heeds correction is sensible."
-Proverbs 15:5

"Anyone who ignores instruction despises himself, but whoever listens to correction acquires good sense." -Proverbs 15:32

"Discipline your son while their is hope; don't be intent on killing him." -Proverbs 19:18

"Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth; the rod of discipline will drive it away from him." -Proverbs 22:15

"Don't withhold correction from a youth; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. Strike him with a rod, and you will rescue his life from Sheol."
-Proverbs 23:13-14

"A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother." -Proverbs 29:15

"Discipline your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also give you delight." -Proverbs 19:17


"No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
-Hebrews 12:11