Friday, March 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Gift

It's Friday and I'm taking a 5 minute break to write my Five Minute Friday. If you want to participate:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt- no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.


Gifts are not my thing. I do not give gifts well. I do not receive gifts well. I don't know why but I don't do gifts.

I think something that flows into that is gifts that I get from God. The ultimate gift I have received from God is Jesus. He gave His Son for me to pay the penalty for  my sins. I am so grateful!

Another great gift that God has given me over the years is friends. Today we move. We leave Syracuse where I have had a hard time making friends but do have several people who I am going to miss so much who have had a big impact on my life. Friends from the churches that I've gone to that have spoken truth into my life, homeschooling friends who have been sounding boards and idea givers, neighborhood friends who have provided interesting conversations and fun times together, flute friends who have helped me get into my musical side again.

I am so grateful for the gift of friends. So, as I say good-bye I just want to say all I can say: THANKS.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things to do when you're supposed to be packing

This morning while I was making breakfast I decided to make up a list of things I've used to procrastinate packing. Here are 10 of them, in no particular order.

1. Cook everything in your freezer.
As a general rule we treat meat as a condiment around here (something we've always done but I've recently found a phrase for how we eat from Family Feasts for $75 a Week that I checked out from the library). Towards the end of the time we live in a place the percentage of meat in a meal goes up extensively. We often call it living like kings. One thing I've done the last couple of days is cook up all the food in the freezer so I could pack my pots and pans. I think that this is the best I've ever done at emptying the freezer before a move!
2. Find a good series and read every book from it that your library
system has.

This is something that I normally do and I thought I might this time too as the newest book from a series I had been reading arrived at our library. The book just didn't grip me though so I didn't end up reading it. I have been scanning 168 Hours and Pretty Neat. I won't be able to finish either of them but I've gotten some good ideas.
3. Go on outings with fellow homeschoolers
Over the last few weeks we've gone to the zoo, the Ithaca Sciencenter, Highland Forest, Chuck E Cheese, Ryder Park, Freedom Train at the Landmark Theater. I actually turned down an offer to go to the Rochester Museum and Science Center yesterday because I didn't think it would be the best use of my time with all the packing I still needed to do.
4. Play games on your computer or handheld device.
Draw Something has been the game of choice for most family members this time. It is super fun. I've also played too much Gemz.
5. Take a nap.
Some nasty sinus something has attacked me this week and all I want to do is sleep. Thankfully I'm feeling better today.
6. Sit on the porch and sort through magazines.
I'm glad that the weather has gotten worse this week because it was SO HARD to stay inside and pack last week. I did get through my magazines, cut out a few things that I want to try, and recycled the rest.
7. Eat
For some reason when we're moving my family still expects to eat regular meals and preparing regular meals takes time! When we're moving I usually leave whatever random food that I want to get rid of on the table for the roaming hungry people. Moving makes me want to eat so I bought extra pretzels and baby carrots because they are easy and semi-healthy.
8. Blog
Glenn laughs because, not so much this time but, my blogs often are more frequent in coming when I am supposed to be packing.
9. Play outside with the kids
Again, that weather last week was wonderful and horrible at the same time.
10. Do school
Last week I was trying to do school with the kids and pack and I really didn't do either well. I was reminded of that verse in James about a double minded man being unstable in all he does. This week I decided that we'd take the week off. An extra week into June isn't going to kill us.

In other news, today I found out that we are living on the right hand side of the duplex (yay! we don't have to knock on both doors and wonder which one is ours!) and internet won't be hooked up until 4/10. I guess that will give me lots of time to unpack without the distraction of the world wide web ;)

Caleb's bedroom has been over-run with bikes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Moving Progress

We're making progress in this move thing but all of us agreed tonight after supper we are SO glad that we are not moving tomorrow!!

We did make a lot of progress today. Several things left our house including:
1. our van - it had to go for an inspection and we found out that it needed bushings (I think, I had thought it was tie rod but that is just what usually needs replaced) so Glenn came home with a loaner car for us to use today. So thankful that there's money in the bank to pay for the repairs and that we'll get our van back tomorrow!
2. Two Bikes! So far for this week we are negative 5 bikes! 3 were sold on craigslist, 1 was given away and 1 was scrapped. It still looks like we have a bike problem BUT... not quite as bad as it did AND there are 6 of us :)
3. Two desks. We had these great desks that probably came out of a dorm that had book shelves built into the sides. We bought three of them thinking that they would be cute for the girls in their someday Madeline style room. We decided that we don't really do school that way and keeping/ moving desks for a room that may never happen might not be the best thing and, also, more often than not, desks just equal flat surfaces to cover with clutter and we decided that if they'd sell on craigslist we would not keep them. Two women have come to look at them over the past week but weren't interested but a lady came over today and bought them from us - yay!
4. 4 bags of library books. Yes, we are often over our 50 book limit at the library but I smile nicely at them and they just keep scanning. If I let each of my kids get library cards our limit would have been 250... that is way too much. 62 really doesn't sound that bad compared to 250! Anyway, Glenn decided we needed to return them so we could figure out what books we needed to  look for to make sure none of them got packed. We did find out that a library DVD was still in our DVD player that was packed with pieces and cords in various boxes somewhere in the pile. My hero Glenn found all the necessary pieces to get the DVD out so we can take it back tomorrow. It turns out we still have 8 things checked out... not too bad AND the TinTin DVD was there on hold waiting for us (We love Petit!!!!!) so we can watch it tomorrow.
5. 4 bags of stuff to salvation Army. More stuff, out the door, clothes and toys we don't need anymore :)

We got a few more boxes from a friend yesterday and I think that they should do it. Tomorrow I am going to do some cooking so we have food to eat for the rest of the week then I'm packing up my kitchen so we can clean and be done. SO glad we aren't moving tomorrow so I can actually get some sleep tonight.

Be praying for Glenn. He has a lot of studying to do before his test on Friday and this packing mess is stressful and distracting!

Thanks God for stuff sold on craigslist and other stuff out the door. Thank You that progress is being made and that we still have a couple days here to get everything done!

crazy box pile as it stands at the moment - so thankful that there is no longer 2 desks on the desk all the way to the left!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spreading Spring

One of our first day of spring traditions (that we don't get around to every year) is making sugar cookies with the yellow cookie cutters from our wonderful Winton 101 Cookie Cutter set (one of my favorite investments for my kitchen!). Any excuse to make sugar cookies is a good excuse for me because I love them! Usually when we make them it's to remind ourselves that someday the snow will melt and someday, hopefully soon, we will be able to see flowers. The flowers are also so much fun to decorate :)

This year, even though there's been no snow and there are flowers blooming everywhere, there's still reasons to bake cookies:
1. It is a means to procrastinate packing
2. We have lots of neighbors that we are going to miss a lot
3. It's SPRING! (even though, at 80 degrees today, it feels more like summer.)

So, after getting home from Chuck E Cheese where the kids and I spent the morning with our friends John & Michele and their kids (more procrastinating!) we rolled out and decorated the cookies. (I had made the dough yesterday before going to Freedom Train with some of our homeschooling friends at the Landmark Theater downtown - yes, I know, more procrastinating.) Our friends Dawn and Jeremiah stopped by and helped us decorate and took home a plate of them then the kids delivered plates of cookies to 7 of our neighbors' homes. That leaves very few home with us but that is probably better for all of us.

Happy Spring!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Last Time to Fill out FAFSA

Today I did something for the last time.... I filled out Glenn's FAFSA for him. This time it was for his LAST YEAR of medical school - hurray! I never have to fill out that form again (not that it is a hard form to fill out it is just something I've filled out many times over the years!) The pin number for his FAFSA that I dig out of our lock box every year was addressed to 1707 Kirby Ave Apt C, Chattanooga, TN, our first apartment. I'm not even sure that that building even exists anymore! (Actually after looking at googlemaps maybe it still exists... not sure, if so they've done some work on it.)

The end is in sight! Only two more tuition bills to pay for medical school!! Next year at this time we will, Lord willing, know where we are going for residency as well.

As we prepare for our move to Lowville and the last 9-10 months of Glenn's medical school training we can't help but look back with thanksgiving at all that our amazingly gracious and generous God has done for us over the last 12 1/2 years. We are excited to see what He is going to do in the next year and in the years to come after that since our future after our 9-10 months in Lowville are a big unknown right now! So thankful that there is One who knows and I can trust Him!

Thinking about it I guess it'll only be about a 5 year break from filling out FAFSA but, ugh, I don't really want to think about that right now ;)

Thanks God for taking care of us and providing for us so abundantly. Thank You that You are in control of our future and that You will be faithful to guide us.

I Made it Through

One of the early apps that I got on my 'iPhone that I don't use as a phone' was the youversion app and it is still one of my favorites and one that I use everyday. I have a couple other Bible apps but I never use them (unless I want to look up a commentary on a passage then I use pocketsword). I love having countless translations of the Bible at my fingertips at all times.

One thing I love about youversion is the reading plans that it offers. From plans that last less than a week to plans that last over a year they cover all kinds of topics or chunks of the Bible.

The reading plan I started with was OwnIt365. I liked the layout. Each reading had a passage from the Old Testament and one from either the Wisdom books or the New Testament (which made it easier to make it through the more boring - to me - parts of the OT) and it took you through the whole Bible in a year. I also like that it only scheduled readings 6 days a week and gave one day for either catch up or to read other things.

One of my favorite features of youversion though is the "Catch Me Up" button. I love that when I get behind or spend days with no wifi (like when we were on vacation) I can hit "catch me up" instead of feeling like I need to read tons at once (which I wouldn't get nearly as much out of!). It may take longer to get through the plan but I get more out of it.

It took me about 15 months to get through the one year OWNit365 plan but without the "catch me up" button I probably would have gotten too discouraged to complete it.

Right now I am actually reading 4 different plans:
1. Parenting by Design (gives a short devotional reading on parenting issues and a couple verses that relate to it)
2. Psalms/ Proverbs - a one year program that takes you through Proverbs 12 times and Psalms twice (I think). I actually have pushed "catch me up" on this one after reading a couple days at a time at the
end of February so that I could continue reading "the proverb of the day")
3. The Essential Jesus (a 100 day study of the life of Christ)
4. Lent for Everyone (I am really enjoying this 53 day devotional for Lent. I have learned so much through it's devotionals, which are long, and the walk through the book of Matthew.)

I think, after Easter, I'll start another through the Bible in a year plan but I haven't decided which one. When I finish one of these plans I also want to do one about a jolt of joy or something like that
that a friend of mine is always posting from to facebook.

I love having the Bible on my iPhone because it's helped me to be more consistent in my time in God's Word (I don't even have to get out of bed or turn on the lights to read it... which has it's plusses and minusses).

What helps you be consistent in God's Word? Is there a youversion plan that you'd recommend I check out?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Benefits of Balancing Your Checkbook

Yesterday I was balancing my checkbook and there was an item that was too much. We were charged $43.99 for our internet after I had called and changed to RoadRunner Lite so that our bill would stay at our promotional rate of $34.99 that we'd been paying for the past year. I really hoped that by changing to "Lite" our bill would go down but at least I found out it wouldn't go up.

Anyway, while I was balancing my checkbook I noticed that we had been charged $43.99 so I called TimeWarner. The first guy I talked to was no help at all and couldn't tell me why I was charged more and said that from what he saw that our bill should be around $54 (what???). I told him that Damon, who I'd talked to on 2/7 (yay for keeping records) told me that my bill should be $34.99. He told me that it was a billing issue and he couldn't help me. I asked to talk to billing.

Marcia, who I talked to in billing, explained that the bill had already been put through before I had called previously and that my next bill (that I haven't received yet) will be $26 to make up for it. Then she held me on the line to see if she could find a better deal for me. She asked if, with my permission, she could bump us back up to high speed internet for $29.99/mo. "$5 less for faster internet? Um, yes, thank you!!" We get to have the cheaper rate for a year (provided that it transfers with us to Lowville). Yay! So glad I called!

I have been using a couple of excel spreadsheets that I found and modified to make it easy to keep track of our spending and I love it. Yesterday, besides time on the phone with Time Warner, I was able to balance our check book and close out February, complete with pretty graphs of how we spent our money in less than 10 minutes. The spreadsheets have made my life so much easier to see how off track of our budget we are and the nerd in me is very happy. If you'd like copies of my spreadsheets (based loosely on Dave Ramsey's categories) let me know.

Thanks God for cheaper internet and a quick, easy way to keep track of our finances :)

Five Minute Friday: Empty

It's Friday again when we write for 5 minutes without editing. I've missed a few lately but I'm back. If you'd like to write for 5 minutes too click on the link above. Today's topic is:



Hungry I come to You
For I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know
Your love does not run dry

So I wait for You
Yes, I wait for You

I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You're all this heart 
Is living for.

Broken, I run to You 
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know 
Your touch restores my life

This song came to my mind when I saw the word "Empty," but is it true? Where do I run when I am on empty? Do I really run to the only One who can fill me up? Or do I run to something easy? The scale will tell you that too often I run to food.

Empty also made me think of many other things that are newly empty in the last week.

Empty beds after bouts with cancer:
- Glenn's Great Aunt Helen
- Maria, the sister of my friend Jen
- Heather, the wife of a pastor and mom of two young boys.

And with joy an empty womb, empty so long that is now empty again but this time with because there is a new Hannah Beth, niece of Maria who went to be with Jesus, daughter of my dear friend Jen.