Sunday, May 31, 2009

Still on crutches and our lazy day

Hello! I am still on crutches. I did put some pressure on my boot this weekend. I even tried to take a step, but I am not ready for that yet. But still it gets easier every day. My kids have been amazing. They (especially Jason) are doing so much for me. Jason is doing dishes and cleaning and cooking. Joshua is also cleaning and more.

Today we all slept in and did nothing most of the day. Then I had the boys help me clean (I delegate from the couch.) Then we played with the wiki sticks I bought yesterday at the convention. Jason made himself, it is really cool. Joshua did some dot to dot activities. They were actually entertained about an hour. Then my boys went on the trampoline.

Jason made out of wiki sticks by Jason.

My mom, brother, and stepfather brought dinner over and we all ate together. That was nice. (My mom is an amazing cook. Her meatballs are my favorite!!!) After dinner my boys tried to chase down the ice cream truck. For some reason they do not come down our street. They were unsuccessful so they had to settle for the boring vanilla we had in our freezer (by the way you know I am frugal, the ice cream truck was there own money not mine.)

I am getting crutch fever. I can't wait until I am off my crutches, so I can walk, and clean, and ride a bike, and paint my house, and mow my grass, and more. I should be better using this time to grow in the Lord, but I am not. I sure am well caught up on tv, blogs, and books. But still I need more time with HIM!!

I think I will go and do just that before bed.

Have a great week.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Homeschool Covention

Yesterday and today I went to my first homeschool convention. It was pretty amazing. The workshops were great as were the vendors. They even had a used curriculum sale. I was super excited about that, but all the walking got me tired so I didn't look at the used stuff as much as I wish I could have.

I went to a class on teaching your child to read. The approach was super simple, fun, and super inexpensive.
I went to another class on distractable moms and ways to cope with that. The author was very good. I bought one of her books. How to keep your child off the refrigerator and on to learning. She also has an ADHD son. I read the book when I got home last night, it has alot of great ideas, especially some fun games I think my boys will really enjoy.

I bought Joshua's Latin stuff used. Book cost $14 new, I got it for $5. The cd he needs is $5 new, I paid $1. I saved $13. Yeah! I also got some first grade readers for Joshua.
In addition I bought Joshua an art book How to Draw People. It is so cute and age appropriate. I also bought him some blank books to use for his art. He got a great art kit for his birthday.
I also got some wiki sticks and activities to go with the, I have wanted to buy them for a while. We use them at my job to help the kids with fine motor issues, but they are fun for any kid.
I got myself The Five Love Languages for Children. I have wanted this book for awhile as well. I have read half of it already.
I am so excited as I got 6 sets of Adventures in Odyssey Stories. Each set has 6 tapes with 2 episodes on each tape (total 6 hours on each set x 6= 36 hours of adventures in Odyssey.) They were only $3 each because they were tapes, but it works great for us as we still have a tape player in the car. My kids are going to be thrilled. Especially since we may be driving back to Ohio next month.

It was nice as the boys were with there grandparents yesterday and today so I had these two days to myself. Although I did alot of walking (or crutching as I am still on crutches) it is nice to have a time to not be responsible for anyone. Plus my boys got to have time away from me and each other as well (they were at separate grandparents houses.)

When I got home I rested, then about an hour later Joshua came home. We played balloon catch and then we drew a construction worker from his book. Then I put him to bed. I am still waiting for Jason to get home as he was at a barbecue.

I am super tired! As soon as Jason comes home I will be going to bed.

How was your weekend? What did you do?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hired @ Home book

I would ask that all who read my blog and have blogs themselves link my post about the book Hired @ Home on your blog. This book is from a Christain work at home mom and my name is in it with stuff I said about working from home (pages 56 & 57.) The author sent me a free copy as a thank you for contributing. So please help get the word out about this book. Hired @ Home by Sarah Hamaker. Please consider linking my post about the book on your blog. Thanks so much!

Check out the book, it is for sale on Thanks!!!

Hired@Home: The Christian Woman's Guide to Working From Home (DPL Press, May 2008) gives the reader an insider's view on how to create a home-based business or work-from-home job. The book addresses the unique challenges and opportunities for Christian women who want to work from home.

Hired@Home answers the question: How does a Christian woman unlock her work-from-home potential? The book helps women sort through the issues surrounding working from home in light of their other responsibilities.

Anchored by stories from Christian stay-at-home women who work from home, the book discusses, among other issues:

How to evaluate from a Scriptural standpoint your family, financial, and personal situation to see if working from home is right for you;
How to decide on an at-home business;
How to set up your at-home business;
How to market your business; and
How to juggle family, work, and time for yourself
Sarah Hamaker is an at-home mother of three young children, who works as a freelance writer and editor in Fairfax, Virginia.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Matthew is 1

My brother Matthew is now 1. He is also walking now, isn't he so cute?

Joshua and Jason

May 2009

Joshua's 6th birthday

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Impulse or thought out?

Today I put in an offer on a house. That may sound impulsive, and I am not sure if I have put enough thought into it or not, but I have been praying about it for a few months.

The house is almost the same size as mine (mine is about 800 square feet, this may be 900.) It has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms. One is small, like mine is now, one is a bit bigger. Things the house has that mine does not are: small pantry, coat closet, space for full size washer and dryer, and bigger yard. I do think the living room is a bit smaller than mine, but I am not sure. The kitchens are about the same size. It has a crawl space under the house as I do. It also has some storage in the attic, but not as much as I do. And a shed (so do I.) It is bigger though.

I do not own the house I live in now. I can reside here and pay all bills (taxes, etc., there is no mortgage,) until my sister turns 25. At that point she is getting this house.

I do believe God has blessed me to live here as I get to spend lots of time with my boys. I believe above all else that has been the right thing to do.

So I am not sure if buying a house right now (or ever) is a good choice or not. I do want to own a home one day, plus I think this is an investment in my future. It would be nice to retire one day without a mortgage.

I will be putting $ down. And will still have an emergency fund if I move in. I am debt free and do not have any credit cards at all.

I guess I am just playing it all out. Recovering from surgery and not being able to drive gives me alot of time to think.

I would appreciate any opinions. Especially from home owners. Thanks!


Monday, May 18, 2009


Apparently the US mail system is in trouble. This is a crisis for me, I love to get mail. There is talk of going to a 4 or 5 day mail delivery schedule. AHHHHHH!!!! What will I do without my one piece of mail daily?

Seriously, I can't imagine a world where the written word is lost. I like email, but I love a handwritten card. An email thank you is nothing compared to a handwritten one.
Yes, I care about trees, and email helps with that. So I will buy recycled paper and cards. This is a serious crisis. I am not sure of the answer, but something has to be done.

We must band together. Or not. Whatever. Ok, I am over it. LOL!


Sunday, May 17, 2009


I clean pretty much everything in my house with vinegar. I do not dilute it at all. I have an old windex bottle I refill. I buy gallons for about $2 each at the food store. A friend of mine and I were discussing this with regards to killing germs.

I had heard before that vinegar kills germs, but I looked it up and found:

"Does vinegar kill germs and mold?

The remarkable answer (and truthful one) is - YES!

Heinz company spokesperson Michael Mullen references numerous studies to show that a straight 5 percent solution of vinegar—such as you can buy in the supermarket—kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses). He noted that Heinz can't claim on their packaging that vinegar is a disinfectant since the company has not registered it as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, it seems to be common knowledge in the industry that vinegar is powerfully antibacterial. Even the CBS news show 48 Hours had a special with Heloise reporting on tests from The Good Housekeeping Institute that showed this."

Since we all have been pretty healthy the past 2 years (since I stopped using commercial cleaners) I think it is working for us.

I do still have a bottle of lysol that occasionally I spray on Josh's mattress, but once that is gone I will just spray vinegar on them.

I do however, buy Mr. Clean magic erasers because they are the only thing I can find to get my stove spotless (anyone have any frugal / green tips for my stove top?) But I only need about two every six months, so that is not too bad.

I did order some shower cleaner from Seventh Generation last night as my shower needs more than the vinegar and baking soda. It has been moldy since before I moved in, my friends actually scrubbed it with bleach before I moved in, and it still is not clean.

I think the act of actually wiping the bathroom stuff and kitchen counter down almost everyday really helps with the germs as well. In addition keeping windows open and having fresh air in the house probably is helpful as well.

Anyone have any good frugal / green cleaners or cleaning tips?


Happy Birthday Joshua!!!

Jason age 5, Joshua 1 week old May 2003
Joshua and I in the hospital May 2003

Today Joshua is six years old. I am reminded of six years ago. I was induced on a Thur. night. The hospital made me stay in case I had him. Fri. morning nothing. The doctor was sure by lunch, but no. Then he was sure by dinner. This little boy did not want to come out. At around 1:00am Sat. he arrived. a full 15 days after his due date. I was so grateful to have my mom, sister, and stepfather there almost the entire time, especially during his birth. They were all so helpful.

But I also recall when everyone went home. About 3:00am the nurses brought me into my own room. I insisted Joshua stay with me and never leave my side (when I had Jason they took him almost until I left the hospital.) It was a hard feeling. It was 3:00am, I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed with joy for this new blessing, but also I was filled with sadness that I was there alone. It was a hard contrast to the joy. I tried to call Josh's dad, but got no answer. At that point we had only been separated a few weeks so I was hopeful he would come to his senses and we would get back together. But in a way I am glad now he didn't answer. He would have just let me down more.

Fast forward six years. I realize he was not the one for me. He has seen Joshua about 5 times. He lives in Florida. Last year he did come for Joshua's preschool graduation (as his older daughter was also graduating 8th grade.) But he forgot Josh's birthday and Christmas. Months go by without a phone call or email. Me moves and forgets to give me his address. I called him this week to remind him of Josh's birthday and he did send a card and it even got here in time.

As much as this all hurts me, it hurts more how it affects my son. He wants to call and write his dad often. He talks about his dad. He wants to go visit him. It really saddens me that he deserves a great father. Josh deserves so much more.

Ultimately, I am so grateful as we all do have a heavenly Father who does love us more than any earthly father could. We don't even deserve His love, but because of the blood of His son, Jesus Christ we can have a personal relationship with God. And I am so grateful that both my boys, in there innocence have prayed to accept that gift into there hearts. They both understand (at there age level) that we all need God and Jesus. It is so amazing. Yes, life is hard, and we all make mistakes. We all have experienced heartache and distress, yet our God is the God of second chances (and third and fourth and so on.)

Amen to that.


I can't thank you enough for the two blessings you have given me in Jason & Joshua. Help me to love them like you do. Help me to seek your will in all the decisions I need to make. Lord, bless these two boys with an over abundance. Help Joshua to have an amazing sixth year of life. Help him to grow in you as well. Lord, I give our lives to you. Help me not to take them back when I feel my way is better.
Lord, I love you and thank you for loving me.

In Jesus Name, Amen!


p.s. pray Joshua's dad, Jose comes back to the Lord and lives his life for Him!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Joshua's day

Joshua went on a field trip today. My mom went with him. He seemed to enjoy himself. They went to a local u-pick farm and picked strawberries and went on a hay ride. This sounds like my cup of tea. I want to live on a farm (minus getting up with the roosters.) I was sad I could not go on the trip, but glad my mom was able to go with him.

When Josh got home he was a bit fresh and spent some time in time out. He is very strong willed, and almost needs a daily reminder of his boundaries.

After time out we all had a delicious lunch of chicken salad sandwiches with a garden salad on the side. Joshua made the salad. He cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes. He loves salad.

After lunch Joshua and I made origami turtles together. They came out really cute.

Now he is at soccer with my friend, Monica, her son is also on the team Josh is on. The last soccer game of the season is tomorrow. I am going to the game and hope to remember to bring my camera. I hope Josh gets to be goalie again, he loves to be goalie.

Joshua is so full of life. I love having lengthy conversations with him about nothing and everything. He and I share a love of chatting! This of course gets us both in trouble. LOL!

Josh also has been cleaning the bathroom since I can not, he has been doing an amazing job. I only use vinegar, so I am not concerned he will get chemicals on himself. He does the mirror, sink, and toilet. Sometimes he does the shower door as well. He also empties the garbage and replaces the bag. He is proud that this is his chore. I have to remind him how good he is doing at it.

Another thing that amazes me about Joshua is when the toilet paper roll is empty he replaces it. I know grown men who do not do this. Maybe he fears I will not replace the roll as I use cloth, but still this really impresses me.

Josh is a really fun loving boy. I am so glad he is my son.


Homeschool Prayer

Please pray as I am prayerfully considering if I should continue to homeschool Jason or not, and if so if I should homeschool Joshua as well. I am still unclear as to what God wants me to do for the 2009-2010 year. (Although I am pretty sure about continuing with Jason and co-op.)

I love homeschooling, but am not sure if I am doing enough and doing it right for my children. Plus I do need to work and make money, so that all has to fit in.

Thanks! -Becky

Successful Homeschool Tips

1. Have fun. Attitude is everything with home learning. Enjoy learning and your kids will enjoy it. Make it drudgery and they will respond as well. Try to make even boring tasks pleasant at least. This is not to say that everything must be a 3-ring circus, but if you have a fresh, upbeat attitude even with times tables and spelling tests, this will reflect well on your children's enjoyment and learning potential.

2. Limit interruptions. My biggest interruption is the phone. Get a good answering machine and use it during regularly scheduled learning time. Or use voice mail. Record a message that states from this time to that time we are home educating and will get back to you after we are finished. Tell friends and relatives that this is the case, and eventually they will learn to respect this. This also means well meaning drop in visits and babysitting for friends, etc. Keep your children's learning time sacred and your family will benefit from this.

3. Dedicate your time to their learning. If you are doing 101 things while your children are trying to do bookwork, how can you expect them to concentrate and finish tasks at hand? Keep your focus on them, it is a priority that rewards!

4. Keep it simple. Be careful not to fall into the "Curriculum of the Month" club. Trying and swapping and changing your education plans with every new program that breezes by will kill your children's spirit. This is not to say that you should stay with something that is not working, just be careful not to flit about like a butterfly in a field of flowers. Your children will quickly learn that all it takes in a bit of whining and they'll have a new book, workbook or system in no time. Also, simplify your life. Too many commitments and outside activities and responsibilities can really wreck havoc with your schedule. Try to keep your life simple and you will be rewarded.

5. Have FAITH! In yourself, your kids and in God. If you are doing the best you can, you will be rewarded. How can you do any worse than an overworked, underpaid public school teacher with only 6 hours and 24 - 30 children to teach? Overcome your own shortcomings with help, tutoring assistance and your own re-education. Don't count yourself short. Children learn in any environment even the slums of Calcutta! Provide them with your time and enthusiasm, good basic materials and faith and you will do as well if not better than that poor teacher can. You have the best interest of your children in your heart. Let it work for them.

6. When in doubt READ! If the washing machine is flooding, the baby is sick, your toddler is fussy and lunch is burning don't just give up, get reading. Reading is the best way for your kids to learn and retain. Gather up the brood and snuggle on the couch with a good classic. Reading aloud is a wonderful activity for your family. Even experienced readers will love to hear a story aloud, especially when they don't have to sound out each word and get through those they may not know. There is a rhyme and rhythm to books read aloud that delights even little ones. Make it a drama performance, use voices change the sound levels of your voice, and discuss the plot. You can even tape record your story time so that pre-readers can listen again and again and enjoy the story while you worry about that washing machine!

7. Surround yourself with home school mentors. Whether it's an online group, or a support group, or just a great mom you met at church or at the library, keep in touch with these people! Ask questions; ask for helpful advice, most likely, they will be happy to help, because someone in their life helped them. Don't do this alone. Even a good home education magazine will help you in your quest. Read home education books when you are in need of a little boost.

8. Use the Library! What a wonderful resource most public libraries are. Not only books of any and every subject but reference books, video tapes, audio tapes, learning materials, computer accesses, computer software and so much more. With just a notebook and some pencils, I truly believe you could educate your children with just a library at hand! Don't spend a fortune on all these reference books for home. Use the libraries! And the librarians love homeschoolers

9. Take frequent break days. If you are sick, or some family obligations make a day difficult, take a day off. Instead of great big weeks off or even the whole summer, take frequent days off through the year to refresh and empower you. The children will be pleased and you will get a chance to regroup. Just make sure they aren't every other day!

10. Watch for outside time stealers! Field trips and social outings and classes for this and that are important, just make sure you are not overdoing it. Too many errands and outings can kill a day's learning and overwhelm your schedule. Remember that you are home schooling not car schooling! Try and schedule a day that is busy and three or four days that are not. Your family will appreciate this!

© 2006 by Sherri L. Chekal

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ankle update

Hello! I just got back from waiting over an hour at my orthopedic doctor. The healing is going well. I have 2-3 more weeks in a hard cast (I got a new one put on today.) Then I go into a walking boot. The first 2 weeks of that I still have to use crutches. So that is 4-5 more weeks on crutches. But the worst part (I did not know this) is that I can not drive until I am fully walking on walking boot (no crutches) and have had 1-2 weeks of physical therapy. So I can not drive for at least 5 weeks, possibly more. YIKES!!! That I was not expecting.

So it is a praise the healing is going well. It is also a praise that so far everything is going smoothly with getting Josh, Jason, & me the rides we need. Also a praise that all our food shopping has been getting done, as well as all our errands.

But I am a bit upset that I can not drive for at least 5 more weeks. That puts me to the third week of June. At least Jason will be done with gym and co-op at the end of May. Then I only have to worry about rides for Joshua to and from school. And Jason to doctor every other week.

It is not the end of the world.

Please pray that my job is ok with me not going back for 5 more weeks. I was not planning on being out that long (it has been 5 weeks since I have been at work as it is.)

Also pray for blessings for all those helping us:
My mom, Scott, Leighann, my aunt Donna, my grandma, my brother Eric, Laura, Monica, Cindy, Joanna, Brian, Gerri, Samantha, and everyone else.


frugal / green living

This is a repost from Aug. 30, 2008, I updated it a bit:

Hello! My goal is to live very frugally/green. In the process it has made me aware how much we waste. So I am really trying to use everything up and not buy stuff if I have something similar. I have saved lots of money along the way.

This goes for:

-paper towels- dishcloths work great (but my mom does buy us paper towels, thanks mom, so hey I will use them if they are free to me)
-paper napkins- cloth ones I got used a long time ago also work great
-sanitary napkins- cloth ones are so much nicer on my skin (email Meaghan at to buy some-she is a Christian work at home mom. Her cloth diapers and sanitary napkins are great.)
-cloth diapers, you can buy great all in one's, no messing with pins or plastic pants
-cloth baby wipes- any washcloth/fabric will do
-toilet paper-f leece fabric (recycled from an old shirt) works wonderfully (and so soft too, and no lint) (no I am not kidding, it works great!)
-store bought cleaning products
- vinegar &/or baking soda work great on most anything
-toothpaste- baking soda works great
-deodorant- again baking soda works great or corn starch
-laundry soap- I make my own, check out recipe here

The above are some of the things I do to live frugally/green.

I am trying to figure out frugal/green shaving, as shaving cream and razors can really add up (I have debated not shaving anymore, but I like smooth legs.) I tried an electric razor, ouch! Too harsh on my sensitive skin.
I need to find frugal, but good razors (I have very sensitive skin), any good tips?

I am trying to use up everything consumable we have before buying anything new.

I compost to keep some stuff out of the garbage. Great tip- add tea bags and coffee grinds to compost, it makes for great fertilizer.

Before I toss anything, I see if we can reuse or the kids can make something out of it. They especially love paper towel rolls (from the paper towels my mom buys.)

I also use junk mail and envelopes as scrap paper before they hit the garbage or compost. (My grandmother does this and I used to make fun of her. Sorry Grandma! You had the right idea.)

This may sound extreme to some, and not extreme enough to others (I still buy those little flossers cause they are so convenient, regular floss is too difficult for me and the kids, but I do get them at the dollar store.)

I feel God wants us to be good stewards of His money, His resources, and His Earth. This is how I am doing my part. What about you?


Sunday, May 10, 2009


Mother's Day Graphics

Children cost money?

I have been so blessed in the past 11 years that I have rarely bought clothes for my boys. They do get new socks, underwear, and shoes, but other than that I love used clothes and hand me downs. I especially love when grandparents and relatives buy them clothes for birthdays and holidays. I also feel fortunate that my boys really have not complained and pretty much wear whatever is in there drawers.

Well, we had a few hot days last week so I had a friend go into the attic to get some summer clothes down. I realized that Jason has grown and we have no summer clothes for him. Since I can not drive I went online.

Here's what I ordered for him (all prices include shipping):

Brand New:
6 t-shirts from Christianbook $50
1 t-shirt from Compassion $15

1 pair size 12 slim pants on ebay $8
4 t-shirts $13
6 pairs size 10/12 shorts $29

Total so far $115. I guess for 11 t-shirts, 1 pair of pants, and 6 pairs of shorts that is not too bad. That is less than $6.40 an item.

He sleeps in his boxers, so we don't need any summer pj's. He has a few nice church shirts, so all we still need to buy is sandals. I find with him I can't buy a cheap pair (like Payless) as they aggravate his feet. He also does not wear flip flops as the piece in between his toes drives him crazy.

Joshua has lots of t-shirts, some bathing suits, flip flops, sandals, and a few nice church shirts as well. I found 4 pairs of shorts for him in attic so far, so I think he will not need anything else to get us through till fall.

The real blessing is that in the attic I have at least 7 pairs of jeans for Josh and Jason that will fit them for fall. I also have new socks for fall already. So for sure we will only have to buy undershirts and sneakers and new sweatshirts. We may also have to buy Jason some long sleeve shirts as well. Not too bad.

As a side note, I also love used clothes as well (I don't want you to think I expect my boys to wear used clothes, but I wear all new.) As long as an item fits and is clean I am happy to wear it. (within reason-lol.)

I would prefer to be shopping at yard sales, but until my ankle heals and I can drive and walk without crutches I think I did pretty good on buying Jason summer clothes.

Do you like used clothes, hand me downs, etc? Do you only buy clothes at store if they are on slae / clearance, etc?


p.s. after I wrote this, I went online to LL Bean and got both boys new sandals. They were on clearance for $9.95 each. They are good for beach and stuff (they are like foam.) They look very cozy, and I trust LL Bean to be good quality. So we are set for summer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prayer Requests

Prayer Requests:

I am not sleeping at night due to some ankle pain and general discomfort with cast on. In turn I am very tired in the day time.

My ex mother in law, Miriam (Joshua's grandmother) has cancer that has spread over much of her body, they do not expect her to live much longer. She does not know the Lord.

Jason's dad after not calling for two months has starting calling again. Jason does not want to talk to him on the phone, but does want to see him. Pray for God's will. Pray for my son who is hurting over missing his dad. Pray for salvation for his dad, also named Jason, and his wife as well, her name is Donna.

My brother, Kevin is living in Ohio taking care of my grandmother. Pray for wisdom and strength for him. Pray he is blessed for putting his life on hold to do this.

My brother, Eric needs prayer as well. He is unemployed (he is a union carpenter.) In addition he and his girlfriend of 7 years broke up recently and he is not taking it well. He also has some health issues. And his dog, who is his best friend, is seriously ill. Mostly he does not know the Lord.

My mom needs prayer as she is trying to help my brother. In addition she is working two jobs (my stepfather, also a union carpenter is also unemployed.) My mom needs more time for herself and down time. Pray for blessings for her for all she does in my life. She is amazing!

Thanks so much!


on the receiving end

Today I was on the receiving end of much giving:

My friend Cindy took Josh to school.
My friend Sue and her three children came over and cleaned my house and bought us lunch.
Jason's grandfather came over and got my garden ready for my veggie plants to go in (I was really bummed about not being able to do this.)
My stepfather Scott stopped by just to see if we needed anything.
My dad called to tell me he found a great guitar for Jason who wants to take lessons, and my dad is going to pay for half of it.
My friend Leighanne drove us to church and brought us home again.

We are so blessed. Sometimes it is so much I can hardly fathom it all. God is so good, so good!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

give away, give away, give away

With all this recession talk and unemployment and such many are talking of hoarding money and stuff. And although I agree every family should have an emergency fund of about 6 months living expenses, I think that especially in times like these we need to trust God more. We need to give away more.

First, how much stuff do you have in your house that you are not using? Yes, you could have a yard sale to declutter and raise some money, but sometimes all the time and energy of a sale is not worth the money (our last sale netted me about $40 for over 10 hours work-set up day before and sale day.) But honestly I enjoy giving my stuff away, especially on, and to charities. Actually my church is hosting a yard sale next month to raise money for the building fund and I am so excited to fill boxes to donate. Just make sure if you give away used items, they are still usable, it can be insulting to get items that should be in the trash.

Second, how much time do you have? Maybe you are working two or three jobs due to this unstable economy, if so email me and I will pray for you. But many of us have been cut hours at work, or unemployed, or have free time that used to be filled with activities that cost money. Well, give away your time. Give some to your family, give some to yourself (perhaps taking a class to help you gain much needed new skills for a new job), and give some to strangers. Many people are hurting, giving of your time may be as simple as five minutes listening to a stranger talk about his family or job situation. It may be volunteering at your church, a nursing home, a low income child care center. It may mean writing letters to an inmate or soldier you have never met who needs a word of encouragement. The possibilities are endless.

Third, yes this one may sound like the opposite of what to do, but GIVE AWAY YOUR MONEY!!! I am going to let you in on something, it is not a secret but many have forgotten. It is not yours anyway. It is all God's. It comes from Him, and goes back to Him. We are simply stewards of His money. Would He be proud of how you are managing His money? When you get any money, a paycheck, an unemployment check, a check as a birthday gift, lottery winnings, money from selling assets, etc, give back to God His portion. The bible says the first 10% belongs to God. You may be in sticker shock, but in reality if He gives us $100, who are we to say no to giving Him $10 back. That is crazy!! And wait it gets better, after that 10% give MORE. Give a love offering. Give to a friend who is unemployed (anonymously - food store gift cards work great.) Give to an organization you support. Give more to your church. Give money to help a stranger adopting a child. Give to support clean water projects in Africa. If your heart is in it, GIVE! Pray about where to do so, check out an organization before you make a donation, but above all else GIVE!

I can write this with a clear heart, because I do this; I give away stuff we no longer need (clothes, books, games, art supplies, homeschool stuff, pots and pans, etc.) I give my time (although I need to work on giving more of my time.) I tithe on every penny God allows to flow through my life. I also give away above and beyond that tithe. I do not write this to toot my own horn, but to let you know that it is possible and necessary to give. Don't wait until you have more, I am sure you already have more than enough. I am a single mom with two boys living on about $20,000 a year total. We still are so blessed!

So I challenge you this week to do three things:
1) give away 5 things in your home that you are no longer using, but would be a blessing to someone else
2) give away just 5 min. of your time to a stranger this week
3) give away $5 above your tithe this week
(if you are not tithing I challenge you this week to not give 10% of your income, but start with 1%.)

I have done 1 & 3. I have to work on #2, and will update you on that later.

Email me or leave a comment once you have completed one or all of the challenges this week.

Thanks! -Becky