Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Holy Week and Easter

I was quite frustrated last week because I had a list of things I was planning on doing to celebrate Holy Week.

Go to mass on Holy Thursday, stations of the cross on Friday, maybe confession, watch "The Passion of Christ," etc. None of them happened. None. My son was put in the hospital Tuesday and got out Friday about noon.

I was disappointed and stressed because of the week and then thought, I just can't handle any more "deep" stuff right now.

Then a friend gently reminded me that although we did not remember Holy Week the way I planned, we were walking our own road to Calvary that week. We were not faced with being put to death, but faced with some very difficult possibilities to accept.

I wanted to say we were weathering it good, but we struggled, a lot. But in the midst of that struggling, we were finding peace and comfort in God and His promises.

Oftentimes life does not follow the path we designate it to follow, but God always has a better plan and if we surrender ourselves and our plans, He reveals Himself and His plans to us.

So a belated Happy Easter. I have needed the past week to truly begin to process what we may be facing, but am finding peace in this Easter season and the hope and joy it brings.

I pray, as Mary prayed, to spare my son this difficulty, but truly want God's plan in our lives, even if it includes this disease for my son. We still don't know if he has a disease or is simply a very unlucky baby who just keeps getting sick over and over again. Please pray for him and for us as parents, that we can continue to provide strength and support to each other, him and our other son.

We praise God he was home for Easter and we were able to go on a trip we had reschulded multiple times.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Holy Thursday, Full Of Hope

8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture - "I believed, and so I spoke" - we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
I sat there on Holy Thursday reading these words in a book entitled "Hope," which was actually a copy of the New Testament at the Children's Hospital where my son was for a third time this winter. The part that especially stood out to me was the last two verses:
17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
I know I've heard it a million times, but with the all the stresses of the week and being faced with very real and scary possibilities for my little baby, it struck me very hard. Even if he has a disease we are concerned he may, we know it is only temporary and every situation in life prepares us for heaven by allowing us to grow closer to God.

Knowing that doesn't make it easy to face. No mother wants to face that their baby may have something wrong with them no one can fix, at least with current medicines or treatments. But I truly find comfort in the Bible and what God has promised for us and I trust He will take care of our needs. Of course I don't want my baby to have this problem and face all the complications that come with it, but if he does, I trust God will give us the strength and the resources to do what we need to do.

Life is truly fragile and we are blessed with as little or as much as we get of it. Just as I strongly felt it was not our right to have children, even after losing several babies to miscarriages and knowing we may never be able to carry a baby to term, I feel our children are still God's. While they bless our lives, we have to remember they are not ours to keep. They are on loan and we are called to love them as God loves them, despite all obstacles.

So I thank God for my little boys and know I will love them with all I have for as long as I live. I praise God I have been entrusted with their little lives for as long as that may be.

Thrifty Thursday - Easy Gifts

So we know as the year progresses we will need many gifts - a baby is born, birthdays, Mother's Days, Father's Days and of course, Christmas.

Our solution to the ever-growing list of gifts it seemed we needed every year is to keep a gift box in our house.

Any time I see a good deal on something I honestly like and would like to receive as a gift or I think someone on my list would like, AND we have the extra money to spare, I buy it and save it until we need it. I find this easiest for when there are babies born or weddings coming up. It takes the stress of not always having the money to spend on it and makes it so we can celebrate with little gifts when appropraite.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thrifty Thursday: Grocery Store Deals

The grocery stores around here have "bonus" cards where you get special deals if you use your card. That in and of itself doesn't really save you money because the "deals" are often what the regular retail stores charge and you can use an in house bonus card if you forget yours.

However, a few times a year they run a special where if you earn a certain number of points in a 6-week period, often the equivalent to spending $250, you can get a free ham, turkey or whatever depending on the upcoming holiday. Around Thanksgiving we got a 13-pound turkey and we just got a 9.5 pound ham this week for Easter. The regular retail price is $15.

Lots of stores run specials like this, but you can't get in on them unless you pay attention. The ham will be more than we need for multiple meals, but it will easily serve as lunch meat and for other recipes until it is gone. I plan on just freezing what we don't eat in portions to use later.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Natural Family Planning: The Marquette Method

So there are a lot of new NFP methods out there. One newer method is called The Marquette Method and was developed at Marquette University in Wisconsin. The method relies on a combination of mucus and/or temperature signs in conjunction with the ClearBlue Easy fertility monitor to best pinpoint when ovulation occurs.

There is a pilot online teaching method beginning in a few weeks for the next year to teach people who do not live with easy access to Marquette or another nurse or doctor who can teach them.

The pilot program is FREE. The monitor is not and there are test strips that have to be purchased, but if you are interested in learning this method, it's a great time to take advantage of learning it online for free. They will likely beging charging after a year, according to the person I spoke with and new couples get 6 months free of online access to priests, doctors and nurses and discussion forums as well as resources.

In the next week or so, I should be getting a link for couples who are interested in signing up and will post it here.

Just passing on some good info....

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Find The Good

I know that I can often easily focus on what bugs me about another person I don't immediately mesh with, but in doing so I often forget to look for the good in them.

Since God made each of us, I believe each person has good qualities about them. Maybe some you have to look more than others, but the qualities are there.

I pray God helps me refocus when I am frustrated or focused on the negative so I can see the beauty He has planted within them and love them the way He does.

Thrifty Thursday: Almost New Baby/Toddler Items

Since I have two little ones, I like to get them toys sometimes. When my oldest was about 4 months, I bought a used exersaucer in great shape for less than $20. It was missing one toy, which I found and bought online on Evenflo's web site for less than $10. This Exersaucer normally retailed for nearly $100. After a good wash down and washing the seat in the washing machine, we put it to good use.

With the Internet everywhere now, it just takes a few clicks to get replacement parts for items that oftentimes people throw out or think they need to buy a whole one instead of just a part. It usually only takes a quick Google search.

Our stroller was looking a bit beat up, but I found out the part that was torn could be replaced for less than $10 on Graco's web site as well.

I just can't see paying for certain toys and items for baby brand new when I can get good ones with little wear for usually 30% of the regular price, especially when they outgrow them so quickly.

Just a thought when you are looking for that next item for your baby.

PS: The one thing I won't buy used is car seats because of the safety factor - you don't know if they've ever been in a accident and had structural damage that you don't see by just looking at it. Also if you want to know if an item has been recalled, look at the CPSC's Web site. I get emails from them when they recall children's items, but you can sign up for any ones you want on their site and it helps me keep up with any potential problems in my kids' toys or furniture.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thrifty Thursday - Tax Time Made Easy

So you can't save money on itemized deductions if you can't find the receipts. If you're like me, you get swallowed up in piles of paper way too easily. A few years ago I figured out something that works great for our family.

We had an extra card box (you know the kinds they sell every so often at places like Hallmark to organize birthday cards, thank you cards, Christmas cards, etc.). We divided it into the main tax-deductible categories like medical, childcare, work-related expenses.

Throughout the year as we got receipts related to each category, we put them in their respective areas. Then when we sit down to do taxes, we pull out the box and sort through each set of receipts, add them up and staple them together to go in our tax folder for the year.

It has made doing taxes a lot simpler and I know we both have appreciated not trying to track down the receipts at the end of March. Consequently, because finding the receipts is not such a big chore, we are set to claim all possible deductions at the end of the year, which is very nice and puts more money in our pockets.

Happy tax time:)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

When You Know You are Doing The Will Of God

From the Mustard Seeds book by Mathew Kelly:

When you know you are doing the will of God, that alone is enough to sustain your happiness. When you don't have that, all the possessions in the world cannot sustain happiness in the depths of your heart.

It is so good to be reminded of often. Having all you could every want materially will not bring you happiness no matter how much you think it will. It's good for me to remember at times our family struggles financially and think, "if only we had x, y and z..."

We have a gift in the life we've been given. We have a beautiful family and we are called to live in the now and to do God's will. By doing that, we would all be much happier and have more peace in our lives.

The times I am truly listening to God's call in my life I find so much more peace than I could ever create on my own. I still have lots of ups and downs, but overall I am able to tackle so much more. What a wonderful gift!

About Me

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I'm a mommy, wife and educated woman with an inquisitive mind. I am always looking in ways to challenge and grow in my faith. Many wise people I have known have reminded me if I am not growing, I am going in the wrong direction.