Friday, February 29, 2008

Still in Vegas...

It's been rough. Getting a solid eight hours each night, playing with my niece, going to the gym with my sister, letting people cook for me. Whew. I'm beat.

Here's today's run down (this is for Jessica: Run Down...thunder and lightning! If you aren't 6'2" and blonde, you won't get it).

Woke up to one crabby baby. She pointed to her ears and said, "Ouch". Yep...looks like another ear infection. Apparently this is #3 in about 3-4 months, so my older sib wasn't too keen on getting more drugs. Soooo...I called my good friend JJ back in Winchestertonfieldville and got his all-natural, homeopathic advice. One bottle each of collodial silver, echinacea and Wally's Ear Oil, plus about $40, and the E-B is back to her chipper self! Of course, the ear oil only stays in a 19 mos. old ears for so long...the rest of it makes her look like a greaser from the 50's, but boy is she cute!

I went to the gym with the younger sib. Okay, so could pretty much fit ALL of the gyms from TC, MI into this one gym. It was crazy. But they have a hot tub. And it works. Nuff said! I'm takin' my swimsuit tomorrow!

And I will be going tomorrow. Oh yes. Let me preface this next section by saying this: I didn't realize how much Matt's cancer affected me until it was over. I now realize that I'm ready to get back to work full-time and I'm ready to get off my butt and away from the chocolate. A year of comfort food has not been good for the body. And now tonight's escapade: cupcakes. So I'm over the comfort food phase, by Shell is just getting into it. So, we took our BOGO card to the Cup Cakery and bought 6 cupcakes...and got 6 free. Cam, her hubby, Shell and I managed to eat 10 of them...2.5 cakes each. Our recommendations: Red Velvet Cake...Coconut Kiss...Chocolate Peanut Butter (the frosting is carefully). I liked the crazy raspberry one with the champagne frosting with glitter on top, but it wasn't a crowd favorite. Anyway, we're saving the Mocha Mocha and Carrot Cake for tomorrow...after four hours in the gym (only one of those hours will be spent in the hot tub, don't worry).

If you hadn't noticed, I'm tired. See me rambling? That means tired. If I start crying that's another good indication, but if that happens I'll probably short out the computer and you won't know anyway. Whatever. I gotta go to bed.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's me!!! I'm here!!!

Well folks, I'm here in Vegas! Woo hoo!

The flights went well...I slept from GR to MSP...and again from MSP to Vegas. I was REALLY wired when I got here. I shared a room with my 19 month old niece, the ever lovely Ella-Bella. Bright and early at 7am on Wednesday morning we were all up...and boy is she a cutie pie!

Wednesday Shell took the day off work so we chilled with Homeo and the E-B. We had a fan-TAB-ulous dinner at Rosemary's Restaurant: Wednesday night = Ladies Night. Everything a lady orders is 50% off. Big Guy bought the meal. The Birthday Girl (Shell's ex-roomie) joined us. We ate all we could handle and brought leftovers home to the babysitter. It was fab.

Today was a bit crazier. Shampooing carpets...Bible studies...toddlers fighting over toys. And then, to make matters worse, we prepped ourselves all day for a night in the jacuzzi only to find out it has bad oxygen levels (or something). We couldn't get in :( Booger.

And so here I am, sitting in Homeo's living room, typing on Shell's computer, missing my honey in TC and wanting to shoot myself for getting so involved in Facebook (but LOVING the connections I'm making!!).

Okay, so I want to let you know that I can't tell you everything that's going on because it involves my family, my friends and two crazy kitties, but let me tell you this: I cannot thank God enough for the wonderful husband I have (yes, I know...that sentence is grammatically incorrect). Even when he brings me five dirty dishes after I've already drained the dishwater...or when I'm sick in bed with bronchitis and he asks if I want to go to the movies...he's awesome, and I love 'im.

I'm headin' out now...I don't promise pictures right now, but I will at least post some when I get home. Later!

From Ella

;jffjjfo ,,,,, hVGq zx

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sowing & Reaping

[DISCLAIMER: This blog in no way 'guarantees' reaping, nor will I address the issue of the attitude behind giving. However, if you have been giving to the church in order to receive and NOT because you want to help further God's kingdom, I suggest reading 2 Corinthians chapter 9]

Some of you out there have heard of sowing & reaping from a Biblical standpoint. Others of you may believe in karma (which is based on the Biblical teaching). For those of you who are clueless, let me fill you in:

You reap what you sow.

Are you angry and verbally abusive toward others? Be the bigger man - show patience and love. You'll see it come back to you. [Besides, have you ever noticed that the people you yell at tend to yell back at you? Reaping what you're sowing!]

Have you ever noticed those really, really nice people who can get anyone to do anything for them with a smile and a kind word? The smiles and kindness they sow into other people's live are being returned to them.

But here's the more challenging question, the sowing with which people struggle...the financial sowing. Is it possible to give away money and receive it back? Well, let me try to explain.

2 Corinthians 9:6 [New Living Translation]
"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously."

Now, this entire chapter is about giving, especially financially. I am not going to debate the amount if money people should give, but I will share my experiences with sowing and reaping.

First, my husband and I tithe everyweek (that is, we give a percentage of our income back to the God...I believe a tithe to begin at 10% of your income, though God may move you to give more). Now, bills pile up and things happen and it can become VERY easy to forget to write that check, so I made it easy: Our tithe check is the FIRST check we write as soon as we receive our paychecks. (It's also a Biblical principle to give God your 'first fruit' and not your leftovers, so we want to honor that). How does it work to pay our bills then? It truly is a miracle.

When Matt went through chemotherapy we received disability checks...for half the amount of what he normally made. Regardless, we wrote out our tithe check every two weeks, giving much needed money back to God. How did it work out? I ended up with a long-term subbing job, then all of my other days filled up, then a friend paid me to help him at work one weekend. I went from subbing 2-3 days a week for the 06-07 school year to subbing 4-5 days a week this year. My long-term job bumped me into a higher pay scale, so anytime I sub for that teacher I make $4 more an hour. Through the entire time Matt was off work we NEVER missed a payment, we never went without and we didn't go into debt.

Now, that's great, but I know some people wouldn't exactly consider more work an answer to prayer. Well, I'd like to give you another example:

Last month on top of our tithe Matt & I gave a substantial amount of money to our church to help build a church building in Equador for a pastor with whom we are partnering and supporting. This amount of money was not in our budget, nor was it readily available. However, we knew how much God wanted us to give, and we did. Here's what happened:

- We had "utility" problems at home. The service guy came. His time and help was costing $75 for the visit and $25/15 minutes. He left us with a bunch of advice on how to fix the problem, as it was quite simple, and noted on his form "husband fixed before I arrived". We were never charged.
- We've been selling things on eBay - the play to go buy things at auction for less than you would pay in the store. Yeah...we sold two nicely priced items for TWICE their face value!! I ask - why would anyone pay $60 for something the could buy for $30 someplace else??? I have no idea...except that we are reaping.
- Some of our electronics need to be replaced. Matt & I have been saving Coke points for months, but they haven't really had anything we need. Last week we picked up a new alarm clock for Matt (and he can dock his iPod...which he got for Christmas); we got a a new universal remote; we got a new CD player. All for free...all to replace things in our house which are breaking/need repair.

It may not seem like a lot to most people, but when Matt and I look at the money we saved/earned over the past 2-3 weeks...its double what we put into that offering plate. Wow.

So I encourage you - if you want to bless God with your money, if you want to bless His work and His kingdom, but you can't ever find the extra cash - GIVE FIRST! You can't really afford not to :)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Are you out there?

So in my last 492 posts I've only received 3 comments. Have I become so outdated? Am I no longer entertaining? Do I BORE you?? Are you looking for pictures (cuz really...I'm getting fat over the winter...nothing else is changing!)? WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY POSTS?!? I don't do sex and violence, so don't ask. Okay, so I pushed my sister down the stairs once, but that was a long time ago.

I'm going to eat pita chips and hummus...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Okay, okay...I know I'm a day late, but when you hear what I have to say, you'll see the appropriateness of it.

I like the idea behind Valentine's Day - showing love - but I don't like the hype and importance of it. I mean, just because I don't get a candy rose from a kid in school doesn't mean no one loves me...its just means my friends are broke ;)

For a few years now my family has participated in a WONDERFUL, cost-saving expression of love: 50% off Valentine candy on Feb. 15th. That's right folks: tonight my honey and I are hittin' the supermarket ... I can show him TWICE the love for the same amount of money. Doesn't that make more sense?? Is it really love to squander your savings on a temporary chocolate induced coma that will haunt your waistband for days? Far better, I say, to get dinner AND candy on the day after (your waistband is never happy...why try to appease it now??).

So I'm letting you know that I love you...and if I lived closer I would spoil YOU with cheap candy too!! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Captain Computer saves the day!

I'm taking a minute to give props to my man Captain Computer. I have been without my desktop 'puter for a while now...almost six weeks. I DO have my laptop, but it find it VERY difficult (and distracting) to write with it. I don't know why, but that's just the way it is. I like my computer at my desk with my ergonomic keyboard. The laptop just isn't cutting it.

Another mild inconvenience is timing. I usually feel the most motivated right around 6pm...when Matt is coming home and wants to cruise the internet for a while. Okay, perhaps I need to suck it up, but sometimes you really just do get the inspiration and ... your husband is looking up Mother Earth News on eBay.

Well, Captain Computer nad I have been trying to coordinate a meeting for 2-3 weeks now. I get up at 5:30 am and try to be in bed by 9pm. I hang around in my house all winter to avoid exposure. I like weekends at home, when I can clean, study, worship or work in my jammies. C.C. goes to bed around 2-4 am, and I have no idea how late he sleeps. He walks around in 15 degree weather in a t-shirt and coat. He spends his weekends driving around the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan in search of snowmobile and ski adventures. As you might have noticed, our schedules do NOT match. But...

We did it! Yesterday we managed to find four hours of free time when he came over and I was here and now my computer works!!

Thank you Captain Computer! You're my hero!!!