Monday, December 15, 2008

Found a family!

I've mentioned on here often, that the people of New Harvest Community Church have truly become more than friends, that they are truly family. To really understand that, I thought I'd give you a great example (and funny too).

Last week (and for several weeks past), Little D was working at a loose front tooth. Every now and then he'd ask me to pull it, but it just wasn't ready. Well, Thursday for school, all the child did was wiggle his tooth, beg me to pull it, and even allow me to try several different methods. He was so desperate, he even let me tie a string on it (though he wouldn't go so far as tying the other end of the string to a door handle). Well, the string kept coming off and I just couldn't get it. Friday he seemed to have decided I wasn't going to be able to help him, so he just dealt with it. Well, Saturday morning the kids and I had volunteered to be part of this week's cleaning crew at church. It snowed that morning, so we were a little late getting there, but we did get there. It was fun seeing everyone, and I was glad to see that Pastor Henry was there (he's a truck driver full time, on top of shepherding the NHCC flock). So Little D and I told him our adventure of trying, unsuccessfully, to pull the tooth. Pastor Henry, being a pro at this sort of thing, sent Little D out to their van for dental floss. In he comes with it, and within 5 minutes, good ol' Pastor Henry had that tooth out! Not everyone can say that their Pastor pulled their tooth for them! Silly, I know, but this just goes to show you what kind of family I have here in Utah. I am so blessed (and Little D is so cute with the new "hole in his grill")!

Diggin' deeper

I have been reading the book, Devotions for the Man in the Mirror. I know, it's supposed to be a book for guys, but I happened to glance in it when I brought it home for my Hubby, and was intrigued, and.....well, I can't put it down! It's VERY challenging!! (and it doesn't seem that there's anything that pertains only to men in it). Anyway, the other day I was reading the chapter (15) entitled "Jesus: Commitment to a person versus a set of values" and somewhere in the middle of reading this, I could almost hear brakes squealing (in my mind) as everything suddenly came to a stop, and I had to sit there, look around me with deer-in-the-headlights look, and get myself refocused! Basically, this chapter is saying that we do not have the power to simply imitate Christ; we only have the power to believe and follow after Him. Galatians 2:20 says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." It is not the way of Christ that leads to everlasting life, it is the Person of Christ!! We are called to live by faith in the unseen (our salvation unearned but in FULL) rather than things seen (doing good, having good morals). The end of the chapter summed it up with this, "If you live by sight, you will lose the joy of your salvation."(Are you too, hearing tires squealing? Good! But keep reading!!) So then, if all that's true, (and it has to be true, because that's what is written time and again in the Bible, that our salvation through Christ comes ONLY by belief in Him), how can I continue on doing the WWJD challenge? Yikes!! I needed to wrestle that thought, needed to see not separate pieces, but rather, how the pieces fit together, because surely this commitment was a serious one, a life changing one. So each morning, before getting up, I'd stay there in bed and lay it all before my Abba and ask HOW? How can all this go together? What does it mean to follow Christ if our actions are not chosen in imitation of Him? God's answer was to keep reading, so I did. Chapter 18, titled, "Eternal Life: The Undone Thing" centers around the story of the rich young ruler (Matthew19:16-21). He is looking for that one key, he truly wants eternal life, but he wants it on his terms, on his own merit. He has lived by the commandments set forth in the Old Testament, but he knows something is missing. Jesus then tells him that the one and only way to be "perfect" (deserving of heaven) is to lay aside ANYTHING that stands in the way of him following Jesus. For this man, it was his material possessions. He was willing to surrender only up to a point, and that point was his wealth, that's where he drew the line. And it wasn't the possessions themselves that were a hindrance, but rather, his attitude about them. So then, there is nothing we can do to deserve heaven, as Christ has already done it in full for us. So we simply must be willing to sacrifice all, lay anything and everything aside that has any hold on our heart, in order to follow Christ. (at this point, for me anyway, the puzzle pieces still weren't coming together, but at least I knew they were all part of the same puzzle!) So then, this morning I read chapter 19, "Assurance: Assurance of Salvation". It began by talking about our need for approval, we all want to hear "well done" from those who matter most to us. We work hard to get that approval and we think that just like any other relationship, God is requiring us to work hard to earn His approval. Well, the fact of the matter is, the instant you first surrendered to Him, He approved you unconditionally!! One of my favorite quotes from a pastor friend in Louisiana (and as I've told some, when I first heard it, it REALLY bothered me....something else I needed to wrestle with in my mind) "God will never love you any more or any less than He does at this very moment." WHAT?? I can't do anything to make Him love me more? Then God helped me to see that I wasn't understanding the greatness of His love. I was limiting it when it was limitless. It is then I realized that I don't have to try with God. All He truly asks of me is to believe in Him. My actions then become a sign of gratitude, of faith, and of belief. If I truly believe Him, then I can willingly walk the path He sets before me because I know that I can trust Him. My actions aren't done to prove my love, they are done simply because of my love.(*Snap! The pieces suddenly come together!!) So, my commitment to WWJD is NOT to become a better person, but rather it is to walk out my faith! I get it now!! So when a cost is required, that's fine, because I'm walking by faith. I know that my God is limitless in His love for me, so what can all these temporal things matter to me? The only cost required was paid in full. There is NO price greater than that one! Even if I die, it is a gain, it is eternal life. Christ went to hell to make sure that those gates could no longer hold me in! Wahoo!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Momma done tol' me to save lots of money!

Okay, whatever, I know those aren't the words to the song, but I couldn't think of any catchy title for this post!

I just got back from one of my favorite this store is NOT pretty, doesn't really feel all that clean, BUT the money I save there makes up for all that! What am I talking about? A salvage grocery store!! I'd never known these stores existed (other than the dented and discounted racks at big grocery stores) until I moved here to Utah. I was actually warned not to go into this store.....but I didn't listen! I just had to check it out! And now it is the first place I try to get to on grocery shopping day!

The one here near me is called Carl's Super Saver and they carry lots and lots of things. My great deals for the day were bell peppers for 10 cents each; tomatoes for 20 cents each; plus size tights for $2.99, and a couple pairs of fun/funky earrings for 99 cents each!

Now, having said that, I also want to share some tips with you if you want to give this a shot and it's your first time dealing with "salvaged goods"
  1. The vegetables.....may not be perfect, there may be a bad spot or two you have to cut out, or a couple berries or something that are moldy....that's not the exception, that's the NORM! These peppers I bought today are just on the verge of getting soft, so I am going to chop them up and freeze them for later use, thus stopping the aging process.
  2. Look at dates and consider the product....I wouldn't hesitate to use outdated soap or something, but very outdated food (I'm talking years), I'd be careful about.
  3. Things to watch out for with canned goods (and I'm going to just assume they're outdated, so don't even worry about that): dented is okay, but rusted is NOT good; puffed up tops are NOT good; super dented (as in un-openable) isn't a good idea
  4. You also need to be somewhat aware of regular store prices for the items. For example, today I saw some dish soap, the kind with the air freshener on the bottom, for $2.49. Now I know I can get a bigger bottle for about that price or less at a regular store, so why bother.
  5. Brand loyalty.....I am brand loyal on some things (shampoo, toothpaste for me) but other things I don't mind generic or off brands (diced tomatoes are diced tomatoes, ya know?) So you have to decide what things you're willing to be lenient on.

I think that's all the warnings I need to share. If you think of anything else, or have questions, feel free to post them in the comments. You do have to use your best judgement, but if you're careful, I think this is an awesome way to save money and be green (well, they would be throwing this stuff out if nobody bought it, as regular stores can't sell it)

So, check out the yellow pages or online, see what's in your area, and start saving!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


If you're like me in your're thinking this little acronym is wa-a-a-a-ay over-used. Well, while that is true, it has taken on new meaning in my life. Our Pastor recently read the book, In His Steps . Now, I read this book once, long ago, and thought how neat it would be to try this out.....however, did I? No. Well, Pastor Henry challenged our church to commit to living this way for one year, asking first in all decisions, what would Jesus do? So, I committed to it. And boy, it seems like such a simple thing, but there is a cost. That cost is different for each person, but I think that it reflects where your heart is. That was hard for me to take in. I'm a people pleaser, life's just easier that way. Well, God is seeking God pleasers, rather than people pleasers....and so, the cost for me has been that there are people who are not happy with me. And boy is it difficult sometimes not to jump up and try to take back the things that I said even though I know that they needed to be said, that they were the truth, and that I had been lying by not saying anything before.....and to take it all back would be to pick up that lie again.....not something Jesus would do. Ouch!

This last week, with Thanksgiving here, we had family come for 4 days. Looking back on it now, I can see that I went into survival mode.....I got by, said and did what I felt would keep the peace....again, not something Jesus would do I don't think. In church on Sunday morning, I was so happy to be around friends who I knew cared about me no matter what. I was relieved to not have to be in survival mode.....and that's when God let me know that Jesus NEVER operated out of survival mode. To operate out of survival mode is to not be willing to die to self. Instead it's a protection of self above all else. Nope, not something Jesus would do. Surviving was NOT one of the things Jesus set out to do....rather, He was willing to pay the price no matter what. Wow, lots to think on there!

So, this is definitely a challenge in my life! A moment by moment thing, because WOW! that is NOT the norm for me.