Saturday, June 28, 2008

Pray for the Rainey's

Many of you have probably heard of Dennis Rainey from the ministry Family Life Today. If you have read the story of our journey to adoption, then you remember his adoption video was instrumental in our decision to adopt. We need to be praying for Dennis Rainey's family as they just experienced the loss of their newborn granddaughter. My friend Patty sent me the link to a blog that tells the powerful story of what they have gone through this month. Click here to read the story of little Molly Ann. Have a box of Kleenex nearby--you'll need it.

Their story reminds me of what I observed two months ago when my brother passed away. God gives believers grace when we need it. We don't need to fear trials because He will give us the grace we need when the trials come. It is so hard not to worry about my kids, but I take comfort in knowing that God will give Luke and I the grace to handle whatever comes our way.

On the adoption front, we have heard of a couple possible birthmothers that we might have our profile shown to. Once we find out more, we will post that information and keep everyone updated. Please pray for God to give us wisdom and patience. This adoption is taking longer than we expected and at times it is getting hard to wait. Please pray that we will continue to trust God as we wait for our little one!

Monday, June 23, 2008

CVS update

I promise I'm not going to turn this into a blog about budgeting and grocery shopping, but I wanted to do a follow-up to my previous post about the Money-Saving Mom website. I have learned a lot from this website about how to get great deals at CVS, along with other grocery and department stores. Several women have been interested in how the whole CVS-scheme works so I thought I'd post the deals I've done the last few weeks and show everyone how it works. It's not difficult at all. I take about 5-10 minutes each week and figure out my deals. If you haven't been to the Money-Saving Mom website yet, you need to go there and read her "CVS for Beginners" link on the left-hand side of the page. If you haven't read that the rest of this post will make no sense.

Here's the deals I have done for the last few weeks:

Week #1 (Keep in mind that your first visit is your "investment" trip, after this trip you should always have ECB's to spend.)

Chex Mix $1.00
Dawn Dish Soap $2.00 each
Tampax Pearl 36ct. (Qty.2) $4.50 each
Charmin 9-pk. TP (Qty.2) $4.99 each
Secret Deodorant $3.99
Duracell Batteries (Qty.2) $5.79 each

Total Before Coupons

.25 off Charmin
$1.00 off Secret Deodorant
$1.00 off Chex Mix
.50 off Tampax
.25 off Dawn Dish Soap

Total After Coupons

ECB's earned
$10 from Charmin
$1 from Secret
$3 from Tampax
$1 from Dawn

Total ECB's for next purchase

I made a mistake my first visit that I won't make again! There is a coupon machine in every CVS where you scan your CVS card and it prints off 3 coupons. One of these coupons is a $3 off a $15 purchase coupon that can go toward your purchase that day. (Each cardholder is allowed one of these a day. You can't go into CVS ten times in one day and print ten of these coupons.) If I had done this the first time it would have brought my total down even lower. Live and learn!

My second visit (This is where it gets fun because you get to start using your ECB's.)

Folgers 39 oz. coffee 2 @ $10 each
Powerade 32 oz. 1 @ $1

Total before Coupons and ECB's:
$21 (before tax)

$3 off $15 purchase
.25 off Folgers
.75 off Powerade

Total after Coupons

$15 (from previous visit)

Total after ECB's

ECB's earned $10

I walked out of that store so excited when I had paid $2 out of my pocket for over $20 worth of groceries and had earned $10 to spend next time!

Here's my third visit:

4-pack light bulbs (Qty.6) .77 cents each
Colgate Toothpaste $1.99
Gummy Worms (35 oz.) (Qty.2) $5.00 each
Gallon 2% milk $3.69

Total before Coupons and ECB's:

$3/$15 CVS coupon
$1 off Gummy Worms
$.50 off Colgate
$10 ECB's

Total after Coupons and ECB's:

ECB's earned

Once again, I walked out of CVS with a lot of groceries/household items and only had to spend a few dollars out of my pocket! This really works! It may seem a bit confusing, but once you do it it will make more sense. The two things you have to remember are to buy items that generate ECB's and use coupons! CVS allows you to "stack coupons" by using store coupons and manufacturer's coupons. This is where Money-Saving Mom helps. She will list links to coupons for CVS each week that can be used with their current sales. She does most of the work, you just print the coupons you need. This may sound like a lot of work, but it has taken me very little time and I have saved a lot on groceries the last few weeks!

For all of you budget-conscious moms out there, I hope this helps!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Christian Communicators Worldwide

In our links section below we have one to Christian Communicators Worldwide. CCW recently revamped their website and changed their URL to ...Be sure to check it out.

One of the elders in our church started CCW in 1988. The Lord has blessed CCW's ministry in tremendous ways. Hundreds of thousands of books and articles have been distributed over the years, in addition to the many thousands of speaking engagements Jim has been able to attend. Not all of the materials are on the new website as it is a monumental task to move everything over, but they will be eventually. There are some great new articles you won't want to miss on the new website. One of them is on "Multi-Cultural Glory in the Church." It is really an excellent article on what we should strive for in the Church. The verses from Revelation 5:9-10 used for the heading of our blog speak to this diversity. We are thankful to the Lord for the diversity He is bringing to our Church and hopefully to our family soon. If the new heavens and new earth will be filled with ransomed people from every tribe, tongue, and nation, what a blessing to be able to experience that on the current earth in a small way.

Revelation 5:9-10 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

Friday, June 13, 2008

It is more blessed to give than to receive...... Jesus

For a few years now we have kept a Folgers coffee can in our room for our spare change. We call it the "blessings jar" and have encouraged the boys to put their money in it when they get some for birthdays or Christmas, reminding them that Jesus taught that it was better to give than receive. Stacie and I try to put our change in it everyday as well. It may not seem like much, but over a year it can grow to a couple hundred dollars that can be used to help others that have need.

The purpose of this post is not to blow a trumpet when we give like the hypocrites did according to Jesus, but rather to let you all know of a non-profit that was recently started in Kansas City by a friend. His idea takes the concept of pocket change to a new level that I thought was pretty unique when I recently heard about it.

The organization is called roundup2roundup and the President is Shane Santner. I have met Shane a few times, through a mutual friend Sean Baker. The times I have been around him were great. I haven't seen him in awhile and wasn't aware of the new startup until a week or so ago when Sean recently emailed me about it. Please go to their website and read about what they are trying to do. Also, be sure to watch the 3 minute video from YouTube that gives some background on how they got started. It was pretty convicting to me about the poverty around the world that we don't think much about as we go through our daily routines.

It wasn't until my recent trip to India that I realized just how spoiled our nation is. While I was in India, the headlines for three days were about the comments from President Bush regarding the rising price of food. He stated that food prices are rising worldwide because of India's increased consumption. As I considered my own stomach bulge and the millions of Americans that are overweight, his comments seemed rather silly when looking at the skinny India population and at how little they actually have. It is easy to understand why they have such a poor view of us. If anyone in the world is overconsuming, the blame lies at our feet. If we cut back on our eating and used the money to help the poor, the money would be helpful in fighting global poverty and the decreased demand would also make the price of food go down for poorer nations.

We used roundup2roundup's YouTube video to teach Isaac about why he should be thankful for his green beans. Last night we had green beans with our dinner, and we made Isaac eat the beans we had put on his plate. He was not happy about it and sat at the table for about 20 minutes before he finally ate them. We showed him this video tonight of the starving children around the world to illustrate to him how he should be thankful for even the food he doesn't like. How those starving children would love a big plate of green beans! We dont' want him to eat his green beans out of guilt, but to be thankful for them and all the food God has given him to eat. We'll see if he learned this lesson the next time we have green beans for dinner!

Here's the site! Check it out and support our friend Shane in this Christ-honoring endeavor.

Acts 20:35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Adoption Update and other stuff

Luke spoke with Aimee, our caseworker, on Friday regarding any potential birthmothers they are working with. There are a few mothers they are working with currently, but she didn't think any of them were going to choose adoption. As we have learned though, many times they just get phone calls from the hospital so we still anticipate getting "the call" at any time. We really hope we will get a call soon. It is hard to be patient sometimes, but it is comforting knowing all this is in God's hands.

We have lost the cord to our digital camera so I haven't been able to post any pictures lately. Hopefully we'll find it soon or else we will just have to purchase a new one. Of course, as soon as we purchase a new one we will find the one we lost. We lost our TV remote several months ago, and we finally gave up and just bought a new one. Guess what Isaac found Sunday night? Our old remote!

I have found two great resources for wives/moms that I have to share. The first is a book titled Get More Done is Less Time by Donna Otto. I have always considered myself to be organized, but this book has shown me many things I could be doing more efficiently. Donna Otto is a Christian and has a lot of wisdom to offer wives and moms. Highly recommend it! I bought it on ebay for $1. ($4.99 with shipping.) It was definitely worth the money.

The other awesome resource I have found is a website called Money Saving Mom. This blog is devoted to helping you find ways to cut costs on groceries and other household items. She does an amazing amount of work helping you find the best deals and gives you links to coupons that match up with the deals. She feeds her family of four for $40 a week and teaches you how to do the same, as well as doing most of the research for you about the sales, coupons, etc. for the week. Make sure you read her "CVS primer." I have never shopped CVS before, but she has made a believer out of me. CVS has amazing deals, if you know how to use their Extra Care Bucks. If you're interested in reducing your grocery bill, check out her site!

Now that Luke's traveling has stopped (he only had 7 out of 31 days in May when he wasn't travelling!) we are really enjoying some down time as a a family. We took the boys to St. Louis for a few days last week to see the St. Louis Zoo and Six Flags. (I will post some pictures when we find that silly camera cord...) Luke and I are hoping to have a little getaway next week (just the two of us) for some much-needed R&R. We figured we better get our trips in before we bring home a baby!

Please keep praying for our adoption. We'll continue to keep you posted!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Behold The Lamb

Last weekend I had the blessing of going on a weekend men's retreat with the men and teenage boys from our church. The retreat was entitled, "Lord, Teach us to pray." It was a great time and very helpful for all of us involved. I intend to write about one of the topics this week now that my schedule is getting back to normal, but I wanted to make this short one since it is the first day of June.

During our times of singing, one of our church's elders encouraged us to memorize hymns during our times of family devotions. We are going to try to memorize one a month as a family and would like to encourage you to do it with us. The one we chose for this month is probably not familiar to most of you since it is fairly new. It is entitled, "Behold the Lamb" by Mark Altrogge from Sovereign Grace Music. Sovereign Grace has put out some great music. They are very careful with the lyrics to make sure they are doctrinally correct. Be sure to check out their other music.

Below are the words and a link to the tune if you would like to learn it with us.

Behold the Lamb

Words and music by Mark Altrogge
As recorded on King of GraceLyrics

Behold the Lamb
Silent before His accusers
As thorns are pressed into His brow
They lift Him up
Oh see the spikes that hold Him
Redeeming blood flows down
But look again
The cross stands empty now
And He is risen

Behold the Lamb
See Him crowned with glory
Behold the Lamb
Cast your crowns before Him
Crying Holy Holy is the Lamb

Behold the Lamb
Carrying all our transgressions
He freely takes our place
Endures the lash
The mocking and the laughter
Of those He dies to save
But look again
The cross stands empty now
And He is risen

Behold the Lamb
See Him crowned with glory
Behold the Lamb
Cast your crowns before Him
Crying Holy Holy is the Lamb

© 2000 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

Next month Caleb wants to do the great old hymn "Low in the Grave He Lay"

He loves to belt out, "Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o’er His foes!" It is quite a sight to seem him in action.

The Lord is good!