God has challenged me to write about how He will supernaturally pay off our mortgage in 5 years. I am a homemaker, my husband is a teacher, and we have three children. Our mortgage balance at the start of this blog is $97,802.62 with a projected payoff date of May 11, 2035.

Sounds foolish, huh? The Bible says that, "...God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise;..." So I am choosing to be foolish and trust Him. He's never let me down before.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grapes of Wrath

The fence in our backyard boasts a pretty wicked grapevine.

We planted it at least 6 years ago and it has matured beautifully.  So much so that in recent years I have begun to can grape jam from its fruit.

The development we live in abuts an apartment complex and our backyard has a fence that separates us from the apartments.  The grapes grow over the fence and we actually have to drive over to the apartments to collect the clusters that grow on the other side.

Today I was grilling in the backyard and stepped inside to get some things ready at the sink.  While there, I looked up and through my kitchen window saw a man and a little girl looking at our grapes.  Next, I see the man and the little girl picking off of the grapes.  Finally I see them get what looked like a cluster of grapes and walk off with them--smiling!!!  I was not smiling.

'How dare they take something that doesn't belong to them', I thought.  'Not to mention, what's up with that father (I assumed) teaching his daughter to steal from others!'  Although I was fuming, I was not brazen enough to walk over to the fence and give them a piece of my mind.  After all, that wouldn't be very Christ-like.

Then my mind began to settle.  I remembered a sermon that I heard recently speaking of the struggle we go through to put off our flesh and put on the Holy Spirit.  My flesh was all about "They are taking my grapes!"  But really this was an opportunity to be Jesus to two individuals.

Rethinking my approach to the situation, I knew what I had to do.  I went downstairs and got a jar of grape jam from last year.  The duo was out of sight for now, but if they returned I had my dialogue all planned out. 

"I see that you like our grapes.  Please have a jar of grape jam from last year's harvest."

Friday, August 7, 2015

Free at Last!

Last weekend our daughter came to me asking the loaded question, "Mom, guess what?"

"What?" I responded.

"I'm debt free!" she replied with a big smile across her face.

I smiled back and congratulated her.  Her debt was a whopping $75.  However to a 15-year old teenager with only allowance as an income, this is big money.  She took the rather drastic route of taking every single allowance and putting all of it towards what she owed until she had paid it off.

What she was paying off was summer camp.  During the middle of last school year, Ross and I decided that we would have the kids begin to pay for a portion of their activities.  We see the following benefits in doing this:

  1. More appreciation results when they have invested some of their own money
  2. More consideration results when they have invested some of their own money (they are more apt to seriously weigh whether or not they truly want do participate in an activity)
  3. We are not shouldering the entire financial weight of multiple activities for three children
Our kids are surprisingly compliant with this new dispensation.  There have even been times when they've asked for clarity sake, "Is this something that I will pay for?".  

I praise God for the responsibility that they are learning today and pray that it prepares them for tomorrow.

My Cup Runneth Over

I have a friend who regularly blesses our family with goods.  Primarily she gives us grocery items.  Always the timing is right on.  This is what she dropped off yesterday.

Individual cereals, jams, bbq sauce, marinades, boxed rice meals, and my favorite...Olive Garden salad dressing :-)  Really?!  These are the fill-ups God pours into my tank when I am doubting His provision in my life.

My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waste Mangagement

Not more than a few weeks ago I was sitting at a stoplight on one of the local streets.  While waiting for the light to turn green, I looked over at the vehicle beside me.  It was a  Penn Waste garbage truck.

Almost instantly my mind began to consider the volume of trash that these vehicles cart away from our home on a regular basis.  I have often anticipated the truck's arrival, especially when some extremely foul-smelling waste is stinking up our garage where the trash is kept.  What a joy it is to have the offensive collection hauled off to a place where I can forget about it!

While musing this over, something about the truck caught my eye.  The tires.  Though massive in size, they were noticeably flattened no doubt due to the weight of what had been loaded above.

What a picture of Jesus! He deflated Himself and took on the weight of everything stinky about me.  As if that weren't enough, He regularly hauls away my waste so that I can forget about it and move on.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Making Do

This morning I was cleaning out my microwave.

In the middle of cleaning, I found myself thanking God for this appliance.  You see, for about two years we had a microwave with no turntable and no door handle.  The turntable had broken accidentally and the handle had come off due to normal wear and tear.  We had learned to place our fingertips under the door just so in order to open it up.  It became second nature to us and we made do.

Eventually I decided to look on Craigslist for a microwave to replace ours.  A similar model was listed with the dimensions needed for above our range.  I communicated with the seller and he said that he would sell it to me $15 below the list price!  That microwave is the very one that graces our kitchen today.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction." 1 Timothy 6:6-9

God taught our family to be content with the two-bit microwave that we had.  Sure a door would be handy, but it wasn't necessary.  Our family did not go hungry due to lack of a microwave door.  We made do.  Then when the timing was right, we purchased a USED microwave.

Contentment. This is where financial freedom begins.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Laugh of the Day

Pulling into the parking lot of my bank this morning I saw a woman in a candy apple red convertible pull into a parking spot a short distance from me.

As I exited my van I had to chuckle upon hearing the distinctive electronic sound of her locking up her car.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Step Away from the Baby!

Earlier this week we were babysitting a friend's son for a couple of hours.  After following his daily routine, we came to the hour when he was due for a nap.

First my husband held him for a while but he cried. Next we put him in our son's swing, but he continued to cry.  My husband had to get ready to leave the house and handed the baby over to me.  He told me about a way to hold him that had gotten him to sleep last time we watched him.  I tried this suggested hold but the little guy cried on.

Then I realized the time.  With my stomach growling I knew that I needed to eat lunch or I would be crying alongside the baby!  I laid him down on a sleeping bag in our living room as he continued to protest. "I'll be right back" I told him and stepped away into the kitchen to make a sandwich.

While mulling over what toppings to add to the meat, I suddenly thought 'The crying has stopped.'  I went around the corner into the living to find the scene below.

The whole time I knew that what he needed was rest.  But I didn't know how to get him to do what he needed to do.  What I recognized after seeing him fall asleep on his own was that what needed to happen would eventually happen if I just let it happen on its own.

This reminds me of how God works in my life.  I have a problem and try everything within my power to solve the problem.  God lets me do this.  It doesn't work.  I get so worn out that I have no choice but to do nothing.  Then God handles business as usual.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

When I am trying to do things in my own power, I hope to remember to step away from my baby so that I can have Christ's power.