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I'm grateful to the Lord for surrounding me with sweet friendships. It's wonderful to be able to walk through seasons of life with other women who are treading down the same path.
And yet, I've been doubly blessed by relationships with women who are a bit further down the road and are more seasoned than myself. I've been steered right, challenged and even gently rebuked by these precious women who've been married longer, have an empty nest or have been in the throws of a growing ministry for far more years than I. I bask in their wisdom every chance I get.
So I thought it was a good day to share a bit of the advice and encouragement on motherhood I've been getting from my friend, Miss Beth. I've met both her girls, Melissa and Amanda, and they both turned out alright so Miss Beth must know what she's talking about. Anyone who has raised godly, well adjusted adults has got my ear!
So, good thing for us, she's never short on wisdom and she's always willing to share it!
I’ll never forget the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I boarded a plane with 14 other people from my church and headed to Haiti. We partnered with Hosean International Ministries to bring hope to Haiti. Each day was an adventure. During the day, we made bricks from mortar and clay for a new orphanage. When the sun fell behind the plush mountainous landscape, we taught Bible studies to eager listening ears. Despite the roach filled out-house, cold shower, and thin and tough mattress, our time in Haiti was filled with bountiful and beautiful memories.
Best of all, there was Manette. She as a young thing, maybe 9 years old the first time I laid eyes on her. Amidst the crowd of kids that we played with each day, she stood out. Her beautiful eyes glistened against the backdrop of her gorgeous coal black skin and her smile was the most remarkable thing I’d ever seen.
I can’t forget it. Her clothes were tattered and torn. Her hair, un-kept and unruly. Her stomach empty and starved. Her parents possibly dead. And yet, she smiled.
She didn’t speak English so we couldn’t talk with each other but we communicated everyday for 14 days. She and Haiti were etched into my heart forever.
The day we were leaving for America I couldn’t find her. I check everywhere. In fact, I almost missed my ride to the airport because I was trying until the last moment. I wanted one last hug, one more smile, one final endearing exchange. My heart sunk as I got into the car. We pulled away and I hung my head in sadness.
About a mile down the road, there was a bang against the window. We were all startled and taken aback. It was Manette; her hands and face plastered to the side of the car. Eyes bright, smile wide. I burst into tears as I rolled down the window, kissed her face and passed her a small token to remember me by. We drove away and I watched her tiny silhouette slip away.
That was the last time I saw her but I never forgot. I often wondered if she’d gone to school. Had she flourished as a teenager and young adult? Was she even still alive? I tried to get back to Haiti on several occasions but life seemed to always get in the way. Still, Haiti was in my heart.
Twelve years passed. A mass mail out from Hosean International Ministries caused a flyer to land in my mailbox. It prompted me to contact them in hopes that someone there might know of a girl, who would now be a young woman, named Manette. I had no last name. Just a description: Bright Eyes and an incredible smile.
They answered my email and this is what I saw:
This is my Manette. She’s a gorgeous, twenty-something, sassy little thing who’s smart as a whip and serious about serving the Lord. We’ve been in touch via email as much as possible since we reconnected and I’m committed to helping her achieve her goals.
Last week, I was tucked away without television and radio working on a writing project. I had no access to anything "media." I was completely unaware of the happenings in Haiti until three days after they occurred. My heart dropped to my feet when news of the earthquake in Port Au Prince hit my ears. I sent emails and made phone calls to Hosean International Ministries to see how I could help and most importantly to see if anyone had heard from Manette.
I cried and waited. Days passed before I would get a response.
But when I did, it simply read:
“We just saw Manette. She is not only safe, she is serving those who are not.”
And yet, I know so many do not have any relief today. How I wish I could be there, with Manette and those at H.I.M., in the trenches serving those precious people who are suffering this horrific tragedy. But since I cannot, you better believe I’ll be on my knees praying and then back to my feet, check book in hand, to assist those who are.
If you are looking for a way to show the love of the Lord to those in need, Hosean International Ministries is a trustworthy organization through which to do it. I encourage you to send a generous gift. Every penny you give to this faithful ministry will be used in a way that will honor the Lord in the lives of those who are hurting. There are thousands more “Manettes” that they are helping, loving and nurturing. We can help them do it.
Privileged to partner with you,
Thank you once again for sharing thoughts on how to be creative and frugal with our friendships. This weeks random drawing winner is...... Monica Smith!
Here's what Monica had to say:
I am not sure if this is a frugal tip, but I have a friend who is going through a tough time financially. She spends the majority of her income on bills and gas with little left over for food. So, two of us will buy extra groceries or items that are on sale and give them to her so that she always has something to eat. None of us are wealthy, but we can't let each other go without. Also, when we get together as a group with other friends, we pack up the leftovers and send them home with our friend. God has been and is good to us and knowing that our friend is fed and has some comfort, grace and peace in her day is a good thing.
Wow! If that isn't a Frugal Friendship tip, then I don't know what is. Monica, thank you for encouraging all of us to love our friends well. We are more than thrilled to send you FOUR copies of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book. Please email us your shipping address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful, frugal weekend everyone!
It's that time again, and I'm anxious to give away not one, not two. . . but four copies of Dave Ramsey's The Total Money Makeover. There'll be one for you and one for three of your closest friends!
It's only fitting, since this week we are looking for tips on how to maintain friendships on a budget! There is nothing like the encouragement that comes from our friends. Just today, one of my long-time girlfriends emailed me to get a bit of advice and encouragement regarding living on one income, just in case her company downsizes. I want to be there for her - and we need to be there for each other.
So, how do you either encourage your friends to live frugally, or enjoy each others company without spending a small fortune in cash?
Here's my Frugal Friendship tip:
My friends and I will often get together at my house with our small children for a playdate/girlfriend time. We relegate the children to the outdoors to play under our watchful eye, as we sit around tea at the kitchen table and have some good conversation. Other than the occasional "He did it" type interruption, we always have a delightful time. We discuss the children's menu and our menu before they come, and each mom brings a couple things. By dinner time, every child is fed and so are we. We've had a great time and so have the kids. And it all cost less then if we'd gone to play at a fast food joint. (Although I admit we do that on occasion too :)
Another tip just came to mind. My cousin (who is one of my best friends) and I will get together to do each other's hair. It takes about 2 hours to put small twists in mine and the same for her. So, on occasion, we'll get together with two movies from Red Box ($1 each) and have a delightful evening, while having our hair done at the same time. We've saved on entertainment and on a hair stylist visit.
PS. . .Wanna catch up or add to all the great tips we've gathered over the past Frugal Fridays? Click on these links. You won't be disappointed.
On Wednesday afternoon, Priscilla stopped over with her boys to hang out and give them a change of scenery for doing homework. I provided the kitchen table and juice drinks, they provided the brain cells and energy to get it done.
J.C. is working on his vocabulary, while Jackson is done with his math and has moved on to play time.
Question: Now, what do you get when you take two boys, add them together with an open floor, and mix in some wrestling?
Answer: Fewer teeth!
I'm not sure what kind of addition/subtraction algorithm that is, but let's just say that J.C.'s tooth met with Jackson's foot and parted ways!
Now, that's a cute smile! And he got to take his tooth home in a ziplock bag.
Got any "loose tooth" stories? Every kid should have at least ONE!
Have a great day,
Yesterday, I tweeted about an "incident" here in the Shirer Household.
I made an incredible Turkey Meatloaf from a recipe given to me by one of my best friends who is an awesome cook. I was feeling quite accomplished as a wife and mother to have dinner ready well before supper time (a rare occurrence). I had one of the boys set the table when he got home and we prepared to sit down for a real meal all together.
That's when it happened.
One son didn't want to eat because of a hurting tooth. The other was too busy talking to make any major dent in his meal and Jerry - that precious man of mine - had eaten SOMETHING ELSE because he didn't want any beef and assumed that's what the meatloaf was made of.
Have you ever wanted to lovingly strangle your family? A wonderful meal prepared and no one in your family anxious to eat it?
URGHHH. I was a bit bitter.
So I tweeted about it.
Lots of you responded asking me to post this recipe - AND IT IS INCREDIBLY TASTY! It is also remarkably easy. Gets your hands messy in the beginning, but then the oven does all the work for an hour.
We swapped recipes for the holidays back in December, remember? We shared delectable treats with each other that were fit for Christmas time, but now we are into the new year - filled with regular evenings, packed with regular activites and we need some regular meals, like Turkey meatloaf and the like, to garnish our tables and fill our family's tummies.
So here's the recipe for Turkey Meatloaf via my friend Sharon Jacob. I'm looking forward to your favorite (chicken, beef, spaghetti and other necessities) recipe too!
*Priscilla's note: I normally only make half of this recipe for my family of 5 and there are TONS of left overs - even when they actually eat it!
Also, I'd add some Garlic Salt or some sort of salt to this recipe.
4 pounds of ground turkey
2 envelopes of dry onion soup mix like Lipton
4 cloves of garlic (I love garlic)
¼ cup of Ketchup
8 slices of hard toasted bread crumbled up finely
¼ cup of Worcestershire sauce
3 Tablespoons of parsley
1 Tablespoon or oregano
2 Bell Pepper finely chopped (I love bell pepper in meatloaf, you may only use one.)
If the meatloaf looks a little dry just add more ketchup and a little Worcestershire sauce. I like the Worcestershire kind of smoked taste.
2 tsp of mustard
½ cup of brown sugar
2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
2/3 cup of ketchup
Preheat oven to about 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix all of the ingredients for the meatloaf. Use my hands to make sure that all of the ingredients are well blended. Place in a pan, no need to grease/oil it. Bake for about an hour. Drain off excess grease. If the juices coming out of the meatloaf are clear, you know it is done. After about an hour, it should be done. If it is not done, you may want to cook it for no more than 15 minutes more.
Making the Sauce:
*Priscilla's note: I like this yummy sauce and would not cut it in half even if I only make half of the meatloaf.
Combine ingredients for the sauce. (If you do not have ketchup, you can use a small can of tomato sauce and add a little starch to thicken the sauce. When I made it, I had run out of ketchup so I used tomato sauce and added about ½ tsp of starch.) Pour sauce over the meatloaf after about an hour of cooking, then let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.
Can't wait to read your necessity-recipes! Until then, these boys are all eating Turkey Meatloaf leftovers - for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Jude, my 1 year old, has an affinity for acorns. I don't know what it is about those little brown nuts that pique his interest, but whenever we go outside he immediately begins to scan the horizon for them. He's becomes a little hoarder and tries to collect as many as he can in his little grubby paws. I watch and laugh as he insecurely juggles them all.
Before this strangely cold weather hit Dallas recently, I was outside with the boys almost every afternoon. One day, Jude went on his normal acorn hunt and came across a jar that one of his brothers left outside the day before. All the critters they'd captured had gotten out, but a solitary acorn remained. Immediately, Jude became a miniature version of Sherlock Holmes. He closely investigated the best way to get his trophy out, and settled on working his hand into the narrow opening of the jar. He fixed a firm grasp on the acorn. With his hold firmly in place he tried to remove his rounded fist but couldn't. His fist was too big.
I watched him struggle for while. Then went to help when I saw frustration setting in. His face was getting red. His voice was starting to raise. I tried to explain to him that if he'd just let go, I could pour the acorn out of the jar and get it back to him in a way he could enjoy. He would hear none of it. He just wouldn't let go.
For the next little while, I watched my son walk around with a glass jar attached to his arm. His playtime was hindered and his enjoyment hampered simply because. . . he wouldn't let go.
"Those who cling to worthless idols forsake faithful love," the prophet Jonah wrote. (Jonah 2:9) And he certainly knew a thing or two about how it feels to walk around with a jar attached to you. He'd hung on to his own goals, ambitions and comforts and lost everything because of it - almost losing his own life. Finally, coming back to his senses, he realized that whatever idols he was grasping weren't worth the faithful love of God he was foregoing.
He decided to let go, get sweet release - and journey onward with God.
It's your turn to do the same.
You've gotta be tired of carrying around that jar.
I’ve been a pastor’s kid since I was one year old. My parents started the church, which I still attend, when I was just a tiny thing. And the vast majority of sermons that I’ve heard my father preach over the past 35 years have included some sort of illustration that had something to do with our family. My three siblings and I would sit on the cushioned pew in church, pinned to our seats with intrigue as we watched him spin a simple story from our lives into a spiritual application that edified the body of Christ. We weren’t embarrassed (most of the time). We just laughed right along with the audience at the pre-mature statement we’d uttered or the misguided action we’d taken; the simple family happening that didn’t seem like anything significant. Along with the rest of the congregation, we’d be amazed to see how God’s Spirit and His Word to us can be seen even in the simple, funny stories of every day living.
Now, I have my own children and if God gave them to me for no other reason then good material, I’m grateful! Rarely do I create a message that doesn’t in some way include a story right out of the pages of our lives. These three boys give me more material than I can stand.
Here’s one for ya.
For Christmas, my boys got deodorant in their Christmas stockings. (It was high time and this was a festive way to get ‘em going!) When I explained that it was to be applied every morning before school, Jerry Jr. slumped his shoulders forward and took in a huge breath of air.
“Every single day,” he sighed.
“Yes, son. Every single day.”
The next morning, I caught him in the bathroom. He was slathering the stick of deodorant under his arms with passion. They weren’t two or three simple strokes - but dozens of them, leaving a pool of white paste. When I saw him move from his underarms to his neck, I stopped him.
“JC, what are you doing?”
"Mom, I’m trying to put on enough to last me all week. I don’t want to do this everyday!"
I laughed hysterically and then tried to help my five year old learn the finer points of hygiene. As the day went on, I smiled every time I remembered the incident. Yet over time, it wasn’t as funny as it was convicting. You see, this is how I often treat my relationship with the Lord. I try to slather on enough of Him during my quiet time at the first of the week or during service on Sunday to last me all week. Sometimes, I inadvertently think that what I’ve gathered at his table on one day will be enough to keep me refreshed all week long. The Spirit gently reminded me that being a sweet smelling fragrance to the Lord requires a fresh application of His truth - not just on occasion, but every single day.
“Every single day?”
“Yes, my daughter. Every single day.”
I know your life is full of happenings that the Lord has used to speak into your life. Can’t wait to be encouraged by it today. Leave a comment!
Thank you for all your fantastic comments on "relating with money" on Friday! We read each one and appreciated the hard-won wisdom in them. Those of us who are still learning (ahem, me) are really encouraged by the experience and journeys that you are willing to share. That means a lot.
The random drawing winner of the Dave Ramsey resources is: Sallie, at Seaside Tales. Congratulations, Sallie! We're happy for you and that's no lie (ha, couldn't resist! Important tip, btw). Email us at email@example.com and let us know your address so we can send your prize to you.
Have a great (and frugal) weekend, everyone!
Priscilla and Rachel
Hooray for Frugal Friday!
I'm wishing I was eligible for this week's prize because I think I need this.
This DVD teaching by Dave Ramsey:
and Dave's best-selling book:
Here's some info on "Relating with Money:"
Most people never realize the impact that the issue of money has on their personal and family lives: studies show that the #1 cause of divorce in North America is money fights and money problems; single adults often live loose financial lives because of a marked lack of accountability; children are raised with no clear financial training from wise parents. In this vital section, Relating with Money, Dave reveals that money isn't always just about money. Usually, it is about so much more.
Today, we're asking you for your best tips on how to communicate about money. How do you, as a married couple, navigate spending and saving? How can you reduce conflict over finances? If you are single, do you have accountability to anyone, or has someone helped you with a financial plan? How can you communicate good habits to your children? Do you talk with aging parents about money?
Talking about money can be awkward, but it shouldn't be. The DVD and book will help you "get over" it and take a healthy view of relating with money. We'll take each commenter's name and put it into a hat for a chance to win these two great rescources!
I look forward to reading....I NEED to get over my money awkwardness!