Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Crystal Paine--Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

  • Who can find a virtuous woman? her price is far above rubies
  • Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all
  • Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised
  • Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. 

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

In the very beginning of my blogging journey, one of the first bloggers I started following was Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom.  At first for the couponing and deal posts, and later for her cleaning and organizing posts, like the Clean in Thirty and the Clutter-Busting challenges I participated in last year. Because we're in different seasons of life--she's a young, work-at-home mom to three small children, a successful speaker, author, and blogger, and I am none of those things--I put her blog in the "Frugal Living, Couponing, Shopping" section of the blogs I read frequently, and thought nothing more about it.  

Lately, though, I find myself reading her other posts more and more, and not only that, relating to them as well.  Posts on goal setting, and achieving success--in whatever form that may take for you.  I bought her e-book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined life, and read even more.  

Then I had an opportunity to sign up for a sort of lottery to participate in the launch of her newest book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.  As a result of being drawn from that hat, I received an advance e-copy of the book to read and review.  

Ladies--I have to tell you, I really think Crystal has hit it out of the park with this one.  She gives us more of her personal story of how, even while appearing successful and together on the outside, she felt like she hit rock bottom.  Suffering from a combination of burn-out, postpartum depression, and a bad case of "yes-I-can"--even when her body and soul told her "no-you-can't", Crystal relates what she learned and the steps she took, to get beyond the point of survival mode, all the way to thriving and learning to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

This book could not have come at a more perfect time for me--if anyone has been in "survival mode" the last couple of months, it's been me.  The small church I pastor in a tiny rural town developed a leak and was flooded--about a third of our building was soaked--and believe me, it gives the phrase "walking on water" a whole new meaning, especially when it's in the sanctuary.  And while everyone has pitched in and done their part, I am the one ultimately responsible for seeing to it that it gets done.  Meanwhile we decided that while everything was torn up and in disarray already, we may as well address some remodeling/painting issues that we'd been avoiding, and because the labor is all voluntary, we work around schedules, making all of this take much longer than if we'd just called in professionals to do it--which we can't afford, hence the procrastination. Shortly after the Great Flood, someone very near and dear to me was assaulted and robbed, which is NOT supposed to happen in a small town, but guess what, it does. My emotions were haywire for a while after that, both personally and on their behalf. I got sick with a bad bronchial cold.  The holidays came and went, and all I could think of after they were gone was that I wanted a do-over, because I didn't do nearly as much as I wanted to, and I felt like the joy of the season was robbed from me.   Then I got sick again--or maybe I relapsed, I'm not really sure. My house was a mess, my body was a mess, my emotions were a mess--I couldn't pray, couldn't read, couldn't do much of anything.  Between being sick, stressed, and overwrought, I felt like all I could do was lay on the couch and feel sorry for myself.  Oh, and watch cheesy movies.  Nothing too cheerful, mind you, but nothing that caused me to have to engage my brain, either.  

Enter Crystal's book, which I had started long before all of this took place, but which languished, unfinished, on my computer.  I finally transferred it to my new Kindle that I'd received for Christmas, so I could prop it up and read it laying down if I wanted to.  And read I did.  Maybe laying down, maybe not.  

I don't want to give away all of the good points that Crystal has made, but it boils down to this--we are each unique creatures, created to be someone wonderful in the eyes of God.  We need to quit comparing ourselves to others.  We need to quit trying to please people who really don't matter that much in the long run.  When we say "yes" to one thing, that means we need to say "no" to something else.  We need to take care of ourselves, because if we don't, we won't be able to take care of anyone else around us, including our families.  

Crystal is ever so much more eloquent, than I, but the steps she outlines are so very practical and do-able, and while some of them are things we probably already know we should be doing, she breaks it down into such easy pieces that nothing seems impossible.  This book is practical and inspirational at the same time.  

My story is not her story, and neither is hers mine, but we each have a story, and we each have a unique opportunity to effect, not just the ending, but the story-line along the way.  

I already feel better, and I feel I've barely scratched the surface.  Time for a re-read, this time taking some notes and implementing some changes along the way. 

Meanwhile, over on Crystal's blog, she's all kinds of goodies in anticipation of the official release, which is January 21st.  You can participate in her 7-Day Challenge to jump-start yourself, or sign up for the giveaways she's hosting.  And if you pre-order the book, you qualify for $125 of other goodies.

Until next time...

(Disclosure--I received a copy of Crystal's book for review, but I have not received any additional compensation, and the opinion expressed is that of my own)

Friday, January 10, 2014

$30 Off Kindle Fire Tablets

This is just a quick bargain alert--the best gift I received this past year was my new Kindle Fire HD .

 We're overflowing with books at my house, as you well know (and these are not all of them--we probably have at least this many more in other rooms) but I wasn't too sure I've enjoy reading on an e-device as much as I like holding a "real" book.  But my son asked for a Kindle Fire year before last, and loved his, and the more I saw him use his, the more I wanted one, too.  So I asked for (and received) a Kindle Fire HD this past year, and so far, I'm really enjoying it.  Many classics are available in Kindle format for free, as are a variety of other books. Almost everything else is discounted steeply if you purchase the Kindle version vs. printed one.

Right now, through January 11th, Amazon is running special, $30 off all Kindle Fire tablets, by entering the promo code MAYDAY30 at checkout.

(Disclosure--the links in this post are affiliate links--if you follow these links and make a purchase from Amazon, of this or any other products, I receive a small commission.)

Until next time...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cultivating Beauty

  • Who can find a virtuous woman?  her price is far above rubies
  • She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
  • Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
  • She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
  • Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised

Earlier this week I did a post titled "Do You Feel Beautiful?", and mentioned that the topic of beauty seemed to keep cropping up in my thoughts and in my life for a couple of weeks.  I started noticing beauty (and the lack of it) every where I turned.

I'll be honest, I felt a little overwhelmingly UN-beautiful around that time. A sort of is-this-the-best-it's-going-to-be-for-me? mood struck me and stuck around for a while.  Don't you hate it when that happens?

Thankfully, though, the Lord arranged one of those wonderful "coincidences" that I don't believe are coincidences at all!

I went to a special prayer service at a friend's church.  There was some beautiful soft music playing, and a soothing voice leading the participants in guided prayer, while leaving time for personal reflection and prayer, as well.  And even in that situation, what subject came up?  Guess!  The beauty of God's creation--and the Lord dropped a bit of wisdom into my heart.

You can have a beautiful life if you cultivate it.

Immediately thoughts and examples started flooding my mind.

This was my garden this year.

Because I didn't cultivate it.

Last year I did better.  I planted....

...and watered

...and watered some more.  (And even tried to shade some of our plants from the hottest of the sun--for no avail for those particular plants--it was just a bad year for cucumbers that year.)

But we had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes.

This year a friend of mine kept telling me all of the good things she was harvesting from her garden and her fruit trees--and I had nothing that I'd grown in myself in my own garden--because I didn't cultivate it.

Earlier this year I shared about what a mess my house had become--you can see the whole Clean In 30 series.  It got that way because I wasn't cultivating a clean house....

But little by little, one room at a time, I started cultivating clean. 

There's a reason I had started calling this my "Ugly Room"....

Until I challenged myself to do something about it.

I'd like to say that everything has stayed just as clean and organized, or gotten even better (which was my intent) since then, but the truth is, while it's better than before, it's not as good as after right now.

Why?  Because I haven't cultivated it.

I will probably never live in what I call a big, nice house.  But my little house is paid for, and it's as beautiful as I make it.  If I want it to be better--cleaner, more organized, prettier--I have to cultivate the habits that not only make it that way, but the ones that keep it that way, too.

I will never be younger, or taller, or have less wrinkles and gray hair than I have right now, but if I eat right and exercise and do the little things that help me feel prettier, I can be beautiful in my eyes and in the eyes of those who love me.  

I just have to cultivate it.

If I want beauty of mind, soul, and spirit, I have to be careful what I allow in. What books do I read, what television shows do I watch, who do I spend time with, with what do I fill my conversations?  How much time do I spend with my Creator, or in His Word?  Am I all about me, or do I reach out to those around me?

Do I cultivate it?

Until next time...

This post is linked to:
Make Your Home Sing Monday at Mom's the Word
Proverbs 31 Thursday at Raising Might Arrows

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Do You Feel Beautiful?

  • Who can find a virtuous woman?  her price is far above rubies
  • She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
  • Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
  • She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
  • Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised

The word "beautiful" keeps coming up in my thoughts and in my life--in the words of a song, a conversation with a friend, even in my prayer life.  

I attended a wedding last weekend, and the bride really was absolutely beautiful (don't you agree?) The bridesmaids were beautiful, the church was beautiful, the reception decorations were beautiful, and the bride and groom are returning from their honeymoon to a beautiful new-to-them house.  

An old friend of mine welcomed a brand new grandbaby into her family this week, her first; a beautiful baby girl.

Another new friend invited me out to lunch, and I went by her house to pick her up--and IT was beautiful, with gorgeous, expensive-looking furniture, and everything just "so".  

I keep thinking to myself--I want a beautiful life, too! I know I'm an overweight, middle-aged lady, with a small house and not much money to speak of, but what about me?  Has my time for beauty passed, and is this the best my life is ever going to be?  

Frankly, that thought is rather depressing.

Another day, I was with a friend and she asked me to pray for her--not "will you remember me in your prayers" kind of thing, but "I need prayer right now, will you pray for me now".  So I did, and as I was praying, I got the distinct impression that Lord wanted me to ask her a question.  

"Do you feel beautiful?"

And she laughed a little and said, "No, I don't." 

And we had a conversation about inward and outward beauty, and about how the later does depend somewhat on the former, and vice-versa.  How we look can affect how we feel, and how we feel can affect how we look.  The physical affects the mental affects the spiritual, and the reverse is true as well. 

It's all tied in together.  

I have some further thoughts that I want to share with you at another time, but I leave you with this question:

"Do you feel beautiful?"  Inside or outside?

Until next time...

This post is linked to:
Heart Reflected
Spiritual Sundays
Make Your Home Sing at Mom's the Word

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Virtuous Woman Cooks--Low Carb Pizza Crust

  • Who can find a virtuous woman? her price is far above rubies
  • She bringeth her food from afar
  • She giveth meat to her household

Check out the new recipe I tried out on my food blog for low-carb pizza crust--made out of cauliflower! I thought I didn't like cauliflower, but I found out that I just don't like it boiled to death.  It's a fairly mild vegetable, so it basically takes on the flavor of whatever you use to season it.  

Try it, you might like it!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mission Possible Walgreens

  • Who can find a virtuous woman? her price is far above rubies
  • She looketh well to the ways of her household
  • She is like the merchants' ships, she bringeth her food (and other things!) from afar

$68.85 for $24.02 OOP

I think I have a love-hate relationship with coupons.  Sometimes they're just more trouble than they're worth.  Buying a paper, or printing them on-line, clipping and sorting and filing and pulling the old ones out after they're expired, not to mention remembering to take my coupons with me when I go shopping, and then remembering to use them at the check-out. Sometimes they really are more trouble than they're worth.

But sometimes, when you have a decent sale to combine them with, it makes you realize that it really can be worthwhile to buy, print, clip, sort, file and pull coupons.  

Today was one of those times.  Is it "extreme" couponing?  No.  Did I spend a lot?  Kind of.  But I got a lot, and along with the sale, saved a lot, too.

Here is what I got:

3 Purex laundry detergents, $5.99, on sale B1G2 (buy one, get two free), less one measly little $.50 coupon, these came to $1.83 each.  Note:  I would have NEVER bought this detergent for $5.99 without the B1G2. That's all that made it worth it.  The coupon basically covered my tax.

1 Listerine, $3.99, less $2 MQ, or $1.99, this generated a $1RR, making this net of $.99 for the liter size.

2 Herbal Essence shampoo, on sale 2/$5, less $3/2 MQ, making these $1 each

2 Tone body wash, $4.89, on sale B1G1, less $2 /2 MQ, making these $1.45 each

2 3pks Dial soap, $3.19, on sale B1G1, less $1/2 MQ, making these $1.10 each, or $.37/bar

2 Lady Mitchum anti-perspirant, on sale $1.99 each, less 2 $1 MQs, making these $.99 each

2 Hefty slider food storage bags, $3.49, on sale B1G1, less $1/2 MQ, or $1.25 each

2 Altoid mints, on sale 2/$3, or $1.50 each

1 4lb bag sugar, on sale $1.99 with in-ad coupon

Altogether, I spent $24.02 plus tax, and received $1 RR to use next time.  I used $11.50 in MQs, $1.30 in-ad store coupon, and saved $32.03 on sale discounts.(There were several items which wouldn't have been bought, coupon or not, at the full price, so I don't know that I "saved" that much in real dollars.  It sure does sound good, though, doesn't it?)

What good bargains have you found lately?

Until next time...

This post is linked to:
Walgreens Deals at Money Saving Mom

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dollar Store and Thrifty Decorating for Fall

  • Who can find a virtuous woman?  her price is far above rubies
  • She looketh well to the ways of her household
  • She worketh willingly with her hands
It's finally starting to feel a little like fall around my house.  Yesterday we were able to turn off the air conditioning and open windows for the first time this season.  I'm sitting in front of an open window now, wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt, and when the breeze picks up I feel almost chilly.  If you knew me in real life, you'd know how unusual that is for me!

As I've already shared, I'm not much of a decorator, and I'm limited somewhat by budget, the style and small scale of our house, but I do like to have a few simple, seasonal decorations around.

This year when I pulled out my Thrifty Fall Wreath that I made a few years ago, I was afraid it was too beat up to use.  The tissue & wire fake fall leaves are definitely a bit worse for the wear...

...especially compared to when I first made this from Dollar Tree goodies and an old, repurposed grapevine wreath. ($2 for the garland and leaves, less than $3 originally for the wreath)

I decided it looked just fine from a distance, more like real leaves, anyway.  Which I could/would use, except we don't have fall colors here yet, and most of our leaves around here just turn brown and then fall off anyway!

You may remember this from a couple of years ago, too.  The charger was originally $1.99, and has been used over and over again, as has the glass vase and dried frou-frou, both from Dollar Tree for $1 each.

This year I used the same charger and vase, some slightly different Dollar Tree dried frou-frou, and a big splurge--a $5 candle from Walmart, which was the only place I could find one tall enough that was still in budget (meaning cheap inexpensive).  edited to add: Besides a just-for-looks candle like this one, I buy a few from the dollar store in fall scents for burning--maple, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice--especially when we're having guests.

I still have a vintage Mason jar filled with nuts, and one from Ball that I fill with a fall pick with leaves and berries and some loose silk leaves at this time of the year--all dollar store purchases from years past.... well as one filled with vintage and antique buttons of all different shapes, sizes, and colors.

What do you do to decorate for fall?  Do you go "all out", or keep it simple?

Until next time...

This post is linked to:

Make Your Home Sing at Mom's the Word
Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
In & Out of the Kitchen at Feeding Big
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life


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