Taking the Rise & Shine Challenge


The countdown to school next week begins.  This is Practice Week.  Time to get back to early risings before the usual chaos ensues.  This free Rise & Shine Challenge from The Abundant Mama Project could not have come at a better time.

I already rise before everyone else, but we’re only talking minutes before everyone.  The alarm is set, but Snooze is hit over and over and over again until just ten precious minutes remain.  Ten minutes is NOT enough to rise, pray, read the Word, write, and caffeinate!

My personal challenge will be to set the alarm clock ten minutes earlier each day this week and drop the snooze button habit.  This should put me up before 6 am by the end of the week.  Also, just to be clear, I will not be participating on Sunday!

For the first Rise & Shine challenge, we are instructed to take some time to dream a little and consider the following …

What you want your ideal mornings to feel like?

How do you want them to flow?

What sounds do you want to hear?

My answers?  Mornings will feel peaceful and unhurried; they will flow at my pace- set by what has been accomplished ahead of time; and the sound of quiet will only be interrupted by the multitude of nature sounds that envelop my porch.  Sound too good to be true?  Actually, it’s not- I have experienced this before, so it is achievable again!

Will you take the Rise & Shine Challenge?  Do let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Free printable Word strengtheners


I love these free printable “Word Strengthener” cards from Ann Voscamp.  Place them in your pocket or put them by the kitchen sink to tuck these words into your heart, because as Ann puts it,

The Word in our words might really change our worlds.”



Gaining perspective on frugality


The year is well over the halfway mark now, and what a year it has been thus far!  My so-called “extreme” frugality has been hit with a perspective check.  When life throws you a few lemons, yes, you make that lemonade, but you also have to swallow the reality that money comes and money goes- but it goes twice as fast!

Over the past two years, we have scrimped along and ridden the debt snowball all the way to the last stronghold:  the mortgage.  Before paying that monstrosity off, we have been socking away money in what I have attempted to term the “car fund”.  When my husband’s company vehicle dies, we are on our own for the next one.  My car needed a new battery last weekend and at some point, like all good cars, it will die as well.  Car payments are the pits and we plan on paying cash for our next vehicle.

However, it seems that finally having money in the bank can only mean that storms will blow:

~paychecks are erratic…

~things break…

~medical costs surmount…

One of us is enduring a dangerous health condition this week- and the hospital bills will come.   But money will not be on our minds.  A clean bill of health is the only “bill” that matters.   Cars can go ahead and age and 1990′s appliances can take more duck-tape! treasure

Sometimes our precious savings are spent on food and house payments.  It is hard to watch all that hard work at building savings go out the window for everyday needs, but we have to continue to grow and harvest and mend and live.  You simply hope to save the money again, when you can.

How do you arrive at a more positive, less worrisome perspective on money?


~Studying scripture (enjoy the free printable shown above from Rich Wells)

~Striving to keep thoughts on an eternal perspective

~Willpower to resist giving up and just blowing what is left (do not ask me how I know this!)

This takes effort each and everyday.  If you are in a difficult place with your perspective on money, know that I will pray for you today!   Please do leave your thoughts on this in the comments.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

~Matthew 6:21 NIV

Linked to Living Well, Spending Less

5 Ways We Saved Money This Week: thrifting, harvesting, & debt reduction

5 Ways we saved $ July

1.  Repurposed a $1 yard sale top into this pretty laundry clip bag.  More shopping at two thrift stores resulted in $1.50 clothing items in both current and future sizes for my children.  A few Christmas gifts and some craft items- which are often used to make gifts- were found as well.

2.  A cashier I have visited for years at CVS actually dropped her jaw at my last shopping trip!  Thanks to previous ExtraCare Bucks, I spent just over $1 out of pocket and then… out printed $14 more in ECBs.

3.  Harvested zucchini, tomatoes, okra, peppers, cucumbers, and beans.  We have eaten from our garden every day and are knee deep in the process of preserving.  The big question is how many ways can you cook zucchini?!

4.  Purchased a deep fryer to save money on oil, as we have indulgently enjoyed frying a lot of garden foods in the cast iron skillet.  This particular fryer is a multi-purpose cooker, dishwasher safe, and a low price (no compensation received thanks to an odd affiliate policy!)

5.  Hopefully, we have saved enough to pay cash for our next vehicle.  This week, we began paying more on our mortgage.  The amount we used to pay on an auto loan and home equity loan will now be paid on the mortgage.  Gotta love the debt snowball!

Linked to Living Well Spending Less


What would you do with a day off from everything?

day off

What would you do with a day off from everything?  Not just a day off of work, but a day all to yourself?  I have been given that gift and it is the strangest thing.  Holding back tears as the grandparents drove away, I knew I had to hit my to-do list in order to not miss them in a dreadful way.  Thankfully, it was Sunday, so the list included my husband; and together we had lunch out, a 3D movie, shopping, garden fare for dinner, and neighbors over for cards.


And the days roll on.  Yesterday, my mother and I went thrifting and I discovered some amazing finds, including this loot from an antique/thrift store.  The wool blend yarn was $5 altogether and I noticed as I set up the photo that the brown one alone had a $14.95 price tag.  I love the $2 basket wreath- what color would you paint it?  I’ll probably go with white since the natural color is long gone.  The $1 tiny chair has already been hit with a paint touch-up and it will go in the dollhouse (that could use some serious attention when my little girl returns!)  The jewelry box still plays when a little drawer is opened inside.  I was looking for a metal loom to replace my girl’s flimsy plastic one and found this one, circa 1948.  Not pictured is a $2 wool Gap coat, a $2 boys blazer, a $3  like-new Polaroid camera (that did not make the cut on a list last Christmas but it will this year!), and some $1.50 Chaps, GAP, Gymboree, and Abercrombie children’s clothes.

laundry bag

I crafted this from a $1 yard sale top… after finding the idea on Pinterest, of course.  My previous laundry pin bag was a holey mesh bag with a rusty hook- what a relief to replace it with something so pretty to help get the laundry done!

My “schedule” each weekday looks like this:

-quiet time


-deep cleaning the house, one child’s room a day

-spackling, painting, and sealing grout

-an organization project a day

-work on the church’s website

-a craft a day

-downtime with my husband

-running errands some days


I miss my little ones a lot, but I also know that this time with grandparents is precious for them all.  My oldest was first in flight for our family yesterday:  hang-gliding off the tallest dune on the east coast!

The child-exodus also happened a few days last summer, but I spent my evenings volunteering at VBS- which meant no time with my husband.  As much as I would love to help, as I made that nightly commute to town, my husband would be making his way to an empty home.  Our marriage needs this.

A note of encouragement:

For those mothers of tiny ones, know that this is temporary.  Yes, little ones are precious, but parenting them can bring some toil and trouble.  Nursing, potty training, discipline issues, and a tight budget meant that there were so many times I yearned for not just a day off, but even just one hour.  Take heart, for it is so true that the days are long but the years are short.   Count the little blessings you find in each [endless] day.  Quicker than you think, the time will come that your children will be ready to venture off with other family members or to school or maybe even under the care of your oldest.

Please do tell- how would you spend a day- or several days- off from everything?

Linked to Works for Me Wednesday

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