I would like to dedicate this post to my dear sister-in-law and friend, Luisa, who is a very good wife. She recently has become a talented and thrifty decorator, buying things at Goodwill and yard sales and refinishing them herself. She has decorated many rooms of her big, beautiful home with color, style and panache. She is an excellent organizer. Everything is always so neat and tidy. She sweeps the kitchen every night (why can’t I do this?) She keeps a very clean home and even makes fresh fruit juice for my nephew. She does so many things for her family including taking great photos at my nephew’s sporting events. She walks the dog at the local dog park and is always a cheerful hostess for all of my brother and nephew’s sports-related social events at their house. She does all this and still makes the time to be a great friend to me! I love you Luisa! We all do.
#170: Being Frugal September 29, 2011
I have spoken about the Proverbs 31 wife before. The majority of the Proverbs 31 wife verses deal with work, stewardship, and resources. The husband has full confidence in the wife and she brings him no harm. She is a hard worker that rises early to make sure her family’s needs are taken care of. She understands business and makes sound financial decisions. She gives to the poor. She ensures that her family’s basic needs are met: food, clothing, and shelter. To sum it up, “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
I have been contemplating my role as financial manager of the household. I take my duties very seriously. I have been continuing to learn about managing money and being frugal. I am committed to living within our means. In these hard economic times and always, those that live within their means, have no debt or little debt, and have savings are most likely to overcome hardship.
My sister-in-law is taking a course with the Financial Peace University program founded by Dave Ramsey. The lessons are Christian-based and focus on eliminating debt, building wealth, finding bargains, investing for the future, and increasing tithing and charitable giving. I read Dave Ramsey’s book and it reinforced some of the things I learned in Michelle Singletary’s book The Power to Prosper. I recommend both to you if you are interested in improving in this area.
Like weight maintenance, financial stewardship never ends and it’s something you keep plugging away at, fine-tuning and refiguring. The bottom line is to live within and hopefully below your means, save, and tithe. At this point I “strive to tithe” but I plan to get there!
In case you are interested, here are three of my favorite frugality
- Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Frugal: Battling My Anti-Frugal Personality (frugaldad.com)
- Are You All Talk When it Comes to Being a Frugal Example for Your Kids? (moneyning.com)
- A Frugal Marriage, Five Years in the Making (frugaldad.com)
#169: Using frugality to maintain my weight September 28, 2011
OK, this isn’t exactly one of the things I love about being married but please humor me. Frugality is certainly connected to my marriage in that I am a steward of the resources for my family. In addition, staying fit and healthy is also essential to and good for my marriage. So it’s but a hop, skip and a jump to using frugality to maintain my weight. See? I’m not so crazy after all.
My weight has yo-yoed quite a few times in my life. This goes way back to when I was in my teens. Granted, they were small yo-yos back then – up and down 5 pounds. Thanks to the grapefruit diet, the lollipop diet and all the other crazy diets I did in the late 70s, I’d lose and t hen go back to my eating ways. My more recent yo-yos have been more significant – 25 pounds. My weight will go up and I’ll bring it down. It goes up again and I bring it down again. Unfortunately, I have wasted lots of money on clothes because when I get to a new weight, I’m so sure that I’ll stay there forever, that I get rid of all my clothes! I’ve had enough of it. I am going to try to use frugality to keep me at my current weight. If I start to gain weight, I will make myself lose it. I know how – I’ve done it many times. Gaining and losing weight is not a reason anymore to waste money on a wardrobe. Besides, it is much healthier for me to stay at one sensible weight. Maintenance is the thing I’ve needed to learn. I just read a book called “Is she naturally thin or disciplined” and it shares that women who stay thin constantly watch their size and/or weight and if they gain a couple of pounds they lose it right away before it becomes a problem. I believe this is the key to maintenance: awareness, vigilance and discipline.
Please wish me luck. Have you ever had such a problem?
- Weight-Control Tricks – How to Stop ‘Yo-Yo Dieting’ for Good (health.usnews.com)
- Go Yoga Diet Not Yo-Yo Diet (mobanuliving.wordpress.com)
#168: Watching him shine at work September 27, 2011
My husband had an important presentation at work this morning. He prepared for it all weekend. This morning he had on a crisp white shirt and was raring to go. The presentation came off well and he was pleased with the outcome. It is a privilege to share in your spouses successes. Although I am working on my pride, I am proud of him!
#167: Instruction Manual on How to Be a Good Spouse September 26, 2011
This weekend while I was recuperating from a bad cold, I spent a lot of time in bed watching religious programming on tv. I watched a show called Time of Grace with Pastor Mark Jeske that was really good and happened to be about marriage. Being the perpetual student, I took notes. Here are some of the things I learned.
Not only is doing God’s will the right thing to do, it will bring you happiness because it ties you into God’s blessing. If you approach life and marriage through serving yourself and not God, you will be miserable. Marriage is good for most people. We are social beings and it cuts down on loneliness and it is economically sensible as well. No wonder. Marriage is a creation of God. God invented marriage to build families and he started way back with Adam and Eve.
Because of human evil and sin, we need to learn how to treat each other properly. The Bible can be a great teacher. 1 Corinthians 13 in particular can be a very effective instruction manual on how to be a good spouse. 1 Corinthians 13 is a very popular Bible verse, often used at weddings. I bet you are familiar with it. It’s very beautiful. Verses 4 – 7 say:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
These verses instruct you on how to treat your partner. Unless you learn how to show love, real love not manipulative love, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, how beautiful, or how well you can cook. The first thing we need to do is recognize that we were born sinful and that we don’t know how to love. Next, put your own name in the Bible verses. Don’t just think about love, think about yourself. For example, “Karyl is patient, Karyl is kind.” Go through each verse and contemplate how you are doing. I know that Karyl is very impatient. Karyl can be kind but she can be pretty mean as well. I envy and boast. I can be rude. I can be easily angered and hold a grudge.
Jesus did all those things that Love does. Of course, Jesus is Love. As we let Jesus love us, we become aware of what he gives us and he gives us strentgh to love in that way. We have to decide to act in these ways. We need to say to ourselves: “I am going to be patient and kind and slow to anger.”
We should be Fan #1 and Encourager #1 of our spouse. Practice good thinking: think the best of your spouse and give him the benefit of the doubt. Afterall, you love him, right? Have hope. Truly believe that tomorrow will be better. God not only lives in the past but in the future. He will bless us.
Always perservere. Don’t talk to friends and peers about marriage, talk to that couple that’s been married 30 plus years! Look at the marriage survivors that not only tolerate each other but are happy! If you do these things you will have a happy home and your husband will want to be with you because you build him up. A husband who does this will have a wife that will brag about him to her friends.
#166: I’m a Smother September 22, 2011
I’m reading a book called Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I’ve just started it but I can already see how charming it is. It is an autumn love story between an Englishman and a Pakistani woman. When I say autumn I mean that they are in their 60s not that it takes places in the fall.
There’s a line in the book that says:
“There was a thin line, he reflected, between comfort and smothering.”
I have to admit. I am prone to smothering. I smother my husband and I smother my child. I probably smother others too. I know that I need to work on finding that thin line and not surpassing it! I’m not just a Mother. I’m a Smother.
#165. Driving me to church on Sunday September 21, 2011
My husband drives me to church each Sunday. I love Sundays - there is something peaceful about them. Sunday is a day of worship and rest. I have fond memories of making and eating Sunday dinners and of leisurely Sunday drives. Of spending lazy Sunday afternoons watching a movie. The Lord set aside Sundays for thanksgiving, rest, and family. What are your Sunday rituals?
#164: There’s only one Walder September 20, 2011
My husband is famous. To me. He is the one and only, magnificent Walder. His name is Walter, but I call him Walder. A term of endearment. I like giving people nicknames they dislike. Eventually they like them. One day Walder will too.
There’s only one Walder and he belongs to me.
#162: Peanut m&ms as protein September 14, 2011
While my husband was away he stayed in a hotel. He was at a conference and I knew it would be challenging staying vegan. One night he found a Jamaican salad with carrots, raisins, and lime juice. I asked him if he had any protein and he didn’t. I suggested that he go to the hotel gift shop and get some nuts. Turns out he got peanut m&ms. Not exactly what I had in mind but hey, not bad for a baby vegan.