Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrate Your Freedom {from Fear, Anxiety, and Hurry} Today!!!

Happy 4th of July from my house to yours! 
Every 4th of July, I take some time to thank God for not only living here in the United States where we have so much to be grateful for, but also the freedom I have through Christ. Like so many other other busy moms, when I get caught up in the fast pace of the world with all of its striving to constantly do, be, and have MORE, I forget that I am already free on so many levels through Christ. Staying in the Word grounds me in that truth so I can celebrate my personal freedom. Today, I meditated on three specific Scriptures that remind me of my freedom from fear, anxiety, and hurry. These truths make Independence Day all the more meaningful for me. In between the parade and popsicles, the fireworks, family, and the 4th of July frenzy, know that freedom is yours to embrace today.


Freedom from Fear:

"The Lord is my light and salvation--whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? . . . My heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident." ~Psalm 27:1 & 3

Freedom from Anxiety: 

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7

Freedom from Hurry:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." ~Matthew 12:28-29 

Sharing on: Pink Saturday

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red, White, and Blue {Berry} Waffles


  1. How about sparking up your 4th of July weekend with some crowd- pleasing red, white, and blue berry waffles for breakfast? 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup blueberries and blackberries
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup diced strawberries 
whipped cream for topping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the waffle iron.
  2. Beat egg whites til stiff and set aside.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients.
  4. Slowly stir in milk, beaten egg yolks, melted butter, and extract. 
  5. Fold in blueberries and blackberries. 
  6. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
  7. Bake in hot waffle iron.
  8. Top with diced strawberries, blueberries, and whipped topping. 
  9. Makes 6 waffles. 
  10. Sharing on: Pink Saturday

Monday, June 29, 2015

{tips for smooth} GARAGE SALEing

A cute tin sign I purchased for a mere buck . . . 

Last Saturday morning with my coffee in hand, I did something adventurous with a new single mom friend. We went garage sale-ing. My resourceful friend typically searches for furniture to fix up with spray paint and saves a bundle on decorating. Of course, we went primarily looking for furniture, and she scored with a vintage chair. I, on the other hand, did not find fixer-upper furniture but instead discovered some unexpected loot--and the mother-load of all surprises--AN UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER FOR $1. (Even Goodwill sells 'em for $15). Well now, I will just have to host that Christmas exchange party come December. The fabulous part is I only paid $4.75 for all of the purchases you see here.

My cherished ugly Christmas sweater

Here’s what we learned from last Saturday's adventure and how you, too, can have a smooth morning of garage sale-ing:
  1. Go early. Sorry, you'll have to set your alarm on Saturday if you really want the deals. 
  2. Bring cash, both small bills and coins. 
  3. Muster up the courage to haggle. Who knows? You might get a better deal. 
  4. Plan your trip by looking at location of nearby sales on Craigslist. 
  5. Be willing to drive around looking for "estate sale," "moving sale," and "yard sale" signs. 
  6. Have a means of transporting large items if you are interested in buying furniture. 
  7. Purchase items that have realistic potential for re-purposing. 
A brand new fashion find for a dollar!
A brand new purse for a dollar!
My 75 cent sign reminds me to give thanks for all of the deals! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

{down & dirty} Meditation for Busy People Who Need Peace


About a year ago, after complaining to everyone about my newly acquired digestive problems, various listeners suggested yoga and meditation, but I initially poo-pooed their solutions. I had tried yoga both at the gym and at an inexpensive community class years past. While I loved the tranquil end to each yoga class where I almost always fell asleep or at least went into a dream-like trance, I wasn’t a fan of yoga stretches given the fact I’m just not--and never will be--a limber person. Seeing as how I cannot touch my toes, yoga felt a little tortuous. That left meditation.

I walked into my first meditation meeting a bit fearful. Truth be told, I was afraid I’d get whacked, figuratively speaking. I thought if I finally showed up to listen to God that I’d discover He wasn’t happy with me because I didn’t measure up. What happened was so far from the opposite that I cannot imagine my life without meditation now. Gradually, each meditation chipped away more of my Fortress of Protection and after 6 months, God got in. What I heard changed me. God spoke to my heart, You are okay as you are and you are exactly where you are supposed to be.”

While I do not practice it daily like I know I should because of my crazy and unpredictable single mom life, I do use meditation more and more to get grounded in God, mindful of the present moment, and gain perspective for clarity. Because I finally surrendered to meditation, I began experiencing pockets of peace throughout the day and my digestive problems decreased. Studies even show that meditation lowers blood pressure and reduces stress, among other wonderful benefits.


Benefits of Meditation:
  • Meditation will train you to focus on the present moment. Remember that God’s name is I AM. He’s in the present, and meditation can help you meet Him there.
  • Meditation teaches you to let mind chatter pass through, thereby avoiding wasted mental energy. Your mind will be clearer and less cluttered.
  • Meditation teaches you over time to let the thoughts flow through, rather than seizing and judging each thought. This practice fosters acceptance about life in general in order to let go of those things that cannot be changed.  
Ways to Weave Meditation into Your Own Busy Life:
  • You can weave in a few minutes of meditation almost anywhere since it is essentially calm breathing in its most basic form.
  • You can begin by breathing in and silently thinking of a phrase like “Let God” and then breathing out while thinking “Let Go.”
  • You can create a habit of closing your eyes and meditating while heating up your food in the microwave at home or work.
  • You can sneak off to a quiet corner in or outside for a five-minute meditation break; you don’t have to find a fancy tropical garden for it to work!  
  • You can find free meditations in your community and guided meditations online to help you start. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

8 Ways to Live Cheaply this Summer Without Sacrificing the Good Times

Many of my single mom friends and I live on one income. While this can be ultra-frustrating and stressful at times, making ends meet is not impossible, especially for those willing to be a little inventive and rise up to the challenge. In fact, I believe intentionally managing money builds character and creativity in moms because they tend to think more about using what they already have rather than falling into the trap of unnecessary consumerism. Being thrifty also teaches their kids to value money and manage it wisely. 

Next to Christmas, summer is typically the toughest time of year in terms of sticking to a budget, especially for teachers or other folks who only get paid ten months out of the year. Even for those who do get paid every month, with the added costs of vacation, daycare, and back-to-school supplies, most of us are almost broke come August. The question is, how do you live within your budget this summer without giving up all the good times? Try the following realistic, yet effective tips for stretching your money all the way to the end of August and still have a phenomenal summer.

  1. Your first priority is to know where your money is going. First, do your homework by tracking your spending for one month so you can identify where you are wasting money. Upload an online budget sheet or use a free website to track your spending habits. See Getting Financially Fit for more ideas on how to get started. 
  2. Next, write out three financial goals for the rest of summer or the rest of the year to keep you focused (i.e. paying off a credit card debt, cutting your food costs in half, or saving a specific amount of money for Christmas). Place these goals in a spot you can view on a daily basis to serve as a constant reminder. Then tell a friend so she can hold you accountable.  
  3. Decide what you can live without. For example, cancel your cable service and subscribe to Netflix instead, make a commitment not to buy new clothing or accessories for the rest of summer, or stop buying new books, magazines, and movies and swap with friends instead.
  4. Make a list of tasks you can do yourself such as manicures, pedicures, cleaning, yard work, washing cars, dry cleaning, alterations, painting, and baking. While you are at it, add to the list making your own pot of coffee (how hard is that?) and you can save a whopping $50-$100 a month if you are a daily Starbucks fanatic. For more ideas, see Unbelievably Easy Ways to Save $100
  5. Get organized about meals and save a bundle. Cook “convertible” meals that you can turn into lunch the next day, use coupons when going to restaurants or fast food, eat at warehouse stores where you can buy a hot dog and drink for $1.50, pack picnic lunches in a cooler when going out and about, and freeze leftovers for go-to meals later.
  6. Learn to replace the shopper’s high with a habit that is more meaningful—and cheaper!
    Do something you’ve been eager to do but keep putting off like engaging in a hobby you love, meeting a friend for coffee, or volunteering for a cause you are passionate about.
  7. Plan ahead and buy discount tickets for entertainment. Warehouse stores carry an
    abundance of discounted vouchers from restaurants to movies and theme parks. If you are an Automobile Club member, take advantage of a variety of discounts from hotels to dining. Lastly, check online ahead of time for coupons or other price cuts on summer activities. 
  8. Rethink summer fun by living simply and taking advantage of FREE events. Be creative and make your own budget bucket list this summer, such as exploring outdoor farmer’s or flea markets, blowing bubbles in the park, making s’mores over the fire pit, camping in the backyard, going to outdoor movies, enjoying summer concerts in the park, amusing the kids with craft activities at the library, Barnes and Nobles, or Home Depot, and taking free online craft or sewing classes. See Go-to Guide for FREE Summer Entertainment to start your summer bucket list! 
Although it can be challenging, think of summer budgeting as a game that you can WIN with a little ingenuity and without sacrificing the pleasures of the season.



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Kick off the Summer with FREE Fun & Entertainment!!!


What better way is there to celebrate the first day of summer in SoCal than to write a bucket list of free summer fun? Near the beaches, next to the mountains, and everyplace in between, there are ample options of summer entertainment to pick from that won’t bust your budget. Make sure to pencil the following on your summer to-do list this year.

CONCERTS IN THE PARK: The City of Chino Hills kicks off their concert in the park series this Wednesday, June 24 with Abba tribute band, “Abba Fab,” from 6:45 - 8:15 p.m. at Veteran’s Park. Concerts run through August 12 and feature Springsteen, Queen, Rolling Stones, and other classic rock tribute bands. Click here for OC concerts in the park

MUSIC (AND MUSICALS) AT THE BOWL: For outstanding classical and jazz concerts that include the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra as well as this summer’s featured musical, “Mary Poppins,” plan a trip to Redlands bowl for some free top-quality summer entertainment. The Redlands Bowl Summer Music festival kicks off this Friday, June 26 at 8:15 p.m. and music concerts run through Friday, August 21. The musical, “Mary Poppins,” runs from July 23 through July 26. See Redlands Bowl Summer Concert Series for the full summer line-up. 

MOVIES ON THE LAWN: While cities all over SoCal offer free movies in the park, be sure to check out OC’s The Great Park’s Movie on the Lawn series for big screen old-time classics every Friday night or Blockbuster movies on Saturday nights now through July 18. Get there early to grab a spot on the lawn before 8 p.m., when movies begin. Check out Movies on the Lawn for featured shows.



SHAKESPEARE BY THE SEA: Add a little culture to your summer with Shakespeare by the Sea and under the stars at Newport Beach. See Shakespeare’s drama “The Tempest” on Saturday, July 18 from 7 - 9 p.m. or the comedy “As You Like It” on Sunday, July 19 from 7 - 9 p.m. Both concerts are free and open to the public. Arrive early with blankets, chairs, and picnic dinners. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Untangling Your Worth from the World's Messy Places


Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life, by author, speaker, and certified Bible life coach Carey Scott, offers hope to women as we turn to God for the courage to untangle ourselves from the lies of the world that leave us feeling worthless. Perfect for a spring cleaning of the spirit, Untangled gives readers permission and practical prayers from each chapter to help loosen unhealthy ties and get rooted to God instead. From finances to marriage to ministry, Scott shares her personal struggles and how God untangled the messes in her life as He restored her heart. Providing
reassurance that they are not alone, Scott takes her readers on a journey into the lives of Biblical women like Eve, Hannah, and Elizabeth as well as modern day women who have come to the end of their own tangled messes through victory in Christ.

“The world will look for ways to knock you down. The Enemy will always try to defeat you. And often your own thought life will keep you in bondage. But God is ready to untangle it all. Are you ready too?” Scott asks her readers as she challenges them to loosen their self-esteem from those performance-based areas where only God can supply real worth and confidence. Ladies, are you ready for God to loosen up the tangled knots in your own life? Then grab a cup of coffee, sneak off to a quiet spot, and find the freedom in Christ that awaits you in Untangled.

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