A note from Maria …

After Julia’s heartfelt note last night, I don’t even know where to begin!  For the last couple of months I have gotten to know Julia and now I completely understand why people love and appreciate her so much. She is one classy lady and one tough act to follow. I will do my best to make her proud  and continue with the amazing job that she has done until now. I have big shoes to fill so please bear with me while I learn!

I will be updating the About Me page and there you will be able to read more about my background and life. Throughout the months I will share more  about me, my thoughts and views on different things. The one thing I forgot to mention in the About Me page and I want to emphasize is that I am always striving to learn and improve as a person. PLEASE, I want to hear from you. I would love to know what you want to see more of on this blog, what you miss and any other comments/suggestions that you have. I love hearing and interacting with my readers and the more I know about you, the better I will be able to serve you.

I debated whether to include a picture of myself because I tend to be a very private person. However I think it makes things more personal and real if you can actually put a face behind the words (and deals :)  ). So here goes a picture of me, taken at the bottom of the Moraga mosaic staircase while exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco, California. My sister Lisa lives in Alameda so I am blessed with the chance to visit the City a couple of times a year. Definitely one of my favorite places ever.

TFFMaria

 

Thank you for welcoming me into your home and giving me the opportunity to be a part of your lives! I look forward to many years of getting to know you and share with you.

~Maria


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A note from Julia…

I’ve written this post in my head time and time again over the last couple of months.  Every time I’ve tried to put “pen to paper” the words just don’t seem to adequately express my feelings.  I guess that’s because my feelings currently are so very mixed and I can feel a myriad of different emotions just as quickly as I can blink my eyes it seems.  You may or may not have noticed, some big changes have been made behind the scenes here at The Frugal Find.

Let me explain…

Almost 4 years ago I started this blog as a hobby, a place to share what I was head over heals excited about – frugal living and couponing. My friends tuned in, they told their friends, who told their friends, and this blog was born.  My first month of blogging saw about 3,000 unique visitors and within no time we were sharing deals with upwards of 100,000 readers!  However I had no idea this info was even being tracked, blogging as a “business” wasn’t a concept I was even aware existed at that point.  I just knew more and more comments and emails were coming in, you were all craving this information and I was learning the ropes along with you.  Then there came a point in our family’s journey where we were called to a major step in faith and very quickly this blog become an everyday part of our lives and a part of our testimony. You can read more about  How The Frugal Find Started here and here. So much of what I wrote then still applies today, such as…

When you’re living a life of faith, even as weak as I have been, you WILL be ok.  It’s a pretty well calculated risk when you’re depending on God’s promises.  He is ever faithful and when He says something He means it, period.

What do you dream about doing with your life?  Where would you love to see your family at in 5, 10, or 15 years?  What are you doing to accomplish those dreams?   I can remember literally feeling like the way were living was the way life was going to be forever – like a hampster in a wheel.  Several years ago I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeling so desperate and thinking this is it – we’ll never get out from under this debt.  The truth is that there is freedom and nothing in life is permanent, and the things that are can appear vastly different if you choose to have a different outlook on life.

When we first started on this journey, we received questions like this from people very close to us…

Surely God would tell you where to go next BEFORE he asks you to step out in Faith, wouldn’t He? Surely He would want you to have a plan in place first, right? Surely, you are rushing into this. You have bills. You have children. What are you going to do?!

Our response was and is to this day…

God has told us to step out in faith.
God has told us to depend on Him.
God has promised to provide for our needs.
God has blessed us with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
That is all we know, and so we go.

A few months back we took another step in faith and stepped out into another portion of HIS story of our lives.  At this point in time we are no longer the owners here at The Frugal Find.  I came to a point where it was very clear that my time here had come to an end.  I said no, it couldn’t be.  I fought tooth and nail to make it work, I loved what I did and this was what God had called us to do as a family.  Right?  Yes that’s right.  It was – for a season.  That season has now passed and a new season has arrived.

Let me tell you what this season looks like for us right now, because that’s all I know is the here and now.  Step by step. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105  Step by step as the Lord leads, we may not have a flash light to shine down the road but we will be able to see clearly each step we take in faith.

It’s now the time to give you the big news.  This is where it get’s exciting.  After a lot of prayer and MANY interviews we have passed the reigns here are The Frugal Find onto a very sweet lady name Maria.  In fact she’s been in charge here now for almost 2 months.  The transition has been very smooth and now that we’ve been able to share this important announcement with you she’ll be taking a bolder approach as the blogger behind TFF and sharing more about her and her family from here on out.  I just know you’re going to love her, we do!

Mr. Frugal and I have taken the summer off to regroup, refocus, and LOVE ON OUR KIDDOS!  They’ve sacrificed quite a bit, anytime you own your own business the hours of the day roll into the night and you realize you haven’t stopped working – even when you’re spending time with your family.  Vacations become working vacations and dinners out are still interrupted by this email or that Facebook update.  I’ve lost some time with my kids that I’ll never get back and that breaks my heart HOWEVER that was a season that we were called to, very clearly.

The next few months after that are unknown for us, but it very likely includes Mr. Frugal working a part time job and going back to school and me being a full time stay at home mom.  That’s always been my hearts desire and I am excited beyond words that it’s come to be a reality for us now.

As we look back at what The Frugal Find has provided for our family we are flabbergasted by the blessings that have been poured out on our family.  You, our readers have been an enormous encouragement to our family.  You’ve supported us from day 1 and we are forever thankful to you.  Once again, there aren’t words to express my feelings at this moment but I hope you understand that we have loved every second of sharing our lives with you.  I have some exciting ideas in mind to fill the hours while the kiddos are in school and I’d love to have you keep in touch with our family.  You can add me as friend on Facebook or email me anytime at julia wessels at gmail.com (remove spaces).  I’d love to hear from you!

For now you’ll find us…

Going on field trips with my kiddos…

Going to the rodeo with Mr. Frugal…

Remodeling our kitchen (DIY!)…

Travis Beach

Spending time at the beach…

and doing LOTS of this!

You may even see me around here from time to time :)


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We may never have all the answers.

My heart is aching.  I know the heart of our God is aching.  I also believe the children are playing joyfully in His presence – laughing, dancing, and singing.  I’m with most of you though, I still can’t help but wonder WHY?!  My heart is broken today.

I posted the following on Facebook a little while ago…

As a mom today is just too painful to think of anything other than the pain the families in CT are experiencing. We’ll continue to blog and post deals, but please understand that using silly words today like “hot! coupon! deal!” just makes my stomach turn. All I want to do is hold my kids and pray.

But after talking with Mr. Frugal we’ve decided to take the rest of the day off. We will be shutting down here at TFF for the rest of today out of respect for the children’s lives that were lost and for the mourning families. There just isn’t anything worth our time more than prayer and loving on our own children.

I don’t know why.  We may never know why.  However let this be a reminder that we don’t know when we’ll take our last breath.  We have a loving Savior who waits with outstretched arms.  He has a gift for you.


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The mess is our story.

I was reminded of this post today after I posted the following status update on my personal Facebook page:

For the last week our kids have been obsessed with making paper snowflakes and the scraps all over the floor have been driving me crazy. That is until I read today that that Sandy Hook PTA is asking for children to make snowflakes and send them in to bring some winter cheer to the grieving students. Thank you Lord for a fresh perspective today. We have dozens to mail in!  Here’s the link with the details, make a mess and send in some snowflakes!

It was just after 7am when my youngest woke up and came into the kitchen, for some odd reason the camera was sitting on the table and my husband snapped a picture of us.  My son looking very disillusioned and the crumbs.  The crumbs on the table, I’m pretty sure I even said – “you got the crumbs in the picture!”  But then when I looked carefully at the picture I could see my love for my son was captured in that moment and the crumbs didn’t matter anymore.

Ann Voskamp of A Holy Experience spoke this weekend at The Relevant Conference and one of the many things she said as I was furiously scratching out on paper her every word was this…

“The state of my space doesn’t reflect the state of my soul.”

I am a perfectionist living in the body of a very imperfect person.  Really I’m like 2 people fighting for space here.  On one hand messes make me crazy on the other hand I’m often the one to create them.  It’s interesting how that works.

Yes, I’m talking about literal messes but also…spiritual messes.  We are messy people and that’s ok.  The mess is our story.  The crumbs on the kitchen floor tell a story of a delicious dinner the night before with 4 clamoring laughing children who may or may not have also made the other sticky mess I stepped in when they spilled their juice.  The pride, insecurity, unforgiveness….I could go on and on is another type of mess.

We are messy people – saved by Grace, and Grace makes you and me good enough, even perfect in the eyes of a loving Savior.

Again… “The state of my space doesn’t reflect the state of my soul.”  If you have young children like I do, give yourself grace.  My house is messy 95% of the day, no matter how often I ask my son to clean up his legos or my daughter to put away her art supplies – within minutes they’re poured out again.  They are living life, playing.  Let’s live life and pour out our legos, even better… let’s get down on the floor and color.  I’ll be honest about my mess, it’s been too long since I’ve seen the floor for any other reason than scrubbing it.  By grace…I’m learning to love the mess and even make some messes of my own.


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A good deal is only a good deal when it’s the very best that you can afford…

This is a re-post from the last few years with a few edits here and there.  I share it every year as it’s still very timely and I pray it encourages you, especially if you’re struggling to provide for your family during this Christmas season.

With Black Friday coming up, there will be a lot of shiny new toys with bells and whistles calling your name.  First I’m going to be as bold as to say, you don’t need most of it so you can just sleep in on Friday, you won’t miss much.  I know, everyone else everywhere is telling you to get ready and building the hype about the biggest shopping day of the year.  I’m not scrooge or anything – I’ve spent many years out there with the best of you.  My point in this post is to remind you a good deal is only a good deal when it’s the very best that you can afford.

In years past I’ve stood in line at Target to buy some shiny plastic things that I didn’t need and my kid’s didn’t want.  Sure those $3 barbies were a hot deal – but my daughter has never played with a barbie and we don’t even like them!  Oh but the 20 pack of hot wheel cars for $5 was also a good deal, forgetting the fact that we already have a bin FULL that they don’t play with.  Honor your children’s wishes and buy the best you can afford for them as well.  Don’t undercut them just because there is a better deal and you think they’ll like it.  I’m not saying that my 4 year old is getting a Nintendo DS this year because that’s what he really really really wants – instead I’ll take a good hard look at the rest of the items he’s shown and interest in and see where and how I can bless him this year.

I remember being there in line way too early when it was literally BLACK out on Black Friday – $50 cash in hand.  My goal was to get as many gifts as I could for $50.  I know it sounds so silly now, but that’s what I thought, the more gifts under the tree the happier they’ll be!  When the truth is my son would have been happy with ONE $50 lego set, instead he got a bunch of toys that he didn’t play with just a few weeks later.

What can I afford?

Do you have enough cash to pay for it?  It’s as simple as that – if you’re planning to shop with Credit Cards this year you cannot afford Christmas, or at least not at the level you were planning for.  I’m sorry guys, but even those Credit Card with rewards points…if you don’t plan to go home and write a check paying off your balance off in full that very same day – you’re basically buying those points.

You will likely spend 12-18% more if you use plastic and you’ll be paying it off come next year! – Dave Ramsey

What do you mean buy the best I can afford?

Don’t undercut yourself.

What I mean by this is if your budget this year is $100 for a digital camera – take the time and do your research.  Don’t buy junk, a lot of people fall into the trap of buying a $75 digital thinking they’ve just saved $25 bucks – but remember you get what you pay for.  Those Black Friday door buster deals are there to lure you in to the store so that you’ll buy more – they aren’t always as great of deal as they seem to be.  Research the product in advance.  Some of them are legitimately good deals, and that’s great!  Just know what you’re getting into beforehand.

Live within your means.

If you have a $100 budget, don’t spend $150 because the next model has more to offer.  There is always a next model up even when you have $1000 to spend.  Be satisfied that you’re able to make your purchase in cash and that you’ve done your research, knowing full well you’re buying the best camera $100 can buy.

A personal note from me to you…

Don’t forget that Christmas is all about people, not gifts.  It’s about one very special little baby that would become our Savior, the richest gift of all.  If your heart is breaking this year because you can’t afford Christmas for your children or family please know that Mr. Frugal and I ARE praying for you.  I will do my very best here on TFF to share with you the absolute best deals I can find.  I won’t water down the site with a bunch of wishy washy deals that will have your head spinning wondering what is up from down.  I don’t want to waste your time or mine.  I’ll also make a point to share charities that are available to help during the Christmas season.  Plus we have MANY giveaways planned, so hopefully you’ll win one of those too!  Thank you for reading, I know you’re here because you need to be – to learn to SAVE more so you can GIVE more so you can LIVE more.


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Coming up for air. Debt is suffocating.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a time when I found myself wrought with worry.  It was more common that I found myself awake at night than asleep.  The burden of our debt and the lack of income we had was eating away at me, I felt hopeless.  I had NO IDEA how we would be able to dig out from under the mountain we created.   The future looked bleak and many of the dreams we had as newlyweds had begun to fade.  That was about 5 years ago, and as much as I hate to say it we STILL have some of that debt lingering around.  However the difference now is that we have HOPE and we have a plan.

As permanent as your situation may feel I want to encourage you that nothing is forever.   So many things in our lives have changed over the past 5 years that I’ve begun to realize nothing is impossible and very little is forever.  From the day we got married, Mr. Frugal and I had always dreamed of living outside of CA.  At the time though much of our situation looked to say that CA was where we’d call home for a very long time.  Here we are in Oregon today.  For 1o years my husband worked for his family’s business, while we were thankful for the opportunity it wasn’t a career that he loved.  We dreamed of owning our own business and even though not a single bit of The Frugal Find came because of anything we had planned, we’re so very thankful that the Lord blessed us and allows us to  do what we do today.  It’s a ministry that we’re very passionate about.

Today we find ourselves about 18 months away from being DEBT FREE!  We would have been out of debt a lot sooner, had we been insured when we moved to Oregon.  Remember when Mr. Frugal ended up in the hospital the weekend we arrived in Oregon?  Yep we were uninsured.  Our kid’s were covered, but in CA we simply couldn’t afford it.  In hindsight the 20K bill was a whole lot less affordable then insurance would have been at the time, but alas we feel that the hospital bill really helped kick us into high GET OUT OF DEBT gear.  So we’re awkwardly thankful for it.

All of this to say, we’ve been there.  We’re coming out on the other side of the dark tunnel and there is hope.  We’re looking to buy a house in a town we love, running a business that we never would have dreamed of, and we’re all healthy (and insured!)

I’m praying for you today.   I know what you’re going through.  I know the desperation you feel.  Please know that as the song above says, even in the desert – our God is the God who provides and He is refining you. In every season, He is still God and we have a reason to sing.


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I’m a mom of a girl who hasn’t a clue, but I’m learning as I go…

I have one daughter and 3 boys.  I wasn’t raised by my mom so the whole girl thing isn’t something that comes naturally to me.   I can take (and warmly welcome!) all the help I can get.  I’ve been hunting down something to tame my daughter’s blonde fly-away, straight sometimes, and curly in random places hair.  That’s when I found Kate at  The Small Things Blog.  She is simply adorable and I want to be her when I grow up :)  So the point of this post is to tell you about the hair style video tutorials she has put together, there have to be at least 30 different videos.

Tonight I tested the French Braid Bangs style on Haley and it turned out super cute.  So if you’re like me a fish out of water when it comes to all things “girly” then Kate’s the girl for you!  Thank you Kate for such a sweet blog!


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Home School Vs. Public School, a word of encouragement…

This isn’t a debate, this is a from my heart and our experience as a family.  Many of you know we homeschooled our children for the first 2.5 years of their schooling.  Recently we made the decision to put them in public school, there were many factors that played into our decision and we sit today covered in peace.  About a week ago we had our first Parent/Teacher conferences.  We really had no idea what to expect.  Would they say what I had feared all along?  ”Your child is behind and has many gaps in his/her education.”

You see daily I questioned my ability, all to often I cried myself to sleep fearing that I was “messing the kids up” somehow.  On the days we schooled I wondered if they were getting any of it, then on the days we didn’t school the guilt rode me to no end.    Mr. Frugal and I were managing a business full-time at home and schooling the kids full-time.  Stress was a common factor in most of our days sadly.

This is however what we heard and it brought me great joy.

Tyler is in Kindergarten.  His teacher just smiled when I asked about his temperament.  You see he is a ball of energy and I wondered if he was able to sit still and focus at all.  She described him as bright, playful, sweet, and obedient.

Then we met with Cody’s teacher, he is in 2nd grade.  His reading and math levels are currently 2 grades higher (doing 4th grade work) and he ASKED for more homework. He is also in a book club where they compete against other schools and are tested on their reading comprehension.

Our only daughter Haley is in 4th grade.  Her teacher said she is very mature,  loves to help in any capacity and always has a smile on her face.  She is also advanced in reading and is very sweet and caring towards the other kids.

Then there is Travis, will you pray for us?  Hahaha, just kidding but he is QUITE the character!  He’ll start Kindergarten in the Fall.

Why am I sharing all of this?  I know it’s not frugal related and we don’t often share about our kids but this was heavy on my heart.  I know most of you are parents and I would venture to guess that many of you burden some amount of guilt about the choices you’re making in regards to your children’s education.

For my homeschooling friends, family, and readers.  You ARE doing an amazing job.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.  If you’re called to homeschool – you will be equipped. You may never get to sit down and actually hear this from a teacher, but trust me it is sinking in.  If we were able to impart what we have in to our children, you most certainly are too.   For those of you that have chosen public education, I stand with you in prayer for our children.  There are certainly things our children will see/hear/experience that we wish they could be sheltered from but kids are very resilient and when fortified at home by a loving family they’ll do just fine.   Our kids are thriving and yours will too.

Go in peace today, you’re doing just fine.


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In the storm…

I bought this picture today and wanted to share it with you.  We’ve been through many storms but our God is GREATER always.


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What do you do when you’re FED UP with using coupons?!

Reader Kim left the following comment on our Weekly Shopping Trip post and I just loved her honesty.  I know we’ve all been where she is at one time or another.  I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to encourage each other on this journey.  Couponing for many is a way of life, but we all need to take a break from time to time.

Thanks for all the time and effort you and Mr. Frugal put into this site each day! I followed your advice, and developed a nice stockpile, ect. for a good 6 months……but I feel I just can’t continue. I would find myself SO focused on chasing the deals that I wouldn’t be giving as much attention to people and areas of my life that I cared about FAR more than if I was able to get a couple of boxes of trashbags for free. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are families who are being blessed a TON by couponing, ect. However, in my opionion, just because money is being saved doesn’t mean that it isn’t costing valuable resources in other areas of my life. Am I the only couponer who feels “controlled” by the need to “get the deal” at all costs?

That’s the BEAUTY of a stockpile. Trust me I take breaks from couponing, sometimes long breaks. That’s WHY I coupon. I know life is hectic and sometimes you flat get burnt out, that’s what your stockpile is for. Take a break, enjoy your family and dive back in when things mellow out.

On another note, something you might consider. I take each of my 4 children with me on a rotating basis when I go grocery shopping. We grab a hot chocolate before hand ($5 goes into our “kid’s date envelope” each week) and we turn the everyday errand into a special time with mommy. This is a wonderful way to bond and educate your children on budgeting and finances.


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Could our family live on $952/month for groceries?

This topic has come up before, and frankly it irritates me a bit.  In the past we’ve had readers and companies “challenge” us to live on a Food Stamp budget for just one month.  Ha!  I wish we could, according to SNAP Chart (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) our family of 6 would get $952 a month for FOOD!  Can you believe that?!   Our most recent budget was $75/week and that’s an increase from the original $60.  Our kids are getting bigger, eating more, and going to school which means school lunches need to be packed.  When I share these numbers with those that challenge us, they move right along.

So what got my juices going again on this topic?  This Whole Foods blog post from a “frugal foodie” who did a guest post for them.   She bet Whole Foods that she could keep her monthly budget under the USDA “Thrifty Budget” which she says is 30% higher than the Food Stamp allotment would be.  (I don’t see the numbers she suggests anywhere though) Either way, she set her budget at $491.10 for 30 days for a family of 3.   She won the bet and I am happy to say she donated the proceeds to a local food bank.  Here is a portion of the blog…

Throughout the 30 days I kept thinking of families who were living at or below the poverty level trying to feed everyone. It was such a struggle for us even though we had done our homework and only had to do it for one month. I can’t imagine what the grind feels like after months or years of living like this.

It’s articles like this that really get to me, you see there is a working class out there that is living on MUCH less for groceries each week than any other group of people here in the US.   I absolutely think the SNAP program has a time and place and is a wonderful resource for struggling families, but to be frank the numbers appear incredibly wasteful to me.  I’ve had friends in the past that were receiving Food Stamps and they were eating very well, often times with a surplus to spend on extras each month.  Even the USDA “Thrifty Budget” would be a huge increase for us, and we’re not eating beans and rice; or junk food for that matter.

Whew.  Thanks for letting me vent.  I just wish more people understood what frugal and thrifty actually meant, if they did our country would be in a much different place today.   Those of you who visit here regularly are working very hard to provide for your families and to cut your budgets back for one reason or another and I applaud you.   You’re doing a great service to your family and generations to come.

It is not my intention to offend anyone, these are just my opinions and the result a few free minutes this evening.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.


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I’m inspired.

Just to prove that I have the best readers in the world I had to share a little something with you tonight. Remember when we gave away a Keurig and an iPad2 this past Holiday season?  How awesome it was for those TFF readers that won huh?!  Would you believe it if I told you they BOTH passed on the prize to deserving people (in one case a stranger even?!)  I’m not going to share details because in one instance they’ve asked that I keep it a secret but when I found out about the second one tonight I just had to give a little itty bitty spoiler here.

Yep, you guys are amazing and you inspire me.

Photo Credit

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The Frugal Kids are going to school…

We’ve been homeschooling our kiddos for the past 2.5 years, it’s been an amazing journey and season of life.  The past couple of years have been wonderful, we’ve loved the opportunity to speak life into our children’s hearts, to see the first of many accomplishments, and the freedom that comes with making our own school/work schedule.

However the past 6 months haven’t been the same, we’ve been hanging onto the homeschooling lifestyle with white knuckles and making it work, for better or worse.  The truth is, and it’s tough to admit, I haven’t been able to enjoy the kids as I should be.  Between work, keeping up our home, finding a church, and learning our new community here in Bend (without any family nearby) we’ve been flat-out overwhelmed.  Now don’t get me wrong, I adore being a mom but being a teacher just isn’t in the cards for me, I struggled week by week for over 2 years to find a normalcy to our school day.  Mr. Frugal took over teaching this year and I’ll admit he did a MUCH better job than I had done, but still it wasn’t flowing and we couldn’t find a happy rhythm.   We tried several different methods, took breaks to reevaluate, and kept finding ourselves in the same boat.

We always said we’d take it year by year and as the Lord leads we’ll follow, I never expected to make a change mid-year but the timing is right and things have fallen into place.   When the thought came to mind of public school, I panicked.  I started to imagine every worst case scenario there could be about sending the kids to school, I was making myself sick with worry.  I’ve been there for everything and the thought of not being there to catch them when they fall (literally or not) was almost too much to bear. I prayed, a lot.  I cried, a lot.  Then as I’ve experienced in the past a rushing peace swept over me and I knew the decision we were to make was going to be a good one, the kids are going to thrive.

So we enter yet another new season of life, and once again I’m excited to see what’s in store.  Does this mean we’ll never homeschool again?  Absolutely not, we’ll keep on our year by year method as long as we need it.  I wanted to share this because I know that there is a stigma out there about one way or the other being the “right” way to do things.  I wanted to encourage you that every family is unique and there is no such thing as the one right way to do things.   Keeping the family’s needs as a whole in perspective, this is the decision we’ve come to.

Of course I missed the crazy good Lands End Backpack deals, oh and I just have to share this really funny story that happened a week or so ago…

I was out shopping with Tyler, my almost 6 year old when I heard him say “Hey mom, look!  They have tiny suitcases for sale here!”  I turned to see what he was talking about, and about died laughing as a few other moms were nearby – they were lunchboxes.  My kids will have many new experiences coming at them it seems!


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It’s so easy to forget, but I encourage you to always remember.

I’ve been reminded lately that how easy it is to forget, and to forget very important things at that.  We simply cannot allow ourselves forget the mighty ways God has worked in our lives in the past or we risk becoming dependent on ourselves again.  God wants to be at work continuously and in mighty ways, but we have to get out of the way and let Him do what He does best.  Do you have dreams and goals for your future?  We do, big ones.  However we made a mistake over the past couple of months; as we set out a plan to accomplish our goals we planned to work only with the limited resources we currently have in view and in hand.  Our God is so much bigger than that!

So with that thought in mind, I’m sharing this series of posts that chronicle our journey of faith as a family mostly as a reminder to myself that God has brought us so very far and I’m eager and anxious to see what He has in store for us now!

Part 1: How TFF started and where we are at today…

Part 2: How TFF started and where we are at today…

Bringing you some hope today…

Bringing you some hope today (…continued)

Our BIG announcement…

I can be all things to all people…

Thank you for allowing me a space where I can share deals and to share with you what I’m passionate about – saving money.  Today though, thank you for allowing me to share from my heart.

I’d love to give you an opportunity to share how God has worked in your life, so please feel free to share your story in the comments section.  By sharing and reading each other’s stories I pray that we will be inspired and encouraged to once again put our dreams and goals in the hands of Jesus and allow Him to run wild with them.

 


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I can be all things to all people…

I feel like I’ve come a long ways since these posts here and here.  Remember the time where I talked about how crazy difficult it was to find a balance between blogging and managing my family?  God has been merciful and gracious to me and my family over the past 2+ years.  Where I was weak and incapable, he carried me and most importantly my family.  It feels as though a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders.  The sad part is that it wasn’t a burden I was meant to endure, it’s one I chose to carry myself.  Maybe you’re carrying the same burden?  The “I can be all things to all people” burden.  Have you carried the burden that never allows you to utter the words “no” or “help” before?  I lived there for quite some time recently.

So what’s changed?  I simply stepped back and decided to LIVE in the present and accept the fact that it would mean someone somewhere wasn’t getting the best of me – but my family is, always.  I asked for help and we met a wonderful lady here in Bend that has really become a huge source of relief for us, helping a few hours per week with the day to day tasks that we were falling behind on.  Most importantly though my perspective changed when I came to realize that I simply couldn’t do it all and that it was ok to say no.

A big part of that freedom came for me when we moved to Oregon, we had almost zero obligations outside of TFF and our children/home.  It’s very interesting to take a step back and start from scratch, re-writing your daily schedule.  Chooseing carfully what your family will participate in and what you’ll say no to.  If you’ve ever been in this same position, moving to a new town or state you’ll understand.  It’s been very refreshing for us to say the least!

The fact is though that it doesn’t have to take a out-of-state move for these changes to happen.  If you’ve found yourself at your wits’ end I want you to know that it is possible to find peace and to find balance in life.  I was taught for many years that balance was elusive and that it was a pendulum of sorts swaying back and forth as your focus shifted from area of life to another.  However I don’t necessarily believe that anymore – sure there will be seasons of life when you have to devote more time to one area than another but that doesn’t mean your family has to sacrifice.  It’s a choice I had to make – put my husband and my children first and then with what’s left ask the Lord to help me stretch my time, energy, and finances to meet the needs that MUST be met and let the rest just be.

We’re coming up on a new year, will you continue to stretch yourself way too thin as I did for too long?  Will you continue to carry the  ”I can be all things to all people” burden?  Just try it, let it go and see how it feels!

Now you must know I am so very thankful for all of you – our readers, because when I’ve let TFF slip a bit and not allow it to be the focus of my attention you all have been faithful to visit our blog and support us.  When I take hours off at at time on random days to romp around the forest with my children, you let me know that it’s ok and that you aren’t going anywhere.  So for that, I say a big HUGE thank you.     


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