Tag Archives: Dave Ramsey

Merciful Days: Favorite Things: Amazon

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Fav ThingsHuge fan of Dave Ramsey and FPU… but sometimes this gazelle gets tired.  And so, I love finding budget boosters that give us free treats and cost savings.

We have Amazon Prime membership for my husband’s work.  He needs to two-day-ship things regularly.

Bonus: I get to use it too. 

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Unrestrained, Wild, Beautiful

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We live in a developed suburban area with high-traffic four-lane streets.  There are green belt areas but this is not an outskirt area.  We are quite close to a major freeway.  This is not the country.  This is the city.

I saw a coyote in our neighborhood.  A coyote.  Standing on the sidewalk of the four-lane street.  Standing there like it was no big deal.  A coyote. In the city.

He’s my first coyote.  I have mixed feelings.  Giddy that I saw a real live american coyote.  A little afraid that a coyote is hanging out in the neighborhood where my kids play and where we walk.  We walk around here knowing there’s always the risk of road rage, random violence, and muggings.  But never have I thought there was the risk of being hunted by a coyote.

Well apparently there is no risk of being hunted by a coyote.  Turns out they are really afraid of people.  Or so my friends told me via facebook.  Well, friends, if they’re so afraid of people what was this one doing hanging out on a major road and in a city area that is full of PEOPLE?!  This coyote has spunk.

So you think I’m dramatic and have over-reacted?  Keep in mind, I’m from a country where almost everything can kill you and that our native k-9s actually have hunted children.  My fear is not unreasonable but it is out-of-place.  Right fear, wrong continent.

We had our dinner outside.  Our almost-two-year-old threw his chicken on the ground.  This is what he likes to do to express that he’s done.  You have to be very quick to stop the food flinging.  Somehow that kid is able to pitch each item singly from a plate of food in the blink of an eye.  As the sun faded, I made sure every little scrap of food was picked up.  Sorry ants.  But I will not risk becoming a coyote snack stop.

I don’t care that everyone says coyotes aren’t dangerous.  I don’t want him hanging around here.  I want him to be… where he should be… in the wild.  He shouldn’t have to live here.  He belongs somewhere… beautiful.

I’m thinking about the coyotes of my heart.  Wild things that shouldn’t be living in confined spaces.  There are parts of my heart that are being restricted.  Adventurous.  Thrilling.  Unrestrained.  Free.  I belong somewhere… beautiful.

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.  Psalm 37:3-4

In the everyday journey of life, I am choosing for my heart to be settled and content.  I am choosing to be grounded and stable and committed to this season of motherhood.  I am choosing to be restrained and controlled in following my medical treatment and diet.  I am choosing to be gazelle-intense in keeping our Dave Ramsey budget.  I actually am enjoying this everyday life.  It is not too hard to choose these things.  There are rewards and joys.

But there are other things that stir deep in my heart and dreams.  I’m worried about those things being like a coyote in the city.  Restrained and misplaced instead of being free and wild.

As youth pastors, we took the youth group on annual mission trips, annual retreats and camps, and all kinds of experiences at weekly youth group meetings.  It was the perfect intersection of creativity and structure for me.  I miss those days.  Dreaming and praying of how to capture the spirit of those adventures and intertwine them with this daily life of motherhood.  I’m looking for the places I can graft in an intersection of creativity to my life of structure.

Poor coyote.  I’m so sorry you’re stuck in the city.  Digging in trash cans and running on pavement is not the beautiful life you are meant for.  I’m glad you’ve adapted.  I’m glad you’re carving out a life for yourself.  But I don’t want to be like you.  I’m sorry I can’t rescue you.  I’m grateful I can rescue me.  I’m so grateful God knows what I need and is my life guide and provider.

How are you? How do you intertwine the restrained and the unrestrained into your life?  What is God speaking to you about these days?
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 114; Acts 15:1-41
The words that stood out to me today: “If you do this, you will do well.” (Acts 15:29) //  There are things that we “do” as Christians that give us the foundation to “do well” in our journeys.  These “spiritual disciplines” are the pathway to knowing God in deeper ways.  I am so grateful we are not left on our own to “find God.”  Thankful for His Word.  By the way, so grateful for Paul’s letters to correct the direction the apostles laid out in Acts 15.  Good intentions and seemingly good rules, without the Spirit of God’s power, do not produce good fruit!

Irresistibly Drawn

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I am not a fan of the ho-hum of life. Day after day life keeps rolling by.  And I get the blues just thinking about it.

This has been growing and growing in my heart and this week I spent big chunks of time feeling unshakably discouraged about life.  I have experienced depression in the past and I do not want to go there again.  Unfortunately I’m not alone in this.  My husband is feeling this way too.  Usually we are able to give each other strength and encouragement.  But not in this.  We are both feeling that we’re on the edge of depression.

The past three years have been a marathon.  We’ve seen amazing provision from God and we are so humbled and encouraged by the many miracles we’ve experienced.  All of our needs have been met.  Food turning up on our doorstep.  Bills being paid by friends and also by people we barely know.  Generous gifts of money, clothes, gift cards and so much more.  It really has been remarkable.  Yet, we are not finding the joy of life that we know God has for us.

It’s just that, after all these years, we aren’t seeing an end to the drudgery of this life.  My husband works and works and is so tired.  But to what end?  Just to earn enough to pay our basic bills.  We’ve been so dedicated and focused to our budget but the Dave Ramsey diet is hard to do when there’s very little “getting ahead”.  At this rate we’ll be in this state of treading water for years and years to come.  And it’s making us sad.

My family hasn’t met our 16 month old son and I haven’t met my two Aussie nieces.  I would so love to see my parents again.  I need to get my wisdom teeth out.   Our daughter is the age to be going to preschool.  We haven’t had time off together as a family for years.  We would love to be home owners some day.  All of these things, and our other dreams, seem totally out of reach.  And it’s making us sad.

I know, I know.  Most of the world lives on way less and would never have access to the opportunities we have.  I know.  And yet, I don’t think these dreams and desires are bad.  I feel very strongly that this sadness should not be dismissed or discounted.

As we chatted, he worked out that the sadness is actually because we’re craving adventure.  For years we got to do awesome adventurous things with the youth group.  Now we’re feeling our wings are clipped physically, emotionally and spiritually.  There is a deep yearning for something more than this life we have.  Like we were made to do something but we’re not doing it.

Yesterday was my final day of Beth Moore’s study of James called “Mercy Triumphs”.  One of passages Beth referred to in the closing video teaching was Acts 20.  The words grabbed my heart and something deep has been stirred up in me.

And now I am going to Jerusalem, drawn there irresistibly by the Holy Spirit,  not knowing what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit has told me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.  Acts 20:22-24 (Emphasis added)

Yes!  This is the feeling I’ve been craving.  The irresistible drawing of the Holy Spirit!  The life that is full of worth from doing the work Jesus gives me.  Ahhhh yes that’s the joy I’m missing.

I texted my amazing husband during the study: “Acts 20:22-24 says “I am… drawn irresistibly.”  I think the hole we are feeling could be a calling… Are we being drawn to something? Is God wooing us to the next season? Are we being prepared so we will be ready to say ‘yes’ when He calls us?”

I have this new hope growing in my heart.  I feel like this sadness and dissatisfaction with our life is a gift.  It is a field that is being plowed and prepared to be planted with a new crop.  The dirt is crying out for the seed.   Our sadness is a vacuum looking for an answer.

I feel like I understand the reason why people can have a “mid-life crisis”.  I need something to spice up my life!  And now I stand with a choice:  Fill it with the stuff of life OR wait for the irresistible drawing of the Holy Spirit to the things Jesus is calling us to.

As much as I’d like to go blow a bunch of money on things to spice up my life… I’m going to choose to wait for the plans of God.  It hurts to even type that right now.  I think I’m going to have to choose it daily, moment by moment.

There is nothing wrong with having things, going on trips, filling our lives with good and fun adventures…. UNLESS it keeps us from being ready and able to hear the call of Jesus for our lives.

Selah.

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.  Ephesians 3:14-21 (Emphasis added)

How are you? Are you in a season of waiting?  Are you at a crossroads of choice: spice your life up yourself OR wait on God’s call?  What dreams do you feel God stirring in your heart?  Do you sense you were made for a purpose?