Goodbye My Faithful Companion

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I never thought this day would come. When I worked at the shelter, I always hated seeing dogs come in because of a change in family situation. But a little over three weeks ago, Swayze bit my baby.

I didn’t see it, and assumed that the mark on her hand and crying was from something else until he bit her again a week later. After two weeks of observing them, it was clear that it was time for them to be separated. Swayze was nervous around her she is obsessed with him. 

A million questions have run through my mind. Is it possible this would end soon? Could we keep them separated until she get a bit older? How will my other kids feel? How will my older dog react?

I kept trying to rationalize and make excuses. Swayze has been my boys’ best buddy and has never hurt them. He is so attached to me! He will learn to love Emma Marie.

But then I started to see the obvious. Over the past two years he has nipped several kids. It started when a sweet cousin was one. We were in shock. This was the dog that let our boys wrestle him. Then he bit two or three girls when we moved last Spring. I started to rationalize that he doesn’t like when strange kids try to pick him up. He would never harm MY kids.

We joked that he doesn’t like girls. We warned everyone that visited with children (he would scratch and bark at the kennel until his paws bled if we locked him up with company over). Everything seemed fine.

Then he bit two of our kids in the same weekend.

Do I blame the dog? No. He was simply protecting himself and what he thinks are his belongings. He never chose to live with three children.

Do I blame the kids? No, they are just being kids and trying to explore. A 10 month old has no idea that a dog’s face is off limits.

Do I blame myself? A little bit, but I really cannot watch three kids and two dogs every second.

So I did the unthinkable…

I started asking close family members if they knew of a suitable home.

Almost immediately, a perfect fit came up. A father and his grown son had been looking for a Shih Tzu. They have had the breed in the past, someone is at home most of the day, and they have two kittens for him to play with. I immediately began to see all the upsides.

My kids won’t run the risk of a dog bite. Swayze will have less stress and someone that will treat him like he is more than a dog. My older dog will have less stress. And our finances will be freed up a bit.

I am sad and will miss my cuddle bug, but I have full confidence that this was the best decision for everyone.

 

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What Was I Thinking?

img_5158I have no idea what I have gotten myself into! In 82 days, I will be racing in my first ever triathlon!

Oh, and a few more things: it will be my first ever race! I am not a strong swimmer and don’t have a pool. I run a 12-13-minute mile. My bike is a $17 mountain bike from Goodwill that is a little rusted and too big for me. So, who am I to think that I can enter a triathlon?

I started running 12 weeks ago and could barely make it two doors down from our house, but I still felt like God was calling me to run to glorify Him. I was not sure what that looked like, but I knew that I am the child of a great and mighty God, who loves to show up and show out.

Each week, I have grown more and more amazed with how much farther and faster I can go. I know that it is not the results of my effort, but of my God. He has used running to help me meet a few of my neighbors and even get the opportunity to pray with one of them. I know that if He called me to run this race, He will help me complete it!

For the next 12 weeks, I hope to keep you updated on my progress and I cannot wait to see what God has in store this summer!

Onward! Upward! For the Glory of Christ!

Read This BEFORE You Boycott Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast will be released in theaters March 17, 2017. Photo credit: Screen Rant

 

I am a huge lover of Walt Disney. The Coach and I went to the “Happiest Place on Earth” for our honeymoon, I own no fewer than 50 animated Disney films, and we have gone to see several Disney Broadway tours (and one Broadway show).

One of my favorite Disney movies (and Broadway productions) was Beauty and the Beast. That is why I was so excited to see that it was being made into a live action film.

However, it seems that it has caused quite the uproar among my Christian friends on Facebook after the announcement that there will be a gay character in the film.  I have seen several comments about boycotting Disney, indoctrination of children, and Disney is no longer family friendly. All of which, I have found to be rather confusing.

WHY THIS FILM? WHY THIS SIN?

Beauty and the Beast is not indoctrinating children to sin any more than most films do.

Galatians 5:19 tells us “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar.

Would anyone have boycotted Beauty in the Beast for showing Gaston’s jealousy of the Beast? Why isn’t there an outcry against LeFou’s idolatry of Gaston? Or the Beast’s outbursts of anger? There is an entire bar scene where the town decides to go off and kill the beast after a lot of drunkenness and carousing.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the ENTIRE MOVIE is about sorcery! I mean, there is an enchanted rose that turned an entire castle’s wait staff into inanimate objects.

Why, then did everyone decide to boycott the film when homosexuality was included?

I believe that one major reason Christians are upset about this particular sin because it is not one they themselves suffer from. It is very easy to point out the speck in your neighbor’s eye without removing the plank in your own.

Will I be allowing my kids to see this film? Absolutely not! But I would not allow them to see it even without a trace of homosexuality.

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Cow Appreciation Day

July 12th is COW APPRECIATION DAY!!

I worked at a Chick-fil-a in high school. While it was not my first job, it was one of my favorite.

I loved my team members and I loved the atmosphere of working there. I was physically exhausted by the end of every shift, but I always left work with a smile on my face.

Every year, Chick-fil-a hosts Cow Appreciation Day! Anyone who dresses in full cow attire receives a full meal! Partial cow attire, such as a cow print hat, receives a free entrée.

It was fun to dress up like a cow for a free meal when I was in college! It was more fun to dress up like a cow and be silly with the Coach when we were newlyweds! Now that we have the Champ and the Rookie, Cow Appreciation Day is more fun than ever!

It is great for our kids to see us get a little silly and creative every once in a while.

Not to mention, most Chick-fil-as will offer fun activities for the kids and have the mascot cows walking around the store to entertain them while we wait half an hour to receive our free meal.

If you do not have a cow costume laying around (I mean who doesn’t?), then head over to www.cowappreciationday.com to get  a printable cow costume starter kit.

Dress your whole herd up and “Eat More Chicken”!

Saving Money When Dining Out

Wednesday, I discussed how to avoid the temptation to dine out! But, every once in a while, we will go ahead and give into that temptation. For our family, that amounts to one time per week.

Here is how our family saves money eating out!

Coupons

Check out the circulars that come in the mail or local newspaper for coupons to your favorite restaurants. Many grocery stores print coupons on the back of their receipts. If you cannot find one for your favorite place to eat, do a quick google search of “(Name of restaurant) printable coupons” or look at the restaurant’s website to see if you can sign up for coupons. I like to keep a separate email address just for coupons and sign-ups.

Family Nights

A lot of restaurants have nights where kids eat free or at a discount. Some even extend a discount to adults. Simply do a quick google search of “Kids Eat Free (Insert name of your city).”

Blue Coast Burrito has $2 kid’s meals and a $6 burrito combo on Tuesday nights. Our entire family can eat for 2/3 of the normal price on that night. Select Chick-fil-a’s offer free kids meals and activities on their family nights. Logan’s Roadhouse offers two full adult meals for $15.99 Monday-Wednesday and some locations offer a discount on kid’s meals as well.

Rewards Clubs

If you have a few favorite restaurants, inquire about any reward’s clubs. Many offer reward’s programs that will give you a discount after a certain number of purchases. A lot of these clubs are now through phone apps, but some are still email clubs or in-store cards.

Gift Cards

Around the holidays, many restaurants offer incentives to purchase gift cards (such as “buy $20 get $5). If you have a favorite restaurant and can spend the cash up front, this is a great way to save money. You can even combine a gift card with other coupons and rewards programs!

Warehouse stores also offer bulk gift card packages year round. For instance, Sam’s Club offers $100 of O’Charley’s gift cards for $80. O’Charley’s also frequently offers 20% off coupons. If you use the gift cards from Sam’s and a coupon each time you go, you will end up with $125 worth of food for $80. That is a 36% savings!

Split an Entrée

Portion sizes at many restaurants are so large that you can easily split one. If at all possible, split with someone else in your party or eat half at the restaurant and ask for a to-go box. In many cases, you can find an appetizer or soup that will serve as an entrée for a fraction of the cost.

Downgrade

Look for cheaper restaurants when you do choose to dine out. Even fast food can be acceptable if your reasons for dining out include convenience, spending time with your family, or avoiding cooking and cleaning. Sometimes we eat at home and go out for dessert afterwards for a lower cost alternative on family night.

Don’t Be THAT Guy!

While it is great to save money while eating out, make sure that you do not do so at the expense of your waiter or waitress. It may seem like an easy way to save money is to cut back on a tip because it is a cost within your control. But, PLEASE, leave a decent tip! I like to tip based on what the total would have been pre-coupon or gift card.

Do you have any other great ways to save money while eating out?

How To Not Dine Out

One of the simplest ways to save on your grocery budget is to cut back on the number of times your family dines out. However, eliminating dining out is not always easy or desirable. Here are a list of reasons dining out is tempting for our family, and how we combat those temptations!

1. I Am Too Busy!

We live busy lives and a lot of times running through a drive thru seems like a great alternative to slaving away over a hot stove. I have found that if I cook a batch of freezer meals twice a month, I am less likely to want to go to a restaurant when we are short on time. You can also stock up your freezer by doubling up on recipes that you are already cooking and then freeze the leftovers.

Breakfast burritos, sweet breads, muffins, and waffles work great for breakfast.

Taco meat, pastas, and casseroles work great for lunch or dinner.

2. Convenience Matters (But I Cannot Do Freezer Meals)!

No time to cook freezer meals? There’s an aisle for that (and even an organic one, too)!

We do not eat a lot of frozen meals around our house, but I do always keep a stash of frozen vegetables that steam in their bag. This allows me to have a quick, easy, and healthy side dish in minutes. Another favorite of mine from the freezer aisle is frozen fruit. When I cannot make it to the store for fresh fruit, it is nice to have a healthy snack on hand.

I also like to keep a spare frozen pizza for those nights that I forget to thaw out a freezer meal (or when I get tired of my boys asking me for pizza). Occasionally, we will splurge and get a bag of chicken nuggets, too.

3. I Cannot Stand Dishes!

A lot of times, I want to go out to eat in order to avoid doing dishes afterwards! As a stay-at-home mom, it seems like I have to run two loads of dishes a day, and it is nice to have a break every once in a while.

Disposable dishes are a luxury item for us because the cost can add up; however, the cost of a few paper plates is far less than the additional expense of dining out. You can get disposable plates, cups, flatware, bowls, and pans for your freezer meals.

4. I NEED TO ESCAPE!

After an entire day of being cooped up in the house, I love going out to eat just to get out. We have discovered that often, I am content to simply eat at home and go somewhere to walk afterwards. We love to go to the park, playground, or strip mall during favorable weather. When we need an indoor alternative, we go to the mall, a bookstore, toy store, or even a big box retailer.

 

Come back on Friday to read about how we save money when we DO decide to splurge and eat out!

Prayer for the Word of God

Lord,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil (Psalm 119:162). The word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does (Psalm 33:4). My heart stands in awe of your words (Psalm 119:161).

Your Law is perfect, reviving the soul; Your testimony is sure, making wise the simple; Your precepts are right, rejoicing the heart; Your commandment is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the lord is clean, enduring forever; Your rules are true, and righteous altogether. Your word is more desirable than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. By your word, your servant warned; in keeping your commandments there is great reward (Psalm 19:7-11).

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:12). Let it be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105). Let me not be merely a hearer of the word, but a doer of the word (James 1:22).

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sward, piercing to the division of the soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Those who love your law have great peace; nothing can make them stumble (Psalm 119:165).

Heaven and earth will pass away, but your words will not pass away (Luke 21:33). The Word of our God endures forever (Isaiah 40:8).

Amen