Blessings from Bible Study

I started attending a ladies Bible study at my church back in January. We’ve been studying the book of Ephesians, and I’ve learned a lot. Going through the book slowly has allowed me to really dive into the passages.Currently, I’m memorizing Ephesians 2:4-5.

blessings from Bible Study

We have about 20 ladies in the group, ranging in age from twenty-somethings up through octogenarians. I love how this provides so many different perspectives. Some of the older ladies have shared how they’ve seen God’s faithfulness in their own lives over the years, and I find their stories tremendously encouraging. One woman’s husband recently passed away. They had been married for 57 years. As a relatively newly married woman, I try to take in her thoughts on marriage as much as I can.

Apart from Bible study, we also enjoy times of fellowship with one another. Once a month or so, we’ll all go out for lunch together. Another time, a few of us got together and worked on knitting projects. While I’m the youngest by several years, I have 10 years of knitting experience. I was happy to help some others who were just starting.

Younger women spending time with older Christian women is a biblical concept, as evidenced by Titus 2.

“So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” – Titus 2:4-5 (NASB)

Other translations use the phrases “keepers at home” or “homemakers” instead of “workers at home.” When my pastor gave a sermon on this topic, he quoted the Holman Christian Standard Bible, which uses “homemakers.” My curiosity was piqued, as I had never heard the passage in that translation.

As I’m in my current season of being a young wife, a homemaker, and a mother to a little boy on the way, I have a lot to learn. As Sheila Wray Gregoire wrote, “Homemakers are Made, Not Born.” There is no better way to learn about Christian womanhood than by being around ladies who have been faithfully serving the Lord for decades. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have a great group of godly women in my life!

 

 

Real Life Couponing – 2/18

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I had a great couponing experience at Walmart this week. Since I’m about two months out from having my first baby, I’m starting to stock up on health products, frozen foods, and easy to prepare foods.

Walmart

Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt, Original Price: $1.00 each

Final Price: $0.67 each

How I did it: I used a printable coupon for $1.00 off when you bought 3 of the individual yogurts.

Great Value 0% Milk, Original Price: $1.99

Final Price: $1.49

How I did it: Checkout 51 offered a rebate for $0.50 when you bought a gallon of milk. This could be for any brand of milk!

Boost 100 Calorie 4 pack, Original Price: $5.98

Final Price: $2.98

How I did it: I used a newspaper coupon for $3.00 off any Boost drink. Boost is probably not Trim Healthy Mama approved, but my doctor wants me to drink it and I’m complying. 😉

Birds Eye Steamfresh Flavor Full frozen vegetables, Original Price: $1.84

Final Price: $0.34

How I did it: I used a simple $1.50 off coupon from the newspaper, bringing the cost down to 34 cents! This was a fantastic and very easy deal.

Hall’s Cough Drops, Original Price: $1.54 each

Final Price: $0.54 each

How I did it: I used a newspaper coupon for $1.00 off 2 bags of Hall’s cough drops. Additionally, I submitted my receipt to Checkout 51 for an additional $1.00 rebate. This made the cough drops only 54 cents per pack!

Kotex Pads, Original Price: $2.86

Final Price: $0.86

How I did it: Again, this was a great deal that came only from a newspaper coupon. Less than a dollar for a package of pads

Dreamfields Pasta, Original Price: $1.78 each

Final Price: $1.28 each

How I did it: This was a newspaper coupon for a $1.00 off two boxes of Dreamfields Pasta.

That’s it for this week!

The Type A Mom’s Guide to a Tough Pregnancy

The worst thing you can force a Type A person to do is…nothing. Type A people don’t do nothing, you see. We assess situations, we figure out solutions, and then we get things done. In high school, we stress over grades and college applications. If we play sports or participate in some other competitive activity, we spend vast amounts of time figuring out how to win. In college, we do every resume building activity possible.

What we do NOT do is nothing.

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A Christmas gift from my 14 year old brother…do you think he was trying to tell me something?

I started having issues with anemia the summer before my senior year of college. It made me chronically exhausted, but I was doing an internship in DC at the time and pushed through anyway. Once the school year started, I was working part time in addition to taking a full load of classes, being on the board of a service organization, and leading a prayer group on my hall. It ended up being way too much, and I had to drop some of my activities for the spring semester. Somehow I still managed to earn all A’s my senior year.

I got married the summer after I graduated. By then my health had started to improve slightly, much to my happiness. Having energy again was fantastic!

And then I got pregnant.

It’s pretty amazing that someone the size of a gummy bear can make you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck, but that’s how it seems to work. During my first trimester, I would sleep for a completely reasonable amount of time at night and still need a nap during the day. My anemia reappeared during the second trimester, which meant that the “honeymoon trimester” and its accompanying burst of energy never happened. Now I’m in the third trimester, and the baby seems to have decided to be nocturnal.

Between being chronically exhausted and chronically nauseous, I haven’t been nearly as productive as I was before I was pregnant. For a long time, it drove me crazy. All my life, I’ve taken joy in getting things accomplished, and that came to a screeching halt.

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My brother also gave me this mug, which seemed fitting.

It hasn’t been the easiest road, but now I’m down to the last 10 weeks of pregnancy and the end is in sight. Here are some things that have made my life easier during this phase of life:

  • The freezer and the crockpot

These two items have become my best friends. I have good days and bad days with my energy levels, and I can never seem to predict which type a given day will be. When I have a good day, I try to do as much cooking ahead as possible. Particularly during the first trimester, freezer meals that could be prepared in the crockpot were a lifesaver. All I had to do was open the freezer, select a Ziploc bag, dump the contents into the crockpot, and let it cook all day. No standing over the stove and smelling food!

  • Accepting help

I’ve always struggled with this one. I don’t want to be an inconvenience or a burden, so I try to do everything myself. However, this pregnancy has forced me to allow my husband to assist with some of the household tasks. It took swallowing my pride, but it was worth it.

  • Remembering the big picture

As the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” So far no one has ever been pregnant forever, and it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll be the first person to break that streak. Little Bit, as I’ve affectionately nicknamed him, will come. When he does come, I’m sure I’ll be as tired as ever, but I’ll be happy too.

Productivity is more than a full planner or a completed checklist. It’s having an overreaching goal, and knowing what steps need to be taken to achieve it. Sometimes the steps are small. Sometimes they’re tedious. They are always worth it, if the goal is worth it. My sweet little boy will definitely be worth it.

 

 

 

Real Life Couponing – Week of 2/2

Last week, couponing didn’t happen. I was snowed in for a few days and my Sunday newspaper never arrived. This week I got back on the wagon with a few deals at Target and Kroger.

 

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This week’s haul: all Trim Healthy Mama approved!

Target

Since the beginning of the New Year, I’ve been having trouble with the Target closest to me not having the items I need in stock. Fortunately, they actually did have what I needed today.

Dannon Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt, Original Price: $3.99

Final Price: $2.17

How I did it: Target had this product on sale this week for $3.25 each. I had a $0.75 off coupon from this week’s paper. There was also an offer on Target’s Cartwheel app for 10% off, which brought the price down to $2.17. Triple Zero Yogurt is recommended as a part of the Trim Healthy Mama plan because it has no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, or fat. It’s also sweetened with stevia, which is a plan approved sweetener.

In true Target fashion, this was the last package of this brand of yogurt that they had. My husband thinks there must be someone who reads the same coupon blogs as me who clears out the good deals. It’s a plausible theory, I must say.

Market Pantry Brown Rice, Original Price: $0.89

Final Price: $0.84

How I did it: This was just a 5% off offer from my Cartwheel app. This is an example of my “every little bit helps” belief coming into play.

Kroger

I love my Kroger mainly for the health food section. Nine times out of ten, it can save me from an expensive trip to Whole Foods. I’ve heard that Wasa crackers can also be found at Walmart, but I’ve checked two of the Walmarts in my area and I’ve never found them. Thus, I always get mine at Kroger.

Wasa Crackers, Original Price: $2.99

Final Price: $1.84

How I did it: Wasa crackers were on sale for $2.59. Once I got home, I uploaded my receipt to my Ibotta app and received a $0.75 rebate, making the final price $1.84.

Thankful Thursday

In all honesty, I haven’t been doing as well with having a grateful heart this week. Third trimester is in full swing, with all of its associated discomforts. My grandfather died last May right after my college graduation, and his birthday would have been last week.

The biggest thing I’m thankful for this week is my husband’s support. I really don’t know how I would manage if I didn’t have him to help me. Sometimes I’m pretty exhausted by the end of the day, and he is always happy to help with washing dishes, folding laundry, or whatever else I might need. I don’t like feeling unproductive, but he reminds me that I’m growing a person, and that is productive.

Grief sneaks up on you. I’ll probably write a full post on this subject another time, but I’ve found it to be true. Granddaddy died five and a half weeks before I got married. I know that he was saved, and I know that he was suffering a lot, so I’m thankful that he is in heaven. I miss him all the same though, especially when I went to my Granny’s house for Christmas and he wasn’t there. He would have been 70 last week, and his birthday brought up a whole new host of emotions.

Hebrews 4 talks about Jesus being the great high priest. Verses 15 and 16 say “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus understands being in pain. Jesus knows what it is like to lose someone you love (see John 11). He knows.

And this week, I’m thankful for that comfort.

Food is a Love Language

Perhaps one of the most important life lessons that I learned in college was that I cannot “fix” other people. While my intentions were good, I could only change my own behavior and reactions, not those of other people.

With that being said, I can show my support and love for other people, even if I can’t fix their challenging situation. One way that I often did this was through food. I had several roommates go through breakups. During one of my roommate’s breakup, she casually mentioned that she had barely eaten in two days. Well, I couldn’t make her ex-boyfriend behave like a civilized person, but I could fix the lack of food problem. I drove to her favorite fast food joint and ordered something that I knew she liked. She was still upset over the breakup, but I think she knew that I was trying to offer my support.

When my husband and I were engaged, he had a particularly busy day in which he needed to rush to the airport right after a final for his capstone course. He wasn’t going to have time to go get supper from the cafeteria before he needed to leave. During his final, I went and picked up some food for him from one of the better quality campus eating establishments. He quickly ate it as I drove from campus to the airport.

“Food is a love language,” I told him. “It makes me feel better if you get fed before a six hour flight.”

I really didn’t cook much until I got married. Since it was a newer skill, I was self-conscious about letting people besides my husband eat things that I had prepared. My husband will eat almost anything without a complaint, but I know that most people are not quite as tolerant.

Being pregnant has given me a new perspective on numerous issues. Before I had ever been pregnant, I knew that people typically bring food to new mothers right after their babies have been born. What I did not know is how much of a chore cooking can be when you are chronically nauseous. (As a side note, I also didn’t know that nausea can continue past the first trimester. I’m in my third trimester now and I’m still nauseous some days. What’s up with that?)

Anyway, I met a girl at church a couple weeks ago who is close to my age. She is due to have her first baby about three months after I have mine. She had mentioned not feeling the best lately, so I decided I would take the plunge and offer to bring over some chicken tetrazzini, a recipe that I ate a lot when I didn’t feel well.

It actually turned out pretty well, and she and her husband seemed to appreciate it. I’m glad I got outside of my comfort zone to bless someone else.

“Contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.” – Romans 12:13

To the Young Mothers

To the young mothers,

It’s tough being a young mother. I know, because I am one, and I’ve had a far easier go of it than many of you have. I’m 21, even though I still have people questioning if I’m old enough to have a driver’s license yet. When I was still in college, I got confused for one of the high school students visiting campus. That was a minor annoyance, but otherwise not a big deal.

And then I got married and shortly thereafter got pregnant. Oh, how things changed.

Every time I have a discussion with the billing department at the doctor’s office, they ask who the policyholder on my health insurance is. When I disclose that it is my husband, I get The Look.

Are they more shocked that I have a husband? Or are they more shocked that my husband has the type of job that provides health insurance? Either way, you would think I had announced that I was planning to move to Mars and raise my son with the aliens.

When I go to the grocery store or the bank without my husband, I sometimes find older ladies scowling at my protruding tummy. Do they think that if they make disapproving faces at my expanding figure long enough, then my child will cease to exist? What exactly is that type of behavior supposed to accomplish? I am married, but even if I wasn’t, the ship has obviously sailed. I am pregnant, and I am having a baby.

Even those who know that I am married have questions. Was this planned? Didn’t I want to do other things before I had children? Those other things are important, you know. Don’t I believe in birth control? Better yet, some have horror stories about how having a baby is the worst thing you could possibly do to your marriage. These are church-going people!

Here, in the shadow of this culture, sits the pro-life movement. It’s been 43 years since Roe vs. Wade, forty-three years of legal abortion in the United States. To the young mothers, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because if I get these sorts of negative reactions to my pregnancy, which happened after I got married, I cannot imagine what sort of comments you hear. I will probably never fully grasp the sort of courage it takes to choose life when you have a boyfriend who left you and no other support system, but I admire it.

So young mothers, know that when I hear someone make a negative comment about you, I defend you now. Choosing life for your child can be the difficult choice, and it takes a great deal of strength. May God bless you for having that strength.