Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving - Tuesday

Tonight we are attending our final class of Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. Our church has held this class annualy for a few years, and there are several testimonies of financial freedom in our congregation, including our pastor's family who has paid off all their debt and is now working on their house. While we're still new at this, and trying to get the principles under our belt, we can see that it can work. We are now putting $100 into an emergency fund every month and planning to start paying a nice chunk over and above our normal car payment to get it paid off in only a few months. Then, we will take that money, (including the normal car payment,) and chunk that into another debt, then another. I can see how this can work, provided we have no devastating emergencies in the next few years.

So, today I'm thankful that God lead us to this church when we were shopping around several months ago. Besides the awesome pastor who teaches Biblical principles, and the congregation, from whom I've made some friends, I believe God lead us here for the financial lesson we needed to learn. Neither of us are spring chickens -- lol! So retirement is looming off the horizon. I'd like to see that dark cloud out there turn into a rainbow, a place we needn't fear. As much as I love WalMart, I really don't want to become a greeter in my senior years.

I'll try to blog our financial journey in the future. Perhaps it will encourage others.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Week of Thanksgiving

I've been spending the morning listening to the Bible on CD (my birthday present from Jim--Yea!) and reading various things that have come through my inbox. Although every one totally unrelated, I can see where God is encouraging me and I feel His gentle nudge to share it with you, too.

My Bible listening was about Abraham and Sarah, the provision for safety as they traveled through a foreign land, the joy of a child they never knew they'd receive, the promise of a legacy that was to span generations and nations. Abraham had much to be thankful for as he breathed his last.

Next, I read my devotion for the day at Christianity.com, titled "Thank You Power" by Rachel Olsen from Proverbs 31 Ministry. It's a reminder to thank God daily, even through adversity. Her spiritual insight into this almost cliche'd thought touched me deeply. It's a lesson I need on more than a daily basis!

Next, I read a newsletter put out by my dear friend, Paula Moldenhauer. Paula lays open her heart in every Soul Scents devotional. Normally put out once a week, she's had to take a hiatus due to family struggles that she mentions in this issue. If you don't receive her newsletter, let me know and I'll forward it to you. I know about everything she talks about (and some that she doesn't say) in this issue of her newsletter, but what touched me was that my prayers for Paula are answered in her own words. Through all she's been through, I've prayed that she never loses that deep, warrior spirit -- the place where she fights the enemy and stands strong in the presence of her King. It's there as she relates her family's struggles this year, and rather than coming off as "woe is me," it has Psalm-like qualities. If I hadn't gone into "Thanksgiving Mode" during my devotion, I certainly would have while reading Paula's newsletter. (Thank you, my friend.)

Then. . .I read Randy Vawter's blog, the son of another good friend, Margie Vawter. He suggests celebrating the Four Days of Thanksgiving. Capitol idea, Randy! The chuckle he provided in the cartoon was a big ribbon and bow on the present that God gave me today.

And so, I begin my Four Days of Thanksgiving by doing as my devotion and Randy suggested. I am thankful for:

  1. A God Who continually reminds me that I make Him smile. My Heavenly Father has had to do some heavy-duty encouraging this year as my old-nature has crept in with harsh thoughts and selfishness. During the times I've wondered how I could ever be considered a child of the King, He sends the same message, either through a word picture of someone praying or a simple e-greeting card from a friend oblivious to the need I have to hear those words: You make God smile. Ah, thank You, Lord Jesus!
  2. A husband who has had to put up with "old-nature leakage" and has often had to caulk the fracture with words of wisdom. God's anchor with skin on, Jim has held me, prayed with me, and loved me through good times and bad. My partner in life, and my best friend. I thank God everyday for this man of mine.
  3. Two grown sons who bring delight in their humor. Even when one or the other is on my "naughty list," they both know how to wrap me around their fingers by tickling my funny bone. And this is a good thing.
  4. Three grandchildren who also make me smile. Each have their own personalities and clever wit. Be it frantic antics or made-up words. Mischievous glints in their eyes or hugs out of the blue. I love these kids.

And so begins the Four Days of Thanksgiving. I hope to post more, but if I don't, it's not because I'm not thankful. More than likely I'm buried under my blessings and have simply not had time to get back to my computer.