Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Change Your Mindset to Truly Live Frugally

I decided to try out Vlogging. I would love to hear your ideas on how you can have a mindset that helps you with frugal living.

The Fruit of the Spirit is.... Joy!

I just thought I would include this picture of my siblings and I. Being with them gives me a lot of joy

 Joy has been an important characteristic to me. I grew up understanding that my name, Abbigail, meant "Source of Joy". I realize now that I will never be the source of Joy - that duty belongs to God. I think a more accurate meaning for my name is "She brings joy to her Father" and that I hope is true. Both to my earthly father and to my heavenly Father.

What is the definition of joy? Here is a combination of different ones that I found:  a feeling of extreme gladness, delight, or exultation of the spirit arising from a sense of well-being or satisfactiona feeling of great pleasure and happiness. The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.

This year I am talking about the fruits of the Spirit - in other words characteristics that come because the Spirit is working in our lives. I find this passage in John 15 to be very fitting. We need to abide in Christ. He is the vine that we are growing off of. We need to be completely connected to Him - getting our nourishment from Him. This will lead us to a joyful life.

John 15:1-11“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

One of the very interesting things about Joy that comes from God (in my opinion) is that it doesn't depend on us being in a good situation or getting the things we want. Consider these passages....
James 1:2-4 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

2 Corinthians 7:4 "Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction."

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 "Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God."
Isn't that one above convicting? I pray that they Holy Spirit will work in me to help me have that kind of joy and generosity and devotion to Jesus Christ! Here is another convicting one...
Hebrews 10:32-34 "But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one."
The beatitudes touch on joy as well...
Matthew 5:11 & 12 "Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of My. Rejoice and by glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
I think this passage really helps us to understand why we can have joy even in the midst of persecution or other hard times. By the help of the Holy Spirit we understand that this life is not our focus - heaven is. So we can have that happiness, that exultation of spirit, that sense of well-being, that expectation of good - all a part of joy - because we are looking beyond just what we see any feel in this life.
 I was so inspired reading these different accounts in scripture about joy in the midst of troubles. I want to share one more of those with you...
Acts 5:40-42 "They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way form the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." Acts 5:40-42
This is my prayer for you....
Romans 15:13 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Colossians 1:9-12 "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."

That last passage hits on another important aspect of living a joy filled life. Be thankful!!! There is nothing quite like Thankfulness (in my opinion) to turn our attitude to one of joy.

Another picture that brings me joy. An old one of enjoying music with my buddy boy.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Cleaning and Decluttering - A Fun Saturday Activity

   I was blessed to get to stay home all day today! A friend came over for a little while this morning which was really fun but after that I had nothing scheduled for the day. I really enjoy having days like that once in a while. It doesn't mean that I don't have plenty to do but I am not on a tight time frame and I enjoy that luxury to kind of randomly work through my to-do list as I feel motivated. Today's main project was to work on going through, cleaning and organizing our storage room. It had gotten a bit disheveled and cluttered. Also there were boxes that I wasn't exactly sure what was in them. I was able to get a handle on exactly what was in there and I am really happy about that. I was also able to get rid of quite a few things that we didn't need and that always makes me happy. 

 We no longer have anything sitting in the middle of things. We have extra space on the shelves, things are grouped together better according to how I use them (Ice skating, my wedding business, camping, skiing, etc) and we were able to clean out another cupboard in the main room where we are going to only put things that we are fine with our AirBnB guests using. 
All in all it was a very satisfying Saturday project.

  One of my life goals is to only have things that we find beautiful or useful and to be aware of what we do have so that we can use it or give it to others to use. Things just left in storage somewhere do not generally improve with storage. The majority of them decay in some way over time. I think if God has blessed us in some way with things we should do our best to use them well or give them to others. Being aware of what you do have can really help in preventing of buying new things and henceforth wasting money.

 Obviously looking at my storage room you can tell that I am not a minimalist but I really like a lot of the concepts that they talk about. I firmly believe that having too much stuff will cause you to waste money - between buying it in the first place and then having so much that you can't find what you do have when you need it and then you just buy it (or something like it) again.

   When I clean out a place like this the other take-away I have is to feel extremely grateful. God has blessed us with so very, very much which is evidenced by all the things in my storage room. Not only do I have enough things for me but I have enough to share with others. 

  How do you like to use a Saturday at home?

Saturday, February 18, 2023

More Wintertime Fun

I feel so abundantly blessed to get to live the life I do. We live in a beautiful area surrounded by family and friends and many other beautiful people that I haven't even met yet. God provides for us so abundantly and I have work that I truly enjoy. There are opportunities to serve God and use the different talents He has given me and I truly am grateful. 

Here are just a few of the beautiful times from my life lately....

In January a bunch of us from church got together to go skating. It was a fun time! Keren and Lilly stood on the edge and watched. Keren has a baby due in April and didn't think skating would be good right now.

But Martha and I had fun skating.
And Gracie and Heidi (dressed as something... I don't remember what) did.
Ephraim and some of the other younger ones tried pushing a chair to help stand up.
Beatrix found it easier to just ride on the chair while Bella pushed.
Hold on to Dad if you are feeling unsteady!!
Miss Megan!
Aaron enjoyed practicing his hockey skills.
This was an arrangement that I had fun creating recently at the flower shop. The couple that ordered this arrangement for a funeral had requested something very colorful and with some unique flowers and butterflies to go to a young woman's funeral. I guess she had a fun and colorful personality so they wanted something to match that. I love getting to work with flowers all the time and I enjoy the interaction with customers and created just want they want as well.
Two weeks ago Megan and I took a trip to Des Moines, Iowa to visit some friends. The weather was warm down there that weekend (in the 40's) which was so lovely but we also were able to visit the botanical garden there and that was so much fun. It felt like summer or visiting the tropics. I loved seeing all the different plants and just basking in the warmth and sunshine.
I really enjoyed getting to spend time with my friend (from babyhood) Jessica and her husband, James. I am so grateful for good friends. It was so fun to be able to catch up and to visit about spiritual things and share testimonies of how God has been working in our lives. 
We walked around a sculpture garden on that lovely day.

On our way back from Des Moines we stayed with my sister and her family in the cities. It was fun to catch up with them as well. 

This past Wednesday night we had a pancakes supper where the kids did the cooking, decorating, serving and entertaining for the adults. (A couple of other adults worked with me to help that happen). I didn't get any good pictures but it was a fun (and slightly chaotic) evening.
My niece Molly (who is nearly 20) headed up the cooking of the food. I had made pancake mixes ahead of time but they had to mix things up the rest of the way and fry them, fry sausages, prepared beverages, prepare toppings and fruit. 
We also had a decorating and serving group. This is a portion of them. It was an eager and excited group of kids. My voice was gone by the end of the night as I had been giving them instructions all evening. They did a great job and I am proud of them.
These girls were singing a special number. We had a couple of those and some readings.
This weekend my sister Anna and part of her family came up to visit and so our family all got together at my parents. We had a fun time together. 
Mara was tired today so I brought Malcolm out with me. We had a fun time hanging out. Here he was having fun taking care of a baby doll. I guess he is practicing up for being a big brother.
We went on a long walk which we thoroughly enjoyed for the fresh air and fun companionship. We a;sp were wanting to get some exercise and I think we succeeded.

The kids found the train tracks very interesting.

Grandma's Matryoshka dolls were also enjoyed today. The kids and I also had a great game of hide and seek. By the way it is quite fun to hide and listen to them talk about you as they look for you. They decided I was such a good hider because I had grown up in that house and I knew it really well. I had my 2 year old niece hiding with me and she was remarkably quiet. I love that I have lots of nieces and nephews. God made each one of them so different for the others. He is an amazing Creator!

Anyway, that is just a bit of the fun that I have been having lately. Sometimes I struggle with contentedness as my dream for life was/is to be happily married with a husband to serve God with. But that is not God's plan for me right now and that is okay. He absolutely knows what is best for me and He has placed me in a place where I can serve and love on others and be very fulfilled by the relationships that I have with others and with Him. This time of a little more aloneness (it isn't a lot as I am still blessed to have 2 kids at home and I do have a lot going on with others as well) has prompted me to spend more time just visiting with God as I go about my day. That is so wonderful. I wish I would have made that a bigger part of my life a long, long time ago. God is always there listening. He wants to hear from you about everything - every struggle, every excitement, every sorrow and every joy. He wants our praise and He deserves it. We are blessed with things that we can be thankful for every moment of our day. I highly recommend praying through your day and just really sharing it all with Him! 


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Fruit of the Spirit is... LOVE

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22 and 23

The last few years I have really grown in my understanding of the Holy Spirit and his work. Studying the Bible with a goal of understanding the Holy Spirit has really helped me to see Galatians 5:22 and 23 in a different light. My understanding earlier was that love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and  self-control were character traits that I needed to work at having in my life. My understanding of how the Holy Spirit worked in that was pretty foggy. I am struggling to fully explain what I mean but basically I knew that I had received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because in Acts 2:38 it says "Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." and I had done that. But I treated the Holy Spirit as this "little helper" instead of seeing the power that He had to truly change my life. I still felt like I had to do all the hard work and the Holy Spirit would do little things like prick my conscience when I was doing something that I shouldn't, He might help bring things to memory, He might comfort me with His presence when I was sad but I wasn't looking to Him to radically work in me by His power. To grow in me - like beans grow on a bean plant or apples on a tree - the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 It isn't that I believe that after we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that we don't have to put any effort in on our own, that we just sit back and wait for the fruit of the Spirit to develop in us. But I think we need to be aware of His power to work in us and to let him work. But I guess a full discourse on the Holy Spirit will be for another day. I still have much more studying that I want to do. I would love to hear your thoughts on the work of the Spirit - even if you don't agree with me. :-)

   Meanwhile, lets talk about love.....

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we
have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

Part of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is that we will love God and others. We see above that God's love is first poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. He continues to do that. Agape love (which is what God gives to us) is a sacrificial love. It is a love of choice, not of attraction or obligation. Agape love is unconcerned with self but is concerned with the greatest good of another. Agape love requires faithfulness, commitment and sacrifice without expecting anything in return. 1 Corinthians 13 has a pretty good definition of that love. Here is a portion of that:

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7"

As I read more on what it really means to love others with agape love I admit I had a little feeling of overwhelm because there is not way that I can consistently love others like that on my own. And that is just the point. We cannot! We can only truly love like that by the power of the Holy Spirit. And we will still mess up! We are human and it shows pretty regularly.

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7 and 8

Love is an integral part of our walk with God/our life as a Christ follower. God is love so unless we are living in love we are saying that we don't even know God! The love we have for each other is our message to the world -"I am a disciple of Jesus!"

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7

Let's pray that we and others will be strengthened with power through His Spirit so we can abound in love and the other fruits of the Spirit. Can you imagine how beautiful this world could be if all those that profess to follow Jesus Christ would love others with agape love?

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

Saturday, January 28, 2023

December Goals Accomplished


In December I shared with you a few different goals that I was working on. It is now almost the end of January but I thought I would share with you how those goals went...

    First off, I had made the goal at the beginning of 2022 to spend time practicing on/learning to play a different instrument each month and then record it and share it on Youtube. Following that as planned lasted maybe 2 months but I did work on different instruments more throughout the year and I put in some heavier practice in on a couple of different instruments but over all I did struggle with this goal. In December I decided I did truly want to see if I could still accomplish it. That was finally completed today. So I went a month over in the goal but I did get it done.

   In my dreams I was going to be super proficient in each of the instruments that I played. That did not happen. I simply didn't have the time (or choose not to sacrifice in other areas in order to make the time) to practice enough to make that happen. So some of these videos I was rather embarrassed to post. But over all (other than sharing my imperfections!) it was a fun goal for me. I had fun with working on each of the instruments. Here is a video of each instrument (with two for violin - actually 3 as it is in the Church musicians concert as well).

Another December goal was to clean out (declutter) 2 spaces each week. That went well. This year I am working to do 3 a week which has been going well this month. Hopefully I can keep up in the busy summertime. It always does feel good to go through things, clean and get rid of things that we don't need.

 Making handmade Christmas gifts was another goal. That went pretty well and was fun. You can see my post that includes the results to that here.
As you can imagine I had a lot of fun with my financial goal. It went well. In the end their was $290 worth of gas stamps so we didn't really have that hard of a challenge. I used that for gas and all of our groceries. I see that I forgot to mention in the first post that I was also giving myself $12 cash to pay for overages when I didn't hit it on the dot exactly (as that would be pretty hard to do and they don't allow you to use a gas stamp card for say 93 cents. It has to be a dollar or more.  I did also use the gas stamps to buy salt for our softener and our softener was having issues that month so we had to buy salt quite a few times. Thankfully it seems to be doing better now.

   This ended up being just a fun challenge for me and Megan got in on the fun some too. I would come home from work and report on what I managed to get for $10 that day. Several times we splurged on truly unnecessary items.  One time she was wanting candy for making a gingerbread house so we went shopping after church on Wednesday night. We went to Menards and used my rebate there to buy a couple of bags of salt for the softener. At Marketplace I gave Megan 10 filled cards of stamps and she was able to get what she wanted with that and meanwhile I got some things that we needed/wanted with another 10. Then I got $10 worth of gas. Then we looked on the back of our receipts and there were coupons to get a free hot chocolate at the gas station next door. So we went and got that. We came home with gas, groceries, candy, salt and hot chocolate in our tummies and we had enjoyed our shopping spree. I think I spent 37 cents in overage that night and Megan spent around 25 cents. 

  Anyway that is the scoop on our December challenges. We had fun, saved money and according to Megan's college classes I improved my brain with playing all the instruments. So life is good!



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