Tuesday, May 25, 2010

in a *tide-al* wave of dilemma!

ok, so i've come across a stump in my usually flawless frugal abilities!

my cousin brought me a huuuggeee container of tide detergent last month that was given to him that he didn't need. so me, being the frugal genius i am, took it gratefully and used it immediately.

well, i loved the way tide detergent cleans our clothes, and i love the fact that you truly only need one capful. now this is especially great news because we wash clothing on average 4x a week in my household. and this is especially great news because i've been washing off of this same container of tide for the past 2 weeks at 2 loads per day 4x per week and i still have about 1/3 of the container left.

the horrid news about this situation is that the particular bottle of tide that i was using costs 20.00 AND i have to set our machine on the longest setting *which uses more electricity* than i normally do to get those clothes good and clean. eek. now usually i spend about 10.00 per month on detergent and it gets our clothes nice and clean on the shortest setting possible, which cuts down on energy costs for my household and laundry time in general.

however, the tide gets out tough stains and it also gets out grease stains better than my current detergent *which DOES get out the stains but i have to use shout on them beforehand*.

so that is my dilemma. do i start using the tide at 20.00-24.00 a bottle *depending on where i shop* and using the longest laundry setting *which is double the time of the shortest* to clean our clothes, or do i revert back to the 10.00 worth of detergent i buy *which is a blend of detergents* and shout gel along with the shortest laundry cycle to get our laundry done? we save about 15.00 per month on our energy bill using shorter laundry cycles. unfortunately, our appliances aren't the most energy efficient available, and we aren't allowed to just change them because i don't own my home.

so hmm...what SHOULD i do? i was thinking about keeping a small bottle of the tide on hand to use, but that may be more trouble than it's worth. so i do need suggestions!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

me, cook?!

anyone who knows me knows automatically that cooking was always my vice. i mean, it was more than a vice. it was my archenemy, my archnemesis. i just could not stand to coook. i mean, all that measuring, patience, watching the food, making sure it doesn't burn, heat, timing, all of those odd ingredients and let's not forget the fact that you MUST season to perfection or the whole thing is botched.

i'da rather get locked in a barn full of dirty laundry with only a mini washer and dryer.

but oddly enough, as much as i can't stand cooking, i love to eat.

it "just so happens" that over these past few weeks, i have been going through some health changes that need my immediate attention if i don't want them to worsen. namely, my thyroid and my blood pressure, which has been steadily rising.

in addition to all of this, i have been also struggling with anxiety brought on by a worsening economy, my lack of a regular income, and the ill treatment of people towards each other in general. i have been praying over this, and some days are better than others in my journey towards peace over it all.

so a few weeks ago, when my anxiety was way worse, it led me to ask my mom, "what are we going to do when there is absolutely no way to work and take care of our families?" and she, in turn, brought the question to God.

to which He gave her an answer, and she reported it back to me. "Go back to the land", she says He told her.

now my next question obviously was, "well what land do we go back to?! we don't own any land! or any farm animals! or anything natural that can sustain us!" *and by now i was talking in clipped sentences and more than a bit agitated at God for giving me that answer. i had wanted this earth shattering, profound answer that would set all my doubt free, not an answer that actually seemed to be worse than the question*.

but, me being diligent in knowing that God makes no mistakes, decided to take that answer and work with it as best i could. which meant praying over it, mediatating over it, and letting God clarify it for me *which He has no issues doing for most things i believe*.

fast forward to a few days later. i realized that my blood pressure isn't doing well, and this is during a time when i NEED it to do well. so as i was praying over my health, God told me..."take your health back to the land, because you're going to have to do that anyway!" and like a LIGHTBULB, i understood. in my mind i saw the huge garden that we had when i was smaller, the garden that served many purposes. not only did that garden feed us because we couldn't afford to buy food, but it helped my mom develop a relationship with God, it helped to relax her during difficult times, and it helped to foster my love for animals and insects, as well as a healthy respect for nature. and as much as i never thought it'd be me, my heart's desire quickly became to do the same for my kids. to show them that there is more to living than what we have out here commercially, what the secular world feeds us, both literally and figuratively.

as God continued to work with me, i realized also that i had to learn to like to eat good food, cook good food, and eventually grow good food. and not worry about the literal land, because God would provide it. what i need to work on doing right now is actually LIKING food, LIKING cooking, and LIKING to eat right. because let's be honest, it's not exactly the most fun for me to pick out some corny old vegetables, put them in a pot and boil them down to crapola that i'm then forced to suck down with a straw. but maybe if i put in the effort, and allow God to show me what Goodness He has in the world in the form of food, i will actually grow to not only like cooking, but maybe even to love it.

today, just a few short weeks later, i wholeheartedly understand BETTER what God has in store for me in the future of an uncertain world. i won't say that i understand it all, because i don't, but i trust His way. and i also know that doing this *the whole food thing* will not only help me to have better health, but it may just be what saves my children from feeling the FULL effects of a crashing america later on in life, something that has really provoked my anxiety. and knowing this is actually enough to not only ebb my anxiety, but to make me INTERESTED in cooking GOOD food without SALT and CHEMICALS in it to the point that i'm actually flipping through recipe books. so don't be surprised when you see me blabbing off about how i actually cooked such and such from scratch, and how economically savvy i was while doing it, and what great blessings and revelations were revealed from the whole activity, haha.

leave it up to God to work out the messes in my life for His glory and my good! i am feeling better.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

19 things i like about the duggar family.

during my spiritual journey these past couple of weeks, it was revealed to me that one of the things preventing me from continuing up my spiritual ladder to the position i should be in is the fact that i am not humble enough. so i pondered this dilemma of mine, mainly because i'm not exactly sure if i understand the definition of humilty. after spending much time looking up acts of humility and lessons on humility taught by Jesus Christ, i sort of kind of grasp the idea of humility better, and after much prayer and talking with the Father, i even see in myself where i do indeed need to become a more humble person. and i have been striving diligently over these past few days to become more humble.
it "just so happens" that i've also been watching more television lately. i am not sure if this stems from my search for humility in a world that's not so humble *and what better place to see how unhumble the world is than tv?*, or if it stems from the fact that i haven't been feeling my greatest *more on that later*...but whatever the case may be, i have found myself to be this learning-to-be-humble couch potato.
so while flipping haphazardly through the television stations at 3am four nights ago, i came across the television show on tlc "19 and counting", the reality show about jim bob and michelle duggar, a married couple with 19 children. i watched the show mainly because it piqued my curiosity, and i didn't think much of it...they seemed like an ok enough couple and that was it.
it "just so happens" *it's amazing how God works*, that the next day, i caught myself watching not one, but another two episodes of 19 an counting, and this time i had more time and inclination to actually pay this family attention.
and i came to the startling conclusion that i actually admire the duggars very much, and how i am becoming more humble by forming my own opinions of people and situations instead of relying on the opinions of others and the media to shape mine for me.
so, because i actually like the duggars that much, despite some of the not-so-nice things i've read about them, i've decided to make a like of 19 things that i really admire about the duggars, just from what little i know about them *and trust me, i will be watching them daily now*:
1. they have home church, and do not attend "formal" church services *more on that another day*.
2. their children play instruments.
3. their children are very well disciplined.
4. their house is very clean.
5. jim bob and michelle clearly love each other.
6. their ideals are in alignment with each others, and none of them "force" themselves on anyone else, they are who they are and it works out beautifully.
7. they do alot of community work.
8. michelle homeschools all of her children, and makes it look easy.
9. they eat pretty healthy foods, for the most part.
10. they have 5 acres of farmland.
11. before they became "famous", their family was well in tact and in order, despite jim bob making an average salary and michelle not working.
12. michelle is a sahm *woohoo!*
13. their children are actually cute.
14. they stick to their belief systems, no matter what others think or say.
15. they have never used welfare to support their children *not that i am against welfare, more on that another day*
16. michelle still has a great shape to have delivered 19 children.
17. they utilize technology PROPERLY...for education, not recreation.
18. they utilize the knowledge of the people they meet.
19. they live a relatively simple life, without the clutter of too much modernism.
it's already humbling to see how my own mindset is formed when i don't allow others to infiltrate my thoughts *i was surprised at how much i allow that*, how much in common i have with other people, to recognize that i'm not above or below anyone, and to realize just how much alike people really are.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

church issues.

so, i've decided to leave my church. this decision came after much prayer and meditation, and an experience that only the Holy Spirit Himself could have taken me through.

i am a non-denominational Christian, and i like that just fine. however, because there are almost no non-denominational churches in my community *and NO orthodox Christian churches*, i have to take my pick from what i have to choose from...the typical conglomerate of church choices: baptist, catholic, COGIC, episcopalian, methodist, pentecostal, reformation, etc. so of the choices i had, i decided to attend an AME church, or african methodist episcopal church. one of the deciding factors in my choice was the fact that the church is literally around the corner and one day while going past i saw a few of it's members chatting outside and they seemed really friendly. after about 3 months of visiting i decided to join the church because well...God hadn't told me NOT to join the church.
i don't think.
now i'll admit, i don't always have the best ears when it comes down to listening to The Father. if i did, i wouldn't be in half of the crap i'm in, and always praying and thanking Him crazily when He throws one down *while rolling His eyes at me no doubt* for me to catch and hold on to. so it wouldn't be a surprise to me if God had said, "don't join that church!" and i totally brushed His Voice off as a figment of my imagination.
so let's just say that either way it goes, i didn't get the message NOT to join the church. but two sunday's ago i was preparing to go to Sunday Service and as i walked towards the front door to go to the car, something told me to leave the children home. so i told them they weren't going *to which they actually were bummed about*. after taking off their clothing and settling them down *my bf was there to watch them because we all go to church together*, i decided to head back out the door. as i neared the door, a sudden depression came over me. like a huge wave, it just washed down my entire body, and i heard my heart tell me "don't go to church today!". me, ignoring the feeling *which i now believe was God*, went towards the car anyway. i got in, and i was feeling so sad and down, out of nowhere, that i started to cry. i pulled out of the parking spot and as i neared the church, my chest felt compressed, and i had to catch my breath! i was having an anxiety attack over going to church. i tried to look for a parking spot next to the church, but my body wouldn't even let me park the car...i just couldn't bring myself to stop and look for a space to park! after about a minute of this i was so flustered and upset i drove straight to my mom's house, in tears, shaking and praying. she calmed me down and suggested we visit another church, to which i readily agreed. immediately my spirit calmed down, my anxiety went away and i felt better.
now, i'm trying to pinpoint where things went wrong in my church life, but it's very hard to find out when, where, and most importantly, what happened.
all was going well for a year, until i decided to be the director of the children's ministry, or the ypd department. now taking on this leadership role seemed easy enough, i'm pretty good with children and my teaching skills, while not the best, aren't the worst.
let's just say that i was NOT a happy camper within 3 months of taking on the role as ypd director.
being in this position requires the director to meet with "sister" churches for "connectional" purposes. the idea is that these historically black churches will keep their power and stay in alignment with the will of God by keeping in touch with each other and supporting each other. so in essence the ame is a network of sister churches that is run in an hierarchal manner by higher ups, preachers, elders, and at the highest rank is the bishops and council of bishops or whatever.
the ame church, in my opinion, has developed over the years into nothing more than a scam, with a group of testa-liars as it's head. it is only a matter of time before the breakdown of this particualar church system becomes universal in my honest to goodness opinion.
now i know every church has a bit of satan in it, and many churches have a lot o' satan in them. but the ame church is a hotbed for what i call subtle satanic activity (you know how satan isn't always in your face with it, sometimes that lil nukka likes to be so subtle that you have to wonder is it even him)...mainly because it's system is set up more like a secular system than any other church system i have ever run into.
the ame's are a very "social" people--there is a social scale of importance, and if you aren't at the top of the food chain, what's your name again??
the ame's are very ehh..."adamant" about "their" way. they tend to try and "brainwash" the younger generations by "teaching" them that the ame is "the way to go". now i wouldn't have a problem with this, except that i am not into teaching my children that any particualar denomination is better than another for the simple fact that i am a non-denominational Christian and i believe that denominations as a whole add to the breakdown that we see in the church community and much of our walk with God.
the ame's are a very...financially "savvy" people. aka they take from the smaller churches to take care of the larger churches. so your church can be direlectic and absolutely falling apart, but if you want to be a part of the larger connectional ame community--well then you'd better get out a checkbook. and guess what? the bishop drives a 100,000.00 car and will charge you 2,000.00 to "grace" your church with his presence.
the ame's are also a very...flashy people. never before have i ever seen so many electronic Bibles, fur coats and high heels on 80 year olds at a service, and i'd be flabbergasted *if i expected any better of them* at the fact that very few ame's actually carry bonafide book-form Bibles to services and events.
now don't get me wrong...there are quite a few God fearing and loving Christians within the ame community, the pastor of my ame is definitely a man of God, and he is really asking me to at least attend the Sunday Services because he doesn't want me to be without the Word of God. i am thinking he is right, and i do want to attend, but i really don't want anything to do with the ame church as a whole. but it's a shame how black people in today's society have taken a very honest and well meaning idea for the black church and turned it into the devil's stomping ground with a bunch of riff raff and foolishness, money focusing and social ladder climbing.
so, with all of that being said, i am left back at square one of finding a church. for now i am going to continue at my church as a "guest", mainly because the pastor has personally asked me to return as well as the congregation it seems. but i don't believe it's a permanent choice, mainly because of my experience two Sundays ago and after constant prayer, i do believe God has told me i'm released from that particular place.
on another note: it is very hard for most of us Christians who don't have a church home to find one in these times, it seems. i am not the only Christian i know looking for a church home--there are at least 3 other Christians i talk to on a daily basis that have the same problem that i'm having. what is a Christian to do without a church home?!