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Meekness and Couponing Battle Each Other

God has an interesting way of molding us sometimes, doesn’t He?

I’ve been reading my way through a series of teachings that deals with Biblical meekness.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss, of Revive Our Hearts, started the series on June 18th, and I believe it ran through June 30th.

I HIGHLY recommend that you read or listen to, at minimum, the first day’s teachings.  You’ll be hooked.  I printed out the series to read at my leisure as I tend to be a visual learner.

Meekness is about surrendering yourself to God’s will.  It’s not about being a doormat or being mousy.  It’s also not about being pushy and demanding your way, as is common in these days.  The feminist movement left an indelible imprint on most women’s lives, and it has not always been for the best.

The lessons I’ve read thus far have made my head spin and convicted me of many areas in my life that need changing.

I am not (nor are any of us) naturally meek.   There are times when I’ve found it easier to hold my tongue and accept whatever is laid before me.  Those instances are far and few between.

Using coupons at stores is not one of those times.

Boy, oh boy, do I struggle when I head to the register after shopping for deals.  You see, I know a store’s policy (or so I think), and I’m just waiting for the battle that’s about to ensue as soon as I hand over my stack of coupons.  Some people are embarrassed to use coupons.  They don’t want to make waves.

I’ll guiltily admit that I think a small part of me loves the thrill of it.

Did that just sound bad?

Yeah, I guess it did.

It’s not that I go looking for a fight.  I just expect it as stores don’t want to lose money, and I don’t want them to have mine.

Today was a classic example of the small battle that I fight against myself.

I went to Target armed with an arsenal of firepower (i.e. coupons).  I browsed shelf prices looking for items that I could purchase for 60% off or more.  And I found a few good ones.  I had coupons that would allow me to get a nice razor for free, two sticks of deodorant for $.49 each, and five frozen dinners for $.79 each.  I think I had 14 or 15 coupons for these few items.

When my total rang up, I knew it was wrong, but I wasn’t sure what the problem was, so I sat in the car and tried to figure things out.  Armed with my receipt, I marched back in and headed to customer service.  Sure enough, my cashier had not taken off $6 in coupons, nor did one of my razor coupons ($2) scan properly.

The cashier explained that Target doesn’t allow items to zero out (i.e. you can’t get things totally free), so I wouldn’t be able to use my second coupon on the razor.  I will admit that I argued a teensy bit, but keeping in mind the lessons of meekness that I’d read (and the fact that I’d already saved $4 on the razor, making it $1.99), I stopped out of respect for the store’s rules.

She did refund $6 for the other coupons.

I headed home, still unsatisfied.  I wanted my razor for free.

When I got home and studied my receipt again, I figured out that another $2 in deodorant coupons had not been taken off my bill.  To be sure, I consulted with the Coupon Queen (i.e. my mother-in-law), and based on my explanation, she agreed.

I headed back to the store.  Good thing it’s only a mile from the house, or I would have spent more than my coupon on gas.

I marched in, ready to do battle.

The clerk was patient.  She tried to explain that yes, I had gotten my coupon discount, but the receipt was written in some sort of weird accounting language (i.e. regular math, which I don’t comprehend).  She then re-rang everything on her register and allowed me to look at her screen, which looked totally different from my receipt.

Sure enough.  The store had taken off those $2 in coupons.

I hung my head in shame.  And embarrassment.

It’s not to say that I was rude to her, because I wasn’t.  But I had doggedly insisted that the store owed me that money.

We both got a laugh.  Thank goodness she was so nice about it.

As I walked out, I thought to myself that in today’s world, we don’t necessarily face Goliath’s…obvious enemies that loom large before our eyes.

No.  Most often, our battles are fought on our own turf and in small ways.

Meekness is something I’m trying to learn.  It’s difficult when you live with teenagers who will tell you the sky is green when, in fact, it’s blue.  Meekness is accepting God’s will in even the smallest things and not fretting about them.  Nothing happens with His allowing it.  Hence, did I really need to fret over supposed “lost” coupon money?

No.

I think He was using it as a bigger lesson. It’s one I did not learn very well.

Thank goodness for sunrises that bring new days and fresh beginnings.  I know that when I get up today, I’ll be given more opportunities to practice being meek.  I can hardly wait (I think).

Friday’s “Done” List

A disclaimer about my small list…I was tired and a bit down in the dumps.  So, I didn’t aspire to get much accomplished.  I did get a second wind late afternoon, though…

Friday’s List

  • Fed dogs twice
  • Cleaned and refilled inside water bowl
  • Swept inside the house and the porch
  • Revamped my resume and job hunted online
  • Visited local Workforce Center for job referrals
  • Listened to Revive Our Hearts
  • Dusted lamp shades (see photo below)
  • Fixed Chicky’s dehumidifier – who knew that you had to clean the dust from where the air gets sucked in?!  It’s working properly now!
  • Vacuumed Chicky’s room
  • Scooped dog poop
  • Removed dry clothes from the line
  • Took out the trash
  • Watered plants inside and out
  • Made two bowls of chicken salad using two rotisserie chickens from Publix
  • Finished watching Heroes season online
  • Knit on my Leyburn Socks (I’m up to the leg now…almost done with Sock #1)
  • Read a few chapters of my book, Blowback

Now, a few photos.

You’ll probably remember the pictures I posted of the pile of tree branches beside the curb.  One of my online friends questioned whether the pile would get picked up.

Check out this wayyyy cool truck…

When he was done…

You know what this means?

Now I can start trimming the trees in the back yard!  Woo Hoo!

Oh, and I thought I would share a picture of my lamp shade…

That’s about six months worth of dust.  What a difference the extra effort makes!

A Week Without the Kids

I’m in a bit of a fog today.

It could be due to the fact that I just saw the kids off at the church…bright and early this morning.  They are headed to camp and won’t return until Sunday evening.  Because they are “leaders,” they had the privilege leaving two days early for a side trip to a lake.  They worked hard last week and deserve it.

Watching them pack during the last couple of days made me a little sad.  More so because I know that next summer, Chicky will be packing for a trip that will last for much longer than a week.

Ahhh, but the look of eagerness in their eyes far overshadowed my sadness.  They were almost bouncing in their seats as we drove the short distance to the church.

I delayed leaving them but finally asked each of them for one last hug.  Chicky grudgingly obliged.

And then I left, looking back to see Rooster’s big bag of Funyuns sitting by the curb, waiting to accompany him to his seat on the bus.  The Funyuns are a tradition.  I always buy a bag of snack-bagged Funyuns for his trips so that he can share with the others.  Everyone has come to expect them.

Still, my heart was a wee bit heavy.  I don’t know why, but even though the kids are older now, and they’ve been away from home several times, I still feel sad when they aren’t near.  It’s not a control issue, although Chicky thinks it is.

Nope.  There’s simply a contentment when your loved ones are under the same roof.

When I got home, the Mr. was still asleep.  I played around on the computer for a bit and decided to go back to bed as well.  Might as well make the most of the quiet!

Now I’m up again and trying to decide what to do with myself.

I don’t know what I’m going to do this week, but you can be sure that I will be knitting.  Look at my latest project, started a couple of evenings ago…

Leyburn Socks

Leyburn Socks

I’m using this yarn…purchased recently…

Rio de la Plata

Rio de la Plata

My goal:  to finish this pair before they come home.

Lofty?

Perhaps.

I’ve also going to work in the yard, watering my flowers faithfully.  I wonder how much taller my sunflowers will be when the kids get home.  They, like the kids, seem to grow a little every day.  Here’s their progress so far:

It should be a good week…for all of us.

I will be praying that God will use this time to draw us all nearer to Him.  I know that I am often guilty of focusing on the tangible things in my life…people and material items…rather than keeping God at the center of my attention.

Edited to add:  Today’s Revive Our Hearts program dealt with just this issue!  Here’s the link for the website.  Or, click the link below to download the audio version (you’ll be hooked after listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss):

Revive Our Hearts: God Comes First

I am praying that the kids will grow in their desire to have a deep fellowship with God.  When they eventually leave home for the last time, He is the one possession I want them to carry with them throughout the lives, whereever they may venture off to.

Getting Into the Book

Today is a non-working day for me.  In other words, I didn’t get called to sub.  Actually, the subbing job I had lined up got canceled.

No, I didn’t sleep in.  I got up at 5:45, showered, and dressed…just in case a last-minute call did come in.  The kids and I resumed our regular routine of devotions.  Last week, they went to church bright and early every morning for a special week of Easter services.

When they left for school, I still had not receive a call, so I decided to go ahead and get started with my day…hitting Sam’s Club and Target early.  The dogs will be happy that they will be eating a full cup of food tonight.  This morning, Pele scarfed down his 1/2 cup and looked at me like the world was ending.

When I got home, I decided to listen to the latest Revive Our Hearts program.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss has a daily radio program.

Today was a treat!  Kay Arthur was a guest speaker, and what she discussed truly touched my heart.  Today’s topic is titled “Getting Into the Book.”  Kay discusses the importance of digging deeply into God’s Word, and she gives a basic lesson on the Inductive Study Method.

My prayer is that you will open up your Bible…dust it off if necessary…we’ve all been there, after all…and start reading.  Take your time, and utilize some of the tips that Kay suggests.  I’ve inadvertently been doing this recently and have seen my hunger and understanding grow.

Ironing Can Be Fun

Oh boy…I can just see you rolling your eyes at the title of my post today.  Truth be told, I would be rolling them as well if I wasn’t the author of it.

Today was a bit stressful at work.

Well, “bit” isn’t quite the right word.  More like VERY.  More about that in my next post.

Anyhoo…after taking Molly for a walk (yeah, you KNOW it was stressful if I actually got off the couch and exercised), I returned home and decided to iron.

Well, deciding to iron was, in all honesty, an afterthought.  I decided to listen to an AMAZING program that I discovered a few days ago.  I set up the computer on my dining room table and figured I could be productive…hence the ironing.

The program is Revive Our Hearts Radio.

How I found this site is a long story.

Last year, my sister attended the Revive Our Hearts Conference in Chicago.  She came home energized and eager to share points from the key note speaker.

Ho hum, I listened.  While it sounded interesting, I didn’t get too excited.  This might seem shallow to you, but I’m just being honest about how I responded.  I love my sister.  She’s an amazing example of what a woman of God should be.  She’s a prayer warrior and devoted wife and mother.  I could learn much from her.

Fast forward to a week or two ago.  I started corresponding via email with one of the gals who commented about one of my blog posts.  It was quickly apparent that she, too, is a woman of God with much wisdom.  She mentioned the Revive Our Hearts ministry in one of her messages.  This was the prompt I needed to check out the site, although I was already subscribed to the True Woman ’08 blog.  I didn’t think it would be much different since True Woman is an off-shoot of Revive our Hearts.

Boy, was I wrong.

The first thing I noticed after going to the home page was the title of the current series of radio programs…a study about the life of Joshua.

Hmmm…sounded interesting.  I think I poked around a bit and felt like I hit the jackpot when I saw the series titled “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby.” This is the a two-part speech that my sister was treated to at her conference.

Yeah, I figured it was God directing me there.

So I listened.

And I was blown away.

You MUST listen to both parts.  It’s convicting and thought-inspiring.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, so go listen.

After listening to these, I am hooked.  I’ve subscribed to the podcast.  Episodes are about 22 minutes.  I went back and decided to listen to the Joshua program; however, I stopped myself when I realized that this is an ongoing study.  I’ve had to hunt around a bit, but I did find where it begins…here, on February 18th.

Go to it and listen.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss is easy on the ears.  The truths she puts out are like fire…convicting, educational, and inspiring.

Trust me.

I don’t do ironing on a good day.  I certainly had not planned on doing it today after the crazy few hours of work.

If something is good enough to get me to stand around for an hour and a half (I listened to three lessons), it’s definitely worth investigating.

Happy New Year!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s 2009 already!  Time flies when you’re having fun, eh?

Today is New Year’s Day.  I’ve declared it Pajama Day in the AuburnChick home!  Rooster and I worked so hard yesterday that I figured we deserved the break.

So, here I sit, in my jammies and fluffy robe, pondering what New Year’s means to me.

I’m not sure that I’m big on resolutions.  They never amount to much for me.  I guess I just have a bad way of following through with them, despite my good intentions.

Between this post on the True Woman ’08 blog (make sure you read this list in the middle of that post) and this post on Mrs. Pivec’s blog, I’ve been more reflective than past years.  Both blogs offer much food for thought.  I like that Mrs. Pivec selects one word to focus on during the year.  I also love the ten questions that are presented in the True Woman list.  They are not for the faint of heart.

I pondered the words I had read.  Over and over, I kept hearing the themes of time and debt in my heart.

I think I need to do a better job of managing how I spent my time.  I’m not dedicating much, if any (I’m ashamed to say) quiet time reading God’s Word.  I’ve used the excuse that the kids and I do devotions on school days.  However, that’s no way to build a relationship with God.  Relationships require an investment of time to truly get to know the other party involved.  A man and a woman who desire a serious relationship do not spend all of their time together in the presence of other people.  They spend time one-on-one, listening to each other, speaking the words that are deep within their hearts.  Sometimes, they are content just to be together, not even saying a word but simply enjoying the quiet presence of the other person.

The same can be said of growing a relationship with God.  Yes, we need corporate worship time.  However, we also need one-on-one time.  I think of some of the greatest people in the Bible.  Men like Abraham, David, and Jesus (I’ll count him even though he IS God) spent many, many hours in solitude, praying and desiring to be close to God.  I need to be more like them.

The other issue that’s been on my heart is debt.  With the down-turn in the economy and the severe cut in my pay, I’ve felt very convicted for the financial choices I’ve made over the years.  I think I’ve confused wants for needs.  Somehow, as salaries have increased, my savings have decreased.  More money in the paycheck?  Now I can up my cell phone plan, subscribe to more channels on the cable box, and maybe even buy more yarn.  However, I should have been putting more into savings, paying down things like the car payment and other debt, tithing more, and looking for more ways to give.  Putting God first.

Ugh.  How I wish for a clean slate – someone to come along, pay off everything for me – and let me start over.  But I think that I wouldn’t learn my lessons well that way, now would I?  I would probably revert back to my old ways.  Metal cannot be purified without going through fire; nor can I be changed and molded into something new without bringing the impurities of my life to the surface so that they can, ultimately, be removed.

So, those are the things I’ve been pondering lately.  I didn’t mean for the post to sound depressing.  When I reflect, I often do not focus on the good things I’ve done.  I look for ways I can grow, and this usually involves peeling back the superficial layers in my life to reveal the blood and guts of that lie beneath…not a pretty picture but present all the same.

Oh, and a few last words before I end this post.

Last night, while watching THE ball drop on TV, I was struck by something one of the hosts said.  He said that people are happy to see ’08 go and are looking forward to the new year and the HOPE that it will bring.  It was a reminder that each new day presents a fresh ray of hope to start anew.  God, in His infinite wisdom, did not make life on earth one long, endless day.  I think that would be rather depressing.  The rising of the sun each day symbolizes the chance to start over.

God is SO good!

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