Saturday, January 22, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Fannie Mae. All opinions are 100% mine.
Since the start of the holiday season, I have personally known 18 people that have lost their jobs. Not to mention the dozens of others who have been out of work for months. While the news media claims that the economy is improving, I just don't see it. Some of these friends were employed with their companies for 15+ years, and had no plans of leaving the company of their own accord. Yet, the economy has had such a negative impact on their companies, that they were forced to make major cutbacks, and let go of some good, long-term, quality employees.
So many of these families were already living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to meet their basic financial obligations before their layoffs, that now they are in a desperate financial crisis. While cutting back on non-essentials, using coupons, and curbing spending are all necessary under these circumstances, the most important payment we make each month is our mortgage.
One of the first things someone who has lost their job needs to do, is to make a plan for handling their mortgage. You can visit Know Your Options by Fannie Mae. You don't want to get into a situation where you are facing foreclosure on top of everything else, if it is avoidable, so educate yourself early on. There are so many scams out there, and you are most vulnerable to them when you are in a crisis situation, and visiting KnowYourOptions.com will help you learn how to safely handle your mortgage during this difficult time.
I urge everyone to bookmark this site to pass on to friends or family members should they need it. While financial matters are a delicate issue, I'd rather be uncomfortable approaching a friend to offer help, than to see them lose their home to foreclosure because they were unaware of safe options they may have been eligible for.
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.
Nick is a huge fan of using TABASCO® Original Red on most everything he eats. From eggs in the morning for breakfast to the majority of items I cook for dinner in the evenings. One of his favorite things that I make, and the kids have grown to love it as well, is to brown some ground chuck, add some spices and TABASCO® Original Red then stir all of that into some Macaroni and Cheese. Those guys eat it until it's gone. Zero leftovers! At first I was afraid that the TABASCO® Original Red would make the food too hot for them, but it doesn't. They don't like the meal without it, and they all insist that it gives the food a better flavor. When I looked up the website, I found the following quote, which matched what my family says "TABASCO® Original Red is not about heat for heat’s sake. It’s about what heat does to the flavor of food. The simple combination of salt, red pepper, and vinegar are perfected in a 3-year aging process that produces a hot sauce with the uncanny ability to bring the most out of your food. Other hot sauces add their own specific flavor to food. TABASCO® Original Red simply enhances the flavor of food"
We just watched the NCAA Championship game on Monday, and the kids threw a fit that I didn't have any "Football" food prepared. However, it was just too cold! With all the snow and Artic Air, I had put on a beef stew in the crockpot, not even thinking about the football game at night. But, after the uproar, I am now planning what we will have for Superbowl Sunday next month. The Tabasco site has an excellent Game-Day Party Menu with tons of great ideas for "football" food, such as Pizza Perfected which sounds delicious. I am all for affordable food that I can make at home to fill up these bottomless tummies!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.
When Aaron was just a baby and in daycare, we were on a mission to find the appropriate formula for his special needs. Breastfeeding wasn't enough for what he needed, and he was unable to tolerate certain formula types. We were fortunate to have a good pediatrician that gave us samples for some types, and I was able to find coupons for other types to help curb the cost because specialized formulas can be very expensive.
Fortunately for new parents today, you have the additional benefit of being able to purchase diapers and formula online as well, for even more savings! For example, many brands such as Bright Beginnings, you can buy on diapers.com at even more savings. Now some of you might be wondering how this brand compares to the "major" brands. One lesson I learned very early on from our first pediatrician is that the FDA regulates all infant formulas sold to make sure they are nutritionally equivalent, and that they all meet the same standards. By the time the third child was born, and I had all THREE children on formula at the same time, we were looking for all of the cost savings we could find!
Diapers.com also offers coupons right on the header of their site, such as 10% off all purchases, 1-2 day shipping, and free returns if you are not satisfied.
I also want to encourage you to "like" Bright Beginnings on Facebook to see what other parents are saying, and to take part in discussions as well!
Here are a few of examples from Amazon, just to give you an idea:
1. Hooks right onto the cart
2. Similar to what I use
3. More stylish
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
- Sunday Paper: I have one subscription to the Sunday/Wednesday edition of my local paper. Sunday for the coupons and circulars, Wednesday to get the new grocery store ads. If I know the current week has exceptional coupons that I plan to use, I will go down the street to the convenience store to purchase additional copies. However, I only buy the amount I know I will use! (example: Target often has $10 gift card coupons with new prescriptions. Last month I had 5 scripts I needed filled, so I made sure I had 5 papers total. $50 in gift cards for $6 worth of Sunday papers. Profit of $44.)
- Internet: I have a list on my sidebar of the sites I visit to print coupons. I first exhaust my supply of newspaper coupons, then supplement with internet coupons. Many companies offer exclusive coupons from their direct site, or their facebook page, so be sure to "like" the companies you purchase products from!
- Supermarket Machines: Often products in the store will have machines, displays or tearpads located near them offering discounts on them. Other times products have coupons attached to them, just remember to pull them off before checking out! Sometimes these are good deals, other times not. My rule of thumb is to only take the coupon if it is something I planned to purchase anyway, or that I know I will use. I don't buy things just because I have a coupon.
- Magazines: All You is probably the magazine with the most coupons in it. However, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Parents, and Taste of Home (among others) regularly include at least a few coupons, often enough to pay for the subscription.
- My mom: My mom saves her coupons, and after she clips what she needs, she brings me the leftovers when she visits. I have a few other friends with whom I pass coupons that I know I won't use, but they probably will, so I mail them. They reciprocate, and it works nicely.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Let me rephrase this passage with explanation, expansion, and commentary so you can see the concepts in another way:
I endure many hardships. But I think of my trials like “little deaths” because I see how God resurrects, or brings life out of, them. You, Corinthians, are the ones who benefit from this, so I don’t mind if God uses my life and faith as an engine to convert those deaths into life. In fact, once you realize that trials are fuel, or firewood, to be burned and transformed into life, you no longer run from them; you embrace them. This is why I rejoice in the severity of my trials, persevere in them, and embrace them by faith. I never think, “Oh, no … another trial.” I actually think, “Bring it on; it’s just more logs for the fire.”
It is no doubt human nature to avoid pain; it’s definitely my nature. I dare you to spring out of bed every morning like it were Christmas Day, anticipating what new deaths lie ahead and how God will transform them into life. It’s not a normal way of looking at life, but then again neither is returning from a torture session “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
If Mr. Thomas Kuhn were still alive, I believe he would call this a paradigm shift, a fundamentally different way of viewing life. In fact, when a perspective is so mind-altering and counterintuitive, we do not call it insight, but insanity. It’s not just a different way of thinking, it’s too different—odd different. Apart from faith, James’ sentiment, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2), would have to be seen as gibberish, as would the affections expressed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer when he said, “Can you sense that I have now a terrible longing for my own suffering?”
However, when you begin to view death as an opportunity for more and greater life, here and now, as well as in the age to come, it changes everything. It reorients us entirely.
In the past year I’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel with something like ten thousand college students, with several hundred of those coming to Christ. This outreach to universities was launched from a book I wrote titled Jesus Without Religion. I can’t prove this, but I don’t think the fruitfulness of the book is necessarily tied to the book itself.
The book took me six months to write, and the very day after completing it, my computer crashed. As it turned out, the “heads” on the hard drive were cracked, and nothing was salvageable. This, at least, is what the repairman told me; I know nothing of the heads, hands, or feet of a hard drive, nothing of basic hard drive anatomy at all. This would have been the perfect time to pull out the backup copy that I’d saved—if there had been a backup copy. But I had nothing; the book was gone, dead and buried, its remains sprinkled throughout the cyber universe—from pixels it came and to pixels it returned.
Yet this perspective of death presented in Scripture ultimately led me to a sense of anticipation. Here, in the teaching of Jesus and the disciples, death (the death of a hope, dream, goal, or six months worth of work) doesn’t mean dead—it means the opportunity for resurrection.
To give thanks and praise in such circumstances is one way in which death is transformed into life. The blackened logs of death consumed by faith’s flame are transformed into wisps of praise drifting upward. Death is a consumable fuel for life, and any experience of death can yield spiritual life if it is embraced by faith. Giving thanks and praise is simply one method of transference.
I do not remember if I gave thanks. I might have sworn. But after regaining my spiritual equilibrium, I did start on page one, with word one, and with considerable anticipation that God would use the resurrected rewrite like Lazarus, drawing many to Himself.
I can’t prove the connection in this particular case, but I know it’s there. I know it’s God’s resurrection power working through a corpse. (Though in my enthusiasm for the metaphor, I have just called my book a corpse, which can’t be good for future sales).
It certainly makes sense to me why an unbeliever would run from death. But for a believer, to run from death is, in reality, to run from life. This is why we embrace death and consider it pure joy in whatever form we encounter it. Death is no longer a dead end or detour to life; it’s a fuel stop. Death, like gasoline, is combusted and converted into mileage, enabling us to get to our destination—the light and life of the great city glowing over the horizon.
***Note: My apologies for the late posting of this tour. I had this item scheduled to auto post on Nov 15, and did not realize that this, and a few other posts did not go live as intended. So, I will be changing the date on the posts to make sure that you are able to read them!***
"It's just as easy to love a rich man as a poor man," the adage goes. But is the dream of fancy clothes, mansions, and fine dining worth compromising your morals and faith? Sarah McCabe must find her answer in Andrea Boeshaar's Uncertain Heart, book two in the Seasons of Redemption series.
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