Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On February, Finances, and the Finer Things in Life

  • In case you missed the memo, tomorrow is the first day of February--one of my (Amy's) favorite months of the year. Might have something to do with the fact that my birthday, my mom's birthday, and Valentine's Day all fall in February. I have to admit: I have a weakness for all things Valentiney. I mean, when else can you pair bright red with light pink and get away with it? I also like that February is short, which makes March come faster, which means Spring Break is on its way, right?
  • A few weeks ago, I finished reading Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover." I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn the basics of financial security. I was inspired to be more purposeful in how I'm spending the money God entrusts to me. My first step was to estimate my income for the month of January. Then I wrote up a plan for how I would offer, save, and spend that money. I committed to writing down everything I bought and how much it cost. I also kept track of everything I earned. The process was really eye-opening. It was empowering to set limits for myself in each spending category and to know I would say no to further spending once I hit those limits. I'm definitely planning to keep it up!
  • This time of year, I usually start to experience the winter doldrums. Life takes on a monotonously stressful feel as homework and scholarship applications pile up. The pressure to figure out my summer plans and register for fall classes hits hard. It's tempting to let the stress rob me of my peace, and Lord knows I've done that a few times this week. But when I really stop to think about it, I have so much to rejoice in. I could write pages on that, but I have to get back to the aforementioned homework soon, so here are just a few things I'm thankful for right now :-): 1. Friends in my classes who love God and encourage me in my faith. 2. Opportunities to share our faith in those classes. 3. A new small-group Bible study to challenge me. 4. Some fun Young Adult Group events to look forward to this month.
  • And today, I'm thankful for a jealous God who gives me peace only when I seek His face. I can't wander far before He breaks me and draws me back to HIm. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Life through the Eyes...

...of preschoolers. Kyle and Ella came yesterday. They're four now. Hard to believe. They are growing like weeds, and their personalities are so much fun! Here are some talks we had throughout the day. They make me smile. Conversation 1-- Background info.: My mom had set out two kids' books for the twins, both of which we'd read to them many times before. Kyle took one look at them, and the following conversation ensued. Kyle: Don't you guys have any other books? Amy: (giggles) Sure. Do you wanna come downstairs and find some with me? Kyle: Yeah! Amy: (walking down the stairs with Kyle) Hey, let's go in my room! I have some new books in there. Kyle: (hesitates) Are they the reading kind? Conversation 2-- Ella: (looking at the large floral arrangement in our dining room) Where did you get those flowers? Amy: Someone left them at our church after a funeral, because they had so many flowers. Have you ever been to a funeral? Ella: Yeah. We been to Uncle Al's funeral. We went to the church. And we went to the funeral house. That's where lots of people die. Conversation 3-- Kyle: Amy, do you play your guitar at your church? Amy: Yep, and I sing there too. Kyle: Does Julie sing with you at your church? Amy: Nope. Kyle: Why doesn't she? Amy: Well, she doesn't like to sing in front of people. Kyle: Does she like to sing in back of people?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It Did!

Well, I asked for snow, and I got it! It snowed almost all day on New Year's Eve, and it was beautiful! I (Amy) have been on break from school for 2 1/2 weeks now, and it has been wonderful. So good to have time to relax with family, read books I actually want to read, reconnect with friends home on break, and reorganize my room. I've been working nearly every weekday, but even that has been pretty relaxing, since both offices I work in are pretty quiet during the break. We enjoyed a very nice Christmas with my dad's side of the family. Christmases at Bop and Nanny's house are always full of love, laughter, and lots of yummy food! We played a lot of games this year, and went for some nice long walks to get some exercise. Thanks, Bop and Nanny, for hosting us and for making every Christmas memorable. We love you bunches! So far, the New Year has been A. MA. ZING. Dad and Julie had to work New Year's Eve, and Mom had been invited to another party, so Katie and I started the year off right by hosting a party for young adults at our house. We played games, laughed a lot, and toasted with sparkling cider at midnight. Then a few friends stayed and talked into the wee hours of the morning. After everyone was gone, and my family had all come home and gone to bed, I stood over a sink full of soapy water and dishes. My eyelids were drooping, my feet were sore, and there was much cleaning to be done, but I had a big smile on my face. As I thought about each friend who had come to celebrate with us, I realized once again just how blessed I am. This year, like the last, will hold trials. At times, there will be worries, misunderstandings, sorrows, anger, and tears. There will be days when we feel like giving up. But for those of us who are in Christ, there will also be love. There will be peace. And hope. And unspeakable joy. Despite the hardships inherent to life in this fallen world, it will be a happy New Year, for "happy is that people whose God is the LORD." (Psalm 144:15)