Category Archives: Being a Help-Meet

Levelized Billing

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Looking for any and every way to cut your bills and save time? 

Did you know you can get similar payments year round and you don’t have to write checks every month?

I LOVE this! We have our utility services through city water, entergy (electricity), Center Point Energy (natural gas), SuddenLink (internet only), and AT&T. Each service may call it something different but all of these offer at least one if not both services called “Levelized Billing” (or “Average Monthly Billing”) and “Automatic Bank Draft” (or “Electronic Withdraw”) so yesterday I spent ~1 finding all of our utilities online or calling to them set up.

I hear some of you, “There’s no way I want to give out my personal information and allow someone else access to my account” “I like knowing when money is coming out of my account”, and so on. I’ve had all those arguments. After my 3rd blessing came along everything seemed to stared piling up, and the only ‘adult time’ I had was being spent doing house work, paying bills, balancing the check book or on the computer. I decided I needed to cut out some out…anything that was just unnecessary. No matter my silly qualms. Since I seems to check my online checking register often and already have our home mortgage coming out automatically each month it was just the push I needed to try this with all my bills that made it available. It was so simple. I can try to up date you after my 1st month or so to let you know if I’m still liking it.

Wanna try it? Here is how:

Register for an online account ID:

  • utility account information (all found on an old bill)
  • personal information (i.e. Name, house #, phone #, email address, usually thing you’ll have memorized)
  • create a password (I keep a document on my computer with “account reminders” to help me remember what different accounts ask you to use for ‘usernames’ or passwords)

For Levelized Billing:

  • you need to have lived at your residence for at least 1 full year
  • have your online account ID already set up

For Auto Draft:

  • utility account information (all found on an old bill)
  • have your online account ID already set up
  • a method you want them to use each month for billing- your credit card (I personally discourage) but debit card might work in the same way or simply your *checking account information (all found on the bottom of a check)
  • a few minutes

{it is almost scary how fast you can set this up}

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Do you have these services already set up?
Do you like them?
Are they helpful to you and your family?
If so, how? If not, what are the drawbacks!
Do you have any other helpful hint to share for saving money and time?

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Nope, no one is paying me for my indorsement of this service…but if you know how I CAN get paid for that- LET ME KNOW! ;o)

Photo Credit: Woman Paying Bills

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(In)courage

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girl colorized by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere“>

““Where two or more get together in My name I’m there too,” promised Jesus.

And I don’t think cyberspace is excluded.” – incourage.me

One of the blog sites I love to ready almost daily is incourage. Today, their post was How can we pray for you? Amazing! As Christian’s in blogging communities, shouldn’t we be offering this opportunity more often?!? Thank you women of incourage for challenging me today as well as giving me the chance to seek partnership in praying for my thorns!

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Many of you already know how you can be praying for me and my family this week but just incase you don’t, this is our request at the moment:

This week my husband and I are struggling through making 2 out of what God has made one. No, we are not getting divorce! My hubby is a youth pastor and is away at summer camp for a little over a week leaving me in my failed attempt at being a single parent. I do have great loving support and help but it’s just not the same as having your literal other half there for that steady routine and irreplaceable hugs at the end of the day.
My 3 babes are all under 3, the oldest will be 3 Wednesday during camp, the next is almost 1.5 year old, and the youngest is 5 month old. At this age they almost all require, desire 1 on 1 time (at least at some point during the day). We made an hour and 1/2 trip today to see him for Father’s Day and will again for Maggie’s birthday. TOUGH all the way around!
I’m assuming most of you reading this totally understand what kinds of stresses come with this situation and know how to pray for me (probably better than I do myself).
Thanks for this opportunity to share this request and in advance for lifting me and my family up to The Father on Father’s Day!

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Leave your prayer request as a comment. Before you do, please take a moment to read, pray for, and respond to the prayer request before yours. Let’s love on each other, friends.

Crumbs in Our Bed

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Chitter chatter from to cradle and crib down the hall wakes me,
I’d like to say with a smile on my face but instead,
with a grumpy spirit.
Morning snuggles, diaper changes,
turn on the antenna powered tv, super why entertains my child with lessons on letters while I run down stairs,
pop a couple frozen waffles in the toaster along with a poptart,
grab sippy cups 1/2 full of milk, then head back upstairs
to find the toddler is yanking at the baby safety gate and the baby is chill’n in the middle of the king size bed
only to be greeted moments later by the preschooler all sleepy-eyed and full of grins to see that the tv is on.

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Yep, this is a habit we’ve avoided for YEARS. Our bed is our bed but his morning Our Bed is full of Smiles, cartoons, and crumbs!

My husband is a youth pastor. We started our married life joyfully chasing after students for Jesus. As we’ve grown our family of 2 up to 5 in the past 3 years we are still attempting the chase but it seems to have become this triathlon rather than our former well oiled machine whose pace was perfectly in sync. As an irreplaceable, crazy 5-some we are butterfly’n it across the lake, 3 kids in floaties attached to our wastes, looping back to retrace the route around the correct bogies. We then jump’n from the water onto our double seater bike with a baby trailer and seat attached busting through barricades make of hay-bails getting dirtier and more roughed up as the journey continues only to muster up all our strength for the 3-legged-potatoe sack-race, baby harnesses in-toe, toward the goal with our skinned hearts, browsed egos, and wore down bodies, minds, and souls.

If anyone reading has mastered this “help-mate” thing as an involved youth pastor’s wife while being an active mommy at the same time as maintaining her home, let me in on the secret!

I haven’t trained for this kind of feet. I don’t even know where to seek out this kind of training. But I believe, with all that is in me, I wouldn’t continue to have these desires {to help serve alongside my husband in ministry, raise my children wholeheartedly, and maintain a home of order and peace all for the glory of God} if that wasn’t what The One was calling me to do. I’m a work in progress daily remembering- all I have is through His blessing and all I am lacking is coming in His timing. Change me oh Lord!

So, for today while I can’t be right beside my creative hubs at Super Summer AR chasing after students for Jesus, I will attempt to maintain peace and order in my home while loving my babes wholeheartedly, even if that means Our Bed is full of Smiles, cartoons, and crumbs for today!

*leave a thought in the way of comments, inboxes, or tweets!

Central Shoes

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Looking for a practical way to make a difference internationally?
TOMS is a great organization who provided 1 pair of shoes to someone overseas in need of shoes for every pair of shoes you purchase (min. $44.00+shipping). So, running (hehe) with their idea, my amazing hubs decided he wanted in on the action of impacting people groups in 3rd world nations. Although the phenomenon of TOMS does provided an overwhelming amount of shoes overseas they are not a Christian based organization and therefore their goal is to simply prolong impoverished people’s lives by bettering thier daily lives with shoes. As a Christ follower I am called to make disciples therefore I don’t feel right about prolong someones earthly life without sharing the eternal life changing message of Jesus Christ.
Central Shoes are the most basic tennis shoes we could find (yes, you may recognise them from your local Wal-Mart or Target stores). We are purchasing them and then giving them to those who donate $40.00 to this cause. ~$1o.00 will go toward the cost of the shoes and then the other$30 goes directly to an organization called Soles for Jesus. With $30.00 they can provide 15 pairs of shoes AND share Jesus with everyone who gets a pair!!!
If you haven’t done the math yet, that’s 1 pair for you and 15 for children in Africa PLUS Jesus!

Just a simple way to make an impact! Comment or inbox me for more details about getting a pair.

Awe, the memories they made

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Memories…good, bad, awkward, fun, silly, painful, deep- all have a special place in God’s perfect, absolute, complete, flawless plan!
This past weekend, my family and I took a trek up to Fayetteville to hang out with my parents, niece and nephew for a couple of days. After the tasking of simply (hehe) getting packed and out-of-town the adventure began! Traveling with a potty training (almost) 3-year-old, a napping 1.5-year-old and nursing 5 month old while was a task; attempting to keep everyone from melting down by stopping for 3 potty breaks, grab a snack which was then tossed with happy meal toy (that had been collecting in a bucket) to the back of the van over our bags, stroller, and stuff– 4 hours later we arrived right on time for their bed time. But we still needed to eat dinner and get in some Much needed play time with the cousins! We all met the chicken’s and ducks the grandparents bought at Easter time in honor of all the grandkids. The girls played with naked barbies and chased remote control trucks. We attempted to set up camp with our three little ones who are very set in a routine. Maggie’s sharing a bed with someone for the 1st time. Izzie was scared to sleep in a room with her cousin in a strange new place. Jamin passed smooth out from exhaustion never to be heard from again until 6:30 a.m. Poppie ran to get a pillow to lay with Izzie until she went to sleep. And night 1 was over.

After a long night of trying to keep everyone in their beds we woke up EARLY. The day was packed with tons more playing, grocery shopping, lunch at Chick-fil-A (AMAZING every time!) and my mom and I got ready for the party (that’s what we call any gathering with food and friends).

Party’n with family was fun. Catching up, telling stories, eating steaks, mac-n-cheese, and duck booty cupcakes, snapping pictures, and laughing!

(these pics of the girls were captured by my cousin Lisa- THX!)

El Shaddai showed up this weekend- my God is all-sufficient!

Taco Soup

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Hubs walks in at 4:15 from work. We usually eat around 5ish. I have not started dinner…TACO SOUP!

2 lbs hamburger meat (we use lean ground beef)
2 cans whole kernel corn (we use 1 large family size can)
2 cans rotel diced tomatoes
1 pkg dry taco seasoning
1 pkg dry hidden valley ranch dressing mix
1 small chopped onion (we use ~3 tsp of onion pwd- don’t like the texture of actual onions)

Brown meat with onions and then drain. Combine all ingredients (can add water if you want it soupier), bring to boil, then walk away and let it simmer about 30 minutes. Make a bed of fritos, pile on the taco soup, and top with shredded cheese!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is always more than enough for a couple rounds of left overs and this reheats fabulous!!! I didn’t say it was healthy but it sure is quick and YUMMY! Enjoy!
*Thanks to Sally Hudson for this amazing receipt!

Do you have any favorite receipts you can share. Love to hear’m!

The “Monica” Closet

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I am an admitted, recovering, HOARDER!

It’s hereditary. Everyone’s trash is my families treasure. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t save things like banana peels or something…well, unless we can come up with a great use for them. We are organized in our clutter. We have piles of scrap metal, appliances, clothes, non-perishable food, movies, furniture, cars, decorations for every holiday. The list goes on and on. We share our piles when someone is in need, it just might take a little digging.

I digress…as a RECOVERING hoarder- God Does call us to be a good steward of the things he blesses us with and I am NOT slamming my family or the billions of people who life this way but I believe He has called me, in my life, to live like the birds, depending on Him day-to-day to provide our needs.

This is our attempting to live a hoard-free life of “poverty”, according to most of American standards, so that we may (Matthew 28:19 NIV) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we have abundantly basic needs and even wants for our entire family.”

The “Monica” closet may be under control right now but my next task it the guest room closet where I am storing all our things we intend to “get rid of” via giving to friends/family, a yard sale, consignment sale, and ultimately the good will.

These are just a few scriptures and or websites with godly insight that I’ve refered to before in our journey.

Abraham’s Promise: Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:1-19, Hebrews 6:15

Joseph’s Preparation: Genesis 41:41-57

Rich Man’s Store House: Luke 12:13-21

David Platt’s Radical, the book

Gospel Poverty mentality

That being said…I now attempt to organize every space in my home to make it comfortable and super functional as well as keep my heart in check and out of the “stuff mart“. Because of the physical goal, just like in the ’90s sitcom “Friends” Season 8 Episode 14 “The One with the Secret Closet”, I have over organized and this closet is where all the stuff goes that doesn’t fit into an already existing category. Just another area I fail in my life as I am trying to fix things my own. I will praise God in these times to because when I am weak He is strong. When I have the false sense that I am somehow “handling” things without Him the destruction and fall come as a result of my pride and haughty spirit (Proverbs 16:18).

~Confessions of a Recovering hoarder~

*To see the newest attempt at this challenge click to see the original post.

**Friend me on Facebook to see the 1st attempt at the “Monica” closet.

***Insight in to the life of true Hoaders

A Journey of God’s Goodness

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Today’s post is a guest post from my amazing Hubs, Matt Rothacher!

A journey of God’s goodness

When guests come to our house I often find myself telling various length versions of how we came to reside in 5 Concord Drive, and my wife asked me to share one of those versions here (she was vague on the length so if this gets really long, she brought this upon herself)…

About a year ago my lovely wife and I began to feel that God was moving us into a new place of ministry and, as with any move, perhaps the most important facet is where you will live. My bride loves looking at different houses and so anytime a new church would contact us it would free her up to scour the internet looking for our next home. Now, I’m not as big of a house enthusiast as my wife, but I did get excited to search for our next abode, so I helped in the internet hunt. As I did, I stumbled across an enormous house in the area of town we were looking for a price well below the norm. The house was listed on multiple sites, but the majority of those only had a single picture of the outside. With much effort, I found the one site with pictures of the inside. The aesthetic condition of the inside appeared to be a big part of why it was priced where it was, and I set my heart on it.

To understand the whole picture of this gift I have to let you in on what God was doing in me apart from just relocate. For weeks, prior to beginning the interview process, my emotions had been going haywire. I would find myself tearing up when watching the Biggest Loser, which isn’t totally abnormal but I was crying when they’d step on the scale before any emotional twist came. It was always the same- I felt the need for the emotional release and tears would start to come out and then it was if someone just shut it off and the fullness would remain. Then God clued me in on what was going on.

I was sitting in the initial interview meeting with the staff of our new church, and noticed both of them using iPhones which of course set off my “I want one of those” rants, and they assured me that all staff received an iPhone. I couldn’t tell you anything else about that meeting after that but I came home telling my wife all about the iPhone and little else about the church. This caused me to stop and ask God why I was so excited about a silly phone. What I found is something I’m not proud of; I had lost my faith in God’s goodness towards me and my life. Now I could with great confidence and belief tell you that God desired to give you the desires of your heart, I just had become jaded to the fact that He cared about my desires. Or rather that my desires just never matched His for my life.

This poor thinking was a direct result of the birth of my first child, Maggie. I, like most men, really wanted a boy (for the record I would not trade my Maggie for a thousand boys) and the entire pregnancy I wanted this baby to be a boy. I knew though, from the very beginning, that she was not a boy. We didn’t find out the sex until her birth but I knew. I knew because I wanted a boy and therefore God would not give one to me. It was a horrible image of God, I knew this, but it was my image of Him. Apparently it was set in place almost two years before I realized it bothered God even more than it bothered me. So back to the iPhone and my question, “why this phone was so exciting?” God’s answer to my question was one that spoke healing into my heart. “I am going to prove my goodness to you through this move. I want to give you the desires of your heart even the ones as small and seemingly insignificant as an iPhone.”

I mentioned that the house was already listed well below average, so much so that you looked at the price, and then at the square footage and concluded: problem. Something’s gotta be wrong with it. We were sure that there was probably something wrong with the foundation and clearly the interior needed some immediate attention, but I loved it and began asking God to give it to me at a price our family could afford. We made an offer $25,000.00 below the asking price, contingent on there not being  foundation damage, and they took it! Our home inspection found nothing wrong with the foundation at all, which came as shock to everyone but my wife and I. The price of the house versus the size of the house was so  unbelievable to the bank financing our loan that they sent their own inspector and made a structural engineer come out to look at it; it passed again! Every step of the move God showered His goodness upon me with the house being the second biggest blessing of it. God capped off our move with a completely unexpected blessing. His name is Benjamin and he is the son of my right hand. My God gives the best gifts; he truly cares about the desires of His children’s heart!

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” –Jesus (Matthew 7:11)

*To learn more about My handsome hubby or to read Matt’s blog click here.

Starting a new challenge

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Glad you have come to visit my quirky little slice of the world wide web. Hope you enjoy yourself!

In the past year I have moved to a new town and set up camp in a new domain. I am raising my 2 darling daughters (“3 in June” and 16 months), and our newest addition, our baby boy (4 months). I am continually learning to be a better help-mate to my hubby (7 years in May!), BUT the most exciting thing that has come in the last year has been to discover where and how God wants me to grow. This is fun! God has been moving in new ways and through new venues! I have been attempting to read His word more often, be open to His guidance in everyday situations, find more Christ-based resources, and follow the leadership of my godly husband. Because of this obedience (and even in spite of a lot of disobedience), God has sent me through some TOUGH growing!

Just one of the Christ-based resources God has used is the blog (blogs are a definite God send for crazy moms like me) likeawarmcupofcoffee.com by Sarah Mae.  Recently she has released her newest e-book, 31 Days to Clean Having a Martha Home the Mary Way. Because I read her  inspiring blog often I was excited to see what this (CHEAP, $4.99) book had to say. I’m always up for a challenge (raisinghomemakers.com is leading the 31 days challenge which began May 1st) and helps on maintaining or enhancing my “domain”. Each day has inspiring thoughts, a Mary challenge, and a Martha challenge. Check it out and join up today!

All that being said (I’m hoping to get better at this), I am going to start a series about each day’s progress going back to day 1.