Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Beautiful Mess

I am constantly agonizing over the never-ending cluttered state of my apartment. It is constantly messy and there is no catching up to it! The other morning, as I sat with my coffee carefully looking over a horrible mess left from movie night the night before, I began to see the mess as beautiful! The scattered blankets (not only on the sofas but also on the floor) reminded me I had too many people over to even fit on my chairs! The popcorn kernels littering my floor so bad it reminded me of the dollar theater reminded me that I have enough money to feed not only my own mouth, but those who came. The glitter strewn about my house reminded me of the fun we had and how comfortable my neighbor kids feel knocking on my door. The pile of dishes reminded me how I can still teach a kid how to make decent cookies. Yes, it was a mess of sticky pop spills, crushed popcorn, cookie crumbs, and glitter crafts but it was beautiful! I would not trade welcoming people into my home for a clean house! Maybe that's why heaven will be so great....people but not messy houses :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If You Must Eat Out...

I like to eat out as much as the next person. Its fun and I often get to eat food I would not otherwise cook for myself. Here are some deals I've found while eating out:

-Applebee's half priced appetizers. Ok, so you have to stay up until 9pm for this one, but its worth it. I usually get a quesadilla for $5. I munch on it a bit at 9pm, but really, how much can you eat at 9pm. It proceeds to feed me for two more meals! A great deal! Cheaper than taco bell, tastes better, and is probably a little healthier.

-Carbone's Saturday special. I'm not sure if all Carbone's have this, but my friend Kari, her daughter Aria, and I went yesterday. For $9.99 you get two "half" hoagies (which are still about 8 inches!), a plate of cheese bread, and a whole pitcher of pop! All for $9.99!!! We ate our fill and still took home boxes. I'll probably get a few more meals out of my "half" hoagie and Kari was planning on feeding the rest of her family that had stayed home off her leftovers. What a deal! Originally we were going to go to Subway. I think we probably would have spent as much and gotten less.

-Credit card kick-backs. This one is only a benefit IF you PAY OFF your cards IN FULL EVERY MONTH! If you can't, then this deal is not for you. My Discover card gives me 1% cash back on everything and 5% on whatever the categories are for the quarter. With that money, you can buy giftcards for a good deal (a $25 card for $20 usually). There are many restaurants you can get. Since I use my credit card for essentials (food), I'm not spending any more than I would so the gift cards I buy with my money back are pretty much FREE!!! My cousin does the same thing with her family when they go on vacation.

And if you must see a movie...

Many of my friends are sad that the beloved "Buck" shut down in Roseville. But have no fear, there is another "Buck". It is a $2 theatre in Maplewood (off of White Bear Avenue and Larpenteur right next to Woodland Hills Church). My friend Kristi and I took two kids to see Wall-E. We got four tickets, a bin of popcorn (with a free refill), and two large pops (with a free refill) for only $16! For that much my friend and I could have barely bought only tickets at the "real" theater! The Dollar theater was way cheaper and way more fun (with popcorn and pop). What a deal!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Being Dizzy

I was hanging out in the lobby of a church with some friends this past week when their darling preschool-aged daughter started running in a circle. Around and around and around she went with enthusiasm and joy. She simply said, "Run!!!", inviting us to join in. So I joined her in her circular treck, carefully "running" the six foot radius circle. I kept myself directly across from her, keeping my eyes on her. As we ran more laps, I noticed I wasn't getting dizzy at all. As long as I kept my eyes on her, everything on the balance end was fine. But the moment I looked anywhere else, even a few glances to her left or right, I would slowly become dizzy. Even if I took a second to see where I was going, I would get dizzy. It reminded me of God. The Bible often talks about life as being a long race to be run with endurance and focus. When we look at God, follow Him, and keep focused on Him, we don't get "dizzy". But as soon as something else draws our attention or we look at the step in front of us out of fear of where He is taking us, we get incredibly "dizzy". Its hard to walk straight or even stand when you are dizzy. So many things vie for our attention. So many seemingly good things can draw us away from God and trusting that He has the best plan: friends, books, activities, etc. Keep focused so you don't get dizzy.

I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.
-Psalm 16:2 NIV

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Break it almost over, so its time to say goodbye to the family and head back home. :-( Break has been too fun and gone too fast.

Anyways, I was reading my cousin's blog and noticed someone had posted about I checked out the site and it looks really useful (especially if you have an iphone). Quicken is my favorite tool for tracking spending and budgeting, I've been using it for years. looks comparable (but free!). One feature is that you can see your spending compared to the average person in a particular category. That may be helpful, but also may encourage one to spend more. If you check out, let me know what you think. And while you're at it, check out my cousin's blog too...she'll save you a bundle of cash!