Sunday Scripture: Beauty

After spending the week with 6 of my favorite girls, today’s Sunday Scripture is in honor of them.  A Bible verse that hopefully will resound in both of our girlie houses as they grow!
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Thanks to the Educated Owl over on Etsy for today’s Sunday Scripture print.

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Sunday Scripture: Retreat

I am on retreat this week.  I’m holed up in a little cabin in the woods, resting and rejuvenating with my Bible, my best friend and our 6 kiddos {and lots of wine!}.  Not sure how much resting will actually take place, but I’m excited to take a break from the world for a week!

Sunday Scripture: Retreat

Thanks to Adelle Gabrielson and Pinterest for the image of this week’s Sunday Scripture!

Have a blessed week!

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Sunday Scripture: Overwhelmed

After a tough week of highly emotional and defiant little girls…I desperately needed this Sunday Scripture. Here’s to a better week next week!  Thanks to Fizz Finds for this adorable scripture rock found on Etsy.

Sunday Scripture courtesy of Fizz Finds

Have a blessed week!
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Sunday Scripture: Freedom

Have a blessed weekend!

Sunday Scripture: Freedom

Thanks to Proverbs 31 Ministries for this week’s Sunday scripture!

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National Compliment Week

I read on Facebook that last week was “National Compliment Week.”  Who creates these holidays, anyway?  Someone fishing for a compliment, obviously.  But it got me thinking about all of the powerful and influential women in my life.  And so I want to tell you about my friend, fellow mom, and pastor, Jenn.

I met Jenn when I first moved to South Carolina, and she was the intern at the church I started attending.  Although we weren’t friends for another year or so, I was immediately in awe of her.  I mean, here was this woman {the same age as me} who not only was strong enough to know her calling, but confident enough to go out and plant a new church that catered to the outer suburbs and rural areas of our town.  Starting from scratch!  I’m just so proud of who she is, and what she has done…even in just the 10 years I’ve known her.

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And personally, she is a great friend.  She married Dave and me and  baptized our kids.  Our eldest children were born a week apart, so we had the pleasure of going through that first pregnancy journey together.  And now our kiddos are great friends, and learning about Christ each week at Sunday School together.

Jenn and I are also in the same Bible Study Small Group.  And where normally I’d be completely intimidated by having the pastor in my small group, Jenn has become such an integral part of our little circle….not only as a leader, but as a fellow mom.  Our group’s confessions, prayer requests and laughter bring us all closer together…assuring each of us that we are not alone in our trials, and confirming that we are awesome moms, wives and friends.

Getting to know Jenn over the years on a personal level has been integral in my walk of faith.  I know her as a person, I respect her as a pastor.  And over the years, it’s been nice sharing life challenges with each other.  It’s gotten her off of that pastor pedestal and showed me that even she is human.  Just like me, Jenn has her own journey, and despite any challenges she faces, her absolute faith is what has encouraged me to open my heart more and more to Jesus.

So, just a little shout out to Jenn….thanks for being awesome!

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9 Easy Ways to Save Money Right Now

It’s that time of year again when those once-a-year bills come in {like HOA dues and the like}, Holiday shopping begins, and extra expenses {big family meals, stamps for Christmas cards, etc.} pile up.  Everyone is looking for ways to save money.  Personally, Dave and I are in the final week of our Fall session of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  We teach the class twice a year, and this year we have begun to issue a challenge to our class each week…a small way to save a few bucks.  In addition, my Small Group has been doing Jen Hatmaker’s Bible Study, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  This week’s focus is on spending.  With all of this going on, I thought today would be the perfect time to share some of our ideas on how to save a bit of money.

Obviously, there are bigger and better ways to get more money this holiday season.  Whether it’s working extra hours, getting a side job, or selling the kids on Craig’s List…there are some drastic measures that are sure to work.  But what about the little stuff?  As they say, those pennies add up!

Here’s my list of 9 easy ways to save money right now:

9 Easy Ways to Save Money Today from Palmettos and Pigtails

-Don’t go grocery shopping this week…see how creative you can get with the items in your pantry and fridge.  And while you are in there, clean it up and organize it a little!  And while you are cleaning out your freezer, take an inventory of the food that’s in there with my handy Freezer Inventory List!

-Put a full water bottle in the back of all of your toilet tanks to displace the water in the tank, use less water, and save on your water bill.

-Save any $1 bills with significant letters on them {We save J’s, A’s and L’s in honor of our kids’ names}.

A great tradition and a way to save money: collect dollar bills with the letters of your kids' names on them

-Unplug electronics and appliances when not in use.  Big culprits in our house are laptops, the coffeepot and cell phone chargers.

-When paying for items, don’t use exact change….round up to the nearest dollar.  Save the change you get back, and each night empty your change into a jar…those coins add up quickly!

-Only drink water…no buying drinks or coffees at the store or restaurants.  You’ll save between $2-$5 for EACH DRINK!  {so put aside those $$$ you would have spent on the drink…and watch it add up fast!}

-Pay CASH instead of using a card….it’s a lot more painful to see those precious dollar bills disappear, than using that “magical” card.

-Establish a Swear Jar or a Manners Jar….each infraction costs a dollar out of one’s personal blow money.

-Get organized with your meals.  Use a weekly meal planner and Southern Savers to plan out meals and create a grocery list based on  your grocery store’s weekly specials.  Only buy what is on your grocery list.  My family of five usually spends about $80 a week on groceries.  That’s it!

Hope this simple list helps save you some cash TODAY!  Need a couple more ideas?  Check out this list of stuff you can sign up to do to get paid.

Got any others?  Leave a comment with how YOU save money during the holidays!

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The Seven Experiment: Media Blackout

I’m back!!! Did you miss me?  Probably not.  And no offense, but I didn’t really miss you either!  It’s hard to believe that we had virtually NO media exposure over the last week.  Our media blackout included TV, Radio/Music, Phone {except for relational calls and informational texts}, Computer, Internet, Social Media, and Electronic Games and Apps.  Seven things that have become idols in our house, taking up our time, energy and attention to the detriment of our relationships with others.

So it was all gone last week.  Cold turkey.  And guess what?  It wasn’t that bad.  I got zero complaints from the kids.  They blindly accepted the new “rule” when we broke the news to them.  Dave and I struggled a little with temptations {ahem, Facebook}, but we gave ourselves a B+ overall.

I even cheated a little on Day One, when I realized I had never completed an Amazon order for some craft fair items that I needed for this past weekend.  Jayna busted me getting out the computer, and insisted that she sit next to me and watch to “make sure I didn’t go on Facebook.” Man, talk about commitment from that kid!

But overall, it wasn’t as hard as I thought.  The house was quieter, we talked to each other more.  The kids played, rather than whining about TV or music selections.  Jayna even had a weeklong mystery when a bracelet of hers was missing.  She carried a notebook around writing down clues {like green dots and pizza crumbs} and gathering her suspects.  I’m not sure if the bracelet was ever found, but she had a blast sneaking around and solving the mystery!

The list of suspects is long in the Case of the Missing Bracelet!

The hardest thing for me was not watching TV while I folded laundry, and not scanning Facebook or Pinterest while sitting in the car-rider line at school or at the craft show this past weekend.  But other than that, totally fine!

I’d like to say we’ll keep it up.  But already we’ve gone back to our ways of having a TV on regularly {even if no one is watching it!}.  And I feel like since the week was over, I’ve had to spend DOUBLE time on the computer, just catching up from last week.  So I can’t say that too much has changed.  But I will say that we will be more mindful of our phones.  It was so nice last week {when all of my notifications were turned off}, not having to check my phone every time there was a little chime.  It was nice spending time with Dave, without Sportscenter being in the middle of our conversation.  So I think I’m going to leave my social media notifications turned off, and work on only browsing Facebook or Pinterest when I’m alone.

What do you do to cut back on media time?

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Why I’m Quitting Social Media

Don’t panic.  It’s actually only for this week.  In a nutshell, I’m in a Small Group studying Jen Hatmaker’s Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  And each week we give up some type of excess in our lives.  This week is media.

So I am radio silent {no, I’m not cheating right now, because I actually wrote this last week and just scheduled it for today}.  I’ve given up:

1. Television

2. Radio/Music

3. Internet

4. Computer

5. Social Media

6. Phone {except for informational calls and texts…no social chatting!}

7. Electronic Games and Apps

So, if you need me…I’ll be back in a week.  In the meantime, I’ll be spending the week with my family and friends.  Facetiming….literally.

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The Seven Experiment: An Update on my Mutiny Against Excess

Well friends, I’m about to start week four of Jen Hatmaker’s Bible Study, Seven.  I can sum up my experience of the Seven Experiment so far in one word: Fail.

Let me back up.  So, Week One was about Food.  Some of the challenge ideas in the book were:

to clean out 7 items from your pantry a day
only eat 7 foods for the entire week
cut out 7 staples or extravagant foods from your diet for a week
only eating organic/clean/local for the week

You know how I spent the week?  Traveling.  Eating out at both fast food and nice restaurants as I headed up north with the kiddos {by myself!} for part of the week, and then coming home to turn around and head for Alabama for a weekend getaway with Dave.  I pretty much ate the entire week.  Not to say that I didn’t think about the study, or sacrifice, or hungry children in Africa.  My word for the week was GUILT.  And I struggled with my intentions and the legalities of the study….promising myself and God that I would “double-up” the following week since my travel week wasn’t convenient to limit food.  Needless to say, I still haven’t “doubled-up.”

So, fail.

Week Two was about clothes.  Here were some of the challenge ideas:

Wear the same seven articles of clothing for the entire week {undergarments not counting!}
Wear only handmade clothes for the entire week
Give away seven items of clothing/accessories each day for a week
Create a pile/section of your closet for all the items you wear during the week, in order to get a visual for the percentage of items you actually use versus own.

So my word for this week should have been UNINTENTIONAL.  The first part of the week, I was still traveling.  I had only seven items with my on my trip {thanks to the carry-on bag rule!}, but it was purely coincidental, and I wasn’t thinking about the items at all when I was packing.  And when I got home, halfway through the week, I was so focused on getting back to my kids, and routine, that I forgot.  Simply forgot.  I had read my chapter on the plane {usually I don’t have time to read, so I’ll read a page of our study here and there throughout the week….which helps me stay on track}, so I literally did not pick up the book again until it was time to head to Small Group.  And then I realized that I hadn’t worn those same clothes the rest of the week.  I hadn’t even thought about the study or challenge at all.

Fail.

Week Three: Possessions.  I have done much better this week.  I’ve been more purposeful, and trying to stick to the plan with a cheerful heart.  Honestly, I was excited for this week especially…eager to start the cleanse: my life, my heart and my closets!  But then reality kind of set in.  It started when I was reading the chapter in Seven.  And my stomach got caught in my throat.  In the book, Jen and her husband had visited a church whose speaker encouraged the parishioners to leave the shoes they were wearing at the alter when the came up for communion.  And so Jen and her husband left their brand new fancy boots at the front and walked out into the cold in bare feet.  And she admits that her feet were freezing and uncomfortable walking on the gravel for the five minutes it took to get to her warm car.  Imagine your feet feeling that way all. the. time.

And then I thought about the PILE of shoes at the bottom of my closet.  Not to mention the PILE of shoes on the shelf in my bathroom {overflow parking!}.  And like Jen, my favorite pair out of them all are my cowboy boots.  I wear them all the time.  I got them on our family vacation to Gaitlinburg, Tennessee three year ago, just before our tiny family of three became four {and now five!}.  To me, those boots are not only comfy and cute {and maybe a bit stinky since I hate wearing socks with them!!}, but they symbolize family, simplicity and happiness to me.  They make me taller, and somehow more confident….and dangit, they look good with just about anything I wear!  I could not imagine not having them as a staple in my wardrobe.  How could Jen sacrifice hers?

So my word this past week should have been SACRIFICE.  Which, admittedly, I did very little of.  Sure, I cleaned out closets.  I have a huge bag of coats, scarves, mittens and hats waiting to go to the shelter.  I have another pile of towels and rags ready for the SPCA.  I’ve gone through toys and books and kids clothes to pull some essentials out for a little girl I know that has nothing.  I’ve asked around for ideas of families or people that may be in need {if you know of any, shoot me an email!}.  Knowing that about 10 of us in my group are all purging this week, we should have plenty of items that are looking for homes.  But nothing I donated made me uncomfortable.

And I found that even though I still couldn’t part with those beloved boots, I was able to create a pile of 16 pairs of other shoes to donate.  It’s a start. And I found that the more “piles” I created, the more eager I became to find more.  The less discriminating I became about what could go.

A little less of a Fail.

This week, the topic is Media.  And I plan on diving in headfirst.  I think I even have Dave on board.  And the kids…they just don’t know it yet.  So I am ready to unplug the TV, turn off all notifications on my phone {I’ll only be using it to speak to someone or for quick, informational texts…no social banter or emojies for me this week!}, and shut the computer down!  I debated the last one, as my smallish blog does have advertisers and deadlines to deal with.  But I have decided to shut down the blog for a week, schedule the few tweets/FB posts/etc. that I’m required to do for my sponsors, and focus on life for once {without posting to Instagram first!}.  So.  I won’t be checking email, posting on social media or blogging.  Radio Silence.

Wish me luck, and I’ll see you next week!

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The Seven Project: Intro

My small group just started a new study by Jen Hatmaker, called Seven.  This awesomely funny chick decided to shake up her family’s world by identifying seven areas of excess in their lives, and fighting back.  Each month, she chose a different area of excess to focus on.

Food, Clothes, Shopping, Media, Waste, Stress and Possessions.

Seven - Jen Hatmaker: My small group's journey to rid excess from our lives too!

So my Bible Study group decided to take the challenge with her, by following along and participating in the challenge each week {rather than month, like she did}.  Although technically, this was just the “intro” week for the group, Dave and I decided to start a week early, since we’ll be traveling next week and will have a hard time limiting our food.

So, for the first seven days, we will whittle our diet down to  seven items.  Total.

Chicken, pasta, lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, eggs and bell peppers.

This study comes at a perfect time…because all I can think about is “simplifying” lately.  On a daily basis, I’m horrified by the wasted food, unappreciated toys and plethora of clothes that compel me to think I have”nothing to wear.”  It’s quite sad.  And I’ve been fixated on it for awhile.  I stumbled across this article on Living Well, Spending Less about minimalism when it comes to toys, and it started snowballing from there.  So when my Small Group suggested this study, I went right out and bought Seven, and struggled to resist reading it immediately.  So I’m ecstatic to be jumping into this journey, and sharing it with you!

Stay tuned to hear the results of our version of The Seven Project: Foods!

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