Our Debt Journey | Groceries!

This whole debt journey really makes you scrutinize spending!  It’s good, blah blah blah, also it’s annoying.  Here’s our most recent discovery: we were budgeting $680/month for groceries, but really spending $1,000-1,200.  That’s a pretty good discrepancy.  We didn’t know which number was reasonable, so I did some research (meaning I asked on Facebook).  You guys gave me some great tips!

Here are the current steps I’m taking to see what is reasonable – both in terms of budget and purchasing decisions.
1. Meal planning.  I’ve always made a meal plan, but I’ve never started by seeing what meat is … Read the rest

Our Debt Journey | Day 1

Again.  Day 1 again.  This isn’t the first time we’ve decided to really, really work on this.  But we keep trying, one decision at a time.

Earlier this month Chad and I had a “come to Jesus” budget talk.  Here’s where it currently stands: we have…a decent amount of car and credit card debt.  I am certainly not proud of this, and I don’t want to write about it, but here’s why I have to.
1. I’m scared. But God has not given us a spirit of fear.
2. I’m ashamed and want to keep this hidden. We are not Read the rest

Which battles do I choose?

I haven’t written in a while.  This season we’re in calls for seeking advice rather than giving any.  I feel steeped in “Do I choose THIS battle?”, quite similarly to when I had three preschoolers.  Now, however, there are three teenagers who are suddenly my size.  I no longer squat down to look them in the eye.  Instead, I notice their eyes are quite level with my own.

Let me first say that my kids are amazing.  They are fun, funny, responsible, kind, respectful, and polite.  I don’t have much to complain about.

In spite of this, they are also … Read the rest

Finding a Weakness in the Strength

I’m a planner.  And I am good at it.

From my mom, I learned how to make lists and schedules and do it all.
From my dad, I learned the value of hard work (enter Chad’s jokes about me being a dairy farmer’s daughter).
From my husband, I learned that I schedule 110% of my time.

I recently found myself ready to go for an appointment, with 5 minutes before I had to leave.  Five minutes.  I can do something with that.  I stripped the bed, grabbed the towels, and headed for the laundry room.  However, once there I realized … Read the rest

Quiet Enough to be Heard

I’ve learned a trick that many elementary school teachers know – when the classroom gets loud, the teacher gets quiet.  If the teacher begins to whisper to the students, eventually one of them will notice and begin shushing the other students.  “Quiet!  I can’t hear the teacher!”

On Sunday morning, our worship pastor asked if we know why God whispers.  In that moment I felt God tell me, “It’s so you’ll listen.”

You have to be quiet to hear a whisper.  Your surroundings have to be quiet to hear a whisper.  Your thoughts have to be quiet to hear … Read the rest

Learning to Listen

“You don’t scare me.  I have three teenagers at home.”  Actual words I said recently.

This stage is growing me more than any before.  The biggest area of growth I think is learning how to listen.  Well, learning how to listen to a teenager.

Active Listening
The kids know when I’m not really listening and just throwing in a Wow! or That’s cool! simply to keep things moving.  I have to stop, make eye contact, listen, and ask questions.  This isn’t teenager specific, I’m finding it’s just good manners.  Also, when they feel heard and understood, their hearts are much … Read the rest

Asthma & Slippery Slopes

I’ve had asthma since I was 10.  Exercise-induced asthma, to be specific.  I’ve seen a handful of doctors, owned 2 nebulizers, countless inhalers, had a few ER visits.  My solution: no running.  Everything is fine if I don’t run.

Earlier this month I decided to try out “Couch to 5k”, not because I want to run a 5k, but because I want to be stronger and healthier.  And, let’s be honest, I want my will to beat my body on this one.  (I tried once before and failed miserably)  This time would be different.  This time WILL be different.  I … Read the rest

Parenting Big Kids

I am stretching and growing, and sometimes I am resisting stretching and growing.  We are being asked to parent differently than we used to, because we have different kids in our house.  They are no longer three and completely dependent; they are in middle and high school, and fighting tooth and nail against dependence.

I used to say, “Here’s your lunch.”  That gave way to, “What would you like for lunch?”  And now I hear, “Hey mom, can I make ______ for lunch?”  It’s weird, and I have so much more food in the house than I used to…and also … Read the rest

Pain in the Body

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but many. – 1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Have you ever experienced significant physical pain?  About 4 years ago I cracked a disc in my lower back. The pain was significant for months until I was … Read the rest

Their Disrespect Game is Strong (but I’m Stronger)

As our kids get older, it’s tricky to know what is and isn’t appropriate to blog about.  Their privacy is important to me.  I don’t want them to someday discovery that I have a blog (in a very, very loose sense of the term) and be mortified about what I’ve shared.

But here goes.

Our children are 11, 12, and 13 years old.  The disrespect in our home is on an upward swing.  “Well, Janna, we don’t let our kids be disrespectful.”  That’s wonderful.  We don’t let them be disrespectful either, and yet here we are.  They are free-willed, eyes-rolling, … Read the rest