Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Proverbs 31 - Week 12 (FINALLY!)

With one more week to finish this Bible study, I have certainly taken my time getting here - haven't I?

This week lesson is about Retirement Planning and is full of great information. Let's start with the opening verse: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. I Corinthians 14:33

Some statistics to consider, from Rich Woman by Kim Kiyosaki:

  • 47 percent of women over 50 are single.
  • Approximately 7 out of 10 women will, at some time, live in poverty. For most of them, it will be during their retirement years.
  • 80 percent of widows now living in poverty were not poor before the death of their husband.
  • Women's retirement income (social security, pensions, 401(k)s) will be lessened because, on average, a woman is away from the work force 14.7 years as compared to 1.6 years for men.

Donna adds: "More than 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, after which, on average, a woman's standard of living drops 73 percent." WOW! All of these statistics are staggering. We must prepare our selves financially now in order to prevent these statistics from becoming us. Here are some tips Donna provides to help us do just that:

  • "For just 10 percent extra, you can pay off a 30-year mortgage seven years early." Write: "Additional Principal payment" on the extra, "do not assume your extra payments will automatically go against the principal....make it automatic"
  • Matthew 25:20-30 - the story of the master and talents - be a faithful steward of what God has entrusted you.
  • "God will never ask you to borrow money to help people. If God wants you to help them, He'll provide the funds. If He doesn't provide the funds, guess what? He doesn't want you to help them....If the person can't get a loan on his or her own, the lender has compelling reasons to belive the person will not repay the loan. If a bank has concluded that a person is not reliable, believe the bank. That person is not reliable. The Proverbs 31 woman extends her hand to the poor and needy, but she doesn't become poor and needy in the process. She doesn't eat the bread of idleness herself and she doesn't enable other people to do so."
  • "...photocopy your credit cards, debit cards, driver's license, Social Security card, insurance card, and any other important items you carry in your purse...Put the copies in the front of a locked fireproof filing cabinet ina folder labeled VITAL INFORMATION...Make sure someone knows where the filing cabinet key is and/or where the safe is kept and how to open it."
  • Your VITAL INFORMATION folder should also include: passport, will, power of attorney, insurance policies, deeds to property, social security summary, and investment overview. If you don't have this already, make getting it together a priority.

Good planning makes for a smooth and stress-free life.

One more week to finish this study. I'm still looking for your suggestions on what to cover next.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where have I been???

Well, I didn't realize that it was practically the entire summer that I was out of commission! I did not do a good job of making myself (or my relationship with God) a priority this summer. No excuses!! I didn't do it and I have suffered the consequences of time away from God. I didn't even finish the Proverbs 31 study material, but as they say, all good things must come to an end.
These are my goals over the next couple of weeks: to finish the Proverbs 31 study material, get back into my morning routine of TAG (time alone with God), and to get my house in order. Being home all summer with four kids has proven too much for my newly acquired organizational skills learned with Donna Partow.

As for my weight loss, I have made small progress towards my goal. I have lost a total of 9.4 lbs since July 1, towards my total goal of 25 lbs. That leaves me with about 15 lbs to go. I am really expecting to pass the 10 lb loss mark before September 1, that will have been 2 months. Slow and steady wins the race! It truly is a lifestyle change. My healthy life goals are: have 2-3 servings of dairy per day, having 4-6 servings of fruits/vegetables per day, adding whole grains to my diet, drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day, and getting some good exercise 3-5 times per week. I also am limiting my fat intake, but found that if I limit it too much, I cause my body to go into a protective mode that causes me to retain fat for future use (thanks to a fitness expert that visited my ladies group at church). I've allowed a little more fat into my diet the last two weeks and have seen better progress.
Summer has been good, but not as active and adventurous as previous summers. For that reason, I think we all got on each other's nerves a bit too much. Although the older two kids were a little nervous about going back to school today, it was a relief for me. I need this routine to keep me sane :) All in all, it was not a total loss, but lessons learned for next year.
I am taking your suggestions for the next Bible Study series! If you know of something that would be good information to share or something you've enjoyed and would like a refresher, feel free to send it to me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prayer Request

Received this from a friend:
Please keep my friend Marianne in your prayers. Her Mom just called me and she has another migraine and can’t feel the right side of her body. The ER doc told her on Saturday that because she has MS the migraines will be much worse and have complications. They want to get to the bottom of this so instead of going to the ER (again), they are going to her doctor’s office.

It seems crazy that your primary doctor is the person responsible for your daily medication and treatment, but whenever you have an acute sickness and go to the ER a different doctor treats you. Then, if you are admitted to the hospital, another doctor treats you and your primary doctor never evens sees you. This is a crazy system.

Her kids are little (Hunter is 3 and Laurianne is 2) and she wants a “normal” home life for them, not always running to the hospital.

Will you put her on the prayer list at your church? Her full name is Marianne Burns and she has Multiple Sclerosis. Thank you.

Quick Quotes

"It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference." —Jenny Craig

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Recipe Central

Yum, Yum! A chocolate cake you make in your crock-pot!
Hot Fudgie Cake

3 cups skim milk
1 box (5 oz) chocolate cook and serve pudding mix - dry (do not make as directed on box)
1 box (18.25 oz) super moist chocolate fudge cake mix - dry
1-1/3 cups water
1/2 cup applesauce
6 egg whites
  • Spray a 3-1/2 qt crock-pot with non-fat cooking spray.
  • Mix skim milk with dry chocolate pudding mix in crockpot with whisk until completely dissolved.
  • In a medium bowl, mix dry cake mix, water, applesauce and egg whites uising a whisk for 2 minutes or until well blended.
  • Very gently pour cake batter into uncooked pudding mixture in crockpot. DO NOT STIR!
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-1/2 hours.
  • Serve hot with a dab of Cool Whip Free.
  • If desired, after 2-1/2 hours of cooking, just unplug crock-pot. It'll stay warm and delicious for hours. It travels well to potlucks or social gatherings.

Yield: 15 servings; Calories: 204 (percent fat calories: 14%; Total Fat: 3 grams; Carbohydrate: 39 grams; Cholesterol: 1 mg; Protein: 4 grams; Dietary Fiber: 1 gram; Sodium: 302 mg; WW: 4 points per serving.

Monday, July 20, 2009

90 Day Renewal

Interested in doing a 90 Day Renewal for yourself?
This seems perfect: The 90-Day Renewal in Spirit, Soul & Body.

For the spirit, we'll have daily bible reading, prayer journaling, scripture memory, etc.

For the soul, we'll be inspired and equipped for a new mindset and more positive attitude, so we can make better decisions.

For the body, the average weight loss is 20 pounds. And it's all thru gradual easy-to-make changes over the course of 3 months. I've signed up and I'm trying to get as many women as I can to join me. Check out this introductory video.

If it sounds like what you've been looking for, you can learn more by following this link to Donna Partow's website.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Proverbs 31 - Week 11

As I am nearing the end of this 90 day study, I am finding myself running out of steam. The study has a LOT of practical application, which is great, but I am not keeping up with it all and I am beating myself up about it. With that said, here is the week 11 review...
The Ministry of the Home
Consider family meals as a time of ministry. Now, I must say this is a new concept for me. We make a valiant effort to have dinner together every night as a family. I never have thought of it as a ministry. However if you consider this next statement, it definitely can be considered a ministry. Donna says, "...a 2004 study of 4,746 children eleven to eighteen years old, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that frequent family meals were associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking, and using marijuana; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades. Another study surveyed twelve- to seventeen-year-olds and found that teenagers who reported eating two or fewer dinners a week with family members were more than one and a half times more likely to smoke, drink, or use illegal substances than were teenagers who ate five to seven family dinners per week." That is a huge impact in the decisions that your child makes from simple meals and conversation and it doesn't have to be dinner. Find what works for your family.

Dress your family in the full armor of God. "Just as you wouldn't send your family out into the world undressed physically, you shouldn't send them out undressed spiritually." says Donna refering to Ephesians 6:14-18. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer are the elements to the armor of God. Try incorporating one of these elements each week and discuss them during your family meal time. They don't have to be in this order, start with what's easiest for you and add an item each week until you've become fully dressed :)
The next three items go hand in hand: practice hospitality, open your home for ministry and host God's servants. Of course, practicing hospitality can be a way to open your home for ministry, but only if you've done what's mentioned in the previous lessons to de-clutter, organize and clean your home and you are maintaining it. Then, hosting God's servants comes naturally after the previous two. Donna provides some insight from Deb Lovett who shares the "props" she considers essential to hospitality (gifts, paper, candles, flowers, food and prayer) and why she believes they are essential. Donna goes on to say, "The purpose, above all else, is that our homes can become a center for God's work in our community...Your home can become central to the work of God in your neighborhood...It means creating an atmosphere of prayer and blessing that immediately grabs the attention of everyone who walks through your front door." Then, as mentioned before, hosting God's servants seems like the next logical step. Once you've gained the experience of hosting your friends and neighbors, your church community, small groups and the like, traveling missionaries, guest speakers and musicians are next!

Just two more weeks to go! Next week's lesson is entitled: Retirement Planning followed by week 13: Finish Strong.

See you next week,