5.31.2013

Check Your Electric Bill

Summer is fast approaching, June 21, and if you're paying monthly tuition for your child's education like I am it's a welcome absence from the checking account. However, the summer means more paid out in electricity to keep me and my family cool during the lazy summer days.

I've never really paid attention to utilities before accept when visiting a new friend's home last spring. I noticed how chilly it was in the mornings—and so chilly that I had to start wearing a jacket. Brrrrrrr!

Well, it wasn't long after that I started the same routine when moving into a more spacious home with high ceilings. Now before breakfast I crank the air-conditioning on to an uncomfortable cool until just before lunch. The unit works quite a bit, but after that it gets a needed seven-hour break until after dinner. Meanwhile, the house slowly heats up as the day progresses, and only towards the last hour do we start to feel overheated.

The purpose is using ample amounts of electricity at an hour when it's at a lower kWh rate rendering a substantial savings each month. Our first full monthly bill showed that 14% was on-peak use. What?! We paid 86% off-peak use in the midst of summer when our temperatures reach high 3-digits and remain that way. It's all expected for desert weather.

Off-peak rates are certain times during the weekday, which you may be able to choose from. Not randomly, but they may have two set times, and you'll make that decision depending on your family's needs and activities. It also includes all day Saturday and Sunday and certain holidays.

The fact is that during the summer we tend to use more power because we're home more with television and small electronics, but being comfortable and making wise choices has been a win-win for us. What could be a burdensome summer electric bill is now manageable.

It takes a bit of adjusting realizing any laundry or dishwashing cycles are to be done in the evening or early morning. Again you can regulate that according to your calendar and commitments.

When implementing the new set-up for coolness at your abode let your children in on it. It's a great conversation to have over dinner, explaining that budgeting and being good stewards over our finances are commendable traits—being fiscally responsible.

Tip: Don't implement without a warning.

A related article:
Ten Strategies For A Fiscally Responsible Life


5.30.2013

Which Way Do I Go?

Thankful that after eight years and counting motherhood still has me at the feet of Jesus. Yes, there are days when I have it together and it’s effortless, but there are times when I can not possibly make big decisions without the Word and His nudge. At times I have done it thinking it looks right, and God permitted it. Nevertheless, His permissive will and His perfect will are both a blessing and time of growth, but the latter a more seamless experience. I can attest to that. Still, God’s grace is sufficient for me, and His power made perfect in my weakness.

As an older mom with life experience along with maturing in Christ -- through failures and victories -- I realize the weight of my preference or intentions could be good for my daughter but not necessarily beneficial for her. My wisdom and understanding though plentiful is limited.  I know only in part, but God sees the bigger picture. 

I’m thankful that The Helper is guiding me, and a comfort when I feel overwhelmed at crossroads or in the midst of changing course.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Find more Thankful Thursday here.

5.28.2013

Eyes Wide Open

It was a usual morning—a store errand after dropping off my daughter at school. However, I wasn’t prepared for the display of pride and roaring as that of in the jungle as I did on the checkout line. Two grown men -- easily pegged as grandfathers to any youngin’ -- going back and forth on whether the milk was on sale.  It all had to do with price matching and flyers. One tried to one-up the other with a bet of $1,000 to his $100, and it was uncomfortable for all. Neither was taking the high road.  Each defiant that he was right and the other was wrong.

I was an observer and so thankful, because we can all share at least one account whereby we made a stink that was depleting to ourselves and most likely others in our midst. Yes, our selfish pride to be right sucked the life out of a moment that had every possibility of being a life-giving-room-to-grow moment.

What struck me to the core was how the Holy Spirit continued to burden me with this episode that it left me in tears as I exited the parking lot. The whole drive home He was teaching me. My heart surrendered as His Spirit showed me with spiritual eyes how displeasing this behavior was and how it should look.

I was singing a familiar tune earlier the same morning that came back to me as I began to minister aloud to the Lord what He wanted me to pass on, “We are to be Jesus in disguise.” We are not to be pointing and mocking with our words, or the more subtle with our actions. It’s not a God-trait to do so. Rather, we are to give others who stumble and fall room to grow, speak few words, give a genuine smile, hug, reach out our hand in a truce, and whatever else the Holy Spirit unctions us to do.

Will it hurt to subject our pride to the refiner’s fire? Indeed it will. Nonetheless, it’s crucial if we are determined to follow Christ and be His disciple. We are to stop being imitators and ask Jesus to come into your heart and change our perspective, actions and reactions—giving Him full control. Even if dying of the flesh is painful it doesn’t outweigh the freedom in being in a realm of grace where offense is no longer an issue, or to have a spiritually healthy stance to forgive because we ourselves have been forgiven. None of us are perfect, and all have fallen short.

Jesus in Disguise - Brandon Heath
So open my eyes
Wide as I can
Blind as I am
Blind as I am


Psalm 119 the longest psalm and chapter in the bible. It has 22 sections each corresponding to a different letter in the Hebrew alphabet and each verse beginning with the letter of its section.

God's Word -- the Holy Bible -- is true, and a sure guide that leads us to freedom in this life and in the next.


5.26.2013

Hello, My Name Is...

Hello, my name is Rosemarie. I have been called lots of other names throughout my lifetime, especially as a youngster. During one season as an adult triggers were evident, and with my lack of sure footing in Christ, it led me to my lowest point -- when I found myself believing the lies in my head. Nevertheless, I knew that no matter where I was God could meet me there. I was never too far away for Him to reach me.

"What is my testimony?" That was the only truth I knew in my darkest hour. Even then my mustard seed of faith was shouting from the black and dank of darkness.

I did a lot of work to “hold every thought captive,” to subject my flesh to His rebuke, surrender my will, and realize that He is all I need. This kind of spiritual growth leaves you assured in your divine inheritance, confident with right standing in Christ, with faith built up for any storm, and overflowing with grace and love not only for others, but for yourself.

Yes, I’m FREE AT LAST! And this freedom the world didn’t give to me, so the world can’t take it away!

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27


5.23.2013

It's a Special Day

Yesterday was officially Ten-Dollar-Tip Day here at Cup of Goodness. It won't be every week, or even every other week, but only when I get a spiritual nudge.

What joy to give like this! It was my first time, but I was slick like the wealthy dropping that ten spot after paying for an $8 service at the salon. Yep, that’s right! I tipped her more than I paid the shop. It was totally unexpected, and she inquired why, and with a wink I told her, “It’s a special day!”

And indeed it was! The car wash attendant earlier the same day got a $10 dollar bill as well. He seemed quite happy about it, and I left with joy welling up in my heart.

Giving intentionally out of my abundance is something I've longed to do consistently. I've done it in spurts, but it seems in this season there's a definite divine purpose and power working. In reflection, I feel like God is winking at me! He's cheering me on, "Give! Give! Give!"

Can’t wait for round two—perhaps in the near future.

5.21.2013

Booster Car Seats

Two years ago before school started I purchased my daughter's booster seat. Um, I speak the truth when I say it resembles a phone book with arm rests. Seriously though, it saves lives!

Good Advice: Buckle up your children at all times! Also, be sure your kids are wearing the shoulder safety belts correctly, not under the arm or behind the back.

Safe Kids Worldwide: Seatbelts

5.19.2013

Are You Headed to Heaven?

Life is hard, but the afterlife can be harder! Are you headed to Heaven?

Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:1-3

Sunday Service: The Full Armor of God

A dynamic and powerful video.   

Disclaimer: COG or it's blog author is not affilated with EMS ministries nor does it endorse them.

5.18.2013

I Did It!

I can't believe that back in November 2011 I made a wise observation and comitted to ditching the paper towels* in my home, and have stuck with it (1 year, 6 months, 9 days). Wow! I did it!

*the most viewed post

5.16.2013

The Scent of a Woman

My life has been tough with a few valley experiences, but not forgetting the mountain top seasons as well where I boasted in the Lord and His goodness. Along the way were many life lessons learned, spiritual growth gained, and of course the hardest...dying to self. All have served their purpose and left me changed for the better—I'm not as stinky as I once was. I'm now more content, joyful, and at peace than ever. I recognize when to do my part, and give to God what's out of my ability and/or under His authority. Freedom! Yes, there's freedom in knowing where I end, and God begins!


Preacher teaches on important lessons we can learn from a mom named Hannah in the Holy Bible who was the epitome of commitment, and example to all of us. Also an encouraging word about burdens and giving God our heartaches.

"God will provide the ability if we bring the commitment." - Pastor Jeff Schreve

The Scent of a Woman
1 Samuel 1

How to get that sweet aroma in life?
1. Like Hannah, you will experience heartache in life.
2. Don't let heartache turn you into a bitter person.
3. Don't forget life is not fair.
4. Don't forget that God is still good.

Disclaimer: COG or it's blog author is not affilated with FHH ministries nor does it endorse them.

5.15.2013

No Eating Out Challenge April 2013

After a visit from family to include dining out and local travels the end of March, and then easing into April with a bad habit, I decided to call it quits. Yes, I signed up for a no-eating-out challenge for my family. There was no accountability accept for the colorful sticky on my laptop as a reminder.

I started the challenge after dining out last on April 5. It wasn't a fresh slate, but I didn't see the point in waiting as I knew we had to exercise self-control. We had been eating out much too often even before our visitors. It's really convenient to eat out these days. We're our own personal chef -- we think up a dish that we're in the mood for, or worse yet craving, and get it lickety-split. No second thoughts just pure impulse -- we want it, therefore we'll get it.

Crazy!

I've personally been out of that mode for a few years saying, "No." No, I don't need that. No, it's not necessary. No, I can do without it. It gets easier trust me, but in the beginning it hurts. Really.

So, did it work. Yes and no. We didn't fully comply, but the results were satisfactory. We ate out nine times after my pledge and spent in total only half of past months splurges.

Will we do it again? Probably not. However, I'll need to keep a closer eye on the numbers so we don't take liberties.

Eating home isn't an issue either for us as I'm a good cook, and can adapt meals with full flavors like at the restaurants we frequent. Yes, I can deliver!

"Instead of going out to dinner, buy good food. Cooking at home shows such affection. In a bad economy, it's more important to make yourself feel good." - Ina Garten

Favorites:
McCormick Gourmet Garlic & White Wine Chicken Scaloppine Recipe Seasoning Mix
Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon Marinade
Weber Chicago Steak Seasoning

5.07.2013

Mother's Day 2013

It's a glorious month to celebrate mothers.  I recall the wisdom of my mother that I find myself sharing with my daughter on occasion, "If you lie I can't help you, but if you tell me the truth I can." What a great foundation to be a truth-teller.

So grateful for my mother's love and the sacrifices she made for her children, her ability to stick with life no matter how tough, and her great resolve to stay strong. Wow! I certainly have carried that torch and have added more of my own because of my life story.

One thing I have added to share with my daughter is that she has her own story to write—she’s an only. When she gets weepy about not having siblings I sympathize with her that I understand. I never had a father present in my life. I connect with her longing. Still, I share with her that this is her journey, and though similar, our lives are different. I am not forgetful either to recant how many years I prayed for her, though now my dream is realized and has breath. Amen! The silver lining for us is that my heartfelt yearning was answered by God and she the precious promise fulfilled. I believe God will answer my daughter’s desire though I know not how or what avenue He will choose. Regardless, I am expectant and patient for God to do what He does best -- lavish His love upon us.

I think it important that children realize that though they have a unique connection with their parents that's unlike any other relationship they'll ever have, and celebrate that, it is equally important that they realize they have a life story of their own. Though parents are certainly part of it, it's the child’s time to write their chapters with love and loss, decisions, victories and failures, shortcomings, battles won and lost, friendships, and experiences.

My spirit is dancing! What a celebration for me, writing as I open my heart to you. I'm so grateful for the journey of motherhood. I'm blessed!
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