I began attending Crossway while a student at Millersville University. A year after graduating, Dave and I were married and a year later we began to serve in the Young Adult Care Group. We just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, so Dave has been leading a care group for 9 years.
I am flattered that you view my home as joyful, but I think a peek through my windows reveals much more. I really struggle with being a cheerful mommy. I can so easily become overwhelmed with the tasks of my home and children that I find myself angry when ‘my agenda’ is interrupted. I am so near-sighted and need much help to see the bigger picture of the work I am called to do. God’s primary means of grace to me in this season is Dave. He regularly helps me by speaking truth to my stubborn soul throughout my days. He also helps me to prioritize my tasks when I procrastinate and just want to chose fun things to fill my time. My children also help steer me in the right direction. Just this week, after a busy morning during which I was battling anger and impatience toward my children, Caleb looked at me and asked, “Mommy, why are you angry?” My internal response was “Because you aren’t playing independently, or moving quickly enough, or staying out of my way” but by God’s kindness I was able to tell him that it was because there is sin in my heart and I am selfish. He responded, “Well God says to not be angry, mommy, and we prayed for you this morning.” It was a quick exchange, but God used it to help point me towards himself.
So many women admire how creative and thrifty you are. Please give us some inside tidbits on being wise with money, and also give us a window into where you get your creative ideas.
On being wise with money, I have found a budget to be so helpful and freeing. It allows me to spend money on things that are important to us without feeling guilty, since I know it’s already designated for particular areas. I very rarely pay full price for anything. For food, I spend a couple minutes looking at the circulars each week and determine which store I go to based on what is on sale. When there is a good sale I usually buy extra and freeze some for later. I generally keep the pantry stocked, so that I am only going out for fresh things each week. I plan meals around what we have and what’s in season. Aside from hand-me-downs, we buy almost all clothing at yard sales or second hand or from a clearance rack at the end of the season. Yard sales are the primary way that we stretch a dollar. They are a great place for household items as well. My latest ‘save money’ idea: I got two white flat sheets at a yard sale (only $1) and I used clip rings to attach and hang them as curtains in our bedroom. They are the perfect length and I didn’t even need to hem them! I also keep a notebook with a list of things that I am looking for as well as things I have bought and it’s amazing to look back and see what God has provided.
I get most of my ideas from magazines, store fronts and blogs. It’s so helpful when I have an idea or like something to google it and see what others have done – that way I can learn form their mistakes and successes. My sister and mom are also very creative and thrifty, so we enjoy trading ideas and giving one another suggestions.
We see you as a woman who loves and fears the Lord, how did God work that into your life? Who has inspired you most in your walk with the Lord?
Since most of my time is spent inside our home, I am greatly spurred on by the little moments interacting with other moms. Quick conversations and emails serve as good reminders that my struggles are not uncommon. They are happening all over – my home and heart are not an exception. I can easily see God at work in other mom’s, so I am reminded that God is with me, too, and He is at work.
More specifically, as a college student, Katherine Millen pursued and befriended me. She welcomed me into her home and family and allowed me to be a part of the everyday things that were already happening there. And how God has used her! Over the years she has been a consistent encouragement. Her words speak truth to me when I most need it and I have felt her come alongside me in many different seasons. It’s like she’s my personal cheerleader and I can always hear her even when she’s not here: “You can do it. God is at work here. You are doing a good thing – keep up the hard work. Have faith, God sees you.”
Finally, Dave has a few things to share about Becky…