Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday of Quotes... Aslan!

Hello everybody! In my "old blogging days" I used to write some interesting (or just funny) quotes every Tuesday... I thought now that I am back I can probably use Tuesdays to share some quotes, maybe not every week but occasionally...

Anyway... Today was Bible Study day... We are very blessed also to have the author of the book we are using (besides the Bible) be our teacher, Lorraine Hill is the one that shares with us every week and God really uses her honesty and willingness to be genuine with us!

Today she shared a beautiful quote and I thought I'd share with you... She used it in a great example of our obedience and our walk with Christ... Following Jesus and yielding to His will is always eternally good... although not always "safe" in our human perspective of safety... and... here's where the quote comes:

(Quote from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)
-The kids are asking about Aslan and who He is-

“Is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr Beaver sternly. Certainly not. I tell you he is King of the woods and the son of the great emperor-beyond- the-sea. Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion – the Lion, the great lion.”
“ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

....


"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name." —1 Peter 4:12-14, 16

He is the King, I tell you.

© Paloma K.

Monday, September 29, 2014

How-to-start couponing tips and the basics!

So... today I thought I'd share with all of you how I do my couponing, I just recently started but I almost can't believe I never did it before!

Let me tell you some of the misconceptions I had about couponing:

1. It's like begging (oy!)
2. It's like stealing (oy! OY!)
3. It can't make that much of a difference unless I am a "crazy hoarder"
4. It's just for unhealthy items or things that I don't really need/use
5. It's too hard

Those 5 things I mentioned are probably only the "top five" of my long list of reasons why I didn't coupon before... Some of them you might laugh at and think I'm kidding or you might just feel identified and realize that you've had those thoughts as well...

But... I went to my library and started looking for books on the subject of "home management" and finances... The couponing topic came up and it caught my interest... Plus at the same time a dear friend of mine started posting pictures on fb and information on the things she was purchasing and how much she was paying after the savings/coupons.

So... about 2 months ago I started my journey into the couponing world and I am sooo thankful! What a great way to be a good steward of the resources God's given us! What a great way to also help my hubby with the load of the finances of the home. I used to want to get a "work from home" kind of job and I soon realized that I am now "making more money" (or at least saving it) for my family and I have my own schedule, ability, etc... and stress-free! (I find the coupon clipping actually quite therapeutic!)



So these are the basics that I suggest if you want to begin:
  1. Start buying the Sunday Newspaper (if possible, get a subscription and it will be cheaper)
  2. Save the "Coupons.com" and "couponmom.com" sites on your favorites (They are not paying me to advertise or anything like that... I just really, REALLY like them), "The Grocery Games" is a great site too but you have to pay for it and there's no real need to do that... couponmom.com does the same for you and it's FREE!
  3. The couponmom.com has a tutorial video on how they recommend you to organize your coupons, it doesn't require you to cut and clip all your coupons but I have discovered that I actually like going through them all, cutting and clipping them, organizing them in a binder so I can actually take the binder with me to the store and that way I never miss a great deal! So... that takes me to my next point
  4. Make your own binder... I got a 2" Binder to begin! And over 30 baseball card divider sheets plus some dividers with tabs to organize my coupons by category.

These are the categories *I* use... you can make/add your own accordingly:

  1. Produce
  2. Snacks
  3. Breakfast Cereals and Bars
  4. Nut Butters and Jellies
  5. Pasta/Rice/Soups
  6. Condiments/Salad Dressing
  7. Drinks
  8. Frozen
  9. Dairy/Eggs
  10. Baby
  11. Cleaning
  12. Paper Products
  13. Vitamins and Medicine
  14. Oral Care
  15. Hair Care
  16. Deodorants/Shaving
  17. Soap/Body Wash

Of course you can add whatever else you need... like Pets, etc... or even divide the categories into subcategories... It's YOUR BINDER... and it's YOUR brain... Customize it the way it makes most sense to you!


Maybe you won't even want to organize by category but by expiration date... (keep the expiration date in mind when placing your coupons in the binder, make sure it's in a visible place so it's easy for you to go through your binder and get rid of expired coupons).

I also suggest you go through your grocery stores coupon policies (i.e. You can't double coupon in Texas), also, make sure a "deal" is a real deal... sometimes there are some brand name items that are on sale and you have a coupon that you don't want to waste and still generic brand might be cheaper... or viceversa.. you might be surprised to find that some brand name products end up being cheaper in some instances when you match a sale with a coupon!

Make sure you get your "store cards" (rewards or loyalty cards) from whatever store you shop from... Check out the website of your store, you might be surprised to find the extra savings you can get online, Kroger and Randall's have a great digital-coupon program, you just load your coupons to your card and voila! The savings appear automatically when the cashier scans your card at the end!  And some of those stores also offer discounts on "Gas" after you get a certain amount of points in your card... Just yesterday we saved .30 cents per gallon of gas and we filled our tank knowing that we saved at least 5 dollars! (5 dollars is a lot of money, especially when couponing!)

My other tip for you is to avoid making a trip to the store out of "need" ... I mean, sometimes it might be inevitable... but those are the trips that hurt your pocket the most! Always plan ahead, make your lists, do your "homework" the sites I recommended do a lot of the hard work for you! Have your coupons ready and buy things when on sale! Stock up on those items that you can stock up on! And get a membership for stores like Costco or Sams (I recommend Costco the best) for items that no matter how cheap you'll find them in your regular grocery store... they'll never "beat" the price of these two! The items that I ALWAYS buy at Costco are:

- Toilet Paper (forget about the number of rolls per package, etc... make sure you know how much you are actually paying PER SQUARE FOOT!) - Marathon 48 roll package in Costco is THE best deal so far!
- Paper Towel (the price should also be calculated per square foot) - I love the Kirkland Brand
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and some Nut Butters (no sugar added!)
- Chia Seeds, quinoa and Hemp Hearts (yes, you can still eat healthy stuff and save money)
- Kerrygold grass-fed butter - if you're buying grassfed butter and you love Kerrygold as much as we do buy it at Costco, it is usually cheaper than in your local store (unless it's on sale).

And don't let a great deal pass even if you are "not needing" to buy an item! You'll be so happy next time you need a new bottle of shampoo and you can go to your very well stocked up cabinet for a bottle that you paid mere cents for!

And I guess that's it for now! You can do this! You're not begging nor stealing! (I still think things can be taken tooooo far) but... couponing allows you to make better use of your resources and even get a pair of earrings with the extra money... hey! Use a coupon and discount for those too!!!)

Just on Saturday we went to three different stores...  it was great to see the savings afterwards! I save at least 40% on each trip. It is a great feeling!



I'll be sharing more tips, secrets and maybe even some offers/codes too!

©  Paloma K.

Disclaimer: I am not getting paid or compensated by any of the sites/stores mentioned in this post. These are my opinions.

Deepening our worship...

Hello friends, I am enjoying a cup of coffee... Not "the best cup of coffee I've ever had" but this will do until my coffee order gets here.

These past weeks I've had a cold and then a lingering cough... I am the translator of the sermon during the second service and I have been needing help with the translation because of my never-ceasing cough. Yesterday, even when I was still coughing I was embarrassed to ask for help from anybody with the translation, it's been too long and people have been so gracious to continue to help week after week... so I just tackled it...

This is my little translating space. #behindthescenes
         Our Pastor based his sermon on the last words of Paul to the church of Ephesus... it wasn't just a "final salutation" or a "nice way to end the letter to the Ephesians" it was a message from God to this specific church:

Ephesians 6:23-24 Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Translating the sermon made me have to PAY ATTENTION to each and every single word... The focus of the sermon was on the gifts that we, as believers, receive from God... "peace, love and faith" from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.... These gifts are already ours, indeed, but the increasing amount of those gifts is received as we abide in Him and as we LOVE Jesus, loving Him with UNDYING love.

So, we receive peace by loving Him, we receive love by loving Him and our faith is also increased by loving Him... our pursuit and passion is (or should be) for Jesus... and the final Bible verses Pastor shared were from the book of Revelation chapter 2 and how it speaks precisely about how that same church, the church of Ephesus received a letter  from the Lord where the biggest issue is addressed.... How regardless of how good they were and their good works and perseverance, they abandoned their first love....

Besides this, I'm part of a Ladies Bible Study, right now we are finishing the 3rd. week of Deepening Your Worship  by Lorraine Hill. It has been a great study and I love it that God always tells ME something, specific, clear and unavoidable when I join a group like this.... He tells me over and over the same message and verses of whatever it is that He wants me to discover in my life that should be changed....

Well... guess what the issue is.... The importance of loving HIM first... and how much I fail at it!

Last night as I opened my book ... the message was the same from the morning... And even when I thought I had "messed up MY studying schedule" by getting "behind" with the homework... I now realize I did the exact lesson on the exact day that God wanted me to do it...

The assigned title for the day of the week I was studying was: "Surrendering Our Hearts" ... and besides going again to "Revelation chapter 2" the author made such a great point, something I guess we all "kind of know" but then fail to remember:

"Sometimes, one of the greatest competitors for our affection for the Lord can be our service to Him"

.....

My question is... am I just busy with work for Him? what are my real motivations indeed? I do want to please HIM but I think that sometimes I want to actually please everybody else... and I end up "exhausted for HIM" and neglecting my relationship with Him.

Are you like me? Praise God He is good, forgiving, faithful and compassionate!


Psalm 52:1-2 (emphasis added)
Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.


© Paloma K.

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