A Costly Mistake and the Power of Grace

I have to tell you up front that this is not a post I wanted to write. But God wouldn’t let me alone. This post has to do with a large failure on my part. It’s not fun or easy to admit to others your failings and to expose your frailty and faults. It’s not easy to admit the stupidity you are capable of. And yet, it’s not fair to only show strengths and successes. I make mistakes just like everyone else. I have lapses in judgement, regrets, words spoken I wish I could take back. So here goes…

The call came at work. I can’t say it was a huge shocker, but it confirmed a lurking fear at the back of my mind that I wasn’t ready to admit. One google search later crushed any hope I had of making this right. How could I be so stupid?! Why did I not research this before I cashed the check? Questions I would ask myself a million times in the days ahead.  Unfortunately I had no answers, just a big dent in my savings that was not supposed to be there.

I was a victim of fraud, an email scam. I never thought it would happen to me. I’m smarter than that, or so I thought. As it sunk in, I cried and went over the scenario a million times in my head. “How could I do this? We could have done so much with that money. It’s not coming back. How do I tell John? If only I had done this, or that. How could I be so dumb?”

Thankfully I had a half day of work. As soon as I got home I cried more. Unfortunately this was also the day we had another doctor appt. for our little one and I didn’t think it would be good for me to be hooked up on the monitor and hysterical in front of my husband. Not quite the time or place. So I stuffed it in, but it was not far from my mind. Part of me was tempted to not tell him. I take care of most of the everyday finances and he would really never know it was missing. It was a brief temptation because I knew I would never be able to pull that off. Plus, I needed him. I needed him to tell me it was going to be ok.

As soon as we were home I broke again. I blurted out the scenario between a hundred I’m sorry’s and tears. I let him have some space to process and I cried more. During my alone time I really sensed God’s presence and saw things for what they were. First of all, it was only money. I needed to trust in God’s provision, not my own financial savvy. Obviously that doesn’t mean I should be dumb with decisions, but ultimately He is the provider. Not me. Secondly, I need Him. In everyday decisions, little, big, everything in between. I need His guidance more than I often admit to myself.

After John and I had our time to think and came back together, more tears were shed. It was a hard conversation but a good one. We both realized that although we are on the same page financially, John needs to be more involved. We also realized that God was using this situation differently for each of us to bring certain things to the surface that we needed to deal with. One thing that did not happen was accusations, insults or yelling. He didn’t tell me how dumb I was. He didn’t yell at me for being so stupid. He didn’t make me feel worse than I already did. In those moments he loved me well. In those moments we each felt God’s love and grace. And those moments drew my heart even closer to my God and my husband.

In the days that followed I would still dwell on my mistake and play it over and over again. I filed a police report, which was an interesting process, and for me, the final closure. I’ve done what I can do. I will not see the money again. It’s time to move on. And for once, the forgiving myself came a little easier. I either trust God or not. He knows we are like lambs, dumb creatures that need constant supervision and guidance. He knows my heart and how hard I try to be a good steward of what He gives us. If John can forgive me and extend so much grace how much more God has already done just that. And I am so thankful!

 

One Benefit of Affordable Healthcare Act

Just let it be stated first and foremost that I am not a fan of the Healthcare Act. However, this post is not a debate about it. Instead I would like to highlight one benefit that you may or may not be aware of. Since I feel I am always paying into insurance and not really getting much in return this was a rather nice perk.

If you are pregnant and planning on breast feeding know that most insurance plans will cover the purchase of a breast pump. This is a really nice benefit because the high end pumps run a few hundred dollars. I can’t remember how I found out. Probably reading a magazine or baby blog, but I came across the info and decided to look into it. I am so glad I did.

We don’t have top of the line insurance – basic BCBS HMO. The cheapest we can get with John’s job. But it was covered. And it was simple. My doctor sent a referral. A few weeks later I got a phone call verifying my info and the next day I had a brand new Medela Advanced Personal Double Electric Breast Pump sitting in my closet. The claim has already been approved and processed with no hassles at all. Nice!adv medela

So all my pregnant ladies out there – check into your insurance coverage. You may have this benefit and not even know it.

It’s Not Rocket Science…Or is it?

The task seemed simple enough, put together the stroller and playpen. Many hours and much frustration later I plopped into the rocking chair while giving the incomplete stroller the evil eye. At least the playpen was complete so I felt like we accomplished something.

Picture 004The stroller was mostly put together minus the back wheels, which we couldn’t put on because we couldn’t find the pins in the box to lock them in place. No big deal, there’s always home depot. Then there was the matter of the infant car seat. Click and connect. It’s supposed to be so simple. And yet, every time we would try to connect, there was no click, no way to get it to stay put. It became painfully obvious that something was wrong. It was either us or the stroller that was not working properly and I wasn’t about to concede my intelligence level to a piece of plastic. I was angry. I walked away.

Picture 006We decided we needed a break from the stroller to think more clearly. We would come back when we were refreshed and try again, and if it didn’t work, take it back. Later that night, after dinner and a long break I did some research online. No one complained of having any troubles like we were so I was confused. I looked up the manual for the same model online and lo and behold I saw the light. The online manual, unlike our manual that came with the stroller, had much better pictures to clearly show how it connected. 1 missing part was all it took. I walked into the room and 2 clicks later we had a complete stroller with infant car seat securely connected.

Picture 005Now I have to ask what seems to be the most obvious question. Why were the instructions I found online, the clearly better and easier to follow instructions, not included in the box in the first place? That is something that I will not be able to understand. Oh, and I was able to find the missing pins as well, they came out of the parts bag and were just floating around under the cardboard lip of the huge box. I told that stroller I refused to let it get the best of me, and though it almost did, the human prevailed at last.

Thank you Lord for the internet!

St. Patrick’s Day – Plan B

John and I aren’t very Irish. If we have some it’s only a small amount, but who doesn’t love a good reason to celebrate. Last year we tried out corned beef and cabbage and really enjoyed it so we planned on it this year as well. It was actually one of the more expensive cuts of meat I’ve bought in a long time, but I figured it was worth it since it’s only once a year. It’s a fun meal and something different.

Got everything ready in the crockpot, left for work and had a great day because of all the treats there too. It was about 4:20 when I got a call from John. I figured he had a dinner question and I was right. Only what he said wasn’t what I was expecting. “Uh, Becky, the crockpot…” As soon as he started talking I knew. It hit me. I never turned the crockpot on. It was full, plugged in, room temp all day. Argggghhh! I was really upset with myself. That was a huge chunk of meat and there was no way I was chancing cooking everything with it sitting out all day.

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So what to do? We found some coupons and went to Culver’s. Burgers and fries aren’t necessarily Irish, but it was a nice impromptu date night and we did cap it off with a green mint oreo mixer.

Though I am still mad at myself I really have to laugh because I have been so absent-minded during this pregnancy. This is just the icing on the cake. And I also feel blessed, because despite having to throw away a very expensive meal we still have plenty of food in the house. We had money to be able to go and buy more food. We are blessed! I am also thankful for a husband who had lots of grace for me and didn’t get mad. Grace is a beautiful thing!

Tips on Surviving a Polar Vortex

What a winter it has been, and while it has shown signs of slowing up here recently I thought I’d post some tips for those who aren’t as familiar with what to do when it gets so cold. So probably everyone outside the Midwest or North.

polar vortex1. Dress in layers. As many as possible and as many as you can have on and still move your extremities.

2. Cover as much of yourself as possible, with gear suited to keep you warm. That means more than gym shoes on your feet and more than a pair of stretchy gloves on your hands. This again goes back to layers. Boots, gloves, mittens, scarves, ski masks, heavy coat.

3. Expect car trouble. They don’t like to be out in the cold any more than you do and may need some TLC to get moving. Keep jumper cables handy at all times.

4. Limit your time outside. You don’t realize it, but you can get frostbite very quickly as that 5 minutes you were anticipating turns into 10. Be careful.

5. Drink lots of warm drinks: hot tea, hot chocolate.

6. Stay inside if you can. Do lots of baking and keep plenty of blankets on hand.

7. Think warm thoughts. It can’t last forever!

Snow Cream

With the abundance of snow we’ve received this winter here’s something fun you can do with it. Important to remember that you will need CLEAN snow.

Snow CreamSnow Cream:

1. Mix 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup sugar and a splash of vanilla in a bowl until sugar dissolves
2. Add in 4-6 cups fresh, clean snow (or enough to suit your desired consistency)
3. Mix well and enjoy!

You can even add in mix-ins, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, fruit – be creative.

It’s simple. It’s delicious and it’s really inexpensive. Enjoy!

 

Welcome to the 3rd Trimester

bb29wkpngIt really blows my mind that I have officially started my 7th month of pregnancy which puts me in the 3rd trimester. Crazy! It’s going by so quickly. Thankfully I have been feeling good. I have also been feeling our little girl move around a ton and watching my tummy move along with her. It’s been fascinating, exciting and strange all at once. It makes me smile to feel her inside me. I love that I can feel her and know she’s very much alive. It’s so fun for John too. I just wish he could feel her move as much as I do. I feel like I get all the fun. Of course, I guess I get all the “fun” of the labor too, so I shouldn’t feel too bad.

I am definitely in nesting mode, hence the freezer cooking. We also did a round of heavy cleaning and that has helped me feel more prepared as well. I know it’s a little thing, but my tub and shower are now clean and I mean very clean. That makes me feel happy. Sometimes I can put off cleaning for a while, but I always feel so much better when it’s done and I can look at it and think “Ah, it’s clean.” instead of “Ughh, I really need to clean that.” Next will be getting the baby’s room in order. We have started but we definitely have a little more work to do.

I also feel much better now that we are done registering at Baby’s R Us and Target. Thankfully I had some friends give us advice. This world of baby stuff is beyond me and I felt completely lost. What do I really need? What products are best? I did research but the information is overwhelming for a newbie. Somehow we got through it.

This month also begins are preparation for childbirth classes at the hospital. Very thorough!    We survived week 1 with lots to think about. Too many things to do before we welcome our little one. I’d better get back to it…

I love this pillow!

I wrestled for a while with whether or not to purchase one of those various types of pregnancy pillows. I know everyone says I am small, but sleeping has been very uncomfortable from the get go, regardless of my size. I used as many pillows as I could find and we even bought one more regular one to get me through many months.

Dec Jan 13-1434So when my friend that just had a baby offered to let me borrow hers I was ready to give it a try. I was warned that it is big and John may not like it. It’s true. It probably takes up about 70% of our queen size bed. Good thing John is thin. I know he misses being right beside me, but I am not missing it at the moment. I love this pillow! When I can’t seem to find comfort much of anywhere else. I lay down and relax with my comfy pillow friend and I rest well. I am so grateful!

It’s one of the pillow types that’s a big U so I feel supported on all sides and it’s easy to flip over to my other side then. It also helps prevent me from sleeping on my back. Seriously, I can’t recommend it enough. If you are pregnant and can’t get comfy sleeping – give this type of pillow a try. You won’t regret it!

Freezer Cooking Day: First Attempts

I executed my first freezer cooking day this weekend. I recruited my mom to help and John was on dish duty. They were a huge help and I could not have done it without them. It was successful, but I think I bit off a bit more than I thought. By the time we got done with the meatball mixing I was done. Mom had to do the pancakes on her own. This pregnancy business is tiring.Dec Jan 13-1441

The Lineup:
-Banana Bread – (A favorite, I added walnuts and choc chips this time)
-Brunswick Stew x 2 (an NC favorite)
-Minestrone Soup (a good veggie recipe)
-White Chicken Chilli (new)
-Pasta Fagioli Soup (new)
-Meatballs x 3 (so delicious – with a little kick)
-Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes x 2 (new, but good, we had to sample)

Dec Jan 13-1442 Dec Jan 13-1443 Dec Jan 13-1444 Dec Jan 13-1446 Dec Jan 13-1447 Dec Jan 13-1448 Dec Jan 13-1449 Dec Jan 13-1451All in all I was very satisfied. Very tired and sore as well, but pleased with the results. We have a freezer completely full of meals. We figured we have 2-3 weeks of meals from our session. Not bad. Now I just need to eat up some older stuff to make room for the new meals and keep on adding to our stash little by little. I think I’m done with the full day sessions. My body just can’t handle it right now. But I would call this a success!Dec Jan 13-1450 Dec Jan 13-1452 Dec Jan 13-1453

 

Happy New Year

After a nice long blogging winter sabbatical I am going to attempt to get back to regular blogging. The break has been nice, but I do miss sharing too!

We took a trip to North Carolina for Christmas break and were able to have the entire 2 weeks off – that was great! We began our trip with a layover in Georgetown, KY where John got us lodging at at B&B on a horse farm. Though it was a rather unconventional place (no people around whatsoever) we did enjoy walking the grounds.

Our Little Getaway

Our Little Getaway

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Can you find the cardinal?

Can you find the cardinal?

Our room

Our room

John's 'Kentucky Hot Brown' - you'll have to look it up, but it was delicious!

John’s ‘Kentucky Hot Brown’ – you’ll have to look it up, but it was delicious!

We were able to visit with lots of family and it was such a relaxing time! I especially enjoyed my in-laws lazy boy recliner and was so thankful they let me have free reign of it while there.Dec Jan 13-1419 Dec Jan 13-1420 Dec Jan 13-1422 Dec Jan 13-1423 Dec Jan 13-1424 Dec Jan 13-1425 Dec Jan 13-1426 Dec Jan 13-1428 Dec Jan 13-1430

On the way back we made a stop in Boone for the night. Daniel Boone Inn is so worth the trip! We rolled out of the restaurant, but my belly was happy, happy, happy. Thankfully our drive was pretty smooth overall. Lots of rain and a little snow, but nothing too crazy. God definitely kept us safe that way and we made it home between snow rounds. However, we came home to this:Dec Jan 13-1431

I so wish we could fly south for the winter like the birds, and actually stay for the winter.