Last month, David and I spent 10 days in Israel. It was amazing!
Now, when I read my Bible, I understand so much more because I saw what they were talking about. I “Read Today” about towers.
2 Chronicles 26:5, “He continued to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.”
NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE
******** God prospered Uzziah as long as he sought Him. What did he do with the money?
He built and restored, 26:2.
He built new cities, 26:6.
He fortified the walls and built towers in Jerusalem, 26:9.
He built towers to protect his livestock, 26:10.
He dug many cisterns to water his livestock, 26:10.
He supplied his army with armaments, 26:14.
He created new engines of war, 26:15.
But when he became strong, his heart became proud and he acted corruptly. He was unfaithful to God, 2 Chronicles 26:16. He thought he could do whatever he wanted. He decided to be the leader of the church. He tried to burn incense in the sanctuary. Only the priest is allowed to burn incense, 26:16-18.
He raged at the priests and leprosy broke out on his forehead, 26:19, 20. He died a leper and was buried in the field next to the grave of the kings, 26:21-23.
When God sends a monetary blessing, I am to build, restore, or fortify!
I just finished the book, “The Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Ecker. In it, he said net worth is built by: 1. Income, 2. Savings, 3. Investments, and 4. Simplification.
“Simplification is consciously creating a lifestyle in which you need less money to live on. By decreasing your cost of living, you increase your savings and the amount of funds available for investing.” T. Harv Ecker
This blog is all about simplification!
I wrote out his “affirmations” and assigned a verse in the Bible to each one. I got stuck on, “I focus on net worth.” While searching for a verse, I ran across “7 Important Financial Tips from the Bible – Verses About Money”. You can find the article at moneycrashers.com.
I missed an important step! I hope you get as much out of this article as I did.
I woke up at 3:39 a.m. because I had to use the bathroom. I put on my robe, slippers, and looked for the moon to watch the eclipse. I finally found it in the west obscured by clouds.
I looked on Facebook and realized the eclipse occurred on Thursday night. I even shared an article about it but didn’t read it because I thought I already knew the pertinent information.
I missed it completely.
The blood moon was one of the signs that Jesus told us would happen right before he returned. I read those verses every year, see Joel 2:31; Acts 2:20.
Sunday and Monday at a prophecy conference, Joseph Morris spoke about the signs and mentioned the blood moon and lunar eclipse on the 19th. I heard about this event several times this week and still missed it!
These signs show us God is ready to fulfill a promise to send Jesus Christ back to earth a second time. Yes, you have heard this before. Yes, you have read all about it. Yes, you have all the pertinent information but you could still miss it. Just like I missed the eclipse.
If you are unsure, there is a prayer posted on the page of what I “Read Today.” Click on it in the menu.
Jesus is coming back. God promised.
“God is not man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
Christian Standard Bible
He will fulfill it and I will see you later when Jesus comes.
I was exposed to COVID on Monday. I wore a mask and little white gloves when I picked up the patient at the ER – just in case. I only spent 5 minutes with her but I spent a few hours with her daughter.
Tuesday, her daughter’s test came back positive. I cleaned the house. I also dusted the baseboards and cleaned the basement – just in case. I canceled practice in my home and told the worship leader I may not be at church on Sunday.
Wednesday, I made a grocery list and menus for 2 weeks – just in case. My verse was Leviticus 9:4, “…For today the Lord is going to appear to you.” CSB
I watched church online and was reminded to encourage myself with Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. There is nothing better to battle fear and worry than to sing praise to God!
Day 4 of my quarantine and I read this: Leviticus 13:11, “…the priest must pronounce him unclean. He need not quarantine him, for he is unclean.” CSB
It’s funny how I looked at things differently while under quarantine. I prepared for a disaster. Wouldn’t my finances be better if I always planned ahead and was ready for anything? How many times did I say to myself, “Don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today?”
I worked on several things that I have been procrastinating over. I got out the flash drive from our son’s wedding to choose pictures to purchase. (Yes, it was three years ago. Don’t judge. The flash drive was accidentally put in a drawer.) I made seven salads and ordered a credit check.
I finished the week strong. I caught up with the laundry, the reports, updated our tax sheets, cleaned the computer, backed it up, and ran a virus check. They found malware but quickly quarantined it. (That is one quarantine for which I am grateful!)
I finished my work and realized. I didn’t have one symptom! I texted the worship leader to let him know I would be there to play on Sunday. My verse today was: Leviticus 15:5, “…wash his clothes, and bathe with water, and he will remain unclean until evening.” CSB
Even though I did not contract COVID, I still had to wash my clothes, including my coat, bathe, and stay away from others.
Today I made my task list and decided to continue working as if disaster was right around the corner. David saw my list and did one large project for me because he had the day off. Woo-hoo!
I practiced and look forward to playing at church tomorrow. I realize we are incredibly lucky. Many Christians do not have the freedom to go to church. In the Bible, only the High Priest was allowed in God’s presence, once a year.
Leviticus 16:2, “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell your brother Aaron that he may not come whenever he wants into the holy place behind the curtain in front of the mercy seat on the ark or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.’ ”
Christian Standard Bible
We get an extra hour of sleep tonight. I encourage you to come early to church. You don’t want to miss one song because praise is your weapon against fear, worry, and sadness.
“…My computer was frozen on the ‘Initializing System Restore’ screen for three hours!
I had tried running backup. I didn’t think it worked. I checked the memory in the external hard drive. It wasn’t full. I decided I must have deleted something that I shouldn’t have the last time I cleaned the disk.
Finally, I shut the computer down and restarted it. Then I checked the ‘last backup date’ again. It was today. We didn’t have much to back up so it only took 3 seconds.
I thought it was October 29th. (Sigh.) …”
Journal, October 22, 2021
That was one disaster that I brought on myself. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place because my tech guy was promoted to heaven. I’m sure he had a good laugh. I am grateful for all he taught me and that he made me do it instead of doing it for me.
I read about disasters this week in Exodus. Each plague was a disaster but those who followed the instructions of the Lord took precautions and were unharmed, see Exodus 9:20, 21. Some plagues, God only sent to the Egyptians. But these verses showed that he spared those among Pharaoh’s officials who listened.
Isaiah 32:17, “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”
New International Version
It’s a matter of heart…
After each plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart. Each plague showed that God was mightier than their gods who were represented by flies, gnats, frogs, etc. God struck to the heart of their beliefs. They believed that a person’s heart was weighed when they died to see if they lived in the afterlife.
“…the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. The deceased person’s heart was placed on one side of the scales; on the opposite side was a feather, which represented standards of truth and justice. … If the heart and feather balanced, the deceased lived in the afterlife…the ‘heart’ of Pharaoh was hardened or, …’was heavy.’ This might be a polemic against Egyptian theology by asserting that God is the One who ‘weighs the heart.’ “
Holyland Illustrated Bible, “The Afterlife: An Egyptian View” by Harold R. Mosley
The worst plague…
The firstborn of every man and animal in Egypt would die but in the Israelite land, not even a dog would snarl, see Exodus 11:7. Their animals slept through that horrible night.
Sometimes, before we can move forward, we have to turn back.
The Israelites left Egypt, and shortly after, Pharaoh mustered his army to bring them back to slavery. Then God gave them the oddest instruction: “Turn back and camp.”
Exodus 14:1, 2, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 2) ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Midgol and the sea; you must camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea.’ “
Christian Standard Bible
According to abarim-publications.com:
Pi-hahiroth means the “edge of the hollows” or “mouth of caverns.”
Baal-zephon means “Lord of the hidden things.”
Migdol means an encampment in the mountains.
“…an enigmatic place where Israel, with Pharaoh’s army hot on their trail, was told to ‘return’ to and ‘camp before’ … Doing so would place them ‘between’ Migdol and the sea and in front of Baal-zephon…”
The Israelites were at the edge of the hollows, between the mountains and the sea, and in front of “Hidden Things!” The sea was a seemingly impossible obstacle. But our God, the “Lord of the Hidden Things,” was there ready to show them a new path, that only He could create. This path not only moved them forward but also destroyed their enemies.
Pharaoh thought they were wandering around the land in confusion and the wilderness had boxed them in, see Exodus 14:3. But Moses said: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation. The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet.” (Exodus 14:13, 14).
Don’t try to figure it out. Don’t talk about it. Don’t speculate. God is moving. He drove the sea back with a powerful east wind, see Exodus 14:21. The Israelites were going east. They had to walk into the wind with walls of water on their right and left. Those walls came back down on Pharaoh, his horses, chariots, and army, killing them all.
You may be between a rock and a hard place or boxed in by mountains, caves, a sea, and the unknown. Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. Be quiet and face the wind. I pray that your disaster turns out to not be a disaster at all…like my computer.
“Feelings are not a choice. Your behaviors and thoughts are a choice.”
My husband ran into my trigonometry teacher at the football game last night. Mrs. W. asked why I had not been writing posts. (I felt like I forgot to turn in my homework, lol!) I didn’t plan on it. I wrote a 3-page post on Sunday, October 3rd but decided to wait until Monday to type it up.
Big mistake. Monday, I got hit with an infection that took 2 rounds of antibiotics to kill. I should have taken the time to publish it that day.
Sometimes, I feel forgotten when I am sick for more than a day or two. I have friends who have battled an illness for years: diabetes, heart problems, cancer, to name a few. I’m sure they feel like God has forgotten them.
God did not forget us. He not only cares for us, he cares for our pets, our food-producing animals, and the wild animals whose sightings bring joy to our hearts. He cares that your dog misses you and that you miss him. He knows you need the fresh eggs your chickens provide. He blesses us by keeping them healthy and fruitful. He knows how it warms our heart to see a doe with her fawn and the awe a multi-racked stag inspires.
Genesis 8:1, “God remembered Noah, as well as all the wildlife and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters began to subside.”
Christian Standard Bible
He knows about our storm. He keeps us safe in the middle of it. We don’t understand the turmoil, just as Noah didn’t understand the flood because it had never rained!
Then a different storm arises. The wind blows against our ark of safety battering it searching for any crack to seep through. Why would God allow another storm to hit us on top of the first?
We feel the wind and so does the water. The wind is there to remove the effects of the first storm. The second battle is conquering the first battle.
Battles are long. The wind blew on the ark for 150 days, see Genesis 8:3. That is almost half of a year! Noah felt the wind blowing him around but God was blowing him to a place of rest above the storm, see Genesis 8:4. The ark was still and out of the water.
Noah lived in the ark for three more months while the wind drove the water back and the sun evaporated it. He went into the ark on the 17th day of the second month in the 600th year, see Genesis 7:11. He came out of the ark on the 1st day of the first month in the 601st year, see Genesis 4:13. He slogged around in the mud until the 27th of the month when the earth dried, see Genesis 8:14.
I wish I had known…
Two years ago, I bought a diffuser. I used eucalyptus oil in it to treat my sinuses. A patch broke out under my left eye. A month later, I started my first of 13 rounds of Prednisone to halt the rash on my face. It kept coming back.
Then they found a lump at my routine mammogram that had to be removed. I was the best patient. I stayed in bed and didn’t overdo it because I had trouble seeing anything! I rejoiced when Covid-19 shut down everything. I didn’t have to face anyone. I sent pictures of my face to my doctor online and he treated me through them.
It was 18 months later before I could see my dermatologist. He pinpointed the diffuser as the source. But after years of the maximum dose of antihistamines and decongestants, I had another problem – dry eye. The tears that keep my eye lubricated dried up and the tears normally released during pain or sorrow ran constantly.
Like Noah, I had an unrelenting storm followed by a second storm, and a third (a case of Covid-19), and a fourth (a C-Diff infection). Each of these battles was over the last two years.
I can see how God brought good out of each. I kept trying to write but the constant wiping of my eyes was doing serious damage. After the lumpectomy, I laid in bed listening to the TV and left my eyes alone.
The Covid-19 battle showed me that I was stronger than I realized. After all of that Prednisone, I feared I had no immunity at all. Yet, I battled Covid-19 without hospitalization.
And the C-Diff? It reminded me of the importance of eating healthy. I slacked off and ate more sugar. I couldn’t stop the weight gain from the Prednisone, so why did it matter?
God remembers me. He cares enough to send fawns to nap in my backyard. I don’t have pets or livestock so he fills my yard with rabbits, squirrels, ground squirrels, and a wide variety of birds.
He cares for you, too. He will bring something good out of all of your battles.
Had I known what would happen, I never would have bought that diffuser! God had Noah prepare for the year he spent in the ark. He had a hundred years to prepare, see Genesis 5:32. What would you have done differently in 2019 if you knew what was going to happen in 2020?
Yesterday, I read about Joseph being reunited with his brothers, see Genesis 43:34. This was the second year of the famine. Joseph knew the famine would last seven years.
What if we are in the second year of seven years of hardship? Would we do anything differently?
My inspiration for my 2017 Thanksgiving table was the runner that I used on my kitchen table. I love the black and red with sunflowers on the edges.
I used a black tablecloth with a red runner to mimic the table runner’s background. My gold charger plates stood in for the sunflower petals.
I set the table and folded black napkins into rosettes for the centers of my sunflowers. The centerpiece is simply artificial vegetables my sister, Michele, gave me. Oh, the Indian corn in the center is real – it was given to me by my children’s preschool teacher! (Shout out to Roger and Deb!) I can’t believe it lasted this long!
My frugal tip for this week may not save you money, but it will save you time!
I learned this tip, (for those with a separate dining room), from flylady.net. She sets her table a few days before Thanksgiving and covers it with clean sheets or tablecloths. I used my white tablecloths as dust covers. I set my table 11 days before Thanksgiving. That is one less thing on my to-do list!
Next week, I will share something everyone needs on Black Friday!
My plan was to swim in Clear Lake and have a picnic on the beach. I imagined a game of Laser Tag or going through the Clear Lake Fire Museum, which is in walking distance to the 9/11 Steel Memorial crafted from an artifact salvaged from the World Trade Center after September 11, 2001. I thought we would cruise the lake on the Lady of the Lake, a picturesque paddlewheel.
David planned on sleeping in!
He may or may not have dreaded our last stop in Clear Lake, Iowa. He compromised by taking me shopping in Mason City and eating lunch at Pasta Bella. You can tell I am all about the bread!
I learned a painful lesson at Pasta Bella. When the waitress asks you if you want a few minutes, take her up on it! They had 2 specials and David ordered one of them but I am a salad girl. I ordered the salad that had artichoke hearts and other ingredients I don’t normally have at home.
The waitress asked if I wanted to add meat to my salad: chicken, salmon, or shrimp. I cook with chicken all the time and I do not care for salmon. I ordered the shrimp. It cost $8.00 extra. Yikes! I regretted spending that much money on 6 grilled, jumbo shrimp! It was very good. (After lunch we went back to the hotel and relaxed.)
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Our first destination in Clear Lake was “The Landing.” It was on the lake next to the pier where the boats dock. You could eat outside or in the shade.
David ordered the “Fish and Chips” and I ordered the “Hawaiian Chicken with Parsnip and Carrot Fries.” I love trying new foods when I eat out. (Now I know,I am not a fan of parsnips.) The food was excellent and they have live music on Friday nights.
While we waited for our food I took a picture of my jewelry. I was wearing a ring that was a copy of Princess Diana’s wedding ring. I remember that royal wedding. I was jealous of all the pretty things but she died so young and so tragically 20 years ago. I am glad I did not have her life.
The bracelet was a gift from David’s cousin. His wife died from cancer and he shared all of her jewelry. I may not have a lot of money, but I have my health and that is everything!
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
After dinner, we went to the beach and took pictures. We enjoyed watching the antics of the kids who were there.
This is where Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” sang their last concert. There was a marquee that had autographed guitars all along the top of it. I took several pictures and sent them to the guitar players in our worship band – just to make them jealous.
The pictures don’t do justice to all the posters, memorabilia, instruments, and autographed photographs of all the musicians who played there over the years. You just have to go see it for yourself! Don’t miss the outside display where you can hear Buddy, Richie, and The Big Bopper each singing their top hit. (Note: these were all before my time.)
The Jan Graber Orchestra was there that night for ballroom dancing. David and I don’t dance. We shuffled through our first son’s wedding and I wanted to do better at our second son’s wedding next year. I figured in 4 hours we would figure out how to get around the dance floor without going in opposite directions!
David was not enthusiastic. We sat through the “Rumba,” the “Samba,” and the “Two-step.” (I posted updates on Facebook for my friend Paula who does know how to dance.)
When they played the song, “New York, New York,” they called for everybody to dance. We got halfway around the room when David said, “Oh, I twisted my knee!” We sat back down. He rested it for a little while and I did get to dance four more times. I think we only made it around the room once!
There were couples the age of our parents and three couples in their twenties. They knew what they were doing and it was fun to watch them. We found our own rhythm and enjoyed ourselves in spite of our lack of lessons.
The couples in the booth next to us were from Ottumwa, Iowa which is about 30 miles from our home. We talked with them most of the evening. One lady was the first bookkeeper for the Area 15 AEA. We told her our daughter-in-law worked for AEA when they first married and I was a bookkeeper at a local preschool and daycare for 18 years.
At 8:30 p.m. some of the older couples started going home. That was all the excuse David needed. It was starting to feel like Saturday night at Mom’s watching Lawrence Welk. (Who also played at the Surf Ballroom.) We snuck out because I had a cannoli calling my name. We bought desserts at Pasta Bella and saved them for after the dance.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
Monday, on the way home, we filled up the van and used our reward money from our BP Credit Card, 20 gallons for $2.18. That made up for the shrimp!
Of course, if you make your husband go ballroom dancing, you will have to make one more stop before going home – “Guitar Center.”
My Frugalfish tips are:
Be flexible with your plans; you might miss a few attractions.
Take your time ordering. That last-minute addition could really cost you.
Schedule in times of rest. It is a vacation, not a marathon.
Enjoy what you do have and don’t compare yourself to others.
Cherish your good health.
Dance to your own steps and enjoy the music.
Take time to get to know the people around you.
Always get dessert!
Save your rewards for your vacation.
Be sure to stop at places your spouse would enjoy.
I was lucky, my husband made the weekend all about me! He’s a keeper.
Next week, on the first day of fall, I will give you a “Frugalfish Fall Home Tour.”
Ragweed pollen reached Iowa last week. When I got the pollen alert from the weather.com allergy tracker, I went right to the library and stuffed a grocery bag full of books. I won’t go back for two months. In fact, I will limit the times I leave the house until we have a killing frost.
The local Ragweed plants do not have to bloom for me to have problems. The pollen can blow in from Missouri and leave me in misery.
After I double the dose of my antihistamine, I made changes in three areas:
I spend one-third of my day in bed. I cannot afford to have any dust or pollen in the bed. On the days I venture out, I shower and wash my hair before going to bed. I sanitize all the bedding in hot water once a week and I use allergy covers. I also air the sheets for an hour each day, see “Allergies? Wait to Make Your Bed.”
Remove any gunk.
An effective way to remove the pollen is with a sinus rinse or Neti pot. I use “Johnson’s Baby Soothing Vapor Bath,” “Vicks Vapor Rub,” and a “Vicks Vapor Inhaler” to keep the air moving in my nose and sinuses. I gargle hot, salted water, take a tablespoon of locally grown honey, and use “Halls Menthol Cough Drops” to soothe my irritated throat. When it affects my lungs, I rely on prescription inhalers and a nebulizer. I found a neat trick a few years ago to remove the buildup in my eyes and eyelashes, see “This is Not a Shot Glass.”
Each day I spend a few minutes cleaning one room with a damp washcloth. I don’t want to move dust to the floor, I want to remove it. It’s amazing how much dust is lurking in corners and behind things. When I have an allergy flare, I have to play detective and go down the list of triggers until I find the culprit, see “Christmas Eyes.”
So…how does coping with my allergies save me money? If I let a flare go, I develop sinusitis, then bronchitis, and eventually pneumonia. I want to stop it in its tracks before it stops me in mine!
My nephew, Brayden, played “Pomp and Circumstance” for the last time on Sunday. Next year, he will be marching down to receive his diploma! There are many things to do before that last march on the football field and the first one is best done this month.
When my youngest graduated from high school, we couldn’t decide where to get his senior pictures taken.
We had three options:
Photographer 1 took the senior pictures of my first two children.
Photographer 2 is a close friend of the extended family. So close, that her family has attended our family reunion for decades.
Photographer 3 is a relative of my daughter-in-law. She took a family picture of us after their wedding.
They all are excellent photographers and we worried about hurt feelings. Then I remembered the deal I made with Photographer 1.
My oldest son graduated in 2005. I saw a picture of a 2004 graduate that captured her personality, taken by Photographer 1.
When I called, I told the photographer I had a senior and a junior. I asked her if she could make me a deal if I had my daughter’s pictures taken there the next year.
She offered me two free family sittings. I used the first free sitting for my extended family in 2004. I never used the second one.
I called Photographer 1 and reminded her I still had a second free sitting. I asked her if we could use it for my youngest sons’ senior pictures.
She said, “Yes!”
They base sitting fees on the different outfits worn for pictures. In his case, it was $25.00 per outfit. Derek wore a baseball uniform and three other outfits for his pictures. That saved me $100.00 in sitting fees.
Top Ten Tips
1. Book your appointment in June. Most photographers will have a reduced rate or throw in free pictures for early bookings. My sitting fee for my first son was 75% off because I booked in June. Every photographer has their own incentives.
2. If you have more than one child, ask for a deal and have all of them photographed by the same one. The pictures will have a similar feel because each photographer has their own style.
3. Limit the outfits your child wears. This is especially hard with girls!
4. Ask if the photographer has a “Participation Bonus”. You get a free gift or picture when your child is wearing a uniform: band, sports, even FFA.
5. Have your child be a model for the photographer for a free or reduced sitting fee.
6. Order the minimum number of pictures needed. Make a list of all the relatives you are buying for and write the size of the print you want for them next to it. Buy a large print for yourself and an 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 for your child. Don’t order hundreds of wallets. Derek graduated with 129 other students. I ordered 100 wallets for Luke and had a stack left over. I ordered 88 wallets for Laura and used them all. So, I ordered only 88 for Derek and used them all.
7. You may get more opportunities for free pictures later in the year by writing a review.
8. In January they go on sale. They contact you to see if you need more photos, sometimes at reduced prices. You can also get a copy of your child’s portfolio or picture DVD at a reduced price.
9. Some photographers throw in a free bonus picture if you pay in full when you place your order.
10. You can also get free photos and other freebies based on the amount of money you spend, i.e. spend $200.00 – get one freebie, spend $300.00 – get two freebies.
$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $
If your photographer is a family member . . .
do not expect a free sitting. This is how they make their living. Be willing to pay full price and be grateful if they offer you a discount.
do not expect them to clear their schedule to accommodate you.
do not cancel at the last-minute, unless it is an emergency, and pay them the sitting fee anyway.
Being frugal is not about being cheap; it is about making the most of your money!