Now What!

“…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.

Disasters everywhere…

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

  • 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.”

Mel Robbins

2009-2021 All rights reserved.

Two Words to Get Anything

Today I am going to share with you two words that will get you anything you want!

The desire of my heart since we bought our house was to have a garage door opener. David didn’t see it as a necessity.

“Why do we need a garage door opener? We have three: Luke, Laura, and Derek!”

We own a modest home and the garage door was original to the house – without an automatic garage door opener. I am quite content in our home, but it does require maintenance. I posted this picture of our home when I wrote a post about getting free trees.

At the beginning of the summer, David decided to tackle the first word.


He works every other Saturday. On his Saturday off, he repaired and painted one side of the shed. He replaced some rotten boards and put on new hardware. Then he moved on to the house, painting just one side at a time.

It took 8 Saturdays.

He took down the shutters in the front of the house and found several hornet’s nests. We looked everywhere for those nests. I am glad we will not fight hornets next year! (My son’s fiancée recycled those shutters, but that is a post for another time.)

When the house was finally done, David stood back admiring his work. The fresh, white paint made the garage door look even worse! I reminded him that Derek is getting married next year and we will lose our last “garage door opener.”

We had just returned from our trip to Mason City, Iowa and saw some pretty awesome houses there. He decided I had used the second “W” word long enough.


He brought home a booklet of garage doors. We chose the “Ranch” style door because we live in a “Ranch” style home. We chose the “Prairie Style” windows after seeing the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in Mason City.

The other homes on our street have the four-panel garage door. Ours is unique and stands out. It sure added to our curb appeal.

How long did I wait?

We moved in 32 years ago. Thirty-two years of getting out in the rain, snow, ice, and heat to open that old garage door. It had 2 holes in it. Last spring, I taped matching paper to the back of the holes to disguise them. That old door was 46 years old!

Sometimes it would get stuck under the frame of the garage door and one of the guys would have to pound on it to pop it back behind the wood. It trapped me until they did.

The biggest mistake we make is wanting everything our parents have now. We forget that our parents worked for 30 years to make the home they now enjoy. We have to use the same 2 “W” words that they used.

“Work” and “Wait”

This was our big project for the year. We didn’t borrow to buy the paint, paint supplies, garage door, garage door opener, or the installation costs. We are still debt-free.

$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $

I told you I was going to take my birthday off! I did and totally enjoyed myself. That is why there was not a post last week. I also took the month off – I didn’t decorate for Halloween. I will give you a tour of my Thanksgiving home next week.

©2009-2017 All rights reserved.

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Steamboat Dinner Cruise

Today is my birthday!

This year we did something different, when my husband’s birthday rolled around we put the money in savings. The money we would have spent on our anniversary went into savings, also. We did the same thing with my birthday money.

Instead of presents for those three events, we chose to do something on my bucket list. With those pooled resources we were able to take a “Steamboat Dinner Cruise!”

The Spirit of Dubuque Steamboat

The Spirit of Dubuque Steamboat

The SPIRIT has been showcasing the vast history and beauty of the Dubuque area for over 20 years with a variety of cruises to fit into everyone’s schedule. Cruising May through October, the SPIRIT of Dubuque has sightseeing, lunch & dinner cruises that would delight the entire family!

We boarded the “Spirit of Dubuque” at 5:30 p.m. and were seated next to the entertainment. It was a 2 man band with: an accordion, electric guitar, a pedal bass, and a preprogrammed drum kit! The singer played the last three instruments.

Our musical entertainment.

Our musical entertainment.

I was a little bummed until I noticed the cabinet next to the band marked “Life Jackets.” I decided it was the table I wanted after all! The band won us over, by the end of the night we were singing along with them!

Sitting next to the life jackets!

Sitting next to the life jackets!

We walked around the top deck while the rest of the passengers were loading. It was in the 80’s and we decided to stick to the air-conditioned dining room after that.

The Dubuque Bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

The Dubuque Bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

They served: prime rib, chicken Marsala, party potatoes, green bean casserole, cole slaw, rolls, and mini muffins shot with caramel sauce.

The hostess had a note that we were celebrating our anniversary. She asked us how many years we had been married. We told her 33.

The band recognized each couple and announced the years of marriage and then sang a special song for each one. We didn’t know the one they sang for us, but they played our song earlier, “Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life.” They also sang “Happy Birthday” to each one celebrating on the cruise.

We left Dubuque and rode north until we reached the locks and turned around. We didn’t notice any motion, until a boat sped by a little too closely and we felt their wake.

We turned around at the locks.

We turned around at the locks.

We were the last table to go through the buffet line and I did not have my sea legs! You notice the motion when you try to walk. A teenager laughed at me and I laughed along with her. After all, most of the people at her table were on their third drink and were walking much worse.

We passed the dock and went just as far south as we had gone north. We watched the sun set over the bluffs of the river and enjoyed the leisurely trip back watching the lights on the shore.

Watching the sunset from the steamboat.

Watching the sunset from the steamboat.

We docked and no one was in a hurry to disembark. When the band started to yodel, we decided it was time for us to go!

The best gifts are not items you have to dust. The best gifts have a memory attached to them. Every once in a while you should pay for an experience instead of paying for more stuff.

Saving money does not mean spending less money. It means setting money aside for something special!

You need a 2-Speed Fan and a 2-Speed Motor When You Add AC

It was 1988. My son and I had just been diagnosed with asthma. I already suffered from allergies and it was strongly recommended that we get central air to keep the pollen out.

We had a small income tax return, so I went to my favorite plumber, the plumber we used at work, and a plumber who attended school with my husband. The third plumber’s bid was half price of the other two.

Now our memory gets fuzzy. I say we chose the last one because my husband wanted to help out a classmate. He says we chose the last one because I was so cheap.

Frugal is being smart. Cheap is taking the cheapest bid.

It was a mistake. A week after the central air was installed the motor burned up. The classmate installed a different motor and that was the last we heard from him.

Then the nightmare began. It just wouldn’t cool. Our favorite plumber tried every test and every trick, but the house was always 10 degrees warmer than the air outside.

We had our electric company do an energy audit twice during those years and still could not figure out why it didn’t work.

Finally, in desperation, we called in a friend who handled industrial heating and cooling in businesses in the area. He listened to everything we had tried over the years and ripped the thing apart.

What he found was a one speed motor that was wired to a two-speed fan. When you have central air you must have a high-speed on your fan to push the cool air up. In the winter, heat rises, so you can move air with the low-speed.

He put on a two-speed motor and IT WORKED!!!

We had three days of temperatures over 100 degrees and my house stayed consistently at 77 degrees where I set it.

Then we were sick when we realized for over two decades we had been cooling the bottom two feet of the house and since the cool air never reached the thermostat, the air ran constantly for weeks at a time.

I called my favorite plumber and reported what we found.  I am not going to see him as much now. At least not to work on the air conditioner! I also wrote a letter to the electric company with the findings in case the auditor ran into a similar situation.

It was a painful lesson to learn. It is better to wait until you can do it right than to take a bargain.

We added central air to this furnace.

We added central air to this furnace.


You may only hear it here, but it pays to stay with the same company. We have had State Farm Insurance for over 30 years and when I became disabled, they bent over backwards to help me.

I know some will switch to another company for a lower rate, but I found if I kept my agent up to date on my current needs, I was able to get discounts and my rate was actually lower than the teaser rates offered by other companies.

That being said, we have had the same cell phone carrier, U.S. Cellular, since 1997. We live in a rural area and they offer the best coverage for this area.

As our children started working, we would add a line…that they would pay for…to our plan. When they moved on…they split off of our plan and would benefit from a great rate.

It was time for our last one to split off of our plan. He picked the phone he wanted and the plan he could live with. He was assigned a new number.

When we called to cancel his former number the salesman was very accommodating. Our contract had not expired and we wanted a cheaper plan. We even looked at a getting track phone.

Our carrier saw that we had been faithful customers since 1997 and that we were not using many of the minutes for which we were paying. Our son didn’t call, but did all of his communicating by text. My husband did not use many minutes either.

They made him an offer he could not refuse: 1) Canceled the contract, 2) signed him up for a plan that was almost 30% cheaper and included data, and 3) gave him a free Galaxy 4.

I have to admit when he brought it home I was jealous. (Remember, I do not have a cell phone, but I rarely leave the house and I don’t need a cell phone.)

It was not a great loss to the phone company because the Galaxy 5 is due to be released any day. We don’t even try to keep up with the latest technology because it is obsolete a few days after it is released. We get what we need and this time we were rewarded because we were faithful and true!

My husband's new free phone.

My husband’s new free phone.


I’m a little behind in my journal…like last Thanksgiving. I have fallen behind before and I don’t worry about catching up because I always do.

Don’t be impressed thinking I can remember back that far…I write notes on my daily Day-Timer pages of things I want to remember, the cute things my granddaughter says and the times I get to leave the house.

Some days have more memories than others and I cannot record everything on the daily sheet. I have come up with a wonderful solution.

I make my own filler paper.

I like writing on notebook paper, not typing on the computer. There is something about putting pen to paper that soothes me. I like the smell of Pentel Blue Ink.

No, I don’t sniff ink! But I still use a Day-Timer for my calendar and planning, not a smartphone. I actually hate typing.

Luckily, I have 2 inches of elementary school loose leaf paper left over from my children. I had a few complete packages of paper but I donated those a decade ago. My youngest graduated in 2011 and that will give you an idea of how long this paper has been buried in a drawer. I just knew it would be of use someday.

This is the day. I cut that loose paper down to fit in my Day-timer. When I have more memories to record on a particular day, I get one of those sheets and write to my heart’s content.

I am actually able to fill in quite a few details on my journal based on the notes in these pages.

I also print my daily pages and a food journal on the back of each page. I can track my weight loss…or not…on these pages. I can look back and see it was the two donuts and two danishes that increased my weight.

Or when my skin is dry and flaky, I can see my water intake…or lack of…and rule out an allergic reaction.

We don’t have to buy everything just because it is for sale. Look around; there may be something in your drawer that would work just as well.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.

The filler paper I made for my Day-Timer using my kids loose leaf paper.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

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When I get a new appliance or anything with a warranty, I write the expiration date of the warranty on the box in permanent marker and my husband stores the empty box, with the packing materials inside in the garage.  He checks the boxes every so often and recycles the boxes that the warranty has expired.

This way, if something goes wrong during the warranty period, we have the original box and packing materials to return the item. Since most warranties are only 90 days, the boxes do not stay long in the garage.

Save box until warranty expires.

Save box until warranty expires.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Yep, I’m thinking of Christmas in the middle of May! I am not thinking of gifts to buy, food to make, cards to send, or decorations; I’m thinking of what I will buy the day after Christmas.

Many people purchase decorations and gifts at the “After Christmas Sales”; but I purchase appliances, too. Last year we bought a meat/cheese slicer and replaced our food processor.  You can get them for half off or more.

This year, I will need to replace our blender and possibly, our Stir Crazy popcorn popper.  (They are only available in our area during the holiday season.) I’m thinking I will buy a coffee grinder and start grinding my own beans. I need to be thinking about it in May, because I need to set aside money for them now.

It’s a good idea to dream about Christmas on the 25th of every month. If you plan on making gifts, or decorations, the earlier you start, the better!

Co-signing a Loan Hurts Both Parties

My first source for financial instruction is the #1 best-seller, world-wide, and has been as long as records have been kept. It is a masterful piece of literature and was the only school book the early Americans had to use. If you learn from the history lessons in it, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and heartache.  The wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon, wrote three of the 66 books it contains. It’s called, “The Holy Bible”.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 6:1, 3, “My son, if you have become security for your neighbor…go…and humble yourself, and beg your neighbor [to pay his debt and thereby release you]. “ Amplified Bible

In the Amplified Bible Notes it says, “The Bible consistently teaches that one is not to forsake a friend, and this passage is not to be otherwise construed. But it is one thing to lend a friend money, and quite another thing to promise to pay his debts for him, if he fails to do so himself. God’s Word is very plain on the subject of not underwriting another person’s debts. (See Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; and 22:26).

We each are to rely on God as our source of everything. We are responsible to live within our means. If we do not qualify for a loan on a vehicle, we probably would not be able to keep up with the insurance, repairs and gas to run it.

When a friend co-signs a loan so we can buy the vehicle, they are not really helping us if we cannot afford to pay for everything the vehicle needs. They may be offended when they see the vehicle parked because we cannot afford a repair…after all they “helped” us get it. They may be unable to get credit for their needs because our loan is listed on their credit report as a liability.

When we co-sign a loan for a friend, we are enabling them to purchase something that is not God’s best for them.  We have all had the experience of purchasing a much-needed item and then seeing it go on sale the next day or finding a similar one for half price. Vehicles, and houses, have their prices reduced at some point and similar ones go on the market all of the time.

We have to be patient. If we cannot afford this one, we have to wait until the price is reduced, or we find a less expensive model that we can afford and maintain.

Frugal people give money, or lend money to help a friend, but they never co-sign on a loan.


Keeping Up With the Jones’ Phones

Each generation has more opportunities to flourish than the one before. I remember my grandparents saying they are thrilled how easy life is for their children.

Take the telephones, as an example.

My grandparents, farmers in Iowa, lived part of their lives without a phone. They would be shocked to see their great-grandchildren not only have a phone, but they have their own number…no party lines…and they can communicate with people all over the world with them!

They can do in seconds what my grandparents would assign a day to do.

Shopping – We have an app for that and it will be here tomorrow. My grandparents had to wait until Saturday, when they went to town to shop.

We get impatient and use credit to have it now. My farming grandparents had to wait until the fall to see how the harvest was before they made major purchases. Some purchases were put off for years. They made it themselves, made do with what they had, or did without…a concept unheard of today.

My parents had to wait until the end of the month. My generation had to wait until the end of the week, until credit cards became available to the masses.

Some of my children’s generation doesn’t wait at all. They receive their first student loan and then they buy a car we worked and saved for years to purchase. They go on vacations to exotic places I’m sure I may never see. They have large TV’s, the fastest computers, and games I may never buy.

But the price they pay will be the stress from carrying that debt…some for the rest of their lives.

They say you have to keep up with the latest technology, but there are two problems:

  1. Today’s technology will be obsolete tomorrow, and
  2. If you are always trying to keep up…it will be either sink or swim.

We are forgetting there is a third option available to us…


Choose at what point you will get back in the river and invest in newer technology. The river will always be there, but I prefer to only swim occasionally. I have found walking to be much more efficient and a lot less stressful and tiring.

My husbands phone and my phone.