Thursday, October 7, 2010

Women of Faith Conference

Yesterday afternoon I got an email from a friend telling me that a lady at the Bible study she goes to was giving away 2 tickets to the Women of Faith Conference in Rochester because of an illness in the family or something. She was wondering if I wanted to go with her. Her husband was encouraging her to go but she didn't want to go by herself. I asked Glenn and he said, "Go." I thought, 'OK, Glenn says I should go I'll email Kara and see what she says.' She was surprised by my answer. I think that she thought that it would definitely be a "no" because of Glenn's busy class schedule. She told me that she would call and see if the tickets were still available. I never heard back from her last night or this morning so I assumed that the tickets had already been given away. At noon I got an email from her telling me that we have the tickets for the conference that starts at 10 tomorrow morning 2 hours away.

I have never been to one of these things before for probably two reasons - 1. they are kind of expensive. 2. I don't think that anyone else should have to take care of my kids because that is my responsibility (I need to remember that they are OUR kids and that I am not the only person who is capable of taking care of them. They are a blessing and I should allow others to be blessed by being in contact with them.)

God took care of the expensive part - the lady gave away the tickets for free not wanting them to go to waste. Part of the expense part is not only the conference part but also the hotel expense. Thankfully I recently moved from Rochester and just had to ask to see whose house I could crash at. A friend who is going to be out of town for a wedding told me that we could sleep at her house - hurray - a place to sleep for free!

I was a little nervous about the kids part, mostly because Glenn has a class that he HAS to be at from 11-12:30 tomorrow. Kara's husband was willing to watch them but then Glenn found out he had another required class at 8am. One of his classmates recruited her husband to watch the kids for us. It is still in the works as to whether he is watching them here or at their place from 7:30-1.

So, I am getting picked up at 7:30 tomorrow morning to head to Rochester for a conference that I didn't even know was going on before yesterday afternoon. I am so thankful for this opportunity and excited about what God is going to do in my life as a result of this weekend.

Thanks God for the free tickets and how You've worked out the details and for how You are going to grow me through it (and already have!)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Surprise Knock

Last Sunday Glenn and Caleb went to an introductory planning meeting for a First Lego League that is starting up here in Syracuse thanks to a grant that one of our neighbors up the street got from work. Caleb came home very excited about the idea of Lego robots and they got online to look up how much they were. They were pretty expensive so we tossed around the idea of saving up for it and maybe getting it as a group Christmas gift at some point down the road.

Caleb was checking the mail at the same time as our upstairs neighbor, Bruce, the other day and he saw that he got his Lego magazine and was thrilled and was showing it to Bruce and started telling him about the Lego Robotics group that he was going to be involved in. Bruce told Caleb that he had one of those Lego robots that Helen had given to him for Christmas one year that he never played with. Caleb asked if he could check it out sometime and Bruce said sure.

This afternoon while we were getting ready for lunch there was a knock on the door and it was Bruce and he had the robot that he decided to GIVE to Caleb, not just lend. We were very surprised and Caleb was very excited! We weren't even sure if they were going to let Caleb borrow the robot but GIVE it to us? Wow!

Thanks Bruce and Helen for your generous gift and thank You God for going above and beyond supplying our needs but furnishing our wants as well!

To find out more about Mindstorms and Lego Robotics you can check out the Lego website: Below are some pictures of Caleb with his new robot. I took one video of him with it but it didn't do what he thought he programmed it to do so I will try to remember to post a video of it later when it actually does what he wants it to.

Working on his robot
Making some adjustments
Lets see if it works!

Check out that happy smile :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Free Food Weekend

I haven't posted in a long time. I am sure that there are things that need to be posted here but I am going to just post about this weekend which included some yummy free food.

Yesterday we went to a furniture store that was having a sale and offering free food. We were looking for a new couch and are interested in getting a new mattress as well. We didn't decide to buy anything yesterday but we did get free hot dogs and ice cream sandwiches.

Today Glenn went to a conference from something about family physicians and was fed at the Genessee Grand Hotel. While he was there I took the kids and their little friend whose mom works a couple of doors down to a community fair a few blocks from here. It was a lot of fun. Some of the free things there included soft serve ice cream cones with sprinkles, cotton candy, flea circus, hot dogs, hamburgers, lemonade, snow cones, bounce house obstacle course, caricatures, face painting, mini golf, velcro fishing and live music. Score! It was a lot of fun!

Then tonight our whole family was invited to the party for the family practice thing at Glenn's advisor's house (who was the president of the organization this year). It was catered and there was food everywhere - starting with cheeses, meats and crackers, then various salads and fruits, then roast beef, finger potatoes and veggies, then a delicious berry shortcake for dessert. We love free food and Caleb was super excited that he didn't have to do dishes :)

Thanks God for blessing us with free food this weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Curb Dives

I am not even sure where to begin with this one. I haven't kept an annotated list of these lately (which I probably should have). This is the time of the year to find stuff (if you can get it before the scrappers do). We have been blessed by the curb this spring. I'll have to work on this more when the kids are awake to have them remind me but here are a few things that we have picked up the last week or so:

- a shoe rack (that fits perfectly in the little entryway of our new apartment that I had no idea what to put there!)

- a spiral bound atlas of the Syracuse area

- a tall 4 shelve metal shelving unit that we'll put in the basement to store stuff on

- a 4 shelf thing (I am not really sure what it is or what we'll use it for) that I got today from a girl that I saw that looked like she was frustrated and crying on the side of the road and I stopped to help her fit stuff into her car

- we have also found lots of good books (as if we didn't already have 25+ Baxter boxes packed full of books)

- a shipping crate that we're planning on painting and lining with contact paper to make a toy box for the kids

- an office chair (missing a wheel but Glenn thinks he can fix it)

- a stack of xbox games (most of which we'll be taking to EB Games to change into games that we actually want/ will play)

- a fun orange desk chair

- a pretty lamp

Baseball Gloves

On Tuesday night we went to the softball game of two girls who live on our street. As the kids and I sat and watched the game I started thinking about the fact that we only have 2 baseball gloves, mine and a left handed one that we had bought for Caleb last year. I realized that my kids didn't know how to play baseball or how to throw or catch with a glove and it is a skill that they should have. It's another one of those things that I am not sure when they start doing in public school but I just hadn't gotten around to doing with my kids. I told God about it briefly on our walk home that I would really like to get some gloves to play with the kids with and that it would be nice if there would be some at Salvation Army or a yard sale sometime soon.

On Wednesday mornings I have started going to a Bible study at Eastern Hills Bible Church because I really wanted to go to a Bible study and they have a program for home schooled kids during the Bible study which is so great. (A few of the ladies from our homeschool book club told me about it.) Anyway, there is a free table set up at the church during the Bible study for people to get rid of things they don't need and pick up things that would bless them. When I got there on Wednesday morning what was on the table but 2 little kid baseball gloves. I was stunned. Why was I surprised? I really don't know God is like that, he loves to bless me. As I stood there staring at them I told my friend that I had just asked God for baseball gloves the night before and I think that she thought it was weird but I am thankful. Yes, they won't fit the girls' hands for long but they will work for this summer. God, You are so gracious. Thank You for blessing us with baseball gloves that someday we'll be able to bless others with!

Homeschool Books

Not long ago a friend of mine (whom I hope to someday meet) who is the wife of a friend of mine from long ago contacted me and told me that God had impressed on their hearts to bless us by buying us some books for our homeschool. I had shared with her previously about my children's handwriting and we'd talked back and forth about homeschooling. She called me one day and we talked about homeschooling and she told me about some books that she wanted to buy for me. Over the next couple of weeks I was overwhelmed by the packages that came to me in the mail. Many of them were used books that she'd found online and shipped to me but several of them were new. I am so humbled at God's generosity and the willingness of this couple to be used of God to bless us like this!

This photo is missing two books that arrived after I took the picture:
Life Skills for Kids and Your Left Handed Child.

Thank you God for blessing us through C & S with these books that will be such a tremendous help to us!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Today after American Girl Book Club we stopped at Barnes and Noble for their homeschool information session. As a homeschool family we get an educational discount for anything that we buy there. I still don't have a card yet but that is a nice feature. It was neat to hear about what programs they have there. I was able to pick up some information on different books and series that they had gotten from publishers for teachers. I was just in time to sign up for the drawing and won Bananagrams. It looks like a really fun game. I took a picture but again, it will be loaded later. I am excited to play it with the kids as they start spelling better. It is small and we can bring it with us for fun times. I was not expecting to win anything so that was pretty exciting!

Thanks Barnes and Noble for the game and the resources. Thanks God for unexpected surprises!

Friday, April 9, 2010

19 Cent Bananas

I went to the Syracuse Real Food Co-op on Wednesday because that is what we do. Wednesday is cheap coffee day. If you bring your own mug it is only 15 cents for a re-fill. If Glenn is around it is sometimes our little date to walk the two blocks down to the Co-op for cheap coffee. On Wednesday it was such a nice day and the kids desperately wanted to get outside, so much so that they agreed to take a walk to the Co-op for recess. The little neighbor boy from across the street came with us and we walked down to get coffee. While we were in the store I saw that they had a box of their organic, fair trade bananas on sale for 19 cents a pound because they were going bad. I was super excited but I had only brought 15 cents and my coffee mug and 5 kids. I decided we'd have an extended recess so we walked back up the hill to get money and a couple of reusable bags and then back down to the Co-op where we bought about 12 ½ pounds of bananas for less than $3.

Thanks God for cheap coffee and cheap bananas :)

State Services

I have always had mixed emotions when we have used Medicaid or WIC in the past – so incredibly grateful for the services but guilty too, wishing we did not have to use them. Right now the only one eligible for WIC is Abigail and she “graduates” in November because she will be too old for the program. It has been a help to us though it no longer covers our milk, egg, cheese, juice, cereal and peanut butter needs it does provide just shy of a week's worth which is such a blessing.

The kids have not been to a doctor since we left Waterloo back in 2007 because they did not have health insurance. They are now on Medicaid and I need to get them in for checkups. I am thankful for the medicaid though because last month when the two littlest girls got pink eye we got a prescription for something and when I got it filled at Target the price on the slip was $92 and we didn't have to pay anything. I am also thankful that Glenn can be on Healthy NY right now which is about $100 a month cheaper than the health insurance that was offered through the school.

Thank you God for providing, even through government programs.

Tax Refund

God blessed us with an overwhelmingly large tax refund this year. I really wasn't sure what our tax situation was going to look like but with the additional child earned income credit and I don't know what else God blessed us with a sizable chunk of cash. We needed to use quite a bit of it to catch up on back tithes that we were behind since I hadn't really looked at our finances for most of last year beyond checking online to make sure that there was enough in the account before I wrote a check or used our debit card. I am thankful for the extra amount and we are praying about how God would have us use it. Thank you God for our tax refund!

If Only

I have often mentioned Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow in my other blog but I bring it up here because of something that God laid on my heart last week during the “If only” chapter. I have often caught the “if only” disease over things that God had done or allowed in the past that I grumble about in my heart or outwardly. Many times the “if only”s have been something about my parents: “If only I could talk to my dad about this...” “If only my mom could go to the zoo, museum of play, park, etc with us...” It is not easy losing your parents when you are a young parent but I know that God has it in His plan. Since I have lost them I have been able to more easily identified with others in their pain, especially the pain of losing a parent, and can be a help to them.

One of my dad's biggest concerns almost every time I talked to him on the phone when Glenn was applying to medical school was “How are you going to pay for medical school?” I always told him that God was going to provide – be it through loans or some other way, He always has provided for us in the past and I trust Him to do it in the future. It was a big hurdle for him and I think that he probably lost more sleep over it than I did. I was thinking about that last week when we were going through the “If Only” chapter. I wouldn't wish either of my parents back for anything as sick as they were but I do miss them terribly. One neat thing that God showed me is that God partially answered my dad's worries over how God was going to provide for us by taking him Home. I know that I would rather have my dad than money but when he died dad left us half of the money that was left from their retirement fund. That is what we are living on right now. The monthly disbursements most likely won't last all four years and most people would probably scratch their head and wonder how we make the amount we get cover all of our expenses but I'd just say it is God's math and He works it out.

I have really struggled with the fact that my dad didn't leave anything to the Lord's work in his will and my desire to give more of the money that he gave to us but beyond the little over 10% that we give there isn't really much wiggle room. Glenn and I have talked about it more than once then God gave Glenn some insight. We want to serve God vocationally, Lord willing, after Glenn's medical training is done overseas somewhere. The money that he left us is essentially supporting future missionaries in their training. I thought that was neat. I don't know that that was how dad saw it in setting up his will but I am thankful for that insight. It makes me want to be even more faithful with the money that has been entrusted to us and to give a lot more once we start getting paychecks in residency because we won't have to pay as much in loan payments.

Thank you God for how you provide even through painful circumstances. Thank you for using my parents to be a blessing to us even in their deaths.

Work Study

Glenn was given one of 35 work study positions available to first year students at Upstate and we are really thankful. Glenn will be working for 7 weeks in July and August for Dr Stearns doing I am not exactly sure what but I think that it has something to do with the Ameus Clinic. We are very thankful for this opportunity. He will be making $3500, I am not sure if that is before or after taxes but either way it will be a big help to us! Thanks God for a work study position!!

A Place to Plant

We were so excited about being in one place over the summer so that we could grow stuff. We recently found out that we are going to have to move this summer do to circumstances beyond our control so there goes our place to plant but we had already bought a bunch of seeds and started a bunch (too much maybe) of tomatoes and peppers. We didn't know what to do. We are not sure where we are going to be moving to so what are we going to do with all of our little plant babies? I was talking to our neighbor across the street and I remember her mentioning last year the community garden that she was a part of. I asked her about it and if she knew how I could get involved in it. She told me that she had a friend who had the plot right next to hers and that he might not be using it this year. She told me yesterday that she talked to him and found out that he is not using it but he will fill out the paperwork like he is and let us use his plot so that we can get right in there and get started and not have to wait for the waiting list and all that stuff. I have no idea how big of a plot we have but I think that we are going to head over there tomorrow after Glenn's test to check it out. I am so thankful and am looking forward to fresh veggies this summer from our garden plot.

Special thanks going out to Melissa and to God for providing these transitory people with a place to plant.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What We Brought Home From Church This Week

On Sunday we had a breakfast at church before the service. After church I was helping clean up and was offered 3/4 of a gallon bag of scrambled eggs and 1/2 a gallon bag of the hot fruit dish that they had. I took them because I think that they were just going to be thrown away because no one else wanted them. I was also given a dozen and a half bagels that had been donated to the church and they weren't eaten. What a blessing!

While we were at church we were also given a small bag of clothes for the girls (which they are always excited about) by a friend and were told to stop by on our way home for another bag of clothes and 6 or so sandwich bags of chopped red peppers that she had bought tons of at the market with me in mind and were taking up too much space in her freezer.

I was amazed at the pile that ended up on our dining room table so I took a picture (which I will post at some point in the future with I have my camera and cord with me). Thanks God!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Haircuts and Other Necessities

Today on the way home from church I stopped at Walgreens because Glenn really needed a haircut and we can not find our haircutting scissors anywhere. I really didn't want to stop in Target or Wegmans because it was going to take too long but I was so glad I stopped at Walgreens. The only hair cutting scissors that they had were on sale for $7 down from $9 and they were Conair and all Conair hair products were buy one get one free. I was able to get a nice, new hairbrush for free with the scissors I bought, what a surprise. Thanks God for that added gift.

Haircuts are a necessity around here because, for some reason, our hair keeps on growing. Today I was able to cut Glenn's and Caleb's hair. I only said "Oops" once. (I guess it is a good thing that our hair keeps growing - Glenn tells me that he is used to my little mistakes on his hair and it is ok. I am thankful for a gracious husband!) I also cut off a few of the split ends on my hair as well which was a bit overdo. I was worried going to the store to buy scissors because I didn't know how much they were going to cost but I was pleasantly surprised at the price and laughed at myself when I thought of how much they actually save us. The last time Glenn paid for someone to cut his hair was right before his Upstate interview last January (I guess it worked - he got in!) and the last time I paid to have someone do anything to my hair was in Wyoming back in the summer of '05. I think $7 is well worth the savings that we'll get from them!

Another necessity around here is food. I have many friends on facebook that are often posting pictures of their couponing exploits at drug stores. They get some pretty amazing deals and are always talking about OOP (out of pocket) and coming home with tons of stuff for very little money. I am not exactly sure how they do it but I did get a good deal with some coupons that I got in the mail and online last week at Target. I got 5 boxes of Kashi Heart to Heart cereal and a box of Kashi crackers and a box of Kashi granola bars for only $7.17 total. I was pretty excited. I love Kashi stuff but without significant sales and coupons it is way out of our price range for our food budget right now but at less that $1.03 a box I was pretty excited to get some yummy healthy cereal and snacks. I took a picture and someday I may load it on here but not tonight.

Thank you God for unexpected free stuff, laughter and for coupons to stretch our food budget! I love you so much!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Caleb's List of Recent Blessings

On Saturday afternoon Caleb came up to me and said, “Wow, Mom, God has really been blessing us lately, you really need to blog!” I asked him what he could think of and this is the list he came up with:

1. clothes from Kaylee – our neighbor girl used her snow day on Thursday to sort clothes in her room and she brought over a bag of clothes that were too little for her for the girls.

2. #10 can of pineapple – I am a big fan of the shop at the Regional Market called Buda's. It is a bent and dent store that shop at occasionally. I especially like to get #10 (big food service sized) cans of stuff that we use a lot of there. I have mostly bought #10 cans of beans to use in tacos and chili. We were going to have Lydia's Hawaiian Haystacks on Saturday night so I thought I would look for pineapple. They had #10 can of crushed or sliced pineapple for $3 each and we opted for a can of sliced because we could crush them but we couldn't make the crushed pineapple into larger chunks. The kids were super excited to have LOTS of pineapple on their Hawaiian Haystacks and are looking forward to Hawaiian pizza later this week.

3. “the free huge apples from the old man” - when I was looking at produce a cute little old man was taken with my kids and gave them each a huge apple for free from his stash for them to munch on.

4. “that lady that gave you a dollar off everything” - at the same stand I bought other things including garlic, lettuce (10 heads of romaine for $1!!!), tomatoes and peppers and the lady I paid had me only pay $1 for the containers of tomatoes and peppers that had $2 marked on them.

I am very grateful for the good deals that we get at the Regional Market to stretch our grocery budget. I am also thankful for how my kids are seeing God's graciousness to us and get excited about it! Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Clothes!!

Last Wednesday my friend Rebecca stopped by quick. She had found Glenn's Bible a while back (that he had lost at the beginning of our homeless time back in August) and while running many different errands in the Syracuse area stopped by to drop it off. Glenn is SO thankful to have his Bible back. It had been about 6 months since he had used it and he really missed it. He had a different Bible that he had been using but he missed his big Bible.

When she stopped by she also handed me a large bag from the Children's Place. I was not expecting anything else but the Bible! Inside was a bunch of new clothes - 3 shirts and a scarf for Caleb and a shirts, pants, hats, and scarfs in triplets for the girls. My girls love to dress matching so they were super excited. I have gotten many bags of used clothes for our kids throughout my life as a mom but this was the first bag of new clothes we had ever gotten. Thanks so much Rebecca and God for providing these nice new clothes for my kids.

Glenn's Bible and the New Clothes

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Blessings at the Market

Today I went to the Regional Market here in Syracuse (by myself!!! I don't remember the last time I was by myself!!). The whole way there I was grumbling in my heart because I missed the Public Market in Rochester. If I was going there I knew exactly which farmers to go to to buy the items that I needed to buy from but I figured that the outside farmers that I had bought from in the fall in Syracuse wouldn't be around so I had no idea who to buy from or if any "real farmers" would be there. I found the farmers in one of the sections of the market and was able to find most of the stuff that I needed. Peppers were on my list and I was excited to find someone selling a box of them for $2. They had spots on them and I had to throw part of them away but they didn't really look that much worse than the ones that were being sold across the aisle for 2 for $1. When I got home I sorted them and cut them up. There were 22 peppers that I got for $2. I came up with a gallon and a quart bag of greens to put in the freezer and a quart of red peppers. There was also quite a bit of scraps in my batter bowl that we put on pizza tonight.

Thank you God for providing an abundance of peppers and other good things at the market today. Please forgive me for grumbling and doubting that You would provide.

$2 worth of peppers!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Peanut Butter

Last Friday was my brother's birthday but we overslept so we couldn't go to his party and take my aunt Joy who was going to come with us. Instead she came over and brought one of her Bhutanese refugee friends and her little boy with her. Joy works with refugees here in Syracuse and they often give her peanut butter that is given to them because they do not like it. She asked me if we could use some and since we love peanut butter I said yes. She also brought us some other treats to share. When they came her friend also brought a bag of random food that was provided for her that her won't eat. It is humbling to take food from a refugee who lives in an apartment with 8 other family members trying to make her way here in America where she is half the world from her husband working to try to bring him here but we are thankful for the food that she brought, especially the peanut butter :)

A Free Ride

Glenn had 2 weeks off for Christmas so we decided to go and see his family in Wyoming for Christmas this year. We hadn't been to Wyoming for Christmas since Caleb's first Christmas back in 2000. We thought about flying or taking the train but that was going to cost us about $3600. We googlemapped it and found out that it was going to cost less than $600 round trip for gas so we prepared for a road trip and prayed for clear roads. 28 hours out with clear roads most of the way and 31.5 hours home with completely clear roads was a huge blessing. Another huge blessing is that when we got to Wyoming Grandpa asked us how much it cost us to get there. He went to the bank and gave us double that to cover expenses there and back. We are so thankful for this generous gift which helped us a lot!