Hi everyone! I hope that you are all doing well and have been blessed by the pantry challenge if you're participating.
I was listening to a sermon on the radio today about giving and thought that it would be nice to take some of the money that we save and consider it for helping others, whether that be donating it to a local charity, adding it to our regular giving or missions giving at church or finding someone who is in need and lending a helping hand in a practical and tangible way. We kind of did that around Christmas time, when we stretched some money out of our Christmas budget to be a blessing to a loved one. Someone knocked on our door and gave us a gift certificate to a local store in the exact same amount. God really loves it when we try to reach others, and even if we had not gotten anything back at all, we felt so good to be a blessing! He knows the attitude of our hearts. I love the passage in 2 Corinthians 9, which talks about this. Paul is talking to the church at Corinth about sowing, and reaping from what has been sowed, stating:
"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." ~2 Corinthians 9:7-8
I think the Lord is really working on my heart in this for 2010. It's not that I haven't considered giving before -- I have given, and I do give when I can. Giving, to me, is more than just sending in a check. Sometimes it's giving time, or talents, or even something as simple as taking a neighbor to a doctor appointment. Or making a phone call or writing a letter or stopping in to visit. Or leaving coupons (that have not expired) on a shelf next to an item for someone who might truly need them. But I really want to be more purposeful in my giving this year, to reach out in a more practical way. And I'm not sure quite yet what that might mean, but I am trying to be still enough to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in this.
I am starting to see that saving money this month can bless more than just my husband and family. And so I am determined to stick with the pantry challenge as much as I can, and maybe take it even through February. But we'll have to see how that works out, because I am not so unrealistic as to think that I've stocked up quite that much food, and as I wrote previously, I do want to make things that are nutritious where I can, which means fresh produce and dairy.
Today we all woke up late. This actually translates to: Will and Emma, my only children in public school, missed the bus -- which also meant that they missed breakfast. And that I had to rush to get them there. We walked into the building right after they finished the announcements and the Pledge of Allegiance, so we were not terribly late. But we all had fruit on the way. Lunch was leftovers from last night's supper. Which was good because I don't have them lingering in the back of the fridge like some homeschool science experiment gone wrong!
For supper tonight I made rice, with enough extra for other meals like breakfasts this week, and thawed and cooked what I consider a taco-flavored ground beef. Basically it was rice topped with the meat mixture. And I had so much more ground beef thawed than I thought that I ended up cooking it all together then separating enough for another day's meal. I froze the extra meat, put the extra cooked rice in the fridge and was pretty satisfied with how the meal turned out. Most everyone wanted seconds too, and I had just enough after removing the planned leftovers -- because if you leave it til after the meal, there's not enough left 90% of the time (last night was a rareity).
The kiddies enjoyed ice cream cups for a bedtime snack, and Les ate the last piece of Hershey pie that was in the freezer. So now those temptations are gone for the moment. Now I need to find a nice late night snack/dessert that will work to satisfy my cravings but not add on pounds or make my blood sugar skyrocket. That will probably take a while and maybe a bit of experimenting, but for tonight I just had water and while it wasn't as satisfying in a taste sense, it was nice to know that I did not eat something I probably should not have. I am trying to keep an honest food journal, so I don't want to overdo it.
Anyway, putting together meals using what I already have has been good so far. I am hoping to develop a pantry list this weekend and then come up with a skeleton menu using the items we have, but for now I'm just winging it day by day, and praying that He will really help me to stick to my plans. I am so glad He is faithful! Hope you all enjoy a good night's rest and wake up feeling refreshed!