Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What is Love?

What is love?? I think that is a question that perhaps has been asked many times over the course of human history.  I also think that many people have their own definitions of love. For example, The dictionary defines love as, a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. I do believe that for the most part this definition rings true. I love my family and friends, my husband and my children and I feel this definition describes that love. That being said I also know that some peoples idea of love is merely the physical attraction. They think another person is hot or a cutie and they believe that to be love. Well, they are wrong. What do you do if you marry someone solely on that premise and then in 15 or 20 years they have aged, gotten wrinkles, gained weight, lost that "look" they once had. Does that mean your love for them is lost as well.  As much as I hate to admit it, but in this "free love" society we live in Love often is seen in this way or as only in a sexual nature.  People believe that sex, or being intimate with someone is love. Again, they are wrong. What happens is that person is no longer able to satisfy you physically? What if they are in an accident, or have a medical issue that can not be helped with medication. We as adults should be striving to show or children and the younger generation what real love is. 

Real, true love is when two people commit themselves to one another no matter what happens. When we said our vows on our wedding day, my husband and I both meant them. Now, there have been times that things have gotten rocky. Our little ship has been tossed about in the storms of life, but we just put on our life vests and hung on for all we were worth. I remember after my third miscarriage I honestly just wanted to die. I didn't want to continue living. My heart was broken into so many pieces and I had just giving up on everything. My husband though refused to give up on me. He loved me, supported me and prayed for me through it all.  You see my vest had gotten weak and could no longer support me in the way I needed it too, so it was at that time that he had to use his life vest for the both of us.  The life vest I speak of is none other than Jesus Christ. 

Y'all show that coming didn't you. 

In all honesty it is the truth. We have both had to cling to our faith and belief in Jesus. The faith that he would carry us through all things, but my faith had gotten weak. I could not understand how Jesus could allow so much pain and anguish in my life.  I questioned everything I knew about him and even if he truly loved me like he said he did.  Of course we all have times like that and getting through them just makes your faith stronger. 

I have gotten a little of topic so lets get back to love. This true, right love is taught and manifested to us. The Bible is very clear on the topic of love. 

The Bible teaches us the who, when, where, why and how of love. 

1. Who are we to love?  All men

  Matthew 22:36-40King James Version (KJV)

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 

There can be no mistaken what Jesus meant with these words, love the Lord God and your neighbor. The loving God part really doesn't need an explanation, but exactly who is our neighbor? I think that means everyone.  There is no doubt that I love my children, my husband, little Gracie, my brothers, my Daddy, the list is extensive,but what about those that are out in the world in sin? How about the drunk on the corner, or the junkie in the crack house? How about that person you work with that cusses every breath? How about that woman on the corner who makes her living with her body? Do I really love those people?  Do any of us? 

2. When are we to love? Always

Proverbs 17:17a KJV A friend loveth at all time, 

I don't know about y'all, but there have been and are times that I find it hard to love. Some situations/circumstances are just so very difficult, it makes it hard to love. We all have had times like that, be it family, friends or even church family,  but we still know that it is right to love at all times, no matter the situations.

3. Where are we to love? All the world

Matthew 28:19
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
This just simply means that we are to share the love of Christ with all the world. We should not only be telling those local to use, but we need to give to missions in order to get the gospel to all the world. Past given we could also consider the idea of actually going on a missions trip. My Mama loved the time she spent in the Philippines. She told me that seeing and being with those people was so different than just reading about them. She told me many times that she hoped I was able to go someday and I pray that the Lord allows me to do just that. 

4. Why are we to love?  It is commanded of us

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another:as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

Have y'all ever heard of dogs warning their owners about fires or even impending seizures? I remember this one story of a pot bellied pig whose owner had a seizure and that pig kept going in and out of the doggie door of the house and standing in the road to try to get people to stop. Finally someone did and followed the pig back to his home and found his owner, called 911 and ultimately saved the owners life. Or what about the cat, that during Hurricane Hugo kept howling at his owners and they finally got up of the couch to see what he wanted and seconds later a tree fell through the roof right onto the couch. I don't know if you believe it, but I do believe that God tells animals what to do and they do it. Animals do not have a free will. We as human beings have been giving a free will. God has allowed us this ability to be able to decide for ourselves what we will do.  He has clearly given us a direct command. We can decide rather or not to do it, but ultimately we are to love simply because he told us to.  

5. How are we to love? As he does. 
John 3:16
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

God shows us how to love. His love for us was so strong and unconditional that he gave his only son for us that we might live. We are taught to love sacrificially. I watch my Mama give of herself for twenty eights years caring for my oldest brother. The other children never felt he was favored, we just knew that he needed Mama more than we did.  I remember when my oldest was going through cancer treatments and how my Mama took care of our youngest for us so I could be with our daughter and my husband could keep working. I remember the way she always made sure we had vacation, Christmas and that my brothers got to go to Boy Scout camp every summer.  Her love for us for so strong that she literally gave of herself to the end. Just a couple of months before she passed, she was up trying to help with my older brother. Her love was unconditional. There is no doubt that she would have willingly given her life for us and that is true unconditional love

So, you see all we need to know about love, we can find in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 1:1-7 King James Version (KJV) the Bible talks about Charity, which is love. The Bible says:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

We see exactly how important love is in 1 Corinthians 13:13:

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Love is the greatest gift that we can give or receive. God gave it to us in his son Jesus now it is our job to make sure the world around us knows about that same amazing gift of love.

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Money Savings: Can Recycling

The first of my money savings/making strategies I am going to be discussing is can recycling. I am sure that this money saving/making weapon of mine is self explanatory, but here it goes anyway. 

We do not drink a lot of sodas here,but the ones we do drink we never throw out the cans. Instead we bag them up and take them to our local salvage dealer.  We also have a few different people who collects their cans for us as well. My daddy saves his own cans and then picks them up when he goes for his evening walks. We also have two different families in our church who save their cans for us a well.  Not only do we save our own cans and have others save for us, we also go on weekly walks, weather permitting and pick them up from the road side. We live in a very rural area so there is not a lot of traffic and people tend to throw out a lot of cans.  

We normally wait until we have about two to three trash bags full of them and then we recycle.  Now I know that when most people think recycle they are all about being green and keeping the earth clean. We feel that way too, but we also see dollar signs in the process.  Of course it is not very much money to be made, but it does help. Currently we are getting thirty-five cents a pound and that isn't much.  I like to look at it as a win-win. I get money for Disney and the earth gets a little cleaning.  Whenever I see cans just thrown away it hurts me, because to me that is just throwing money away.  

*Now here is where I need to explain our one exemption to this can rule. We do not drink any type of alcoholic beverages, so we never have those types of cans. Our rule is to never pick up or sale those type of cans. We see lots of them on our walks, but we made the decision to not have that participate in our family vacation money.  We are totally and completely against alcohol drinking and will not have any part of it in our trip. 

This was not the last load we took, my husband left before I got a picture, but this is the load before. We got about two dollars for these cans. I told you it does not bring much, but it does bring a little. 

Each time I manage to make a little extra for my vacation fund it really makes me feel accomplished, not matter how small or large the amount and in the end that really is all that matters. 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Money Saving

A couple of years ago I posted about how we had been working together to save money for our upcoming Disney trip.  Well as soon as we got home in March of 2015 we started the process all over again. My idea was to save for a cruise to Alaska, but my oldest decided that she wanted a cruise to Disney for gradation (2018) so that is what we are currently working towards.

My savings in 2015 was great, but in 2016 I sort of fell of the savings wagon, but now we are in a new year and it is time to get busy. Currently we are sitting at $1900.00 saved out of $6,000.00 we need. Well, I guess you could accurately say we have $2900.00 saved because we always budget $1,000.00 each year for vacation. My husband has money taking from his check each week to pay for Christmas and vacation and it is truly a blessing.  Now I know that not everyone can do that so I am planning to write a series titled Money Saving. I will be using these post to introduce you to some things we have in our arsenal of money saving weapons.

In this post I will simply be listing them one by one and then later I will be writing an individual post on each. I call it my Bakers Dozen of Money Saving.

 1. Crowdtap
 2. Swagbucks
 3. Receipt Hog
 4. MileUp
 5. Consignment Sale
 6. Dimes for Disney
 7. Money Jar
 8. Coupons
 9. Turning in Cans
10. Fundraisers
11. Purging sale
12. Buying and Reselling
13. Babysitting

As I stated earlier we are saving money to pay for our daughters graduation trip, but these same ideas could be used to save or pay for about anything you want or need.  All that really matters is that you save.

I know that it can seem overwhelming, especially when one is not working/out of work, but some of these tips can be done even then.  I know there are places that I could work on, currently my nemesis is a budget. No matter how much I seem to try I just can't nail one down. I am hoping in the next couple of months to get that under control as well.  Just remember in this savings game, all it takes is one small little change to make a huge difference.  Thanks for reading everyone and happy saving!! 

"That's my 'two-cents worth', what's yours?"