Christmas Cards

Bear with me with me on this little blog post.

I miss getting Christmas Cards.  Oh, I get plenty on social media, you know, the generic ones with snow and a dancing snowman.  What I miss is real, paper, delivered by the postman, Christmas Cards.  I miss birthday cards, letters and stuff in the mail other than bills and ‘junk’ mail.  I miss Carolers coming to the house and singing.  I miss singing traditional songs at Christmas.  In fact, here lately I cringe at some of the Christmas songs I hear on the radio.

carolers

I miss the celebration, the deliberation and the honesty behind all of the things now deemed old-fashioned or out-dated.  Perhaps I’m out-dated, don’t care, I am am who I am.   I admit I have fallen into the techno mentality myself, I’m working on a computer as I write this right now.  But what really hit me was when I sent a text to my husband, who was downstairs, last night as I was upstairs in my office.  REALLY???? NO!  At that moment I wanted to throw my cell phone out the window.   Honestly, I almost cried.  Why?  Because I consider myself very blessed to have a very close, honest and loving relationship with my husband, and the last thing I want is to put technology between us.

I woke up early this morning, with a lot on my heart and mind.  I spent extra time in prayer over a morning cup of coffee and I am almost finished with my Christmas Cards.  I sat this morning putting in a letter in each one to be sent to family and friends who I rarely hear from anymore, but still, it’s a Christmas Card and it will be delivered through the postal service and I hope it brings a smile.

Take the time to sit down and play a game WITH a person AT a table and enjoy each other’s company.  Take the time to write a letter and send a smile to someone.  Most of all, unplug.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Secret to Happiness

There is one simple step that I have found that leads to happiness.  Acknowledge that happiness does not rely on a person, place, thing or even a circumstance.  It depends on your choice.  Yup, its that simple.  It all depends on how you look at everything, how you react to situations and people.

It seems more and more the ‘world’ pushes that happiness can only be gained by being tied to things, people, position and money.  Prestige and placement in life are preached to our children so heavily at a young age that it’s no wonder we are seeing so much depression and and stress in our youngins.  The constant flood of being plugged in is always screaming at us what the world says we have to be, have to do, have to go.  It’s time to turn it off.  School is important but college is not a necessity.  There is nothing wrong with having a career based on skill and talents, working with your hands or with the land.  Technology has its uses, but more often than not, it seems to have more misuses.

Here are some basic rules for embracing the now, for finding happiness.

  • Live well beneath your means.
  • Don’t give away what you can’t give at home.
  • Return everything you borrow.
  • Serve with your talents and your heart, not out of obligation or guilt.
  • Stop blaming other people for your bad choices.
  • Pray Daily (sometimes every second if need be).
  • Have daily walks and talk with God.
  • Admit it when you make a mistake.
  • Give unworn clothes to charity.
  • Give outsized clothes to charity.
  • Do something nice for a total stranger (and don’t post it on social media).
  • Listen more; talk less.
  • Find a reason to be outside.
  • Strive for excellence, but not perfection.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Organize your day in the morning.
  • Don’t argue or insist on being right or having the last word.
  • Be kind to unkind people.
  • Let someone ahead of you in line.
  • Take time to be alone with God.
  • Always incorporate good manners.
  • Don’t lie.
  • Be humble.
  • Realize and accept that life is not fair, but it is all in God’s plan.
  • Enjoy your time for rest and sleep.
  • Know when to keep your mouth shut.
  • Practice not criticizing others.
  • Turn the TV/Computer/phone off.
  • Learn from the past.
  • Live every day to its fullest.
  • Always give a kind word.
  • Make due with what you have.
  • Focus on the good, not the bad.

Happiness is how you view your life.  I like to tell people that every day is a good day as long as I wake up and my feet hit the floor and my face doesn’t.  I figure that leaves the rest of the day wide open for great things to happen.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Budgeting 101: An Honorable Responsibility

All members of a household hold a responsibility to be financially reliable.  But for a wife, it is crucial. One of my very favorite scriptures is Proverbs 31:10-31 and it lays it out very clear on what we are to do as the woman of the household.

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Proverbs 31:10-31New International Version (NIV)
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

What does this have to do with budgeting?  Well, it pretty much puts it right there in black and white, we are to manage our households.  Not by wasting, being lazy, nagging, passing blame or wasting away funds on frivolous things, or adorning ourselves in the latest of fashions.

This is a pretty big responsibility over all, if you think about it.  The world tells us all these pretty little lies to get us to spend when in reality, we are to be mindful and manage wisely.  Our beauty comes from within and from honest work and care and wisdom.

Here are some things to be aware of and put into practice:

  • Think first, never impulsively.  Is the item a Want or is it a Need?
  • If it is a need, what is the priority?  Be honest, talk about it with your spouse or accountability partner.
  • Save that change.  I use an old coffee can that I throw my pennies and change in, it does add up!  (Plus I use it for weekly egg money to pick up our fresh eggs.)
  • Plan your meals!!!!  It really doesn’t take long, meal prepping will become a habit in no time.
    • Plan at least 2 weeks in advance work your way up to a month at a time.
    • Cut down on quick runs to the grocery store.
    • Meal Prep
  • Buy in bulk in season and learn to freeze, can and dry food.
  • USE COUPONS!  Now days it’s fairly easy to use apps on your phones.  My favorite is ibotta!
    • Go to https://ibotta.com/
    • Download the app for your phone.
    • Feel free to use my referral code: phjhroe
    • Earn cash that you can put in your account from coupons, and shopping you have to do.
  • Resale!  Whether buying or downsizing!  Use the MarketPlace app on Facebook or go to your local resale shop!
  • Plan a No Spend Month!  I will be writing more on this in the future.
  • Choose to fix meals at home instead of eating at restaurants or fast food.  Your body and your wallet will thank you!
  • You don’t need a gym!!! Find activities that keep you active that you enjoy! Walk, bike, fish, garden… you get the idea.
  • Buy Local and find your local farmer’s markets.  You are helping them, they are helping you.
  • Use your talents to bring in extra money.  I love etsy.com!  Do you cook? Crochet? Knit? Sew? Write? Garden?
  • Cut the cable cord!  There are many ways you can spend your time without the TV, but if you do need it, antennas and internet can fill that void.  In the meantime, enjoy a board game with your spouse and or kids.
  • Make it a goal to be “God Sufficient”.  Meaning, don’t put the priorities of the world before the priorities of the Lord.
  • Most of all, pass these down to your children and your children’s children.  Give them the wisdom of how to budget and be responsible to avoid the pitfalls of being foolish.

Until Next Time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

 

Snapping Beans…

grandma (2)

Here lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Well, more like remembering, cherishing, embracing. I’m not really sure what you would call it exactly.

Between my Bible Groups and discussions at home and watching the world around me, I find myself thinking about my Grandma Inez & my Momma Kathy more and more every day. I find myself looking backwards with the thoughts about my forwards. I realize how blessed I am for all the skills they both taught me, but none more important that being happy with what I have and making good use of what I have.

As this world spins around us it has taken on such a fake and distant personality. Everything seems to be money driven and causing us to work harder and longer and never finding “happiness”. We leave everything that really matters behind us to only focus on what the world says we need and must have. In reality, we need very little and most of us actually have much more than we need. We tell ourselves that we deserve things, luxuries and all other things to try and justify embracing what the world tells us.

This is what I believe we need. Above all else, we NEED God and have an active relationship with him. We NEED shelter, food and clothing. We NEED to be safe and loved. We NEED our family and true friends. All the rest is just pretty much pretty little lies.

When I was a very young girl I spent as much time as I could with my Grandma and Grandpa on a dairy farm on Route 2 in Monroe County, Ohio. Some of my favorite memories are of helping Grandpa in the garden and in the barns and with my Grandma in the kitchen in the farmhouse. In the hot summer I loved riding on the wagon as my Mom helped with bringing in hay. I even found and helped save a nest of baby bats one hay season in the top of the barn, but that’s another story for another time. I loved baking bread with my grandma, it was because of her and my mom that I won a state blue ribbon on my breads when I was in Junior High for 4-H. I absolutely loved learning to preserve foods and listen to my Grandma sing in the kitchen. My mom taught me how to make pickles and sauerkraut. My mom also made some of the best cookies in town, just ask my husband. Where am I going with all of this? In short, very few people takes the time to enjoy these simple pleasures anymore. Everyone is too busy running around chasing other things. I miss those days. I miss snapping beans with my grandma on the front porch and I miss running barefoot in the grass in the yard catching fireflies and putting them in a mason jar.

More and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and return to that life. Oh I know I can’t go back. My Grandma and Grandpa have long since left this world and gone home to be in Heaven. So perhaps I should rephrase that; more and more every day I find myself wanting to unplug and GO to that life again. Or at least slow down and enjoy this life on this planet. Perhaps passing down my knowledge to those who want to learn the old fashioned life skills. I want to sit on the front porch and look at the world the way God made it and snap beans and tell stories to those who want to hear them and learn something so they can pass a few things down.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice

The Season of Giving

The Season of Giving

 

 

I have been doing quite a bit of thinking about the subject of ‘giving’ lately.  It started with an observation of our fast paced world, which moved to people “watching” and their interactions with others.  Observations moved on to journaling and praying, and then this morning on the radio I heard a commercial “It is now the season of giving!” A joyful voice rang out.  That was when the bell that went off in my head.  The emphasis is on the word SEASON.  Seasons are short periods during the year that separate moments in time, the seasons of life, the seasons of the year, etc.  Why does there need to be a “Season” of giving?  Shouldn’t that be a daily thing not a “season”?

The push to give money for every cause you can think of ramps up under the umbrella of this so called season.  This makes me very sad, for many reasons.  The biggest is why do we have to be reminded to “give” during one time of the year?  Why is it that all of a sudden everyone wants money, specifically.

First and foremost I am a huge believer, especially when it comes to organizations of any kind, that they should be budgeting and forecasting for times of greater need.  Just as we as families should be doing.  I have no sympathy for any organization that does not budget the funds they have and utilize talents and capabilities of raising their funds to help with giving.  Let me explain.  Growing up in the Ohio Valley of SE Ohio it was very common for schools, churches, groups to utilize talents to raise money for things they needed and things to give to others.  Bake sales, craft shows, talent shows, cooking competitions were some of just many ideas that were embraced and widely utilized.  And the prices were very low so everyone could afford the items.  My mom always made and sold her chocolate chip cookies at PTA bake sales for a nickel a piece.  I know many a kid in our school that had smiles because of her cookies!   Auctions and community garage sales were another big draw.  It wasn’t just about giving some money and forgetting about the cause, but instead, having an input and a passion for a cause which everyone could get on-board with.  There was also much less waste involved.  How many of us have saved toilet paper rolls, cardboard, used crayons and scraps of paper, cloth and felt so that groups can work with kids on crafts?  Now days it seems easier to just throw money on the newest craft supplies and not even bat an eye to it or to buy some new equipment because the old one isn’t the newest thing there is.

Personally, I miss bake sales, craft shows, raffles and auctions.  It’s not just about raising cash to do things and give more; it’s about the social interaction and finding out the talents of others.

But you know what?  Giving is not just in giving money.  It’s about giving of yourself and your time to do one simple thing: To make someone smile.  I truly believe every single one of us on the face of this earth has one primary mission;  To make this world a much better place by spreading smiles.  Giving is not just in money.  Giving is carrying books for a coworker, classmate or someone you don’t even know.  Giving is getting the coffee going first thing in the morning for someone other than yourself.  Giving is baking and sharing with others.  Giving could be as simple as a hug to someone who is having a bad day or giving your lunch to someone who does not have one.   Giving should be for the what it does for others, not to grandstand yourself or to meet quotas or to take part in a competition.  It should be straight from the heart and the soul of a person to make the world a better place.  There should never be guilt or pressure to take part in any giving campaign.

Just something to think about when you hear that this is the “Season of giving”, you see, the real Season of Giving starts when we are born and continues every single day until we go home to the Lord.

Until next time,

Mrs. Kay L. Rice