Thursday, September 25, 2014

Visitors From Heaven or Hades?

Just when we are looking forward to some amazing events coming up, our van decides to just fall apart.  On Ashley's birthday the van wouldn't start.  I literally have everyone loading up and excited to spend the day at Amazing Jakes.  The van won't even start.  I am sitting there lightly banging my head on the steering wheel with my eyes tearing up because I have to go in and tell Ashley that we are going NOWHERE for her birthday.  Turns out our alternator died and killed our battery on the way down.  On top of that our head gasket is blown, need new spark plugs (not a big deal but the head gasket is) and it's gonna be a lot of money.  Thankfully I had some savings but the head gasket is gonna be huge so that's gonna have to wait.  So basically I'm told I can take my van very short distances only.  Ohhhh man.  Stuff happens and that's why I'm finally starting to understand that it's always good to save for emergencies.  I've been taking a class by Dave Ramsey called Financial Peace University.  So far it's been amazing and now I especially see the need for big emergency money.


That was a few days ago.  Now I'm being told that my van probably won't make it another few months without getting a whole new engine in it.  I can't break down and go find a van where we have to make payments.  I need to save, save, save till this one dies.  We've only been using cash to buy cars for a really long time and I really don't want to get stuck in a payment as that wouldn't be very wise.

I know what I write below might step on some toes of dear friends I love but I just write how I feel.  Personal experience and opinion.

Last week I had a knock on my door from a couple of ladies.  They were very nice and wanted to share the gospel of Jesus with me.  Well, that's good.  I never have that happen so I was open to listen even though I very much have Jesus in my heart.  It was great until they told me that because I believe it's possible to lose my salvation, I'm already going to hell.  Then I can't be saved and they wanted to pray the sinners prayer with me.  I was taken back a bit.  You mean, I'm considered to be on my way to hell even though I've devoted my life to Christ and I believed I'm saved by grace and not by works, all because I'm unsure about eternal security?  Then that leaves about 95% of the world on their way to hell with no hope.  Forget all the Christians that serve Christ with all their hearts.  If they believe it's possible to lose their salvation, they are hopelessly lost.  This is very, very harsh.  She showed me tons and tons of scriptures but none of them straight out said that what they were saying is true.  Nothing. 

Well, this is exactly what I have been studying as of late in scriptures.  I used to believe I could lose my salvation at the drop of a hat.  One mistake and, darn, there goes my salvation again.  I guess I maybe had a Catholic-Christian mentality.  Always have to run back to church and ask for forgiveness and never having an assurance of salvation.  Basically, a life of fear.  In my recent studies I have been surprised to learn it is not at all like that.  We are sinners saved by grace and sustaining grace.  Well, what happens when someone blatantly lives in sin, unrepentant, for years and years on end?  Like someone who lives with their boyfriend, never marries?  Okay, well, I don't know.  I have been studying and studying about it.  Those two ladies told me that no matter what a person does, once they ask Christ into their hearts, they could go on a murder rampage for 30 years or until they die and they are destined to heaven.

After these ladies left, I just felt a heaviness.  They told me it was from God they came since I just happened to be studying about this.  However, I wasn't so sure.  Could it have been a total blow to discourage my studies?  That's exactly what happened.  I was discouraged because where I once had joy in what I had been learning, I was now told that since I doubt eternal security, I'm going to hell.  My gosh.  Well, I can't just buy whatever someone sells me at the door.  I need time to study the truth in the scriptures.  I have not once found what they are saying is true so that must mean I'm doomed.  I'm sure God's grace and mercy doesn't throw people into hell for loving, believing Him, living for Him yet they are just unsure of small parts of doctrine.  Goodness.  

That was about a week ago and talk about total joy ripped from my heart.  I've been really struggling since.  I did do some studying after they left and I can't find any scripture to back it up.  I do believe I would be wrong to believe I keep my salvation by my works.  Yes, I found many, many scriptures that say we cannot trust in keeping our own salvation.  It's completely by grace alone.  I also did some study work about "blotting the name out of the book of life" and was SURPRISED I had believed so wrong about that all my life as well.  So yes, I do my own study work. It's important to know scripture for myself.  But what an extremely discouraging experience to go through.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Terrible, Terrible, Terrible Twos

Oh man, I've been feeling yucky.  The other night I tried to go to the store to buy food to make dinners for the week.  Every aisle made me gag.  I walked out with Cup O' Noodles for everyone.  No joke.  I'm gonna try to go shopping again tonight.  After all, I'm starving exactly every two hours of the day.  I have to have food.  So do they.

Juliet pooring milk over brother's head
Now I'm seven weeks pregnant and I take naps every day when Juliet does.  She literally wears me out so it's not all hormone.  I mean, most of it is from pregnancy but she just has me running all over.  For the sake of everyone's sanity I've been trying to mostly keep her gated in the living room with us with some toys.  She constantly begs for bottles but I give her sippy cups which she hates.  She would rather go thirsty than drink from a sippy cup.  Sometimes I'll cave for the sake of sanity and just give her a bottle.  She'll drink only some of it and then poor the rest over her play kitchen, blankets, and toys.  Wow, I am thanking God that this next baby isn't coming till Juliet turns three years old.  Lets hope and pray she's a tad bit more normal.  But, hey, we are talking about the three year old stage.  The one positive thing I could gain from it is Juliet will be on the road to potty training.

Juliet poking her brother's eyes
Lately, or shall I say the last several months, Juliet has been stripping off all her clothes and her diaper and running around naked.  I will redress her constantly because I have boys in the house.  She'll quickly restrip.  The problem with this is the peeing and pooping.  Today, during her nap hour, she was supposed to be resting but I caught her naked with poop smeared all over her bed.  Ohhhhhhhh, this girl..... To make it more challenging, every single time she knows she did something bad, she will kiss me like crazy.  Kiss my leg, my hand, my arm, my foot.  Then she'll give me the most winning smile ever.  Today when Ryan was in trouble and had to sit alone somewhere, Juliet went up to him and kept giving him kisses knowing he was in trouble.  She was wanting him to feel better.  Ha. 

Help me, Lord!  These terrible twos are the worst I've ever gone through.  Eek, I'm starving again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Scare at 6 Weeks Pregnant

I haven't written in a few days because I had a scare.  I'm only six weeks pregnant but about 4 days ago I started bleeding and my stomach hurt.  I thought, "Uh oh, here we go again."  Out of fear I was going to lose this baby just like Genesis, I cried and cried on my bed.  I eventually came out and ask the kids to pray for me.  They were quick to.  They vividly remember surrounding me on the bed when I was in pain letting go of Genesis.  When I asked, they all gathered in a circle holding hands and prayed their hearts out for this baby.

Feeling in limbo, I mostly laid around and DREADED going to the bathroom.  Everytime I did for two days it was a reminder of the bleeding.  I put a post out on facebook asking for prayer.  Soooo many people responded.  I know some people say they also bled in their pregnancy.  The reason I was scared was because bleeding was following the pain in my stomach.  Like a cramping.  That is a very bad sign and it was identical to my last experience.  

My mom taking the girls during my doctor's visit
I hate feeling like my life is on hold but not knowing what to do, I mostly did nothing.  I could only think about this little one.  I had hoped that even though the baby is teeny tiny that maybe if I did nothing, it'd be safe.  I know more than likely, if I lost a baby it just meant something was wrong with the baby.  I don't know.

Eventually I went to the ER with a heavy heart and prepared for the worst.  They gave me an ultrasound to make sure the baby had a heart beat.  Can you believe that when most people find out they are pregnant, there is already a heartbeat?  I mean, I'm only 6 weeks and I saw that teeny little baby's heart beating on the screen.  Wow.  Even better, it was a good heart rate.  They gave me another Rhogam shot since I was bleeding.  Of course they sent me papers home about a possible miscarriage.  Still, after seeing that heartbeat, I had hope.  

My heart broke when I found out my high risk pregnancy doctor dropped me because she didn't feel I was high risk anymore.  She said I've had lots of healthy babies and there was nothing to worry about.  Well, I had to be off and running to now find a brand new doctor I've never had.  Argh.  I don't like this process because I've had a BAD one before that we almost took to court for some very bad things she did.  I almost lost a baby at 28 weeks 5 years ago because of her negligence.  I was scared in meeting a new one now.

After two days of bleeding it stopped. I held my breath in hopes it would stay that way.  Two days later the bleeding hasn't returned but, ohhhh, how scary. At first I was preparing my heart to lose another baby but then decided that it was not at all faith to be like that.  I fully remember how much faith I had last time and still lost Genesis but then decided that no matter what happens, I need to understand that God is in control.  He has my Genesis with Him right now.  And whatever happens with this baby, God is so good.  Whether I have this baby here on earth or someday in heaven, that's still a beautiful child of mine I've been gifted with!  

I saw my new doctor today.  Oh boy, what a type A personality she has which scared me right off the bat.  I like successful people and all that are go getters but some can be rude without meaning to be.  Or they come off as blunt.  But she slowly won my heart over when she said "Oh, have as many babies as you want.  That's your business and no one else's!"  Ha.  She's blunt all right.  But she's great towards large family mamas which is what I needed.  Funny enough, even though my other doctor dropped me, this doctor will be sending me to my old doctor for some visits and scans since I'm 35 years old and pregnant.  So ha!  My other doctor has me partially back.  However, I was feeling a bit old as a pregnant mom being I have to go somewhere special because of my age. 

I'm praying for a full term, healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. :)  Would you please pray with me?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

How Fry's Food Made Me Hate Couponing

I used to loooove couponing.  I would put at least 20 hours a week into getting my papers, cutting coupons, organizing them, and the best part, taking them shopping to get my discounts.  After many, many hours of hard work, my reward was getting discounts on my food.  That doesn't mean I cheated on my couponing.  I never tried to get items that weren't on the coupon nor did I ever try to print out bad coupons from my printer.  I was just an honest to goodness coupon loving gal.  Well, something changed all that.

Every single store I ever coupon at (pretty much) have the same policies.  I could walk into Safeway and they'd almost always tell me the same thing. No matter who I was talking to.  Same goes for CVS or Walgreens.  They are easy and simple.  They knew their store policies and didn't have an angry look on their face when I took out my coupons.

The second worst (before I tell you the first) would be Walmart.  I printed out a store policy and stores pretty much go between two different policies.  Either they follow it perfectly or they changed just one thing about it.  It's not as much fun to coupon at Walmart because they never have sales (sorry, but a penny rollback doesn't count) and they don't double their coupons in any way.  However, in general they can be cheap. Still, it's way more fun to shop at stores that have great discounts on different foods for different weeks out of the year.

The worst, worst, worst store I ever deal with as far as couponing goes is Fry's Food.  Some places call it Kroger.  Not only does nobody know the policy but most managers don't agree on it.  It's almost like it's up to each manager to decide how much they want to follow the store couponing policy or not at all.  I can go to one Fry's and they'll allow 50 coupons in one transaction.  Then I could go to another down the street and they only allow 10.  Why?  It's nowhere on the policy.  At times I get looked at with disgust by cashiers and managers at times for being a couponer.  I've never broken any rules but it's very confusing when each store chooses how they want to handle couponers.  I am not ridiculous and expect what I can't have and in fact, I'm really polite to the cashier.  I try to never hold up lines and I don't go during the rush hours.  There are times I was even told just to go home because my coupons froze up their system.  I wasn't offered to be helped on a different register.  Whether I coupon or not, I still on average spend about $900 a month on groceries.  I'm a good customer.  When I started to wonder why each Fry's were so different on their policies, a friend that is a manager confirmed it to me that it's left up to the managers to decide how to handle couponers and most are confused about it.  One time I reported a manager for being extremely rude to me.  When he was called up and confronted by corporate, to save himself he lied and said he was only telling me I couldn't price match to other stores.  I would never, ever do that as I know Walmart is the only place that does that.  It's easy for corporate to take the manager's side because they are in leadership but it left me as a customer with a mark on my head as a liar by other managers.

I finally just let it go for my sanity.  I worked too hard to deal with the anger I got from managers and the people working the registers.  It's really hard knowing the policy (which seems super simple and easy to understand) but deal with so much confusion.  My last straw was a few weeks ago, couponing, trying to save some money, the register freezing up, being told to just go home without my groceries, my car getting keyed by gangsters while shopping and right in front of their security guard, trying to report it to security, and being turned away because it was too late and they were about to close.  I had it.  It was on tape that it was done in the parking lot but I was brushed away.  I love, love Fry's for their weekly discounts and doubling of their coupons but their customer service is greatly lacking and drives customers to higher priced stores for the sake of good service.

That's why I gave up couponing. I'll never treat a register person or a manager rudely back.  It's not right to act angry and spew out things I'd later regret.  When they'd turn me away, I learned to just walk out and deal with it.  But I think the BEST thing Fry's corporate could do for their customers is maybe hold a class on just their coupon policies alone and how to treat couponers fairly.  There may be people that abuse them but a lot of us out there are just trying to find ways to stretch our money and are good customers.  :P