12 Days of Gratefulness

This year, as part of my anniversary celebration of my husband, I decided to post 12 things about him for which I am truly grateful. Over a 12 day period, I am posting one thing each day.  What made me want to do this is to encourage him and show how much he means to me.  

Throughout our 12 years of marriage, we have gone through a lot of challenges.  In our first year, Hurricane Katrina hit in New Orleans and much of my side of the family was displaced.  We had family stay with us for a few months which was a blessing and hardship at times.  It was a blessing because I gave birth to our first daughter 2 months after the hurricane hit so I had help, but it was also a hardship because for newlyweds just starting out we had less space, less privacy, and so forth.  I look back on those days and I am so grateful we had a place that family could come to and be safe, have food and other needs taken care of for them.

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Simple Date Nights

Marriage is not always easy. As adults, we do a lot of what we have to do so we can possibly do what we want.  There is a lot of compromising, sacrifices and dying to ourselves. As believers, our spirits are willing, but the flesh is weak. That said, our flesh dies often in marriage.  We often find ourselves tired from a day's work and wanting to break up the monotony of our routines.  That is why date night is so important to us.  

Since Devin and I were dating, Friday has been our date night.  When we were single and in college we used to go out on dates every week.  Once we got married we did not have a long period with just us.  Our first baby girl was born 9 months after our wedding. There were people who called her our honeymoon baby. Since then God has added 5 more children to our family.

With each new blessing we have had more responsibility and challenges come along, but have made it a point to keep date night going no matter what.  Sure there are times when date night does not go as well as we want because we are tired and/or have other things on our plate, but we have no desire to take it for granted.  There are also times when we need to be flexible and pick another day/night. Some people may call it intentional time and not a date, but to each it's own.  Whenever we take intentional time out of our schedule to lay aside the weights of everyday life and just enjoy each other is a date to us.  

Whether we are at home or out somewhere doesn't matter.  We have had seasons where going out was not in our budget or we didn't have a reliable babysitter and that is okay. It happens, but it does not have to stop us from having a date. I am going to share some simple date ideas that we have had over the years when we have been home.

candlelight-dinner

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“My Favorites”: Organic Picks from Trader Joe’s

I love Trader Joe's, not because it's huge and not even because they carry everything I want or need.  I love their customer service and they are friendly and always helpful.  I value a friendly atmosphere when I shop.  There is nothing I enjoy less than shopping at a stiff-necked, uptight establishment that makes people, especially children, feel unwelcomed. It is nice to shop alone, but when I want or need to take my kids with me I shouldn't have to make them barely seen and not heard.

There are other things I love about the atmosphere in their stores. A lot of people don't know, but if you want to try something (ready to eat, of course), most likely they will open it up for you on the spot and let you sample it.  Just this past weekend, I was offered some popcorn just because another customer wanted to try before buying it.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to get a taste, myself! The staff member opened the bag and poured some out for us and then proceeded to find others in the store who wanted to try it.  

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Finding My Voice

All my life I have loved to sing!  As a little girl I would sing whenever I got the chance and I know my parents had a lot to do with that. Both my mom and dad love to sing and it flowed down to us kids.  I am not sure where it all started, but at some point during my childhood I developed tremendous stage fright.  I was so nervous to sing in front of others, especially my peers, that I would start crying in the middle of a song.

I remember singing for my class in 8th grade at school and I started out feeling fine.  Maybe I saw some people talking or making ugly faces or something, but I just started crying.  The tears just flowed as I continued to sing.  I remember having the determination to finish my song, wailing and all.  After I was finished, one of my classmates came over and said, "You sounded really good, until you started crying."  Although I was glad she enjoyed my singing I was so disappointed that I could not do it without crying.  Maybe it had something to do with being around so many dynamic singers in the church and elsewhere, but whatever it was it had a hold on me.  

microphone

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6lbs of Stawberries for less than a buck fifty, say what?

How did I get 6lbs of stawberries for less than $1.50?

I'll tell you!  

strawberry flats

1 ) I did 6 surveys through the Driscolls Consumer Advisory Panel and received $0.75 off coupons for each one.  

2) I then checked my local ads to see who had Driscoll's berries on sale for the best price.  I found that Kroger was selling Driscoll's strawberrries for $0.97/lb.  

3) I used my coupons for each of the 6 pounds and my balance for each was $0.22!  $0.22 X 6 equals $1.32 and money saved for me!