Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cut-Out Paper Money

When reading about The Wife of Noble Character in Proverbs 31, it talks a lot about feeding her husband and becoming profitable.  Well, I may not get up while it's still night or go get my food from afar, but I think that I can try my best to use my resources to at least feel profitable.

My mom introduced me to the life of couponing several months ago.  I'm not yet an "extreme couponer," but I will be one of these days! :]  Actually, I love to coupon.  At first Tyler was making little sarcastic comments on how he thought I was "cute" for doing it.  Then I dragged him to Dillon's with me one time.  

Let me tell you a little bit about how I coupon (yes, I've made this word a well as many others).  I have stopped shopping at Wal-Mart for all of my needs.  I have learned the ways of Dillon's and buy all my groceries there.  I'm still working on the Walgreen's game, as I feel that it's a bit more difficult and I haven't had enough time to figure it out yet.  

Anyway, back to my shopping trip.  I receive the Dillon's ad right to my inbox.  I know that I have from Wednesday til the next Tuesday to go shopping.  Right away, I look through the ad to see what's on sale and figure out what I need.  Dillon's has lots of cool sales such as, "The buy 10 items for $10," or the "Buy any 10 items, receive $5 back."  I LOVE those deals!!!!  I make my list, writing out what I want/need and how much it cost according to the ad.  Then, when I figure out how many of those items I need, I make a total price for the item.  After that, I go through my awesome coupon binder that my momma made me, and see what coupons I have for those items.  Most of the time, I try to buy items that I already have coupons for.  Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, though.

After I've gone through that process for my whole list, I gather my coupons and stick them in an envelope.  I fold my list and stick it in the envelope as well.  Then I grab Tyler and we head to the store.  I don't think he knew what he was getting himself into the first time he went with me.  I don't even think he wanted to go with me, but he came anyway.

Now, I have a process when I go to the store.  I start at one end and shop til I reach the other end.  I hate going back and forth between aisles.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  On the trip that Tyler came with me, I was buying things for him, too.  I had those coupons, they were on sale, and he uses those items.  He just didn't understand why I "needed" everything I put into the cart.  I do give him credit though.  He asked me how many of each item I needed and helped me put them into the cart.  What a great sport!

He had no idea what was about to happen at the cash register.  We put the items on the counter and waited for the final total.  It came to be about $90ish.  I'm sure he about had a heart attack.  It was then that the magic came out.  I got my cut-out paper money and presented it all to the cashier.  When all was said and done, the total came to about $40ish.  What?  Over 50% in savings?  I think so!  Tyler was so excited that I had saved that much money!  He had to update his facebook status, tell his parents, and tell anyone else that he knew.  It was quite hilarious and "cute."

He had been watching that show with me...ya know, the one that makes couponers look like hoarders?  He couldn't believe the savings that those people made.  I wasn't an "extreme" couponer that day, but I looked like it in his eyes.  I had saved over 50% and that was money that could be spent somewhere else.

I feel like couponing will help us out as newlyweds as we are starting completely from scratch.  If I can save us money in the grocery department of the budget, we'll have money to save.  I do believe that couponing can become a god, and people can become greedy.  However, those aren't my intentions.  Of course, it gets my adrenaline pumping at the checkout line, but I don't feel the need to buy things that I'm not going to use.

Tyler now goes to the grocery store with me all the time.  He has been very supportive in my hobby of cutting coupons.  He'll even gladly stop at the Dollar Tree to buy newspapers with me after church.  He actually asked me last Sunday if we needed to stop.  Wow!  We don't even go out to eat a restaurants without a coupon.  There's no reason we should have to pay full price.  Now only if we could get Cheddar's to put out coupons...

Couponing is a hobby of mine, but I think it might actually become one of his, too. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lessons from the Spice Rack

Honor.  Now, I'm not sure a lot of spouses use this word to describe their relationship much these days.  You usually think of honor saved for veterans of war, someone worthy of praise, or even Christ.  Our goal should be to honor Christ with our entire life.  How about our husbands?  Shouldn't they feel honored?

As part of honoring Christ, we should be honoring our husbands as well.  This is something totally new for me.  Now, I've been dating Tyler for over 2 years now. The relationship isn't new to me. In fact, I've learned a lot just being in this relationship with him.  The new part is putting my wants and needs after his.  They say it takes roughly six weeks to form a new habit.  Ok, I might believe that.  What I'm pretty sure of is that it takes waaaaaay longer to unlearn a bad habit.  

I'm not saying that I have lots of bad habits.  I just have habits that have been happening for 20 years or more.  Tyler is my one and only boyfriend, so when he came into my life, I had to unlearn some of my habits of the single life.  For instance, I am a very independent girl.  I can make an entire meal by myself.  I can go to the mall by myself, and for pete's sake, I can go to the bathroom by myself.  

We were in the kitchen one night, making supper.  I needed a certain spice and he was standing in front of the cabinet it was in.  Instead of just saying, "Hey honey, please hand me the _________spice from the cabinet," I walked all the way around him, opened the cabinet and tried to grab it myself. One of the things Tyler brought to my attention that evening, is that I need to make him feel needed in this relationship.  He was right there.  I could have just asked him to hand it to me.  Instead, my independent habit butted into our relationship and I thought I had to get in myself.  Can we say selfish?

When I ask him to do things for me, it makes him feel needed.  When he feels needed in the relationship, he feels loved.  Honoring my (future) husband is doing what is pleasing to him.  If he needs to feel needed, I can darn sure try to make him feel that way.  In fact, he has no clue, but I have lots of things he could do for me!! :]

Another way I feel that I can honor him by is always telling people the fun, positive things about him.  I know there are going to be days that aren't fun, fights that are fought, and feelings that are hurt.  But those things need to be kept between me and him.  No one else needs to know those details.  Not even our parents.  I can be the one that brags to my friends about how great he is.  

In Ephesians 4 verse 29 it says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." 

I'm to be the encouraging wife.  I may need affirmation in our relationship, but so does he.  Is there anything better in life than overhearing someone talking about how great you are?  It sure is a wonderful feeling, and I want to make my husband feel loved, cherished, and honored with everything that I say and do.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stamp Collecting

This weekend has been a short one for me, and I've had a lot on my mind.  The closeness of the wedding has a lot to do with it.  It seems like yesterday we were just getting engaged, and yet we're 3 weeks away from saying, "I do."

I want to be a good wife.  I need to be a good wife.  I'm really scared of failing, hence the reason for my blog.  I want people to help keep me accountable, give me advice when I need it, pray for me, and to see how far I've come.  

Tyler and I went back to Northside today for church.  It seems like it's been a really long time since we've been there (only 3 weeks...and we've been in Lamar most of those Sundays).  I was excited about going, but I was really distracted this morning.  I'm not sure if that was a good or bad thing.  See, I kept thinking about what it takes to be a wife, as I kept reading over Proverbs 31.  I was trying to decipher what it meant in today's world.  I told myself that I could figure it out later, but I was still thinking of certain attributes that a wife should have.

The one that really stuck out to me was that a wife should handle her emotions in a way that's pleasing to the Lord.  I have a really hard time with this.  My mom has always told me that I am an "elevator."  I'm happy one minute, sad the next, and angry the next.  To some extent, this is true.  I can be talking to her about an issue that has really got me riled up, and then we can change the subject to something that makes me really happy.  

I also have this issue when talking to and being with Tyler.  We could be having the best day together, and he may say something that offends me.  Then I get really upset, but I don't tell him why or what's wrong.  I just have this attitude the rest of the evening or until I'm over it.  This isn't healthy, and I know it.  (He does, however, like to point that out to me, which makes me more mad.)  It is something that I've been trying to work on, but it's very difficult.  

Being upset, or even angry, isn't a primary emotion.  My dad has told me in the past that, "A person cannot make you mad.  It's your choice to get mad."  He's very right.  Anger arises from a feeling, fear, or frustration.  Anger tends to get the best of us when we begin to believe that everything is about us.  Truth.  I have 100% control over what goes into my mind and what comes out of my mouth.  Now only if I could get to the point where the only things that come out of my mouth are positive, uplifting, encouraging words.  Man, that's tough.

I tend to be a "stamp collector."  I learned about stamp collecting at the OCC Women's Clinic this past spring.  Do you remember those Subway stamp cards?  Ya know, for each foot long sandwich you bought, you'd  get a stamp on the card...then when you had 10 stamps, you'd get a free sandwich.  Well, take that analogy and apply it to frustration.  Anytime Tyler makes me frustrated, I take out my card, put a stamp on it, and put it back in my pocket.  Well, the more I do this, the faster my card fills up.  What happens when the card is full?  I cash it in, of course.  He has no idea it's coming, and it's totally unfair to him.  

It's then I become a "spewer."  This has potential to ruin relationships.  This is what I don't want.  Remember I said I was scared to fail at being a good wife?  Well, this could potentially be where I fail....a lot.  Seems to me that I have got to work on this.

I can un-learn everything that I've learned to do in the past, can't I?  I can't be an elevator.  I can't be a stamp collector, and I really can't be a spewer. Sounds fair enough...I'll be working on that this week!!  It's a conscious everything else worthy of improving.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

21 Days

In 21 days I will be marrying my best friend in the entire world.  A new chapter will start with him by my side.  We've gone through pre-marital counseling with two different people, which was our choice.  A lot of things we talked about in those meetings were common sense, however we both know we need to work on some of those things.  See, we're not perfect and life can be cruel.  We are both committed to each other and this is our forever.

In the past year, we've not only been planning a wedding, but we've been planning a marriage.  I've listened to a lot of people give advice.  I've tried to gather my thoughts and sort through all the words thrown at me.  But the most important words that were given to me are from God.  

I've been reading from Proverbs 31 where it gives the example of how a wife shall live.  Over the next 50, 60, or even 70 years of my life, I want to be living out this passage of scripture.  I know that it won't be easy, as God has not promised an easy life.  Satan is ever present in this world, and I know the he will try to attack our marriage.  

I want to be the wife that Tyler wants to come home to each night.  I want to live in a marriage where the romance will still be alive when we're 60 years old.  As I live these days and learn more what it means to be that kind of a wife, I want to track my journey.

As I read my mom's Proverbs 31 Woman magazine the other day, I read an article on how to make your marriage a love affair.  The whole article was centered on one question:  What have you done today to make your marriage a love affair?

That question really struck a chord with me.  In this self-centered world, it's so easy to think about yourself.  It's easy for me to think about myself when I'm planning this wedding.  It's MY day, so why can't I have it MY way?  However, in thinking about mine and Tyler's relationship, I really did have to ask myself what was I doing to meet his needs?  It's not a one-time question, but an everyday question.  It's not a quick fix over night, yet a conscious decision every, single day.  Yes, we're still dating for the next 21 days and his needs will become different then.  But I can still adapt that question to our relationship now.  It is definitely worth it.

Christ as the center of the relationship, and question in hand:  What are YOU doing to make your relationship/marriage a love affair?