Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life thus far

Summer is almost over. Well, for all intents and purposes in the Turner household, it IS over, and HAS BEEN over for weeks now - we started school on August 4.


Totally, completely ridiculous.

I don't know if it's getting older, or our recent move, but I've become such a homebody lately. Seriously. Right now, if I could have a couple of days where I didn't have to leave the house at all, that would be just about the best thing ever.

Yeah, I know. Not gonna happen.

I have been busy this summer, so here's a slight recap of the shenanigans and goings-on around here.


* Did I mention we moved? Because I can't remember if I ever did, and it's not even 6 a.m. yet and I don't feel like going back through my blog to check. We bought a house from my aunt that's next door to my parents (Gramma next door? Can I get a "WHAT WHAT!"). It's really a blessing that we did when we did, because two weeks after we moved my dad had emergency quintuple (that's FIVE to you non-math folks) bypass surgery and it's been great to be right next door during his recovery.

* This house has inspired me to go a completely different direction in my decorating. It's laid out differently than my last home,and we're in the woods (quite literally) so it's gaining more of a cottage vibe. I've become OBSESSED with home decor blogs and Pinterest, and probably need a second Google Reader account just to keep up.


The great thing about this style is, it can be VERY inexpensive. Many of the things I've gotten have been from Goodwill, or repainting/altering things I already had. It looks like things were gathered instead of just gone out and shopped. And that's a good thing, for my budget and my decorating!



* I started a Life Group (what we call our small groups) at church called Deal Seeking Divas! We have a Facebook group where we share deals back and forth, and I've set up a coupon exchange folder in my office at church. In the coming months, we're going to be using our frugality to help those who are in need, and I can't wait!

* I joined another Life Group, a book club for readers of inspirational fiction. My friend (and a FABULOUS writer) Jesse is heading it up, and I have a feeling it's going to be great! I've already read some thought-provoking stuff. Our discussions should be very interesting!

Ahh, summer. I'm going to miss you, 100 degrees and all. Promise you won't be gone long?

So, that's what's up with me. What's been up with y'all?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


As many times as I've found myself stranded on the side of the road, I really should have a tag just for those posts.

Or maybe, a whole blog dedicated to them. Something along the lines of “Unexpected pit stops on the highway of life.”

Yesterday morning, I was driving to work with Anna Marie in tow, and as I got to the last exit in our county my car started making a horrible, very bad, no good noise.

Thankfully, I had time to get off at that exit, because there was about eight miles of open highway (and a long bridge with no shoulder) between me and the next acceptable stop.

Even Anna Marie could tell something was wrong, as I got off the exit ramp and turned to go to the gas station on the other side of the highway.

Thankfully, I was able to make it to the station. I haven't always been so fortunate.

I've been stuck in many, many places in my life. On the sides of roads, at rest areas, and once, when I was engaged, Jason and I spent several hours at a Walmart in Alabama waiting on my parents.

Not the most fun I've ever had, let me assure you.

Yesterday was a sale day at the auction where Jason runs the cafeteria, and I knew he couldn't leave the kitchen. I called my dad, who said he was already almost to the auction – half an hour away. He said he'd drop my mom off and come down to see about us.

Judging by prior experience, I was just sure it was the transmission. It's not like it would be the first time I'd had a transmission go out on me while driving down the interstate (or while entering a shopping center parking lot, for that matter.) I called Jason to apprise him of the situation, trying to stay brave and positive (and not feeling like I was doing a particularly good job at either.)

Thankfully, I was able to go inside the gas station and use the “facilities” (because I've had to go in the great outdoors on previous “unscheduled” stops), get Anna Marie the snack she was asking for (because I had the funds to do so) and let the cashier know why my car might be parked outside for a little while longer than most customers.

I sent a text to our Senior Associate Pastor to let him know I'd be a wee bit late. He called me back to ask if he needed to come see about us, and thankfully I was able to tell him we were fine.

Thankfully, the sun was shining, and Anna Marie was occupied with her Cheeze-its and Nintendo DS, and we passed the time until my dad arrived. I have had to come up with ways to entertain her myself on these “adventures,” so I was most appreciative of her handheld video games.

Jason informed me that our new auto insurance included roadside assistance, so I called to have a wrecker sent to tow the car back home.

Thankfully, when my dad arrived, he diagnosed the problem as “busted exhaust pipe” and not “transmission,” which is a whole dilly of a lot easier and cheaper to fix. He did advise me not to drive the car until it was fixed, so as not to asphyxiate myself or my passengers.

The nice lady at the insurance company called back to say a wrecker would be two hours in coming. “You don't have to be with the vehicle, you can just leave the keys inside,” she said.

“Lady, this station isn't known as the 'Stop and Rob' around here for nothing,” I thought. But what I actually said was, “Well, I live in the woods, and my house is hard to find. My dad says we can drive it home since it's only about 10 miles, so that's what we're going to do. But thanks anyway!”

We removed our valuables, locked the car, prayed over it, and headed to the rest of our day.

After work, Jason came by to pick me up and we met my parents for dinner. (Thankfully, my mom was well stocked with buy one, get one free coupons!) She, Anna Marie, and I stopped for Baskin Robbins kiddie cones, while my dad and Jason headed to pick up my car.

He called me a little while later, laughing.

“I don't know what you're complaining about. People pay a lot of money to have their cars sound like this.”

Haha, dear. Very funny. For one, I don't want my car to sound like I have a glass-pack muffler. For another, yeah, asphyxiation. THAT.

Thankfully, I do have another vehicle to drive while we get this all sorted out, which has not always been the case.

As I travel this highway of life, I know there will be unexpected stops along the way. Not only do I have a responsibility before God to keep a right attitude, I also have a little passenger along for the ride who is watching everything I do, every reaction I have, and those lessons will color how she reacts when her own life runs into the inevitable speed bump or two.

Thankfully, my car was safe, we were safe, and I was able to have some hope before I ever got into the van with my dad.

Thanking God daily for every little thankfully He helps us find in the midst of our trials...

Friday, June 17, 2011


Ok, so I totally had this whole, long post typed yesterday about how that I'm a living double-standard.

And then, a massive storm hit, and I hadn't saved (I was typing in Word, mistake #1) and I lost it.


See, I ran into some frustrations yesterday which brought home a very important point to me. I am at once very impatient, and a horrible procrastinator.

I'm an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

Dipped in chocolate. Yummy, dark chocolate.

My car has developed an oil leak. We know what the problem is, and Jason has had the parts to fix it for over a year. Every week or so, my "low oil" light comes on, reminding me to check my levels, which are nearly always about a quart low. Usually, this happens at a really inconvenient time, like when I'm on my way to work, and I have to stop and buy a quart or two.

That's where I found myself yesterday. I stopped at a store in town and picked up a couple of quarts, only to have my debit card denied when I tried to pay for them.

I paid with a check, and proceeded to call Jason to vent my frustration. Frustration at having to stop, again, and it making me late for work. Frustration at having to put a Bandaid on a problem he could fix permanently. Frustration at having my debit card denied.

His phone, of course, went straight to voice mail. Luckily, my parents live next door, so I could call my mom and have her walk over to my house, so I could unleash the full fury of my frustration on Jason via her phone.

As I drove to work, plotting how I could pull my car into my dad's shop and figure out how to fix the problem myself, a thought began to trickle into my head:

I'm a tad impatient.

If I need something fixed, or help from someone, I want it NOW. Not next week, and probably not even tomorrow. I expect nothing less than instant gratification from those around me.

I don't know how I got this way, honestly. As the oldest of four children in a house where there was often more month than money, I wasn't accustomed to getting my wants fulfilled instantly. I think somewhere, that might have developed in me some trust issues, which cause me to believe that if something isn't done right away, it's not going to get done.

Or maybe I'm just overthinking this a tad.

On the other hand, I am an extreme procrastinator. I've lost count of how many times I've stopped in the writing of this post and done other things, like stare intently off into space or check to make sure my fingernails are clean.

I am the Queen of Time Wasting. The Internet is both the best, and the worst thing to ever happen to me.

Too, too often I wait until the last minute to do something, and end up having to rush and stressing myself out much more than necessary.

How did I get to be this way? I have no idea. The worst part is, I'm like this with God too. There are things I've been asking Him to do for years, and some I've been praying about for just a few months (but even that seems like a lifetime) and still, no answer. There are situations in my life I need to be settled, and there are deadlines, but still...I wait.


I seem to forget that God is a God of "suddenly."

Type that word into a search on a Bible site like, and you'll find a LOT of results. There are so many instances in the Word where God does things suddenly, right on time, in just the perfect way.

One of those is in 2 Chronicles 29. It's the story of how Hezekiah repaired and restored the temple and how the people prepared themselves to serve and worship there. It ends with these words:

So the service of the LORD's temple was established. Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over how God had prepared the people, for it had come about suddenly.

So maybe, that's where my dual natures come into play. Maybe, I should be in preparation mode, so that I'm ready for my "suddenly" to come about. Maybe, my procrastination is making me my own worst enemy.

I've seen so many other "suddenlys" this year. I worked at the same place for eight years, and suddenly, I'm in a completely different environment. I lived in the same house for seven years, and suddenly I'm buying another one and moving.

I'm beginning to think that's why I lost that other post, because this one is going in a totally different direction than the one I'd typed yesterday.

Lord, give me strength to prepare myself, so I'm ready for you - suddenly.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kroger Shakedown (and BIG news!)

shakedown graphic.indd

Whew! What a crazy couple of weeks it’s been around here. This week was nice and quiet, which was exactly what I needed after dealing with two funerals last week, scheduled within two hours of each other. I’ve been grocery shopping, yes, but last week we were forced – FORCED – to eat out way more than I would have liked because of all that was going on. This week, Anna Marie was away at camp in Oklahoma for four days, so I didn’t need to get much. So I didn’t get much, and I spent the rest of my grocery budget on a new outfit at Target! That’s what I call smart shopping!

Also, I have to admit I’ve found Kroger’s deals to be a bit lackluster. I guess I’m just living to stock up at their Mega Event sales, and there hasn’t been one of those in a few weeks. Oh, well. That’s part of the beauty of stockpiling: you get to the point where you’re “cherry picking” many weeks and spending even less!

Here’s my rundown for the week:

1 lb. strawberries
3.19 lbs. bananas
1 double-roll 12 pack of Quilted Northern bath tissue ($2.99!)
1 bottle Wishbone dressing
1 package Strawberry Newtons
5 Michalina’s frozen dinners (68 cents each!)
1 package of Bic Soleil disposable razors
1 bottle KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce

Total before coupons/savings: $34.95
Total after coupons/savings: $16.88
Total savings: $18.07 (54%)

Not one of my big blow-out weeks, to be sure, but since it was just the two of us at home we just kind of snacked around for meals. Now she’s back, and it’s back to normal. Or at least, what’s normal for us!

The dinners are for Jason or me to have for lunch - I got the Lean Gourmet kind, don't fret - the strawberries have gone in my cereal each morning, and the dressing will be taken to my Life Group meeting (along with more I have in my pantry that I got for super cheap) this Sunday. And who would turn down a 99 cent package of razors? Not me!

Oh, and before I forget, BIG news: I’ll be conducting my first COUPON CLASS! Yes, if you’re local to the Mid-South area, I’ll be speaking at the Women’s Ministry meeting at my church, Cornerstone (we call it GNO, or Girls Night Out) on Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. It’s part of a night called Thrifty Living, and we’ll also have other financial pointers like how to shop at yard sales. We’ll have coffee and dessert, and probably (hopefully) laugh our faces off.

The church is located at 5998 Elmore Road in Southaven, Miss. You can either Google it, or email me for more information!

(And if you aren’t in our area, say a little prayer for me…)

Friday, June 10, 2011

A book review! And a giveaway! Huzzah!

Well, howdy-do. I’ve been on a blogging hiatus as things have gotten a bit hectic in Melz World lately, but I come to bring you good news of great joy: I’m back, and this time with a book review (and a giveaway! Huzzah!)

A couple of months ago, I was asked to review the book First Time Dad by John Fuller. What, you say? You’re not a dad, and your kid is almost a decade old? I know, I know. There’s no denying the truth. But, I thought it might be an opportunity to help those who ARE both dads and new to this whole parenting thing to get a good head start on raising great kids.

So many parenting books focus on moms, but we really shouldn’t neglect the impact fathers have on their children. Whether they realize it or not, their influence matters a great deal to how their kids will turn out, for better or worse.

The book was an easy read. Most of the chapters are 10 pages or less, which meant I could digest it in easy segments. I abhor books with really long chapters, because I have such a short attention span that I lose interest in the chapter before it’s finished. Not a problem here!

Fuller is a father of six (!) children, some of whom have already left home. In the book, he shares what he’s learned about dealing with your child’s unique personality, being intentional about instilling your values, how to support your wife as a new mom, and, most importantly, the value of time in relation to raising your kids.

I know for us, when Anna Marie was an infant, Jason’s job at the church meant he was gone a lot. I felt many times that, since I took her to work with me during the day and he was gone to meetings or other functions at night, I shouldered a lot (maybe too much) of the responsibility of rearing her. I also think we could have done a better job of being intentional about teaching her some things. This book encourages dads to be present for their kids and wife, and to invest in their future while they’re still wee small babies.

I’d recommend this for any dad, whether a first-timer or not. And guess what – they sent me an extra copy to give away! It would make a great Father’s Day present for someone who’d just had their first child or is expecting one in the near future. Or, really any dad of small kids.

Just leave a comment here by 5 p.m. Central time on Monday, June 13, telling me a favorite memory you have of your dad or a father-figure in your life. I’ll pick a random winner and you’ll have your book in time for Father’s Day!

Good luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Armadillo Tails

Yeah, you read that right. Not tales. TAILS.

As in, one of my dogs, right now, is carting around the back shell and tail of an armadillo in his mouth, and it's creeping me OUT.

It all started Tuesday, when I posted to Facebook that "any day without a dead possum in the yard is a good day." Because, yes, we've had a spate of those, thanks in part to our wonderful canine companions.

My sister responded and asked if armadillos counted, because if so, all bets were off. I didn't realize how serious she was until I got home that night, and Anna Marie and my mother told me the tale of coming home from school and seeing the dogs playing - PLAYING - with the carcass of an armadillo. EEEK!

(And yes, someone has enlightened me to the connection between those animals and leprosy. And it's not helping the creep factor, let me just tell you.)

When Jason came home, he disposed of it like he does most things they drag up - by getting a shovel and throwing it into the cow pasture next door. Because we're good neighbors like that. But apparently, the dogs are able to get back there under the fence because remnants of the beast appeared back on the front lawn that night.

Once again, we tried to dispose of it.

Later that night, after Jason and AM had gone to bed, I heard a ruckus outside and looked to see that same object on the front porch. I start screaming uncontrollably, but does anyone get up out of bed to see about me? NO.

(But that's another post for a different day, my friends.)

Our male dog, Lucky, was a rescue dog. I happen to know how he came to the shelter, because he belonged to a man I knew who had passed, whose wife had cancer and couldn't care for him or their other dog so she surrendered them. The other dog had a tumor and was put down, but we adopted Lucky. He's a great dog, but he's got this habit - when you come near him, he picks up something - anything and brings it to you.

It could be a food bowl, or a stick, or a bone he's found - but he never shows up empty-mouthed.

Tuesday night on the porch, he was headed straight for the armadillo. I knew what his little doggie mind was thinking, and scolded him to stay away.

Then, I got desperate. I couldn't stand the thought of them messing with that thing all night, so I went into the kitchen and grabbed some hot sauce - and from four feet away, I flung it towards the remains, screaming at the dogs to stay away all the while.

It worked, at least for a bit, because much later when I checked it was still in the same spot. I was NOT going to stumble around in the dark of night to find the shovel and try to dispose of it myself! I figured that Jason could do his manly duty and get it done in the morning.

By morning, though, I guess either the hot sauce had worn off, of they decided they liked the taste of it, because it was back in the yard. Again.

Again, it was disposed of, or so I thought.

Again, after another ruckus just now, I checked and Lucky was defending our property from some dogs who live around the corner. When I called him, he came running - and ran straight for the armadillo shell, which was lying in the yard. Again.


I wonder how long it takes armadillo shell to burn to a pile of ashes? Because at this point, I'm thinking cremation is the only way to go.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kroger Shakedown! (And other things...)

shakedown graphic.indd

Well, Gentle Reader, let me just say that it's good to be back in the land of the blogging.

As Blogger is helpful to point out, my last post was April 27 - nearly a fortnight ago, during the terrible, no good, horrible storms we were having. Rest assured, neither my person nor my property is in any danger of being overtaken my the Mississippi River, but that doesn't stop me from being in awe of how much the river has swollen in the last few days.


Point of business: I started a job at my church in February, and last week we hosted all of the Assemblies of God pastors from the state of Mississippi in a four-day conference. And as a result of not being home for basically four nights until around 10 p.m., I did not go grocery shopping last week - I didn't have time, and since we weren't home, I didn't see the point. We needed that money to eat out on! But this week, I hit it HARD, and my normal $30-$40 range went all the way up slightly past $50 in response. I also went to Kroger twice, because after my original trip on Sunday we stopped by two stores to find Anna Marie a replacement nunchuck for her Wii and I couldn't get any refrigerated stuff.

Also, I had to buy two big (for me) purchases this week: paper towels, and coffee. Good grief - the original price on the Maxwell House was $14? WHO PAYS THAT FOR COFFEE? Obviously, not me!

I also stopped by Aldi a few minutes ago, to stock up on ground turkey and turkey meatballs, something I either can't get anywhere else or can't get as cheaply, even on sale.

So, here we go.

Kroger trip #1 (on Sunday)
1 8-pack of Bounty paper towels
1 box of Krusteaz pancake mix (free with a coupon Kroger sent me, but it also counted toward my Mega Event total)
2 bottles of Kraft Mayo
1 bottle of Kraft BBQ sauce (which I got for FREE, thanks to a better-than-expected coupon)
2 bags of Quaker Quakes
2 bottles of Kraft salad dressing
1 pack of gum (the only thing, out of many, that Anna Marie asked for that I granted her)
4.81 lbs of just-ripe bananas, marked down to .39 a lb.
2 boxes of Ronzoni pasta
1 canister of Maxwell House
1 box of Betty Crocker cake mix (also free with a Kroger coupon)
1 box of Nature Valley granola bars (free with a Kroger coupon)
1 box of Cocoa Krispies

Total before coupons/sales: $68.58
Total after coupons/sales: $28.59
Total savings: $39.99 (60%)

Kroger trip #2 (Tuesday)
8 cups of Dannon Greek Yogurt (the only kind that Anna Marie eats these days)
4 cans of Red Gold seasoned tomatoes
4 cans of Kroger brand Italian seasoned tomato paste (which I combine with the tomatoes to make my "homemade" spaghetti sauce)

Total before coupons/savings: $17.89
Total after coupons/savings: $10.01
Total savings: $7.88 (46%)

Aldi trip (Tuesday)
1 box of Aldi's brand of Kashi cereal
1 bag vegetable crisps
1 bag baked chips
2 lbs. frozen ground turkey
1 bag turkey meatballs

Total: $11.71

So, yeah, I spent a little more than I normally would have on groceries this week, but 1. I hadn't been in two weeks, and 2. I was out of several staples, like the paper towels, coffee, and turkey.

Now that my pantry and freezer are sufficiently stocked, we can sit back, relax, and watch the river recede.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rain, rain, go away...


The view out my office window for the past several days.

If I had a dime for everytime the word "Ark" or "Noah" appeared in my Facebook news feed, well, I'd be sitting on a beach in Tahiti right now instead of wishing the rain away.



I am pretty sure the ground must be super saturated right now. I know my tolerance for thunderstorms and tornado warnings is! In the past two months, we've had to vacate our office THREE times due to the sirens.

(Of course, we spend the time standing in front of a wall of glass, watching the storm.)

My yard? Looks like a river runs through it. I have no idea where poor Delta spent last night - the other two (apparently more intelligent) dogs bedded down on the front porch, where it was safe and dry. Delta hasn't been seen since last night.

It makes me SAD to think about her in the storms all alone!

Anna Marie has ended up in my bed, due to the storms, for the past several nights. You'd be surprised how small a king sized bed can be with two adults and a nine-year-old! I don't even remember when she climbed in last night. I am tired and sore, from having to contort myself to accommodate her twisting and turning. Oh, my kingdom for a full night's sleep!

I'm glad I have a frozen dinner in the fridge here, because there is no way I'm getting out in this mess. No way. No how.

The weather folks tell us that this will move out this afternoon. I'll believe it when I see it. They already weren't forecasting severe weather for this morning, but another warning was just issued for my area.



We'd better be getting some massive May flowers out of all this.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A very Good Friday indeed

Yes, I know there are two inherent problems with this post.

1. It isn't Good Friday, or any Friday for that matter. It's Monday.

2. I posted another post before this one, thus getting me out of sync and possibly ripping a hole in the space-time continuum.

(Or maybe just opening up the Pandorica. Yep, Dr. Who started a new season this weekend! Huzzah!)

But, it was such a good, Good Friday, I felt it needed to be documented. And since I didn't take a single, solitary photo all day, I'm having to rely on the kindness of strangers.

And Flickr.

Like this one:

Soul Fish Cafe

This, my friends, is The Soul Fish Cafe.


You see, I had the day off on Friday, for the first time in, oh, about nine years. And Anna Marie had school on Good Friday for the first time in her whole life, thanks to the massive number of snow days this year. The closer it got to Friday, the more resentful I became of the thought that I was going to have to get up early on my DAY OFF to get her to school. And since it was just a 60% day, I hatched a plan.

We played hooky. Don't tell anyone, m'kay?

I have never, ever asked her to stay home from school - and she did take some convincing. But when I told her we could spend the day with Aunt Manda, and spend the Burke's Books gift certificate Aunt Manda had gotten her, well, that was all the reason she needed to skip school.

(Editor's note: She has not missed a single day of school this year, except for getting checked out early in February when my dad was having open heart surgery. She said we had already messed up her perfect attendance streak with that one.)

We met Amanda and her friend Clark at Soul Fish, and I guess I don't have to tell you what type of food a place with a name like that has.

Slap yo mama food, that's what.

And for dessert - oh, for dessert we introduced Jason to one of the wonders of the modern world. YoLo.

(OOOH. I guess I told a story. I did take one picture on Friday.)


YoLo is one of those really dangerous places, because they weigh the yogurt after you self-serve. No good can ever come of someone with a scale and my food. I'm just sayin.

And you don't even want to know how much Anna Marie's yogurt cost. Trust me.

And then, we went to Burke's Books and let her browse. She spent a wee bit more than her certificate, but she was able to successfully talk Jason into fronting her a few more dollars.

(It didn't hurt that he bought himself a book, either. Seems he can't get the Kindle App to work on his phone, so he has to do things the old-fashioned way.)

We took Amanda back to Soul Fish, where she'd left her van, and took a little side trip to Lit, a local restaurant supply store. And who should appear? Why Amanda, of course! I had no idea, but apparently she'd told Jason she was coming. I think I liked being surprised better!

I don't even think I can put into words what a perfect day it was turning out to be. The weather was PERFECT. And then, you know how sometimes you go into a store, and the music is totally offensive and you want to get out of there as fast as possible?

They were playing soul music in Lit! I don't know if it was our local soul station (because we're in Memphis, so of course we have one) or a subscription service, but when I heard Al Green - man, I could have stayed in that store all day! It just totally set the mood for the kind of day we were having, running errands to special, Memphis-centric places.

Just. Perfect.

Unfortunately, we did have to leave and make our way back home. We stopped at JC Penney, and ran into about half a dozen families from our church - including our Senior Pastors. I love my church peeps, and it makes me happy to run into them in public!

We totally were taking over that Penny's store.

I felt so blessed by the time we got home. I haven't had a day like that in a long, long time - or maybe, ever. It reminded me how much I love springtime, and MEMPHIS, and hanging out with Jason, AM, and Amanda.

Overwhelmingly blessed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The price has been paid


I saw this sign at the gas station a couple of weeks ago, and I had to laugh. (Which was odd, since pumping gas rarely puts me in a laughing mood!) Because, yes, my gym membership probably has filed a missing persons report.

I know. I KNOW. Due to some changes in my life circumstances of late, I've not made it into the gym since, oh, before Christmas. My best intentions at schedule change have failed miserably, and I'm left with the overriding guilt that I've turned into one of those people, who pay for a membership to a gym which they never use.


Yesterday, as I was driving around town, I passed the gym of which I am a member. And a thought occurred to me: the price has already been paid.

It doesn't matter that I haven't been through those doors in four months. I could, right now, scan my key and have full access to all the benefits of membership.

Because every month, they're still deducting $15 from my checking account. The price has already been paid.

And then, another thought occurred to me: that's the way salvation is. It doesn't matter who you are, where you've been, or what you've been doing that you haven't "walked through the door." The price has already been paid.

It doesn't matter if you walked through the doors of the church a long time ago and never came back, or you keep "meaning to go" one Sunday but don't.The price has already been paid.

Any time. Any day. Any where. You can "scan your card" - accept His offer of forgiveness - and receive access to all the benefits of "membership."

He doesn't care what's kept us away - He just knows how much better our lives will be once we take receive Him.

What a lovely thought for Easter!

"It was not a haphazard event, or a secondary scheme, but it was the plan of the Lord to redeem" - The Winans

Friday, April 22, 2011



I don’t know anyone who likes that word. Who would? Who would like something that’s too cold to be hot, and too hot to be cold? Although some dishes taste just fine lukewarm, many don’t. I know my mother is a STICKLER for food temperature, and has no qualms about sending something back to the kitchen to be “warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds.”

True story.

One morning recently, I was in a condition I can only describe as “bleary-eyed.” As in, I hadn’t rested well the night before, and I could barely hold my eyes open. My usual morning routine includes reading a few verses out of the Bible, and then having some prayer. But I knew that this morning, I was not going to get much out of a DIY study. Ever have one of those times, when you’re so tired (or distracted…) that you get to the end of a passage – whether in the Bible or a magazine article – and think, “What did I just read?”

Well, that’s where I found myself that morning.

I turned on my computer, and logged on to the Proverbs 31 Ministries website. I read the devotion for that day, but I didn’t think the verse applied to me. The title of the post was “The Unsaved Christian.”

Nope, doesn’t sound like me.

The verse was found in Isaiah 29:13, “The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.’”

No, not me either.

I had to go into work early to set up for a meeting, and I was flipping stations on the radio and came across the now-deceased pastor of a very, very large congregation in our area. I stopped on the broadcast, and heard the SAME verse from Isaiah as I’d read earlier in the morning, but used in a different context. He coupled it with the passages out of Revelation about churches being lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – and a different word immediately sprang to mind.

Room temperature.

It’s basically the same thing, isn’t it? It isn’t hot. It isn’t cold. It’s just room temperature.

How does something get to that state we call “room temperature?” By adjusting to the environment around it.

You heard me.

That’s how we become room temperature in our relationship with God – lukewarm, if you will – by not affecting the environment around us, but by letting it affect us.

As I listened to that pastor that morning, his words rang in my ears.

“You don’t commit adultery, but you laugh at raunchy jokes.”

“You don’t tell big lies, but you tell little white lies like telling someone you can’t stand that you’re glad to see them.”


Lord, don’t let me become like that room temperature coffee in my cup this morning, that when I topped it off with hot liquid turned that into a tepid mess. Don’t let those “little things” that I think don’t mean much eat away at my passion for You, making me think that good enough is good enough.

Because it isn’t.

Not hot. Not cold. Just lukewarm.

Room temperature.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Life with [hogs]


(Technically, I guess these aren't hogs, are they? They're more along the line of "pigs." However, since my recent post was entitled "Life with dogs" I decided to continue the theme. Impressive, huh?)

(But I digress.)

So, what would you think if your mom sent you the following, cryptic text message one afternoon:

"Pigs are here. Call."

Wow. Um, yeah. Call, I did.

It seems that some of the livestock out back (which includes alpacas, a donkey, some goats, and who knows what else) were now, out front. In my mom's yard.

(My friend Jesse has instructed me to make a joke about Legion, but I'm not really sure how. So, I'm inserting it here.)

I told her (from experience, I knew this) that she needed to call the Sheriff's Department. There are no animal control laws in the unincorporated areas of the county, so the law couldn't do anything forceful - but they could help locate the owner. No one lives on that property - they only keep their animals there, and come through every couple of days to feed them and check on them.

Except, no one had apparently done that in a few days, because some neighbors told mom that they'd seen the pigs sauntering around the day before. That leads me to know two things:

1. Whoever is supposed to be taking care of those animals, probably isn't, and

2. We have lazy, lazy neighbors who apparently don't care that there are farm animals wandering around their homes, because NO ONE had called the authorities.


When I got home, no one in my neck of the woods had called either, so I took it upon myself to do so. I found two LARGE adults (one of them obviously nursing piglets) and five babies. They were tearing up my mother's yard, looking for acorns, and tormenting my poor dogs.

The dispatcher was asking me all sorts of questions, like "Who do they belong to? Who owns the property?" And so on, and so on...

Um, if I knew the answer to any of those questions, I would not be calling!

They sent a deputy out. He attempted to figure out who the land (and, by extension, the pigs) belonged to. In the end, he told my dad that he was free to shoot the swine if he felt the need to - the officer can't, because, again, NO animal control laws means he has NO authority.

My dad, just having had open heart surgery, was reluctant to shoot. Also, we pondered who would dispose of two huge adults and five babies once they were dispatched!

(Although, I'm sure Jason would not have minded setting up a spit and smoking a whole hog, in the yard, for Easter.)

I wish I had some grand, glorious ending to this saga. Really, I do. I'm assuming the owner was located, because I haven't seen anymore pre-bacon wandering around. I can only hope so - my three hunters haven't brought back any little piggies, unlike the dead possum they kept retrieving a few weeks ago.


Until I find out for sure, I'm keeping my eye out for any wayward, curly tails.

P.S. My mother (great caretaker that she is) allowed Anna Marie to get this close to those things with her video camera, but I haven't laid hold of any of her top secret swine footage.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Life with dogs


Not pictured: Lucky, The World's Most Patient Male

Life with dogs means... have an escort around your property, ready to protect you from the odd squirrel or snake... spend a small fortune in food, medicine, and vet bills every year, to make sure they're healthy... have an instant alarm system, ready to sound if something - be it animal, vegetable, or mineral - comes into their "personal space"... find them on warm, sunny afternoons, stretched out napping, but they snap to attention at the sound of your footsteps... can hear their tails beating rhythmically against the side of the house as they wait for you to emerge each morning... always have a buddy ready and waiting for a game of fetch... never know WHAT "present" will greet you on your doorstep when you get up in the morning...

...and, evidently, it means that, if an envelope with some cash in it happens to fly out of your purse on a windy day, one of them is going to make a meal out of a $20 bill and you'll never (want to) see it again.

These observations brought to you by Lucky, Delta, and Annie Turner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The lies we're told

I find myself wondering sometimes, many times...

Does Satan lie to men, as much as he does women? Or are we just more gullible and buy into his deceit more easily?

I am constantly amazed when I hear what he's been telling us women, and at how much we'd rather believe that about ourselves than the truth. Although, I don't know why - it's not like I haven't fallen prey to it myself.

I worked a women's event once, and I was just appalled at what those precious women shared - not because it was scandalous, but because I was struck by the lies. Horrible, horrible lies about who we are, who we aren't and what other people are thinking about us.

All lies.

He tells us that we aren't good enough, that our efforts for ourselves, our families, and the Kingdom are never enough. He tells us that other people are judging us, talking about us, and keeping score of our every mistake.

Sometimes, they are. More often than not, they aren't

Relationships are broken, or never formed in the first place. Homes are hindered. Women never reach their full, God-given potential because we're so bogged down by the lies.

It's an amazing, empowering thing to watch the scales fall off. I know - it's happened to me, and I've seen it happen to others. I've seen the lies of the enemy be destroyed by the light of God's truth, and it's beautiful. It's freeing. When we throw off the shackles of defeat and despair that have been clamped down on us, we feel like we could run a marathon.

Ok, well, maybe a half-marathon. Or a 5K. Perhaps just once around our house.

Ladies (and men, if you're still reading this far) it's time for the lies to end. It's time to see ourselves as God created us, to confront the lies with the truth, and to stop living bound up by that voice whispering in our ear.

What lies will you stop believing today?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A person without self-control... like a city with broken-down walls. (Prov. 25:27-28)

It's our custom on Sunday afternoons during lunch to ask Anna Marie what she learned in Kids Church that morning. Sometimes, her memory is right on, and she can tell me the verse right off the bat.

Sometimes, we have to extrapolate what the lesson was about because all she can remember is the object lesson.

One Sunday a few months ago was one of those "steel trap" days. She quoted the verse with no problem.

"A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls."

Oooh. That's a good one. We talked about what the verse means: how that, just like a city (in Biblical times, at least) was left open to all sorts of calamities when its walls were in disrepair, so too we open ourselves up to problems when we don't exercise self-control.

No self-control in the eating department = bigger pants.

No self-control with our tongues = hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

No self-control with our finances = overspending, debt, and sometimes bankruptcy.

No self-control at school = lost recess.

She told me a few nights ago that this verse has really stuck with her, and that it helped her curb her unnecessary talking in the classroom.

I was thinking about this verse on the way to work this morning. I'd actually been thinking about it in relation to several things I'd been exposed to lately, and then I heard a news report about a woman who, as a child, developed a habit for eating foam from couch cushions.

Yes, you read that right. Couch cushions.

She has been eating foam daily for over 20 years, and recently had to be hospitalized because she had a grapefruit-sized blockage in her digestive track. Made of foam.

"A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls."

I see it nearly every day in the media - on the internet - and on Facebook.

Especially on Facebook.

If you are one of my Facebook friends, you might notice that I go several days at a time without updating my status. It isn't that I don't have anything to say - but I would rather not say anything at all, than to post something (just for the sake of posting) which could be misconstrued or hurt someone.

As Anna Marie's second grade teacher admonished, we need to ask ourselves three questions before we say (or write, or post to our Facebook wall) something: Is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary? If it fails any of these three tests, we might need to think twice.

"A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls."

How are your walls holding up today?

Friday, April 08, 2011

Kroger Shakedown?

shakedown graphic.indd

Sigh. Truthfully, I've been putting this off because I didn't feel I did as well at the store this week as I normally have. I was highly disappointed to find that I'd only saved 25%, not 50 or 60%, so I thought y'all would be disappointed in me.

Yeah, I'm waaaay too hard on myself.

This week's list didn't look really great, but I needed some things that there are no coupons for - milk, eggs, etc. I did find the rice I needed on sale, and had a coupon, even though it wasn't the lowest price I've ever paid for it.


I still think I did pretty well for my money, though:

1 dozen eggs
A pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 boxes of Success boil-in-bag rice
2 cans of black beans
2.13 lbs. of bananas (which are getting more expensive lately!!!!!)
1 gallon of skim milk
1 bottle of KC Masterpiece bbq sauce (for 19 cents!)
4 cans of tomato paste

Total after coupons/sales: $19.91
Total before coupons/sales: $27.17
Total savings: $6.26 (25%)

So, yeah. MEH. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Better luck next week.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fun for Friday

Do you need a pick-me-up today? Does it seem like your last name is suddenly changed to "Murphey" because everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong?

Hmm? Or is that just me?

Well, have I got a deal for you:

Yeah, I posted this last year, right before the finale, but this morning driving to work I was flipping stations and heard the song. Now, I'm no Miley fan, but after watching this video about a bazillion and one times last May, THIS is what comes to mind whenever I hear the song.

Sigh. I miss this show something fierce. I'm thinking that the boxed set would be a GREAT present for my birthday this year, since I'm going to be halfway through my 30s, but since Jason never, ever reads this blog I guess I'll have to resort to other means of letting him know that.

Movin' my hips like yeah - whatever that means!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In consideration of coupons

So, there has been some consternation in the coupon community (yes, there is such a thing as a "coupon community" - if it works for Trekkies it can work for us!) about Kroger's recent policy change regarding stacking electronic coupons with those printed on paper.

Actually, the policy changed last year - something that, once again, other couponers alerted me to - but the registers in my local stores were still allowing me to stack.

Yesterday, news broke in the local media about a software update, downloaded by the registers last week, which prevented that from happening. Since many of my friends know my couponing prowess, I've been asked about the change.

I don't know why this hit the media yesterday - they reported that the update downloaded over a week ago, on March 21. I went shopping that morning, and I had two conflicting experiences with ecoupons.

First, I tried to buy some Olay cleanser, and the register rejected my paper coupon. When the cashier looked at the register tape, she noticed I'd already used an ecoupon. It wasn't a big deal - the values were the same, and it was $2 off so it wouldn't have doubled anyway. I'd completely forgotten about downloading that ecoupon to my Kroger card, and told the cashier so. She gave me back my paper coupon.

No harm, no foul.

Then, when I looked at my receipt, I realized that it HAD let me stack for some Kraft cheese - making that item free. I don't know if the difference was in where I downloaded the ecoupons. The software upgrade may only apply to those issued through the Kroger website, and not Cellfire.

Hard as it may be to believe, I don't have a problem with this policy change. It's Kroger's business how they run their registers. I understand that the ecoupons could also be considered manufacturer's coupons (as opposed to those issued by the store), but I don't know that their site ever makes that clear.

Here is the problem I do have with how this is rolling out:

On the way home from work yesterday, I was listening to the radio simulcast of on of our local TV station's broadcast. They were doing a story on this situation, and a spokesperson for Kroger said that the updates were made to stop "fraud" and "those who abused the system."

That got my dander up, folks.

I do NOT consider myself having committed fraud all those times when coupons stacked. Many stores (like Target and Walgreens) issue store coupons that they allow to stack with those issued by the manufacturer. As I said before, there is some confusion as to who issues those ecoupons. It is NOT my fault that they considered themselves having a "software glitch" that allowed this to happen for so many years, or that it took them so many years to fix it. I have known since last year that this change was going to eventually come to my local stores, and knew I would not make a big deal about it. My Grocery Game list never took into account stacking, so that never factored into my buying decisions - and, frankly, most of the time I forget what coupons I have loaded.

Since the digital coupons do NOT double, and paper coupons do, I would like to have the choice to use one or the other - but the register does not allow you to withdraw redemption of an ecoupon to apply a different one. It just means I will have to be more vigilant about keeping up with what is what.

And as for "abusing the system?" PUH-LEASE. A lot of people have asked me if I plan on watching a new show which TLC is advertising, following "extreme couponers." Honestly, I do not. From what I've seen in the previews, THESE are the people who abuse the system. One lady came away with dozens and dozens of free Butterfinger bars, just because she could. I consider that system abuse not just from a store's viewpoint, but from a consumer's place as well. It's just plain bad taste to hoard items - there, I used that word - just because you can.

How would that person feel if she went into the store, and there was something on sale she REALLY needed, but someone had already cleaned out the stocks? Even if I'm not limited by the number of coupons I have - which is usually no more than two, very rarely three for an item - I try to be considerate of others. I will make trips on different days or to different stores if I know I need multiples of an item.

I am not interested in getting $400 dollars worth of groceries for $4. I have a small family, and I don't have room for that much food. Yes, I do take advantage of some deals so I will have things to donate, but come on - that is just shameful.

I also fear that these "extreme couponers" and the attention they're gaining will cause stores to take more notice of all couponers, and cause more policy changes like we've seen this week. I have already heard through the grapevine that, in some regions, Kroger is ceasing doubling coupons. To be fair, these seem to be due to stores abusing the policy, and most of these were also allowed to triple coupons on certain days. But as more and more people jump on the couponing bandwagon, and those on the fringes gain more exposure, I don't see that trend stopping any time soon.

So, as you coupon, PLEASE do so responsibly. The couponing privilege you save may be your own.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kroger Shakedown!

shakedown graphic.indd

I may have shared this with you before, but when Jason and I were first married, we were broke as a joke.

We were busted.

Broker than the Ten Commandments, as a dear friend of mine used to say.

Jason was working full time at the church, and only getting paid for part time, and I hadn't found a job yet. We subsisted on $250 a week for the first several months of our marriage.

(We also made some very big financial mistakes during that time that we had to deal with for years to come, but that's another post for another time.)

Anyway, there were many weeks that I only had about $5 to shop for groceries on. We at a LOT of hot dogs and cans of soup during those months! As a result, grocery shopping was not a joy at all. And I promised God that once we got out of that mess, I would never dread grocery shopping again.

And while I suppose there would have been something to be said for praise God as I was shopping with $5, I couldn't see that at the time. But, I have kept my promise and, every time I start to hate going to the store, I remember where we used to be and that we aren't there anymore - hallelujah!

What makes it even more enjoyable for me now is playing The Grocery Game. I'm a natural-born tightwad, so seeing how much food I can get for how little is right up my alley.

This week was another great trip for me. I love stopping in on my way to work, when there are hardly any other shoppers (and no nine-year-olds hanging on my cart) to slow me down!

Here's how it shaped up:

2 boxes of Lucky Charms (I should buy stock in this company, seriously!)
2 4.4 lb. bags of Pedigree dog food (99 cents each!)
3 bottles of Suave shampoo
2 boxes of Annie's Organic mac and cheese
2 bottles of Smart Water (and I'm hoping it lives up to its name)
2 bottles of Vitamin Water Zero
1 bag of Seattle's Best Cinnabon coffee
2 boxes of whole wheat linguine (for FREE!)
3 2-liter Coke products
1 bottle of Franks Hot Wing sauce
1 bag of coffee filters
2 bags of Kraft Homestyle Mac and Cheese
1 pouch Bumblebee tuna (for FREE!)
1 Lean Gourmet frozen dinner (for my lunch)
1 box Natures Valley granola bars
2.96 lbs bananas
2.81 lbs JAZZ apples. (I just love saying that. JAZZ apples!)

Total before coupons/sales: $78.80
Total out of pocket: $28.70
Total savings: $50.10 (65%!)

I've learned that my list isn't infallible, though: I saw that Wisk detergent was on sale at Kroger for $5.99, and I had several coupons for $2 off, which would have brought them to $3.99 a bottle. But, I wanted to check at Dollar General first to see if it was cheaper - and it was - 50 cents each. I stopped by yesterday evening and picked up three bottles for $10.50. We're now stocked up for several months to come!

Happy couponing!

Thursday, March 24, 2011



That’s what I am today. Just plain stumped.

I think I’ve told y’all this before, but I have a slight bit of a problem when it comes to losing stuff. When I lose something, it’s not just the object that’s gone – it’s my “religion” too.

I look. I ponder. I fuss. I fume.

I hate not being able to find something that’s lost.

Sometimes, it’s my own fault. I will admit to not being the best at putting things away when I’m finished with them. As much as I love my jewelry, I’m especially prone to just putting it down “wherever” at the end of the day.

(This might help explain why I’ve had at least one ring, one pair of earrings, and one necklace go missing in the past several years.)

Now, it’s not something of mine – it’s something of Anna Marie’s. It’s her Chess Club shirt.

Apparently, my kid hasn’t gotten the message that “Chess Club” automatically means “Big Nerd” in most parts. She loves playing chess, and gets pretty annoyed that I don’t catch on as easily as she did. I think to be a successful chess player, you have to be able to think through the consequences of your actions and see several steps down the road.

"Strategery" is not my strong suit. After all, if I were able to better see the consequences of my actions in the long term, I have an easier time resisting those cupcakes my sister brings when she comes over!

But I digress.

Anna Marie has been after me for weeks – no, make that months - to find that shirt. She has Chess Club every two weeks after school, and she’s only worn that shirt once or twice. And then, on Tuesday I received an email from the teacher that went a little something like this:

“We’re taking pictures at Chess Club on Thursday, so if you bought a shirt for your child, they need to wear it!”

Cue panic attack in 3, 2, 1…

I knew I hadn’t been able to look for that shirt. I knew I wasn’t going to be home until late in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I knew this was probably a lost cause.

But still, I looked. I poked. I prodded. I pouted.

And no shirt.

So today, instead of a royal blue T-shirt, she’s wearing a red polo. As I child, I would have been mortified by the thought of just another thing making me stand out, making me different, from the other kids. But Anna Marie was non-plussed. She pointed out to me that not everyone would have a shirt, because not everyone had ponied up the money and bought one.

My kid, the eternal optimist.

At least I’ll be able to spot her when the picture comes out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller...

Portrait of a Budding Star

Photo courtesy of her Aunt Manda, naturally.

My daughter, the basketball player.

No one is more surprised by her prowess on the court, or her dedication to the sport, than her own mother is.

My favorite past time is sitting on the couch holding a remote and seeing how many shows I can watch at once. (Because there might be something better on another channel!) Jason, well, he played baseball as a kid, but he's not much for sports now.

I don't know what it is about the sporting life that appeals to her so. She's always been active. From the first day she was born, we've had a hard time keeping up.

And COMPETITIVE. Lawd help us. I guess playing sports is the perfect marriage of her two most obvious personality traits, and basketball is their favorite child.

She started playing Upward basketball with a church in Senatobia last year, and I was quite surprised with her natural talent for the game. Who'd taught this kid to shoot like that? Certainly not me. I can't hit the broadside of a barn.

She was super excited to play again this year, and practiced every time she got a chance. Waiting for me to pick her up from choir practice in the Baptist Church gym, you can find her, red faced and sweaty, trying to refine her shot. After children's church at our church, she's pulling out the basketball goal in their sanctuary and trying for two more points.

Her choice of apparel hinges upon whether it's comfortable enough to play basketball in.

With just a little extra coaching this season, she was on fire for her last game. Our head usher had seen her practicing after a leadership meeting one Sunday night, and spent a good bit of time playing one-on-one with her while giving her instructions. I have been amazed at the difference those few minutes have made in her game.

She doesn't have a goal at home - yet - but she spends hours on the porch practicing her dribbling and fake-shooting. Sometimes she persuades me to come pass the ball to her and run up and down the "court" in a makeshift game.

Sometimes, she sets up the cheap-o video camera we got her for Christmas and films herself so she can critique her performance.

Those NBA wristbands she's wearing in that picture? She convinced my mom to buy them because "They're just like LeBron James'." When I try to tell her how horribly Derek Rose messed up the Memphis program a few years ago with the cheating scandal that caused the NCAA to void their second-place championship season, all she says is, "I want to see proof. If they can't prove it, it didn't happen."

Whose kid is this, anyway?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The triumphant return of the Kroger Shakedown!

shakedown graphic.indd

Yes, gentle readers, lots of changes have been going on in Melz World. You know what hasn't changed?

That's right. COUPONS. I cannot imagine a scenario in which I'm not a coupon junkie. Even if we had tons and tons of money, I'm pretty sure I'd still be a bargain shopper.

It's just who I am.

Although it's been a long, long time since I blogged about my shopping exploits (or anything else for that matter...) I've still been clipping and shopping and saving my family wads and wads of cash.

This week was especially rewarding. Kroger seems like they're having more and more of their cart-busting, buy-x-number-of-things-and-save-y-amount-on-your-bill sales.

And I am NOT complaining. It's a bit of a pain, yes, to stop and count the items in my basket and watch the checker like a hawk - especially with a kid in tow. But, thanks to some recent changes of scenery here in Melz World, I now have the opportunity to visit the store very early in the morning, kid-less, and when it's much, much less crowded. Score!

I got several things for free this week, which makes me VERY excited. They include six FREE cans of Pedigree dog food (which I don't normally buy, but hey, it was free and I have 210 lbs of dogs to feed), two boxes of Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, and a packages of Kraft 2% Milk Singles!

All-in-all, my bill was $40.83 and my savings added up to $73.34. For those of you who are no good with The Maths (like me) that's 66% saved!

Here is a quick rundown of my list:

2.65 lbs bananas
5 2-liter Coke products
6 cans of Pedigree dog food (FREE!)
3 4.4 lb. bags of Pedigree dry food (for 99 cents each!)
4 cans of Red Gold tomatoes (for a quarter each!)
2 boxes Ronzoni Smart Taste spaghetti (FREE!)
2 jars Pace salsa
2 packages Bumblebee Tuna (in the pouches)
2 bottles low-sodium V8 juice
1 box Lucky Charms
2 boxes Kroger 25-calorie hot cocoa
1 bottle Frank's Red Hot
1 bottle Frank's Red Hot hot wing sauce
1 bottle Irish Spring body wash
1 jar Mt. Olive pickles
1 package coffee filters
1 package Kraft 2% milk singles (FREE!)
1 bottle Olay Reginerist Cleanser (for my mom)
1 package fresh chicken tenders
3.10 lbs Jazz apples

I still start to panic when the total rings up to over $80 (after sales) until my coupons kick in. Silly Mel! You'd think I'd know better by now!

Stay sweet, coupons. Don't ever change!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How does your garden grow?

One of the many changes here at Melz World is that I've apparently become a gardener.

No, really!

I've wanted for years to be one of "those people" - the ones who worked in the dirt, making beautiful landscapes and growing more vegetables than they could ever eat every summer.


Every year, I've had good intentions. Every year, I've failed.

Not this year. At least not in the "following through on my good intentions" part.

Will these impatiens and violets grow? I don't know. Will the dogs destroy my hard work? I have no clue.

All I know is I spent time digging in the dirt today, and, for now at least, it looks good. I've often thought that I might have talents I didn't know I had, just because I've never tried. Well, here's my chance to see just what color my thumb is, once and for all.

So tell me, gentle readers, how does YOUR garden grow?

(No, for real. I need some tips!)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The view from where I am


See that photo up there? It was taken just a few minutes ago. It's the view from where I am.

I've been a little AWOL in the past few months - and a lot of changes have happened in Melz World in that time.

The view from where I am has changed drastically in the past month and a half. Big chunks of my life I'd grown accustomed to - comfortable as an old pair of fleece PJs - have changed. I've gone through more transition in that short period than I have in a very, very long time.

I'm still making adjustments, still finding my footing, and still trying to contemplate my place in the grand scheme of things.

I know I'm being a little vague, but for those who only know the "bloggy me" rest assured they're good changes. They might not be things I would have originally chosen for myself, but the opportunities I've been blessed with show the unmistakable fingerprints of God all over them.

I'll be blogging more about those changes and what my life is like in the very near future. But for now, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the view from where I am is looking pretty good.