Fundraiser for South Africa!

As many of you know, I am going to Cape Town, South Africa in September on a mission trip (ok, y'all...to be honest, when I sit and dwell on that sentence, I almost hyperventilate!). If you haven’t heard and want more information, you can read about that here or here.

I have to raise $2600 for the trip so as part of my fundraising efforts, my friend Carrie has offered to let me use her new business! She has just begun selling Scentsy and let me tell you, these things are pretty cool!

Scentsy began in 2003 with the powerfully simple idea of aromatic candles…but they aren’t the traditional candle. With traditional candles you have to worry about making sure they are blown out, keeping your kids away and quite honestly, some just don’t hold their smell while burning. Scentsy candles solve all that. With Scentsy, you purchase a warmer which melts the wax heated, not by a dangerous flame, but by a light bulb.

The warmers are very reasonable and come in a variety of designs for every taste. The candle blocks are $5 for 8 blocks and there are TONS of scents! These look great in homes, but also for offices where you can’t burn a candle. I have had one in my office for a while and even with the bulb turned off, the scent lingers weeks after.

Carrie has generously offered to give me a portion of the proceeds from everything I sell to my South Africa account! If this is something you are interested in, please let me know and I’ll be happy to answer any questions! I have catalogs and a sample of every scent available, so if you would like to try something before buying, let me know!

If you are local, you can order online at https://carriegermain.scentsy.us/Home. On the left side of the home page under the heading “My Open Parties” is my fundraiser. Click on the “buy from party” and anything you order will be credited to me. If you order online, you will have to pay minimal shipping charges but this is a great way to order a Mother’s Day gift or have it delivered to your home for out of town friends that want to help out! You can also order directly through me and avoid shipping. We do have the ability to accept checks, credit cards or cash!

Thanks you in advance for your support and PLEASE forward this blog address to your friends who might be interested in buying. The party closes next Wednesday (May 5), so order now! There is no obligation to buy…if you wish to help but can’t right now, there will be other opportunities!

P.S. For my Bible Study girls, I can bring the sample scents to study Tuesday night or they will be at Rachel’s Pampered Chef party on Saturday!!


To My Daughters*

This is a great piece of advice that a friend of mine, Pam, re-posted on her blog recently.  I liked it so much, I thought I would copy it down for my daughters*.

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heart beat, or will stay awake to watch you sleep, wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you're just in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends. Who thinks that you're just as pretty without make-up on, one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have you...The one who turns to his friends with a smile and says, "She's the one!" - Unknown

And never lose yourself in the pursuit of someone else. He will like you more for it. - Angie Evans

*the fact that "daughters" is plural is not a mistake.  I have this wish for my stepdaughter Micah as much as I have it for Jenna.


I Hate Doing This...

I hate asking folks for money.  I understand (better than most!) that times are tough right now and lots of folks don't have a dime to spare.  However, I know there are those of you out there that want to, and will, help regardless.  So here goes...

I am writing to you because you are important to me.  As many of you will remember, in 2007 I was part of a wonderful team from Brentwood Baptist Church (BBC) that went to Thailand on a mission trip. Through much prayer, the Lord has asked me to travel to Cape Town, South Africa. I will be leaving September 24 and returning October 3. Our team will be working with Living Hope Ministries and the Life Skills Educators in conducting a Holiday Club, much like a Vacation Bible School, for the children in several different townships.

You may be asking the question “Why? Why now?” And the answer is “I don’t know”.  All I know is that this is what I feel like God is asking me to do and I have chosen to be obedient. This is a definitely step outside my comfort zone so I am asking for your support as I prepare and as I travel.

You can support me in a couple of ways: 

1. You can give financial support. The total cost of my trip is $2,600. I have stepped out in faith, not knowing how God will provide for me, but believing that He will. Giving is an important way that you can participate in mission work. I am asking 100 families to sponsor me for just $25 each. Although you may not ever go to South Africa, you can send others, as well as encourage and equip missionaries by committing to sponsor me. If you feel led, you can donate by writing a check to Brentwood Baptist Church. Please designate on your check “South Africa”. You may designate your money to support me by specifying my name in the memo line. If you so choose, you can request that your gift remain anonymous and send it directly to Brentwood Baptist Church Missions Office at 7777 Concord Road, Brentwood, TN 37027. If you are a Brentwood Baptist church member, you also have the option of giving your money during the regular Sunday morning offering; just remember to designate it for me if that is your desire. No matter what amount you are able to give, please know that every dollar is needed and is gratefully received.

2. You can give me your prayers. If you are unable to give financially, you can pray. Please pray for me as I prepare. There is so much to be done. I also need extra time for Bible study and prayer for myself. I will be seeing to the many details of family and work that must be taken care of in my absence. I need to go healthy, rested and ready to hit the ground running. Our team knows that because we are entering into real, spiritual warfare, Satan will discourage and distract us. Crises always arise. Team members get sick. Family members get sick. It is often hard for team members to sleep well. And sometimes we are downright afraid. I am afraid. When you pray for us, you are literally joining our team, standing along side us. I thank you in advance for all the ways you will support me.

I will admit, I have been plagued by doubts since I first wrote this letter/post/email.  I feel like I have asked and asked for money.  I really do NOT want to ask anymore.  And I have tried to talk God and myself out of even doing this trip.  It is really not good timing for our family.  But God has made it clear to me that He wants me to do this.

If you cannot afford or prefer not to give a monetary donation right now, I will be posting information about my Scentsy Party Fundraiser (look for my party) and a Yard Sale Fundraiser here soon, so stay tuned. 


A Special Day and YOU Are Invited!

As you might have read here,  Jenna made the decision to ask Jesus into her heart at home on March 18th.  Now, we are so excited to finally have a date for her baptism on the calendar!

Jenna will be baptized in our new church home at The Church at Station Hill at the 11:00am service on Sunday, May 23rd.  And each of you are invited.  I know some of you reading may be wondering if this invitation (though very impersonal) is for you and I can tell you...if you are asking yourself that, then the answer is YES!  This is for you!!!

I know this is quite a drive for so many of you, so we will understand if you cannot attend and please do NOT feel obligated. We do however, ask for your prayers during that time. You do not have to RSVP, but if you are coming and would like for me to try and save seats, let me know. If you are interested, email me and I can email you a link for directions.

Each of you are special to Jenna, Steve and I and we would be honored if you could share this special day with us.


The Couponing Panel

I have been promising several readers that I would tell about my coupon panel from Thursday.  I'll start by saying it was probably one of the cooler things I have ever done.  And I made some really easy money for just speaking up a few times.

There ended up being 9 panelists.  Most of us were women, but there were 2 men as well.  The panelists were all different levels of couponing...some heavy (that would be me), some moderate and some light.  We met at the hotel (the downtown Hilton) about an hour before the panel was supposed to start.  The moderator had us all introduce ourselves and then she told us a little about how the panel would work.  There were 3 or 4 main questions she shared with us that she would ask the panel.  And then any of us that had something could say would just speak up.

Before we went on, two representatives from All You magazine (which if you don't read, you have no idea what you are missing!) came in and gave us some goodies.  I love All You magazine so this was pretty exciting.

After we discussed her questions, they took questions from the audience.  I would guess there were about 125-150 folks there. There were representatives from Family Dollar, the Dollar Tree, Dole etc.

One question was about what we really liked or disliked about coupons, what our frustrations were and what we felt about the promotions (like March to Madness at Kroger) and rebates.  The general frustrations were coupons that are $.55 or the like because of the lack of doubling along with coupons in which you have to purchase multiple items to get a quarter off (that would be mine).  Everyone agreed their favorites were the coupons that offered an item free.  The only rebates that panelists found it worthwhile to send in were the ones for cell phones and laptops where the return was $50 or more.

Another question was regarding the economy and how it has affected our couponing habits and if those would stay the same if the economy (or our personal situations) improved.  There were a couple of us who had (or will have) a one income family and so the moderator was  especially interested in our situations and how we thought they would change if our personal situations changed.

The final question from the moderator was about loyalty...brand loyalty to be exact.  Most of the panelists were brand loyal to something.  There was one person who was not brand loyal to anything...none of us were brand loyal to much though.

The audience wanted to know things like what would it take for us to try one of their items (free trial etc.), how we felt about dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General, Everything's A Dollar), our feelings about coupons on smart phones, internet printable coupons etc.

The moderator questions took us about 30-40 minutes to answer by the time 5-6 of us spoke to each question.  The last 20 minutes was for audience questions.  Several of the audience members came up to us after the panel and gave us coupons and goodies.

So, that was it. It was fun and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to take part.  Thanks for those of you that left comments and questions.  I tried to work them in where I could. 

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend!!


Attn Fellow Couponers!

I have the privilege of being invited to be part of a panel discussion tomorrow on coupon usage.  It's a long story about how I was chosen that I don't have time to share now, but I will be one of a panel of about 8 men and women in all stages of couponing (light, moderate, heavy).  We will be sitting in a room full of about 150-200 marketing executives from manufacturers like SC Johnson Wax and Proctor and Gamble.  We will be the mouthpiece of the people...

So, I'm inviting your comments.  I have to be at the hotel tomorrow at 10am, but if you have thoughts, likes, dislikes, just comments in general about coupons or couponing, what you'd like to see more of, less of etc., then email me or leave me a comment.  I will be your mouthpiece tomorrow...all comments are welcome.  I don't know how many of them I will get to ask, share or use, but I want to be prepared!

I know I am going to say how I dislike coupons for $.50 off when you buy 2 of something...that really only makes it a quarter off each and that's hardly worth it unless I just really NEED two of them.  Another question came was why do some regions have better coupons than others?  These are just examples...let me hear from you!


Happy Easter!

Matthew 28

The Resurrection
 1 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
 2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
 5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.”

Matthew 28:1-6 (NLT)


A Good Friday Indeed...

This might be a bit lengthy, but I ask you to please read all the way through.  There is a special message for one of you here...

Many of you know that Steve has been unemployed since last August.  The Lord has provided over and over again financially and in other ways.  I've taken up couponing and just this morning sat down to add up all my savings over the past 2 months.  Since the first of February, I have saved over $500.  Because I have been in stockpiling mode, I am just getting to the point of being able to reduce my grocery budget.  In other words, up until now, I've spent the same amount of dollars but just gotten MORE groceries for my buck.  Now, I have plenty of most everything except perishables and just having to buy those will help to reduce the money I spend at the grocery store tremendously.  I started really couponing when my friend Darlene taught me her method.  Then I started researching, added some blogs (my favorites being www.faithfulprovisions.com and www.iheartpublix.com) and went to a couple of seminars.  I have now fine tuned my couponing method. 

Anyway, last month was tough for us.  I only get paid once a month and that's on the last business day of the month.  February was wonderful because I got paid on the 26th, but then waiting for March 31 was a nightmare.  To be honest, we didn't realize the month would be so long (very poor planning on our part) and there was just not enough money in the bank.  I honestly didn't know how we were going to make ends meet.  Steve and I had several really bad days.  I won't go into what those consisted of, but it did entail crying at work and at home for both of us.

But the point of this story (yes, I promise there IS one), is to tell you how God showed up.  I finally got paid and our money came in to pay our taxes (long story there) and so for the time being, we had some breathing room.  I found time Thursday night to sit down and balance our checkbook, get our April budget down on paper and pay our bills.  I sat for a while and stared at the budget line that says "tithe".  I will admit, I reduced our tithe when Steve lost his job, but did not reduce it further when his part time job at the church ended.  I had prayed over my last tithe check before putting it in the plate a few weeks ago because I knew the rest of March would be rough.  Sure enough, I was right.  But anyway, I sat here and debated on whether or not I would write my tithe out.  And after just a short time, I knew I had to.  My friend Amy told me recently, "You can't outgive God".  And I believe that to be true.  So, I wrote the check out and stuck in my check book without further thought. 

On Friday morning, I got a call from my neighbor Tim.  You might remember Tim and Aimee were instrumental in helping us raise money to get Katie.  Tim works for a local well-known physical therapy company and they had put their name behind the fundraising pancake breakfast.  I could not figure out why Tim would be calling me on Friday morning at work, so I answered a little unnerved worrying that maybe something had happened to Steve (who was home with Jenna and most likely still in bed).  Tim tells me that he was at the office for an early morning meeting and the staff was asking about his "friend with the dog".  Tim told them about Steve getting Katie and how it's changed our life.  They then pulled out an envelope with $200 cash in it that they had raised last summer and just never given to us.  EXCUSE ME?!  Yes...Happy Easter no doubt.  So, God had basically given me back almost every dime in tithe that I had budgeted to give.  But He wasn't done yet.

Yesterday at noon, Steve and Jenna are leaving to go to the movies (while I'm slaving away at work) when they stop by the mailbox to collect the mail.  In the mailbox, there is an envelope addressed to us in what is clearly meant to be unrecognizable handwriting.  Inside is an Easter card with $100 gift card to Kroger.  I'm just tearing up writing this.  No name, no signature.  Nothing to tell me who my generous benefactor might be.  At this point, God has not only given me back my tithe, but now gone above and beyond.  The $100 will be spent on meat that can be frozen to further reduce my grocery budget.  Now, I know not everyone who reads my blog believes the way I do, but there is no way you are going to convince me this was anything other than God's providence.  I had only shared with a couple friends about our dilemma.  And while I honestly don't have any idea of who sent this, I do have a message for them that I hope they read:

Thank you.  Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by God to teach me further about the love of friends and God's providence for our needs when we are faithful.  I do not know who you are to repay you, but please be assured, I will pay it forward when we are able.  Thank you for your generosity.  Not only did Steve and I see God's hand at work, but so did my new little Christian Jenna.  I pray that you are exceedingly and abundantly blessed for your extraordinary act of kindness.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10 NIV