Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reorganizing my life

To any of you who might still be visiting my blog during my recent spurts of absenteeism...I'm sorry that I've been making you look at the same old posts for the past few weeks! :op To be honest, I just haven't had the time to write...or when I have had time, I've been tired and rather "brain dead" from long hours at work. No one wants to read what I would write in that situation!

I have reason to hope that I may soon have more brain power for writing! My husband and I have been discussing my quitting my current job so that I can start putting many more hours towards getting a home business off the ground. I cannot even begin to describe how happy and excited that thought makes me! No more 2-3 hours a day commuting in HORRIBLE Houston traffic. No more sitting at a desk, dreaming about being able to take better care of my husband and my home and spend more time writing and creating a little business of my own.

Micah believes that he can get far enough along in his career certifications and training in the next month to begin covering the basic necessities himself. He thinks I will be able to quit by New Years. I told him that I would sell the car and live on beans and rice if that's what it takes!:o) I want to help us financially--but I'm simply not willing to sacrifice the most important things in life to do so. For a number of years, I have dreamed of being able to make money from home...but I have found that between my 11-12 hours away everyday, spending a little time with Micah in the evenings, and with us trying to keep the house up (at least up to health department standards:o), I have not had time to begin anything on the side. I don't think anything will get started until I have at least a few hours every day to devote to it. I am SO thrilled that this may soon be a reality!

I am so thankful for a husband who is willing to sacrifice so that I can have my dream. I hope to repay him by being diligent with my time, making a beautiful home for him to return to everyday, and working hard to bring in money to help him pay off our debts as soon as possible. We are praying every night for God's direction and provision as we make this transition.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!

November 23~

On this day before Thanksgiving, my mom celebrates her birthday. I just want to take a moment to share why I am so thankful for her!

My mother is not perfect, but to me, she is a true example of love for my dad, my sisters and I, and the many others that God has brought into her life. She and my dad have a special relationship. They absolutely LOVE being together, and are best friends. Because of her love for my dad, she is thrilled to be able to claim as her vocation the role of wife and homemaker. She will tell you that she thinks she has the best job in the world (and because of her example...I have to agree!)

My mother devoted a good part of seventeen years of her life to homeschooling my sisters and I. It wasn't always easy for her, but she never gave up. She wanted to do what she felt was right for her family, regardless of whether the world considered her odd or as "wasting her life." I am so thankful for all the time I got to spend with her over those years.

Mom, you did not waste your life. Your life has meant so much to many others, especially me. I can never thank you enough for the many gifts you've given me. Thanks for always being there, and for putting God and others first. I love you!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Fullness of life, liberty and joy in marriage

In the intimacy of marriage you offer yourself, continually and gladly. When you give yourself to your husband, you are actually giving him life. You are putting meaning into his life which was not there before and willy nilly (this is one of the most astonishing and beautiful of the inescapable facts) you find meaning in your own life because of this sacrifice. Your husband, loving you as Christ loved the Church--that is, laying down his life for you--gives you life and puts meaning into his own. An inexorable spiritual principle is set in motion. It is not the laying down that occupies your thoughts; it is the joy. Christ, when He endured the Cross, knew the joy that was set before Him.

You can't talk about the idea of equality and the idea of self-giving in the same breath. You can talk about partnership, but it is the partnership of the dance. If two people agree to dance together they agree to give and take, one to lead and one to follow. This is what a dance is. Insistence that both lead means there won't be any dance. It is the woman's delighted yielding to the man's lead that gives him freedom. It is the man's willingness to take the lead that gives her freedom. Acceptance of their respective positions frees them both and whirls them into joy.

If you can understand your womanhood in this light, you will know fullness of life. Hear the call of God to be a woman. Obey that call. Turn your energies to service. Whether your service is to be to a husband and through him and the family and home God gives you to serve the world, or whether you should remain, in the providence of God, single in order to serve the world without the solace of husband, home, and family, you will know fullness of life, fullness of liberty, and (I know wherof I speak) fullness of joy.

~Elisabeth Elliot, "Marriage is a Gift"

Ding, ding, ding!

Several weeks ago, I wrote about our efforts to start phasing my salary out of our budget.

Well, for several reasons having to do with Micah's job (which I will not get into right now), we are not as far along in doing this as we hoped. However! We have had some success that I am excited about! During the past six weeks, we have saved aside half of our emergency fund that needs to be in place before we'll start paying off the balances on our debt. For any of you who are familiar with Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps to debt freedom, this is step number one. It relieves your dependancy on debt as a a way to deal with those little financial crises that arise from time to time. Instead of whipping out the credit card if your car breaks down or something, you've got a little savings cushion there to fall back on.

Also in the success department, Micah is getting much closer to being done with his initial "certifications" for his job. He completed the first one, and two more are very close. This should be a big boon to us financially. I am really getting anxious to completely phase out my salary!

On Budgeting

Budgeting is difficult for us, because Micah's salary is very irregular (Sort of commision-based, I guess you could say!) So for the past several weeks, we had been doing a very poor job of keeping track. When we got the money, we paid for stuff that needed to paid for without looking at the overall picture. I'm afraid that this approach leaves a lot of room for money to simply "disappear"--a little here, a little there--leaving us wondering where it all went!

This week, we forced ourselves to actually sit down and (as Dave Ramsey would say) give every dollar a name. We will probably have to redo this process about every week for now, not really knowing what Micah's pay will be from week to week until he has the check in his hands. In the future, when he is making more money, we should be able to have more of a consistent budget for all of our basic costs.

Anyway...I just wanted to share how much better our cash flow has been this week as a result of our planning! After paying for the necessary bills, we set aside a certain amount for groceries, a certain amount for my mother's birthday gift, a certain amonut for saving, a certain amount of "fun money" for our weekend date. Micah refrained from buying fast food lunches, and I refrained from buying anything from Target (one of my favorite stores for "house things"!), because we knew that the money was already spoken for. If we hadn't talked about it and planned where the money was going, we both would have felt more free to spend, knowing that the money was there.

OK, so this seems basic, right? I know. It is. And we have always tried to budget to some extent since we've been married. But it is very easy to fall away from if we're not making a constant effort to communicate about money and plan as we go. I'm writing this as a reminder (especially to myself!) that taking the time to budget is not only essential financially, it gives much peace of mind!

As a little side note, Micah and I had a wonderful date last night of dinner and a movie out. The cost? $12.00. We have a movie theatre in town that only charges $3.50 per ticket, including the evening shows. Our favorite local barbeque place charges $4.50 for a HUGE meat potato big enough for us to share, and a huge drink. Dates don't have to be expensive for them to be a lot of fun!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Sparkling Ring

Every once in a while, I look down at the beautiful diamond ring Micah gave me and notice that it looks a bit cloudy. Then I know that it's time to pull out my ring cleaner and give it a gentle scrubbing. I love turning my ring back and forth under a bright light after it's cleaning, and watching the fiery sparkles flicker.

Coming up on three years ago, Micah presented me with this ring as a symbol of his greater gift--commitment to me. We had just spent an afternoon walking at the park, and were sitting beside a lake as the sun began to go down. It was starting to get a bit chilly, so Micah offered to run to the car and bring me a blanket. He returned with what looked like a very lumpy one! He handed it to me, and I opened it up to find a bouquet of roses. He then proposed, with both of us jittery, nervous, and so happy that we both nearly cried. He nearly did...I did! The ring he gave me was beautiful (the above picture shows my engagement ring--I think he did a wonderful job selecting it!), but the true beauty of my ring lies in what it says: "Erin, out of all the girls in the world, I want to commit myself to you and you only for as long as we both live. You will have my heart and share my life. This is a promise that we make before God, our families, and our friends."

Commitment. Knowing that Micah has committed himself to me, and that we share the conviction that this commitment is for life, makes my marriage feel like a safe haven. I don't worry that he is waiting for something better to come along. I am secure in his love. But this does not give us license for giving up on trying to please each other! The simple fact that we will be "stuck" with each other forever motivates us to work hard at our relationship! We know that there is no out, so we better make this marriage a good one!:o)

As I clean my ring, I ponder these things. I pray that I may have many, many years to keep pondering them. And I pray that God will polish and refine Micah and I until our marriage relationship sparkles as my ring does.

Andree's aphorisms

by Andree Seu
Nov 19, 2005

[ Note from Erin: The following are not just empty sayings. I read this piece, by Andree Seu, and was just struck to the core with the very truth of it. I have highlighted the thoughts that particularly speak to me right now.

Wow. This is true wisdom, from an older woman of God who has waded through pain and walked in joy. I do not know her personally, but when I read her columns I often feel as though she must have a door into my heart and mind! More of her writings are available here ]

Your friend's casual joke about her husband is a deep well. Probe and you will find pain. Whole lifetimes are wasted worrying about the opinions of people who aren't even on the right wavelength. A lot of what I thought was my personality was just sin. People laugh at your unwholesome talk at the moment but think less of you afterwards. I started out wanting to be my children's savior, and ended up pleading for forgiveness.

Marry a man who loves God more than he loves you. Grand witnessing is spoiled by not returning the Tupperware. Make a phone call, keep a friend. Neglect a phone call, lose a friend. Even awful family outings become fond memories over time. Living in regret of the past, or fear of the future, are two ways of not living at all. Better to let your child make an imperfect bed than to have a perfect bed that you make yourself.

An inferiority complex is a desire to be better than other people. The more you see how wretched and needy you are, the less the question "How much should I pray?" is an issue for serious debate. I complained, "God hasn't answered my prayer." That's because I was not looking for help in my weakness but for the removal of my weakness to the praise of my own glory. Sit on a sensitive letter for three days before sending it. A phone call to say, "I'm thinking of you," yields benefits all out of proportion to the time investment. The best teaching moments are never at convenient times. When I have no intention of obeying a Bible command, I say it's not meant to be taken literally.

Be known as faithful. If you say, "Let's do lunch," do lunch. While inside an idolatry you love your idolatry. When you are set free you see what bondage it was. There is no need to boast about good deeds. They have a way of getting found out even if you hide them. Now and then skip the dishes and run out to the park. In 20 years your kid will remember the park and you will not remember the dishes. Thinking a lot is not the same as praying a lot. An idol forfeits your life. You look back and say you never lived. The hard part is when you're still holding back something from God. Give it over and be surprised at how much easier it is.

God is the better chess player. Just obey. You're one prayerless day away from being capable of any sin. Talent is good, but faithfulness is better. My kids have a foggy recollection of things I tried to teach them, and total recall of my phone conversations they overheard from the next room. My kids have a rough recollection of my Christian propaganda but reproduce my attitudes with a cloned precision. Tell your child what delights you about him. He doesn't know unless you tell him. Your child is never angry for no reason.

Break a fear-of-man problem by aggressively loving people. Practice one command of God earnestly rather than a hundred sloppily. The fool thinks that tomorrow or next Tuesday his problems will be over. Be open-handed with money for building others up. Life is short and the Lord always supplies more. If you wait for better times to "Rejoice in the Lord" you will never do it. Praising and thanking God all day long are the only cure I've found for depression. There are a finite number of days. Serve the Lord while it is Today. Drop the dust rag and look at your child when he's telling you a story.

God will not be trifled with; He is Lord. Let your words be few. Pray on the spot for the person who comes to mind. It's either pray or sin. I don't regret not cleaning more. I regret walking past the bedroom door of a girl who fell silent after sixth grade, and not seeking out a boy who sat alone and cried at a family vacation in the Poconos. Forgive me, Hae Linn. Forgive me, Jae. If you're not dead yet there is still time to repent. The longer I live the truer the Bible gets.

From World Magazine, November 19th issue

Pride and Prejudice

As I am a dyed-in-the-wool Jane Austen fan, this post and comments at caught my eye. It is in interesting discussion comparing the merits of the various versions of Pride and Prejudice. The latest one with Kiera Knightly should be coming out Thanksgiving weekend. I am planning to see it, although I am not sure that anything can trump the A&E version--absolutely wonderful and totally worth the five hours or more that it takes to watch it!

One interesting point that comes out in the comments of the worldmagblog post, by the way, is that many men can appreciate Jane Austen as well as women! Both my dad and my husband enjoyed (or at least didn't dislike) Sense and Sensibility, and I see they are not alone! Stories about love, life, culture and character, told with wit and humor, are not merely feminine confections: they can entertain and teach us all! :o)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Goings Ons

Is that a correct phrase?:o)

We just returned late last night from a wonderful weekend trip to visit friends!

Thanks to everyone who has been commenting. I usually like to respond personally, but have not had the time to do so yet lately. I just wanted to let you all know that I LOVE reading your comments and really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts:o)

I am adding a new blog to my sidebar: The Ink Splotch
Ansley is a good friend of mine (actually, she is a member of the collective "friends" that we just recently went to visit), and I am excited to welcome her to the blogging world!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank you, Veterans!

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same."

~ Ronald Reagan

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

~ John Stuart Mill

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Gifts from the heart

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only about six weeks away! I realized this a couple days ago, and felt a brief sting of panic as I considered that I have no idea what Christmas gifts we will be giving this year. Nor do I know where the money will be coming from to finance these gifts! (It should be no secret to anyone who has read my blog more than a couple times that we are currently very much in save-mode:o)

In hopes of turning my alarmed state into something more positive, I'm now setting out on a mission to conjure up some beautiful gifts--meaningful gifts--that will cost more time and imagination than money.

I know from experience that the best gifts don't have to be expensive gadgets. Some of my favorite gifts that I've recieved (not necessarily for Christmas) have been:

  • Our Family Cookbook from my mom. She created--from a simple binder, some family photos, and printed copies of all of our favorite family recipes--a useful keepsake that I will treasure forever. Not only do I have favorite recipes in one place, but I am reminded of my mom and other people who are special to me every time I open the book. Next to my Grandpa's famous apple pie recipe, there is a picture of the time he taught me how to make it. Next to our favorite cookie recipes are pictures of my sisters and I making cookies when we were little. My favorite Great-Grandma's face smiles up at me across from her wonderful Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe.
  • Roses from across the ocean. Micah visited me during my stay in England. When I met him at the bus station, he offered me a beautiful cluster of deep red roses. I wondered, where had he managed to stop between the airport and the bus station? He hadn't stopped. He had bought the roses in Dallas, rigged up some type of "shelter" for them in his suitcase (I'll never understand how he kept them so fresh and unblemished!) and carted them overseas so that he could greet me with my favorite flowers. Those roses lasted radiently for over two weeks...quite a record when you're used to living in the hot and humid south! Another wonderful gift he gave me that week was a "mix" CD of special songs that reminded him of me:o)
  • I love letters. Long and juicy letters. Encouraging letters. It seems that letter-writing has lost it's place in our culture, and that is such a shame! Here I must confess that I still have nearly every letter I have ever received, stowed away in a series of boxes! My letters are gifts that I would feel very sorry parting with. They capture a moment of time in my life, and the life of the friend or family member who sat down to give me their thoughts. A letter is the gift of relationship that does not disappear, but can be cherished forever.
  • Time. I could list countless examples of people setting aside time to spend with me that have really meant a lot! This is Micah's and my ongoing gift to each other. We don't have a lot of extra money, but we try to celebrate special occasions with special "times" together. A simple picnic. A nice long walk. Shopping. Hanging out. A nice dinner at home. A special "thrifty" date. Being together with the ones we love is a TRUE gift!

Keeping all of these thoughts in mind, I'll have to let you know later what I manage to come up with for this Christmas season! Oh, and ideas are most welcome!

Women need to know

Warning: The Birth Control Patch poses a serious health risk for women!

As I wrote in a post a few days ago, I have found much information to be concerned about regarding chemical birth control methods. The article above describes how the birth control patch--a well-known product that has been on the market for three years--has caused serious side effects for many women, including death.

Women are just not being told how serious it can be to mess with our natural chemical and hormone balance in these ways! Not to mention, the risk that a pregnancy may still occur and be unintentionally terminated.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

What Jesus means to me

I see altruism. It seems as if many of you ladies on these blogs are putting higher value on other people more than yourself. That your only purpose of existence is to serve others. I believe that the bible promotes the individual, the family and the comunity. All three components are necessary for yourself and your family to stay healthy and joyful. Most of you are young and when relationships are new it is easier to admonish your husbands. The hormones are kicking up and love making and the babies. When you are in your 40s the novelty wears off you are in another phase of your life. Another thing I notice is that no one seems to focusing on the relationship with Jesus. I would like to know what it is about him that moves you and why He moves you. See God has to be much bigger and greater that the role playing of men and women that seems to be preoccuping most of you ladies on these blogs. I only mean this respectfully. By the way your dog is adorable. I love dogs myself.

Thank you,




Thank you for your thoughts. I can assure you that I have certainly not reached the place where I am always thinking of others above myself! Just ask my husband! I want to learn how to be less selfish. Not because I believe myself to be less important than others, but because Jesus' example to us is one of love and service.

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matt. 20:28

I want to get to the place where my focus is Christ- and others-centered. This will not mean that I neglect my own health and sanity! I know myself well enough to understand that there are certain things I need, including a bit of time for myself, to stay healthy and refreshed. This may be harder to achieve when the children start coming and life gets even more hectic. But I will certainly try! I won't have much to give others if I am completely worn down.

I do not always focus on my relationship with Jesus like I should. Many times, my mind is too tied up with temporal things; things that don't really matter. But, despite it all, He is always there for me. He is my Saviour. He has saved me from the imprisonment of my sins and has given me a reason to live. Because of this, I want to live in a way that will please Him. Many of the topics I discuss on this blog stem directly from my journey toward greater understanding of God and how I can best serve Him.

I am just not one of those people who have many moving, emotional experiences in my spiritual walk to share about. My walk with Christ is quiet. Sometimes life is difficult, and I feel spiritually dry. But it is during these times that I have been taught simply to trust that God is still there, and is still at work. He is teaching me and molding me, little by little, step by step.

I have been a Christian a long time. Almost 20 years! There is not that spark of newness. Sometimes, I look at fresh, new Christians, and envy their excitement. I used to feel that there was something wrong with my Christianity if I wasn't always like that! But God has shown me that I am not here to impress people with my spiritual exhilaration. I am here to be His child, know Him, and serve where He will have me serve. I don't need the fervor and the fire. Neither does He. Furthermore, I am just not naturally the type of person who is fervant and firey! I am a little bit quiet, but loyal. I can offer my Saviour what I have to give: my faithfulness. I can do so, because I know that He is worthy of it as are no one else and nothing else on Earth.

States I have visited (or lived in)

create your own personalized map of the USA

Actually, I have really only lived in Texas and Ohio. The rest of these states I have visited on various occasions.

I love home, but I also love to travel and see what the rest of God's world looks like outside of my little backyard!

My next dream US trip would be to travel through all the Northern/New England states, stopping in DC, New York City, and at all of the historical sights along the way.

I also wouldn't mind a trip to Florida, or up the West coast (although I have to confess...I'm scared to death of the thought of earthquakes!)

Micah and I would really love to return to Hawaii sometime as well:o)

Ooh...and an Alaskan cruise! I want to see some penguins:o)

There is also a map you can fill out for countries visited, although mine wouldn't be very impressive! I'll just write it out: The US, Canada, Mexico, Italy, England and Wales. I would love to travel all through Europe someday, and Micah really wants to go to Australia. It would be neat to visit Egypt and the Holy Lands, and perhaps Japan. I also want Micah to take me to see the places in South America where he lived growing up as an MK.

There are just too many places to see! I guess that's fine, because we will never run out of places to go (or dream about going to:o)!

Thanks to Mrs. Happy Housewife for the link.

Friday, November 04, 2005


I have been asked what I believe about birth control and having children. At first, I did not know if I wanted to publicly discuss this on my blog! But then, I thought, why not? Many people have fervent beliefs about this topic, but I am most interested in seeking the Lord's heart on this matter.

Here's what God's Word says about children:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
Psalm 127:3-5a

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Ps. 139:13-16

This is where my beliefs derive that anything that harms children, whether born or yet unborn, is wrong and against the character and will of God. It is God who gives life, and we are to accept children as His wonderful gift. From the moment of conception, that little being is known and loved by God. We are to be good stewards of the children God may give us, but we do not own them! How can we own another person? Children belong to God and are His little treasures.

Obviously, these verses provide a firm stance against abortion! A woman does not own the child within her, and does not have the authority to end that little one's life. I also believe that, according to these verses, we are not justified to deliberately do anything which has the potential to harm a child. Because of this, my husband and I have decided that we should not use chemical birth control, such as The Pill. Many people will argue that there is no proof that The Pill will cause an abortion. I, myself, was on The Pill early during our marriage, and used to try to justify it with the argument that "it probably won't cause an abortion to happen to me...the chances, if there are any, are slim!" But I realized that it was my fear that was guiding my decision...fear that I would become pregnant at "the wrong time". I knew I needed to study and pray about this area, rather than just taking the "ignorance is bliss" route. Upon studying a bunch of medical information, I concluded that there is evidence that the Pill can be an abortifacient. I don't believe I can take that chance, however big or small, and be within God's Will. There is also enough other information about what The Pill can do to a woman's body to make one squirm. I decided to stop taking The Pill, with my husband's support.

Now what about other forms of birth control, such as the rhythm method or barrier methods? This is where I believe that the issue becomes a more personal thing between God and the couple. God is all-powerful, and could certainly overcome any of our attempts to plan our own lives if He chose--in which case, we must accept His will. But is it wrong for couples to make attempts to plan for children, just as we plan for everything else? Are there ever valid reasons to do so? I'll be honest. I just don't have a black and white answer on this. I do know that God is in control, no matter what happens. And I do know that I want to trust Him with this area of my life. My husband and I have made this a current issue of prayer and consideration. We are in this journey together, and we want to be open to God's leading as we go.

If and when God blesses us with a child, I will welcome His gift with joy! I cannot imagine anything more wonderful than to be a mother to one or more of God's own children. It makes worldly pursuits pale into shadowy nothingness. The only thing that matters in life are the relationships we build with God, our families and others. There is nothing else.

The teakettle's on...

...and I'm very happily working from home today! I'm listening to the radio while I work, and am currently hearing an interview with Darla Shine, the author of the "Happy Housewives" book. Sounds like a good read, which I will have to check out when Micah and I go to Barnes and Noble this weekend:o)

Wish I could write more, but I need to wait until I get some of this work done. Hope that everybody is having a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Maltese Puppies

This is my breed! I found these puppy pictures and thought they were too cute not to post! I don't have any digital pictures of Fluffy when she was this little right now, but she was even cuter;o)

(PS: Just because everybody else posts adorable pictures of their children, and I post dog pictures, does not mean I believe the two to be comparable!;o)

The Truth about Your Taxes

My work includes keeping up with the latest news on tax legislation. Sounds boring, right? Well, yeah. But at the same time, it's very enlightening. I wish all Americans would pay attention to this subject, because it affects us all immensely!

Did you know...

The current Federal Tax code is 60,000 pages long? It is so confusing, that accountants and lawyers don't even agree on its interpretation. Considering that we, as citizens, will be held legally liable if we "misunderstand" these tax laws, this behemoth code seems a bit unreasonable.

The Federal Tax system is one of the most powerful methods the government employs for social engineering. Special interest groups lobby for tax breaks, and politicians play along, doling out these "favors" to whomever they believe will benefit them the most politically. The code is like a big lump of playdough, that thousands of lobbyists and politicians are constantly trying to manipulate. How do you think it got to be 60,000 pages long?

Our government considers us criminals if we don't pay them on time, but our national debt, under their watchful care, is now up over 8 trillion dollars. That's about $27,000 per citizen.

Of course, we all know that the government considers our money to be THEIRS. But we forget that it isn't. This is OUR money. We, the people, should remind these politicians that we elect them run an efficient government, not to use all of our money for pet projects whilst sinking us as a country further and further into debt.

George Bush will most likely be focusing on tax reform during the upcoming year. Get informed about this issue, because it concerns thousands of your dollars every year. We have every right to demand more accountibility from the government in this area! In fact, as good stewards of our money, we have the RESPONSIBILITY to do so.

Soup Time

I made this recipe the other night, and it was just perfect for a cool evening! Pretty simple, too. I served it with a fresh green leaf salad.

White Chili

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 boneless chicken breast halves, skinned, cut into small cubes
3 cups cooked white beans (great northern or navy, I used a can of each)
2 cups water
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies (or to taste)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
dash ground cloves
dash cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium kettle, over medium-high heat, add oil and onion, cooking until wilted; add garlic. Toss, then add chicken cubes, cooking quickly until tender and no longer pink. Add beans, water, chilies, tomato sauce, cumin, Italian seasoning, cloves and pepper, stir. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer about 1 hour. When ready to serve, sprinkle a little cheese over each individual serving.

Yield: 4 (1 1/2 cups) servings

From: Healthy Cooking For Two by Brenda Shriver and Angela Shriver, a little book I picked up for $1 at a used book store. It was nice to find something that makes smaller recipes, as I usually have to half them so as not to waste food!


Micah wanted to point out that HE likes my posts! He was teasing about the longness scaring people away. But it did make me question whether there was some truth to it!

Now, I think I'll just go along with what some of you said, and post whatever I want to, whether long or short. Variety is good, but so is saying what's on my heart. If some posts get too long for some people, they're always free to skip:o)