Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trader Joe's...I don't understand

Plano has our very first Trader Joe's...and really, it's one of the first in Texas I think.  It opened about a month or so ago, but I wanted to wait for the hype to calm down before visiting.  Mom and I had chatted earlier in the week about getting dinner on Friday night and then going to Trader Joe' least a Friday night will be less busy at a grocery store, right?

It was still fairly busy.  A little hard to get down some of the aisles (and there aren't many...) 

I admit.  I don't get what all the hub-bub is about.  I mean,  yes, they have interesting items.  They have organic and gourment and "hard to find" type items.  But for regular grocery shopping?  No, thank you.

Trader Joe fans...what am I missing?

Monday, October 22, 2012


Do you ever have a time in your life when you feel like something is surreal?  It's not really happening?  It can't be happening?

I've been talking about fostering or adopting a child for YEARS.  Ever since my music minister's sister (who was single) adopted a little girl from China.  That is the first time, that I can remember, that someone I (kinda) knew adopted.  And I remember thinking "I want to do that!"

 I was 15 at the time.

I began the fostering process a year ago.  The actual application, classes process.  The real deal.  Not just talking about it, but actually taking steps to make it happen. 

And it still feels surreal. 

I was in full on paperwork and classes mode until about January.  At that point, I began to fully look for a job in the Plano area.  I had one class left to take for the fostering process, but a trip to Haiti was coming up and then applying and interviewing for jobs and in all that chaos, becoming licensed was secondary since a job in North Texas came first.

Of course, after accepting a job, then I was focused on packing and moving and learning a new job and getting settled into life here.

I will not, by any means, say that I'm settled into life yet.  I'm still learning this new job.  I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that I no longer live in Houston.

BUT.  I have to be licensed before next month...or I have to start the process all over again.

I just got off the phone with Arrow and wonder of wonders, the class I need is offered tomorrow and Thursday night and it's a class you MUST RSVP for, so I thought "no way will there be availability" but there were TWO spots left!  And I'm signed up!

I took off work today to get some appointments accomplished and so tomorrow will be a crazy day at work as some things are due tomorrow and other things are due Wednesday know, when you take a day off work, there is so much catch up to do! 

BUT.  I'm not staying late tomorrow night....and I have no idea how all that work is going to be finished...but I trust it will be.  BECAUSE I'm going to finish my licensing process!

Surreal, folks.  Oh, so surreal.  I know the children aren't walking in my door any time soon.  I know that is still months away.  But after this week, I'll be one step closer.

And that just feels weird.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Becoming Money Wise...

I have been taking a class at a church in the area.  It's called Moneywise 1 and I have really been learning a lot.  Before you tune out, because "blah, blah, money, blah, blah", I get it!  Money is hard to talk about, think about, act on wisely. 

Maybe you're an accountant, and it's not hard for you.  Maybe you don't have a brain like mine (blessings to you!) and you can create excel spreadsheets with inflow/outflow columns.  I can create an excel spreadsheet.  Heck, I used one for years as my gradebook.  Love it!  But, in all honesty, and this is admitting my naivete, I didn't even know where to start with the titles of the columns for a spending plan.  After coming up with what I THOUGHT I should be spending each month, I didn't know how to keep track of it. 

When I moved to Plano, I immediately began visiting a church with a friend of mine that moved here about a year before I did.  The Tuesday night Bible study had just started a series called $30k Millionaire (30 thousand dollar millionaire), and it was AWESOME.  It wasn't just about how to spend or not spend money.  Instead, it was about what scripture says about money.  The Minister of Stewardship (yes, they have a Minister of Stewardship...I LOVE that!) was leading this series and he mentioned he teaches a Moneywise 1 class a few times a year.  The next one was beginning mid-September.  We both felt convicted multiple times in the series and decided to sign up for the class. 

I admit, I was taking the class because I wanted to learn a budgeting system.  I wanted to figure out this whole "budget" thing.  I know it's not a four letter word, but it is, you know?

The first week, Adam led off with how a budget is not just about spending money.  We read several scriptures about stewardship.  If you've grown up in church, or if you haven't, you probably hear the word stewardship and think "giving money to the church", but that's not it AT ALL.  Listen to the definition of a steward.

Steward: a person who manages another's resources and seeks to manage those resources according to the owner's vision and values.

It's not just money, people!  "Hey, Alyssa!  It's not JUST money!"  It's treasures, yes, but it's TIME and it's TALENTS, too.  "Ok, but I'm better at giving those away.  Well, in fact, now that I think about it.  There's times I give those away too freely, then I'm exhausted and run-down."  Hmmm, tapping chin while talking to myself.  Maybe I need to become a better steward of God's resources all the way around...

A Budget, first and foremost is a HEART issue and THEN it's a math issue.

Read that again. 

God and I have some work to do.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Changing My Prayers

I read Kelly's Korner blog on a regular basis.  She recently posted a poem by Ruth Bell Graham...a mother's poem.  Now, I'm not a mother, but it reminded me of how, too often, I pray for things to be easier.  To go my way.  When, in reality, I need to be praying for the Lord's will to be done.  For my eyes to be opened to what He would have me to do.  Where He would have me to go.  Whom He would ask me to love.
Had I been Joseph's mother
I'd have prayed
protection from his brothers
"God, keep him safe.
He is so young,
so different from
the others."
she never knew
there would be slavery
and prison, too.

Had I been Moses' mother
I'd have wept to keep my little son:
praying she might forget
the babe drawn from the water
of the Nile.
Had I not kept
him for her
nursing him the while,
was he not mine?
--and she
but Pharaoh's daughter?

Had I been Daniel's mother
I should have pled
"Give victory!
--this Babylonian horde
godless and cruel--
Don't let him be a captive
--better dead,
Almighty Lord!"

Had I been Mary,
Oh, had I been she,
I would have cried
as never a mother cried,
"Anything, O God,

With such prayers importunate
my finite wisdom would assail
Infinite Wisdom
God, how fortunate
Infinite Wisdom
should prevail.


Help me to change my prayers.