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Archive for May, 2009

Being self-employed is FABULOUS, most days……..teaching cute kids to play the piano is awesome.  Going to their homes is great too because I get to see SO many different pianos (I am amazed at how unique some of them are), I get lots of decorating ideas, and my clients treat me like a Queen for the most part. 

I have families that have a special chair reserved just for me, families who bring me ice water with lemons when I walk in the door, families who feed me fresh apple pie and so much more.

Then there’s also having more time to be a mom and spend time with Grace, which is SO awesome.  We have tons of fun together and she is getting bigger and smarter every day.  It’s so neat to see her grow right in front of my very eyes.  When I was working, I felt like I missed SO much of her life and so many of her “firsts”

The down side of being self employed is losing clients, and clients who decide to take the ENTIRE summer off……..and so far, I have 6 clients who are taking the ENTIRE summer off. 

I’m trying not to focus on it, and I keep reminding myself that for the first few months of Grace’ s life, we lived on less than $600.00 a month, AND God supplied EVERY need.

I know that He’ll take care of our needs this summer, but I’m also having to trust a lot right now.  I keep telling myself that it’s only temporary and am trying to focus on recruiting more students for the fall.  This past school year, I had up to 25 students, and I’m trying to arrange my schedule to teach 30 starting this fall.  So far, I have a few inquiries for the fall, so I’m hoping to have my schedule full by the time school starts.

I’m not worried, I know that God will take care of us.  He always has in the past, I have no doubts about the future.

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There is so much that can be said on this subject, and I’m not going to try to say it all in one post, but hopefully the thoughts I share on this subject will be helpful to you.

This is an area that I, like a lot of people struggle with.  I used to walk around in life and feel like it was all a big question mark.  There are some basic things that I know to be God’s will.

  • Salvation
  • Church Attendance
  • Praying
  • Reading the Bible
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Tithing
  • Giving to Missions
  • Using my talents for the Lord
  • Telling other people about Christ

These are things that you don’t have to pray about, they are clearly outlined for us that they are God’s will.

Really, I think that when we say that they are trying to find God’s will, we are referring to figuring out God’s plan for our lives.  So, how do we figure it out?

I believe that by doing the basic things that we already know to be God’s will (that I outlined above) that we will find God’s will because He will show it to us.  I had a Professor in college who said that God doesn’t HIDE His will from us.  Just like if a child was running toward a busy street, their mom or dad wouldn’t say “well, maybe you shouldn’t go into the street right now.”  they would say “Stop!” 

Just like as a parent, they would clearly tell their child what their will for their child is, God (our Heavenly Father) clearly shows His will to us.

I believe that as Children of God, we can KNOW what God’s will is for us in every area of our lives and that until we know for sure that something is God’s will for us, we should just wait until God shows us for sure that the answer is “Yes” or “No”

Some of the ways that we can know God’s will for us are through:

  • Praying-Asking God what His will is, asking Him to show us, to clearly reveal His will for our life in specific areas.
  • Reading the Bible-God’s will for us will never contradict His Word.
  • Through Godly counsel-Your Pastor or Pastor’s wife, Godly Christian friends.
  • Having peace or not having peace about a situation can show us that something is or isn’t His will for our lives.

The hard part can be accepting God’s will (I plan to talk about that in another post.)  We have to get to the place in our life where we can say “if it’s not God’s will, I don’t want it.” No matter what it is……..a house, a car, a career, a relationship……we have to want what God wants for us more than what we want for ourselves.

It’s difficult because we’re human, we only see right now, what’s in front of us, and sometimes, everything looks perfect to us.  We don’t see or don’t understand how it couldn’t be God’s will for us.  In those situations, I always have to remind myself that God knows what’s ahead.  He sees the future and knows what is best for me not only today, but He also knows what is best for me 20 years down the road. 

We also have to realize that God’s will is God’s will for us.  It’s not just His will for us today or tomorrow.  Because it’s either His will, or it isn’t.  What I mean by that is sometimes people say, I know this job (or this car, or this house, or this relationship, etc ) is God’s will for me, so they take the job and then when things get tough a few months down the road, they say “this isn’t God’s will for me anymore.” …….wait a minute, so was accepting the job really God’s will, or was it your will?

During the last few months, I have been faced with asking God what His will is for Grace and I.  I already know that His will is for me to be self-employed as a Piano and Music Teacher.  He has made that VERY clear to me and gives me peace about it, even in the economic state our Nation is in. 

I started dating a guy that I go to church with, (we’ll just call him “Tom”) and even though there are many wonderful things about Tom and even though he and Grace get along very well, even though on the surface, it looked like “how couldn’t this be God’s will?”  The more I prayed about it, the less peace I had in my heart about continuing the relationship.  I finally had to come to the point where I said “if it’s not your will God, I don’t want it.”   It’s not an easy thing to say, especially when things look so right to our human eyes. 

I had some VERY rough days while I wrestled with God about it.  Then I had a tough rest of the week mentally letting go of him and continuing to trust God for this area of our lives.  I truly believe that this is a “not right now, you need to wait on me.” answer from God.  He’s not saying “Beth, you’ll never get married”  He’s just saying “not right now.” 

Through this, I realized that God knows what is best for Grace and I, and he knows what is best for Tom.  He knows what our lives will be like 20 and 30 years into the future.  He knows what storms and trials we will be going through and He knows if the person we are in a relationship with is the right person to go through those storms and trials with us. 

I also realized that God knows me better than I know myself, and he knows Tom better than Tom knows himself……..so guess what?  I realized that God is the ultimate matchmaker!  If God says no, it doesn’t matter what our friends, family, or even eharmony have to say about it, it’s not a good match.

I’ll post more about knowing and accepting God’s will, but I want to leave you with this video of the song “Seekers of Your Heart”  please watch it, these girls have so much talent, and this song has a great message.

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I needed a hair cut SO BAD this week, I hadn’t had it cut since February, so I called my friend Carrie who always cuts my hair and begged her to fit me in this week. (She’s going on vacation next week, so I’d have to wait almost 2 weeks if she couldn’t do it this week.)  She was able to fit me in on Tuesday morning, and as I went to write her a check for my haircut, she said, “Before you write a check, what are you doing tomorrow morning?  Could you watch my daughter while I go to the Doctor?”  Of course I told her that would be fine, and she suggested that we just trade babysitting for a hair cut.  

 Not only was this a HUGE blessing, but it’s also a great way to save money!

 This is the first time I’d traded services with Carrie, but two of my friend Patty’s girls take piano lessons from me; Patty pays 1/2 of their tuition and they watch Grace every Friday afternoon for me for FREE! 🙂

I’ve also traded piano lessons for massages when one of the mom’s I taught for was a massage therapist. 

There are so many other things you can trade.  I hemmed up a pair of pants for a friend of mine and he replaced the break lights in my car for me as a trade. 

If you have any other ideas on ways to save money by trading services, please comment.

P.S.  This is one of the best hair cuts I’ve had in a long time!

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Here’s another way to be frugal…..it’s called Swagbucks. My sister told me about it, it’s a search engine that rewards you for using it. As you search for things, you randomly earn “swagbucks” then you can go shopping in the Swagstore. You can get gift cards for Amazon.com, Starbucks, Target and more for FREE by redeeming your swagbucks! My sister has gotten several giftcards already and has only been using it as a search engine for a few months…..so give it a try! Here is the link to sign up:  http://swagbucks.com/?cmd=sb-register&rb=

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I’ve always been a very thrifty person, but with the state of the economy, I, like everyone else, am looking for new ways to save money.

I’ve already posted about what I do to save money on gas.  This week, I discovered a way to save money on some grocery and personal care items.

I am a Wal-mart grocery shopper.  I am always amazed when I go to other grocery stores how much LESS items are at Wal-mart.  And even if you only save .20 or .30 cents on each item, it all adds up in the end.  Wal-mart WITH COUPONS is an even better way to save money, but I’ve made a discovery……

The other day, we went to our local Dollar Tree.  I shop the Dollar Tree pretty frequently to pick up prized for my piano students, but I don’t usually go through the food section……I discovered that our Dollar Tree carries a lot of BRAND NAME food items.  Here’s what we found:

*Colgate toothpaste (even at Wal-mart, Colgate is almost $3.00)

*Colgate kids’ toothpaste (same as above.)

*Big cans of Spaghettio’s (not the small ones that are usually .89c, the big ones that are around $2.00 in the store.)

*Kool-Aide Brand Popsicles. (These are about $2.50 at Wal-mart)

*AAA, AA, C, and D batteries (several different brands, Sunbeam, Energizer, etc and these were packs of 4 & 8 Batteries.)

*Pringles Gourmet Chips (I think they’re called Pringles Selects, they had BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, Sweet Potato Cinnamon and a few other kinds.  These also run about $3.00 at Wal-mart.)

I was AMAZED that they carried these items and there were other brand name items that we didn’t purchase this week, so I think I’m going to start checking at the Dollar Tree on my way out to Wal-mart to see what items on my list  I can pick  up for less.

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Sorry it’s been a LONG time since I posted anything!  As my mom would say “real life is what happens when we have other plans”  these last couple of months have been good.  Busy, but good and some “real life’ has been going on for us.

Anyway, here are some updates and I plan to start posting regularly again…..thanks for your patience.

#1, I’ve lost 21 lbs since Thanksgiving!!!  (Yea for the green tea!)

#2, Grace is doing FANTASTIC in her swimming classes.

#3, God has been so good to us, despite the economy and state of our nation, He keeps sending me business.  I now have 25 piano students on my schedule and ebay is keeping me very busy as well.

#4, I am learning more and more every day that the center of God’s will is the only place to be happy and to receive God’s greatest blessings.

#5, We’re packing our bags and getting ready to take a LONG OVER DUE vacation in June 🙂

Thanks for your prayers and emails eventhough I’ve not been posting.
-Beth

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