it's the journey

it's the journey

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Money for Nothing and Soap for Free


I've always been wary of those coupon ladies.  You know the ones.  They show up on your local talk show, a little too chirpy, wearing their appliqued sweaters, standing before tables that are groaning beneath a boat load of grocery items and vowing that they only paid .29 for the whole lot.  I envisioned them sitting at their kitchen tables, cackling fiendishly as they slashed their way through endless mounds of coupon inserts and sale flyers-- sort of  Edward Scissorhands meets A&E's Hoarders.  But then I became one of those coupon ladies, and quite by accident. 

My buddy Gwen called one afternoon and asked if I had any plans for the following evening.  Immediately I envisioned a glorious girls night out that would hopefully include pedicures, a movie and some impossibly decadent dessert.  Quickly I assured her I had nothing at all on the calendar.  "Great!" she said, "there's this couponing thing at a local church..." and then--The. World. Went. Dark.  "Um, okay, sounds like fun," I lied.

Let me assure you dear readers, had this been ANYONE besides my friend Gwen, I'd have found a way to weasel out.  But she is incredibly sweet, and fun to be with and the two of us rarely do anything without the guys.  SO, I kept my word and the next evening we turned up at the church just as things were getting started.

Sure enough, front and center stood a huge table loaded up with five gazillion items and I knew it was only a matter of time till some lady in a cat sweater and ankle socks tottered out and told us how she managed to buy 63 blocks of Velveeta for $1.00-- WRONG!  Soon a young, attractive, professional woman in a red blazer welcomed us and started right in on a presentation that included handouts and a power point. Turns out couponing has gone chic and tech! Two hours later I emerged, a grinning convert with a shiny new binder full of handouts.  Thank you Gwen!

The next few nights I was glued to the computer, gleaning as much info as I could.  I was amazed to find that there are actually people out there who will match up current coupons with current sales. Score! All I have to do is clip a few coupons, or print them out online, then surf over to their websites and they've done the homework for me.  I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

I started out slowly, saving 30 or 40 % and that just whetted my appetite.  HELLO there were people out there saving 75% even 90% and I couldn't let them get ahead of me!  No siree, Bob--not me and my crazy I'M THE ONE YOU WANT ON YOUR TEAM FOR GAME NIGHT competitive nature.

Now I've found my groove and I am regularly saving 60+% on our grocery and household items.  A few weeks ago I scored 4 bottles of Purex detergent for FREE, absolutely FREE!  Just yesterday, 5 bottles of Snuggle fabric softener--also FREE!  UH-MAY-ZING! My time investment is probably a couple hours a week, but with the savings, I don't have to feel guilty about the occasional girls night out--complete with pedicures, a movie and a decadent dessert. Okay maybe I'll still feel guilty about the decadent dessert...but still, AMAZING!

PS:  One of the most rewarding benefits of this lifestyle is the ability to share your abundance! Many times I can pick up items for FREE or just a few cents. It's so much easier to give more to local food banks, family, friends, neighbors or anyone who might need a helping hand. WHAT A BLESSING!!!

Here's a photo of a recent purchase
All this stuff, plus 8 Glade candles that aren't pictured 
PAID:   50.82   RETAIL:  176.56  SAVED:  71%

That's pretty good folks, and I'm not even hardcore like some of these people.  You can do this!  So, if you're ready to drink the old couponing kool-aid, here are some of my VERY FAVE links to get you started.  

Make sure to check out the sections that explain the lingo AND find out what YOUR local store couponing policies are.

Also, PLEASE don't be a piggy and "wipe out" the shelves when you find a great deal, be considerate of your fellow savers!

Faithful Provisions

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Faith of Our Fathers

Maybe it's all this talk of Springtime, the Resurrection and new beginnings, whatever the reason, Romans 4:17 has been SO much on my mind.  

As it is written: "I have made you (Abraham) a father of many nations."  He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.     NIV

Continuing  on through verse 21...

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.    NIV

Try as I may, sometimes I waver, and my faith is quite the opposite of strengthened.  So I thought it might do me some good to read it again.  So I did.  And then I decided it to read it again and then in 3 or 4 translations and WHOA, I LOVE this one, it's my favorite.  

From The Message:

17-18 We call Abraham "father" not because he got God's attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn't that what we've always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, "I set you up as father of many peoples"? Abraham was first named "father" and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, "You're going to have a big family, Abraham!"

I love how it says, first Abraham was named "father", then he became father, because he dared to trust.  

So today, I'm going to look at all of those things that I so long to be a reality, I'm going to call them "done."  And instead of lying awake thinking about them tonight, I'm going to dare to trust God to do what only HE can:  raise the dead to life and with just a word--make something out of nothing.  

What are YOU believing God for today?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doctor's office

At the doctor's office with Aly. We've never met her before but she was highly recommended.

Even though this picture on her wall is a bit corny and the mom has a mullet, it helps me feel at ease here. Without saying a word the doc has given me a glimpse of who she is and what's important to her.

I think we're going to like her.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lunch with Joy

My sweet longtime bff Joy and I had one of our epic 3 hour lunches today at J Alexander's. One of us, who will remain nameless, left her phone and we had to go back. But we didn't mind, that just gave us more time to talk!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out Dog Whisperer

We're kind of a pet loving family around here. There have been numerous hamsters, gerbils, gold fish, mice, guinea pigs, a ferret and yes, even a RAT. He was white, harmless and adorable, and once sent Michael screaming up the hall when he scurried up the inside of his bathrobe, but I digress. Yes, we've had LOTS and LOTS pets, but mostly, we're dog people.

Currently, we have three dogs. Fonzie, the old man, Princess Elle (aka Weewee), and Chuckie, the baby. Technically, Weewee belongs to our daughter Mallory and lives at her apartment. Fonzie and Chuckie live with Michael, Aly and Me. But when the kibble hits the fan, I am the dog mama. Translation: when they pee, poop, puke or smell, yep, I'm your girl. Okay, I LOVE these little furry creatures. They're all snuggly on a cold winter's night, and crazy Chuckie will chase a tennis ball for HOURS on end. But sometimes their charm can wear a tad thin. Like the time they broke into Michael's Christmas candy stash and consumed oh about a pound of dark chocolate. We had no idea what they'd been up to--UNTIL they barfed it all up in the middle of the living room carpet 15 minutes before our dinner guests arrived. Good times.

And Did I mention these dogs LOOOOOOOOOVE cheese.  Actually, FOOD! of any type, but particularly cheese. They can be sound asleep, in another room, upstairs, possibly in another county-- and if anyone dares to open the refrigerator and ever so slightly brush the plastic American cheese package--they're like, "Beam me up Scotty, there are dairy products to consume."  They appear out of thin air, ears perked, tails wagging, eyes shining with adoration, all for a little cheese.

 They're small dogs, two daschunds and a chihuahua, so you'd think the bath time wouldn't be a big deal. Well, that dear reader is where you'd be wrong. Fonzie and Weewee are pretty manageable, but Chuckie has a white hot fear of running water unrivaled by anything dogdom has ever known.  His adrenaline kicks into high gear and he's a 7 lb weiner dog with Herculean strength. He wriggles, claws, squirms, flips, shakes, gnaws and screams like I'm searing his flesh with a cattle brand. He's been known to jump out of the bath and race through the house like a mad man, leaving a trail of suds behind. As a result, I bathe them as little as possible. Disgusting, but true.

Last week I lured them into the laundry room (home of the giant sink) using a piece of cheese.  Once I had them captive, I realized there was no dog shampoo. Great.  Somehow I managed to slip out to search for some in the kitchen.  When I opened up the tiny cabinet by the back door, there, in front of the dog shampoo, bathed in the florescent glow of the kitchen light, stood a solitary can of Easy Cheese.  We'd bought it months ago to spray inside one of those "indestructible" dog toys.  Once Chuckie had reduced THAT to a 6.99 pile of confetti, we stuck the cheese in the cabinet and forgot about it.  But I knew, this lowly can of spray cheese and I could form an alliance.  Together we could tame the bath time monster.  

I returned to the laundry room, cheese and shampoo in hand, to find my little prisoners cowering in the corner, plotting my death no doubt.  All it took was one quick squirt of spray cheese and we were back in business.  Fonzie went first and he was all sullen, but docile as usual.  As a reward, I gave him a squirt of spray cheese and watched his bitterness melt away like the cheesy goodness on his chin whiskers.  

Chuckie was up next and I knew he would be a bit more challenging.  Pretty soon I had the rhythm down.  Pour a little water over his back, squirt a little cheese in his mouth, apply some shampoo, another squirt.  Then came the AHA moment...


I outlined the entire sink in Easy Cheese (Cheese! Glorious Cheese!), it was like doggy Xanax.  Chuckie mellowed out and was so busy lapping up the cheese, he hardly noticed he was getting a bath.  So now I'm a regular bath time dog whisperer, just like Cesar Millan, only a little more trailer parky and um--not so good for canine cholesterol.  


                               Alex Von Ferretas

                             Spartacus the Hermit Crab

                    Cleatus "Jake" the Guinea Pig


Well, since Mary was the only brave soul to SEND a picture (not just threaten to send one!), she gets a prize.  Mary, if you'll e mail me your mailing address, I'll get it out to you this week!

CONGRATS, and I think it would have been pretty hard to top that hair do any way girl!

Monday, March 15, 2010


First pic is in for the Best of the Worst Hairdos.  This was sent in by Mary Cook who says, "WHY am I smiling???"

Keep 'em coming folks, this could get interesting!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hairstory, A Pictorial Retrospective (aka, OMG WHAT in the world is UP with my hair???)

"If Truth is beauty, how come no one gets their hair done at the library?"  --Lily Tomlin

When I was 6 years old I dreamed of having long, luscious, golden hair--just like a Barbie doll.  I begged and pleaded till mom bought me a blonde wig for Christmas.  Night and day, I paraded around the house in that thing, usually with a hat on---convinced that it looked totally realistic.  Like I just went to sleep one night and *poof* the next morning--my hair had been transformed!  Oh if it was only that easy...

Hair has always been a REALLY big deal to me. Of course I'm speaking figuratively here, but as evidenced by the pictures, sometimes quite literally--
HUGE! Seriously, Al Gore's next documentary could be about how I single handedly destroyed the ozone layer with my hairspray habit.  Perhaps it has something to do with my southern roots, being born in Dallas, Texas and all.  Or maybe it's because I've spent half my life looking for something to "balance out my hips"--MAN I miss those ginormous 80's shoulder pads!  All I know is that since I was a wee lass, the state of my hair has been inexorably intertwined with my happiness.  In my younger, less mature days, I cancelled dinner dates, called in sick, skipped parties--even church when I had a bad hair day.  OKAY, OKAY-- I'm shallow, but do I at least get points for honesty????

And oh the abuse I have heaped upon my poor head down through the years!  I've spent the better part of half a century trying to cut, curl, straighten, tease and spray my hair into submission.

The cycle goes like this:

I wake up look in the mirror and decide I would look FABULOUS with long hair.

Proceed to let hair grow and grow, despite said process getting on my last nerve.

I wake up one morning and decide I CAN NOT LIVE ANOTHER DAY without a haircut.


Remorse and Despair.


    Also sprinkled in there have been various color experiments, some successful, some-- not so much.

    Right now I'm in the throes of remorse and despair and I decided it might alleviate the gloom if I revisited some of of my former hair dos and don'ts as a reminder that eventually, it grows out.

    So--now that I've been all brave and shown you my WORST hair days, jump on out there with me.  Go through your old pics find your most humiliating most unique hair look and send it to me. Guys too, come on, don't deprive us the opportunity to see those GLORIOUS mullet photos!!!  I'll post them and then the girls and I will pick a--um--winner. We'll even send you a PRIZE!  What kind of prize you ask?  Well DUH, something fabulous from the Rusk hair product line.

    Send your photos to me at:

    "If you don't like Tanya's hair, stick around--it's bound to change." -- my dad





    OKAY-- TWO



         WOW, JUST WOW.       

                 NOT EVEN SURE HOW I DID THIS!!!




    Monday, March 8, 2010

    Two Turtle Doves and Loaf of Bread--Hold The Yeast

    Our senior pastor challenged us to a church-wide mitzvot to read through the One Year Bible in 2010. This sounded like a great idea to me.  As much as I hate to admit it, I've never read the ENTIRE Bible--cover to cover--even though I've been following Christ since I was a child.  This also really, really appealed to my somewhat competitive ambitious nature-- I LOVE A CHALLENGE!  I went right out to and purchased the One Year Bible for my kindle--FABULOUS Christmas gift from my sweet husband--and jumped right in on January 1.

    The whole thing started off swimmingly.  Genesis was great; it had the excitement of creation, the flood, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, the great promises made to Abraham.  Revisiting all those bible stories I've loved since I was a kid was wonderful.  The time seemed to fly by each morning as I read through the assigned passages and before I knew it, I had read 12% of the bible!  Then we got to Leviticus...

    I'll share a tidbit from February 20th: 
         Leviticus 9: 19-21 Then he took the fat of the bull and the ram—the fat of the broad tail and from around the internal organs—along with the kidneys and the long lobes of the livers.   He placed these fat portions on top of the breasts of these animals and burned them on the altar.  Aaron then lifted up the breasts and right thighs as a special offering to the Lord, just as Moses had commanded.

    And there you have it, the reason I've never read the Bible all the way through.  I would always get bogged down in Leviticus, with all those repetitive, very graphic passages about goat heads, kidney lobes and Aaron's bloody toes and earlobes--yuck!  And I'd really like to know what God had against yeast--a wise man would have definitely gotten entirely out of the yeast market and put all of his shekels in turtle doves... okay, now I'm rambling.

    Surely that stuff isn't so important today, it's not like we round up the first born of our flock every Sunday morning before heading off to our place of worship, right???  Riiiiight, but let's get back to this mitzvot thing.  The whole point of the mitzvot is to commit to something that if done in the right spirit can prove transformational to the um--mitzvee.  And let me tell you, I could use transformational--ESPECIALLY. IN. THE. AREA. OF. DISCIPLINE.  Okay, you don't have to agree SO vigorously--I can see you out there nodding your heads-- "oh bless her heart she sure could..." 

    So that's it-- no skipping, skimming or dodging of the less than riveting passages. This will be my sacrifice, the sweet fragrance I offer up to Him.  I will joyfully apply myself to this task, even when it's not exciting. And while I'm at it, I'll claim this promise,  "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philipians 1:6 NLT

    Here's a link if you want to join me on this journey...One Year Bible

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Wall Flower Confessional

    I confess, I LOVE me some social media!  I facebook, I tweet, I blog--much to the dismay of my children no doubt.  Still, some days facebook makes me feel like a wall flower--I sign on and BAM!

    Leaving for France tomorrow!

    Cruise was AWESOME, pics will be up soon!

    OMG, I cannot believe I was nominated for a Grammy!

    Gotta run, having tea with George Clooney and the Queen of England!

    Okay, I made the last one up--but still!  Is it just me or does everyone feel like this sometimes?  I think if we're honest, we do.  It gives us that same icky feeling of being the short, chubby kid who was always picked last for the team--oh wait, maybe that was just me! Don't get me wrong, it's not that I DON'T want my friends to be going on all sorts of adventures and accomplishing magnificent things, I just want to do it too!

    It's always tempting to compare myself to everyone else around me. Is it human nature? Yes. Is it a good idea? No. Yet time after time, I climb onto that little hamster wheel and spin round and round till I realize--this thing is going nowhere! And when I do, I overlook all the good stuff in my life. 

    It makes me feel a little better that even Peter wasn't immune.  Here's Jesus, spending quality time with Peter, giving him instruction, telling him what his future holds.  And what's Peter thinking about?  He's barely paying attention. He sees John walk by and wants to know--what about that guy? Jesus answers, "What is that to you? You must follow ME."  (John 21:1 NIV)  OUCH!  Get your eyes off everyone else Peter, it's all about Jesus.

    Paul on the other hand had it all figured out.

    "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  (Phillipians 4:12)

    So what do I do when I'm feeling like this...okay, it's sounds really nerdy.  I make my little mental lists.  Everything I have to be thankful for.  Actually, just the first 10 or 20 I can think of.  Because really, if I made a complete list, it would fill up pages and pages and pages.

    But for starters:
    I woke up this morning
    In a Bed
    Under a warm blanket
    Beside a loving Husband
    In a House
    That I own--well, Michael, me and the fine folks at HSBC, but you get the idea
    That has heat
    And running water
    And electricity
    And a refrigerator
    With Food in it
    I have two feet
    And plenty of shoes
    And enough clothes that it takes me forever to decide what to wear

    You get the idea.

    When we were kids my mom would say, "Every little dog will have his day." Well, maybe so, but until then, Fido should count his blessings!

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Adventures in Babysitting

    Growing up as I did, in a gospel music family, I was surrounded by a very colorful cast of characters. There were singers, musicians, writers, music executives, bus drivers, concert promoters and booking agents, but to me, they were all a part of my wonderful extended family. I remember sharing bowls of soup with Uncle Les (Beasley, founder of the Florida Boys Quartet) from the hot soup machine at WSIX where my family was taping The Gospel Singing Jubilee. Ms. Dottie (Rambo) was always so glamorous and her voice was like warm syrup. I would sit on her lap for hours listening to her stories while she made me baby dolls out of her hanky. But one of my most unforgettable experiences took place on a cold winter’s afternoon in Nashville, Tennessee.

    My family had been called to Nashville for some meetings about their upcoming recording project with Canaan Records. Mom and I tagged along and spent the afternoons doing a little shopping and relaxing at the Travel Lodge Motel while dad was working. While we were in town, another business matter cropped up and my mom and dad needed to attend to it. Unfortunately, there was no one available to keep an eye on their rowdy 5 year old while they were out for an hour or two. Uncle Marvin, a family friend, kindly volunteered for the job. He offered to hang out with me at the motel while my parents were away and then we’d all get together for dinner later. Mom and dad rounded up a few things to keep me entertained and reminded me to be on my best behavior and off they went. Uncle Marvin stretched out on the bed to watch a little television while I occupied myself with some story books. Just about the time that Marvin dozed off, I got a little bored. I decided it would be much more exciting to jump on the bed, an activity that was forbidden at home, but hey, we were in a motel! Suddenly, Marvin’s nap was cut short when I bumped into the huge picture hanging over the bed and it came crashing down on top of him. Suddenly, Uncle Marvin was WIDE awake, and thankfully laughing his head off! When my parents returned, he told them all about my antics with the condition that I didn’t get in trouble. Oh, did I forget to mention that Uncle Marvin was Marvin Norcross, the Vice President of Word records and the President of Canaan Records? I guess it’s a good thing they’d already signed those recording contracts…