Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Game of Groceries

Sunday afternoon grocery trips have become my hobby. A trip to the grocery store can be fun. “Fun?” you ask. That’s right. Here are the rules for a fun grocery trip.
Prepare – Make a list. I use www.grocerygame.com to know which items are on sale and have matching coupons. This also determines my menu for the week. Only purchase items on sale and with a coupon. By purchasing these items when on sale and with a coupon instead of when you run out, you don’t  run out.
Eat before you shop – If you go to the store hungry, you will be tempted to purchase items you don’t need and items that are not on sale. You will also be in a hurry and possibly miss extra savings.
Go alone – If you take other people, they will want to purchase things that are not on sale and without a coupon. They  also distract you from focusing on the savings at hand.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes - Sometimes it’s necessary to climb the shelves to reach items up high and at the back.  I have even tag teamed with another lady blessed with the same height challenge I have.  She boosted me up, and I retrieved items for both of us.  And I’m never past asking a taller shopper for help.
Stay organized - Stores will frequently run specials requiring you to purchase 10 items (mix and match) in order to receive an additional 50 cents off each item.  You must be sure to purchase these items in exact multiples of 10 in order to maximize the savings. Organize your cart by grouping these items together for a quick count before checking out.
Be Aware at the Checkout – Group like items together to keep cold things cold and for ease of putting things away at home. If it is extremely hot outside and you are shopping at more than one store, it helps to have a cooler with ice in the trunk. Pay attention to make sure all coupons scan and none are missed. Also make sure the store special for the multiples of ten are taken off at the end ($5.00 for each multiple of ten).
Look at the Receipt – This is the payoff. Once you have paid, look at your receipt and see the percent of savings at the bottom. Have a goal. Mine is 50-75%. Don’t let the cashier discourage you. At some stores the cashier is trained to tell you how much you saved with your store card. This is not the entire story. Look at your receipt for the savings including coupons.
Play by the rules, and enjoy the fun. Then enjoy the benefits of stewardship and giving. You will have a smaller grocery budget, and you can share your savings with others. Hope you have FUN on your next grocery trip. I can’t wait for mine.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life is a Team Sport

This weekend I traveled to San Antonio and Austin to watch my son play soccer for the Texas Tech club team. I was reminded of the saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Unfortunately, in soccer it usually is all about whether you win or lose regardless of how you play the game.
As Christians, we already know that in the end we win, but how we play the game is still important. Each of us has a calling and God-given purpose. Part of playing the game of life is finding God’s purpose for our lives. Just like soccer, knowing our position is important. But there is a lot more that goes into the game of soccer than what happens in an hour and a half on the field. There are hours of practice and conditioning, a steadfast commitment, and support of fellow teammates. It is a team sport. What is done in preparation as well as in the game affects every teammate.
Life is the same. Whatever our individual calling, life is still a team sport. Our practice and conditioning, showing up on time, and supporting our teammates affects how we play in life. It influences how we fulfill the calling we have which makes an impact on our teammates.
Life is a team sport; and while we know we win in the end, it’s still important how we play the game.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where's Your Line?

Today my husband and I went to Sonic. Many Saturdays there are different groups of kids delivering the food and receiving tips as a fundraiser. Today it was a swim team. I was intrigued by the slogan on their T-shirts, “Kick or Drown”.  How simple yet profound for a swim team. Other sports have slogans such as “Run Fast or Be Last”, “No Pain, No Gain”, and “Run Hard or Walk Home”. Perhaps you have heard religious slogans such as “Turn or Burn” or “Pray or Perish”. The one that came to my mind was “Grow or Die”.
When we are physically born, our body begins to grow and develop and get stronger; but there comes a point when our body slowly begins to deteriorate as we age and eventually die. I envision this as a line that goes up to its peak and then descends.
Spiritually it is the opposite. We are born into sin, and each day we live without Christ pushes us further and further and closer to eternal darkness; but when we are born again spiritually, we begin to grow and develop and get stronger. I envision this as a line descending that abruptly stops and turns upward when we surrender our lives to Christ. At that point, we make a daily decision as to whether our line will continue on its ascent upwards growing with Christ or whether it will remain stagnant. The line will never again go down, but your decisions affect how far it will rise.
Where is your spiritual line? Is it ascending? Are you growing? Or are you stagnant? When your physical line ends, where will your spiritual line be?
Kick or Drown -- Grow or Die.
I Peter 2:2

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good Enough -- Because I Wasn’t

How many people have you heard share their testimony of salvation?  How many have heard yours? I believe many of us don’t share our personal stories because we feel they won’t have the same impact as another person’s story. We remember the people that Christ saved from drugs, alcohol, and other addictions. We remember the people saved from deep depression, near suicide, and atheism. These are awesome stories of the work Christ has done in their lives and can do in others, and I would not dare to try and take away from the miracles God has done in their lives. But . . .
What about you? Are you like me? Just an average “good” person?  In a random gathering of 500 people, on average only 20 will be alcoholics, 25 will suffer with drug addiction, and only 1 will attempt suicide. Where does that leave the other 454?  I contend that the average person you meet in your day to day life probably considers themself to be a “good” person. Many will hear miraculous deliverance stories and think, “that is great for them, but I don’t have those problems, and I don’t need deliverance.” While they may be intrigued, they do not relate.
Scripture says there is none good but God; and because we have all sinned, none of us are good enough. So how do we reach these everyday “good” people?  We share our “good” story. My story is good enough to share with others, because I wasn’t. And I need to share my story so that others know that they can't be good enough either. My story is good enough – because I wasn’t. What about yours?