Our family is working very hard at eating healthier this year. So I've been counting WW points for all of us, cooking with lowered fat and higher fiber, and we're working at playing games that make us move instead of think! :) (We have a new ping pong table so that helps.)
Yesterday my husband went to a local store that is comparable to a Big Lots but it's groceries. It is the United Grocery Outlet and we all call it UGO.
After my husband left I realized that I hadn't asked him to check for lowfat breakfast meat at UGO. I have a system that works better than any cell phone call in the world for this. I pray and ask the Lord to prompt my husband to check for the item I've forgotten. This saves a world of irritation on my husband's part for my forgetfulness.
It is one of the most wonderful things the Lord has taught me when it comes to authority. You give the issue to the Lord, ("Thy will be done-not mine.") Then you ask the Lord to prompt your authority if it is truly something that needs attention, and you proceed to trust Him to answer. If the authority doesn't mention it or think of it you know it wasn't important or isn't important yet. (Rest assured I don't ever do this on my own, the Holy Spirit has to nudge me.)
Well, let me go back to the original story. After I prayed I remembered that when the older children were little I would tell them about what I had prayed so they could see the Lord answer. So I stuck my head into the dining room where they were all doing school and told them I'd forgotten to ask their dad to look for healthy breakfast meat and that I had prayed and asked the Lord that their dad would think to look for it.
If you understand a store like UGO you realize that one week they might have Cheesecake Factory Cheesecakes for $3.99 and then you might not see them again or it might be six months before you see them again. If it's a good deal you'd better grab it then!
When my husband popped in the door he started pulling out the items and there was breakfast meat that he'd found a good deal on! He got these sausage links (lowered fat) for 69 cents a box! Needless to say, we've got breakfast covered for a while with low fat sausage links! But the most wonderful part for me was the children seeing that God cares about their diet, and he cares about answering prayers for relatively small things, and that prayer is a vital way to handle relationships.
This all took me back down memory lane on why we have this wonderful grocery (which lowers our grocery bill significantly each week) in our neighborhood! I tell everyone that mentions UGO that God put it in our town as an answer to a prayer I prayed way back in the early 80's.
Back then we were living on a tight, tight budget (If I remember right it was about $125/week and we had four children.) and we literally had to pray in our money for food and shelter and clothing. One day I was listening to Christian radion and I heard them giving statistics on how much food was wasted in America. It was mind-boggling! I simply couldn't believe the amount of food that groceries and restaurants throw away that is edible. I stood right there in my living room and told the Lord that if He would bring it to us we would eat it.
The next few weeks were incredible! My 80-year old neighbor called me and said that someone had told her that the produce man at Marsh grocery would let you buy strawberries with crushed tips, bruised peaches, etc. for a little of nothing. We had to drive over to the store and meet him to get them. We got all kinds of fruit for around $3.00. I'd have to dig my journals out for the exact count but I remember having fresh pies made from the nectarines (I froze some of them) and lots of strawberries and other vegetables to eat.
Then my other elderly neighbor lady got to leaving me little dibs and dabs of vegetables from her garden on my picnic table. It wasn't enough for a meal but each time she'd leave them I'd blanch them and freeze them. I ended up making 26 quarts of vegetable soup from her little love offerings. The other funny part of it was that we ended up using almost all of them at one time when we had a houseful of people come over during a missions conference!
After that a man in our church worked in a meat department told me he'd be glad to bring us the lunch meats that were scheduled for being thrown out because they were outdated. I jumped at the chance and when he'd bring them I'd put them in the freezer. The children's lunches improved overnight.
Then a man who ran a potato chip route asked if we could use their throwaways. Of course we could! I had boxes of chips, cookies and other goodies stacked to THE CEILING in my utility room and ended up sharing with other families who were running a tight ship financially in our church. By that time I was a very excited woman!
Then a lady called me that went to our church and said their freezer had died and she was going to throw everything in it away. Would I want to get some of it to cook up and freeze or can? I made the trip to her house to see what I could salvage. I ended up with fish, meat and lots and lots of other things. I canned most of it and there was a lot to can.
I went to the local day-old-bread outlet and asked what they did with their throwaways. They offered to sell me all I wanted for $4.00. My back seat and trunk were full! I emptied it out in the back yard and had two or three of the other ladies from church come over. We took all of it that had cuts in the bags and laid that in the pile for the chickens. All the rest we divided between ourselves. My freezer was packed when I got done and it not only fed our family but others. We did this on a regular basis till the day we moved from Indiana to Tennessee.
God has been faithful since the day I prayed that prayer to answer it wherever we have lived. Once I heard of a man that was going to till his garden under because he was tired of it. The corn alone was a pickup truck's worth. My husband stopped by a field of green beans they were plowing under (because they had gone a few days over the picking time) and they let us have as many as we wanted. He had to simply uproot the plants and bring plants and all home to stay ahead of the plows! Our carport was literally covered with green beans as tall as my children's waists and we spent several days as a family "fellowshipping" around piles of beans! ) Do you remember this kids?
I have stopped by truck patches and offered to pick beans if I could simply have one bushel of beans for each bushel I picked for them. It was a deal. My little ones sat in the van and watched as I picked two bushels of beans. One for them and one for us.
Once at a youth activity the kitchen staff offered us the leftover sloppy joe mix. Little did they know that it fed us for one week. I became very creative at changing sloppy joe into a variety of meals. All these are true stories and I'm just telling some of them!
When we moved where we live now we were delighted when the UGO store opened. I jokingly said the Lord brought it to town for me! A lot of times it is very high quality (albeit sometimes unusual!) food but it has fed us some wonderful, near-gourmet meals!
When I went on Weight Watchers we were thrilled with the Healthy Choice lunch meat we got every week for anywhere from 33 cents per package to $1.00 per package. In the store the same meat was about $3.00. They also had light cottage cheese, regular cheese, and many other items that were needed on Weight Watchers for a fraction of the cost.
Then in 2007 I had my bout with Clostridium Difficile and because of the damage I could no longer eat the lunch meat and some of the other high fiber foods we had consistently had found at UGO. My husband came home one day from his weekly UGO trip and said, "You know Tami, I think God did put UGO there for you. Since you'd been unable to eat the Healthy Choice lunch meats they've not had them a single time." God does love humor doesn't He? He also loves to show us His love and care.
"Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. It not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" ( Matt. 6:25,26)
I'm afraid when I hear young women complaining and whining about how terrible things are and they even begin to express anger at their husbands for not providing (or they start talking about how they're going to have to go get a job and leave their home and children) I find myself thinking of the verse "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (I Tim. 6:8)
It doesn't even mention a house!
Most of the ones I hear moaning the loudest have high speed internet, two vehicles, cable or satellite tv, cell phones for hubby, themselves and sometimes the kids, they spend enormous amonts on groceries and eat out on a regular basis. I could slash their budgets by $200 per month with just a few adjustments. We don't have a right to complain until our houses contain only what is required to survive and we're without clothing or food for the day. (Remember, we are to pray for "daily bread".
He promises to dress us as beautifully as He dresses the lilies of the field and take better care of our feed than the fowls of the air.
May I recommend that you give Him each and every area of your life? Long ago I gave Him my wardrobe and I've had such beautiful clothing since then. It's been with very little effort on my part on top of that! I have given Him my possessions, my home, my food and my time. He's such a wonderful Keeper for us.
Learn to accept the budget the Lord has put you on and make the best of it. Learn to let Him provide your needs and be willing to roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease when you see an opportunity. Learn to live within your means instead of sacrificing what really matters to the gods of materialism and carnality. Learn to find joy in all the wonderful free things the Lord has for us. Learn to be creative and use what you have! Ask the Lord today to give you His value system and give you joy in what He provides! Take what He provides and use it to serve Him. It's a wonderful, wonderful life!