This Is Me

Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Finances & Adoption: Seriously?

God's Riches Poured Out...
So last month I posted a rather honest discussion about where my husband and I were at financially.  We had recently finished paying off over $10,000 in credit card debt, and our next endeavor was to pay off our car.  It helps to stay accountable with yourself when you know you've shared personal knowledge with a flock of people.

I'm going to stop that thought real fast and share one reason why having no debt was so important to us.  Not only is it a burden in and of itself, but my husband and I have a burning desire to adopt internationally.  And because of the expense of international adoption, having debt seems like a brutal anchor preventing you from bringing your child home.  It's a horrible feeling.

Thankfully a fire was lit under us and we turned our finances over to God.  A few things we did included: making ourselves accountable to someone (so important!), set a fairly strict budget, made giving the first priority on our budget, and aggressively restricted unnecessary purchases (although I do have a small coffee that terrible?).  Not sure if God just wanted to bless our imperfect attempt at faithfulness, or if He is eager to get our child home to us, but since last month He supplied our needs "far more abundantly than all that we could have asked or imagined."  In other words, in less than one months time, God hugely blessed us and we were able to pay off the entire remainder of our car loan.  We are now officially, 100% debt free.


Continuing to Trust...
I'm not a huge fan of flipping open my Bible to an arbitrary place and having God speak to me randomly.  WAIT - I didn't say I've never done it - I have, and believe I have been spoken to.  But as an everyday devotional, it's not my personal style.  I do, however, believe God loves His children, and His desire is to fellowship with us, so its definitely within His capacity to speak to us on a personal level - we just need to be available and listening.  

With that said, I had the amazing opportunity to go off to a women's retreat with a good friend of mine this weekend.  It was AMAZING.  Though I could go on forever about the speakers, the fellowship, even the food, I want to keep this tied into the subject of my post - finances and adoption.  Despite God's continued faithfulness in our life, I am nervous about the idea of funding an international adoption without the use of debt.  It weighs heavy on my shoulders and is a constant prayer on my lips.  

Well, the final night of the retreat ended with an extended time of worship and prayer and I knew more prayer on this situation could only be good.  So as I silently attempted to word my prayer request just right (tacky, but I was really fearful about how I was even going to ask for prayer!), the same visual kept coming to mind:  this situation was like a giant mountain that I didn't know how to climb, and I didn't have the ability to move.  There was a lull in the worship then and I opened my eyes to see if the prayer and worship time was coming to an end, but no, the worship leader started into the next song, singing, "Saviour, He can move the mountain..."  Of course that turned me into a crying mess.  It wasn't even an answer to my prayer request - it was an answer to my stupid attempt to grammatically format my prayer request!

But then I shared my request with  a couple ladies who had made themselves available to pray.  And before we even started praying, one of them let me know that adopting a child is worth going into debt for, and that we have to be willing to make sacrifices sometimes.  I was taken aback and wrestled with the "wisdom" that she shared with me.  Of course I would be willing to take out a loan, if that was really the only option and God made it clear it was necessary.  But is He not able to provide in a manner that doesn't require 14% interest?  

I spent that night talking with my friend about the incident.  Why would it seem like I was given a promise (God could move mountains) only to be told that debt shouldn't be considered bad in this situation?  Why have my husband and I both been convicted about our debt, and been blessed so richly when we purposed ourselves to get rid of it?  

It didn't take long for my mind to find peace.  The next morning I was browsing through some books when I picked up one entitled "Fragments That Remain." 

 It is a compilation of notes and letters written by Amy Carmichael, a missionary to the children of India.  I flipped open the book, not to be spoken to, but to see how the book was formatted (I'm starting to see an odd pattern), and the page I opened to had the heading "Finance" written in bold italics.  That caught my eye so I read what it had to say:

Are we asking for too much?  But is God poor?  He whose city streets are paved with gold, cannot He give us not spoonfuls only, of the dust of these streets, but handfuls too?  I love the symbol of those streets - gold underfoot, just where it should be.
So long as the word is in the Bible, "It is NOT the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish," so long surely must we continue to save children, 
and therefore we shall have gold enough to save them.

In summary, I don't believe God would give me competing desires.  But I do believe God's heart is for His children, and He wants to provide in a way that will bring glory to Him.  I just don't think a loan accomplishes that goal.  For one, He has provided my husband and I with creative abilities, and I think using those to do fundraising will be a great start.  So look out friends, we're headed on a wild ride!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

DIY: Old Ugly Chair

When we moved into our current house, the previous tenants had left behind a couple things:  a useful bathroom cabinet, a washer and dryer (these were a godsend!), and this old, ugly chair:

Did I mention old and ugly?  Being a family of 5 who only owned 4 chairs we definitely made use of it, but not without hesitation.  And when we finally accumulated enough chairs to justify ridding our habitat of this...this...thing, I promptly posted an ad on craigslist and generously offered it to the community.  Who knows - perhaps there was another family of 5 with only 4 chairs to their name.  I advertised it the same way any old, ugly thing is advertised:  "Well loved chair in need of caring new home!"  I had previously given away a broken vacuum, the washer and dryer set (after they broke down), a "well loved" t.v. table that was missing its only shelf, and pumpkins left over from Halloween.   And yet, despite the great advertisement, I could not manage to dispose of this, well, this ugly menace.  I wasn't about to send something so practical to the dump, and since apparently nobody wanted it, I was stuck.

Fine, chair, have it your way.  But I wasn't about to take this abuse sitting down.  So I grabbed some sandpaper, paint, and a hot glue gun (yeah...easier than sewing) and got to work.  End result?  THIS:

Take THAT chair!

I even had some fun adding shabby-chic touches to it:

So I say let this serve as a warning to all old ugly chairs...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DIY: Facial Toner

A couple weeks back I went and had my first facial.  Having grown up with acne, I spent a good deal of time washing my face with that odd-smelling Neutrogena acne wash.  But when my skin finally cleared itself up, the time spent on my face also disappeared.  So when I visited the esthetician, it was no wonder why she wrote out a loooong prescription of facial to-do's, neatly transcribed on a bundle of green post-it notes.  Of the utmost importance (in her opinion) was the toner.  Apparently this was going to rejuvenate and revitalize my face, giving me baby soft skin.  Well, I no longer have a baby, but I do have a 3 year old and that was motivation enough.  So it was with a sense of urgency that I left her office and headed straight to Sephora's to seek out this so-called miracle in a bottle.

When I arrived at Sephora and asked where I could find the toner, I was promptly directed to a bottle no bigger than a salt shaker selling for $499.95.  Okay, not quite that much, but $24 for a couple ounces of liquid did seem a bit outrageous to me, so I kindly asked for a sample - you know, to test and see if I like it - and headed out the door, tonerless.

I spent the ride home weighing out the pros and cons of spending that kind of money on a miracle.  But was it even a miracle?  Hmmm....maybe not.  When I got home, I researched toners because that's what I do - research. And I found that about half the people out there say toners are useless.  Really?  It definitely made me glad I didn't plop down my life savings for such a small bottle of uselessness, but I also wondered why the esthetician so strongly encouraged it.

It was then that I came up with the solution of solutions:  I'll use toner.  But not any toner.  My OWN toner.  I had heard that apple cider vinegar has a million uses, so I researched several recipes and came upon one that had some amazing reviews and would cost pennies:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (I used organic)
1/2 cup water (I used distilled)
2 tbs honey (I used organic)

I whisked all the ingredients together and poured them into an adorable bottle that I picked up for $2 .99 at World Market (but essentially got for free with the use of a coupon and rewards).  The instructions say to keep it in a cool dark place.  Since I don't live in a cave, I figured my bathroom cabinet would be the next best place.  And though the smell is nothing to brag about, the product itself cost me next to nothing, contains all natural, organic ingredients, and leaves my face feeling super refreshed!!!  

I'll update in the future to let you know if any miracles occur.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Food 101: Hugs and Quiches

I'll do anything to get my kids to eat healthy.  I believe it was one of the greatest gifts my mom gave me growing up and it's something I want to pass on, whether my kids appreciate it or not.

So tonight was another brinner: breakfast for dinner.  Since my fridge was getting scarce (remember, I'm down to ONE shopping day a week) I pulled out the eggs to make some broccoli-cheddar quiche.  Quiche is already one of my favorite foods so no tricks are needed to get me to eat the stuff.  However, my kids are a different story.  While they LOVE eggs, they're not fond of cooked vegetables.  And since life is not going to cater to their preferences, its my job to teach them to eat like adults.  But who says I can't have fun doing it, huh?

If you've never made quiche, it is about the easiest thing in the world to do.  I don't even follow a recipe, but to aid those uninformed, here's a general idea:

Crust, by hand:  plop about half a stick of softened butter and about 3/4 cup of flour on top.  Sprinkle in some salt.  Get a knife and literally cut at the butter until its in small chunks and coated in flour.  Then grab some ice water and dribble about a teaspoon at a time, and begin stirring.  Keep at this until it balls up.  Dump it onto the counter.  If its sticky, throw a bit more flour onto the ball.  If not, work it together for a minute, then roll it out.  If making crust scares you, look up a more formal recipe.  =)

Quiche:  crack open about 5 eggs into a bowl.  Pour in 1/2 cup milk, cream, or half n half - its really up to you.  Sprinkle in salt, pepper, paprika, cajun seasonings - again, what sounds good to you.  Prep your mix ins.  For me, it was broccoli - which I steamed on the stove-top and chopped coarsely - and some grated cheddar cheese.

Making it fun:  instead of doing the traditional pie plate, I pulled out my miscellaneous collection of ramekins.  I pressed in some pastry dough into each one, put in a little broccoli and cheddar on the bottom, then topped if off with the egg and cream mixture.  Baked these little cuties for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I then cut up some mango to serve alongside.

Of course my girls helped me every step of the way, which adds to the fun.  

P.S. A special thanks to my friend Andrea (check out her awesome blog: and her post about her meat pies which totally inspired me to make this quiche for dinner!
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