Saturday, June 25, 2011

Counseling

I took a counseling class through my church a couple of years ago with the hopes of serving the Lord through counseling women involved with a ministry called Tender Hearts House of Hope.  Things changed after I learned I was pregnant, then learned I was pregnant with twins, and then of course losing one of the twins. My heart was heavy with grief and sadness, and I simply didn’t think I was mentally capable of taking on another woman’s problems when I myself was struggling.

That all changed this past January when the Lord really got a hold of my heart. He showed me that I have a lot to offer in terms of “life experiences” that could be beneficial to other women. When the opportunity arose for me to once again become involved with THHH, I agreed to be of service whenever the need for counseling arose. Well, on Tuesday I was informed that I could begin counseling on Wednesday evening if I wanted. I accepted, but of course I was nervous. I can’t write a whole lot about my counselee, but I will say we had some things in common.

Wednesday evening went well, and I was encouraged by her willingness to share with me. Although I won’t be counseling her any longer since she has left THHH, I did benefit from my time with her. I learned that if I start taking someone through a quiz tract, I need to make it a priority to complete it. We simply ran out of time and I assigned it to her as homework. From now on, I am going to do the quiz tract first to ensure we have ample time to go through it in detail. I also learned that I need to write with a ball-point pen and not a felt-tip for purposes of carbon copies.

My time with my counselee was ordained by God and He knows her heart as well as my desire. I don’t know the purposes He has for her (or me, for that matter) but I do know the Lord will continue in His sovereignty over all. I’m thankful for that!! =)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Anna

I’ve been reflecting lately on my grandmother and her amazing life. In August she will celebrate her 97th birthday. She has wonderful health with the exception of dementia. Over the years it has gotten progressively worse, so now she longer knows anyone except my aunt who visits her daily. I haven’t seen my grandmother in 2 years because it’s painful to see her when she doesn’t know who I am; I don’t want to remember her that way. Perhaps it’s selfish, but I prefer to remember her as the feisty, tough Italian woman she was.


My grandfather passed away when I was 4, and my grandmother has yet to remove her wedding band. She has been ready to die since my grandfather passed because she misses him so much, and it’s sort of funny that she has lived so many more years. Whenever the conversation of her dating came up, she immediately dismissed it and never considered it. My grandfather, her husband, is her true love and she is ready to be with him in heaven.

My grandmother was born Anna Bongiovi and grew up in Pennsylvania, working alongside her 7 brothers and 1 sister running their family grocery store. Her parents were immigrants, and while I don’t know for certain, I think my grandmother was sort of embarrassed by the fact that they didn’t speak good English. When I was a child I asked her a few times why she never taught her children to speak Italian, and she always gave me the same answer: “This is America. We speak English here.” My grandmother grew up speaking fluent Italian as a child, yet the only time I ever heard her speak it was when she would tell a certain story about a fire or curse. She didn’t want us grandkids to know what she was saying, and we didn’t, but we knew better than to repeat it. =)

My grandparents met as children and my grandfather’s family moved to Akron, Ohio at some point during their childhood. For many, many years they kept in contact through letters. I know my grandmother still has those letters, and I would love to be able to read them. I used to love to hear my grandma tell the story of how they met, kept in touch with each other, and then eventually married. I have a picture of my grandparents in the 1940s, when they were my age now. They are just beautiful, both of them. My grandmother was a striking woman, thin build with jet black hair and a creamy complexion. My grandfather, whom I tend to favor, was also dark-haired but had an olive complexion. He worked for Firestone in the rubber factory for many years and eventually retired from there.

My grandmother used to tell stories about working in the grocery store. Keep in mind, back in those days, family’s lived above their shops. My favorite story was about when the store caught fire one night and she woke up first to the smoke. She basically ran through the house, warning her family so they could escape. When she would tell us the story, she’d always tell about the warning part in Italian, and I loved to listen to her speak it.

I have many fond memories of my grandmother, and am so thankful for the time I was able to spend with her as a child. In my mind she will always be the best Italian cook, especially of meatballs, gravy (sauce), pasta with broccoli, and chicken soup. I know when she passes away, she won’t leave behind a legacy that most people outside of her family will remember. Although there are famous Bongiovi’s in our family, she’s not one of them. But, she has passed on the legacy of determination, hard work, and perseverance in order to get what you want out of life. She could have cried herself to death after my grandfather’s passing, but instead she moved forward and moved on in her life, celebrating the highs and mourning the lows that naturally occur over time in a family. I know that although she’s not perfect, in my mind she is the Proverbs 31 woman, and I do call her blessed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Little Happy Dance!

Only been couponing for about 2 weeks and already I have saved almost $200. My goal of $250 per month is going to be met, for sure!! :)


Hello wallet, meet my savings!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Couponing

As you probably noticed, I added a new ticker to the top of my blog. I have recently started to be more diligent with my use of coupons because of the fact that we will soon need to buy a larger vehicle.  We do not currently have a car payment and would like to keep things that way, but quite honestly, we don't have the cash saved up to pay for a vehicle in full (at least not enough cash for a newer vehicle). My goal is to save $2,000 by the end of January 2012. That equates to a savings of about $250 each month.

I have always used coupons if I had one, but never really made an effort to maximize my savings potential. Until now. And it's awesome!!! I wish I had started sooner because the savings available are crazy. I love the feeling I get when I save 50% or MORE on foods and items we use every week. Our grocery bill is typically $80-$100 per week or $320-$400 per month. That seems high but considering we're a family of 7, that averages out to about $45-$50 per person per month. Saving 50% means that my goal is pretty realistic, and it excites me that I can contribute financially to my family.

I have only been couponing for a couple of weeks and the savings on my ticker are not inclusive. I couldn't find all of my receipts to include (like the one where I bought 10 boxes of cereal for $9.86!! I saved almost $3/box or 76% on that trip!!!) I think seeing my savings each week will help keep me motivated to continue to coupon and save for our new(er) vehicle. Once we buy our SUV (or whatever), I can start saving for other things, like a Disney cruise or another fun family vacation we've been wanting to do. =)

* Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.  ~Proverbs 10:4