Monday, November 3, 2014

Forgetting to Say Thank You

Thankful to be writing for Today's Frugal Mom.


"Thanksgiving is about expressing gratitude.  It’s a time to reflect on the things we have been given, the things we have been kept from, and the things the Lord has removed from our lives.
To get into the spirit of the holidays, we moms typically create daily exercises of gratefulness by making lists of what we are thankful for and posting them on our Facebook pages. We make paper or stick trees to hang leaf ornaments on, until finally we gather around a table overflowing with food, and one by one we share our Thanksgiving appreciation with others.
Teaching our children and reminding ourselves about gratitude is a powerful tool that we should all apply to our lives, but often we miss the real point of these activities." Continue reading here.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Consuming Consumption

School is starting again and I've written another article for Today's Frugal Mom.

"School fliers arrive in the mail touting one-cent glue and crayons for a quarter.  Week after week in August, big chain stores make me believe that I need several hundred binders; they make me wonder how I am existing without hole reinforcements for loose-leaf paper.  Flash forward to September when I have enough glue for three kindergarten classes and possess more hole punches and push pins than any family would ever need in their entire life.  Not to mention, my collection of binders in rainbow colors has grown exponentially and all of my children are wearing hole reinforcements like French manicures.
I’m not sure why I do this to myself. Not just at back-to-school time, but practically every time I am presented with an opportunity to acquire something with little or no money.  A clearance rack, a yard sale, a dollar store–suddenly I should be on a TLC show because my appetite for inexpensive material things is insatiable.  Please don’t get me wrong; I’m not opposed to having extra things on hand.  I totally see the value in that. My issue is having things on hand and then never using them.  My problem is stockpiling.  Truly, if there is ever a shortage of glue at your local office supply store, it’s probably because I bought it all.
Over a year ago, God began speaking with me about my consumption and how it was consuming my life." Continue reading here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Because She's Happy

Another article for Today's Frugal Mom

"My friend posted a beautiful picture of her daughter jumping at the water’s edge on a sandy beach with the caption, “Because she’s happy!”  It made me think about my own children at the beach.  They jump, shriek, dance, and roll in the water and sand for no other reason than pure joy.  It’s a beautiful thing, with inhibitions lost in the moment of expressing unadulterated happiness.
Her photo made my soul smile, but the more I thought about it, it made me a little sad, too.  My sadness wasn’t for my friend or her daughter, but for my children and me.  My friend’s daughter has Down Syndrome and, while I am no expert on the matter, every person I have ever met with Down’s has never lost their ability to express their contagious child-like joy.  My kids, on the other hand, most likely will, because somewhere on this journey through life I’ve lost mine.
It’s not that I am not joyful, but somewhere I picked up and applied a joy filter to my life.  I think many of you can relate.  It tends to happen when we become cognizant of others and how they will perceive us, of how they will judge.  We begin forfeiting the opportunity to fully embrace our joy, because we stifle the actions that our bodies yearn to express."  Continue reading here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When Your Kid Stops Believing

"My 16-year-old son came home from spending a week at a renowned Christian camp and announced that he didn’t know if he believed  in God anymore.  Not the thing a mom would expect to hear within five minutes after getting in the car with the kid who was just high-fived by the entire coach bus of students and leaders and seemingly couldn’t stop smiling.  Nope.  I was expecting the typical camper spiritual high.  The on-fire-for-Jesus excitement after total Jesus immersion for a week.  Instead I got the 'I don’t know if this God stuff is for me.'” Continue reading here.

Sharing my heart on Today's Frugal Mom.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sheltered Lives


My latest article for Today's Frugal Mom:




"   My children wear seat belts in the car.  I make them wear helmets when they ride things with wheels.  I limit their candy intake.  I have a water filter on our sink to ensure the water they drink is clean. I don’t allow them to play by the road. These are typical boundaries to ensure our children’s safety that I think most people would agree upon, because they physically protect our kids.
However, when I say my children are not allowed to watch certain movies or t.v. shows, people tell me I’m overprotective. If I mention that our teenagers are not allowed to date, people think I am robbing them of their youth.  When I mention that one of the reasons I homeschool is because I would like input into who is influencing our children’s lives, people assume I am controlling.
I find the irony somewhat amusing that people of today’s culture would never want their children to have skinned knees because of the scar it would leave, but they believe that a teenager with a broken heart builds character."...  Continue reading here...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Laundry Washing World Changer

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This women is an artisan in a residential program in Tennessee that provides housing, food, dental, medical, therapy, education and job training for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction.
I think most people want to make a difference in the lives of others, but often they don't know how.

That was me.

Wanting to make a difference in my home, in my new community, in the world, but completely unaware of how to do it.    I wanted to fulfill the commandment of Christ to make disciples in all the nations.  It was a command I had been neglecting.  I knew this command went deeper than monetary support with our sponsor child and missionary support. He was calling me to take action.  I was excited at the prospect and wanted to get messy, get loud, get moving, but I still had a husband and seven kids to care for.  That's when I sought out Trades of Hope.

They are doing the work.  They aren't just throwing money at the world's problems, they are changing lives by empowering women; strengthening community by giving hope; transforming generations by breaking harmful cycles; and because of that they are making disciples in all the nations.

I thought, "Amen! I want to be a part of that!"

Thanks to Trades of Hope I can. I can actively pursue helping others, building relationships, being an advocate, making disciples, and still keep up with my children's neverending laundry. Life changing and Laundry? Amen, again!

I am now a voice for a woman whose voice is lost across the sea, whose voice is stifled by government, pimps, and culture.  I think you will want to be her voice too and the way to get her talking is wearing her handmade goods. When someone asks you about it, you tell her story and then her voice is heard once more.

Help me change lives:  www.mytradesofhope.com/ericaberge
This woman is an artisan from a group in Uganda that feeds, educates, and encourages orphaned and vulnerable children and families in Uganda.
This woman is an artisan from a group in Uganda that feeds, educates, and encourages orphaned and vulnerable children and families in Uganda.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
Proverbs 31:8-9

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Touch of Jesus

I've been missing.

I know I've been MIA from the bloggysphere before, this time my excuse was legit.  We have picked up all we have known, everything our children were familiar with and left it behind as we transplanted from one coast to the other.

It's been tough.
It's been tougher than tough.
It's sucked.

After months of loneliness, of frustration, of loathing; I have sought the Lord and endured.  It's not a hundred percent, but I'm walking.  I'm lonely, frustrated, and occasionally loathing but I'm holding His hand.

I feel it.

Here's my latest article for Today's Frugal Mom:

"My family is in the midst of one of the biggest transitions of our lives.  We have moved back to the state where both my husband and I grew up.  It’s where we went to school, where we fell in love, and where all of our extended family resides."...  Continue reading here...