Saturday, November 20, 2010

iPad for Sale!

Us at Cloud Gate or more commonly called "The Bean" at Millenium Park, Chicago.

We are going to Dallas and Longview for Thanksgiving. We are also going to be coming to Texas for 3-4 weeks over December and January to save and earn money by staying with and working for our parents. We are thankful for them.

Also, if you or your friends or family are thinking about buying an iPad for someone for Christmas, come talk to me about it. I have two brand new, sealed 16 GB wifi iPads that I'm trying to sell for $50 off what you would pay at the Apple Store ($499 + $40 tax = $539 in store. I am selling for $489.) Apple care warranty is included for one year. Keep your ears open :)

Last night Dan asked me to make cookies for him, and I pulled out eggs from the fridge that had a sell-by date of July 27. I found out you can substitute corn starch and water for eggs!

Love yall,

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My awesome science family

Click on this link to see the video my family made--

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Birthday Freebies, Round 1

So far, I've redeemed my Aveda and Victoria Secret Birthday freebies - and boy were they awesome! The Victoria's Secret was just a free $10 to spend, so I got a $10 body wash. Aveda has you come in and do a "scent journey" where you smell all these different oils and scents, pick your favorite and they custom make a full-size product for you. I chose body lotion and it smells really good! If you are interested, go to their websites to sign up for their mailing lists to get your own free products during the month of your birthday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Master List

*I compiled this for a seminary email list I am on. Some of the information will be unique to St. Louis, but not all.

Cov-Lov Master List of Deals, Coupons, Freebies, and ways to make extra cash

Collective Buying Websites:
How It Works
  1. Each day they feature a substantial discount for something. For example - “$10 for $20 Worth of food at restaurant “X” - Sign up for daily emails to stay updated, or visit the site every day.
  2. You only get it if enough people join that day.
  3. Each day will feature a new and different deal.
    1. *Note: sometimes they do have a limited number they are selling and will run out.

Groupon- easily the most reccomended, highly publicized, and successful of this category.
Living Social

**There are litereally hundreds more of these kinds of sites.

Cashback websites:
How it Works
  1. If you ever plan to purchase something from an online retailer, check first to see if they are registered with any of these websites.
  2. First visit the website, then click on the link to the retailer.
  3. You will receive a percentage back in cash, check, paypal or giftcard.

*Note that some websites require a minimum $ amount or point number before you can cash out.

Also - here is a helpful Cashback rate comparison chart, to help you decide which site gives the best cashback on a particular retailer...

Surveys or emails for cash or giftcards:
How it Works
  1. Some of these overlap with the rebate sites
  2. The sites will send you:
    1. Emails that you get points or cents from for viewing the email and clicking the link. This takes awhile to “read” enough emails to get enough for a payout or giftcard, but for the most part I am able to average 3-4 $25 giftcards a year from this method alone from MyPoints.
    2. Emails that have links to surveys you can take to earn money (typically much more than those from category a.)
    • *Note that not all websites do both kinds of emails.

Coupon sites: - coupon match-ups for St. Louis area grocery stores, plus freebies, giveaways, etc. - extensive coupon match-ups for Walgreens shoppers - discounts on gift certificates to restaurants. *Note the fine print on minimum purchase requirements. - coupon match-ups for Missouri area grocery stores, plus freebies, giveaways, etc. - compilation of coupon codes for use shopping online at TONS of sites

Sample Sales:

Marketing Research companies in St. Louis that pay:
Delve - sign up for emails to alert you when they are looking for participants for research studies.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have done an in-home product trial over 2 weeks for $85.

Hatch - sign up for emails to alert you when they are looking for participants for research studies.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have done a 2-hour focus group for them before for $65. (We had to eat powdered donuts and honeybuns and give our opinion).

Peters Market Research - sign up for emails to alert you when they are looking for participants for research studies.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have been contacted by them many times by phone to see if I qualify for studies, but haven’t gotten one yet. From their emails, they seem to do a lot of health or disease-related studies.

Other helpful sources for frugal living and money-conscious spending:

Swagbucks - Everyone must use this!! It’s free money in your pocket! Just switch to using Swagbucks search engine for all of your online searching (instead of google, bing, or yahoo) and you will win “swagbucks” which you can redeem for Amazon giftcards and other great prizes.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have literally made over $100 in amazon gift cards this way.

Slickdeals - user-based forums for discounts, freebies, coupons, and sales
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have found this to be the most in-depth source for all my frugalista ways.

Money Saving Mom - this is a blogger who writes on frugal living and domestic financial issues, as well as posting coupon match-ups and other normal coupon blog things.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I also enjoy that she seems to write from a Christian worldview about finances (although I am unsure of her exact religious affiliation).

BzzAgent - this is a viral marketing company of which you can sign up to be a member They are paid by clients (brands) to have marketing campaigns where they let us, the members, have free trials of products that are sent directly to us if we are accepted into the campaign. Your only obligation is to spread “Bzz” and talk about the products openly and honestly with your friends, family, coworkers, whoever. Then you submit “bzz reports” back.
Submitted by: Brittany Smith - I have had a great experience with this company. I have participated in campaigns for Aveeno hair products, Softsoap bodywash, and Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner. In all campaigns, I received full-size products to use and keep for free, plus lots of great coupons and samples to give away to friends!

Free Amazon Prime for Students - Get Free 2-day shipping for 1 year Great deals! No cost to join.

Friday, August 20, 2010

All your base is mine

Me: i got a stool for my standing desk today
Jeff: a stool for your standing desk
Jeff: congratulations on undermining your own awesome

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Here we are at the beginning of the trail. Ready to go! You see we have our rain gear out because when we got out of the car it started raining.

Cataract Gulch is a four mile hike, very steep. Although it connects with at least one other trail that keeps going further, we were just going to do the Gulch up to Catarack Lake in-and-out. The original plan was to hike two miles in to camp for night one, two more miles to the lake for night two, spend one day at the lake playing, taking pictures, relaxing, etc, then four miles down on the last day.

We made it two miles up and were getting pretty tired. That may sound wimpy to some people, but this was my first time carrying 30 lbs up a steep hill and frankly I was very impressed at all times that my body kept going. It was getting later, it was still raining, and we found a workable place to make camp, although it was not as flat as we would have liked. Pretty though. We made Pad Thai for dinner this night.

The picture above was a shot the next morning. We put out our wet clothes to dry in the sun, and left a little later in the day. We did not know that this would be the last time we saw sun on trail!

Also at this point we realized that though we had lugged up my nice, HEAVY DSLR, extra telephoto lens, and tripod, somehow the battery for the camera was left in the car.

Right ahead and above our first campsite was this great series of waterfalls, which lulled us to sleep. Another bummer was we found an even better, flatter place to camp about 100 meters past where we camped, but such is life. We met a nice couple from Oklahoma who offered to take our picture with his camera and email it to us.

Continuing up, we had to cross lots of streams, which I did not expect. I was thankful for my $24 consignment leather, rainproof hiking boots for sure! Dan was really encouraging and let me lead all the way up so I could set the pace. I think he really enjoyed the hiking with me and I was proud of carrying all that weight.

We finally got above treeline the second day, and had some great views. The trail was really rocky and had some steep drops off the side occasionally. Lots of little critters lived in the rocky areas. We saw a lot of chipmunks and these critters that looked like a rat but with rounder ears, kind of like chinchillas. They made noises like "meep meep" and Dan would "meep" back and forth with them a lot.

We had to drink lots of iodine water, yummy! We definitely overpacked on the snacks, we had candy bars, hershey nuggets, gorp, dried mangos, and laughing cow cheeses.

About an hour after we got above treeline, it started to sprinkle, and then rain pretty quickly. We stopped to put on our rain gear and continued. The rain got harder and then very suddenly it was a hail storm with thunder and lightning and tiny little needles hitting my head and shoulders. Dan was not totally sure what to do at first, because he had never been in a hailstorm above treeline- there were no trees to get under! We ran down the hill on the side of the trail to maybe squat under some shrubbery, but saw that wasn't going to work because a stream was forming from all the runoff. We hiked a little further on until we found some higher shrubbery to squat under, and Dan got out the rain fly from our tent to put over us. The hail was really coming down, about pea-sized, and starting to cover the ground so much it looked like snow.

Dan was worried mostly about hypothermia and kept asking me how cold I was on a scale of one to ten. I kept saying 6 or 7 (it WAS cold) but I certainly had been MUCH MUCH colder before. We kind of hugged for body heat, not wanting to get out warmer clothes since we needed dry things for later to stay warm at night. We were both praying for God to protect us and make the rain stop soon! It was about 3:30pm and we really wanted to be getting into camp before evening. Finally the hail subsided to just a steady rain after about 30 minutes of huddling.

Dan decided he wanted us to get the packs back on and keep going to keep our body temperatures up from hiking. We put the packs back on and continued with him leading. We didn't really know how much farther to the lake and campsite; the map we had was small. I followed and we were able to go a little faster since the trail had leveled out some and wasn't so steep. We were mostly going over hills, up and down, crossing engorged streams in between them.

I remember at one point the trail itself was basically a stream, completely muddy and there was no way to not just splash and muck my way through. I was cold and soaking wet, tired from carrying a heavy backpack up a MOUNTAIN, and this was the one moment I could not help thinking to myself, "That's it! I just do not want to be here anymore!!" I think I only said out loud to Dan that I just didn't want to DO this, but before I finished saying it I was already splashing through. What other choice did I have? There was no where else to go but forward.

We reached the campsite about an hour after the hailstorm. I remember coming over yet another hill and Dan saying, "Here it is, this has to be the lake." And I was just so happy! "We made it!" I yelled. The rain was now just a sprinkle. Dan told me what he wanted us to do was immediately pitch the tent, take off our wet clothes and get in thermals in our sleeping bags to warm up. So we quickly unloaded the stuff, trying not to stay still for too long to avoid getting the shivers. At this point I remember thinking, "Thank you mom for buying me cuddle duds four years ago. Thank you Dan for buying me a fleece for Christmas. Thank you REI for having fleece pants in my size the night before we left for the trip. Thank you MyPoints for paying for this sleeping bag." We fell asleep for about an hour, then decided we should try to cook dinner before dark. We made guaco tacos, which were delish.

The next day we woke up to lots of fog and mist. Since it had been cold, rainy, foggy and misty the whole first two days, and the third day looked like it would be the same, we decided to cut the trip short and go home that day instead of spend a day being cold in the tent. We did hike up a little hill near our campsite at the lake to take pictures with Dan's point and shoot camera.

This shows the end of the trail. If you look at the tiny white dot in both pictures, that is our tent. To the right is Cataract Lake. Other than the critters, this morning was the first and only time we saw an animal on trail. A deer of some kind was hollering at us from across the lake. I don't know really how to describe the sound, I didn't know deer made sounds. It was kind of like a hooting or a honking, but more guttural.

We packed up and started back down the trail. Right as we were leaving the lake, we met another day hiker who had just made it up the trail with her dog Astro. She made me wish Lucy had come with us, although I don't know how she would have done being so wet the whole time. Astro was a poodle but you could hardly tell because of all the mud and muck covering him!

It took us more than four hours to make it down the four miles of trail. All the way down the trail I was thinking, "Thank you Ed and Kathy Sunder for lending me a hiking stick." Because my knees started hurting from the impact about a mile down and hurt the whole rest of the way. My left knee is still hurting when I walk today. I'm icing it.

This is what it looked like the whole rest of the way down, if you add rain:

But we made it down! Hooray!

And now it's time for Brittany to get some TLC. "Thank you mom and Japan, for my car."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wade Jewett Look Away

My friend Corinne encouraged me to post my deals from tonight's insane "wagging" (That is what they call coupon-shopping at Walgreens).

So here it goes:

Transaction 1

Stayfree Maxipads (1) @ 2.99ea
3M Scotch Packaging tape (4) @ 3.49ea
Dried Apricots (1) @ 1.00ea
Skintimate Shave Cream (1) @ 2.99ea
Clio Hair Trimmer (1) @ 4.99 ea
Nail clippers (1) @0.69ea

$2/1 Stayfree coupon (1)
$1/1 Scotch coupon (4)
$2.50/1 Walgreens in-ad coupon for Scotch (3)

Total: 10.62
Paid with
$5 Register Reward (2)
$3 Register Reward from Skintimate
$3 Register Reward from Stayfree
$5 Register Reward from Clio

Transaction 2

Stayfree Maxipads (1) @ 2.99ea
Stride Gum (3) @ 1.00ea
Plackers Mint Flossers (1) @ 2.00ea
Skintimate Shave Cream (1) @ 2.99ea
Benedryl Allergy (1) @ 4.99 ea
Tylenol Sinus (1) @4.99ea

$5/2 Allergy Medicine coupon
$1/1 Stayfree coupon
.50/1 Plackers coupon
B2G1 Stride gum coupon (took off $1.29, price before sale)
$1/2 Walgreens Stride coupon (took off $1.50/3)

Paid with
$5 Register Reward (2)
$2 Plackers Register Reward
$3 Skintimate Register Reward
$3 Stayfree Register Reward
$5 Allergy Register Reward

Transaction 3
*This transaction did not go so good. The cashier did not scan TWO of my coupons for the scotch tape, and I also gave one less $5 RR to pay with than I meant to so it ended up being high $$ out of pocket

3M Scotch Packaging tape (3) @ 3.49ea
Photo Albums (2) @ 0.85ea --> Going to use these to help organize my coupons
Skintimate Shave Cream (1) @ 2.99ea
Plackers flossing pirate swords (1) @ 2.00 ea
Tylenol Cold (2) @4.99ea
Schick Quatro Disposable Razors (1) @ 5.99ea
Hallmark Cards (8) @ 0.49ea

$2/1 Schick razor coupon
$1/1 Scotch tape coupon (1) --> I gave him 3! But he only scanned one :(
$2.50/1 Walgreens scotch in-ad coupon (3)
$0.50/1 Plackers (1)
$5/2 Allergy coupon (2)

Total: $20.61
Paid with
$5 Register Reward (2) --> I was so flustered b/c he was having trouble scanning all the items that I didn't give him the 3rd $5 RR I had!
$2.50 Register Reward (1)
$8.11 OUT OF POCKET --> so frustrating, this should have been $1.11
$5 Hallmark Register Reward
$5 Allergy Register Reward
$3 Skintimate Register Reward
$2 Plackers Register Reward
$1 Schick Register Reward
$3 Phantom Register Reward triggered by Schick

Transaction 4
On this transaction, I was back on my game. No more messups. And this was an awesome store-- everything in stock except the stride gum.

Stayfree maxipads (1) @ 2.99ea
3M Scotch Packaging tape (5) @ 3.49ea
Weird candy (2) @ 0.12ea --> needed to round total up to over $20
Skintimate Shave Cream (1) @ 2.99ea
Plackers flossing pirate swords (1) @ 2.00 ea
Tylenol Cold (2) @4.99ea
Schick Quatro Disposable Razors (1) @ 5.99ea
Hallmark Cards (8) @ 0.49ea

$2/1 Schick razor coupon
$1/1 Stayfree coupon
$1/1 Scotch tape coupon (5)
$2.50/1 Walgreens scotch in-ad coupon (5)
$5/2 Allergy coupon (2)

Total: $20.06
Paid with
$5 Register Reward (4)
$5 Hallmark Register Reward
$5 Allergy Register Reward
$3 Skintimate Register Reward
$3 Stayfree Register Reward
$2 Plackers Register Reward
$1 Schick Register Reward
$3 Phantom Register Reward triggered by Schick

Transaction 5

Stayfree Maxipads (1) @ 2.99ea
Stride gum (3) @ 1.00ea
Dried Mango (1) @ 3.00ea --> not pictured

$1/1 Stayfree coupon
B2G1 Stride gum coupon
$0.50/1 Walgreens Stride coupon (3)

Total: $5.49
Paid with
$2 Register Reward from Plackers
$2.50 Register Reward
$3 Stayfree Register Reward

So I started with $47 in RR and ended with $58 (a difference of $11)

Total Paid OOP $11.54

The total shelf, retail price of all the products at Walgreens would have been $175.88, but you also have to take that with a grain of salt because Walgreens does have a very high mark-up (so I have been told, and it seems true to me). The prices I listed in the transactions were after sales or in-store mark-downs.

This is pretty good, because if I had not messed up a bunch with that one transcation, I would have come out ahead. Essentially, the money I paid out I earned back in rewards for next time, though.

It's exhasting to type all this up, but I wanted to give some of you a good idea of what I'm learning to do with couponing.

Three times while I was checking out, random strangers (all men) made comments to me about how much my husband must love me and be proud of me for how much I am saving. I appreciated the compliments very much but also thought it was kind of strange that they were thinking about it only from my husbands point of view rather than my own. :)

A few girlfriends have told me that they want to start couponing with me this summer, so I'm excited to see how that will go. I think Corinne and I are going to start a club. Corinne, if you are reading this, I also wanted to tell you that I think someone from the seminary probably does coupons at Walgreens a lot too, because that 2nd transation I did at the Wags at Olive and Mason and they were cleaned out of all the Free-After-Register-Rewards items (that is the closest one to the seminary).

Goodnight everyone!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Genesis 3: The curse

When God curses in Genesis 3, is he pronouncing something that is a natural result of sin and disobedience because it could be no other way according to the way God has ordained the universe to operate? Or does God pronounce judgment and impose a sentence that would not necessarily have been in place had he not deemed it so right then? Does this question even make sense? Or is it significant? I am leaning toward it being a tension – the nature of justice is really known only perfectly through God, who is perfectly just. So only God would be able to pronounce a just sentence that also happened to be set up to be a natural and just consequence of sin in his created world. I think I am thinking too much in terms of a human perspective (which is the only one I have!) In a court of law, when a judge or jury give a sentence or a judgment, we ask the question of our own consciences – is this a just sentence? Well, in some sense it is justice, according to the system of justice our government has implemented. But God’s perfect justice is our standard, it is possible for us to say – no this such-and-such sentence is not just as God would see it (if our consciences lead us rightly). But if God is doing the sentencing, there is no higher standard of justice to apply to. God is his own standard. This is blowing my mind.

Ebates - Don't shop online without it!

I wanted to tell you about Ebates, a shopping site that gives you up to 26% Cash Back every time you shop online. You can shop at over 1000 stores including Barnes &, Gap, Target, and Expedia. Plus you get additional savings with exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales!

Anytime you start to shop online, before you make a purchase, be sure go to ebates first to get your cashback. I have already received over $20 in cashback from purchases I would have made anyway.

Sign up with Ebates today and we'll each get a $5 bonus when you make your first purchase.

Click here to sign up.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Suffering and Glory

Most of us who have started seminary already have a sense of the place of suffering in ministry – many seminary families struggle financially, for example, and have to live a simpler lifestyle than they once did. I find that I try to minimize the suffering that this causes our family at times – I try to think of it in terms of a challenge or game to figure out how to save money or make extra money. Other times, in order to avoid thinking about financial hardship now and in the future, I let our relative poverty make me feel better about myself – that someone we are more holy than others (ugh). I need to name it for what it is – its suffering and it sucks to not have money sometimes. It is a struggle to have integrity in my suffering – to legitimately recognize the sacrifice we are making as hard and painful, but to also not turn it into my own glory. Instead I give the glory of my own suffering to Christ.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jesus invading the heart

From page 58 of The Cross of Christ by John Stott:

The same evil passion influences our own contemporary attitudes to Jesus. He is still, as C.S. Lewis called him, “a transcendental interferer.” We resent his intrusions into our privacy, his demand for our homage, his expectation of our obedience. Why can’t he mind his own business, we ask petulantly, and leave us alone? To which he instantly replies that we are his business and that he will never leave us alone. So we too perceive him as a threatening rival who disturbs our peace, upsets our status quo, undermines our authority and diminishes our self-respect. We too want to get rid of him.

This passage is incredibly convicting. This is the way I often feel in marriage. I’m often exasperated and wanting my husband to get out of my business, so to speak, in our marriage. But my husband has every right to be in my business. In fact, if he wasn’t concerned about my life, heart, mind, actions, etc. he wouldn’t really be doing well in his role as husband to me. Jesus wants to be in my business because he loves me (way more than my husband). Sometimes it is really hard to understand why Jesus gets into our business, because it can be incredibly painful when things change, even if it’s simply your own mind or heart. But Jesus changes us for good. I’m glad Jesus isn’t defeated by my own resistance, just as he wasn’t defeated by death on the Cross. He continues to pursue believers and he remind us of the victory he has won for us over our sin and death.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Relish Retreat

This weekend we are going to Springfield, MO. Again! Twice in less than 4 weeks. Dan is preaching (again), the same sermon only to a different audience. We are meeting up with OURUF students who annually come to Doug's hometown for their leadership retreat.

I keep forgetting we are going and start to get excited about what movie Dan and I could see on Friday night. (We still have like 7 or 8 fandango gift certs that expire June 30). But then I remember we are going to this retreat and that is better.

I'm excited to see my friends, many of whom I haven't seen in a good while. Lucy will come with us. It will be nice to sleep in some AC, since we don't have a new window unit for our apt yet. It's getting hotter every night, and we made the mistake of eating frozen pizza and using the oven for dinner last night.

This is why I coupon

I did my first hard-core Shop N Save coupon/sale/10-50 thursday extravaganza today. For those of you outside of St. Louis or who don't know, that means I collected the coupon matchups for the sales at Shop n Save this week, collected my coupons, and shopped on Thursday, when they do a $10 off $50 purchase BEFORE coupons. Here was the result

4 Banquet frozen meals (for school lunches)
5 green giant steamers
2 coffee mate creamers
4 boxes of kashi cereal
2 4-packs Yoplait Yoplus yogurt
3 boxes Quaker granola bars
2 boxes of Quaker Life cereal
Oreo cakesters (free item)
2 20 count Cottonelle double rolls

On my receipt it says:

Total after tax $24.79
Advertised savings $10
Manufacturer Coupons $17.77
Red Tag Savings (Sales) $28.48

YOU SAVED A GRAND TOTAL OF..............$56.25
THAT IS A SAVINGS OF..................................70%

I haven't analyzed too closely this feeling I had coming out of the store. It's like the feeling when you win a game of Agricola against Doug Serven. Triumph. All went according to plan. Only with couponing I saved us $50.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Children's Ministry

If any of you were wondering where the last post came from (my Philosophy of Children's ministry) I have an answer for you. It is twofold.

1. I took a weekend class about a month ago on Children's Ministries. The PoM (Philosophy of Ministry) was part of my course integration paper.

2. In March, I started working for our church as the children's ministries intern. (I am raising some support for a stipend.) It seemed like a great idea to use the assignment as a way to really develop a PoM for me to operate under for my internship. Brooke, the Children's Director at our church (my fearless leader!) also welcomed my thoughts on the topic since our church is sort of reworking some of it's own PoM right now.

Now, I am also starting a NEW BLOG to post specificially about my internship. Hopefully, I can put in some decent time and regularly update it with what is going on in Children's Ministries at CPC, what I am learning, how I am integrating class material, funny stories from the kids, etc.

Without further ado:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Philosophy of Children's Ministry

Philosophy of Children’s Ministry by Bleard

At Covenant Presbyterian Church, we view all children as a blessing. Throughout the scriptures, children are most often referred to in terms of blessing (Psalm 128:1-4), and Jesus himself not only takes great delight in children, be regards them with honor and dignity (Matthew 19:13-15). At CPC we hope to guide children towards maturity in Christ of their whole person (in knowledge, heart, and activity).

Because children are people, and people are made in God’s image, we view children as image bearer’s of God, created by God to be in relationship with Him, with others, and with creation. Because sin entered the world, our relationships with all three have been broken and corrupted, no longer reflecting God’s original plan for us. Through the saving grace of Christ’s death and resurrection, God has provided the way for all three broken relationships to be restored and redeemed.

Our goal for Children’s Ministry at Covenant Presbyterian Church is to promote growth in grace and the reconciliation of each child to a relationship with God, relationship with others, and relationship with God’s world.

We hold to the following presuppositions in our ministry with children at Covenant Presbyterian Church (adapted from PCA2 developed by Donald Guthrie, and the RUF Philosophy of Ministry):

The Bible
The Bible is God’s revealed Word to His people and the authority under which we operate. The bible tells the story in which God is the hero and we see the big story of redemption: Creation, Rebellion, Redemption, and Restoration.

We at Covenant Presbyterian Church are a particular group of people who live in a specific place and time. We care about who we are as a church, and seek to live faithfully as the specific group God has called us to be in this particular context. We also care about what kind of environment we create within the children’s ministry – we strive to be welcoming to all, invitational, and incarnational in all aspects of ministry life.

The Individual
In the children’s ministry, we recognize that children are individuals, who are each made uniquely by God. We also realize that children have age-specific developmental challenges when it comes to how they learn and understand concepts, respond to stimuli, and view the world. Because of this, we strive to account for all kinds of learning styles and modalities. We are committed to creating a developmentally appropriate learning climate for all participants.

The Church
The children’s ministry at Covenant Presbyterian church is committed to not becoming a silo, operating apart from the rest of the church body. We are committed to working closely with all other ministries of the church to develop a climate within the larger church body that welcomes and has a meaningful place for children. We are committed to the nurture of children as well as their parents and families

The Learning Process
Because learning is a process, we are committed to coming alongside all children, wherever they may be in their faith journey. Our goal is maturity in Christ in knowledge, heart, and activity. We want our children to experience God’s love for them, and be transformed in mind, heart, and soul.

God is at Work
The children’s ministry at Covenant Presbyterian Church recognizes the reality of God being at work among his people, including children. The Holy Spirit works in the hearts of children of any age to bring them to saving faith. We realize that God has his own set of curriculum for each child, and that all faith journeys will not look alike. We are committed to praying for the children and families in our ministry, and seeking what God would have us do in all things.

At Covenant Presbyterian Church, we take great responsibility for the growth and nurture of children. The Lord calls us to teach our children about Himself and what He has done (Deut. 6). We hope to share the love of God with every child.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday and my half-birthday.
Dan's birthday is Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Free Pilgrim's Progress Audio Download

“The Pilgrim’s Progress” Free Christian Audio Book Download
Christian Audio is offering a free download “The Pilgrim’s Progress” this March. Just add the audiobook to your cart and then use coupon code PROG103 at checkout to get it completely free. This offer is available up to 3/31/10. Of course you need a Christian Audio account to download it. You to download the parts individually though but it's worth it.

Click here to download!

I think this website has free audio downloads every month. This one is an extra - their downloads for this month include The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and 50 Reasons Jesus Came to Die by John Piper.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tanga in the morning

It's 6:06 a.m.

I haven't slept all night - this is what drinking coca-cola after 7pm at night now does to me. Up all night - no sleeping - now I have to get out of bed, get dressed, drink coffee and drive to the church by 7:30 to practice for my big egg-shaking debut at Covenant Church this morning during worship. has a deal today: $2.77 for one year subscription to Everyday Rachel Ray (you can buy up to 4 years). It may say something like $36 or something, but register with the site and then log in and see if the price drops -- that's what I had to do. We got Dan a cheap sub to Backpacker magazine and there was a problem with it, and Tanga gave us a $5 credit so went ahead and used it up on this.

Dan and I get Backpacker, Food & Wine, Real Simple, The Alcade (my alumni magazine), Business Week, and now Everyday with Rachel Ray. I think the only ones we paid for out of those is the Backpacker, the rest were from rewards programs or gifts.

What magazines do you subscribe to?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Reading List

Books Read in 2010 (so far)

The Hunger Games – a young girl is sent to a fight to the death by her overbearing government but finds a way to bring courage and dignity to a terrifying and grotesque system.

Catching Fire (sequel to above) – rumbles of rebellion against the totalitarian state and hollow culture of the capitol city.

The Other Boleyn Girl – way too long, but dang the Tudors were messed up.

Created in God’s Image – We affirm man’s personhood and his creatureliness. The image of God in man is dynamic, not static (sanctification). Evil’s origin is a riddle.

The Sacred Marriage – Anecdotal, reflective, compelling. Marriage is to make us holier, not happier.

The Jesus Storybook Bible – “Why has no one ever told it like this before?”

God Our Teacher – How to account for the Holy Spirit in our teaching?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


John Dewey taught us many things but none more important than this statement: "Perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is that people learn the thing they are studying at the time they are studying it."

-Nothing Never Happens (John D. Hendrix)

This weekend I am taking a weekend class on Children's Ministry.

Dan is going to be in charge of small groups at our church starting in the summer.

I am going to be writing curriculum for WeBS (Wednesday evening Vacation Bible School) for our church this summer.

Dan is teaching a few classes of the Intro to Covenant class during sunday school this spring (when the regular teacher is preaching in worship).


Oh yeah, and lots of regular classes still going.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


2 locations and 5 purchases later

After sale prices:
$135.85 in merch

Spent out of pocket:

Coupon Savings:

Also, I will be sending off for a $7 rebate for the organic shampoo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I don't like Saint Valentine's Day

It's not because it is overly commercialized... let's face it, what holiday isn't commercialized? We are a culture of commerce and consumerism. That doesn't make giving gifts bad - although we might do well to think about idolatry and materialism as we browse the candy aisles at Wal-Mart.

It's not because I don't love my husband, or that I wouldn't readily use any excuse to celebrate the romantic love we share. I do. I would.

It's not because there isn't any real reason or known history behind the holiday, especially about this Valentine character, who probably died a martyr for reasons unrelated to romantic love (though there are many fabled stories who tell differently).

It's not that the holiday might have pagan roots - who cares? God's common grace given to all of his creation means that we can celebrate God's good things when they reflect the truth about life or about God (celebrating love (eros) in marriage = awesome).

No, none of these reasons galvanize me to dislike any sort of holiday, even Valentine's. What I do dislike is remembering what it felt like to have the world celebrating a holiday that I was excluded from, because I had no romantic relationship at the time. I think I would very much more enjoy a holiday celebrating romantic love if it was actually only a piece of a 3-part holiday celebrating all three types of biblical love: agape, eros, and philia. Any reason we should have a whole day celebrating just one of those and not the other two? Frankly, if we are going to celebrate one, wouldn't it be better to celebrate agape love, sacrificial love, the kind of love manifested by God towards us in Christ?

I guess we could make an argument that we do celebrate that - on Easter. But do we do anything with it? One thing that I would love to affirm about Valentines is that we are at least DOING something with our love - going outside of ourselves to love another, by giving gifts or serving dinner or even just spending time with the human object of our love.

Dan and I did not celebrate Valentine's day this year. The day after, we talked about why not (I, at least, had told him I didn't want to - but the main reason is because we were driving back in snowstorm from Kansas City). I think we decided that from now on, we won't boycott it or anything, but we might just start to minimize the focus on eros celebration and look for ways to celebrate agape and philia love as God's good gifts to his people - in marriage, in communities and the church. How could we do this?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Walgreens Deals for the Week

Shopping List:

(1) Quilted Northern Bathroom Tissue, 9 big rolls, $3.99
(3) Nabisco Ritz Crackers 8oz $.99
(6) Reach Toothbrush 2 Pack $1.99
(2) Dove Men's Body Wash $5.99
(2) Kotex Feminine Care 2/$6.00
(3) Arm & Hammer Deoderant $2.79
(1) Aquafresh Toothpaste $2.19
(2) Oceanspray Cranberry Juice $2.50
(1) Burts Bees Knockoff Lipbalm $2.99

This totals to $72.28 worth of products (and some of those are already marked down to sale prices).

After in-store sales, coupons, and register rewards:

We paid $10.77 (out of pocket)

My favorites were:

1. Getting 12 toothbrushes for $3
2. Getting 3 sleeves of ritz crackers for free
3. Getting the dove men's bodywash for free - so Dan will not have to use my fru fru stuff anymore!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Conan O'Brien's Final Thoughts

Dan and I were so impressed with Conan's last words. Leaving well is important. Good job Conan.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today in my class "Humanity, Christ and Redemption" Dr. Matthews gave a helpful Intro Lecture on what Systematic Theology is and why it is important. Here are a few things from my notes I found especially good:

A chart showing all the categories of systematic theology. The column on the right are the classes the MA degrees take and what they cover.

Also, here is a quote for you:

"The degree to which you diminish the depth of sin is the degree to which you diminish the glory of humanity. And the degree to which you diminish the glory of humanity is the degree to which you diminish the depth of sin."

What Dr. Matthews was getting at is the fact that all the categories we study are equally important and affect our views of the other. And of course they all affect the entirety of our lives, etc.

Yay systematics!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time for a new post

I quit my job! Ok this is actually sort of old news. I quit in December, and my last day was Jan 15th or something. I am going to school full-time to finish my degree for sure before any accidental babies come or anything like that (not really-- but it will give us more flexibility to have my degree over quicker for future opportunities, etc).

I'm also going to be the full-time housekeeper-cleaner-cooker-budgeter and everything in between for our life maintenance. This will hopefully free Dan up to work his part time job consistently and also keep up with his own studies.

This semester the class we will take together will be Christian Ethics, taught by Dr. David Jones. Dr. Jones is retired (I think?) and is coming back to teach this class this one semester, which he used to teach. So we tried to arrange to take it this semester since we both need it.

Here's the rest of our schedules:

Hebrew in Exegesis (Translating lots of the Old Testament!)
Pentateuch (Focus in on the Moses books)
Christian Ethics (The moral of the story is...)
Calling, Vocation, and Work (Doctors, Lawyers, and Bears oh my)
Gospels (Dr. Doriani, holla)

Teaching and Learning (This class is so meta)
Curriculum Analysis and Design (My only class that will ever have a prerequisite)
Humanity, Christ, and Redemption (They fit all of this into one class??)
Christian Ethics
Leviticus - Audit (Lots of rules, but important stuff)
Gospels - Audit

I am also excited that I am auditing Leviticus, because Dan and I will be studying some of the same material. Dr. Jay Sklar is teaching it, who is also Dan's Pentateuch professor. He has apparently been working on a commentary on Leviticus for a long time. Also, Dan says he must live close to us because he has run into him several times while walking Lucy, who Dr. Sklar says is cute (brownie pts!)

School starts Thursday.

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