Help a Girl Out. Celebrate.


It’s November! It’s also my birthday month. I know women shouldn’t reveal their age but I’ll be 34. Here’s the thing, I’m not a big birthday celebrator. So instead of being stressed out and trying to come up with gift ideas, I have another plan.

I’m asking for water.

More specifically clean water for kids across the world that don’t even have access to it.

You want me to do what?

Every day, 1,400 kids under the age of 5 die from water-related illnesses. 

1 in 9 people around the world don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.

 As part of a month of being thankful and the celebration of my 34th Birthday, I’m asking you to consider your financial position in the world. Full Disclosure: Worldwide, I am in the top 0.24% when it comes to our personal wealth. (Check out the Global Rich List to find your own ranking.)

Help a girl out! If everyone who reads this blog gave $2 (the cost of a single bottle of water from a convenience store) We could exceed my goal of a $340 donation to Charity: Water.

I Don’t Donate to Charity…Usually

For years I have struggled with the idea of giving financially. I really want to but I always have second thoughts. We have student loans we are trying to pay down, we would like to buy a home some day, we have kids we would like to provide a few “extras” for.

Financially giving beyond our tithe has been a very slow process for me.

But, grace and maturity has set it. This has been the year for my husband and I. The year where we have been really honest about our wants and our needs. The year my husband not only said “we should give more” but checked in and made sure we were doing it.

Giving to charity and asking others to join me, this is way outside my comfort zone.

Yet Christine Caine reminds me that “we are never outside our comfort zone if we are walking in the presence of the Great Comforter.”

So I’m asking, point blank, help a girl out. Join me on my journey to give more, fear less and celebrate the one life I’ve been given.

So Why Charity: Water?

I don’t know if you remember the “ALS Bucket Challenge” earlier this year. It was fun and an amazing testimony to what happens when people start talking and sharing and working together. I was blown away by the huge amount of money raised for that cause and I hope it makes a life long impact for many.

I was also a little distressed that at the same time this challenge was happening that Charity:Water was trying to raise a comparatively very small $1 million to fully fund a water project in the Sudan, and they were struggling to get there.

I’ve got a vested interest in water projects. A friend of ours works overseas to help clean water systems work for desolate and desperate communities. Following their story has been a lesson in patience and perseverance and celebration.

I believe in what Charity:Water is doing, in its simplicity and in its legacy impact. It is the thing that calls to my heart, perhaps it will call to yours too?

*I’ll be pointing back to this post every Friday in November but no guilt if you can’t give or this is not the thing on your heart right now. This is not how everyone is called to give. Right now this is what I’m doing, I’d love to hear about what you are doing and where your heart is these days!


Financial Friday: Your Story, My Story

We all have a story.  I have one, you have one.  Sometimes our stories intersect. How we choose to respond is so important.

Today, I want you to consider supporting another woman’s story by shopping on Etsy.  Here are some stories of ladies near and dear to me. How will your story and their story intersect?

Alicia: Alicia Sturdy/Cursive Paper Style, Martha Stewart, Simplicity all in one.  I met Alicia when she was a newlywed and they were putting her husband through graduate school. I have been taken in by her personal journey to find out who she really is.  There have been ups and downs but in the last year I think she’s nailed it.  Creativity isn’t just something she has, it is who she is.  Check out her amazing holiday cards!

April: Freddie and Jane April is my new neighbor.  She moved down the street from me just this summer. She has 3 adorable little ones just around the same ages as my own. She hails from Canada and before moving here lived in a Residence Hall for guys (God Bless Her!). As she settles into life in this small town she shares her talents for creating sweet clothes and fun home adventures.

Liz: Mommy Said Sew Liz was also my neighbor. She is also a personal hero.  She and her husband have committed to raising their two beautiful girls in the city of Chicago. They are committed to their neighborhood, their public school and just loving on anyone that crosses their path. Their light shines so bright.  Liz is AMAZINGLY creative.  She literally “whips something up” in her sewing room that would take me all year to finish!

Nicole: Token Blonde Nicole is blonde and hilarious (obviously!). We met when we both lived in Chicago. Nicole is an amazing woman.  She is the mom of one stylish little guy and a Navy Chief.  This is why Nicole is amazing.  She does a lot of the parenting, life stuff and marriage stuff alone.  She sacrifices a lot of life’s comforts for families like mine to have the security her husband provides. Her creativity is her outlet and it is endless.

Susan (Sue): Blooming Artichoke Sue and her fun family lived in the same Chicago neighborhood we did.  We were total strangers but we had our kids in common.  The more we got to know each other the more fun I had living there. Sue is a GREAT cook, she has a sweet boy, beautiful new girl and fun loving husband. Sue and her family just bought their first home (and are getting ready to move), Sue’s husband recently graduated in the last year and they welcomed their sweet little girl.  In the midst of all that she has managed to pass on her love of nursing and her creativity to us!

Honorable Mention: These are ladies I don’t know personally but are connected to a few of the ladies above.

Alisia: Alisia Domer.  Handmade bags.  So cute!

Bethani: Clementine & Eisley. Re-purposed clothes for kids.

Charli: Twinning With A Toddler. Tutus and More!

Whose story will you be a part of today?

Financial Friday: A Kid’s Birthday

My oldest child and my only son turns 5 next Tuesday! (Isn’t he cute!)

My not so little guy!


I can not believe I have a child this age.  I can not believe how in love I am with him. I also can not believe I heard these words “Mom, can I have a racing party?”

I am sure the look on my face was priceless. I am not a big fan of parties in general (just not my best relational setting) and KID birthday parties are a bit much and tend to be over the top these days!

In a small moment of insanity I said yes.  I then decided that yes, he could have a party, he could invite 5 families with kids (5 being chosen because that is how old he is going to be) and yes, it could be a racing party.


Food:  We are having our party mid-afternoon.  We will not be serving lunch or dinner.  We will be homemaking gluten free cupcakes and purchasing ice cream.  We will be serving water and lemonade to drink.

Fun: For us, life is about relationships.  Since this is one of our core values this is what our party is focused on!  We cleaned our garage and are making a square track using black garbage bags (donated by my mom) and yellow duct tape (inexpensive). In each corner of the track will be a “station” signified by an orange cone (borrowed from my father in law).

Station 1: Marble Races made with 2 pool noddles (purchased a thrift store $1.07)

Station 2: Car Wash (using a Lighting McQueen pool we already own)

Station 3: Straw Race, Use a straw to blow your car from Point A to Point B. (straws from the $1 Store)

Station 4: Car Race using a track we already own

Center of Track: Free Play, using the 80+ cars we already own

Gifts:  We have made our party gifts optional.  We will not be providing a party favor.  We are thankful our friends want to join us and celebrate this milestone, we want to make our gift to them a really fun time together.

We have also told our guests to come, no gifts needed.  That their presence is gift enough. My son is blessed with what he already has and we would mourn the absence of someone because they felt inclined to bring a gift.

We have hopefully also eased the pressure by letting them know we will be spending our party time playing and not opening gifts.  No guilty personal inner comparisons or judgments to make, no pressure and no one but my son would ever know if anyone decided to bring a gift.


1. Kids Parties can be FUN and AFFORDABLE

2. You DO NOT have to provide a take home gift, make the gift a great time of community

3. Invite without the expectation of GIFTS, you will see your party as what it was meant to be, a celebration of life, not stuff!

To my son, on his 5th year, we love you, cherish you
and can’t wait to see what God has for you next!

I would love to hear your thoughts on birthdays, gifts, parties and your family traditions!  Let me know in the comments below!

Financial Friday: Change or Challenge?


Here in the Midwest we have had the warmest end to winter and start to spring. We have already seen weather in the 80’s. All this nice weather has brought on spring fever in our house! I am ready to clean, garage sale, thrift and plan for summer.

As I sat down to think through what to do first I was challenged by some of the moms in my Bible Study to consider not only what my items are worth but what my time and energy is worth too.

So if you also have spring fever and are thinking ahead here are some thoughts to consider.

Read the rest of the article on spring, garage sales and summer vacations over at…FRUGAL GRANOLA!

Financial Friday: Tis the Season…for Gifts!

by ckelly

I’m over at Frugal Granola today…

Every year around this time I start feeling overwhelmed. Between October and January we have multiple birthdays, school holiday celebrations, church holiday celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (Just typing this makes me tense up!)

Gift-giving is part of this season for most of us. For me, I look at gift-giving and want it to be thoughtful and meaningful.  I also don’t want it to be the priority. The people and the meaning behind these occasions is so much more important than any money I might spend.

Gift giving can be done meaningfully and frugally!

Read the conclusion over at!

Financial Friday: Getting Organized!

Do you ever go through seasons where you are more or less organized?  I am in one of those right now with our finances.

by somegeekintn

I am generally very organized and on top of things but between my husband’s schedule, being pregnant and dealing with life I haven’t been as good at keeping up with our finances as I’d like to be. I’m trying to get back on track – here is where I’m at, if you have suggestions I’d love to hear them!

1.  Make time to deal search and coupon.  It actually takes time to do both these things.  Looking at websites, print ads or other local resources can be time consuming.  I’ve fallen out of practice because I have not given this the time in my day that it deserves.  30  minutes a day should be more than enough to visit my favorite sites, go through any print ads for the day and organize any shopping lists.  30 minutes a day is more than 3 hours a week, plenty for my kind of savings!

2. Revisit our needs.  Do we really need 2 kinds of shampoo or will 1 do? Is everyone sufficiently stocked for the next season or do I need to bargain hunt for a few items?  If I have an ongoing list of what we need versus what we want I am less likely to make an impulse buy.  Now is also a great time to take that “wants” list and turn it into a Christmas list for the members of your family!

3. Reevaluate the ongoing expenses.  I usually do this every month.  I take a look at our reoccurring expenses and see if there is anything I can cut back on, cut out or readjust to use our finances more wisely.  I haven’t done this since July.  With fall in full force I am sure there are some adjustments we can make to prepare for the colder indoor months of winter, I just need to sit down and figure out what they are.

So what do you do to get your finances better organized?  Any thoughts or suggestions for me?  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Financial Friday: I *heart* Frugal Living!

There are just so many fun and frugal ideas out there.  As I round up this weeks thoughts here are some great ideas from around the web to add to your arsenal…

by Rubbermaid Products

10 Ways to Use Vinegar…

Vinegar to clean the windows,

Vinegar to clean the floors,

Vinegar to clean the shower,

Vinegar to clean the walls!

I love vinegar!

Inexpensive and non-toxic, vinegar actually gets things clean! Best of all, my kids can use it, so I don’t have to do all the cleaning myself.

Simply Rebekah

by Tammra McCauley

Homemade Yogurt…

Yep, you read that right. Homemade yogurt, in our crock pot.

The reward? We made this much yogurt using just $2 worth of material.

We actually made ten containers – Sarah and our children were sharing the first container while this picture was taken. Each container contains about twice as much yogurt as a typical store-purchased yogurt container.

Get the Instructions Here…The Simple Dollar

Join me back next week for some original posts!  Have a great weekend!