Created to Praise

Just me being me the way He made me

Frugal? What’s That? May 27, 2009

Filed under: creativity,frugal,Personal Life,Random Stuff — 6kids1me @ 11:38 pm
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Ooohhh! You mean CHEAP?! Yah that would be me. Or at least I thought it meant me. Then I started looking for frugal tips online. As it turns out, I’m the most wasteful person in America. Okay, that may be a bit extreme. But obviously, I’m not nearly so frugal as I thought I was.

So I’ve figured out how to give my kids a stellar home education for nearly free by using Ambleside Online as a major resource. I’ve reduced my electric bill in a big way by unplugging things (toaster, cell phone charger, microwave, etc) when they aren’t in use. I even map out and do all my errands at once to save on gas. We have no debt and even paid cash for our newest vehicle. Our only expenses are day to day living expenses. Gee, I thought that was great.

Well I got to looking at our budget and something’s gotta give. In the past year, our cost of living has increased a full 12% while Rodney’s pay only increased 1%. What’s a family of 8 to do? Well, we’re going to delve deeper into the frugal world, that’s what. For instance….reduce the amount of food we buy. According to the USDA the cost of food to feed an average family of 4 is $600 per month. My family is twice the size of an average family. So in that respect, I guess $800 a month ain’t bad but we still need to reduce it.

So to start, we’ve planted a garden. Not a huge garden by any means….but a nice little plot with 12 varieties of veggies planted in it. So far, it looks like only three things are growing. Gotta work on those gardening skills. Our next goal is to expand our garden and have more variety (and reduce our dependance on the grocery store). We have also started a compost heap. We’ll see how that goes.

My bestest girlfriend in the whole wide world gave me a Sams Club membership. Yay! I had a membership years ago when I only had one kid. It wasn’t worth it for me then. Boy is it worth it now! Just by using Sams and buying in super mondo bulk, we’ve reduced our grocery bill by about $200. Woot! It has also reduced the number of trips I make to the store for little things like toilet paper….thus reducing my gasoline bill. Double Woot!

Have I mentioned before that I’m a complete dork? Did you know I’ve been buying big containers of juice for my kids? Why oh why did it not occur to me to buy fronze concentrated juice? Or why have I been using regular milk to cook with when powdered milk is soooo much cheaper?! The list goes on and on.

Okay so we’ve reduced the electric bill and the food bill a good bit. But there have to be other things we can do. Below is my list of what I think would help and what I plan to do over time. PLEASE feel free to chime in and let me know what’s worked for you and what didn’t. Seriously, I want this information!

*buying compact tubular light bulbs (you know the ones I mean)
*hanging a clothes line in the back yard (I wash approx. 4 loads a day)
*clipping coupons (man, I hate doing that)
*menu planning (been doing it…sorta…but not really)
*making my own bread (gotta find the bread machine)
*expanding the garden (anybody got a tiller we can borrow?)
*getting large canisters and buying flour, sugar, etc in bulk (anybody got canisters they wanna give away?)
*learning to can veggies (this one scares me)
*learning to sew to repurpose old things (this one scares me too…I am not a good sewer)

Okay so that’s the list. Any other suggestions? Anything on there that you’ve tried with success or failure? Please please let me know. This is gonna be an ongoing process, I’m sure. So any tips are most welcome!


Uh Oh….New Hobby June 20, 2008

Filed under: creativity,Personal Life — 6kids1me @ 11:20 am

I recently bought a shirt that I absolutely love but couldn’t find jewelry to match (girly thing to say, huh?), so I decided to make the jewelry myself. Not sure yet if that was a fabulous decision or a big mistake. In my quest for a single piece of jewelry, I ended up with a whole new hobby….like I needed another. lol

So here’s the necklace I made…..

First Necklace

I really like it and it matches perfectly. I had a ton of fun making it, so of course I had to make another. That led to this…..

Blue Links
Lime Green
Red and Black
Blue Bird of Happiness
I’ve made about 15 other necklaces, but figured it might be overkill to put all of them on here at once. 🙂

And did I mention that I’m married to the sweetest man on the planet? Seriously, he’s amazing. He supports every single thing I do 100%. However, considering I have a whole room filled with scrapbooking supplies, I didn’t think he’d be too happy about this new little hobby of mine. Well, he surprised me with this….
Rodney's Beads
He went to the bead store two days in a row and bought me a ton of fun stuff! Only some of it is pictured here since I’ve already used a lot in jewelry pieces. Isn’t he the sweetest?!

So that’s what I’ve been doing the last few days. Now be honest, would you wear this jewelry? I don’t want to keep making it if it’s not any good. So be honest….I can take it.


Beautiful Interpretation May 22, 2008

Filed under: Church Life,creativity,ministry,Worship Leader — 6kids1me @ 8:26 am

CC Banner

Here is my entry for Creative Chaos over at Carlos’ blog.

Imagine you are deaf. Now imagine that the first sound you ever hear is the Lord, Creator of all things, saying “Depart from me. I did not know you.”

For Amy Ballard, that thought is what drives her commitment as sign language interpreter. Every week at Heart of Worship, during the 11:00 service, Amy is on the platform at HOW, interpreting the music service. Soon, she will be interpreting the message as well. So if you are hearing impaired and looking for a church in Central Louisiana, we invite you to visit us at HOW!

Amy is also planning to offer a sign language class at HOW, starting very soon. This is an invaluable service that will touch many lives. I will absolutely attend that class! I cannot sign and this limits my opportunities to make new friends. And y’all know how much I love to meet new people! 🙂

One thing that has surprised me is how beautiful sign language is. I was excited about offering this ministry at HOW, but never expected it to be a creative element that would add so much to the music. This week, when we sang “How He Loves,” I was astounded by how beautiful the sign interpretation was. Just beautiful!

I am convinced that this ministry is going to reach people that we couldn’t reach before. For the deaf community in CenLa, they are very limited in their options on where to attend church services. To my knowlege, there are no other churches in Pineville that have this ministry. So if you know anyone who is hearing impaired, please invite them to HOW.

Also, if you sign and want to join us in this ministry, please let me know! My contact information is on the back of every church bulletin (Worship Leader, Becky Adams), or you can leave a comment here and I’ll get in touch with you.


Worship Confessional – How He Loves May 18, 2008

Wow!!!!! I just got home from church and WOW!!! Yeah, I know I already said that, but WOW!!!! If you were there this morning, you know what I mean.

It all started before walking into the building. The door facings have been painted black, which really gives them a totally different look. That project actually took all week. Who knew painting door facings was such a big job? I certainly didn’t. Also, the windows have been tinted and they look really great.

And then, when you walked in, you entered a whole new world. The entire foyer was decorated like we were all on vacation. It was so incredibly cool. From the banner to the t-shirts, the purser’s desk to the mural, it was all very tropical. SO cool! Oh, and the “Are You Ready?” bulletin board was something I got to help with. Fun!

For those who don’t know, we’re going to be going on a “Journey of Change” very soon. That’s what all the new decor was for today.

And then church started. 🙂

The music was just plain fun today. I’ll go into that a bit more in a minute. Bro. Keith’s message was about something very close to my heart….reaching the lost. He’s using the fishing theme, which really resonates with our congregation. After all, Louisiana isn’t called “Sportsman’s Paradise” for nothing. The whole message spoke directly to my heart today. He even gave us homework. He encouraged us to write a “thank you” letter to the person who led us to the Lord. Why didn’t I ever think to do that?! I am totally doing that this week.

Okay, now on to the confessional……

Here’s our set list:
Let it Rise
Sing a Song
Come Thou Fount
How He Loves
No One Like You

And here’s who we had this morning:
Bryant on electric guitar & vocals
Zack on bass guitar
Adam (woohoo!) on acoustic guitar
Josh on drums
Jennifer & Shalyian on vocals
Ensemble on vocals

How fantastic was it to see Adam on acoustic guitar this morning?! He is so super talented and of course did a fantastic job. Adam, thank you so much for joining us. You are welcome back any time!

Another creative element added to our service this morning was sign language interpretation. We did that for one song last week, but this week Amy interpreted the entire music service at 11:00. I am convinced that this is something our community is in desperate need of and am so glad that Amy is ministering this way. Thank you, Amy!

In the 9:30 service, there was a horrible popping noise coming from somebody’s cable. I was convinced it was my mic cord, so I grabbed hold the cord to make it stop. I spent the entire service holding that cord and trying to stay still (I normally move around a lot). It wasn’t mine. It was the bass guitar’s chord. We ended up with no bass for the rest of the 9:30 service. Disappointing, but okay. Immediately after the service, our amazing media team fixed the problem and we were good to go for 11:00. Good thing, since we really needed that bass.

The first song was totally rockin’ and the congregation was all smiles. “Sing a Song” was a new one we introduced this week. Our congregation really seemed to like it and got involved with it. One of my favorite parts was when we sang accapella and could hear the congregation singing with us. Loved that!

For “Come Thou Fount,” we did the Gateway version which has the added chorus. Very moving.

And then we did our other new song, “How He Loves.” Ummm….WOW! If you’ve never heard this song before, go to my VodPod in the menu bar over there ——> and click the link for it. Fantastic song! So I wasn’t sure how our congregation would respond to it, because not only is it new, but it’s also very different from anything we’ve ever done before. At first, I thought I had scared them when we first went into the powerful chorus. lol But when I sang “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way….” that’s when I knew for sure that they were worshiping. That one line resonated so deep with the congregation. It was an awesome sight the way they responded.

For my worship leader friends who read this blog, here’s how we did “How He Loves.” We actually did it almost exactly the same as the original version with only two changes. We dropped the “sloppy wet kiss” for “Heaven meets earth like no words can express.” Thank you, Fred McKinnon , for that idea! We also ended the song with the pre-chorus. That made for a smoother transition.

Then we closed with “No One Like You.” This is a happy, exciting song that makes you want to jump out of your seat to praise Him. Our congregation always has big, happy smiles when they sing that song. I love it!

So that’s about it. Overall, we just rocked out and worshiped like crazy this morning!

I realize this was incredibly long post, so thanks for sticking around to read it all. 🙂


Worship Confessional May 17, 2008

I just got home from worship team practice. All I can say is….you better get ready! Tomorrow is going to be an incredible time of worship at HOW.

Fun news! We have a guest guitarist who is super talented…and a familiar face that y’all will be thrilled to see again. So y’all be sure to give him some love tomorrow.

All our musicians and vocalists really “brought it” to practice today. We were all looking at each other with big, stupid smiles because it’s sounds so good. And the set list is a ton of fun.

You know, I love being part of the creative process, building a set list that really creates an atmosphere for worship. A lot of prayer, time, effort & love went into the service this week (from all departments) and I am thrilled to begin seeing it all come together. So, as Bro. Keith says, you better “strap on your spiritual seatbelts” ’cause we’re going on a journey tomorrow! I can hardly wait to worship with all of you!


Worst Album Cover Ever May 15, 2008

Filed under: creativity,keeping it real,Random Stuff — 6kids1me @ 11:15 pm

Found this at Steve Carter’s site.

Worst Album Cover Ever

There are no words.


Extreme Makeover – Church Edition

Filed under: Church Life,creativity,ministry,Worship Leader — 6kids1me @ 1:38 pm

Creative Chaos
So here’s my entry for this week’s Creative Chaos over at Carlos’ blog.

Remember earlier in the week I told you about our extreme church makeover? Well, I’m back with pics!

This is what the congregation saw last week as they entered the church….
old church 1
old church 2
So that was last week.

Here’s what they saw this week…..
stage lit

What’s impressive about this…..

* It’s more our “style.”
* Every single bit of the work was done by skilled members of our church.
* This was all done in one week!

What you can’t tell….the silver on the middle of the walls has lighting behind it. It’s just hard to tell in these pics. Also, I couldn’t get a shot of the entire stage, but it’s pretty big. Finally, the screens are missing. We’ve ordered new, larger screens and they’re not hung yet.

There are still a few changes to come, but this was so major that everyone was shocked and thrilled.

And now just for fun…..
My groupies. They follow me everywhere.