5 Reasons Bad Things Happen to Good People

Creative Commons License photo credit: Squire of Cydonia

With all of the recent tragedies including the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings and the Boston Marathon Bombings, I couldn’t help but want to dig into scripture. The Bible has a way of comforting, even when the words aren’t always what you expected.

In the past few months, I’ve also been given my fair share of personal trials and I can’t help but wonder why do bad things happen to good people? This is the result of my journey through scripture and why God says we are called to go through the hard times. I pray that this will not come off as inconsiderate, but as encouragement to get you through hard times.

1) To Get Us to Pray

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

– Romans 12:12

There’s nothing that brings us closer to God than prayer. After all, this is our time to make our concerns known to Him and to give thanks for our blessings. While trials can sometimes blur our vision of the good, behind the scenes God is delighted when we lean on Him.

We have a tendency to pray more intensely when we are in trouble, crying out to the Lord for help. Sometimes even in desperation. He wants us to be desperate for Him. It’s our chance to be reminded of hope.

When we’ve neglected to pray during times of joy and happiness, sometimes it takes a bad situation to bring us to our knees and cry out to the Lord.

2) To Remind Us of His Suffering

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

– 1 John 4: 12-13

Jesus Christ is not just our Savior, he was a physical man. Just like we don’t deserve some of the bad things that come our way, Jesus was undeserving of His suffering. The verse above actually encourages us to be glad! (I’m sure you’re thinking yeah right) Our trials make us partners with Christ. Have you ever considered that?

Your bad “stuff” gives you only a small glimpse of what He went through for us. This puts your suffering in comparison with His. Anybody second guessing anxiety about a bad hair day right now? Sometimes when I am in the middle of a hard time, I’m drawn to remember the cross. Everything else is but a shadow beneath it.

3) To Fulfill God’s Purpose

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

– Romans 8:28

How many times have you been going through a hard time and someone say God has a plan. And you think, well why in the world is losing my job part of God’s plan? Or did God really plan for my dog to die this young? Or may it’s something bigger or something very tragic. How can we possibly wrap our heads around something so horrible being something that God has planned for our lives?

The verse above says that And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God… Everything excludes nothing. It is ALL a part of his master plan for each of our lives and according to His purpose, though it may be hard to see at the time. It could be days, months, even years before we can look back and see why we were put through that trial in our life. In all things, He has control.

4) To Give Us Endurance

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

– James 1:2-4

I found that the word endurance means bearing hardship; staying power. We’ve addressed that when we have hard times that we are called to prayer, to be reminded of His suffering, and to carry out God’s will. Each of these things work together to get us through our own sufferings. What happens when we come through difficulty? We make it to the other side! Praise God!

I’m sure that you’ve heard the saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This might just be exactly what was meant by the verse above. But did you realize that adversity could actually make us well-developed? With each challenge, God says to consider it a gift. An obstacle overcome gives us another badge on our spiritual Brownies vest. (Do they wear vests?) Our endurance through one difficulty prepares us for another. We build knowledge and maturity that strengthens our faith.

The thesaurus has the words patience, perseverance, and courage listed as synonyms for endurance. I’m not sure that you can have any one of these without each other. We should be comforted to know that what we are going through will have a reward in the end and make us a better person.

5) For His Glory

Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

– Psalm 50:15

Perhaps one of the most important reasons that we are called to go through trials and tribulations in this life is for God’s glory. After all, this was the precise reason that we were created. And what an honor it is to have such a purpose.

Bag things happen. It’s a part of life and the evil that exists in this world. Though God did not create evil (man and free-will did), He can rescue us from it. And yet the only thing that we must give in return is praise and glory to our gracious Savior. This alone thrills Him. Isn’t that amazing?

We aren’t called just to glorify Him in the bad, we are to glorify Him at all times. Through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, until we go to be with our precious Father.

Once we realize that our purpose in life is to glorify Him, it doesn’t matter if we’re having a joyful, encouraging day or a down and dreary day. We should not neglect to bring Him honor with our praise, especially through our trials and tribulations.


If you’re reading this today and are going through something challenging in your life. I’d love to pray for you. You can leave a comment here with your prayer request or feel free to email me. You don’t even have to tell me what for if you’re not comfortable.

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The Supernatural Bell Boy

Creative Commons License photo credit: chattygd 

So they asked the LORD, “Where is he?” And the LORD replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” – 1 Samuel 10:22 (NLT)

Have you ever looked around and compared yourself to others? For instance, maybe you’re sitting and enjoying a cone at the local ice cream shop and notice a family come through with 5 extremely loud and obnoxious kids. You think wow, I’m really glad that I don’t have 5 kids. What a nightmare! Or maybe you see a couple arguing outside and you think to yourself, I’m so glad that we don’t argue like that. It’s so easy for us to use others as a means to justify who we are, isn’t it? For the past 3 months, I’ve been on a journey. An incredible, spiritual, freeing journey.

Have you ever packed for a vacation saying that you’re really going to try and pack light this time? I think I say this every single time.

And yet each time, I find that I have at least 2 suitcases full of junk that I will never actually wear. I just think that I need those extra changes of clothes for comfort. Comfort in knowing that if I don’t like this outfit, I can wear that one. Comfort in knowing that if I eat too much that day, I can wear these elastic pants instead of those tight, hip-hugging jeans. At the end of the vacation, you end up with half a suitcase full of clothes that you never wore. And yet, you have lugged around this suitcase for days when had you just packed it lightly in the first place, you could have saved yourself an arm workout.

In the same way that I tend to overpack for vacations, I have carried “baggage” for years in my life. If this baggage were physical suitcases, there would probably be 10 of them stuffed to the brim.

You know, where I have to sit on top of them to actually get them to close.

I’ve never needed a bell boy to help me with my baggage. I have a tendency to want to carry them all by myself. After all, if someone helps me, they might see all of my ridiculous baggage and try to remove some of them from me. Wouldn’t that be scary. Not only that, but I hate tipping. But you see, after carrying around this “stuff” for years, I realized that there’s always been a bell boy standing there just waiting to lighten my load. He doesn’t even require a tip. His name is Jesus Christ. Seems so simple doesn’t it? Just drop your suitcases and this supernatural bell boy will carry them for you. It really is that simple.

I’m praying for the right time to write and share this baggage of mine. It has become my testimony and my faith has grown in leaps and bounds.

This supernatural bell boy can take your baggage too. And keep your tip. He doesn’t need it. He just needs you to drop your worries, cares, struggles, burdens and give them to Him.

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Post Holiday 21-Day Financial Fast

Creative Commons License photo credit: uyht

Each year after the holidays there seems to be a letdown that occurs. Whether it’s the fact that Christmas is over or the the fact that there isn’t something special to look forward to, there’s a little glum that sometimes follows the excitement of the holidays. And lest we forget one of the biggest letdowns of the holidays…

how much we spent.

I can’t complain too much this time. We actually set aside a Christmas fund throughout the year in hopes of making them a little easier to swallow. It helped for sure, but we ended up over-budget. And I made a lot of my gifts! I absolutely love to give. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or even just because. I love to give.

So after all of the spending this Christmas, I’m in the mood to do a little saving now. Not that we don’t already save every penny that we can, but we want to really buckle down and challenge ourselves now that the frivolous holidays are over.

Vintage Coin Steps
Creative Commons License photo credit: StockMonkeys.com

I came across Michelle Singletary’s The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom on Google one day. That’s a link to her book if you’re interested in reading it. I didn’t actually read it myself, I just read over the main points of the fast to understand what is expected. It’s a very simple idea and I believe that it’s a great way to challenge your family and your spending habits.

On a summary of this book I found a quote that I wanted to share with you:


Great job Captain Obvious, right?! Well it’s not as obvious as you might think. When I was hardcore couponing, I found that I would stock up on things that may or may not still be good by the time I got around to consuming them. When it was time to go through cabinets and try to use up what we had, there were things that weren’t even edible anymore. And sure I was saving money by stocking up, but if I never even consumed those items then was really just throwing that money away.

You might think about that quote and see how it applies to your situation. With the new year here, it’s time to reevaluate spending and make changes to better your bank account. And that’s the principle that my husband and I are going to be working on in the next 21 days.

We already have a pretty feasible budget that we follow each month. It works well, but contains some spending that we saw to be unnecessary. For instance, we each receive $20 each week to spend on whatever we’d like. Sure it’s nice, but during a financial fast we feel it’s not a necessity. And along those same lines, we also set aside $20 towards dining out for the family. Once again, this is not neccessary and it’s being cut.

Here are the rules that our financial fast will consist of:

  • We can ONLY use cash to pay for things during the 21 days. (We already do this, but it’s good to reiterate how important this is to saving money!)
  • We will ONLY purchase things that are essential during the 21 days. Essentials are: food, medicine, personal toiletry items, school supplies (if needed).
  • We will NOT shop online or shop in-store unless purchasing our essentials during the 21 days.
  • We will NOT purchase gifts for anyone (even if there is a party) during the 21 days.
  • We will NOT eat out or purchase coffee (this is a hard one) at a cafe or anything along these lines during the 21 days.
  • We will document each and every purchase during the 21 days to keep track of where our money is going.
  • We will read a daily Bible verse for encouragement and guidance during the 21 days.

And of course there are other things that will come along that we will deal with as they come. This is probably going to be most difficult for me since I find myself at a store just about every single day for one reason or another. This is a challenge that I plan to go forward with in hopes of learning to use my resources as God intends us to. And also to visually SEE how much money can be saved and how many things we buy on a daily basis that really are unnecessary.

I plan to give updates throughout our 21 days of this challenge. If you’ve never done something like this, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear how it’s going. I’m curious myself!

Our 21-Day Financial Fast will begin on January 2nd 2013 and end on January 22nd 2013. Wish us luck!

I’ll leave you with a scripture to get you started!

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

-Proverbs 3: 9-10

Have you ever done a financial fast before? Would you consider something like this to encourage your financial discipline?

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A Challenge: 30 Days of Thanks

Today marks the very first day of November. Can you believe it? That means that Christmas is just 55 days away. But before we get into the Christmas spirit, it’s time to get into the thankful spirit.

While I’m thankful all year long, it feels right to make November the month of thanks. Every one of us is truly blessed in so many ways. Why not share your blessings with those around you?

For the next 30 days, I’m going to be posting on my personal facebook and Pennywise Cook twitter account 1 thing that I’m thankful for each day. I encourage you to do the same on your social media sites! We often see people posting about complaints and concerns throughout social media, but how awesome would it be to have a movement of folks sharing things that they are blessed with and spreading positivity?

If you do choose to share on twitter, you can use the hashtag #30DaysofThanks and join in on the fun! I’d also love for you to tag Pennywise Cook on twitter too! I considered sharing my thanks on the Pennywise Cook facebook page, but I was thinking it would be a little much for your facebook stream. What do you think?

At the end of the 30 days, I’ll come back here and post my 30 Days of Thanks for you to see them all.

Now go!

Tweet, facebook, Google+, Myspace, whatever you’d like your thanks for the next 30 days!

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Breaking Away from Busy & OMG It’s October?!

We are back in one piece after a couple of different road trips. The first going south and the second going north. Do you ever get on one of those I have to get out of here kicks? I think that’s what must have been going through my head to schedule two different trips within a week of each other. That and fall break, so it’s not completely my fault.

The picture above is from my husband and I’s trip to Atlanta. The picture itself was taken at the Sundial Restaurant in the Peachtree Westin Hotel right smack-dab in the middle of downtown. Beautiful place and spectacular view to say the least. If you’ve never been there before, the restaurant SPINS. Yes, it spins! In 1 hour of dining there, you’ll get a full view of the entire Atlanta skyline. In this picture, if you look reeeeeeal close, you can see Stone Mountain! So cool huh?

The food was terrific. The service was wonderful. However, I do recommend going at lunch for 2 reasons: 1) you can actually SEE more when its light outside 2) because it’s like 75% cheaper to eat there for lunch than at dinner. I remember looking through their menu seeing something for as much at $80 (1 entree) at night. Most of the food was $20 (1 entree) or less during lunch.

It’s highly worth it to eat here if you’re headed to Atlanta!

Our next adventure involved the entire family and took us up to Ohio. Using my fantastic Groupon, I was able to score 2 nights including lunch for over $300 off the regular price at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, OH. Not bad if I do say so myself.

This was our first “real” family vacation that didn’t involve us visiting someone or bringing someone along to help. To be honest, I was actually quite worried about how we were going to hold up, but it turned out to be a fantastic and fun family trip!

The resort itself was so nice. The staff was friendly and very helpful. 1 and 1/2 hours into the trip we realized that we had forgotten our pack n’ play for our little one to sleep in. The Great Wolf Lodge had those and they were complimentary! They really did think of everything. All the way down to the story time every night. The wolf characters came out to see the kiddos and all of this combined with the incredible WATER PARK meant that the girls were completely pooped by the end of the day. The water park was huge and had something for all of us. There were slides that young kiddos could go down. There were slides just for the older kids including a water coaster! That was pretty scary if I do say so myself. And we really enjoyed the “toilet slide”. It starts with a very steep drop and then basically flushes and swirls you backwards down a tube. Sounds kinda silly, but it was fun!

Aside from the random fire alarm that went off the first night, we really enjoyed our stay. My oldest has even stated that she wished that she “lived at The Great Wolf Lodge”. I see a trip back there (or to a different location) soon.

I come back from all of our adventures to find out that it’s OCTOBER already! Geez, where have I been?

You want to know something really sad? I was walking to my van the other day and realized that I still had my Rudolph nose attached to the hood. Yeah, big red nose in October. You can see how out of touch with time that I am!

After being away for a while, we needed some things at the store. Addie found this lovely monkey mask on the Halloween aisle (yes, it’s that time!) and wanted me to take her picture in it and “put it on facebook”. Her words, not mine. Wow.

So now I’m ready to slow it down. Breathe a little. Step into fall and enjoy some cooler weather, crisp apples, fall colors, and yummy fall food.

Who else is with me?

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Hair Cuts, Ear Infections, and Squash

Yes, I’m still around. Is my sanity? No, but I’m making it.

My husband left for a business trip just as a double ear infection set in on my little one. Not sure why this particular one has decided to be the worst, but I think we might be over the worst of it. My children always tend to run really high fevers no matter what they have so I immediately jump to high alert trying to figure out what it is. It usually ends in a doctor visit and the impending It’s a virus and it’ll have to run it’s course from the doc. Or it ends in antibiotics and horrible diaper rash from the other impending situation….diarrhea. Oh the joys of motherhood, right?

On a less runny note….




Forgive my excitement, but one of my tomato plants died and I should’ve had a funeral for it. Instead, the result was a tiny tomato that was so small that my mom thought I was growing grape tomatoes. When “harvesting” my one little tomato, I asked my oldest to carefully take it inside. She proceeded to throw it in the air and exclaim that “she can play ball with it!” My heart sunk and then I calmly removed my poor little tomato from her fingers and took it inside. You’ll be glad to know that it survived the game of catch and that it’s sitting on my kitchen counter.

I can’t even eat it. It’s too special.

Sooooooooo, long story short. I have actual squash growing now! I have a few of them, actually. Isn’t it cute? I’m so proud. You may remember that I hated on bees because of their lack of help in my squash growing processes. I think they must have read that post and sent out their queen bee to do some quality control on my garden. I can’t wait to make up some of that yummy oven “fried” squash from my own garden!

Hair cut…yes I got one. It’s very, very, very, very, very (plus about a million more verys) short. Probably the shortest that I’ve ever gotten it cut. Probably not even as short as you would think, but short to me anyways. I also got highlights because it came with my Plum District package. It was a fantastic deal. $52 for shampoo, conditioning treatment, cut, and partial highlight. I had Plum Dollars so I actually didn’t have to pay anything at all. Which made it ok that I’ve already dyed it back to brown.

Yes, I couldn’t stand the highlights. I’m ridiculous and wishy washy I know. But it was free and the highlights washed me out.

So there’s an update on my life. I hope that all of that didn’t bore you…

I’m very random aren’t I? How is your week going? SHARE with ME! 🙂

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A Day of Random Acts of Kindness

This year on my birthday, I really wanted to do something completely different. Most of the time we’ll just go out to eat and maybe have some cake. This year I really wanted to do something extra special. Not for me, but for others. We often spend our birthdays centered around ourselves and there’s nothing wrong with that. But what if we could spread the love by blessing others, too? That’s exactly what I set out to do!

For months I was telling my husband that I wanted to spend the day just gallivanting around town doing what I could to make someone smile or simply make their day. So I did some research into ideas and came up with some of my own. My husband even took the day off work and we got a babysitter for my little one. My oldest got to come with us and that was such a great experience for her to witness compassion, giving, and simple kindness.

This is one of my favorite Bible verses…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

– Galatians 5:22-23

We spent about 4 hours just having a blast doing small things to brighten others days. I took a few pictures to document it and thought I’d share them with you. I tell you, I think that everyone should spend their birthday doing this. It brought us all so much joy and that joy just emanated to those that we blessed.

It’s funny to me how most people thought it was odd. Being given something for nothing. It’s sad that these days there is always a catch to things. I know even I always want to know what you’re selling me if you have me something free.

1) The first thing that we did was leave a special treat in our mailbox for the mail lady. She left us a note the next day that said it had made her day. Mission accomplished on our very first random act of kindness!

2) Then it was off to leave our little one with a special friend who we felt led to bless for no reason at all. 🙂

3) We taped quarters to random buggies (yes buggies. That’s what we call them here in the south y’all!) at Aldi. Some folks don’t realize that you have to have a quarter to get a buggy. It’s their very own cart system that is actually quite brilliant because I don’t know anyone who won’t want to return their buggy to get their quarter back! I think that next time I’ll do something with bags. People also don’t realize that you need bags because they don’t provide them free AND that you have to bag your own groceries. All part of the reason they are so cheap. I love Aldi!

Addie leaving a dollar on the toy aisle for one lucky kiddo!

4) We stopped at a couple of different Dollar Trees along the way and left a few $1 bills on a few of the aisles. Honestly this was a funny experience. I felt like a thief because I didn’t want anyone to see us. There were people who kept coming up and down the aisles. I know they had to think we were being silly. I wish I could’ve seen the faces of the people who found those dollars!

5) At a couple of the local grocery stores, we stopped and taped some quarters to the coke machines so someone could enjoy a refreshing drink on that hot day. They are so expensive these days!

6) We were getting hungry by this time, so we stopped at my favorite place, Arby’s! We purposely went through the drive-thru so we could anonymously pay for the people behind us. While we were waiting for our food we decided to pay for both of the cars behind us, as there were only 2 cars behind us. We gave the cashier a couple of those Random Acts of Kindness notes to hand to them when they came through. She smiled and said “That is so sweet!”.

7) After lunch, we dropped into a couple of different Goodwill stores and left $10 gift cards taped to the back of the dressing room doors. Can you imagine trying on clothes and looking up to find a gift card? Score!

We also handed 2 random people cards just to see their reaction. Both of them gave us really funny looks but smiled and said thank you. I’m sure they were lost in a sense of What’s the catch?

8) There are always homeless folks who stand around on the corner near the interstate. There is a Burger King close by so we stopped and grabbed a couple gift cards for the 2 men on different corners holding signs.

9) We are regulars at our local YMCA. We’ve been going there for years and the staff is so great to my girls. They love going to Y-Play so we took them some cookies to say thank you. I took them some of my White Chocolate Chip Cookies and I got rave reviews!

10) We took some of those cookies to our local fire department. I think they were shocked by our gift, but very thankful. A wanted her picture by the fire truck and that might just have been the highlight of her day.

11) We left a special gift for a friend.

12) We sent 2 of our relatives thank you and gift cards for things they’ve done for us.

13) We donated to the Operation Homefront School Supply Drive.

It was so much fun. I smiled the entire day and even cried a few times…

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iPhone Diaries: Seeking Date Night Ideas!

It’s another iPhone Diary today and this time I’m looking for date night ideas…

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The iPhone Diaries: Kids & TV

Good Tuesday to ya! I’m excited to start a new series of sorts called The iPhone Diaries with you guys. I think it will be an awesome way for you to see me as I am and for me to share my thoughts, blurbs, and other things that come to my frantic mind with you. I also hope that it will encourage you to share your thoughts with me! I really treasure others advice, especially when it comes to this thang called motherhood.

Which brings me to today’s iPhone Diary…..

But first, here are some things that you must note about this vlog:

  • I do not have on makeup and therefore I am in mommy mode. Talk about real. This is what I look like most days.
  • Yes, I have a country accent. It’s part of my southern charm. 🙂
  • It’s taken from my iphone so the cinematography might not be up to par.

Please leave comments! I’d love to know your thoughts!

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Anixety and Motherhood

Frustrated woman on computer
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jerry Bunkers

I’ve always been the kind to worry about things. Sometimes it’s unnecessary and other times it’s a normal concern. I worry about our finances. I worry about plans for the upcoming week. I worry about dinner. I worry about the house being dirty. I worry about blogging. I worry about other people’s problems. And from most outer appearances I may seem like I have it all together, but inside I’m a ball of anxiety. Most of my anxiety started when I was a teenager, but it came to a head when I was preparing for my wedding.

Sure, sure it’s possible that I was just a blushing bride with a lot on her plate and much to do to create the perfect wedding. Every woman becomes a basket case at this point in her life, right? Mine remained long after my wedding. Pretty sure that I was just born a worry wart. In my case, I’d say I’m a worry tumor! 🙂

I’ve only recently decided to talk about this to anyone because I feel that some might have noticed it from outer appearances. I’m mostly good at keeping it inside, but I sometimes seem a bit distant and zoned out. I told a friend of mine about it and apparently I’m not the only one. It was nice to find someone who could relate. I’m sure the levels of anxiety are different for different folks.

There’s a little thing called motherhood that I’ve come to the conclusion will increase your level of anxiety if you didn’t already have it. From the moment that I saw my baby girls for the first time to making sure they were still breathing each moment while they were sleeping, it’s easy to find things to worry about when it comes to being a mommy. I’m realizing that it’s the last few months that I’ll have my older daughter home before she goes off to kindergarten in the fall. Yep, that’s enough to give a mom some anxiety huh?

Even though I’m losing my hair,

I call my children the wrong name,

I can’t tell you what 9 times 7 is,

I probably need a shower,

my house is a wreck,

I might cry before the day is over…..

I love every moment of motherhood and all the other things that life throws my way. Hopefully you’ll catch me on a good day. 🙂

Have any of you gone through bouts of anxiety before? How did you handle it? Did you go to a doctor? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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