Gosh, that's such an American phrase...I hope I'm not too terribly British to use it! (Imagine saying that in your head like some really, really posho British person rather than me with my common British accent). Anyway, we've barely started and I'm rambling on! See, I wonder why anyone bothers to read, but read you do, so write I will.
So, last time we spoke Dusband and I were preparing to jet off to visit our new nephew among a million other family members! Well we went, we drove an average of two hours a day for the total time we were away and came back utterly shattered! On the plus side, we got to see my mum and step dad, Dus's dad and step mum, Dus' sister, her husband and 3...no wait...4 children (the baby was so quiet and well behaved I almost forgot him!), Granny, my BEFF Evey & her fiancé Ernie and our lovely friend Emma...some of you might know her as F-R-O-G or fruitcake though.
So all in all, a good time was had by all! The gifts were well received by the older children and the parents of the one who could only drool.....although he didn't cry so I'm pretty certain that by drooling he was saying, wow, those are amazing gifts, I can't wait to be burped on those cloths. Or something similar!
For one of the nights in between leaving Dus' dad and before reaching my mum's (on the way back) we wanted to book into a hotel near my BEFF (Best English Friend Forever - I have so many best friends, it's safer to categorise them!) so that we could go and see her in the evening and then our friend Emma in the morning (She's not my best anything yet....am still pondering a title as I'm running out.....although she does have curly hair.....Best Curly Haired Friend Forever - BCHFF doesn't quite have the same ring to it!)
Anyway....cut to the chase Samantha! So we were kind of leaving it til the night before to book a hotel cos we just couldn't decide. We've had so many instances of booking somewhere and you pay so much and it's always a disappointment so we were putting it off a bit. But one morning at Dus' dad's house when I woke up at around 5am...as you do, I was searching lastminute.com (I'm not advertising them, I'm giving you the COLD, HARD FACTS!).
Anyway, so they had this 'secret' hotel in the area we wanted to stay in for only £49....yes my friends, that's cheaper than a regular priced budget hotel!
It doesn't tell you the actual name of the hotel, or the actual location but it does tell you the facilities and some key phrases....so me fancying myself as a bit of a Samanthock Holmes (you know, I'm not totally sure you can merge Samantha with Sherlock....) I typed these phrases into google and it came up with quite a nice 4* country house hotel.
I waited til a reasonable hour to wake Dus up with a bit of sensitive, gentle prodding....ok, maybe it was more like a sharp poke in the ribs! I showed him what I had 'deduced' and we booked it. Once we'd booked it we received an email with the name of the hotel in it, and to our glee I'd been right and it was this £99 a night hotel! Hoooorah!
When we actually came to stay in the hotel, we found the stone gates from the country lane and pulled into what looked like a country park and followed the winding drive up and around the corner and BAM.....wow! What a vista! Oh my goodness, I didn't feel worthy in my jeans and converse (fake, pink)!!
The staff were lovely though and didn't make us feel unworthy so that's the main thing...it was a lovely hotel and the proportions of the room made it feel really stately and special...what a treat!
Anyway, so we got home...urm, I can't remember how long ago now..but we've had some time at home relaxing and enjoying the schools still being off. I think when you spend 3 evenings a week out of the house, you kind of forget what it's like to have your evenings to yourself. Being able to finish working then go down and potter around the house, cook tea, do the washing up...all luxurious things like that that you kind of forget!
We're back to normal sort of this week though with both children's and youth starting back and Bible study beginning again next week and I'm glad really. Much longer of having evenings off and I'm not sure we'd want to go back! It's been a struggle a little bit with feeling negative towards those who don't see they should do any more than just turn up on a Sunday, so Dus and I have been careful trying to nip those negative thoughts in the bud! (I'm never sure if that's butt or bud so if it's wrong, just pretend I got it right!).
This last few months have been really sucessful for the Dusband and he's got so much work on that he's started looking for an apprentice or a freelancer. I think to begin with he just wanted someone to subcontract to, but being in the area we are, I thought it might help the community if he were to look for someone who needs a helping hand or a step up and help them to train and do some work and then eventually go on to set up on their own. I think it's more worthwhile to empower someone to go on to be a success than just to fill a space!
Anyway, so when we got back Dus had to work pretty much all the hours he could to catch up, firstly on finances as we don't get paid holidays like regular employed people and secondly on work that his clients were needing done.
It has been fruitful though as this week we found ourselves in the position of having enough for the bills, rent & food etc but having enough left over comfortably to go and replace my poor old decrepit antique laptop. I am so thankful to God that He has provided for us all this time since we moved to Wales, but that He is not only providing for our needs now, but also our wants and we are being blessed in abundance financially. If things keep going the way they are and we remain a bit tight fisted with our spending, then hopefully we can start saving for a house deposit so that we can actually move to Cwmaman like we wanted to last year!
I know it sounds a bit corny and a bit cheesy and a bit God channel, but it's all down to faithfully tithing. For a while, we were just giving a set amount every week, a token amount I suppose. We thought that we couldn't really afford to give a full 10% of everything we had in because we didn't have enough coming in to start with, let alone only having 90% of what was coming in.
But about a year ago now, we decided that actually, we were fed up of having meagre incomings and we would go 'Biblical' with our tithing and calculated our earnings accurately every week. Since then we've given 10% before tax of our earnings or a little more to round it up as well as been generous with gifts as and when we felt prompted. And, well, I know I sound like a commercial now, but we have seen such a dramatic change in our circumstances in the last 6 months it's unreal. If anyone said to me now, I can't afford to give the first 10% of my earnings, I'd question whether we can afford not to.
And that is the Biblical truth is that you give the first, the best, before anything has been divided and taken out. You give the first of your earnings, your assests, your skills and abilities to God...the rest will take care of itself.
At the beginning of April I became not only totally debt free, but free from the worry of my past too. I suppose while I always had those debts hanging over me, I always worried that the ex would be able to find me and make life as bad for me as it was before, but now it's over and I feel as though it's been lifted from me.
Gosh, isn't life good?!
Anyway, so now I have a new laptop and I've named him Clud....which I wasn't intending to, it just sort of slipped out and it's not the sort of thing you can take back really...it's the kind of name that sticks!
We also bought a new patio set, table, chairs, parasol etc for Easter weekend but it's been far too windy since to actually enjoy them! I hope we have a good summer!!
I was going to continue on to tell you about my Handmade by Mrs H efforts, but I might start a new post as I'm sure I've rambled on long enough by now and half of you have gone to sleep already and the other half turned off at the God stuff and are now thinking...weirdo religious nut!