The Frugal Catholic: “God Winked in Answered Prayer” by Martha Wild King–March 11, 2012

My Mother, Lila Rife, turned 97 in Huntington WV on 27 February.  After breakfast, she thanked God for the blessings in her long life–a strong Protestant faith, a husband, four children, no deaths of her children (her only brother drown  at age 16), food, shelter, and good friends.

My Mother’s Mother, Mabel Dunfee, lived to be 101; and her lengthy life spoke of the same fiber as my Mother’s, that is PRAYER.  Prayer was the tread at the beginning of the dinner table (sometimes very……. drawn-out prayers).  It was likewise the weave that wove through family problems, and it has been the cloth in which Mom and her Mother, Mabel, constantly wrapped all four of us children.

Sometimes though the years, though, I have wondered if God really hears my prayer.  The Bible speaks of that when it says in Philippians 4:6-7 (RSV), “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  We know that He hears our prayers because of the peace they bring.  But sometimes I need a “WINK FROM GOD” as Patty Raymond, a prayer warrior friend, calls it–a sign that my prayers are being heard.  And in WV,  I received just that.

Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I wasn’t allowed to date anyone Catholic, didn’t have any Catholic friends, and had never entered a Catholic Church; even though, one was down the street from First Presbyterian Church in Huntington WV where we attended.  Looking back, I longed for something deeper even then.  I would often go into the small prayer chapel in our First Presbyterian Church and quietly kneel and pray. It was my favorite place of solitude.  So after I became a Catholic, I often wondered what it would be like to go into Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Huntington.  What would it feel like to enter such a sacred place?

On the Saturday before my Mother’s birthday, I got my chance and also one of God’s Winks.  I attended St. Joe’s (as we used to call it).  It was a magnificent place. Stone angels were perched at the front; richly textured stained glass abounded,

and tall steps led into the old-grey-stone building. When I arrived, I breathed a prayer and asked where to sit; and I sat in the middle on the right side, my usual place of worship in my home church of Saint Cecilia.  The service was magical.  Rev. Msgr. Lawrence Luciana had a wonderful presence of the Lord.  We shared the Sign of Peace, and as  I turned behind to my neighbor, I was blessed with one of God’s Winks.  For there stood Tom Pettit, my old college beau who burted out, “Martha Wild King I thought you were a Presbyterian!!”  I replied, “Tom Pettit; I thought you were a Lutheran!!”  There we were: both Catholics.  He and his family came into the Catholic Church in 2002, and my family entered in 2009-2010.  What were the chances of me sitting exactly in front of him and his wife?

Indeed, it was one of God’s Winks, and a Wink I needed to know.  For you see, each day when I pray the Rosary, on one of my beads, I focus on all of those fallen away Catholics whom I so long to return to the FULLNESS of the faith, and I also focus on the Protestants whom I love and desire to experience the RICHNESS of the Catholic Church I have found after searching for forty years.  God showed me He is working in my prayers, for I sat in front of an answered prayer that I didn’t even know I was praying for!  God Winked.

 

The Frugal Catholic: “Cutting Your Food Costs-Part 4– by Spotting and Striving” by Martha Wild King–October 23, 20ll

In this 4th and final part of “Cutting Back on Your Food Costs”, let’s look at the last two SOS Principles.  In my earlier articles, we have observed that we must:  1.SOS: Set Our Spending (eat at home so food costs won’t roam); 2. SOS: Salvage Old Stuff (eat up what’s old before it gets mold); 3. SOS: Stop Over Spending  (plan your menu to have a venue); 4. SOS: Stay Out of Stores (don’t go in and you won’t spend); 5. SOS: Safeguard Our Savings (stash ten and give God ten to find more in the end); and 6.. SOS: Support Others Spiritually (give food away and watch God repay). So check out  the last two SOS Principles.  The 7th is SOS: Spot Opportunities to Slash (slash to keep the cash); and the 8th is SOS: Strive Only to Simplify (simplify and exemplify)

 


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When most people think about slashing their food budget–the 7th   SOS: Spot Opportunities to Slash— they pull out the coupons, but that isn’t necessarily “healthy eating.”  Instead, if there is a nutritious  product that you regularly use, call the 1-800 number on the label and request that company’s  coupons. Here are some other ideas:

  • Locate generic–Generic products are usually NOT at eye level in the grocery so stoop and bend.  Good for the thighs!
  • Shop generic or warehouse–For your best money saving, shop at a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s Club or buy the generic at a chain store like Safeway.  Consumer Reports May 2012 confirmed that shopping for 20 items using  a store-brand cost $66.23; whereas, with the same items at a warehouse club, the cost was $67.64–only a $1.41 difference between the two shopping experiences.
  • Think close to the earth–Shop around the outside aisles for fresh items.  Use real butter, cheese and milk. Consume sugar versus artificial sweeteners (except for stevia), for the man-made ones can cause everything from weight gain to MS.
  • Think beans and rice–This is a staple in many undeveloped countries, and if you look at the obesity rate of these countries, we would do well to imitate their simple diet.Try a basic cookbook such as More with Less by Doris Janzen Longacre found at amazon.com   Doris, a Mennonite,  gives suggestions on how to eat healthily  and consume less of the world’s food resources.
    Now let’s take a look at our 8th and final SOS principle, SOS: Strive Only to Simplify.  Below are some ways my family has learned to simplify over the years.
  • Dinner is a three point meal1. a meat or meatless, 2. a starch, and 3. a vegetable or salad.
  • We eat dinners two nights in a row except for Sunday steak. (see Cutting Back on Your Food Costs–Part 2)
  • We don’t eat desserts except on birthdays or for company.
  • We use a bread machine to make breads and pizza dough which helps me stay out of the store (SOS) because I never have to go pick up a loaf of bread (and everything else).
  • Concentrate on homemade and prioritize eating together as a family as much as possible.
  • Limit your paper products.  Use a dish rag instead of a paper towel and a cloth napkin in a labeled napkin holder for each member of the family.  Just wash the napkins after a few uses.
  • Skip fancy cleaners. Try this WILD CLEANER.  Use a gallon jug and fill it with one container of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of ammonia then water to fill.  Put the solution in a spray bottle and use it for everything.
  • Create your own and save big.  Make baby food in a food processor and freeze in ice cubes for future use.  Grow sprouts in a jar.  Cook dried beans overnight in a Crock Pot without soaking them.  Use a 3-to-1 ratio of water to beans, cover and cook on low overnight for 6 hours or cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours.  Drain and use.  Put a frozen chicken in the Crock Pot and cook on high till done.  You can also cook the chicken on low overnight.  Make Freezer Bowl Soup or The Frugal Catholic Casserole from scraps (found in my October 3, 2010 blog article).  Create your own salad dressings; recipes are in all standard cookbooks, or finally pop your own popcorn in a popper instead of purchasing more expensive chips.
  • When baking, substitute half of the oil with applesauce.
  • Use frugal vegetables such as potatoes, cabbage, onions, and carrots to stretch meat so you use less.
  • Put leftover cooked rice or pasta in Zip Lock Bags and freeze; then microwave the bags for one by leaving the frozen bag slightly open.
  • With laundry, forgo fancy pre-washes and dryer sheets or softener.  Just add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the wash and wash with detergent.  You will have a better clean.
  • Stretch juices by adding an extra can of water.
  • Leave your butter out in a covered container so you use less or even whip it together with olive oil to stretch it. 

    When we begin to take a hold of our food expenses, we begin to corral our overall expenditures and learn to live within our means, or even under them.  SOS: Spot Opportunities to Slash and SOS: Strive Only to Simplify means consuming less, living with less, and having more to give.  Jesus addressed excess when the rich young man came up to him and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17 RSV)  Jesus answered, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.”  Controlling our food budget with these 8 SOS Guidelines helps us to more effectively limit ourselves and follow Him better.