Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Ah, November…

If you’ve read Sunshine’s “substitute” post, or my Facebook page, you know we had a little too much excitement last weekend– my husband, Mr X, was in a serious motorcycle accident while riding with a friend. He’s going to be okay; he spent 3 days in the hospital and has a broken nose and 3 broken ribs. He also had a small pneumothorax (air between the lungs and lining that can lead to a collapsed lung; fortunately his dissipated before we left the hospital) and internal bleeding leading to a large hematoma inside his pelvis. It quit bleeding and will eventually absorb. In the meantime, he’s stiff and sore, and moving slowly, but thank God, he’s moving! His friend was also injured but able to walk– stiffly– away.

I went back to work Thursday and Friday, and haven’t had a minute to write anything, or any spare brain cells that are really working that well– so I decided to do a month-end statistics report. As non-mathematical as I am, somehow I love studying statistics!

Top 5 Posts for November

lazy housekeeping                                             Cornbread dressing

1. Auntie Em’s Guide to Lazy Girl Housekeeping      2. Auntie Em’s Cornbread Dressing

Give me a man                         stormy sea

3. Give Me a Man                                                      4.    Stormy Weather?

5. He Wasn’t Always My BFF

Top 5 posts since the beginning (August 31, 2012)

1. He Wasn’t Always My BFF


2. Actually, It’s NOT All About You         3.  Three Little Changes

4. Be Anxious for Nothing

5. Auntie Em’s Guide to Lazy Girl Housekeeping

The most shared posts since the beginning

1. Actually, It’s NOT All About You

2. Auntie Em’s Grilled Pork Loin, AKA The Truth Will Set You Free


3. Granny’s Cornbread                             4.  A First-World Problem

5. Thank You, Dave Ramsey

Check out some of these posts if you haven’t yet, and hopefully this week I will get some new words down. In the meantime, I appreciate all your prayers, and please keep them up! As I said on my Facebook page, the fellowship of believers (All over the world!!) is a sweet and powerful thing!


Leave and Cleave

For this reason shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:

and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (KJV)

Leave and cleaveHave you thought about the context of this passage? It comes right after God created Eve from Adam’s rib, and Adam pronounced, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

Adam and Eve had no mother and father to leave. God clearly put it in there for people who came afterward, who would face the sometimes difficult transition of changing loyalty. When we marry, we are to shift our primary loyalty to our spouse. He or she becomes our first priority, and should stay that way, ahead of children or jobs, or anything else on earth.

Part of leaving includes becoming financially independent. Dave Ramsey strongly advises against lending or borrowing money within the family. That creates a dynamic that complicates the leaving and cleaving admonition, and as Dave says, “Thanksgiving dinner just doesn’t taste the same when you’re eating with the banker.”

“Cleave” is a very strong word meaning “to cling” or “to stick to;” literally becoming one organism. After a Covenant marriage, to separate is like amputating a limb; to commit adultery (“adulterate” means to put something that doesn’t belong into something) is like putting in a malignant tumor.

Marriage was God’s idea. During the week of creation, every day He said, “It is good.” But after He created Adam, and Adam had named all the animals, God said, “It’s NOT good for the man to be alone. I’ll give home someone suitable to help him.”

What’s marriage for, anyway? Obviously, procreation. Specifically, procreation of children that we bring up in the fear and admonition of God, to continue His work. Another purpose is to exemplify the relationship between Christ and the Church. Servant leadership, selfless love, trusting submission. We need to always remember that a world of unbelievers is watching our Christian marriages, waiting for them to fall apart, so that when they do, their excuses seem justified.

The pleasure, both relational and sexual, that we receive in marriage; well, is it a purpose or a result? I’m not sure, but I know that when we get it right– God’s way– we get a lot of both!

Having a successful, Godly marriage requires a lot of self-discipline and effort. You have to give, to be kind and forgiving, when you’d rather not. You have to admit your sins and ask forgiveness, when it’s more natural to blame someone else.

Tweet this! Marriage is the perfect lab where we practice godly living!

There are lots of failed “experiments” in righteousness, but that just gives us opportunity to practice the other side of godliness, which is forgiveness and grace.

Here’s a great preacher and teacher, who was featured in the Art of Marriage, teaching on marriage at his church. Have a date night at home with your spouse and watch it together!

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21


Always use real butter

Along with the reigning Queen of Butter, the Crown Princess Auntie Em is a believer in real butter!

Not only real butter in the literal sense, but the figurative sense too: You should consider its intended use, and buy the best quality that you can afford. A mattress and your tires come to mind. You use them every day. Your back comfort and your very life depend on them, so don’t pinch pennies there! Mr X used to be a carpenter/contractor, and he taught me this principal that ties nicely into my “Be frugal” rule. Now at first sight, the idea of spending more money might not seem like a frugal thing to do, but Auntie Em says look at the whole picture, not just the price tag. In the case of Mr X, he was making our living with his tools. They had to be dependable and long-lasting, so it was smart to spend the extra money on heavy-duty tools for his everyday jobs.

When I cook, I want it to taste GOOD! Many times you can get good food for less money– store brand milk and canned veggies are normally just as good as name brand– but Velveeta and Little Debbie are the only brands I’ve been happy with for cheesy goodness and snacks, so no off-brand for me there!

For clothes, you can apply this principle by considering how much wear a garment is going to get. One of Sis’s friends said she gives it the $1 rule. She can buy a $50 pair of pants if she will wear them at least 50 times. (I’ve had black pants that I’ve worn at least that many times!) Staples, like solid pants and skirts, especially ones that fit really well and are well-made, are good investment pieces. For trendy pieces and accessories, get them on sale for a little of nothing.

Now shoes are in a category all by themselves! I find that the older I get, the more crucial it is to have comfortable shoes. Gone are the days of buying inexpensive, trendy shoes to match an outfit; I’ve got to have some serious support, so I buy more expensive shoes less often.

If you need something NOW, like a dining table or car, and can’t wait till you can save up your money to buy a higher quality one, I suggest buying the CHEAPEST dependable one you can find. Ask around! Sunshine got a dining table and matching chairs from a friend who works for Bill Clark, when one of his customers was getting a new set and wanted to give away the old one! Or… swallow your pride… and drive the Mawmaw car with 10,000 miles on it but is definitely not cool! Then save your money till you can get exactly what you want.

Where you are willing to cut corners will be determined by you, and everyone might not understand your reasoning. That’s okay. Figure it out for yourself, what’s important to you! As always, I recommend visiting Dave Ramsey’s website and reading his books to help you formulate a financial plan.


Thank you, Dave Ramsey

Auntie Em had a flat tire last week, and didn’t see it until after driving to TeeKay‘s down the block, and ruining it. Her sweet husband changed it while we took her car and went swimming! It turned out to be a good thing (Romans 8:28 again!) because when Mr X took it to the tire shop, they found wire showing through on another tire, and we realized it was time to replace them all. The good news was that we had the money saved, so I didn’t have to worry about driving on bald tires, or decide what I could do without while I paid for tires, or put them on a credit card and pay exorbitant interest!

You will recall that one of Auntie Em’s rules is BE FRUGAL. I believe this is a Biblical principle, as well as one that just makes sense. There are so many things we can fritter our money away on, and advertisers work tirelessly to convince us of our need for their products. When Mr X and I got married, at 21 and 19, he was making a whopping $5/hour (but with unlimited overtime!) and I had 12 piano students at $25/month. We had no financial plan. We had never talked about our goals. But you know that old saying that “God protects children and fools”? I guess we were both of those, and it worked out well, mostly because of his parents’ example of frugality and good stewardship. (Just a note, though- in the year and a half before we bought our first house we saved $7,000!)

We have taught 2 sessions of Dave’s Financial Peace University at our church, and we are believers! It has made a significant difference in the lives of several of our church families. In a nutshell, he has 7 “Baby Steps”:

       1. $1000 emergency fund

       2. Debt snowball (pay off all debt except home mortgage)

       3. 3-6 months’ living expense emergency fund

       4. retirement

       5. college fund for your kids

       6. Pay off your house early.

       7. Give like crazy!

He has a great website, with lots of free resources. If you are stressed out about your finances, you don’t have to be! Dave will tell you, he doesn’t have any new ideas. These are all things your grandmother told you! But with a plan to get your money under YOUR control, instead of the other way around, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

More to come about frugality and finances. In the meantime, meditate on what Solomon said. (Richest man in the world- think maybe he knew some things about money management?)
Proverbs 22:7 — “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Proverbs 21:20 — “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.”
Proverbs 21:5 — “The plan of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”
Proverbs 27:23 — “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”
For a more complete list, on Dave’s website, click here.

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