Merry Christmas

>> December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas sweet friends!!

We pray that your holidays will be filled with joy, peace and lots of laughter as you enjoy time with your families, church families and close friends.

2012 is going to be a phenomenal year!

Lots of good stuff in store for CLUTCH!

We love you bunches,
Veronica and Sarah

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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ten things about thrifting

There's something intimidating about thrift stores.

It's not the same intimidation that you experience when you shop in an expensive store with snooty sales people and high price tags, but it's really just the opposite.


You know that musty smell masked by a cheap, nauseating air freshener you're hit with the moment you walk through the doors?

It's that.

It's the fact that you march up and down aisles with a shopping cart the same way you do at the grocery store.

It's the massive rectangular warehouse lined with piles, racks, and shelves crammed with other people's junk--and the crazy hoarders sifting through said junk looking for a "deal".

Well, I have become one of those crazy people (minus the hoarding, of course). I was incredibly intimidated by the idea of "thrifting" at one time, but I've figured out a few things since I started, that help me have a successful shopping trip every time.

Make Sure you Have Enough Time to Stroll: Thrift stores can be over-stimulating and if you’re in a rush, you’ll be wayyyy too stressed to find anything. Make sure you have plenty of time to shop slowly. My favorite time to go is in the middle of the day or early evenings. I never go on weekends because it gets too claustrophobic in there!
Choose a Nice Location:
Only go to a thrift store in a nicer part of town. The nicer the community is, the better their second-hand items usually are, which makes your thrifting experience a lot easier.
Go with Specifics:
Since thrift stores are filled with a mish-mash of items, it's best if you know what you're looking for. I usually go with some sort of color-specific agenda since I know that most of the racks are organized first by size, and then by color. This helps me block out all of the chaos that I know I'm not interested in.
Skip the Cotton:
If you are grossed out by the idea of wearing someone else's old t-shirts, just skip the "Knit Tops" section. You can find some quality items in that section, but the majority of it is stretched, stained, or stinky. Instead, head towards the sweaters or blouses.

Have a Use in Mind: The low prices and “here today, gone tomorrow” mentality are a good thing, but often lead to impulsive purchases that you’ll never wear. When you’re inspecting a garment, think to yourself “What do I already have in my closet that I could wear with this?”

Put it in the Cart: Thrift stores are a jumbled mess, so if you see something you might want, put it in your cart so you don’t misplace it! Make sure that you keep looking at it as you shop the rest of the store, and try it on before the final decision time.

Inspect the Clothes and Try Them On: Most thrift stores do not accept returns or exchanges, so it is important to inspect your garments for stains or rips before you buy them. Even if your sizing is always standard, most of these clothes have been washed and dried and maybe even stretched, so be sure to try everything on.

Don’t Buy it Unless you Love it: Even if it’s a $3 blouse, don’t buy it unless you know you’ll wear it. On the other hand, even if you don’t know what you’ll wear with it, if you love the item, buy it because chances are, it’ll be gone if you decide to go back for it later!

Clean Your Clothes: You never know how long your new old blouse sat in the previous owner’s garage before they got around to donating it, so you never know what kind of germs might be living in the garment. No big deal! Just make sure you wash it before you wear it.

Don’t Give Up: You must, must, must keep trying and shop often in order to score at these stores. It’s hard at first, but I promise that it gets easier! Maybe take a friend with you to divide and conquer!

I hope that helps everybody! Don't be afraid to check out your local thrift store. When I first started, I would only look at the "home" section for things like baskets, vases, and lamps.

So, there is definitely something for you--no matter what your comfort level is with second-hand shopping!  


© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


cat's pix::PW life

>> December 19, 2011

The water pipe busted while we were packing up our house. PW life is an adventure, right?

©cat sasser & clutch

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
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>> December 16, 2011

TIP::Know how your financial choices will affect your credit, and make responsible decisions based on your personal situation.

The best way to maintain a good credit report is obvious - keep current on all your payments and never spend more money than you have.

But what are some other things that affect your credit score?

With so many tips circulating out there, it can be hard to find what really works. Aside from the basics, maintaining or raising your score can be tricky. The answers aren't “one size fits all”, but here are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Most of these pointers come from the FTC website ( so if you want to learn more, check it out.

  1. Keep track of how many lines of credit you have. Access to a lot of credit raises your balance-to-credit ratio which helps you look more responsible, but it also raises questions about how you plan to use your credit in the future. On the flip side, canceling a line of credit (even if it is all paid up) lowers your balance-to-credit ratio. So evaluate your situation and weigh the consequences before canceling a credit line.
  2. Always make your payments on time. If you can pay off your entire balance every month, even better.
  3. In most cases it's best to maintain credit card accounts for as long as possible. Credit checkers want to know how loyal you are. If you have more cards than you think is best, cancel the in-store cards (i.e. Express, JC Penny’s etc.) first and keep the card you use the most on a regular basis. Also, look at the credit limit you have on each account. The higher the limit, the more valuable the card is to your credit score. Instead of canceling a card, you may want to just cut it up and let it become inactive on its own. (Make sure you only do this with cards that do not have an annual fee.)
  4. Keep your balance low. It's good to pay a portion of your balance off weekly or at least twice a month. Doing this keeps the ratio of your balance-to-available-credit low, something lenders like to see.
  5. Finally, pay off all debt as quickly as you prudently can. The lower your outstanding debt, the higher your credit score.
Remember money is a talent we all have, let’s seek to use it wisely and to the glory of God.

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


cat's pix::PW life

>> December 12, 2011

P & PK bonding.

©cat sasser & clutch

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.



>> December 9, 2011

How to Not Jiggle All the Weigh: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

The average adult gains 7-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.

YIKES! That's around a pound a week!

Here are a few things you can avoid to help you stay the same size through­out the hol­i­day season.

1) DON’T skip your work­out.

We know. The most wonderful time of the year is often the most stressful time of the year. Did you know that exercise has been proven to reduce stress? You need your workout now more than ever! Get a work­out buddy and hold each other account­able. You could also mix up your rou­tine to avoid bor­dom — try a new class, give yourself a gift of a a new home workout program, etc.

2) DON’T skip break­fast.

Knowing of an evening party, many peo­ple will skip break­fast as an attempt cut calo­ries. WRONG! Eat­ing a healthy break­fast (oat­meal, egg white omlet with fresh veg­gies, whole wheat toast and low fat yogurt) at the begin­ning of the day starts your metab­o­lism and will pre­vent you from overeat­ing later in the day. Those who con­sis­tently eat break­fast con­sis­tently weigh less than those who skip the most impor­tant meal of the day.

3) DON’T eat only fat and carbs.

Most Christ­mas good­ies (gin­ger­bread cook­ies, candy canes, hot choco­late, etc.) are full of refined sug­ars and unhealthy fats. These are also the nutri­ents that make you feel even more hun­gry than you did before you ate some­thing! Fill up with lean pro­tein first to help con­trol cravings.

4) DON’T eat straight from a bowl.

When you get to those hol­i­day gath­er­ings, take the time to put every­thing that you eat on a plate. If you nib­ble straight from the dish, you will mis-judge por­tion size and be in trou­ble before you know it! Try and fill your plate with veg­gies and lean pro­tein. Only allow a small place on the place for treats. (Addi­tional tip: Try using the dessert plate instead of the din­ner plate. It’s smaller, and it will help you with por­tion control.)

5) DON’T eat treats that you like.

Only splurge for those treats that you love. If you just like them, you don’t need them.

6) DON’T let ignorance be bliss.

Weigh in reg­u­larly this month so you can see how you’re doing. If you pre­fer to mon­i­tor a dif­fer­ent way, get your favorite pair of pants that make you feel healthy and fit. Try them on every other morn­ing to see how they fit.

7) DON’T go to a party hun­gry.

The worst thing you can do is arrive at a party fam­ished! Because you know there will be LOTS of unhealthy options, and very few items that fit into your nutri­tion plan, try eat­ing a bowl of broth-based soup or a salad before you go. That way, you already have some healthy nutri­ents in you, and you’ve knocked the hunger edge off so you don’t devour every unhealthy food in sight.

8) DON’T eat the whole thing.

Most of the time, you can sat­isfy a crav­ing with just a few bites. Instead of eat­ing a whole piece of pie, split a piece with your spouse.

9) DON’T eat for speed.

Slow down your eat­ing, and savor every bite. You don’t indulge every day. Take the time to enjoy it! Plus, the longer you take, the longer your stom­ach has to real­ize that you’re full, and you can avoid overeating.

10) DON’T beat your­self up if you mess up one time.

If you go to a party and overeat, don’t use that as an excuse to let your­self go for the whole sea­son. Get up the next day, go to the gym, and make a healthy food choice at the next meal. No one expects you to be perfect!

Michelle Myers is going to have fit and healthy before you know it! You can connect with Michelle Myers Online, Twitter, Facebook, Myers Cross Training and be sure to check out her latest book The Look that Kills: An Anorexic's Addiction to Control (2010)!

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.


just for pw #11

>> December 5, 2011

Joy continues the "Just for Pastors' Wives" series. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Currently, Joy’s husband Joel serves as lead pastor of Willamette Christian Church, where she serves in a wide variety of teaching, serving, counseling and advisory roles. She is passionate about helping women understand and apply the truths in God’s Word and enjoys using speaking opportunities to do so.

Dear Pastor’s Wife,

Have you noticed that every church provides a different culture for their pastor’s wife? Some have long standing traditional expectations. Play the piano. Teach children’s church. Dress very conservatively. Others have expectations that were set by the involvement (or lack thereof) of the previous pastor’s wives. Still other churches are large enough, or progressive enough, to try and avoid expectations of us altogether. Yet, this is not always realistic or helpful, for there are always expectations, voiced or otherwise. If not from the congregation or leadership, then certainly placed upon ourselves.

Each of us is unique. Our giftings, personalities, passions, experiences, training, calling, community, and even our husbands and their specific positions, play a big role in finding a niche that brings us joy within our faith families. However, finding that niche is up to us. We must be proactive and deliberate in determining how the Spirit of God would have us to minister and serve. Then, we must rise up into that role with Godly confidence and grace, lovingly communicating and living out that to which God is calling us.

Have you ever written out your own job description? What role do you want to take on as a pastor’s wife? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to be defined? Of all the things that you could concern yourself about within the church, what is most important to you? What is your gift mix and how has He shaped you? How can you be a helper to your husband in ministry? Where is the need that perhaps only you can fill? After much prayer, self-examination, and discussion with your husband, on what specific things will you focus?

Writing it down brings clarity, both to you and to those with whom you serve.

May I share mine with you as an example?

1. I am a pastor to the pastor. There are some things that only a pastor’s wife can do for her pastor husband. Whereas pastors spend much of their time ministering to the needs of his congregation, as his wife, I want to spend much of my time ministering to his needs. This includes taking care of various household responsibilities so he doesn’t have to. It means that I forego many personal opportunities to make sure that our children do not feel neglected within the ministry. It means that I (try) to look after his health needs, including monitoring stress and creating balance. I spend much time in prayer over him since I know when it is that he is feeling the most discouraged, vulnerable, or needy. I carve out time to comfort, listen, process, or just be with him.

2. I am a shepherd to the feminine half of the church. I truly want to be Joel’s counterpart both at home and in ministry. This means that I represent him and his ministry/vision to my own gender. I can reach into areas of our faith family in ways that as a man, he cannot. This doesn’t mean that I need to lead the women’s ministry, but I do feel responsible for keeping a pulse on it and for loving on the women in our church. I take every opportunity I can to listen, pray for, and speak into their lives. I want to encourage them to rise up into leadership and see their great potential for influence. I want to exhort them in their specific needs and roles as wives, mothers, and women. I want to fan the flame of love for Christ in whatever way I can. This ministry begins with the staff wives, elder’s wives, and female staff as they allow, and as we build relationships over time (read…priority). It is also manifested as I use my teaching gifts to clarify the truths of Scripture, or my gift of exhortation to verbally encourage women.

3. I am a culture-shaper. I don’t always have a specific ministry, but I can be a voice that speaks into several different areas. Again, I know my husband’s vision and can help to forge the way in the various ministries in which I may be present. I can also be eyes and ears amongst our church to provide feedback to my husband regarding things that I see happening, for the purposes of meeting needs.

4. I am an esteemer of mentorship and discipleship within the church. I am passionate about the Biblical mandate of making disciples, and this can be done through a variety of ways: teaching, writing, one-on-one, leading a small group, or by modeling it. It is my heart that there be many, many women within our church who take up this same mantle as they are given confidence and tools, and that this would simply be the DNA of our culture.

Your role description will probably look different than mine. In fact, I hope it does, reflecting the distinct beauty of who you are. However as a pastor’s wife, only you can really define it clearly, for the glory of God and the benefit of the church. May you rise up into your exquisite God-given role.

© CLUTCH, 2009-2011 unless otherwise sourced.
Use allowed by express written permission only.
Tweets, trackbacks, and link sharing encouraged.

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