Join the challenge!

A few how-to’s and explanations on how to survive a spend-fast. Hope you’ll join me for this February’s Spend Fast Challenge!

This challenge will force you to clean out and use up what you already have and discover time and money you didn’t know you had. Join the adventure!

First: Ask to join the Facebook group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1215035715260083/

Second: Visit the website and sign up for blog notifications:
https://tammylanhamimagesblog.wordpress.com/february-spend-fast-challenge/

up-for-the-challenge

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Best Detergent Recipe EVER!

laundryI have been making my own laundry detergent for over four years, now and am VERY happy with the results. However, my whites started not looking quite as white.  So I’ve been playing with detergent recipes to get a good combination that seems to work and here it is:

2 bars ivory soap, shredded (a cheese shredder works best)

2 cups washing powder (not baking powder, Arm & Hammer Washing Powder is at Walmart and Kroger on the detergent aisle)

2 boxes baking soda

1/2 box Borax

1 box Purex Powdered Bleach

2 cups of Oxi-Clean for extra icky laundry

Use 1 small scoop (about 1″ deep, 1″ around) for regular loads, a heaping scoop for heavy stained loads.  I have made many batches of this recipe and each batch makes just under 3 gallons and lasts about 8 months.  I do 4-6 loads of laundry per week for my family of 4.  I haven’t even used half of the washing powder, borax or Oxi-Clean, yet.  MUCH cheaper than buying Tide (or even the cheap store brand stuff)…

headshot 2Tammy Lanham uses her passions for writing, speaking, and photography to entertain and encourage moms, marriages, and entrepreneurs.  She homeschools.  She volunteers.  She’s an entrepreneur.  She sleeps – sometimes.  Oh, and she eats chocolate.

Tammy is married to Tommy Lanham – a coach, leadership training expert, instructor, motivator, and a believer in Jesus whose mission is to equip and empower entrepreneurs, leaders, and dreamers to climb to their untapped potential.

Visit Tammy’s website:  www.TammyLanham.com 
Visit Tommy’s website:     www.TommyLanham.com  

 

 

 

God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell / Spiritual Rape

Now I’m getting on shaky ground, right?  I mean, to read my posts about healthy cooking, how to use cast iron, funny things my husband has done….. that’s good stuff right there.  But now I bring up God.  And Hell.   Careful Preacher’s Wife, this could get uncomfortable!

heaven-and-hellFirst, let’s discuss that guy (or girl) in high school.  You know, the one who never looked you square in the eyes, followed you around (at a distance of course) and showed up everywhere you were?  Let’s name him/her Creeper.  You knew Creeper had a crush on you.  Creeper would stare at you from across the room.  Creeper would eventually get up the nerve to talk to you or even ask you out.  You weren’t interested so you said “No.”  Then Creeper would call you.  Or these days, text you.  Creeper might even write you notes.  The words “I’m not interested”  really meant nothing.  Creeper stalked you on social media.  You wanted Creeper to leave you alone.  You finally say “Get away from me!” slightly worried you’ll hurt Creepers feelings but enough is enough, right?  Geesh!  Leave me alone!

Now let’s shift gears here.  Let’s shift to thinking about God.  Keep reading – it all comes together in just a minute.  From the beginning, God has been pursuing you.  God has a desire for you to turn to Him – when things are good and when the road is rocky….  Heck, when the road turns into a cliff and you’re barely hanging on!  He desires you.  Matthew 11:28 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  He wants to hear from you – even though he’s omniscient (all knowing, having complete understanding).  If you have kids, think about it this way.  Don’t you know when your child is hurting?  Don’t you know when they are upset about something or someone?  I don’t know about you, but I love it when my child comes to me and confides in me.  Whether she asks for advice or not, I love it when she opens up to me and shares with me even though I already know what is bothering her.  I love putting my arms around her and comforting her.  God is the same way – He loves it when we come to Him.  His greatest desire is for us to want to be with Him.  He wants to give us rest.

Free choiceAlright, now let’s combine our two areas of discussion here.  Creepers and God.  And no, I’m not suggesting that God is a Creeper for goodness sakes!  Stick with me here folks!  God desires us.  He wants us.  But if you spend your whole life treating him like a Creeper telling Him “I’m not interested” then guess what?  He respects your free will.  He won’t force anything on you.  Even Heaven.  If you spend your life avoiding God, why in the world would He force you to go to Heaven where you will spend eternity with Him?  He will brokenheartedly allow you to choose to spend eternity away from Him in Hell.  He doesn’t send you there.  He wants you to choose Him.  But if He forces Himself on you, it’s no longer free will.  It’s spiritual rape.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  He’s with you.  So no matter how far you’ve run from Him or how much you’ve done to push him away, He’s there.  Quietly waiting for you to turn to Him.  Doesn’t matter who you’ve slept with, how much you had to drink last night, how high you may be right now reading this.  He loves you.  Doesn’t matter if you go to church every Sunday, serve in soup kitchens or give loads of money to charity.  He loves you.  You can’t get away from His love.  But He will not force it on you.  You have to choose it.

Click on “Follow This Blog” over to your left to get a notice when the next blog comes out!

Tammy Lanham Tammy Lanham is the wife of That Preacher Tommy Lanham, Momma to That cute little artist, Appolonya and that adorable engineer, Dylan.  She homeschools them both.  She is also the owner of Tammy Lanham Images.  In her free time, she….. wait – she has no free time…  nevermind.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How Michael Jackson and Tommy Lanham Ruined My Evening

I love my husband.

He came home as we were preparing to go the ball park tonight and watch my son play a Rookie Ball game.  It’s like t-ball but they hit the ball that is pitched from a pitching machine.  In this case, a round wheel that whirls and spits the ball out.  Gorgeous night for a game.  I came through the house gathering the last of the supplies – ball, hat, glove, batting gloves, cleats, the ball player, you know… the essentials.

As I gather the ball player, I noticed he and his sister are staring intently at a video my husband has pulled up on the laptop.  It’s the Michael Jackson Thriller video.  At the very moment this image popped up……

Michael Jackson

………. my children did this…..

scream scream2

Appolonya ran into the corner screaming “Why??  Why?????  Why would you show us that??”  I went to console her and she lashed out at ME asking “Why would you let Daddy show us that, Mommy?”  Yeah, like it’s MY fault…  In the meantime, Dylan is balled up in the fetal position on the floor squeezing his eyes shut and holding his hands over his ears while he’s screaming at the top of his lungs “Dad, make it STOP!”  Might I add that Dad is still sitting at the laptop trying his best to not bust out laughing.  I’m shooting darts at him in my mind but he doesn’t feel them.

mad

Yep – nice, calm, peaceful night before a ball game.  After the game, dear ol’ Dad had to go counsel a family and left Mommy at home to get the children in bed.  After we got home and got our baths, Dylan wouldn’t get more than 5 feet from me.  He sat in the floor in the bathroom while I helped Appolonya blow dry her hair.  When I tucked her in, he sat at the foot of her bed asking if that man was ever going to come back.  Then I tucked Dylan in.  Oh goodness…..  Poor kid.  He finally decided it would be okay to fall asleep if he slept with every single light in his room on.

Yep  – he’s asleep with every light on.  ‘Cause that’s how we roll when Daddy terrifies his children.

Thanks Tommy – and thank you Michael Jackson for such a peaceful evening.  Tommy – next time, you’re on tucking in duty!

 

 

 

Heck, Yeah!

Well, it’s Sunday again.  And I actually stuck to my commitments this week!  We’ve received tough news regarding a family member’s health, we began the first week of homeschool co-op classes this week (I’m directing for the first time) and my husband was out of town for the week.  Want to talk about stress??  Guess when I like to eat??

I made a commitment to you last week that by this time this week, I would have chosen a 5K to compete in.  Strike that….. participate in.  🙂  I found one and I have found an amazing neighbor that’s going to do it with me.  We’ll be participating in the Race to End Homelessness at Cherokee Park in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 9 a.m.  For those of you interested or challenged to participate, here’s the link:

http://www.roadracerunner.com/re_122326/RacetoEndHomelessness5kRunWalk2013.html

I began walking with Chesi (my neighbor) last Sunday night.  I went with the mindset we would walk a mile around the high school track and field track.  She went thinking we would do three.  By the 6th and 7th laps, we decided 2 miles was quite the accomplishment for us and ended our evening walking 8 laps.  From then on, we decided to walk every night.  We varied our speeds, pushed ourselves and really did well.  Some nights, we had other ladies join us and some nights, I walked alone.  At this end of this very stressful week, I can tell you, I walked (or in some cases even jogged) the better part of 27 miles total for this week.  I want you to understand, I haven’t given my weight for this journey yet (I will, just not quite ready to share that yet) but believe me, if I can do this at over 200 pounds, no athletic ability and absolutely (I really mean, ABSOLUTELY) no desire to run (in fact, I hate running), then you can do this.   Did you hear me?  YOU could do this!  I’ve started and tried so many times just to fizzle out and give up.  You know what the definition of success is?  It’s falling down 8 times, getting up 9.  In my case, it’s falling down 1,822 times and getting up 1,823.

I don’t know how long I am going to stay focused on this journey but I’ve made the commitment to see it through.  I am walking daily and logging every bite that goes into my body on http://www.myfitnesspal.com  I may fail miserably next week but for today, I will do this.  I will walk, I will move more, I will make healthy food choices.  Then tomorrow, I will get up and make that same commitment again.   Am I tired?  Heck, yeah!  Is it worth it?  Heck, yeah!  I’m pumped and ready to do this!  I weigh in tomorrow morning.  *Keeping my fingers crossed.*

Gotta start somewhere…… right???

I’m back – it’s been a LONG and tedious roadsomewhere but I’m here.  Two years ago, I began this weight loss journey and lost 50 pounds.  Then about a year ago, I began fighting a mysterious illness (which no one ever figured out what the heck it was) with round after round of steroids and put back on over 40 pounds over the past 12 months. I’m better now and off of almost all the medicines.  I’m tired of using that as an excuse for gaining back the weight. So, I’m back. I’ve got a lot of emotional junk on my plate right now so I’m not sure I can handle a focus on the two or three big issues in our lives along with focusing on weight loss and exercise BUT I’m going to try.  That’s all I’m promising – I’m going to try.

start

 

I’ve got my two closest weight loss guru’s helping me – Terri and Kelly.  Without them, I wouldn’t be able to even think about going down this long road again.  I started again a few days ago – on Monday, January 21st, 2013 (taking deep breaths, tears in my eyes and ashamed) at 201.2 pounds.  Two years ago, I started at 204.2 and promised I’d never get back into this position.  Well, here I am.  You’ve gotta start somewhere, right?

Anybody lose weight, put it back on and lose again to successfully keep it off?  Please share any encouragment you might have to offer.  I could use it right now.
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Melted Bead Art

 

I know this isn’t about weight loss (which I am back on the right track, by the way, it’s just slow going getting my momentum back).  Nor is this about couponing and saving money.  But hey, it’s my blog and I can write about whatever I want, right?  So, I came across this neat idea for a creative art project.  Melted beads.  Have you ever heard about it?  Well, here’s my first attempt.  I’m pretty proud of myself – especially considering at the current moment, it’s 3:00 a.m. and my brain is still functioning.

 

 

First, you take a bunch of cheap pony beads – we already had a whole Ziploc container full in our cabinet.  Just a note:  the metallic and solid colored ones don’t work.  Don’t ask how I found out.   Anyway, you take these beads and lay them out in a glass or metal container.  I used glass tonight.  Make sure you lay them out in one single layer with the sides touching.  You can also use small bread pans, mugs or cake / pie pans.

Then stick them in your oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  This is what comes out:

 

 

 

 

 

So for all of you who have always wondered what this night owl does all night, here’s your answer!  🙂  Hey, my house is quiet – I get creative when it’s quiet!

 

Money Savings Class available nationwide!

(I’ve been teaching a Money Saving Strategies Class  for about a year now and for the first time ever, we will take this class live!  If you have wanted to attend my class but live too far away, THIS is your chance….  I’ll give you more information at the end of this blog.)

Everybody wants to save money.  I don’t know anyone who goes through life saying “I want to waste my cash.”  And if you sit down and look at what’s going on in the life of your checkbook, unfortunately you will find that there are not a lot of areas in your life you can really cut back on.  The car insurance is pretty much the same every month.  The electric bill could be reduced a little, the house payment is the same every month, the gas to and from work varies but is always a big part of the budget.  So if most of the necessary expenses are pretty consistent, how in the world can we save money??

Groceries.  Everybody eats, most everybody enjoys eating.  I’ll stop right here to tell you, I’m not one of the Extreme Couponing women that spends 20+ hours a week finding, cutting, clipping coupons and another 20+ hours grocery shopping and stockpiling.  I am a minister’s wife, a full time photographer and I homeschool our 2 children – 3 full time jobs if you ask me.  I simply do not have time to travel all over town and visit several stores to take advantage of the deals I find.  I shop at one store (Kroger) and I have come to know that store very well.  I know when they do markdowns, when the least crowded time to go is and which cashiers like coupons and which don’t.

I spend about an hour a week gathering, clipping and organizing my coupons.  And most of the time, it’s done while doing other activities and it always involves my family.  My children have gotten better than me at finding the coupons and even my 5 year old helps out!  He loves cutting out coupons or a.k.a.…. refining his small motor skills….

I’ve found that I win or lose the money savings battle not in the grocery store but in my living room.  I research the sales and coupons and make a meal plan and grocery list before I ever leave home.  The first few weeks, it involved a time investment of about 2 hours but now that I’ve gotten into a routine, an hour is all it takes.

The website www.thekrazycouponlady.com has been a valuable tool for me.  It is completely free and it tells you what is on sale at your store any given week and if there are any coupons available for those sale items.  Use this website in conjunction with your family’s meal plan to get some great savings.  I have two children (ages 5 and 8) and our grocery bill for our family of 4 is typically under $60 per week.  We budget $100 per week to put towards things we find on a very good sale (to put into our stockpile or give to our church’s food bank) or to save up for bigger items like shoes, coats, backpacks, etc.

Alright, now for the more information….  This class will be taught LIVE this Saturday, February 25th, 2012 from 10 a.m. until 12:00 noon.  If you can’t join us live at those hours, it’s okay!  Go ahead and register and you get a mp3 download of the class to listen to as many times as you need to!  Here’s the event page link:   http://ibloom.co/events/savemoney!

I’ll see you there!

202 Sticks of Butter!

Most of you know I started this weight loss journey back on January 18, 2011 when trying on clothes in a Lane Bryant dressing room, my daughter very innocently says to me “Mommy, your legs are fat.”  That was my point – the point you’ve heard me talk about.  That point when I was miserable, I dreaded trying to lose weight A-GAIN and was at my rope’s end.

I came home that day and cried, felt like hitting a brick wall with my fist and wanted to collapse in the floor with a big box of chocolates.  That would’ve really helped the situation, right?  I decided to make some changes, a little at a time.  In the past, I thought I just didn’t have enough will power.  I had tried all the diets, all the trendy tricks.  But this time, something made me look at my eating habits as an addiction (for me, it was), a disease I needed to fight.  I studied the Alcoholics Anonymous model and put some of the practices to work in my situation.  I immediately contacted a life coach to meet with on a weekly basis to set small, attainable goals and to hold me accountable.  I also found a sponsor – a woman who had gone through the struggles I was about to go through and came out on the other side.  I literally called her in the middle of Kroger one day because a recipe I was making called for 2 boxes of Ho-Ho’s and I knew there would be leftovers.  I wasn’t sure I could handle that.  In fact, I was trembling.  God bless Terri – she kicked my butt and helped me decide to not even make that recipe.  “Walk away from the Ho-Ho’s!”  🙂  It’s been amazing what a difference of having partners through this has made.  I know that if I screw up, my coach and my sponsor will come after me and make me explain my actions.

You have no idea what an accomplishment for me this is – to have lost 50 pounds!  The most I’ve ever lost my adult life is 7 pounds and that was before my wedding.  If you’re sitting at your computer thinking “I’m so proud of her but I couldn’t do that…” then you won’t be able to do it.  “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re usually right.”  -Zig Ziglar.  I’ve had to change my thinking before anything else started to change.  I’ve had to rely on God for a lot of strength.  On weeks I don’t do my devotions as regularly or stay focused on my time with Him, I don’t do well on the scale.  I know it sounds crazy.  I don’t care what you think.  I know my strength comes from the Lord almighty and I give him all the glory for this weight loss.  Cheesy as it may sound…

So, I stand before you today having made some lifestyle changes, a little at a time over the last 10 months.  It hasn’t been easy, I’ve worked for every ounce lost.  I haven’t taken any diet pills, I’ve not had surgery, I’ve not joined a gym, I’ve not joined Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig.  I’ve made small changes to become more active and I’ve educated myself on what I eat.  Did you know that one, ONE whole wheat Pillsbury Grand’s biscuit is equal to 14 slices of whole wheat toast WITH JELLY?  Just learning stuff like this helps me make better choices.

I weighed in this morning at 153.8 pounds.  I began 10 months ago at 204.4 wearing size 20/22.  I’ve lost 50.6 pounds, the equivalent of 202 sticks of butter.  I’ve still got some sticks I’d like to lose but all in all, I’m ecstatic with this loss.  Just think where I would be if I were still at miserable and at my rope’s end.  I’m so glad God gave me the strength to make the changes and take the steps to get here.  It was a journey well worth it.  I look forward to continuing this journey.  Follow along by clicking “Yep, I’m in!  Sign me up!” if you want to get email alerts when a new blog post goes up (usually about once per week or less).  I’d love to get your feedback and hear your stories.

That Fat Girl

Tonight as I was preparing to play softball with our church softball team, I began to have flashbacks of that fat girl in elementary and middle schools that was always picked last.  And when I got forced onto someone’s team because I was the last person in line, I played pitifully.  Those flashbacks made me apprehensive about playing.  All the insecurities of that fat girl came flooding back.

I found out tonight that it’s not enough to change your body and lifestyle but you’ve got to change your mindset.  I was dressed in the most athletic thing I could find (a pair of 1 size too big denim capris and a red tank top) standing in my living room behind my kids on the couch watching Electric Company.  The characters on the screen were singing about taking chances, take a step forward and get in the game even if you are scared.  Wow – isn’t it cool how God can speak to us in any number of mediums?  As I stood there, I felt my confidence building.  Then my daughter, suddenly realizing I’m in the room, turns and says to me, “Mommy, you look absolutely magnificent losing so much weight!”  She came over and hugged me and told me I used to be so big and now I’m so little.  Thank you God for that little messenger giving me your message of encouragement.

Many of you have asked why I haven’t blogged the past 2 weeks.  It’s not that I’ve lost motivation or gained any weight.  We were out of town last week at the North American Christian Convention where I served as the Student Convention Photographer and had no time to write.  This week, I suffered a bout of the 24 hour flu.  And let me tell you, it was awful.  I went outside on a day when the heat index was 115 degrees in my sweat suit with my bathrobe on to warm up.  So the answer is – No, I’ve not gained any weight.  I’m still motivated, still working out and discovering great ways to change my diet to healthier choices.  I’m reading a great book by Tosca Reno that I highly suggest.  It’s a practical guide to eating clean and includes foods we actually will eat.

I weighed in this week at 160.0 – a loss of 2.4 more pounds.  That’s a total of 44.4 pounds lost since January 18, 2011.  🙂  I’m 10 pounds from my first goal of 150.  It’s amazing the new person I am becoming.  I’m more confident, more active, have tons more energy and a much more positive outlook on life.  Can’t wait to see what Goes does next!