Friday, March 30, 2012

This Is Bliss

Ok, I know today is Friday, and usually that means Friday's Fabulous Foods.  Well, I haven't cooked much this week experimented or tried any new recipes this week since we just moved in.  I have cooked, but it's been super easy stuff such as: taco salad, a complete boxed meal, leftover pizza from last weekend, etc. :]


Today, Tyler and I are celebrating 8 months of marriage together.  I'm feeling extremely grateful and happy today.  About 4 or 5 months ago, we were both wondering where Tyler was going to get a job.  The job market was looking pretty slim, and out of the blue a recruiter called Tyler up and told him he needed to apply for a sales job at Paycom in St. Louis.


As many of you know or remember, we didn't want to move to the "big city."  However, I told Tyler he couldn't just throw this job out the window.  He interviewed 3 different times with the company, until he heard that he didn't get the sales position.  We were sad, because at this point we had let ourselves dream of what it would be like moving to STL and he was going to make a lot of money.  Well, then the recruiter told Tyler about another position they thought he would be good at.  In the end, Tyler got that position.


Tyler spent one week here at the STL office before we moved to Oklahoma City for 3 months.  When he came home from his first day at the STL office this week, he told me that 2 sales people had been fired and 2 more people had been hired.  It made me extremely grateful that he didn't get the sales position.


In times of uncertainty, we tend to ask God, "Why?"  At first, we asked God, "Why didn't Tyler get the sales position?  It seemed like You dropped this job in his lap."  God has revealed His answer to us this week.  Tyler got a more secure job than the original position that he applied for.  He doesn't have to worry about whether or not he can make a sale (although the guy is extremely persuasive).  


We are immensely grateful.  The Lord knows us best.  He knows the best time  to give us things.  You know the verse where it says God isn't going to harm us, but prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11)?  I'm feeling that today.  I'm really counting my blessings.


I'm also thankful for the "bargain deals" that God has given us this week.  Earlier I posted about my washer and dryer hunt.  I'm grateful that we didn't have to pay a ton of money for them.  We also went out last night and bought a couch!  We had looked previously in Oklahoma City so we had an idea of what we wanted.  I never thought I would own a sectional couch, but now I do.  The couch we originally found and loved was quite pricey (why is it always like that?).  We went to Ashley Furniture last night (they're having their "lowest prices of the season" sale) and looked around.  We found a couch that we loved that was half the price of our original love!  How awesome!!


When you put God first in your life, He blesses that.  We have decided to put our finances in God's hands and I truly believe that He blessed us this week by finding these sweet deals.  He stretches our dollars for us.  He gives us what we need.  Although, we didn't really need a couch, we wanted to upgrade from our "college furniture."  We budgeted for it, and ended up spending half of what we planned for!


I'm so happy to be in St. Louis.  I'm excited for this chapter of our lives, and more importantly, I'm excited to see how God will use us here!!  I can't wait to invite people over to our new "home."  I hope that we can use our home as a tool to further God's Kingdom!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Hunt

There are definitely some side effects to having older GPS models.  Yesterday, I set out on a mission to find a washer and dryer.  We still have the big white van, and we thought it would be a good idea to buy a set while we could still haul them.  I started out by going to an Appliance Discounters store.  Supposedly they carry "scratch and dent" appliances, and that's what I was really interested in.  I'm not picky when it comes to laundry...I want something that will get the job done and not cost me an arm, leg, and my first born child.


Anyhow, I did a little research, found out that the appliance store has 3 locations and 2 of them were equal distance from our new home.  I jotted both of the closest addresses down "just in case."  I put the address into the GPS for the first store and started on my way.  I got on the highway and was excited about "touring" the suburbs.  Well, roads are changing all the time, and my GPS isn't.  Sidenote: I think that the GPS should come with lifetime map updates at no additional cost!  If you're going to spend $200 or so on it, that's the least the company could do for you. End rant.


So I was on the highway and the GPS said that I needed to get off at Exit 32 A.  Well, I pass exits 29, then 30, then 31.  I get to mile marker 32 and see no sign for Exit 32 of any sort.  Ok, no problem. I just get off at Exit 33C.  The GPS wants me to turn around and get back on the highway.  Ok, I can play that game.  So I do.  But I know there isn't an Exit 32 A.  So I get off at an exit that I recognize as a major street name.  I know that I have to go South, so I just drive south.  Eventually, the GPS will change and get me to where I'm going...I just tweaked it to go where I wanted it to go.  Now, you have to picture this as I'm driving in the big white van.  As I'm driving, I'm going through neighborhoods with lots of stop lights...not the easiest path to take in this ginormous van in the city.  It's also hard to merge on a dime...you have to plan out where you can merge.  (I have a small car, which is great for merging!)  Anyway, about 40 minutes later, I get to where I need to be.  It was only supposed to take 20 minutes, but no problem.  I have all the time in the world.


I get to the store, go in, and talk to a very lovely woman.  She was really nice, which I was grateful for.  She showed me a couple of sets of washers and dryers, both which were way more expensive than I wanted to spend.  However, they were both under the budget that my husband had given me.  You see, I'm a tight wad.  I hate spending more than I have to, and I love a good deal.


I talk to my husband and my mom on the phone, and they both thought we could get a better deal elsewhere.  Ok, at this point I'm a little overwhelmed. Buying a washer and dryer is a big expense.  I don't like purchasing "big" things without talking to Tyler first, and most of the time I want him to look at it and make sure he's gonna like it.  He was at work, so I had to buck up and keep looking.  I did stop and pray about it because at this point in our lives, I didn't feel like God wanted us to pay $700 for a set.  I put the address of the second store in the GPS and off I went to the St. Charles area.  I thought that they might have different shipments, but I was wrong.  I kinda felt like I wasted my time.  They guy that helped me there was equally as nice, though.


So I came back home and ate some lunch.  I decided to get on Craigslist and see what I could find.  I'm always leery of getting scammed, but I think people can really find a good deal sometimes.  I found several sets that were more in my price range, and particularly one set stuck out.



  • It had been lightly used for a year, then put in storage.
  • They were selling because of a military move.
  • The ad had good spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • They were trying to sell it fast.
So I e-mailed them from the listing.  Not more than 5 minutes later, I got a reply!  The lady was super nice.  She was very polite in answering my questions.  I called my dad (because he's very knowledgeable about things like this), and he wanted me to make sure the washer had been drained before it was put in storage.  So I asked the nice lady all my questions and she was quick to reply.  I thought, "Maybe this is an answer to my prayer!"  We made arrangements to meet last night to look at it after Tyler got off work.

We left our apartment around 5:40 (in the middle of rush hour).  We had a total of 13.8 miles to drive, all highway.  After getting on the highway, we quickly decided to take back roads.  Please excuse our dirty, bug splattered windshield. :]


We went through a quaint little town.  We said we might come back to go eat on their main street because it was so cute (and people were everywhere!).  We made it to the storage unit that we were meeting the people at.  It took us 40 minutes to get there!  Lesson learned...don't go anywhere during rush hour. :]

The couple was really nice.  He's in the military and being stationed in Germany next, so they couldn't take the washer and dryer with him.  Tyler liked him right away because the guy was wearing a "Smith and Wesson" t-shirt. :]  A gun is the way to my husband's heart. 

We loaded them up, and took them home.  It only took 20 minutes to get back, and we were hungry by then.  We stopped at a Qdoba to eat and ate outside on their patio.  It was a beautiful evening!  God has been very gracious to give us the warm weather.  I love it.

Oh and because this is my blog and I can, here's a picture of the awesome quesadilla that I had.  The guy "hooked me up," in the words of Tyler.  It was huge.



I had called my parents on the way back to let them know that we had bought a washer and dryer.  They both asked how we were going to get it up to our apartment.  My reply was quick, "I'll pretend I'm a man."  And that's what I did.

This is our "first Craigslist purchase smile."  Or lack of, in Tyler's case. :]


And, yes I did help carry them in!  We didn't even drop them, which is good because they look brand, spankin' new.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Goals

We are officially residents of St. Louis County.  Whew.  What a weekend!  We are incredibly blessed to have such great and willing family members.  My uncle Marty let us store our things in his basement for 3 months.  My uncle Mike got the van and trailer ready for our move, and he and my aunt Cathy came to help us pack up yesterday.  Tyler's parents came down to Lamar on Friday night to help us pack up and move.  They were great help as we unloaded and tried to get situated in our new apartment.  I'm so grateful for everyone's help!! We couldn't have done it without them.  


I also must stop and brag on Tyler a bit.  He drove the van and trailer, which were both fully loaded, all the way to St. Louis.  I'm so very proud of him and he did a great job!!  I must add, that this wasn't just any van.  It was a 15 passenger van with all the seats out.  So he probably felt like he was driving a semi. :]


We got the call on the way back to Missouri on Friday night that Tyler doesn't have to go back to Oklahoma City this next week.  We were very excited to say the least.  I think he's pretty excited to start learning the ropes of the STL office.  If he's not, I am for him. :]


I thought I would share some goals this week.  My main focus will be settling in, but if I don't have some other goals I will get off track.


But first, here's a recap of last week's goals:
1. Watch last DVD session for Bible Study.
2. Start my new Bible Study.  (not gonna lie...that didn't happen)
3. Start a new book.  (this didn't happen either)
4. Contact Christi at Honey Pot.  (the cake is gonna be beautiful!)
5. Make a list of everything needed to be purchased for Mackenzie's bridal shower.
6. Contact the utility company in STL.
7. Contact AT&T for Internet in STL (this is Tyler's job, but it still needs to be done this week.)
8. Start packing things to be moved.
9. Continue to work out and eat healthy.  (I didn't eat as healthy as I would have wished to this weekend, but the past week was great!)
10. Continue to job search.  (I found 2 at Washington University that I'm going to apply for!)
11. Continue to make the budget.  (getting closer for it being done)



This week's goals are:
1.  Continue to unpack and settle in.
2.  Make a grocery list and go shopping.
3.  Start new Bible study.
4.  Work out (in the new fitness center) and eat healthy.
5.  Start accumulating coupons again.
6.  Job search (and apply?)
7.  Update my resume.
8.  Buy a washer and dryer.


I think that will keep me pretty busy.  I also need to find my way around this town...it shall be an interesting week!  I'll keep you updated!  Also, before and after pictures of the apartment are to come!  Stay tuned! :]

Friday, March 23, 2012

2 for 1 Recipes! That's Like a BOGO Sale!

Today is a wonderful day!  At 5:00 pm, I will pick Tyler up in my already-packed-car, and we will head back to Missouri!  We will also be praying all the way there that he won't have to come back next week...there's a slight chance that he won't have to.  I am so excited for him to see our new home!!  (He's only seen pictures.)


Well, it is Friday, and that means it's time for this week's Friday's Fabulous Foods.  I have two recipes that I want to share this week.  Aren't you lucky? :]


The first one is a new crockpot recipe that I'd like to share.  It was really good, and we actually just ate the leftovers last night!


Italian Herb Chicken:
Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg McCormick Italian Herb Chicken Seasoning
  • 2.5 lbs chicken (I used chicken breasts)
  • 1-8 oz can of mushrooms, halved or sliced (I used a 14.5 oz can!)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-6 oz can of tomato paste
(Here's the picture of the seasoning package.)

Directions:
Place chicken and mushrooms in the crockpot.




Mix seasoning, tomatoes, and tomato paste until blended.  



Pour over the chicken and mushrooms.




Cover.  Cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.  Stir sauce before served.  This recipe is so easy, and SOOO yummy!


******************


The next recipe I'm going to share is Tyler's new favorite.  It's also really easy, and doesn't take but 15-20 minutes to make.


Creamy Italian Chicken:
Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning, divided
  • 1 lb bonelss skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper (you can really use whatever color you want)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Hot cooked pasta, optional
(Here's a picture of the seasoning.)

Directions:
Mix flour and 1 Tbsp of the seasoning in a dish.


Cut the chicken into chunks, and cut the pepper up.


Then, coat the chicken in the flour mixture and put it in the skillet with the oil.


Add the pepper in with the chicken and cook until the chicken is done.


Stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp seasoning and the heavy cream.  Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Meanwhile, if you want, cook the pasta in a separate pot.  I like to mix the pasta in with the chicken and toss it around before it's served.


It's delicious!! :]  Happy cooking! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Going on a 3 Month Vacation?

Well, this is going to be kind of a fun, silly post.  On Saturday, Tyler and I are moving all of our belongings to St. Louis.  So I've been packing our things up here in Oklahoma City.  We didn't bring a whole lot down here:  tupperware, clothes, a few paper products, some food, and of course, my crafts.  I went shopping when I first got down here and bought the "necessities."  Some things I knew wouldn't last the whole 3 months, but some things I hoped would last that long.


Well, I thought I might help some people out by sharing what lasted for 3 whole months.  So if you take a 3 month vacation or mission trip or perhaps you might be studying abroad, take note! :]


You can use 3 travel size contact solution bottles.  For those of you who are like me and hate math, no worries.  I did the calculation for you.  That's an average of 1 bottle per month. 




For those of you who LOVE peanut butter as much as I do, you can use 3 jars of peanut butter.  (Actually, I cooked with the third jar, so technically you can use 2 jars in 3 months.)




Tyler used a whole jar each of mayo and mustard.  He took his lunch to work each day, and that also helped us save money!  (and I say "Tyler" because I think both mayo and mustard is just plain nasty.)




You can use a small bottle of soap, a jar of jelly, and 3 canisters of the "just add water" lemonade/tea/koolaid.




You can use a whole package of sugar and whole wheat flour.  These are both the smaller packages.  (I threw the package of the whole wheat flour out before I got a picture of it!)




You can use 2 bottles of liquid detergent.  I really don't like liquid detergent, but that's all they had at Aldi.  You can also use a box of dryer sheets. 




You can also use a whole box of Kleenex.




I know this is a silly post, but honestly, I think being a good steward of my money is an important concept.  I didn't and still don't want to throw excessive amounts of things away, so the challenge to find things that would last the 3 months was fun.  Hope you enjoyed my research findings! :]

Monday, March 19, 2012

Journey to Biblical Beauty Part 4

I have a little hole in my heart...I finished the last video session of my Bible Study today. What a blessing the past 7 weeks have been through this study.  I've learned so much, and God is changing my heart. 


This week my study was on the Ideal Woman.  I've always known her as the Proverbs 31 Woman, but she really is ideal.  I think as Christian women, single, married, divorced, widowed, that we should strive to be like this woman.


Laurie Cole, author of the study, says, "The Ideal Woman is no fancy cream puff or sugar-filled bonbon.  She leads a purposeful and significant life.  And although she wears many hats and juggles many responsibilities, she balances the various aspects of her life with wisdom, prudence, and integrity."


Wow.  I don't know about you, but I want to be that woman.  This woman is "virtuous," meaning: strength, influence, and character.  


Laurie goes on to state, "The Ideal Woman is a strong woman, an influential woman, and a woman whose character empowers her in every area of her life.  As a result, she is successful and respected."


Here are some things that I've learned about the Ideal Woman from Proverbs 31 (or things I've known that have been reinforced):

  • She doesn't talk negatively about her husband in public.  She continually builds him up.
  • Her children respect her and bless her.  She disciplines her kids as well as guides them in the direction they should go.
  • Housekeeping is important...it's a definite aspect of Biblical beauty.  But more than that, she gives attention to "heartkeeping" of those who visits her home.
  • She's a servant to her family.
  • She isn't lazy.  She's either busy working in her home or she's busy with her business.  She's a self-starter.
  • She's a good steward of her money:  she buys what is needed for her family, and she has money leftover to give to the poor and needy.  She's a gracious giver.
  • She's a wise, kind example, educator, and encourager.
  • She teaches the younger women (Titus 2:3-5)
  • She's a woman who reverences the Lord and gives Him priority in her life.

There are so many more things that I've learned this week.  But the one thing that kept coming back to me is this:  my mother is a Proverbs 31 woman.  I know that I talk about my momma a lot, but she's one of my best friends.  I can't not talk about her.  I think that she's such a wonderful Godly example to everyone she's around.  I see all of these things in her life, and I'm so thankful that she is such a close example to me in my life.

My momma has a heart for other people.  She wants to train and teach younger women.  She's never lazy; she has a clean house; I don't ever hear her talk badly about my daddy in public; she is a gracious giver (people are more important than money...that's the philosophy my parents taught us); She's wise; She's kind; She's a fantastic encourager;  She's an educator; and most importantly, she fears the Lord and continually makes Him her priority.

She has been such a blessing to me.  I know that when I grow up I want to be like her.  She always has her eye on the Lord.  I know that my parents will be getting extra jewels in their crowns when they get to Heaven because they had to raise me. :]

One thing that caught me off guard this week was the passage in Titus 2:3-5.  I know that I wrote about a Women's Retreat that I went to last fall that was based on that passage.  You can read about that retreat here.  

This passage talks about the older women training the younger women.  It's a command that the Lord has given us.  I've always thought of myself as a "younger woman," but this week I learned differently.  In our daily conversations with others, God's goal is for our words to minister wisdom to them.  God's calling us to spiritually teach and instruct others, as mentioned in the passage in Titus.  I am supposed to be preparing now to teach the next generation to become an Ideal Woman.  Oh!  I was sooooo wrong in my thinking.  

I hope that I can be half the woman my momma is.  I want to be shining God's love for everyone around me to see.  I want others to know there is something different about me, because I put God first in my life.  I want others to know that it is still possible to become Biblically beautiful. :]

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly Goals

This Week is gonna be kinda crazy. On Saturday, Tyler and I are moving all our belongings out of storage and into our new apartment in Chesterfield. We are incredibly excited to get back to Missouri and I will be happy to have a "home." With that said, it's important that I have my goal list this week. But first, let's review last weeks goals:


Finish The Help (I have roughly 30 pages left) (I finished it right after I posted the goals last week and even read an entire other book!)
Finish my Bible Study with Week 6. (It's been a blessing!)
Buy stamps.
Send out the invitations for the bridal shower.
Work on making chalkboards??  (Could possibly wait til we get moved)
Continue working out. (It was a great workout week!)
Try to find a bank in STL. (Ongoing)
Start working on an "STL Budget.". (Ongoing)
Start really searching for a job. (Ongoing)
Write someone a note.
Become more Christ-like.--This has always been my goal, everyday.  But I thought I should actually write it out. (Ongoing)


This week's goals are:
1. Watch last DVD session for Bible Study.
2. Start my new Bible Study.
3. Start a new book.
4. Contact Christi at Honey Pot.
5. Make a list of everything needed to be purchased for Mackenzie's bridal shower.
6. Contact the utility company in STL.
7. Contact AT&T for Internet in STL (this is Tyler's job, but it still needs to be done this week.)
8. Start packing things to be moved.
9. Continue to work out and eat healthy.
10. Continue to job search.
11. Continue to make the budget.

It's going to be a busy week, but it's going to all be worth it! I'll post pictures when we get all moved in and situated! But it might not be for a couple of weeks because we still have 2 weeks left here in OKC...and we have to go couch shopping AND washer and dryer shopping!

Oh, and here's an update on my reading list for the year:
1.  The Hunger Games  Suzanne Collins
2.  Catching Fire  Suzanne Collins
3.  Mockingjay  Suzanne Collins
4.  Between Sundays  Karen Kingsbury
5.  Unlocked  Karen Kingsbury
6.  Like Dandelion Dust  Karen Kingsbury
7.  Loving (comes out in March!)  Karen Kingsbury
8.  The Help  Kathryn Stockett  (Loved the movie.)
9.  Crazy Love  Francis Chan  (I need to finish this book.)
10.  Radical  David Platt
11.  The 10 Commandments of Marriage  Ed Young
12.  The Husband Project  Kathi Lipp
13.  The Me I Want to Be  John Ortberg
14.  Creating an Intimate Marriage  Jim Burns
15.  One Thousand Gifts  Ann Voskamp
16.  Made to Crave  Lysa TerKeurst
17.  My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife  Sara Horn
18. Not A Fan Kyle Idleman
19. Love and Respect Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
20. The Act of Marriage Tim and Beverly LaHaye
21. Every Now and Then Karen Kingsbury

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Today is Friday!  So that means it's time for Friday's Fabulous Food!!  Today, I want to share a recipe that's a favorite of my family.  Actually, it's my brother Ben's favorite recipe.  Sorry, I didn't take any photos of it..


Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole:
Ingredients:
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of milk (use one of the above)
1 box of Uncle Ben's Wild Rice (quick cook)
1 cup of minute rice
4 large chicken breasts
1 small package of slivered almonds (optional)


Directions:
In a bowl, mix the soups, milk, and packet of seasoning (comes in the rice) together.  Spray your 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  In the baking dish (or in my case, crockpot), mix the rice together.  


If you choose to cook the chicken before hand, cut them into small chunks.  Then mix it in with the soups. You can also thaw the chicken and cut them into chunks.  *If I'm using my crockpot, I will put whole, frozen chicken breasts in and cut them later.* 


If you want to add in almonds, do this here.  My dad and Tyler hate the almonds, so I don't add them in the recipe anymore.  However, I like them...it gives the recipe a little "crunch."


Anyway you cook the chicken, mix it all in with the rice.  You'll want to scoop from the bottom to get all the rice from the bottom mixed in.  If you're using the crockpot, cook on low for about 4 hours.  


If you want to bake the casserole, there are a couple of options.

  • You can bake it at 325 degrees with the baking dish covered with foil for 1 and a half hours.  
OR
  • You can bake it at 375 degrees for 35 minutes uncovered.
This recipe is great anyway you make it.  After discovering I could put it in the crockpot, I have found this is my favorite way to eat it.  The chicken cooks slow and it falls to pieces.  However, when I made it in college for my brother, I would bake it at 375 for 35 minutes and it would be just as delish.  

Tips for microwaving leftovers:
  • Microwave the desired amount and then add a splash of milk.  It gives it that moist feeling. :]
Happy cooking!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Get Behind Me, Satan!

One of my goals for this year was to choose healthier choices.  Some days, I don't want to make those choices.  Some days, I just want to lie around the house and watch tv.


Yesterday, was a day I wish I could have actually gotten out.  But I couldn't.  On Monday evening, one of our neighbors stepped on a step that had lost it's metal brace (several weeks before) and fell backwards down the stairs.  I watched the whole thing and immediately opened the door to see if she was okay.  Our downstairs neighbors immediately called management, and they came shortly after the phone call.  I think the woman was more scared than anything.


Long story short, yesterday they decided to replace all the stairs (except 3...don't ask me why) on our stairway.  So I was trapped.  I wish I had a firefighter's pole to slide down.  :]  It was a beautiful day, and I really wanted to go on a walk.  So when I woke up this morning, I knew that's what I was going to do.


It's supposed to rain the rest of the week, so I wanted to get out while I still could.  So this morning, I did my Bible study and got ready to walk.  It was extremely humid outside, so I knew my hair was going to be crazy.  Oh, the joys of having curly hair. :]  I've been having pain in my lower leg on the side of my calf when I work out.  It's frustrating...and hinders my aerobic activity.


Today, I got halfway around our apartment complex and was feeling really good.  I thought about heading to the fitness center and running on the elliptical, but Satan kept saying, "Your leg will hurt.  No, just walk to your apartment. No, don't turn.  You should just do your 1.3 miles and go sit on the couch."


Ever have one of those days?  Oh, I hate it!  His temptations are so enticing.  I knew that I had to have self control, so I kept walking.  Right up to the fitness center.  Then I kept hearing, "You should only do 15 minutes.  Your leg is going to hurt."  Usually, I run on the elliptical for 30 minutes, but I haven't been able to do more than 15 minutes for the past several months because I've had so much pain.  Well, I moved that number up to 30 minutes, and I ran my little heart out.  


I was nice and sweaty and felt good about myself!  Then I walked out the door and the rest of the way to my apartment...like I was on a mission.  :]  I felt good because I didn't hurt.  But what felt even better is that I defeated Satan in that moment.  


One other way that I'm defeating Satan this week is by tracking what I eat.  I hate tracking calories, but I thought I might as well do it for a bit and see what my habits are.  I'm using My Fitness Pal (if you use it, add me: bethelaine_07), and it's been helping.  It definitely helps with my frame of mind when I want to eat junk.  I don't let Satan tempt me into it...knowing I'll have to write it down. :]


One verse that keeps popping up in my head comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13:


"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man."

It's true.  And honestly, it's the first part of the verse that gets me through.  "No temptation has overtake me!"  Don't let Satan's temptations get the best of you.  Defeat him!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Journey to Biblical Beauty Part 3

As I struggle to find the words to write about this week's study, Satan keeps telling me that I just shouldn't post anything.  "Beth, don't share what you've learned.  No one wants to read about that topic."  I do struggle with what to write, because it was a very intimate topic.


One thing my mom told me before I got married is that "Satan will try to make you come together before marriage and will try to keep you from being together when you're married."  I will NOT let Satan keep me from sharing what I've learned this week.


This week's Bible study was all about sex.  Yep.  I studied the Captivating Woman, and it was eye opening to me.  My whole life (because I just recently got married) the focus was on not partaking in sex before marriage.  My parents started talking to my brothers and I early about it (I was probably 8).  When I turned 14, my daddy took me out on my birthday and bought me the most beautiful diamond necklace in the shape of a heart.  We went out to eat supper and later on to Wal-Mart to pick out the necklace.  On the way home he shared his heart with me.  He told me that he didn't want me to give my heart away to just anyone.  I was to wait until I got married to give my heart away. He shared with me reasons why I should wait, and I will forever cherish that night that we had.


However, now that I am married, I haven't heard anyone talk about this subject.  So studying the Captivating Woman was informative and direct.  Most of the passages I studied were from Song of Solomon.  If you haven't read this book in the Bible, I encourage you to do so.  Single or married, it gives an idea of what true, passionate love really is.  I would encourage you to use a version that you can understand.  I have the NIV Study Bible, but I used the Bible app on my phone to read through the passages in the New Living Translation.


Somethings that I've learned this week:

  • The Captivating Woman is a wife.  (Proverbs 5:18-19)
  • The Captivating Woman makes sex a priority and puts him above all earthly relationships (Proverbs 5:19)
  • The Captivating Woman in Song of Solomon appealed to all of his senses.  She looks good, smells good, sounds good, feels good, and tastes good.
  • She is responsive (Song of Songs 4:16); She is adventurous (Song of Songs 7:11-13);  She is uninhibited (Song of Songs 2:6, 4:16. 7:1-3);  She is expressive (Song of Songs 1:16, 2:3,16);  She is sensuous (Song of Songs 5:10-16).
  • God commands husbands and wives to have intimate relations (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
In my study, there was a day that I studied Paul.  He was given the gift of singleness, but he didn't complain about it.  He took the gift he was given and cultivated an intimate relationship with God.  Single individuals have the ability to give their undivided attention to the Lord.  They have more time to focus on what the Lord wants them to do and learn.  I wish I would have grasped that concept more before I had met Tyler.

The world has degraded sex, but because His Word never changes, God upholds it as an act of holiness to be shared between husband and wife.  He wants us to enjoy it, within marriage, to the point that it intoxicates us.

As I was browsing Pinterest this week, a dear friend of mine had pinned a blog that talks all about married sex.  The author is a Christian, and I encourage you to check out her series called, "29 Days to Great Sex."  You can visit her blog here.  

As I close this post, I want to leave you with a thought.  A man's number one need is respect.  His number two need is intimacy.  However, these two things are very, closely related.

Daniel Akin (author of God on Sex) states, " If a woman fails to meet a man's need for sexual fulfillment, she will also fail to meet his need for admiration and respect." 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

This Week's Goals

I think I should have started making weekly goals at the beginning of my "3 month vacation."  I might have gotten more done.  Oh well, I can't go back and I definitely don't want to.

As I was reviewing last week's goals and planning for this next week, I got to thinking about some long term goals.  I jotted down some long term (in the next year) and some shorter term (within the next 6 month) goals.  I also made my list of this week's goals.  Here I'll share them with you:

Long Term Goals (in the next year or so):
  • Be debt free from school!
  • Start saving for a house!
  • Start looking for a house (this may be the "or so" part of the goal)
Short Term Goals (within the next 6 months):
  • Get a job.  I pray that it will take me less than 6 months.  Everyone needs accountants, right? :]
Last week, my goals were:
1.  Clean out the refrigerator. 
2.  Continue with Week 5 of my Bible Study.
3.  Continue to work out.  (I found some workout DVDs on Netflixed and tried them...I'm still having muscle pain. I kinda took it easy.)
4.  Continue reading "The Help."
5.  Try some more new recipes.
6.  Finish up the invitations for Mackenzie's Bridal Shower.
7.  Encourage someone.  (I hope I did this with the 2 girls I talked to on the phone this week)
8.  Try to find a bank in the STL area.  (Ongoing process)
9.  Contact Christi at Honey Pot.

This week my goals are:
  • Finish The Help (I have roughly 30 pages left)
  • Finish my Bible Study with Week 6.
  • Buy stamps.
  • Send out the invitations for the bridal shower.
  • Work on making chalkboards??  (Could possibly wait til we get moved)
  • Continue working out.
  • Try to find a bank in STL.
  • Start working on an "STL Budget."
  • Start really searching for a job.
  • Write someone a note.
  • Become more Christ-like.--This has always been my goal, everyday.  But I thought I should actually write it out.
We are one week closer to being done.  One week closer to moving.  I keep thinking about things that I'm going to "get back" when we move.  It's going to be like Christmas all over again! :]  But living with minimal belongings makes me realize how much stuff I don't need.  The majority of things I own are luxuries.  All I need is my trust in Jesus, because He will provide everything that I need:  food, water, a roof over my head, clothes.  It sounds so cliche, but it's the truth.  He has definitely taught me a lot through these 3 months.  I will be glad to get my things back, but maybe I ought to take a look and see what I could live without.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Journey to Biblical Beauty Part 2

Do any of you ever feel stuck in a rut in your spiritual life?  Sometimes I feel like I haven't been growing by just going to church every week and reading my Bible every day.  I kinda felt this way before this past weekend.  I needed some direction and affirmation.  Since going to this conference, I have a full heart.  God filled me up.  It's a good thing!  However, I have so much to think about, it's hard to sort it all out.


The Holy Spirit has convicted me in several ways.  There are some things I need to change in my life, some things I need to work on, and some things I just need to do better.  


This week, I have been studying the Irritating Woman in Proverbs.  Once again, I can relate to her.  I believe to some extent the Indiscreet Woman and the Irritating Woman are related.  


In my study, I have come to know that the Irritating Woman is known as a "controller."  In other words, she wants to control every aspect of her life.  In Genesis 3:16 (NLT) it states, "And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you."  God states that the man is the head of the house, yet the woman is always going to want control over him.  This is a result of the fall of Man.  I don't know about you, but I have a hard time with relinquishing control sometimes...even to God.  


I'm Type-A personality which means a couple of things:

  • I am known to be aggressive.  I am comfortable taking charge and being in a position of authority, power, and responsibility.  I am very goal-oriented and will do whatever (to an extent--I won't do anything immoral or against the law) to get a job done.
  • I am also known to have a short fuse.  It's difficult to control my temper sometimes.  I also get irritated when things don't go as planned.  I am a perfectionist. This causes a lot of stress in my life.  
  • I want things done by the deadline that is given.  If things are taking too much time, it irritates me and a lot of times it is known to those around me.  I am impatient.
  • I am very competitive.  I'm driven by success, high standards, and goals.  I have a high need for achievement.  This also causes a lot of stress in my life.  This is where my love language comes in...I need to know that I'm doing a good job.
So you now know a little bit about my personality.  The older I get, the more I realize that I'm a lot like my dad.  He always told me I was a lot like him, but I never could see it...until now.  Nothing is wrong with this, but I have someone who's gone through a lot and has wisdom on how to act.  He can give me advice on what not to do.

I say these things because I know that I have traits of the Indiscreet and Irritating Women.  I know that I need to work on what describes these women.  I might have already posted some of these things, but it's a good reminder for me.  
  • I need to discern when to keep my mouth shut.  I've been working on it this week.  Usually I will say something and not have a care in the world. This week, I would say something and then acknowledge that I shouldn't have said what I did.  I believe that this is a start.  You have to start somewhere...I can't cure it overnight.  
  • I need to become even-tempered.  This is difficult for me because of some of my personality traits.  However, I can't let that be an excuse.  My dad tells me that, "People don't make you feel a certain way (mad, frustrated, inferior, etc).  You choose to feel that way."  He's right.  It's possible for someone to say the most hateful thing to you, and you can ignore it and not let it affect you.
  • I need to think of others before myself.  I don't always have to get my way.  In fact, I don't ever have to get my way.  It's nice when I do, but it doesn't have to happen.  The Irritating Woman has outward signs of discord, strife, manipulation, pleads, demands, naggings.  She wants her way and she will do whatever it takes to get it.
  • I need to relinquish control to my husband and to God.  Tyler and I have an even playing field right now.  We make joint decisions or we give the other permission to choose.  I think that it's important to make joint decisions or be completely okay with his decision.  However, he is still the head of our household.  A lot of my life, I have spent putting things in God's hands, only to take them out again.  This is NO good!  Life is only good and full when we trust Him completely.
  • I need to learn not to default to the Irritating Woman.  When we are controlling ourselves, it's our default to be that woman.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be that woman.  We all have been around this person, and she isn't pleasant.  I don't want to be known as the Irritating Woman.  Like the others, the Irritating Woman starts in the heart...with bitterness, jealousy, hatred, ambition, the need to control.
  • I need to work on speaking words that build, bless, and benefit.  This is the cure to the Irritating Woman.  Even when the person who has been undeserving of these types of words, I must learn to speak these words to them anyway.  This is part of discerning when to say what.
This study has been really good for me.  I've needed to hear what this study has taught me.  I can only hope that what I've learned can be a blessing to you somehow.  I pray that as men and women of God, we can all say things that build, bless, and benefit to all that hear us.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekly Goals

What an incredible weekend!!  My mom met me in Tulsa on Friday afternoon and we went to the Extraordinary Women Conference.  It was amazing!!  Friday night we got to see Adam Cappa, Francesca Battistelli, and Jeremy Camp perform.  Now, for those of you who really know me, know that I LOVE Jeremy Camp!  I've loved him since his first album came out when I was in 6th or 7th grade.  He's such a talented artist!  My mom and I got front row and center seats.  No joke!  I will post more later on this weekend, as there is so much that I still need to process.


I wanted to review my goals from last week, and post my goals for this week.


Last week my goals were:


1.  Continue with Week 4 of "Beauty by the Book" Bible Study.  (what a phenomenal study!)
2.  Work out Monday-Friday for at least an hour.  (I worked out for 1 hour and 20 minutes every day)
3.  Continue planning Mackenzie's Bridal Shower.  (getting closer!)
4.  Continue reading "The Help."  (halfway done!)
5.  Try new recipes in my Crockpot!  (I posted one recipe that I tried)


This week here's what I want to do:


1.  Clean out the refrigerator.
2.  Continue with Week 5 of my Bible Study.
3.  Continue to work out.
4.  Continue reading "The Help."
5.  Try some more new recipes.
6.  Finish up the invitations for Mackenzie's Bridal Shower.
7.  Encourage someone.
8.  Try to find a bank in the STL area.
9.  Contact Christi at Honey Pot.


Lots to do, but it's all do-able. :]  What goals do you have for yourself this week?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Foods

It's MARCH!!  I'm very excited about this fact because we move in 3 weeks!  We will be finished here in 4!  Evidently, I don't know how to count...I kept thinking we only had 3 weeks left here, but March is a weird month with 5 Saturdays in it.  Oh well, that's one more week to work out as much as I want. :]


Well, today I wanted to share with you a (fairly) yummy recipe.  I only say "fairly" yummy because I tweaked the recipe to reflect the ingredients that I actually have right now.  Next time, I will try it with the actual ingredients.  (I just don't really want to have to pack up some extra spices (or PAY for the spice), when I have those packed away.  Lame, I know.)


Anyway, introducing Friday's Fabulous Foods.  I want to share recipes that I've been cookin' up during the week that have been successful!  As of now, those successful dishes have occurred in my crockpot, because the oven that we have sucks.  It took me an hour and a half to bake my parents' anniversary cake.  Boo.  I can always count on my crockpot!


I have wanted to try making Stuffed Peppers ever since I saw Rachael Ray make them on her show.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, located here.  


Here's the ingredients that I used:

  • 2lbs ground pork (subbed ground beef)
  • 4 large green peppers (used variety of color)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 carrots (used several baby carrots)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp dry or fresh tarragon (subbed oregano)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instead of green peppers, I chose a variety of colored peppers.




I cut the tops off and cleaned them out.




I chopped up the garlic, onion, cauliflower, and carrots.  It called for them to be put in a food processor, but what do you know?  It's packed away.  Chopping all of that up took about 30 minutes, also because I don't have any of my nice knives here, either.  I think that the garlic flavor would be better if it were shredded rather than chopped.


Instead of using ground pork, I used ground beef.  I also substituted more oregano for tarragon.  I looked this up on the internet, because the dry tarragon cost over $5 for a small jar. Ouch!!


So I put it all in a bowl and used my hands to mix it all in.





(Looks like mush!)

Then I just scooped them in the peppers and put them in the crockpot.  The recipe said to put the extra beef/veggie mixture in between the peppers. 


(The handle fell off the yellow pepper...oops!)

Cook on low for 8-10 hours.  I think that since I was using ground beef, I only needed to cook it on low for 6 hours.  After cooking them for 7 1/2 hours, the peppers were really soft and fell right apart.


It was pretty good, I thought.  I really enjoyed the cauliflower in the mixture.  I didn't think I would.  The beef mixture needed some more salt and pepper, but I really want to try this recipe again with ground pork. :]  Happy cooking!