Wednesday, October 31, 2012

{Thanks} Living, October Edition

Happy Halloween, y'all!
I'm not much a fan of this day, but it is the last day of the month
and I will celebrate it by being thankful.


I am thankful to have finally met some beautiful ladies that I met on Instagram.  Libby, Amber, Angie, and I met at a cupcake emporium and had dessert on a Saturday afternoon.  It was glorious!  Just earlier that week, I also met up with Sarah from IG.  It was so awesome to put a real face with pictures that I see daily.


The weekend after that, Tyler and I had an opportunity to serve in our community.  Our church, along with 14 other churches participated in St. Louis Serve Day.  Our Life Group decided to do it together, so we were assigned to help put up the "tent" for our Christmas production that they put on every year.  Tyler and I even ended up on the top of a ladder before the day was over!  I'm thankful for the opportunity to be involved with my church, alongside some pretty awesome people.


I'm thankful for the opportunity that Tyler and I had to go home to see my family.  We even had several meals altogether, which rarely happens.  It's a blessing when it does happen.  The boys were home on fall break, helping Dad in the field.
Oh, and that round thing in the picture?
That's the cookie that my mom bought us to celebrate the fact that Tyler and I are officially
DEBT FREE!
Have I told you that lately? Haha!!
I am SO thankful for that!!


I'm thankful for the opportunity to participate in The Snail Mail Diaries with some awesome IG ladies!  Yes, people, this is like old-school penpals.  Jealous?
You should be, because my awesome penpal, Donna, is so cool!!
I'm thankful for having the opportunity to meet other ladies around the US.


I'm thankful for my job.  Sometimes it's rough, but I'm just thankful that I have it.
I'm also thankful for some of the positive changes that we've had in the past month or so.


I'm thankful for our new series at church that we just started called, "Not a Fan."  I'm thankful for the challenge it's already given me, and I look forward to seeing how God will use me after it's over.


I am thankful for the new ideas and exciting opportunities for my shop.
Oh, and the ability to sew.



Speaking of my shop:


What are you thankful for this month?

Linking up with Leslie today!

topofthepagewithleslie

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Mate--490 Times and More


Forgiveness.  That's a hard word to swallow sometimes, isn't it?  I have to admit that I'm not the best at it.  It's something that I work on daily.  This week's commandment was

Thou Shalt Forgive Thy Mate--490 Times and More

I don't know about you, but forgiveness isn't something that I just love to talk about.  And I don't think many people do talk about it.  It should be talked about, however, because God forgives me and you on a regular basis.

Ed shares, "How can we best deal with the imperfections, flaws, and sins that take place within our marriages?  The operative word has to be 'forgiveness.'  We all need to cultivate a lifestyle of forgiveness, a mind-set that forgives consistently and unconditionally."

In the Old Testament, there's an example of forgiveness that's amazing.  Hosea was asked to marry a promiscuous woman named Gomer.  They had three children and then she decided to leave after having numerous affairs.  She eventually sold herself as a prostitute, and ended up as a slave.  When the master put her up for auction, the only person who bid on her was Hosea.  I'm sure this took a lot for Hosea to do.  If you could imagine that happening to you, would you bid on your spouse to take them back?

God calls us to forgive.  In fact, in Matthew 18 it gives us the amount of times we should forgive.

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?'   Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.'"

Ed says, "Here's what happens:  If you forgive someone 490 times, somewhere around number 300 you get in the habit of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is to be habitual, a practice that becomes second nature."

**70 times 7 is 490 times.

He also says, "A marriage is not so much the union of two great lovers as it is of two great forgivers.  Great marriages are made up of two people who have committed themselves to daily forgiving one another."

That is so true!  We have to forgive each other daily for the big AND small things.  I, personally, know that forgiving is hard to do.  A little over a year ago, I started on my journey to forgiving.  I was a selfish college student, who needed to let go of her burdens.  Since then, I've been trying to let go of everything that I've been hurt by.  I'm a work-in-progress.  I'm not perfect...forgiving has always been a struggle of mine, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse.

Some people think they will never, ever be able to forgive someone who has hurt them deeply.  Some people think they will never forgive the person who abused them.  Some people think they just don't have to forgive anyone.  I'm here to tell you otherwise.

You CAN forgive that person.  It's just not a one time deal of forgiveness.  It's a day to day or month to month thing.  It's both an act and a process.

Ed gives us four reasons of why we should forgive and I'd like to share them with you.

1.  God commands us to forgive.  My parents always told us, "BYKOTA" growing up.  It stood for "Be ye kind one to another."  That comes from a verse in the Bible, though.  Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
2.  Forgiveness is part of the character of God.  He forgives us unconditionally.  We don't deserve His forgiveness, yet He gives it to us anyway.  And I don't know about you, but I think I've passed the 490 mark...I'm pretty sure that number is up there at like 4,900,000,000,000 times or more!!
3.  Forgiveness is good for us.  When we're hurt, sometimes we choose to bury that deep within ourselves.  We allow that hurt to grow and it turns into bitterness.  Before we know it, that person who hurt us, is controlling our feelings and how we act.  Only when you give that pain and hurt to God, will you be able to start the process of forgiveness.  And when you truly forgive that person, you will be free.
4.  We forgive so that we, too, will be forgiven.  When we forgive others, we are obeying God.  It is then He will forgive you, too.  The best thing about God's forgiveness?  He doesn't remember our wrongs against Him.  Psalm 103:12 says, "as far as the east is from the west,   so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Amen.

There is SO much more in this chapter.  I encourage you to read this book!  It would seriously take me forever to write everything here.  It is good.

Questions to think about this week:
  1. In what specific areas of marriage do you have the most trouble obeying Jesus' command to forgive "seventy times seven" times?
  2. List some of the little things that you need to forgive.
  3. What usually blocks your willingness to forgive?
  4. Why would God, who is perfect in holiness, allow you into His heaven, even though you have wronged Him with your sin?



Monday, October 29, 2012

Mondays Are Always Random

It's Monday
...and we had a random weekend.
It was a very good one,
filled with family and friends.

The next several weeks months are going to be busy.
We have lots of things planned:
family visiting, Vegas, Thanksgiving is in there, birthday weekend extravaganza with family, Christmas will be here sooner than we think.  
Crazy.
I'm trying to soak it all in and enjoy life while it flies by me.

Here's just a look at what our weekend held for us:

Well, this isn't technically from the weekend, but last week I found my college diploma and took it to my office.  What better a place to put in, than on display?
I thought it was a good idea. :]



On Friday evening, we met a couple from our small group at a restaurant.
Then we went to pick out pumpkins!
I had so much fun with them.
I love getting to know each couple in our small group a little better.


{Tyler found this pumpkin...it was awesome-looking!  Too bad I didn't have $45 to spend on one.}



{Tyler was a good sport about it...even though it wasn't his cup of tea.}


{The front facing camera on my iPhone is grainy, but this is still a fairly good picture.}


 {This was our haul...I love having them to decorate my house with!!}


{When we got home from getting pumpkins, I made pumpkin pie bars to take to Tyler's family get together the next day.  We still hadn't turned on our heat, so I let the heat from the oven warm us up...it's kinda redneck. :] }


{I woke up on Saturday morning to my sweet husband making me breakfast:  cinnamon rolls in the waffle maker.}


{Before heading out of town, we stopped at the post office to mail some goodies from my shop.  20% off through tomorrow!!}


{On the way to his grandparent's house, we stopped on the side of the road to buy some Amish baked goods.}


{We stood by a fire to warm ourselves...it was chilly this weekend.}


{Sunday called for us getting up and going to the early service.  We were having guests over for lunch, which we needed to prepare for.  No, I don't own more than 4 matching plates (other than my fine china that was gifted to me by my lovely aunt).  Oh, and the fall trivet was made by my momma and the pumpkins came from Friday night!}


{On Sunday afternoon, I finally went shopping.  I was in desperate need of some winter/long sleeved clothes, especially for work.  I hadn't been shopping for clothes since June, right before I started my job...so it was about time.}

Last night ended in some relaxation on the couch while we watched our favorite Sunday night shows.
What did YOU do this weekend?
Anything exciting??

Happy Monday, friends!
May you shine your light, bright for Christ this week!


miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not a Fan.

I write this post, today, with jumbled emotions.
I tend to write when I need to sort things out
or when I'm happy and want to share things
or when my heart is overflowing with something I've learned.

I write, today, with all of the above reasons.
Tuesday night, Tyler and I went to Life Group.
Our church is starting a series based on the book, "Not a Fan," by Kyle Idleman.
Have you read it?
I'd love to know what you think of it!


We're reading it and discussing it in our Life Groups as well.
It's church-wide.
It's convicting.

{Enter this week's emotions.}

Some questions were asked in Life Group that just made me think.
Am I a fan or am I a follower of Jesus Christ?

I am so glad that I've blogged my journey over the past year or so.
I can see how much I've grown over the past months.
To be able to see how God had this in His plans.
How everything lined up perfectly.

First, last year {about this time}, I was learning that God could do immeasurably more than I thought.
We never thought we'd be called to move to St. Louis,
But even way before the thought of moving or the job opportunity, God was preparing us.
We struggled through three months in Oklahoma City, which was also a blessing.
And now we're here in this still new-to-us city for we-don't-know-how-long.

I've learned about putting God first.
Tyler and I decided to also put our debt as a {second} priority.
It wasn't too difficult.
And look at us now.
Half of 4 years' college tuition is paid off!

After patiently {or impatiently, some days} waiting for what seemed like months...oh wait, it was...
we now have a small group.
We love them!!
We are excited to get to know them a whole lot better and to learn from them and with them.

I've been reading with She Reads Truth
and I cannot tell you in words what it has meant to me.
I've been so blessed.


I've also been blessed with lots of new blog friends who continually challenge me in my walk with Christ.
I've been convicted to not just read the Word, but to memorize it.

These things in my life have all made me who I am today.
I look back and I see the hand of God in all of it.
Yes, I was miserable at times.
But He was teaching me to rely on Him.
Yes, I was lonely at times.
But He was teaching me that I only need Him.
Yes, I was happy at times.
And He was still teaching me to be grateful for what I have.
Yes, I was overwhelmed with contentment at times.
And He was teaching me that I am abundantly blessed.

Now what?
God has shown us the blessing in obeying Him.
I pray that I will never be a fan of his ever again.
I want to be a sold-out committed follower of His for the rest of my life.
If He's calling me overseas, I will go.
If He's calling me to motherhood, I will go.
If He's calling me to going deeper in my church, I will go.
If He never calls me back to Springfield, then I will stay and serve Him wherever I am.
If He never calls me to do any of the things above, then I will still praise Him.

I am not a fan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation--Online and Otherwise


We've made it to week 6!  How are your marriages or relationships?  Are you using any of this information to encourage you in your relationship with your spouse or significant other?  If so, tell me!  I'd love to know how you've been encouraged along this journey!

This week the commandment is


Thou Shalt Flee Sexual Temptation--Online and Otherwise

Let me tell you...I'm not an expert and I'm only communicating to you what is read in the chapter each week.  I hope to be proactive about my marriage...work on it now where I know it needs work instead of letting it all pile up and then we have to dig through issues later.

**Side note...I had NO EARTHLY IDEA that last week I would write about avoiding debt and today we would be completely DEBT FREE!!!!  God never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, this week two examples of men were used in this chapter and showed how they dealt with sexual temptation.

David:  David is known as "the man after God's own heart," yet he acted out in his temptation.  If you've not read the story of David and Bathsheba, I encourage you to do so.  David saw a young, beautiful woman bathing, and instead of looking away, he brought her to his home.  He acted on his temptation, she went home, and later he received word that Bathsheba was pregnant.  Instead of accepting his mistake, he tried to cover it up.  When one plan didn't work, he tried the next plan, until Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) was dead.

Joseph:  He served Potiphar, who was on the Pharaoh's staff.  Well, Potiphar's wife kept making trouble for Joseph...she wanted him.  He told her no, but she didn't care.  One day, she grabbed him and demanded that he sleep with her.  He ran straight out of her house, leaving his shirt in Mrs. Potiphar's hands.  She then told her husband, of course and lied about it all.  Joseph got thrown in prison, but only months later did he become second in command, only to answer to Pharaoh and in turn he helped save his country from famine.  You can read Joseph's story here.

These two men demonstrate things that can happen as a result of sexual temptation.  Did you know that it's not a sin to be tempted?  Everyone is tempted.  It's what you do in reaction to that temptation that could be a sin.  Big blessings came as a result of Joseph's actions...fleeing from it.  David, on the other hand, had to deal with some consequences.

"The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, never encourage us to try to avoid struggling with sexual temptation.  It insists that we get out of its path altogether."  Ed Young

God's Designer Sex Plan:
1.  Sex is God's idea.    "He designed it to be an act of joyful pleasure by which a husband and wife bond physically, spiritually, and emotionally--they become one."
2.  Human sexuality is unique.  "Though the world might have us believe that we've evolved to a level just above the animals, God tells us we were created just slightly below the angels."
3.  Sex involves every aspect of our being.  "It creates bonds that are intended for marriage alone...Sex involves total oneness with our mates, just as it did with that first couple:  physically, yes. but also psychologically, emotionally, and mentally."
4.  Sex requires boundaries.  "It's a sacred act between two people committed to one another in the covenant relationship of marriage.  Because of it's sacredness, the expression of love and oneness between a husband and wife must be protected and honored."  Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled.  Hebrews 13:4

Sex symbolizes the love that God has for us, too.  It symbolizes the way that He interacts with His people.  God wants intimacy with each of us.

"How do we protect the sacredness of marriage?  We heed Scripture and flee sexual temptation.  How?  By running from it like a deadly disease, by recognizing the "purity" of sex as God designed it, and by protecting it from the onslaughts of a society that has degraded sex to a passionate 'pastime.'"  Ed Young
If you really want to flee the temptation, then stay off the rooftop.  Learn from David.  It doesn't matter if those "rooftops" are online, at work, in a club...stay off of them.  Run from them.   But what do we run to?  "In order to avoid the dangerous pitfall of sexual temptation and build happy, successful marriages, we need to flee to deep, genuine, and biblical intimacy with our mates."  

There is a WHOLE lot more to this chapter, but I don't have enough time to cover it all.  You really should pick the book up and read it together with your spouse!


This week's reflection questions:

  1. Write your definition of sex.  Would your understanding of sex be more in keeping with "designer" sex or "cultural" sex?
  2. What "rooftops" tempt you most?  What is your "flight" plan from this temptation?
  3. What grade would you give the intimacy (sexual, emotional, and spiritual) in your marriage?  What is one thing you and your mate can do to improve your grade?
  4. Is your marriage built on the rock or the sand?  Explain.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bits of the Weekend


Here's a bit from our weekend!

We went home, as in to Southwest Missouri to see my family.  My brothers were home on Fall Break, so we went for the weekend.

My mom took Tyler and I to an estate sale on Saturday morning.  It was so.much.fun.  This was my first time to have a real number and to bid!  I didn't actually think I would win anything, but I went away with a lovely bookshelf.  Tyler was hoping for some guns, but they were too much money.

We got to eat lunch all together!  That never happens.  I was glad to have us all together...even as ornery as my brothers are.  I still love them.

My momma bought us a cookie to celebrate.
Why were we celebrating???
Tyler and I are DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!!
We are so excitedrelievedhappyecstatic, you name it, we are!
Honestly, it is ONLY by the grace of God that we got it paid off so fast.
The whole living in OKC thing was a blessing in disguise.
We didn't pay for anything but food and gas while we were there, and the rest of Tyler's paycheck went to his loan.
Oh did I mention we got it all paid off in less than 10 months?
Oh, and did I also mention that I didn't have a job for 6 of those months?
Yep...all of that was GOD, people!!!
He has blessed us!!!

We also went flying
...for a whole 10 minutes or so.
One of my childhood friends is getting her pilot's license.
How cool is she??

What makes my heart the absolute happiest?
Knowing that my husband fits in with "the guys."
It really made my heart melt to see him standing there with my brother, uncle, and dad.
I had to capture the moment.
I'm blessed that he fits in with my family so well.
Oh, and it was totally his idea to go visit them this weekend.
He's the best!

Today starts a NEW day with She Reads Truth.
Are you reading with us?
If so, let me know!
I'm so excited to read Philippians!
If you're not or don't know anything about it, you can check it out here.
It is NEVER too late to dig into the Word.
This plan is 11 days long, so why don't you give it a try?

Also, I'm still having a sale in my shop.
There are lots of things still available!
I've got to make room for new Christmas items that will be out shortly!
Oh, and if you're on facebook, go like my shop's page.
When we reach 75 likes, there will be a giveaway!

How was your weekend?
What did you do?



miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Friday, October 19, 2012

Insta-Friday and a Recipe

I'm a little sad no one stopped in to say hi on my last post.
I guess you're all embarrassed to be reading my blog.

Anyway, today I'm going to share a little of our week through my instagram photos.

On Sunday, we watched this movie. 
If you haven't seen it...go rent it.
It's such a good movie.
You can find the trailer for it here.
**It may not be suitable for younger kids.**  


Sunday evening, we started doing a lot of this.
Watching baseball.
Why?
BECAUSE THE CARDINALS ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!
#12in12
It is exciting to actually live in St. Louis to feel the excitement from just about everyone.
I love baseball, and it's the only sport I will watch on tv.
I'm sure my husband wishes I would turn into a football fan...
...but that's doubtful.
We are one game away from going back to the World Series for the 2nd year in a row!
How exciting!!!!!!



I wrote out several verses that I've memorized as a younger girl but don't *really* have memorized.
I'm trying to review those verses and actually commit them to memory.
This week I'm working on John 15:5.
Want to join in?  
No better time that the present!


I found these last night at Wal-Mart.
MUST. GET. THEM.


My daddy has spoiled me.
See, there's a story behind my love for Cinderella.
Every girl loves her because she gets to wear a pretty dress and ride in a pumpkin carriage.
My senior year of high school, I wore a beautiful blue ball gown to prom.
My dad thought I was Cinderella and since then it has stuck.



I love Cinderella.  Even as an {almost} 24 year old, married woman.
I think I always will.
So anyway, I think this weekend we should buy them so I can share them with my Dad and the rest of my family. :)


I LOVE fall.
My husband knows that.
I point out all the beautiful trees and make it known that they are gorgeous!
He gets annoyed with me.
That's okay, because I'm enjoying God's creation.
How awesome that He made the trees change colors?



I am really enjoying my fall wreath that I made
as it hangs on my red door.
I love coming home and seeing it.
It makes me smile.
**Except for the wreath itself, I had all the materials:  the flowers were hand-me-downs from my momma, I had some of the fabric and some was passed on from my momma, and the polkadot material was what was leftover from my napkins.


Oh, and one thing that I've also enjoyed this week
was sitting near Sally.


I got all my material organized so I can actually work on some new projects!


Speaking of which...since I'll be launching my Christmas items in my shop at the end of October/beginning of November, I need to have a SALE!!!
From now until October 30th, you can receive 20% off your entire order!
Enter code FALLSALE at checkout!

I still have lots of scarves left! :)
If you see a color you want and it's not in the shop {i.e. the purple one} let me know and I'll get it posted for you!




>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<

And of course, I can't forget about Friday's Fabulous Foods!
Here's today's recipe:
Easy Chimichangas!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lb ground lean beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 (8 oz) can no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat pepper jack cheese
  • 4 (8 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas, warmed
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 400* F.  Lightly spray nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray (is that an oxymoron??).
  • To make filling, add beef, onion, garlic, chili powder, and oregano into a skillet and cook over medium high heat.  Cook, breaking apart the beef, until browned.

  • Stir in tomato sauce and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until flavors are blended and mixture has thickened, slightly.



  • Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  • Spoon about 1/2 cup of the filling into a tortilla.  Fold in sides and roll up.  Place them {seam side down} into the baking sheet/pan.
  • Bake until crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.



This recipe yields 4 burritos, but I doubled it to make 8.
Serving size: 1 burrito
Weight Watchers Points Plus:  7 points per serving
283 calories
8 g fat
31 g carbs
4 g fiber
19 g protein


Happy Friday, friends!

**I have no idea why the format is being weird...can't get it to do what I want.  Oh well.



life rearranged


Friday'sFabulousFoods

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why I Blog

Recently, I've received verbal comments from a couple people who've read my blog.
They say I should be a writer.
Well, let me tell ya something....
My brother is the writer of the family.
If you don't believe me, ask him if you can read the intro to his book called, 
"You Don’t Want to Date Her: A Guide to Avoiding Psychotic Women."
Of if you're facebook friends with him, you can find it in his notes.
He truly has the talent of captivating an audience that I don't have.


Let me share with you why I blog.
I write because it's a way to express myself.
I used to keep a journal, but now it's electronic and everyone can read it.

I began this blog a little over a year ago, about a month before I got married.
I wanted to remember my feelings, thoughts, struggles, triumphs.
I wanted a way to journal what it's like to be a newlywed.
I wanted a way to journal my way of becoming a woman after God's own heart.

I've shared with you the road of transition this past year.
I've shared with you our achievements.
My hurts.
My struggles.
My blessings.
My heart.
I've put it out there, because I've wanted to be transparent.

The real reason I blog?
It's my hope that the people who read this will be able to learn from my experiences.
I want to encourage you.
I want to be real with you.
I want to be able to pray for you.
I want to be able to shine God's light in this very dark world.

Right now this is my way of reaching the world.
In my year of blogging, people from 10 different countries have read this blog.
I've had 8,265 page views, and I have 22 followers.
If this little blog has encouraged you, then it's reached its goal.

I just want you to know:
You are not alone in this big, scary world.  
I hope that in my writing you can feel the love that Christ has for you.
I'm not perfect.  I mess up.  A lot.
But by the blood of Christ, I'm blameless.
And you can be too, if you're not already covered in His Grace.

I know that I have more than 22 readers.
If you read my posts, will you comment and introduce yourself?
I would love to know who you are. :)

Don't let my writing fool you.
I'm an imperfect girl, who loves Jesus, and wants to share my heart with you.