Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye, 2012!!

2012 was not my favorite year.
It was a year of lessons and trials but had many blessings.
It was a lonely year.
As I bid 2012 adieu, I welcome 2013 with open arms and high hopes.

As I reflect on this past year, I give you some of the highlights:











We also had our "first" Christmas...but I'll post about Christmas later.


I hope that you had a wonderful 2012.
I wish you all an even better 2013!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Isn't Over...

Most everyone is putting away their Christmas decorations and getting on with life.
Not me!
I like to savor this time of year.
To hang on to it as long as I can.

Well, we also have 2 more Christmases to attend.
One with my immediate family and the other with my extended family.
Both of which are happening this weekend.
I am so excited to go home for the weekend.
I am not excited to drive the 5 hours tonight to get there.

It didn't even seem like Christmas to me this year...
Tyler and I both had to work on Christmas eve and the day after.
So it really kind of was just like a random day off in the middle of the week.
We didn't bake or eat Christmas candy.
We didn't gorge ourselves with other food...
Just seemed like a Saturday.
Weird.

Hopefully next week I'll post pictures of our Christmas adventures...
For now, I'll say,
"Feliz Navidad!"


My husband bought me the other band that I wanted to go with my ring set!  Isn't is GORGEOUS?!?!?!

Monday, December 24, 2012

On the 11th Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me...

A year ago yesterday, we were packing up our tiny one bedroom apartment in Springfield, Missouri...
Sorting things into piles of "I won't need for 3 months," and "I will need this in the next 3 months."
We loaded all of our belongings into the farm's trailer and 15 passenger van.
We made one last sweep through, reminiscing about the memories made in the few short months we lived there.
We climbed into our vehicles and made the 80 mile journey to Lamar, where we would unload the trailer and van and put our "home" in storage until the end of March.

My heart aches as I remember back.
Sometimes I wonder if that ache will ever go away of if it will always be there.
Springfield holds so many good memories for Tyler and I.
But with that said, I wouldn't trade our past year for anything.
I don't want to do it all over again, but I wouldn't trade it.
The experience has made me realize the need for my husband that I might not have realized in any other circumstance.

Today, I want to share why I love you, Tyler and what you mean to me.

1.  You are a very hard worker.  You have worked so hard at your job this past year and have received many compliments from your superiors as well as your co-workers.  I'm so proud of you.

2.  You are just as stubborn as me.  When you make up your mind to do something, you will see it through.

3.  You love me at my ugliest days...and I don't just mean my appearance.

4.  I can trust you with my whole heart.  I know that I can tell you anything and you will still love me, no matter what I have to say.

5.  You keep me laughing.

6.  You do your best to console me when I need to cry...especially when I get homesick.  And then remind me that God has a plan...

7.  You support me and my crazy ideas...even when you might not want to.

8.   You see how much family and traditions mean to me and are wanting to start our own family traditions. :)

9.  You have grown so much in your relationship with Christ.  I love being able to see what you're learning and how God is changing your heart.

10.  You see us as a family...even when we don't have kids or pets.  I absolutely love that, because it is exactly what we are! 

11.  You're my very best friend and I would not have survived this past year without you.  I'm so blessed that I get to be the one who does life right beside you, that I get to be the one you come home to every day, and that I get to be the one you confide in.

So while I may not have the same plan that God has for us, I will pray that God will lessen the ache in my heart.  I will be content in my circumstances.  I will always thank Him for the best friend that he gave me 4 years ago...and I pray that I will always be the wife that Tyler  needs me to be.  This has been a learning experience for me, and I pray that God will always give me the chance to learn.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Taco Soup

Good morning, Friends and Happy Friday!
It's been awhile since I've shared a recipe with you, so I thought I'd do that today.
I posted a picture on my Instagram and had several wanting the recipe,
so I'm sharing it here with y'all. :)
This soup is perfect for a cold, wintery night.

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz of tomato juice
  • 1 quart of water
  • 1 lb beef, cooked
  • 1/2 package of taco seasoning
  • 1 package of ranch seasoning
  • 1 can of rotel
  • 1 can of chicken
  • corn
  • cheese
  • tortilla chips

**Notes about the ingredients:  in the past, I've purchased a bottle of tomato juice, but have always wasted it since we don't use much of it.  My mom had the grand idea of buying the 6-pack of cans.  This way you can still use the 5 other cans, but at a later date!  She's brilliant.

**Also, I'm not sure that this is the ranch seasoning that I've always used, but it still worked!

**I'm a bit of a brat when it comes to corn.  Since I'm a farmer's daughter, we always grew our own...and I only ate that because the rest tasted gross to me.  The Pictsweet super sweet WHITE corn is the ONLY corn from the store that I will eat...

Directions:
Brown the beef in a pan (we use the pot we're going to dump everything else into).  Dump all the ingredients into the pot after the beef has been cooked.  Stir and let it simmer.  Now it's ready to eat!


I like to layer my tortilla chips on the bottom and top the soup with shredded cheese!
It's super easy and yummy!
Happy cooking, friends!  
Have a wonderful weekend, whatever you may be doing!



Friday'sFabulousFoods

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

No-Sew Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Hey guys!
I thought I would share with you how I made my tree skirt!
This is my first ever "tutorial," if you will.

I had already purchased 6 prints of Christmas fabric at Joann's earlier this fall.
I wanted them all to complement each other in case I had a project for all 6 of them.
Lo and behold, I did.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 cheap, felt tree skirt {the uglier, the better...it makes you feel SO much better about your finished project}
  • 6 patterns of Christmas fabric  (these measurements are most definitely approximations)
    • 1st ruffle:  approx. 1 3/4 yards
    • 2nd ruffle:  approx. 1 1/2 yard
    • 3rd ruffle:  approx. 1 yard
    • 4th ruffle:  approx. 3/4 yard
    • 5th ruffle:  approx. 1/2 yard
    • 6th ruffle:  approx. 1/4 yard
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rotary mat
  • Ruler
  • Hot glue gun
  • 5-6 hot glue sticks
  • Patience



Above is the 41" felt tree skirt that I purchased at Deal's for $1.
I measured out my material and cut them in 4 inch strips using my rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.
I honestly guessed at how much material I needed.
When I found out I needed more, I basted the ends of my strips together using my sewing machine, but you could just glue them and it wouldn't matter.



I started with the largest ruffle around the bottom and worked my way up.  
I started gluing my strip, just an inch from the edge of the tree skirt.
As I glued, I made it ruffle.


After each layer was finished, I started the next.
**Be careful...that glue gets hot.  I burned my fingers a couple of times.**



Ta-da!!  It took me approximated 5 hours to complete the entire thing.


As I've said to many people, we don't have a big tree yet.  We're waiting until we buy a house to purchase one, so for now, I used it around my button ornament tree!  I think it looks cute as it flows off our fireplace onto the floor.  I hope to purchase a ruffling foot for my sewing machine, so that maybe one day I'll sew another one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Now We're Parents??

If you asked my mom how many kids she has, she may answer, "Six."

Those of you who know her may respond, "Huh?  You only have three."
Then she will have the chance to tell you that our family has sponsored three Haitian kids from Haitian Christian Mission for several years now.  
When my brother was in 5th or 6th grade, he came home from a church camp with a little boy named Woody.

He had picked him out after listening to someone speak about child sponsorships.
So our family decided to sponsor him.
When we made this important decision, he received his school fees paid for, a uniform, his books, and a meal.
Some of these kids will eat their only meal while they're at school.
They will also be able to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 25:40 (NIV 84) says,
"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

In college, I attended a walk-through program that World Vision put on.
Basically, it was a big maze set up in a large room.  
There were 4 starting points, each with a child's name from a third world country written at the start.
As I walked through this "maze," I saw how these kids lived.
I read their story.
Many of whom had been affected by HIV/AIDS.
Many who lived in houses with 10-12 family members.
I walked away from that night, severely impacted by their stories.
I even wrote a poem about one of the boys for my poetry class.
I'll share that later on.
I've always had a heart for overseas missions, specifically Africa.
My hope is that I will be able to one day take a trip to Africa to work with kids and families who've been affected by HIV/AIDS.

John 15:16 (NIV 84) says,
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."

God chose us.
He chose us to be His child.
Because of this, we wanted to share that same feeling with someone who needs it.
God has a heart for the poor, and as His Children, we should too.

Luke 3:11 (NIV 84) says,
“John answered, ‘The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.’"

It's Christmas-time.
It's the time of year where we celebrate the birth of our Savior.
God sent His son to save us.
He gave us the absolute best gift anyone could ever know.
So at this time of the year, Tyler and I felt the need to give back.
We decided to sponsor a child from Nicaragua.
The radio station that we listen to is participating in "Christmas with Compassion."
Their goal is to sponsor the 1,333 kids that are on the list for the entire country.
How cool?
So now, we will support a little boy...who had been waiting for sponsorship for 350 days!
I can't wait to get his picture to hang on our fridge!

There are so many kids who are in need this Christmas.
Some who've never heard of Jesus Christ.
They need a Savior just as bad as you do.
Might you think about sponsoring a little boy or girl for just a mere $40 a month?
**I've linked to 3 different websites in this post where you can start your sponsorship today.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scarfament 2012

I just participated in my second blog swap! 
This time it was the Scarfament 2012 swap.
We got paired up with partners across the U.S. and were to send them and ornament and a scarf.
I got paired up with the lovely, Rachel!
She's the sweetest, really!  
Please, go over, say hi and get to know her! :)
She also has a beautiful shop!!

We exchanged some emails about ourselves and what we liked.
Man, she's good.
She hit the nail on the head, and I was so giddy as I opened my package!
She made me this amazing infinity scarf!
It's SUPER-duper warm {I tried it out when Tyler and I went shopping the other night}, and stylish!
*Please ignore the awkward, grainy, front-facing iPhone picture.


She also gave me not one, but two! ornaments.
And if these don't scream "BETH," I don't know what does.



What she doesn't know is that blue and pink were our wedding colors.
They are also our favorite colors.
Tyler's is blue and mine is pink.
I had to do some rearranging {sorry, Mom!} on my tree to get them where I wanted.
But they look AWESOME! :)
*Notice the bottom of my awesome ribbon tree in the background.

I think I love swaps.
Oh wait!
I know I do!
I just love meeting new people, and being able to send someone *happy mail.*
It was so much fun getting to meet Rachel, and I look forward to getting to know her even better!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Every Heart Prepare Him Room

And the winners are:
Mandy, Kim BCoasterkim, and Abigail 
Please email me at asimplekindoflove {at} gmail {dot} com to claim your prize! :)
Congratulations!


How have you been preparing for this Christmas season?
To be honest with you, I haven't been in the Christmas spirit.
I have my tree and decorations up, and one gift wrapped.
I have a list of gift ideas for people, but haven't acted upon it.
I haven't felt like shopping...honestly, we will probably be buying most gifts online.
Shopping in St. Louis is like an Olympic sport, and I don't have the agility to keep up.
The best thing is that I don't feel like I have to.


Want to know a real confession?
I don't like Christmas music.
Well, I don't like it in November or December.
I LOVE it in July.
So that can't even help me get into the spirit of Christmas.
{Side note:  My favorite Christmas carol is O Holy Night.}



But, I don't mean by gift shopping, baking, listening to Christmas music, or even tree trimming.
How have you been preparing your heart?
If I'm being honest with you, my heart really hasn't been in it.
I feel like I need to keep up with the hustle and bustle of the season, but what I really need to do is slow down and reflect the reason for the season.



I've been very bothered by this lately.
With other things going on and a checklist of Christmas things to do, my heart has just been weighed down.
This morning I prayed,
"God, please prepare my heart for this Christmas season."

Reading the Christmas story in the Bible has made me reflect upon who Christ is.
Not only that, but it has made me reflect on who God is.
He gave is only son so that we may have life with Him!
Can you imagine giving your first born away?
Not only giving him away, but then watching as He was nailed to a cross and died for all of mankind??
I don't have kids yet...and Lord willing, we won't for several more years.
But I cannot even fathom what that would be like.
To know that a God loves each of us sooo much that He gave up His ONLY son that we may live with Him forever?
I don't know about you, but every time I think about that, it brings tears to my eyes.
How could I ever be worthy of a Love like that?
Simply stated, I'm not.

But because of God's Grace, I'm worthy of it.

With all the Christmas activities, parties, family get togethers, and gift giving going on, don't forget to stop and let Jesus into your heart. 
Let Him be the reason that we're doing all of this fun stuff.
Let Him be the reason that we're giving to others.
Let Him be the reason we worship.

How are you preparing Him room in your heart this Christmas season?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

Do you ever feel stuck?
And you don't know what to do?
And you don't even know how to begin to get out?
Or maybe you don't want to get out?
Or maybe you do...but you're in just deep enough that it will hurt when trying to get out?

Just when we thought things were going great, some other things happened.
So we've come to a crossroad.
Do we keep on trucking down the same road?
Digging even deeper, trusting someone with our ideas that may not work, or they may not want to listen?
Thinking they've done this before but it didn't excel, so why try again?
Or do we make a left turn and begin again?
Hoping that where we do end up will be a perfect match?

"They" say that when you feel something, you're likely not the only one feeling it.
Hmm...I find this true in most cases.
Right now...I don't even know how to begin to look for people experiencing the same, feeling the same, wanting the same...
Simply stated, it's frustrating and lonely.

My struggle is this:
Do we stay put and attempt for who-knows-how many more months, to hopefully make it better for someone else, and hopefully make it better for us?
OR
Do we head back to square one, starting over, and hope that the already established is exactly what we need and where we're supposed to be?

Being a follower of Christ is really hard sometimes. 
Part of me feels like if we decide to head back to square one, that we're just being a fan.
I don't want to be a fan...someone who sits by and roots for Jesus, but doesn't do anything about what it truly means to be a Christian.
I want to do what He asks of me.

The other part of me feels like that even if we do start over, that God could always call us back to where we were.
Knowing that, gives me a little bit of comfort.
But it still leaves us with the question:
What do we do?

We will continue to pray and ask God to open doors for us.
Maybe he doesn't care which option we choose as long as we're serving Him whole-heartedly.
I haven't figured that out yet.
But when I do...I'll let you know.

For now, what do you guys do when you feel like you're at a crossroad?
How do you choose what road is the right path for you?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dessert Recipes

So life has been busy.
Like so busy that this is our only "free" weekend from Thanksgiving til the end of December.
I know I promised dessert recipes from Thanksgiving, so before we get anymore into Christmas season, I'm going to share with them with you.




Puppy Chow:
Ingredients:

  • 9 cups of rice chex
  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 cups of powdered sugar
Directions:
Melt the butter, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and vanilla in a large pan, stirring constantly until all ingredients have melted.  Remove from the stove.  Add cereal and stir well until coated.

Place cereal mixture in a large brown paper bag.  Add the powdered sugar and shake the bag until the cereal is completely covered with it.  {You may have to add more powdered sugar if needed.}

Spread the cereal out on wax paper to cool.  Once cooled, place in an air tight container.




Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350*.

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar and butter until blended.  Beat in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.  Mix in oats, flour, and baking soda; stir in chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.  Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly and remove from cookie sheet to a wire rack. Once cooled, store in an air tight container.

*****

These are just the desserts that I made for my family to eat as they were waiting around.  Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are my dad's favorite, and my brothers seemed to enjoy them as well.  They're super easy to make, and really yummy!! :)

Happy baking!

Friday'sFabulousFoods

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Box Update and a Giveaway!

Happy Wednesday to ya!
I hope your week is going well.
Remember this post?
Are you participating?
Have you gathered your items for your box?
I've got mine.
All I have to do is assemble it all together and wait for the right time to deliver it.

I really had to go out on a limb here.
I don't know very many people in St. Louis.
I actually don't know the people we're giving to at all.
I'm trusting in God's plan right now.
I trust that He had me pick out the necessary {and very unnecessary} items to give to them.
I pray that this will be a tool to reach them for Christ.

In the season of giving, I wanted to give to YOU!
You have 10 chances to win!!
So here is what is up for grabs:


       



A Christmas ruffle scarf {crocheted by me}
A Christmas rosette bobby pin {handmade by me}
A pair of Christmas earrings {handmade by me}
A Christmas Heart Garland {handmade by me}

4 lucky readers will win!
I will announce the winners on Tuesday!
Good luck!

**For those of you who've never participated in a Rafflecopter giveaway, to enter you must do the things it asks to move on to the next entries.  {GFC is on the right sidebar of my page!}


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thou Shalt Build a Winning Team


Well, today's the day.  It's the final day of our "10 Commandments Tuesday" series.  These past 10 weeks have been so good for me as I have been able to read and convey the principles of this book to you.  I hope that you have been able to take away something to practice in your own marriage.  This week's commandment is


Thou Shalt Build a Winning Team

"It is not good for man to be alone;  I will make a helper suitable for him."
Genesis 2:18

God intended for man and woman to join together and become "one flesh."  They are supposed to be united and on the same team.  So how do we build a winning team?  Well, here are some components for a winning marriage team:

1.  The Eternal Architect
God designed marriage.  He made it to be a perfect union.  However, sin has made a huge dent in that union and if not careful, can completely ruin it.  But knowing who the Architect is and following his instructions, we can still build a winning team.

2.  The Right Coach
Jesus is our coach who not only tells us what to do, but also shows us.  Ed says, "The staggering reality is that a husband and wife who have individually invited Christ into their lives "have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16).  All the treasures of Christ's mind are now in the spirit of the person in whom He dwells.  The issue is accessing what we already have and putting it to practical use."  The more we intimately walk with Christ, more of His wisdom and knowledge we'll gain.  The more His wisdom is gained, the more the relationship grows.

3.  The Players
"God has recruited us as players for His Kingdom's purposes.  When we allow Jesus Christ to be our Coach, He can take our most ordinary talents and abilities and do extraordinary things with them.  Without Christ on our side, we can do nothing.  But with Christ on our side, we have all the talent we need to build a winning marriage team."

4.  The Intangibles
Goal setting, commitment, discipline, togetherness are all examples of the necessary intangibles in marriage.  When you are working together on the same team, with the same goals in mind, you're strengthening your marriage.

5.  Fan Support
Encouragement is a necessity in marriage, whether it comes from family, friends, kids, coworkers, church family, etc.  These people are to help encourage you in your marriage.  They are to support you and to be there for you.  So it's important as you choose those friends in  life, to choose ones who will encourage and support you.  These people should also teach and minister God's Word.

Reflecting on Your Relationship:

  1. If your marriage were indeed a college football team, where would it be ranked?
    -We're in the top five, vying for the championship.
    -We're in the top ten, thrown for a loss once in a while, but we're a winning team.
    -We win some, we lose some, but we could be a lot better.
    -We're losing more than we win; we don't let the Coach lead us in the day-to-day party of our marriage.
  2. In what areas does your mate need some "coaching?"  What about you?
  3. How does your family and friends provide "fan support" for your marriage?
  4. What is the greatest strength of your marriage team?

I'm so glad you stuck with me through this 10 week series.  I hope you learned something that you can put into practice in your own marriage.  In what ways have you been challenged?  In what ways do you feel affirmed?  If you feel comfortable, would you share?


If you missed any part of the series, you can catch up here:


Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Shopping

This weekend I updated my shop with a few new things.  

Added:  NEW Sections!
Check out the SALE section for items that will be edited on a weekly basis.  These items will be marked down at least 10% for that week!
There is also a FREE SHIPPING section with several items that will ship for free within the United States.
I got this idea from a friend...it's a great idea!

Please use code NEW15 for 15% off your order!
Code is good until Tuesday night!

**Please note that I will be closing my shop down on December 15th so that I may enjoy the holidays with my family.   Please get your orders in before December 15th so that they will arrive in time for Christmas!! :) I will be back with some new items after the holidays.  If you have any special requests, leave me a comment and let me know!**