Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thankful

I am not a fan of being vulnerable.
Is anyone, really?
I don't like opening up about things that are dear to my heart
because I'm afraid of being hurt.
I'm good at building walls.
Sometimes those walls are so high 
that you have to come in with a wrecking ball.
Yesterday's post was a huge step for me.

So while my heart is healing,
and I'm putting my words into action,
I thought I would share what I'm thankful for.

I am thankful for my husband, who loves me despite me being crazy.  I feel so selfish most of the time because I'm always thinking about how I feel in all of this craziness and never asking him how he's feeling about it all.  He doesn't really know what to do with me when I'm all emotional, but he'll soon learn to go with the flow...and when I'm saying that I'm crying about nothing, that it really could be the truth!  I love him for trying to make me laugh on days that aren't so good, and that he'll tell me he loves me just to make sure I know it.

I am thankful for my momma, who is one of my very best friends.  She is everything I need her to be:  a listening ear, a counselor, a prayer warrior, a friend, and my momma.  I talk to her every, single day.  She listens to my ups and downs.  She tells me when I'm being irrational, consoles me when I've had a bad day, and lets me cry on her shoulder via our cell phones.  She knows how to speak in a way that it sinks into my soul.  She is someone that I do not take for granted, because her own momma was taken way too early.

I am thankful for my daddy.  He "knows" me because I am exactly like him.  He is my biggest support and for that I'm incredibly thankful.  He tells me when I'm being ridiculous, helps me see the other side of situations, and can also talk to me {even when I don't want to hear it} in a way that makes me think.  He's my go-to person for any question that someone else doesn't know the answer to.  He is also a prayer warrior, and I can count on him to always pray for me and with me.

I am thankful for "group conversations" via the iPhone.  I'm not sure what I would do without the random texts that I get from my two brothers.  And I'm especially thankful for a sweet conversation that I had with one of them this week.  My brothers both deserve the world...

I am so incredibly thankful for Instagram/Bloggy friends.  They are what keep me going on days that I don't feel like I have it in me.  When they let God shine through their posts, it's encouraging to me and it gives me the extra little boost that I need.

I am also thankful for the ones that took time to leave me comments, send me an email, or leave me a facebook message.  Your words encouraged me, and I'm so thankful for them.  I appreciate each of you.

I am thankful for my Savior.  Because of Him, I am redeemed.  
I am thankful for a God who forgives my ugly days...He forgives the selfishness that is inside of me and kindly hits me over the head with the reality that life isn't about me.
I am truly blessed to know the Creator and Author of Life.
He is One I live for.
His opinion of me is the only one that matters.

God painted this breathtaking sunset on my way home from work last week. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Letting Go

Life isn't rainbows all the time..
which is probably my main reason for lack of posting.
I just haven't felt anything worthy of sharing lately.

But maybe it's time to be honest.
I mean, I want to share my journey 
with you, and I want to be transparent
but I don't want it to get to the point where
all I do is whine and complain...
because who really wants to read that?

But this is my space,
and I do want to be honest.
So if you don't want to listen to my long-drawn out story,
then I give you permission to back out now...

Call it the winter-blahs
or maybe I've hosted a month-long 
pity party of one.
Could be a little of former and a lot of the latter.

Last year at this time,
I was jobless {by choice} and living in a city
I hated while my husband trained for 3 months at his Corporate HQ.
I had high hopes for what our life would be like when we finally got to St. Louis.
Let me tell you, it is absolutely nothing like I had planned.

Huh.
Imagine that.

When we moved here last March,
Tyler and I started searching immediately for a church that we could get involved with.
We thought we had found one.
It was big, had great worship, and the Bible was taught.
Tyler got involved {fairly quickly} with the worship band and we thought all would be well.

In May, I was really homesick.
I hadn't found a job yet, didn't go anywhere during the day, and tried to be a good wife when my husband came home from work each night, but in reality I was cranky from lack of people interaction.

We tried to get more involved in our church, but had no opportunities to meet people until the Fall semester started.
We waited.
Fairly patiently, especially for me {I'm not a very patient person}.
Finally, September was here and we went to the first small group meeting.
It was great!
The people in that group are truly amazing.

But we knew all of 12 people from that church of 3,000.
Believe me, seeing 12 people once a week is awesome...
But ya gotta know something about me...
I'm a people-person.
I'm an extrovert and therefore fuel myself from interacting with people.
I also want to feel like my church is my family.
My home away from home.
We are the Body of Christ...we need to be there for one another.
But I've seen people walk into a church just to keep the status...
It has been a tough journey.

Back to the story...
In late November I had been feeling like maybe this wasn't the church for us.
It wasn't until early December that Tyler admitted that to me.
We had an important decision to make.
So we decided to hop back into shopping around.
This last month has been a huge struggle for me.

I decided for some reason that the best thing
to do would be to host a pity party.
Only one person was invited.
Me.

Can we say selfish much??

I cried many tears...
Sometimes for no reason,
but in reality they had many reasons.
And I will probably cry many more.

We're still looking...
and I hate that so much.
I just want to be able to find a "home."
I know that God has us here for a reason...
...for some reason unbeknownst to me.
But in His time {not mine}, it will be revealed to us.

In this month of pity,
I have been some-what mad at God.
But why?
He has blessed me so much!
Even in the circumstances that we're in, He has blessed us.
I have allowed that pity to cloud my eyes.
And not only my eyes, but my heart as well.

I've heard Jennifer Rothschild speak several times.
She has this saying that just keeps coming back to me,
"It can be well with your soul even if it's not with your circumstance."
I think that's what really woke me up this week.

My soul hasn't been well.
And it can be, even while my circumstances suck.
{And I pray that they won't suck for much longer...}
I have really struggled to hand it all over to God, because I have this control issue.
But I've been working on that this week.

Francesca Battistelli is one of my favorite Christian singers.
I put one of her CD's in this week and have listened to it while driving to work,
but for the first time really heard the words that were being sung in this song.


I’m letting go
Of the life I planned for me
And my dreams
I’m losing control
Of my destiny
It feels like I’m falling and that’s what it’s like to believe
So I’m letting go

So, while I'm praying for relationships and friends,
I'm working on being content where I am.
Because if I'm honest with myself,
God really worked out the plans for us here.
I'm letting my plans go, and letting His plans take over.
Because His plans are always best.

I've had my eyes opened...
but to be totally honest, I'm still struggling a little.
It's a slow process for me.
I'm praying for contentment, because God has shown us that this is where we are to be right now.
I'm praying for Christ-centered relationships.
I'm praying that this will feel like "home" to us soon.

I say all these things,
not for you to feel sorry for me.
Please, don't even think about that.
I say this because this is where I am.
Broken.
and transparent, even when I don't want to be.
And I know the only way out of this is through putting it all in God's hands.
If you think about it, would you pray that we might be able to find a church that we can call home?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday...Again...Already...

Happy Monday! :)
It's a fresh start, a brand new week.

How was your weekend?
Mine went by waaaaay too fast.
I'm pretty convinced that the work week and the weekend needs to be flipped.
Work 2 days, play the rest...and still get paid your full salary. :)
Ha!

Here's my weekend in pictures:


Friday, my newest tax deduction came in! :)
I had ordered a Cricut on Tuesday from JoAnn's.
They had a web-sale {that day only}...I got it for 60% off.
The pink is what spoke to me the most.
I had to buy it.

It seems the only time I get caught up with shipping Etsy orders is on the weekend...
Everything looks better with washi tape on it!

On Saturday afternoon, I bribed my husband with ice cream if he went with me to Hobby Lobby.
For the record, we were there 15 minutes max.
The ice cream was worth it.

Sunday, I made bows for daysss...
Lots of cuteness coming to the shop soon!

I also cleaned my pantry out and reorganized.
I feel a lot better about life...
Before:
After:
(Yes, I have 2 crockpots...)

Also, if you haven't liked my shop's facebook page yet, please do!
I'm also having a sale on my hand-crocheted scarves.
You can take advantage of this on the facebook page or on my shop's Instagram (@asimplekindoflove).
Sale is good through this evening.
I'm trying to clean out the inventory to make room for new goodies! :)


I hope y'all have a wonderful day!



miscellany monday at lowercase letters

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just an Update: One for One

Remember my friend Joy?
She's the one trying to raise money so her family can adopt their foster daughter, Pie.
Well, they've raised over half the funds they need so far!
How amazing is that?!?!


Also, I am donating 25% of the sales from my shop this month to her fund as well!
We've raised this amount so far!
Do you think we can make it $25??


Yes, you can still donate to her fund through Paypal on her blog.
{Click HERE to do that.}
You can also help by purchasing something from my shop!
{Click HERE to shop!}

Will you help make a little girl's dreams come true?
She {like all of us} needs a forever family!
As Joy says, "God is good, all the time!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Refined

While rummaging through thrift stores and antique stores, I've heard so many people say "I gonna do...this...with it," with whatever treasure they've found.  I'm just in awe of how people can see what it could be instead of just seeing it as it is.  I'm not like that...maybe it's because I'm left-brained. 


God can see it...and for that, I'm so thankful.
There's a passage in 1 Samuel that talks about finding a new King.
Samuel would be anointing the man that God had indicated to him.
Each man that was brought before Samuel wasn't the man that God wanted.
When they brought the boy from the field, the Lord told Samuel that he was the one.


In the chapter 16, verse 7b it says,

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'"


God sees what we can be.

He sees what is inside of us.
He sees our potential.
Sometimes it takes a little refining...tests, trials, struggles.
God will use whatever it takes for us to grow closer to Him.


Psalm 66:10--

For you, God, tested us;

    you refined us like silver.



Sometimes I just don't get it.
Sometimes I totally miss the mark.
Sometimes it takes me more than one time in the same trial.


But in the end, what I learned is a valuable lesson.
What I learned can help refine me into that beautiful person that the Lord sees in me...even when no one else can see it right now.



And those lessons...the ones that help make me more beautiful...
Those will make gorgeous accessories for my personality.



2 Corinthians 5:17--
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

**P.S.  This was an old picture frame that I found at Goodwill on Saturday...but I didn't see it as a picture frame. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

25 Before 25: An Update

So I know I've mentioned my "25 Before 25 List."
Actually, I posted it on my 24th birthday...you can read the whole post here if you want (warning:  it's a doozey). 
Most of the items are an ongoing thing, but there are several that I can actually cross off, which I'm pretty excited about!  

So here's an update as of today:
  1. Itemize our tax deductions.
  2. Send a handwritten note to 48 different people.  (written 7)
  3. Go to the Muny to see a show.
  4. Become better at apologizing.  
  5. Print a wedding canvas or a big picture.  (we received it 1/14/13)
  6. Go to a St. Louis Blues game. (at least we're back in business....)
  7. Have friends over to our home.  (we had them over on 1/12/13)
  8. Make (or at least start) a quilt.
  9. Be financially free from our parents.  (getting there...I now own my car)
  10. Memorize 25 Bible verses and be able to recite all of them.
  11. Make 25 crockpot meals that are yummy enough to put on our meal rotation.
  12. Go camping with my husband.  In a tent.
  13. Take a trip on the Amtrak.
  14. Participate in Girls Trip 2013.
  15. Sew something just for me. (I made a cowl infinity scarf and some coasters.)
  16. Sell 100 items on etsy.  (sold 53 items)
  17. Participate in 25 random acts of kindness.  (I have done 5)
  18. Start and finish a whole spool of floss.
  19. Keep a running birthday/Christmas list all year 'round.
  20. Start saving for a house...in an account.
  21. Keep a journal (either written or photos) of what I'm thankful for, for the entire year.
  22. Find a ministry at our church to serve in.
  23. Enjoy one night a month with my husband and no gadgets.
  24. Find some sort of "consistency" in my etsy business.
  25. Fall even more in love with Jesus.
I am still excited to see what will happen over the next year.  I've been learning lots about myself and about my relationship with Christ.  Somethings have come to surface while doing some of these things on my list.  That's a good thing.  You can't grow without change and you can't change without knowledge of the thing you're doing wrong.  I hope to go deeper...to really find myself in Christ this year.

How is your list going?  Or your goals?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Scrappy Coasters

I don't get to craft or sew much during the week since I work full time.
So on my weekends, I try to get something done...especially while football is on. :)
Today I sat down at the computer to see what I could make with the fabric I already have on hand.  Of course, that's where Pinterest comes in. 

I had already pinned some things to make with fat quarters, one of those things being these coasters.  They seemed simple, and I didn't need much fabric, which is good because I only tend to purchase fat quarters or remnants.  So I went to my fabric stash and picked out my fabric and 15 minutes later, I had one already finished!!

What you need:

  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler (not necessary, but highly suggested)
  • 2-3 prints of fabric
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Cotton quilter's batting or felt
  • Pins
  • Scissors
What you do:
  • Pick out your fabric and cut them into 4" x 4" squares.

  • Next, choose which pieces will go on the top of the coaster.  Iron those in half.




 Isn't this the cutest "ironing board" you ever did see? My mom and dad gave it to me for Christmas!  It folds up into a cute little purse!

  • Next, layer the pieces, keeping the top pieces close together in the middle.  Layer the felt or batting (I used felt) on bottom, the full square (which will be the bottom of the coaster) in the middle, and the top pieces on top. 


  •  Pin to keep in place.



  • Next, sew around the entire square.  It doesn't even matter what color of thread you use...you won't see it! (I used pink because it was still threaded in my machine.)



  • Cut the corners off.



  • From the middle, turn the coaster inside out.  I used a crochet hook to poke my corners out.



Wa-la!! You're finished!  Now you have super cute coasters for your home! :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Date Box...Questions Answered

One thing that I have had tons of questions on is the date box that I created for my husband last February.  I'm bringing back a portion of this post from last year.

Let me preface this by saying {for those of you who don't know} that we lived in Oklahoma City from January-March of last year.  We then moved to St. Louis at the end of March.  The pictures were taken from my iPhone 3GS because my camera was packed away in storage somewhere...and I hadn't upgraded to the 4S yet.


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

I got the idea from this blog.  I thought it was really neat, so I thought I could do it for my husband.  I call it the Date of the Month Club.  I started out just writing a list of things we could do.  It was hard to really plan, because at the time we had no idea where we would be for the month of March. (For those of you who don't know, March 29th is Tyler's last day in OKC.)  Planning was actually harder than it sounds because we haven't actually lived in STL yet either!  With help from my friend, Kelsey, (by the way, if I forgot to send you a thank you, THANK YOU!!!), she gave me some ideas of things to do in the area.


Then I cut up little cards with the month on them.  These are for clues.




I wrote each clue on the card and bought the needed accessories to go with each date to put in the envelope.  These are pre-planned, and mostly pre-paid.  I also planned some weekend getaways to use throughout the year.




I wrote a card introducing him to his gift.  I told him what he got and how to use each thing.  Then, I wrote a Date Agreement Card.  He had to agree to those things, sign the card, and return to to me in exchange for some Romance Reward Tickets.  He also got a special bag of chocolate caramel (because that's what I like) in exchange for real kisses.




I searched high and low for a box to put it all in, but I finally found one at Hobby Lobby (my most favorite craft store)!  AND it was half off!!! 




I jazzed up the envelopes a little bit as well.  I didn't like the boring yellow, but I didn't want to decorate them a whole lot since they would most likely just be thrown away.



I was really pleased with how it turned out, and I really hope that Tyler likes it as much as I do.  I am super excited about our date nights for the next year!!  The best part is that each one isn't super expensive.  They are interesting and cheap! 



Some frequently asked questions that I've received:

1.  What kind of dates did you plan?
          - I went with dates that I knew we could do.  I planned dates that were cheap or free.  I kept a running list of all the places that I thought were reasonable and planned by the month {weather-wise}.  If the date included a meal, I purchased a gift card to put in the envelope so Tyler could have some sort of a clue as to where we'd be eating.  

Some examples of the date ideas (some that we did):  
  • the zoo (free) with a Subway picnic lunch--the zoo here allows you to bring food in.
  • the science center (free) with a meal at Steak 'n Shake (which was right down the road)
  • bowling
  • mini-golf
  • a slumber party complete with pizza and games (this was my favorite date night!)
Be creative.  Research your area if you're unfamiliar with the activities around you.  I did a week's worth of research because I had absolutely no idea about the area we were in or we would be moving to.  It would probably be easier if you've been in the area for a while. :)

2.  What was in your agreement?
          - I wanted one night a month where we could just focus on each other.  One of the big things was that cell phones weren't allowed.  They had to be shut off.  Another thing was that the date card would be given on the 1st of the month, and we had to put it on the calendar (to make sure it would get done).  Also,  the gift cards had to be used on the date...they couldn't be used elsewhere.  It was full of things that allowed us to make sure we completed the activity.  Oh, and no peeking allowed!

3.  What are romance reward tickets?
          - These were extra little things that I created to make it extra special.  For example, one of the tickets was a "Yes Day."  He could redeem the ticket and I had to say "yes" to whatever he wanted to do.  If he wanted to go shooting, I said "yes."  If he wanted his favorite meal, I said, "yes."  It's little things like that, that help make him feel special.

4.  What are the vacation cards?
          - These are also an added perk.  They aren't supposed to be expensive, just little mini-getaways during the year when you feel like you need some time together.  

Some examples could be:
  • A Bed and Breakfast nearby for a night or weekend
  • A night in a downtown hotel in your city
  • He chooses and plans
These are just few of the questions that I've been asked.  If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  My email address is on the "contact me" tab or you can leave a comment and I will get back to you!

And if you're just looking for a nice Valentine's Day gift that you don't have to plan for, I have some Date Night Jars in my shop...with the dates already in them!  Check them out!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Valentine's Day Mantel

I think the vision for my "after Christmas" mantel is complete.
All it needed was our new canvas.
And check out that name sign...
it's upcycled from a cabinet door!
{Thanks Mom and Dad for the awesome Christmas gift!}
Also, I have my grandma's {my mom's mom...I never knew her, but I have a sewing machine named after her} blue pitcher that I wanted to showcase, and it tied in with the sign nicely.
You can purchase the "LOVE" banner here.
And yes, that is our unity candle from our wedding.
Maybe this is a "Valentine's Day Mantel?"


Monday, January 14, 2013

A Case of the Mondays....

Monday...
Sometimes it's just so hard to jump back into routine after a nice weekend off.
I'm feeling it today.

We had a very relaxing weekend...



I finally got the call that my rings had come in.
I had sent them off for my other band to be soldered to the set, re-dipped, cleaned, and re-sized.
I was missing them terribly.
We went as soon as we got the call.


Saturday morning, we ran some errands and enjoyed driving with the windows down.
That afternoon, the weather changed drastically.
I'm SO ready for Spring, people!!


Saturday evening, we had friends over!!
Our first time hosting friends since we've been here.
Kelsey and her husband are such a ray of Light. :)
{We can also officially mark that off my 25 Before 25 List.}



I made it to 50 sales in my shop this weekend {halfway to my goal for the year}!
Oh, and I also got featured in my very first treasury list!
This month, when you purchase something from my shop,
25% of the sales will be going to Joy and her family's adoption fund!!



I made my first infinity cowl last night, too!
It was fun to make and made from 6 fat quarters, which I already had!
I'm pretty proud of it!
{Mark that off the list, too!}



I decided that since my office is pretty really BLAH, it needed some sprucing up.
So yesterday, I also made a bow garland!
It turned out cute for being an experiment! :)
{If I do say so myself...}

How was your weekend?
Was it relaxing?  Busy?
Sad?  Happy?
What'd you do?
Whatever it was, remember:


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

I am so thankful for His grace and mercy.



miscellany monday at lowercase letters