Tuesday, November 29, 2011

on choosing thankfulness...

Matt and I are in a season right now where we hardly see each other. As in, we get to spend 1 day a week together. He works A LOT of hours. I've gotten used to it mostly, and we have an awesome community that doesn't let me get too lonely, but it still gets really hard sometimes. So far this week he worked 12-10ish yesterday, but I left for my part time job at 6:50 a.m. before he was awake,and today has worked since 9 and will probably work until 10 or 10:30 because Tuesdays always happen like that. We usually get to spend Wednesdays together, but then it's a lot of separation again until the next Wednesday. There are definitely times when I choose to be frustrated and upset about this. But I have been remembering this verse:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Tonight I prayed and looked around my living room at all the things that I don't even need but have because God has blessed us with this job and with people who love us and give us things. I have a clean, warm house in a safe neighborhood with more bedrooms than I need and clean, running water. I have a comfy couch that I have spent the day lying on because I have a nasty cold. I have more warm blankets than I know what to do with, a bed with no bugs and I get to CHOOSE what temperature my house will be when I go to bed at night and get up in the morning. I get to be choosy about how I decorate my home when most people in the world hardly have a home and couldn't decorate if they wanted to. We have not 1, but 2 cars, one of which was GIVEN to us. I can buy organic groceries while there are people in my city and probably on my street who have to use food stamps to feed their families. I have a landlord who just knocked $100 bucks off our rent as a Christmas gift while I know for a fact that there are lots and lots of people out there who's landlords could care less about their Christmas. I get to wear clothes that I like and feel good in while there are people out there who are just struggling to stay warm and covered. This time last year, I'm pretty sure I overdrew our account when I bought a book of Shel Silverstein poems for my niece for Christmas, the other day I spent $150 on gifts for Matt and our two nieces without having to worry where the money was coming from.

WE ARE BLESSED, and I will choose to rejoice in the fact that God has provided my husband with a job and we can pay the bills and give to others INSTEAD OF choosing to be bitter and mad that he has to work another long day. I will choose to pray in my moments of loneliness and discouragement and repent of my unthankfulness. I will choose to pray for my husband who is bearing the load of the long hours and sometimes seemingly fruitless work way more than I am. I will choose to GIVE THANKS for the fact that we spent most of last year living in peoples spare rooms and basements and now we live in a warm home of our own INSTEAD OF acting like we are in some kind of bad situation. I will choose to have hope and trust that when the time is right, Matt will be provided with another job that will enable us to be together and allow him to pursue things he actually wants to pursue. I will CHOOSE joy & thankfulness, even when it's hard.

Look around you. We are given so much that we don't deserve. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

music monday on a tuesday: Kate Nash

Last night I listened to Kate Nash while making this soup and Kate Nash makes me dance, so if you want to dance you should listen to this song and watch the fun video that goes with it. 

hope you had a wondrous weekend!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

on living frugally...

In mainstream America being frugal is not really considered a positive thing. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with media telling us to " buy buy buy" and convincing us that things we simply want are actually things that we desperately need. Before we were married and a few times since, Matt and I have talked about how we want to live simply and frugally and what that looks like for us. Frugality is not an easy trait to possess when you've lived much of your life with the conventional world telling you that you can never have enough and that there is always something better that you need to buy. But we are slowly learning the art of it.

A big reason I choose to live simply is that I believe that we are to be good stewards of God's creation. God's creation, to me, means ourselves, our surroundings, and all living things. He made it all. He entrusted it to us to care for. I want to help take care of it. Another big reason is that for us, being frugal is necessary for our lifestyle. I work very part time, a couple days a week with photography bringing in some money here and there, but for the majorly most part Matt brings in all the money. We are by no means rich and when we don't guard ourselves against materialism, our finances can get puh-retty tight. Our finances can even get a little tight when we DO guard against materialism. Why don't I just get a full time job, you ask? Because wives are called to support and help their husbands, and for ME, that means literally working at home to make sure that it is clean, cozy and peaceful when my hubby comes home from his 50+ hour work week. In our family, me staying home is more helpful to Matt than if I had a full time job. I am honoring God AND Matt by staying home. I will continue to stay home and raise our family when we have kids. We have committed to this lifestyle. I am passionate about it and will guard it the best I can until I am called out of it. 

I am always looking for new ways to live simply and spend less, and wanted to share some small ways to make it happen. If you are interested in living frugally or are already doing so, these are EASY ways to make it a habit and then a lifestyle. These are all things that I do, have done, or plan to start doing. 

~1st, choose the 1 or 2 things that you are willing to spend more money on. For me, it's our food. I am absolutely willing to spend more money on better quality food.  Yes it's more expensive.No I will not ever be one of those coupon queens who get hundreds of dollars of processed crap for $25.00, but this is what I'm willing to spend more on. Knowing what I'm willing to spend more on helps me to cut out spending in other areas.

~shop at thrift stores. I'd say at least 80% of the clothes and material things I buy come from the thrift store. And I like pretty things, so know that frugal does NOT equal ugly. Shopping at the thrift store has helped teach me patience if there's something in particular I want and helps me keep in mind the difference between what I NEED and what I WANT. The hard part for me is not going to town and buying tons and tons of clothes just because they're cheap, because then I've defeated my purpose. But I'm getting there : ) Thrifting also ensures that your money is not going to sweat shop labor, which is something else I'm passionate about.

~make your own laundry detergent. WAY cheaper and I've heard great things about it. I'm going to start doing this when our detergent is out. Plus, homemade detergent keeps a lot of those nasty chemicals out of your clothes.

~make your own shampoo & conditioner. I've done this, I like it, and I'm going to keep doing this. I have a friend who doesn't use the no poo method but does use castille soap, which can double as cleaner for other things, which brings me to...

~make your own household cleaners. You can use soap and water, vinegar and water, or research other methods.  I love making my own cleaners because it's insanely cheap and the cleaner cleans everything from counters to windows. So I don't need multiple cleaners filling up space. 

~ eat at home. This is something Matt and I are still working to get better at. I love to cook, but we like to eat out. It's not as healthy for us AND it's money that would be better spent somewhere else. I don't think you should completely cut out restaurant eating, but I would like to cut ours back to maybe a couple times a month. Don't know how to cook? There are a plethora of recourses online for you. My favorite places for recipes are simple bites, pioneer woman, real girls kitchen, shutterbean and pinterest

~get rid of cable tv. We got rid of ours long  ago and went with netflix. Then we downgraded from the streaming and movie delivery to just streaming. We now pay only $8 a month for tv, we haven't run out of things to watch yet, and we're also avoiding the massive amount of media that was being shoved down our throats when we had cable. 

These are just a few, small steps we have/are taking toward more frugal living. What do you do to live simply?

Monday, November 14, 2011

music monday: A Fine Frenzy

I've been quite the fan of A Fine Frenzy for a long time. I'm feeling heavy hearted the past couple of days and this song makes me feel upbeat. She's fun.

hope you had a great weekend,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Isaiah 40:10-11

This morning I was reading my Bible and hit Isaiah 40. Verses 10 & 11 say 
"Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him;
behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."

I didn't know what recompense means, so I looked it up in the dictionary. It means to "compensate someone for damage, injury, and the like." 

When we go through struggles in this life, when our hearts are damaged and our souls hurt, we can be encouraged in knowing that God's word promises he will come back for us, and he's bringing our reward with him. 

I think that's pretty swell. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Jordan & Sara

This is Jordan & Sara, some new good friends of ours.  Jordan is from America. Sara is from Mexico. They met in France. Yeah, I know... That's awesome. We met at church a few months ago and, basically, we love them. They are super fun and friendly, and Sara once made us a delicious Mexican drink made out of flowers. How baller is that? They had a beautiful wedding in Mexico about 9 months ago and unfortunately got TOTALLY scammed on their wedding photography. I wanted to give them some pictures they'd be happy to hang in their home. So a couple weeks ago we met up at a park in Cincinnati and had some picture time fun. Here are a few from their session!

Jordan & Sara, I am so glad we know you! You're the bees knees, and I hope you like your pictures!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

nashville & such

This past weekend Matt and I visited some good friends in Nashville. We laughed til our sides hurt, ate delicious food, relaxed, cuddled, and wondered aimlessly. It was an incredible weekend. Seth and Kelly used to live across the street from us in Oakley and we miss them dearly. We have always talked about moving down there, and this weekend made that desire pop right back to the front of our minds again! Who knows, maybe the door will open for us! But if not we are perfectly content here with our amazing community in Cincinnati. Here are some pictures from this weekend.

we spent some time wondering around Franklin. Such an adorable town.

our men being studs.

Kelly and I. love her. 

we had lunch at the legendary Loveless Cafe. It was some yummy legit southern food!

husband and I at Jacksons in Hillsboro Village. If you ever go, get the cookie dough egg roll. Trust me.

You can't ever pass up a chance to have Jeni's ice cream. Funny thing, Jeni's is based out of Columbus which is only a couple hours from us, but we drove 5 hours for it : )

cupcakes. Y.U.M.

coffee love at Fido

We were sad to leave and can't wait to get back. We've had a nice relaxing week since we've been back. I've been busy cozying up the corners of our little home. 

And enjoying the beautiful Autumn light.

How has your week been so far?

Monday, November 7, 2011

music monday: Kina Grannis

Happy Monday! We got back from Nashville at about 1 a.m. this morning. The dogs were really excited and didn't let me fall asleep very easily, and then I had to be up at 6:30 for work, sooooo I'm tired. And I'll write more tomorrow. For now here's a sweet little love song by Kina Grannis that I just love. She sort of reminds me of Ingrid in a way which is ALWAYS a good thing. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

a short one...

This will be a short post, but hubbins and I are leaving for Nashville tomorrow morning and I won't be posting at all.

I am reading a book with 3 close friends called Created to be His Help Meet. It's about being a Godly wife. It's really challenging and encouraging and I have thoughts that I want to share in a post maybe next week sometime. 

Storenvy is featuring my shop on their blog tomorrow! Be sure to stop by and check it out, and check out the shop as well! There may just be a discount in it for you ; )

Here's a picture of a love session I just did. More to come!

What are you up to this weekend?