Friday Fun

This Friday did not start out fun.

Last night I battled an awful migraine that I think started because I jarred my spine out of alignment (no fun!). But my loving husband who is such a sweetheart took care of me all night, this morning, and during his lunch hour. I can’t imagine how much worse I would have felt without his tender care and encouragement to take my medicine, take a Epsom salt soak (which is a muscle-saver, let me tell you!), do some deep breathing, and to try to relax and sleep.

Thankfully, after doing multiple stretches, positions, and exercises my mom sent me on Pinterest (you can check out my Health and Wellness board here!), I am finally feeling human again- cue the Beauty and the Beast song here ; ). Though I hate it when I am knocked out like that, God uses those moments of sickness to remind me that I am not in control, that He is my almighty Healer, and that sometimes my focus needs to be re-aligned to Him.

Friday Fun | Devotionals, Development, and Delving In! |

Being out for so long also gave me the chance to do some dreaming and serious thinking about my blog. It is going to be a lot of work, but I cannot wait to jump into to this next stage of blogging and growing my little space on the web.

In the next few weeks, keep posted to see some new things on the blog- including FREEBIES, downloadable organizational charts, practical homemaking tips (I’m learning as I go!), and some spiritual encouragement that has been instrumental in my life as a young newlywed wife!

I am also trying to learn as much as I can about the behind-the-scenes aspect of blogging and get into a more diligent schedule. Now that I am volunteering several afternoons a week at our home church (yay for getting plugged-in!), I am going to commit to posting Monday, Wednesday, Friday– so you can count on me being present on the blog then!

I am so very excited for what is coming up in the future- both for my blog and in the life of me and my love! Now that I am feeling better, have a plan of action for the blog, and have the weekend ahead of me, I can’t wait to have some fun : ). Someone said it’s city-wide garage sales in TWO of the surrounding towns this weekend! Hopefully my love and I can snag some good deals ; )

What is your Friday Fun? Have any big plans for the weekend?


Save Money- with NO Coupons

It’s been a very windy day here in our Wonderful Wurld- much moreso than any other day that I’ve lived here. It might not have been my best planning to attempt to go on an hour round trip to the grocery store solo today (I already hate driving 70 miles an hour, let alone having my car rocked the whole time). However, faced with two busy afternoons ahead serving at our home church, it was either go buy food or eat very small, sad meals the rest of the week and completely empty our cabinets and fridge.

Save Money While you Shop- No Couponing Required! With just two easy apps, you can earn money on purchases you already have to make! Read about it on the blog. |

So I made my list, attempted to set up my printer to print off a bunch of coupons, failed to set up said printer (that’s what happens when I procrastinate), promptly forgot the list on the counter, and made my way to through semi-truck heavy traffic. Thankfully, I had no troubles finding my way to the store (….this time-when I attempted this trip last week I failed and got lost), could sort of recall by memory my grocery list, and had my wonderful money-saving apps on hand.

If you are a newlywed wife like me, trying to save some money wherever you can, then you should have both ibotta and Checkout 51 apps downloaded on your phone (no, this is not a sponsored post- I just love them!). Checkout 51 can be used at any store; simply check off which items you might buy (it changes every week!) and once you purchase them, scan your receipt and make money! ibotta is similar, but it is organized by particular store (I use Walmart, Walgreens, and the Dollar Tree the most). Every item has a certain rebate attached to it (ranging from $.20-$3.00) and once you hit a certain amount of rebates earned, you can have it added to a Paypal account or uploaded to a gift card.

Each one has its perks over the other; but the best news is that you can use them together to get two times the money! Checkout 51 has a much smaller selection and a higher minimum amount ($20) but you have the freedom to buy things at any store- this really helps me since the stores closest to me are not available on ibotta. ibotta does have a much greater product choice and you can make money faster- plus they run promotions where you get extra rebate money for hitting certain goals! However, to unlock most rebates for items you have to answer a simple poll question or watch a 30 second video whereas with Checkout 51 you simply click to unlock.

How great is it that you can earn some money on purchases you have to make anyway? I think it’s awesome! Between both apps and just two weeks of a little grocery shopping, I have made almost $10! And that’s with me not using any other coupons in conjunction with the apps.

If you are interested in trying it out ibotta, click here or download the app. You can enter the referral code kxgegsq and we will become friends on the app and help make each other money as a team!

For Checkout 51, click here or download the app (you get a bonus $1 just for signing up!).

I wanted to share these apps because I feel a little satisfaction every time I scan an item and save some money- and I want you to feel that too! Eventually, as I learn more of the tricks of the trade of couponing, I will save more money and share what I have learned. For now, though, I am happy with the little progress I have made- and my love thinks it is awesome.

Do you have any money-saving tips or helpful apps you use? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Fun, Fear, and the Future

Life has been quite busy the last week- and our calendar shows it is only going to get busier!

Fun, Fear, and the Future

From meetings with the bank to join our accounts, to meetings with our realtor to look at our first house together (and several more after that!), to serving at church in various capacities, to meetings about different events going on at church- it seems every evening and afternoon has some sort of important event going on! The month of August will only continue the craziness, as we will serve in our church’s Vacation Bible School, my love has an out-of-country business trip, I have a visit with my family back home, and we have our first joint vacation as a married couple with my family -something I have looked forward to all year!

This weekend was a chance to take a deep breath and plan out our schedules and decide what is feasible for us to hope to accomplish and what will be too much of a stretch. It also included a few serious conversations about finances and the possibilities of buying a house.

buying a house

It’s both an exciting and terrifying concept.

My love and I have known that we didn’t want to be apartment dwellers forever. We wanted a place to create, design, reconstruct, and make our very own. We both are go-getters with dreams and plans. My love knows how much I love to decorate and design, and wants a space where I can do that. With every house I look at, I see it as though all the hard work and renovations have already been done- and most of the time, its a gorgeous result (in my mind anyway!). My love wants to put his hand and skills to work to make something and create a home for us. We knew buying a house that needed a little work was in our future. And we dreamed up all the fun things we would do once we had our own place.

But now the future doesn’t seem so far away. And all the ideas of fun are being set aside as we contemplate (with a little fear) everything that is included in home-buying. We both sat down with our computers last night and started charts. My love’s is filled with researched numbers and prices about home renovations, mortgage costs, insurance, and the like. Mine is a very high level concepts-to-consider chart that I tried to make it a little pretty. Over the course of the next week (and in the midst of all our meetings and plans) we both want to add to and develop our charts further.

To Buy or Not to Buy Decision Chart

I hope to discuss some of my columns and chart details later this week!

When it comes down to it, we can’t foresee the future. But we know Who can.

And we know that we can go to Him Who holds our very lives in the palm of His hand and ask for guidance and direction in our lives. Ultimately, we want to glorify God in every action- which very much includes buying a house or deciding to wait and rent. Praying that we seek Christ first in the midst of everything this week!

Have you felt those fun yet increasingly fearful feelings of first-time home-buying? Do you have any tips for newbies? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Pinterest Pining: Discovering Discontentment

Pinterest Pining

Pinterest is a wonderful tool.

It was irreplaceable in coming up with my wedding theme, décor ideas, chalkboard inspiration, and for finding wedding planning tips and checklists (you can see the results of some of my Pinterest inspired pretties here– and check out my wedding board here!). I added my mom and sister to a board so we could all share ideas, then pinned the best ideas to a final board. I really can’t imagine planning my wedding without Pinterest. It also is so helpful in coming up with gluten-free dinners and keeping my favorite tried & true recipes easy to access (most of the meals I make for me and my love come from Pinterest- check out my board here). With my blogs, Pinterest has been the best source to find tips, tricks, formats, and themes from people I am more inclined to trust than simply the results of a Google search.

I really love Pinterest. It has become an integral part in different areas of my life. But sometimes, it does more harm than good. Other than the high possibility of becoming a time-waster, I’ve come to realize that…

Sometimes Pinterest leads to pining over what I don’t have and discontentment about what I do.

I get frustrated that my attempt at something does not look as perfect as the picture in the tutorial- especially true when I worked at making my own wedding décor.
I feel inadequate when I read articles about life topics- why does everyone have it all together except for me?
I grow discontent with my closet and feel frumpy in my style after seeing so many pictures of gorgeous outfits on beautiful models.
I feel incompetent when I read blog-advice with intelligent authors and their attractive images and immense knowledge. Why can’t I figure out this little part of my blog when others can do sooooo much more?

The negative feelings stemming from an array of subjects goes on. Maybe you have felt the same way. Sometimes I catch myself and dispel the lies I find myself believing. Other times I fail to realize my deception and it negatively affects my mood.

When I was planning out wedding, I knew that it would never look like the pictures I was pinning. My location and budget just didn’t allow for all of that. But I still hoped it would. I would be disappointed and dissatisfied with the fact that my wedding would never be on that level of Pinterest-worthiness. Every time a craft I tried didn’t go exactly as I had planned or was far harder than the pin made it seem, I would get frustrated. Discontent. Angry. I would have a little temper tantrum of “why can’t I do anything right? Why does it have to be like this? Why is it so hard? Why am I failing?”. My mom was sweet enough to frequently remind me of reality and of what really mattered. I was making these things for my wedding! The things I crafted were special because I put the work into it myself. And the most important parts of the day weren’t the decorations, the displays, the tablescapes; I was marrying my best friend, committing our life together to Christ, and celebrating it with our friends and family.

Ultimately, when I looked over the reception hall that Friday evening before the wedding, I was so thankful and elated with the results! My family, fiancé, and best friend helped me pull it all together and I had the satisfaction of knowing I had dreamed/designed/crafted/completed my vision on a low budget. I forgot about the Pinterest standard, the perfect pictures, all the pining I did for perfectionistic expectations.

Reception Hall Shot

I was content- because I realized and decided that sometimes,

Pinterest breeds unrealistic standards and discontentment.
The purpose and process mattered more than the product.

I still find myself battling the discontentment war with my reality and the Perfect land of Pinterest. But I have learned firsthand that perfection isn’t always best. Personalization is best 🙂 . I am still going to use the amazing tool of Pinterest. But sometimes, I have to shut down my computer, put down my phone, and clear my head of the expectations I have- and remember to have fun!

Have you pined over Pinterest and discovered discontentment? I would love to hear how you battle it!

Happy 2 Months! A Look Back

Today marks two months of blissful marriage to the love of my life!

It is crazy how two months seems like two years’ worth of adventures, memories, and marriage! I had no idea what marriage would be like, but my few fuzzy, pessimistic views of what it could be have been completely turned around and proven false. Marriage is amazing, my husband is far more fantastic than I ever thought, and our life is a wonderful world that Christ has richly blessed. Today I am offering praise upon praise for all our God has given to, provided for, guided through, and revealed to us in the last two months. My relationship with my husband has grown deep roots and has blossomed into more than I ever thought could be possible; my Savior has worked endlessly on my heart through marriage; and I look to the future with excitement and amazement that our journey together has only just begun!

Today, as I look back through our wedding pictures, I am particularly marveling at just how many months of planning, preparation, and hard work that went into the wedding were so quickly forgotten as we moved on from engagement to marriage. But how much that work consumed me a few months ago! I wanted our wedding to be pretty and perfect, something remembered by friends and family, and something that showcased the sweet love between me and my husband-to-be.

Tomorrow my topic is going to be Pinterest Pining- Discovering Discontentment, as it was an important lesson I learned during the wedding planning process. So today I thought it fitting to show the results of what all my Pinterest planning for the wedding came to. We were on a tight budget so I made everything myself, from the bunting, to the sweetheart table, to all the flower arrangements, to the wedding programs. We used all the old handkerchiefs I had collected through the years- as well as other antique doilies and fabric coverings- to decorate with, as well as ball jars and white vases I had been hoarding and buying for cheap at thrift stores. I made cards with verses pertaining to love and marriage to place on all the tables, inside which our guests could write well-wishes or advice for us newlyweds. And lots of chalkboards to direct our guests! The end result was far better than I could have ever dreamed- even if it took us two days to decorate the old, outdated, ugly church basement.

Welcome Table

Table Centerpiece

Seating Sign (Chalk)

IceCream Bar

Bubble Send Off

Reception Hall

Tonight my love and I will celebrate this little milestone in our life together and laugh at how far we have already come in such a short time. I cannot wait to look back years from now and smile at our relationship and all the changes and challenges we have made and tackled together. What a Wonderful W(u)rld we are living in!

Deal or No Deal: Comprehending Compromise

If you polled the question “what are some things that are key to a good marriage?” I am certain compromise would make that list eventually. We can’t always have our way in marriage. As I spoke about here, selfishness causes great harm to a marriage; simply having a selfish mindset (without necessarily taking any actions) creates a breeding ground for defensiveness and me-first attitudes.

But what is compromise and how does it work in a marriage? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary

compromise (noun)

:a way of reaching agreement in which each person or group gives up something that was wanted in order to end an argument or dispute
: something that combines the qualities of two different things

I personally think the second definition is more applicable to what I am ultimately getting at, though the first one- a giving up of something- also applies in different situations. My relationship to my spouse in marriage is a continuous process that must be diligently worked at to be made the best it can be. If I only think of compromise as a way to “end an argument or dispute” by giving up something I want and my husband giving up something that he wants, then we are likely going to have disputes more often. Compromise used as a tool in this way almost paints marital conflict- which is inevitable in some way or form- in a regretful light; “neither one of us gets what we want in this situation because we both had to compromise”. In this way compromise is a lesser choice compared to getting what I want.

In my college conflict classes, I learned that compromise isn’t the best way to deal with conflict. (Although it is better than the other methods; competing, avoiding, and accommodating). The reason compromise isn’t ideal is that neither party is getting what they want, giving those needs up for a second best option. You each are coming to the table on opposite ends with your own ideas to attempt to work out a deal that somewhat satisfies or placates those needs. It’s “Deal or No Deal” like the Competing method of handling conflict unless someone gives in.

So what is the better what to handle conflict (and the better mindset to have in marriage overall) according to my degree studies? Collaboration. The same dictionary defines collaboration as

(verb) : to work with another person or group to achieve or do something

Instead of coming separately to different ends of the negotiating table, you sit on the same side as your spouse. You work together to define common grounds of agreement and uncover what needs each individual is seeking to have met. Then you work together to come up with a solution that meets both individuals’ needs, resulting in satisfaction, enrichment of relationship, and a growing confidence about working together.

Of course, I shouldn’t just have this compromising or collaborative mindset when a problem arises! Rather, both of us should be working at maintaining a mindset that develops oneness and unity between husband and wife. As the second definition of compromise states, I should be “combin[ing] the qualities of two different things” every day; in other words, I should be thinking of ways to bring both me and my husband (two different people with different needs and mentalities) together into one God-glorifying unit. Being selfless has a huge part to play in this beautiful yet difficult combination of two souls. Are we going to have disagreements? Of course. Are we going to have two different mindsets about different situations? I am quite sure that eventually we will be opposed in some manner. But if I come to the table with a heart that has been focused on Christ, that has laid down selfishness and brings forth a willingness to compromise, and I actively engage in collaboration with my love, I am positive we will tackle disagreements with grace and find solutions together that a far better than ones decided separately.

It’s a process. Life is messy, but dealing with conflict doesn’t have to be. It isn’t a game of “Deal or No Deal” but rather “Let’s Create a Deal Together that Satisfies Us Both”. We both have to be willing to give up or give in, but that doesn’t mean we have to be unhappy with the results. Or so I am learning.

Do you have any thoughts about dealing with conflict, compromise, or collaboration? I would love to hear about it in the comments!

Entering His World: the door is open, will you go in?

I had never thought about the significance of the Biblical account of Jesus calling Peter out to walk on the water.

Why is it included in the Gospels? Peter did not have to walk on the water. It wasn’t a miracle that healed the sick or fed a multitude. I mean, yeah, you could say Jesus was calling Peter to grow his faith and the disciples got to see another miracle of their Leader. And many could point out that through this story, we see how Christ is Commander of all creation and can calm our raging seas.

But Sunday, our pastor brought up an interesting perspective: “What if Jesus called Peter out on to because He delights in bringing us into His world?”

Wow. Think about that. Consider the implications in your own life.

Where in the Bible do you see people seeking after God and God turning them away? Our God desires and delights in those seeking to follow Him. He offers us a life without limits through faith. He is pleased when we pursue a life of faith; He takes pleasure in growing our intimacy with Him.

This perspective on the well-known Bible story really challenged me and opened my eyes to see to a greater degree how loving my Savior is. I walked away from Sunday’s sermon feeling energized and encouraged to take every opportunity to enter my Savior’s world. He has given me an open invitation- through His death and resurrection He has opened the door into His world that I may enter in and fellowship with Him as my Lord and Friend. What an awesome thought! What a loving King I serve. Oh to know Him more!

Entering His World: the door is open, will you go in?

This sermon and realization was very timely, as this weekend I had the opportunity to enter into another world – my husband’s world.

If someone were to ask me what my favorite activities are, fishing would not be on that list. I hate the smell of fish, I’m too impatient to wait to catch the fish, I hate touching the fish, and I feel bad for the worms being used as bait. It takes place in nature, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but there are bugs, and bug bites, and gross stuff (like multiple dead and decaying fish on the beach)…

However, one thing that is at the top of my favorite activities list is spending time with my husband. We both enjoy the great outdoors, adventures, and quiet time together. So Sunday, when I realized we had no plans, I needed to work on my blog, and we had a gorgeous day ahead of us, I asked my husband if I could enter his world. The look of surprise on his face when I asked if he wanted to go fishing was very rewarding in and of itself. And you know what? I ended up having a wonderful time with my love! Not only did I make progress on drafting some blog posts and planning while enjoying the gorgeous weather and view by the dam, but I actually engaged in fishing itself and got a few fish, which impressed my husband. We had fun fishing together, getting excited over each others catches, and taking lots of pictures. It was a wonderful day of memories that we would have missed out on if I didn’t take the open invitation to join my husband’s world.

It goes both ways; my husband has often taken the invitation to enter into my world. Last Saturday my love offered to drive over an hour away to take me on a shopping trip to my favorite stores (Target makes me happy and JCPenney is easy to shop). He even splurged to take me out to dinner so that I didn’t have to cook when we got home. Now, my husband isn’t a fan of shopping, or trying things on, or spending money when we don’t have to. But he selflessly entered my world to make me happy and to make memories together. That trip was really fun too!

We are learning many lessons together as newlyweds. Selflessness is such an important factor in loving the other; and it’s an act that reaps beautiful results. So I challenge you to enter your spouse’s world. You won’t regret it!

(This will be my last post for this week- Yay for family coming into town!!! Next Monday I’ll pick back up with The Dangerousness of Defensiveness, followed by Deal or No Deal? Comprehending Compromise, and a few others!)

Do you have any thought to add? Or a story of how entering your love’s world had beautiful, memory-making results? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!