Living the Mundane Life

So, I have wanted to write about this for a while now, but it never felt complete and I never felt as if it ever made any sense, or if it was even beneficial in any way.

Is it ironic that as I started writing about my mundane life, I was also writing about how it's never the same and that there is always joy in the little moments? Haha! Can you tell I haven't been able to get my thoughts straight?

I scratched all of my old writings out, then started to write a list: So what makes my life mundane?

I noticed something in my list...

I'm never satisfied with the way things happen. (Okay, maybe not "never", but you get the picture.) What makes my life mundane is that I'm always wanting it to be something MORE.

MORE thrilling
MORE adventerous 
MORE influential
MORE extraordinary
MORE fill in the blank

I want it to be more meaningful (or at least, I want to feel like it is).
I want to feel as if I am making an impact...changing lives. 

(That sounds silly writing it out now.)

I guess that before I had Hannah, I always felt like the job of a mom was extraordinary. I mean, look at all the moms we look up to! They impacted our lives and changed our hearts in such a powerful way! We will always remember them! 

As a new mom, I have felt as if my job is mundane. I would never say worthless...but I also wouldn't say extraordinary or inspirational. Mundane would be a good word, I guess. I do the same things over and over again every single day. I struggle with motivation, selflessness, name it! 

But I forgot that it's in the mundane where God grows us the most. 
We learn the mundane.
We learn the mundane.
We learn the mundane.
We learn real the mundane.
We learn the mundane.
We learn how to really obey the mundane.
We learn how to really pursue the mundane.
We learn how to be the mundane.

A mom's job is extraordinary!!! We encourage hearts, teach minds, and change hearts every single day! 

I have failed to understand this, especially lately. I have failed to see that a mother's job---to encourage, teach and change hearts---happens in the mundane! 

Mama, please be encouraged! Your job is so very important! 

You inspire the lives of so many, 
simply because you strive so hard IN the mundane!
You find JOY in the mundane and HOPE in
 the mundane and MOTIVATION in the mundane! 
YOU INSPIRE little hearts every single day because of the love you show through the mundane!

Take a moment to think about the impact that your mom or mother-figure made on your life. She went through the same stuff you're going through! She hid in another room just so she wouldn't scream at you. She cried because she felt as if nothing she did mattered that day. She had trouble waking up some mornings and on occasion stuffed her head under a pillow wishing you would stop crying. She sat on the floor feeling defeated. 

...but she also taught you the values of life. She taught you about love and what it should look like. She encouraged you, inspired you, helped you, comforted you, listened to you, corrected you, guided you and made a huge impact on your heart.

Mama, you are doing exactly that in the lives of your children. Even though some days may feel boring, mundane, routine, or even frustrating,...know are changing the lives of the little ones in your home! They may not see it anytime soon, but I guarantee you that one day...they will. Have hope!

I am speaking to myself when I say all this. 
Have hope. Be encouraged. Your job is more 
important than you could ever comprehend. It may seem dull now, 
but one day...I will see what God was doing all those "mundane" years. 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:9

Are you living the mundane life?


My 6 New Year Resolutions - An Update

We're coming to end of January 2015 and I have already seen how God has been helping me accomplish some of the things I have had a desire for this year. I thought I'd share, seeing as I wrote about my New Year Resolutions on here not too long here.

1. Reading the Bible everyday.

So far, this hasn't happened...BUT...I've been waking up faithfully around 6:20 every morning, not in my own doing, but my body keeps waking me up. I'll be awake for at least fifteen or twenty minutes before falling asleep again. Well, I was having a conversation with my mom the other day---I can't even remember what we were talking about, but it hit me---"Maybe God is giving me an opportunity to wake up early like he's been telling me to for months now!"

Chris and I are currently attending a Sunday school/Connections class at our church and this semester we are talking about Obedience to God---when we've obeyed, the results---when we didn't obey, and the results. This is something I can see that God is teaching me at home as well right now.

So back to my soon as I realized that my body waking me up early, was really God, I decided to get up the next time he woke me up. May I remind you that every time I have tried to wake up early on my own, Hannah beats me to the punch.  This time, however, every time I have gotten up when God woke me up...Hannah slept in past eight!!! I have been able to read the Word, pray, even do a tiny bit of tidying up before she wakes up! God answers when his children are obedient---yes He does!

PROGRESS: God has been waking me up around 6:30am every day, and as soon as I realized it was HIM waking me up, I began to take those opportunities he was giving me and get up to read! As a result---Hannah has been sleeping in past 8:00 (she's been waking up at 6:30) and I have been able to read his Word faithfully like he has been asking me to!

2. Try harder on my appearance.

Okay, so, I was definitely working on it, but then exhaustion hit! This mama has 7.5 weeks left before baby #2 arrives---ACK!!! I was curling my hair daily, pinning it differently each day or just leaving it all fluffy! I'm still trying to make sure that I am clean, wearing outfits that actually go together (yea, I don't normally care too much about that), and cute shoes, but I haven't gotten too far into this...but hey, I've got all year!

PROGRESS: I made progress for a little bit, but then baby #2 decided she'd rather I sleep! Haha! Preggo fatigue...woohoo!

3. Showing Chris love using his love language. 

I have definitely been working on this. It's always a learning process. I'm learning how to express my gratitude, but now I need to really work on my variety of compliments and creativity. I can write him notes all day, but I also need to save some to actually speak TO HIM. 

PROGRESS: Getting better, now I just need to work on variety! 

4. Spend more one-on-one time with Chris. 

This has definitely gotten better, at least I think it has. We haven't been out on a date in a while, but we've been reading the Word together every night after Hannah goes to bed and we've been talking for a looong time once sitting down together. I have seriously enjoyed this! Chris has been working late for a while now, but the past couple of days he has gotten home earlier---or rather, on time. We've had so much more time with each other because of this. 

PROGRESS: We've definitely had more one-on-one time these past couple of weeks and it has been great! I hope it continues!

5. Reach target weight after baby #2 arrives.

Well, baby #2 is not here yet, progress yet! In fact, my appetite has finally kicked in and I'm pretty sure I am going to start picking up the weight now! Ack!

PROGRESS: None. No baby yet! :)

6. Know where every penny in our budget goes.

Okay, now THIS has gotten better! We've figured out a new way to budget each paycheck in order to build our savings and knock out our little bit of debt (another goal for this year). Because we have a new system, we know where every penny goes! It's so great! Progress!

PROGRESS: We have a new budgeting system now which is working for us and yep...we're making progress! Yay!!!

So how about you? How are you doing on your New Year Resolutions and 2015 goals?


FIVE Simple Tips for SAVING MONEY on GAS

I've mentioned before, that Chris and I are working to build our savings, knock out some debt and just in general, keep track of our money. One way to save money is to use less on gas. There are many ways to do this without cutting back too much on your driving. I've done tons of research over the years on this topic and have practiced these rules often.

I can guarantee you that you will SAVE money on gas 
if you follow these rules! 

I am hoping to start abiding by these once again to save a little on gas, seeing as I'm out and about almost every day.

1. Don't drive every day. Pick one or two days that you don't drive if you don't have to. Make one trip, instead of five. Plan your errands in advance and decide on the best time and route.

2. Coast. Do this whenever you can! It's easiest when you are going downhill or come to a stop light/sign. ...but they are plenty of opportunities that you can coast a good bit down a road. Try it out when there's not really anyone behind you. Quit pressing the gas when you don't have to! 

3. Ease up on the lead foot. Really, quit hitting the gas pedal. Play the granny role when you finally get a green light. It takes getting used to, especially if you have a heavy foot (and most of us do), but it's worth it. This tip alone will make your gas last so much longer! I actually try to stay under and right at 2,000 RPGs and this alone will make your gas go so much farther!

4. Keep up with your regular oil changes and such. I am so guilty of this one! I can't change my own oil and I definitely don't pay to get it done, so I guess that's why I forget. The men in my life have to remind me of this and often, it's been overdue for a change!

5. Use store credit. We usually shop at Aldi's for groceries, but when we need items not found at Aldi's or when we use WIC, we shop Kroger. Using our Kroger Plus card saves us a little bit on gas each time we use it. Every little bit helps!

So, are you going to try these out? If you do, tell me how they work for you!

I have found that the first four tips make my gas go so much farther!. Store credit also helps us save a few dollars here and there and every little bit helps! 

Tuesday Tunes // Nothing I Hold On To/Climb

"I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven."

This is exactly what I have needed to hear throughout these past couple of weeks. Through the chaos, confusion, frustration and exhaustion...I will lean not on my own understanding, for my life is in the hands of the maker of heaven!


I'm Not Ready for Baby #2

Okay okay...Who is truly ever really ready to have a baby? Even if it IS their second time going through this!

This one is different. This kid in my belly. She's different. She's not like my Hannah. She's hyperactive and constantly on the go, but every time I try to talk to her or touch her (my belly), she stops moving. :( Hannah never did this.

#1 I feel like I haven't bonded with her yet. I know that I have plenty of time for that, but still! Hannah and I were buds long before she came out of the womb! I talked to her every day. She tickled and punched my hands almost every day. Charlie is different. She never wiggles when I'm paying attention to her and I have hardly felt her movements with my own hands. I'm pretty sure Chris has felt more than me! It makes me sad a little. Although, I shouldn't be sad. She will be in my arms 70-80% of the day when she's born.

#2 I'm scared that I won't be able to show Hannah enough attention and affection during the first months. Hannah is my first little princess. My first baby. She's my pride and joy! I know that a lot of second time mom's fear that they may not love their second child as much as the first, but I worry that I won't be able to show Hannah that I love her, at least as often as I do now! I don't want her to feel neglected or rejected! (That's why this mama has a plan to make mommy-daughter dates a tradition! - future post!) What if I unintentionally ignore her and reject her for days before I even realize what I've done? I'd be mortified!

#3 Their room isn't put together yet. The changing table isn't out. The bassinet isn't out. I don't have diapers. I don't have Hannah's old onesies out and available yet. Toys, puzzles and books are everywhere and unorganized. Their room isn't painted. Although that isn't life or death, I want to accomplish it before Charlie gets here so we don't wait months to do it after she's born. We are missing water-proof mattress pads and changing table get the idea. We've got lots to work on and there's only 9 weeks left!!! Ack!!!

#4 I feel like this birth isn't a huge priority (in my mind) yet. I've hardly thought about it! I have no plan. I'm not in a rush. I haven't even thought about what I need to take with us to the hospital, or what our plan is once we get to the hospital! Nothing's ready and I really don't seem to care that much. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing. Hmm. 

Okay, end of rant. 

Did any of you feel this way, too, with the birth of your second, third, fourth? Any advice for this mama? 


4 Tips to Using Your WORDS More Often

Let me start this by saying that this is so beneficial for everyone, not just people who struggle with using their words to affirm their spouse.

Okay, so, anyone who knows me knows that I can talk like nobody's business, but I am awful when it comes to daily compliments or affirmation. It's something that I have to be intentional about or I'll forget! It's not that I don't like you, love you or admire you...I just don't think about it!

I'm not a "words" person. Often I find myself wondering what people want from me whenever they compliment me. Am I alone in this?

My husband however, is a "words" person. He finds great encouragement and discouragement by the words spoken to/about him. My husband is not weak and he's definitely not a "cry baby", but words do mean more to him than they do to me on most occasions...and I forget that...just about every day.

We recently attended a Bible study concerning the book The 5 Love Languages. If you haven't read this before, you should! It's written by Gary Chapman and it is such a good book! You learn so much about speaking your spouse's love language as well as learning about your own love language!

Did you know that you have a love language?

Basically, Chapman talks about is how each one of us have different ways of expressing and receiving love. He says that there are five different love languages: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, and Acts of Service. Basically, you would value one of these more than another and the one you value the most is most likely your "love language".

Example #1: I like getting gifts from Chris, but honestly, I don't feel any more loved or unloved simply because he gives me or doesn't give me gifts. This implies that Receiving Gifts is not the best way to show me love. Does that explanation make sense?

Example #2: I have found that I feel increasingly happy, more content in my marriage, and extremely loved whenever Chris and I spend good quality time together away from technology and sometimes away from home. When Chris hasn't spent any good quality time with me, I start to feel sad and unloved. This would imply that my love language is "quality time" and that quality time is the best way to show me love. Does that make sense?

When you spend good quality time with me, you're showing me love the way I best receive it! Chris receives love through words of affirmation. When I compliment him and thank him for his hard work, I am showing him love in the best way he receives it!

Example #3: Chris enjoys gifts, but just like me, gifts do not make him feel anymore loved than he already did. This implies that Receiving Gifts is not the best way to show him love.

Example #4: Chris gets increasingly happy when I use my words to uplift him (anybody would, but this is a daily essential for him). He feels so much more loved by me when I speak life into him! 

I can do with one or two compliments a month, but Chris thrives off of DAILY encouragement and uplifting words. I think that's an important distinction to make...someone who's love language is words of affirmation needs more than just one or two compliments a month. They need it almost daily. Because Chris blooms through the use of words, this implies that the best way to show him love is through your words. I know that I am being very "wordy", haha...but does this make sense at all?

This is not to say that we don't receive love in any other way, but these are the greatest ways that someone could show us love!

So this leads me to my topic for today. (Getting back on track here...) Chris's love language is Words of Affirmation. I suck at providing regular affirmation, simply because it's not as important to ME. I don't think about it as something he needs or wants, because I don't need it and want it as much as he does.

I've been really convicted about this and I've tried so many different ways to express appreciation to him! Some moments have been really awkward and incredibly forced, and other times it has worked out fairly well.

I thank the Lord because I am starting to really see the opportunities to use my words to show him love! I know that this sounds so basic. It is...but I still struggle with it! 

I know that Chris has recently noticed me "trying" to compliment him more...That's sounds so bad! Haha!...but I can honestly see how God has been working within me so that I can really show my husband love in the best way possible! 

I can easily compliment my husband every now and then on paper or on the keyboard, but I struggle with speaking it to him DAILY!

There are so many wonderful things about my husband. I could write an entire post, an entire series on the wonderful things about my husband, but would good is that if I can't even tell him to his face every day?

This is my conviction. My challenge. My project. My life long goal. To speak my husband's love language. To show him love in the way he receives it best! And believe me, I've seen what it does to him! This man blooms when given the proper affirmation and it's a beautiful thing! 

I am writing this for the not-so-wordy folks around me. I want to share some tips I have been learning that help me to speak more directly to my husbands heart!

#1 Speak it the moment you think of it. If your spouse has cleaned the entire kitchen, tell them how grateful you are the moment you see what they've done. Don't wait. Say it now! Even if you have to text them because they aren't home. If you like what she or he is wearing, say it now! To earn bonus points, use words like hot or sexy! :)

#2 Plan it when you're actually thinking about it. Write him a letter. Text her. Leave her a note. Set an alarm, reminding you to compliment him when he gets home from work. To earn bonus points, mail him a sweet love letter to his office. Husbands you can do the same, mailing your wife a letter from work. Planning to affirm your spouse puts your mindset into vocalizing wonderful things to him and about him.

#3 Show gratitude. This is so basic, but it's something I have honestly had to remind myself! A huge part in showing affirmation is simply being grateful and expressing your thanks. Be grateful, and be vocal about it! If he's picked up your entire house, thank him! If your wife has clearly been working on laundry all day, say thank you! 

#4 Acknowledge the good things you notice. Almost every day my husband chases our daughter around the house, throwing her into a fit of giggles and laughs! When they stop running around, then would be the time to tell him how good of a father he is and that I can see how much he loves his little girl! If you see your husband cuddling with your child, tell him how much you love seeing those precious moments and how much he deserves those little cuddles! If your wife lets someone cut in front of her in line, tell her how grateful you are that you have such a giving and generous spouse. 

I am by no means an expert on this and I have sooo much that I need to work on, but these four things have really helped me make it a practical habit in my day-to-day life. They are some of the easiest ways to affirm your spouse!

I pray constantly that God shows me how great my husband is. It's not that I don't see it, but life gets so crazy sometimes that it's difficult to recognize the little things, the good things.

I could continue to say to express when he has met your needs and to tell her that you need her. I could tell you to listen more and say less, but I do believe that if you practice the four habits above, that you would really impact your spouse's life...especially if they receive love best through words of affirmation.

What do you do to show your spouse love? What does your spouse seem to appreciate the most? What makes them feel the MOST loved by you? Did you find this helpful?


10 Tips for a Better Pregnancy

I am a very low-maintenance mama, so this list is not anything extraordinary but they are things that I have been learning throughout pregnancy. 

This is my second pregnancy and I can tell you, I am just now (at 30 weeks) remembering to do these things! I think that they are a good reminder, even if you are almost to your due date or pregnant with your third or fourth child!

#1 Stretch regularly. I can't even begin to explain to you what this does to your body, but you will be able to tell the difference, no doubt! It feels so good! It gets your blood flowing and really releases some good hormones. It's good for you more than you know! Do it!!!

#2 Exercise often. Even if you haven't been exercising before pregnancy, at least go on walks. It can sometimes be difficult at first, with a heavy baby and all in that belly, but it feels so good! Just like exercise feels good when you're your normal self, it feels good now. It will give you some more energy and boost your mood almost instantly. Guaranteed. I started taking Hannah on walks this pregnancy and all I do is walk up the road and come back. I'm not hard care by any means, so that's enough for me and it helps a lot!

#3 Drink lots of water. I am so guilty of this. I suck at drinking water. With Hannah I was constantly thirsty. This pregnancy is different and I'm finding it harder to remember to drink water. Find the best way for you to drink and carry water, and I promise you that you will feel a boost in energy and your body will feel so much healthier. It also helps to flush out a lot of bad stuff that you might take in because of your bad Runts and Cheesy Bread cravings! Oops!

#4 Take naps. Even if all you do is take a quick fifteen minute power nap, do it! Your body needs the rest. You will not regret it.

#5 Put your feet up. Rest. Relax. Don't feel guilty about this. You don't want to go into early labor because you never take a break! Rest that belly of yours, your hips, back, legs and feet, too! Trust me, you'll feel the pain of a day constantly on your feet. You will wish you would have taken a break! Literally put your feet up for a few minutes every day (this doesn't include when you're in bed trying to fall asleep).

#6 Eat well. My two pregnancies have been so different. With Hannah I ate and drank anything I wanted and as much of it as I wanted. With Charlie, I'm not as hungry and I don't have any cravings to satisfy, so I don't eat as much. Find foods that will satisfy you that are a tiny bit healthier. Homemade fruit smoothies are a good snack whenever you're craving sugar. Eat some chocolate covered strawberries or drink a glass of orange juice if you're wanting something sugary. Eat pretzels, chips and bean dip, or even veggies if you are wanting something salty! Now, I am in no way telling you NOT to eat exactly what you want, but in order to feel your best...don't eat Dominos Cheesy Bread every day, or a container of ice cream. Go get a frappuccino! That's okay! They're delicious! Just remember to put in some healthier options throughout the day. Don't eat junk all day long if you can help it!

#7 Get a pedicure. Even if you're not a fan of getting your toes done, get the bigger package. The massage alone is worth it. Get pampered! You deserve it! Your body deserves it!

#8 Wear clothes that fits. Again, my pregnancies have been different. This round I haven't fit into my old maternity clothes and it has seriously made me a little depressed! I can't tell you how good it feels to simply wear clothes that fits! I now have one pair of jeans that fit and possibly four to five shirts, but they are my favorite, because they fit! Clothes that fits you gives you an almost instant mood boost!

#9 Daydream and plan. Planning for your baby's arrival is essential, of course. Don't wait until the last minute. You'll be panicking if you put off planning for your baby's arrival. It doesn't all have to be done today, but talk about it regularly. Even if nothing is completely set in stone, talk about it until you are at peace about it. Sometimes it can lead to feeling insecure and unsure about motherhood if you haven't really thought about any of it. So day dream about nurseries and birth plans! Day dream about nursing your baby and co-sleeping with your baby! These things are soon to be your future, so there is no harm in continually thinking and discussing these things with your spouse! It's actually beneficial! It will take so much stress off of you! Less stress is a good thing!

#10 Talk to your baby. Yep. Be that weird mama that talks to her baby in the womb. Tell him/her all about what you are doing presently and what you are thinking about. You baby can hear you and she/he will recognize your voice! Crazy, huh? I talked constantly to Hannah when she was in my belly and I can't tell you how connected I felt to her! I would read the Bible to her, pray for daddy with her, talk to her while I was making dinner, tell her "good morning" name it! I felt so unbelievably connected with her! With Charlie, there is so much going on that I hardly talk directly to her. I wish I talked to her more often, because I definitely don't feel the bond like I did with Hannah at this time. It makes me a little sad. So, take it from to you baby, lots!!! You won't regret it! It will boost your mood significantly and you will feel so much more secure in your motherhood, knowing that you are already bonding with your little one!

What do you think about these pregnancy tips? 
Do you have any tips to add to my list? I'd love to hear 'em!



"Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." Romans 12:10

To say that marriage is hard is an understatement sometimes. 

Honestly, I almost titled this post "Marriage Sucks" but then I thought that might be a little harsh and that some people might get offended before they even read what I wrote. Not that that should matter, but still...


Marriage is hard. REALLY HARD. Possibly the hardest thing I've ever experienced in my life. That is no exaggeration.

Marriage involves daily acknowledging and admitting of your own failures, weakness and sins. It involves your spouse learning daily how to forgive and forget those weaknesses, failures and sins. It involves learning to transform your speech to positive speech and gratitude. Being grateful and positive all the time. ALL THE TIME. Even if you're not "feeling it".

Marriage involves humbling yourself daily to the extent that some days you simply turn the other cheek. It involves actively living out patience and God's truth. It involves real OBEDIENCE to God's Word.

 "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
John 13:34-35

Being honest here, it can really suck sometimes. Communication and confrontation can be very painful. Often there is blame on both parties which makes it difficult to put one issue aside so that you can effectively deal with the issue at hand. It's difficult learning to compartmentalize during a heated conversation or argument.

It takes a TEAM EFFORT to learn how to tackle one issue at a time WITHOUT bringing up something else in the process. In order to move forward and move past something, we have to be able to discuss that ONE issue, leaving the rest behind for a little bit.

A TEAM EFFORT is not ONE person being eager to grow, but BOTH. You BOTH have to be eager and willing to change, grow and really work at communicating. Note I said "work at" communicating. It's a really long process.

We as people are complicated. We aren't going to have each other figured out after just a few disagreements! People change. Our desires change. Our needs change. Our moods change. This means our conversations will change. Our arguments will change. Sadly, we are not a steady people. We change constantly. Everything about us, our hearts and our minds, it changes constantly. This means you must recognize that communication will be a never ending learning experience.

In marriage, you have to recognize, acknowledge and admit on a daily basis that your marriage is NOT about YOU, YOUR HAPPINESS or YOUR SPOUSE'S HAPPINESS, but it is about becoming more like Christ! This is TRUTH. Soak it in.

Have you come to the conclusion yet that your spouse is not perfect? That he or she is not always going to be the man or woman you WANT? Maybe your spouse is not really satisfying you right now. Maybe you feel lonely or ignored.

Let me remind you of some basics in life.

Your spouse is...well, YOUR SPOUSE!
YOU cannot change your spouse. They are who they are. Only God can change them and only God can motivate them to change.

My husband, Chris, is Chris...and I am Stephanie. We are two very different people. We have different convictions, different desires, different motivations, different weaknesses and different strengths. We clean the house differently, we read the Word differently, we sleep differently, we wake up differently...we are very, VERY different people. So are YOU and YOUR SPOUSE.

You've just got to get over it. You've got to accept the truth that your spouse is NOT YOU and YOU are NOT YOUR SPOUSE. You are two very different people.

But here's the GOOD NEWS: You are two very different people who were put together so that God could make you MORE LIKE HIMSELF!

Our marriages are meant to make us HOLY and MORE LIKE CHRIST! Truth. Marriage is a tool to worship God and to further and better share the Good News! When we SEE THIS and RECOGNIZE THIS AS TRUTH, we see our relationship in a whole new light!

It's not about YOU. It's about growing to become more like Christ! I recently heard in a Joyce Meyer sermon that "God WILL put you with someone who irritates you! But trust me, you will irritate them, too! That person God uses to rub against you and chip away the sin and the dirt in your life, and you in their life!" This is so true!

More than likely your spouse is going to hurt you at some point. ...and then again, and again and again. We're human and we are prone to fall. THANKFULLY the Lord is gracious and forgiving. Are YOU gracious and forgiving? No matter how deep the pain, in marriage, you've got to just take it to God and move on. Sometimes there will be the opportunity for discussion and other times your spouse is not going to be open to what you have to say. So, just take it to God and move on.

Marriage involves sacrifice and humility and honesty. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

We are to be a TEAM and encourage each other to pursue God, to obey God, to listen to God. But don't be smart! Don't think for a moment that you know exactly what your spouse needs! Listen. Be patient. Pray for them. 

Here are some questions you can ask yourself in your
 journey to becoming a more encouraging spouse:

What would help my spouse to grow closer to God? 
Have I been praying for my spouse on a regular basis?
Have I been praying over our home on a regular basis?
How can I remind my spouse of God's love this week?
How can I remind my spouse of God's promises this week?
What need has my spouse expressed to me this week? 
Has my spouse spoken of a desire to pray or read together?
What would encourage my spouse to pursue God more? 
Would it positively affect my spouse if I, myself, read MORE in the Word? 
Have I been reading the Bible on a regular basis?
Would it encourage my spouse to pursue God if I read the Bible with them anytime they asked or suggested it?
Have I been positive in my speech 
and in my actions this week?
Have I been honest with my spouse?
Have I been grateful in my speech 
towards my spouse this week?

Marriage is hard because it requires daily sacrifice and selflessness. You have to CHOOSE to love your spouse no matter what the day holds, no matter your confusion or frustration, no matter what your spouse did yesterday or even five minutes ago! 

Take it from me. Pause and look at the log in your own eye. Be merciful. You'd want your spouse to be merciful to you, right?

"Do for others as you would like them to do for you."
Luke 6:31

"Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
Ephesians 4:2

Forgive and forget. This is essential for life.

Be intentional. Be purposeful. Choose to act and speak in love, for this is the will of God for those who love him. 

"Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God---for God is love."
1 John 4:7-8

"But I say love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven..." Matthew 5:44-45a

"Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements." Romans 13:10

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


I know that this was completely scatter-brained today but I felt the need to let this pour out from within my heart. I do believe that someone needs to hear this and I believe that it will sink right into their hearts, all thanks to the hands of God our Father.

May these words be a blessing and a light into someone's heart today, Father. That they may see what it is you have been longing for them to see and that they may be humbled and put in awe of your wondrous love for us! In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask this. Amen.


45 Ways to Start SAVING MONEY

Chris and I live pretty much paycheck to paycheck. Our budget changes every two weeks it seems. We live a fairly minimalistic life. Other than basics, our only pleasurable bill we pay is for internet. We still live in the world of limited tv time and basic flip phones!

Here are some things that we do to save money in our home!
Do you do any of these? Some, all, or none? 

1. We meal plan to keep our grocery budget to a minimum.

2. We've recently stopped using our dryer. It saves a lot on electricity.

3. Have "no spending" days

4. Pay with cash and save/deposit everything less than a $5.00 bill

5. Unplug everything when not in use - especially big energy users like the TV, computers and gaming systems.

6. Air dry dishes (we stop the dish washer at the drying stage and open it to let it air dry)

7. Turn off lights when not in the room

8. Use the "rapid wash cycle" on the washing machine to save on electricity

9. Use towels instead of napkins or paper towels

10. Make your own baby wipes (tutorials here and here) or use wash cloths as baby wipes

11. Turn your ac unit off when not needed

12. Close the vents of rooms not used and close the door to save on electricity - Chris always likes his room/office cold, so during this season we have closed his vent and closed his door at all times (uses less electricity since the ac unit won't have to cover as much space)

13. Cook in bulk - freezer meals are a good thing to research and practice. Here are some freezer meal ideas that will save you money!
Freezer Meals #1
Freezer Meals #2
Freezer Meals #3
Freezer Meals #4

14. Fix all leaks

15. Over estimate your balance when going grocery shopping - you will end up spending anywhere from $3-$10 less than you thought you were!

16. Sell what you don't use

17. Make your own laundry detergent and other soaps

18. Make your own cleaning supplies - we use vinegar at our house-it works wonders and lasts forever at only $2 a gallon

19. Clean with rags or old t-shirts.

20. Use cold water - even just turning the water towards "hot" will use up electricity

21. Use lamps on occasion instead of overhead lights - this often will save on electricity

22. Only wash clothes and dishes when the unit is full

23. Buy in bulk

24. Cut your sponges and dryer sheets in half.

25. Use aluminum foil as a dryer sheet - it lasts so much longer!

26. Use less laundry detergent - I promise it does just as well with a little less!

27. Instead of turning up your heater, put on a sweater and socks.

28. Make your own coffee - I'm tempted with Starbucks, who isn't? but it is definitely more cost effective if you make your own coffee at home. I can definitely share some awesome iced-coffee recipes in the future!

29. Cook from scratch - always keep basic baking ingredients in your pantry-flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, etc.-this comes in handy for easy meals like pancakes, tortillas, dumplings, rolls, pie crust, etc.

30. Shop cheap - Aldi's is our favorite for the majority of our shopping needs. There's less to choose from and even if we do end up buying 10 more things that weren't on our list, we are usually still within our budget! Not every Aldi's has a huge organic section, but I know that they are wanting to try it out on customers! The more input the better!

31. Try couponing

32. Cut out unnecessary things such as cable or a home land line - not many people use home phones anymore and who needs cable when you can get Netflix and a fraction of the cost!

33. Use energy efficient items and light bulbs

34. Turn your oven or stove off 5-10 minutes before your food is done cooking - your food will still cook with the heat that resides

35. Don't cook or cool at extreme temperatures - Don't cook your food until it's completely thawed (if safe) and don't put a hot meal into a fridge until it's been cooled.

36. Always check to see if you business or job has discounts anywhere - for example: Chris's job gets us a discount with Verizon

37. Use power strips instead of individually plugging up each item

38. Clean your units so that they last longer - your fridge, dryer, dishwasher, filters, etc.

39. Use your blinds - Close the blinds to keep the cool out on a cold day and close them to keep the sun out on a hot day.

40. Turn your lights off when you leave a room

41. Collect your spare change and at the end of each month deposit it into savings - you'd be surprised how much you might save! Why, just this weekend I deposited $30 in coins into our savings account

43. Shop for the best prices and deals - this takes time but it's beneficial in the long run. Example: Some items are clearly cheaper at Aldi's but if I use my WIC vouchers at Kroger, then I can use it towards my gas points and I don't spend a cent!

44. Only buy what you've planned to buy - before checking out, look over your cart again 

45. Pay your savings account as if you were paying a bill - make it a priority to put money regularly into savings

QUESTION: Do you do any of these things to save money?
Do you know of MORE ways to save money that you'd like to share with us?


If this was of interest to you, you might want to check out these websites:


Loving the Little Things

Ever since Thanksgiving and Christmas season I have been overflowing with a joy for the little things. I am sitting here in my recliner, blanket over my lap, cozied up with a cup of freshly ground and brewed coffee, I can see out my window and how it is slowly getting brighter outside. I can see the orange tint to the sky. My house is completely quiet. All I can hear is the sound of my own breathing.

Ahh. Can it stay like this forever?

I have written throughout several posts how I've been wanting to get up earlier and dive into the Bible. I definitely have NOT been keeping up with that. Waking up early is a difficult thing to do when you're only motivation is to start reading a book! However I remember the joy I feel when I sit down in my silent home, coffee in hand, curled up in blankets. No crying baby, no husband to entertain, no noisy cars or kids running the streets just yet.

Then I realize, that I usually feel really close to God whenever I'm taking the time and enjoying the little things. Is that worship??? Hmm. I feel it might be a bit of worship to our Heavenly Father.

I love curling up with a blanket, sipping my cup of coffee, watching the sun rise in the morning. I think it's absolutely wonderful!

I love cuddling my sleeping baby. I love her sweet lips and pouty cheeks when she's sound asleep. I love kissing that soft face, hands and arms as she's still to the world. 

I love watching to sun rise in the morning. It brings certain warmth to my heart that I cannot express. It's as if I'm literally given the vision of a new day dawning. TODAY is a new day! It brings me hope!

I love it when I can lay my head down on my husband's lap and just lay peacefully. I feel so loved and so taken care of. So comforted. 

I love climbing into bed with my daughter and my husband and having family time all cuddled up. 

I love how Hannah scrunches her nose sometimes when she smiles.

I love how my husband laughs. Just in general. It's seriously the most wonderful thing!

I love it when I feel God's peace enter into my heart as I dive into His Word.

Life is a gift. Let's not take advantage of it. Slow down today and enjoy the little things in your life!

"This is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24

"Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his word to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." Colossians 3:15-16

Another little thing that absolutely warms my heart!

Are you struggling with finding joy today? Are you missing that umph to get you going during the day? If you are, then you've come to the right place, because I've been struggling with the same things! As quick as I can enjoy one little thing in my life, I can just as quickly get irritated with another little thing in my life! Let's choose to be thankful today!!!


Currently and a Bump Update

Every now and then I share a post just about what's going on in my life, what I'm listening to, reading, thinking about, wishing for, thankful for, what I am photographing and how pregnancy is going. It's what's currently going on in my life and that's about it!

Listening to: I'll be honest, I really haven't listened to much lately. Except for Frozen. I'm almost certain that I can now quote the entire movie. I have never seen this girl zone out before, but when it comes to Frozen...oh man! That's two hours of peace I won't get any other way!

Reading: I am trying to be purposeful in diving into the Word every day. I've been so busy and pregnancy makes me so scatter-brained that I get distracted easily. It's getting easier though. I find myself really wanting to pick up the Bible at random times of the day. I was reading in 1 Samuel and in Luke, but I had a few slow days and when I picked it back up I felt the desire to read in Psalms, which has been sooo encouraging to me this week! I am wanting to make reading every day a new life habit. 

Thinking About: I'm definitely still thinking a lot about fixing up Hannah's room and some other areas of our house. Chris and I just recently purchased some paint and plan to paint our kitchen chairs a charcoal color. I'm also daydreaming about how to brighten up my fireplace and mantle. It's so dull and dark and I like BRIGHT! :)

Other than house stuff, I can't stop thinking about what it's going to be like having TWO little girls in just a short few months. I have no idea what I'm going to feel! I've felt the love of one little angel, what will it be like to have two little angels in my care? I'm terrified and thrilled!

I've got lots of personal things or convictions that I need to work on, but that's a topic for another day!

Thankful For: My husband. Seriously. He has been so amazing these past few weeks! He's always amazing but he has really been outdoing himself lately! Cleaning the house every single day to the point it looks like a picture out of a magazine! Getting up with Hannah without complaint. Serving me every day by his own willingness and servant heart and most of the time I don't even ask. He has bought me flowers, candy, and pizza this week on different days. He continually surprises me and I hope to really bless him right back. He's a great man for loving me through this chaos of toddlerhood and pregnancy! Goodness knows it does a number on people! His love for Hannah grows every day and I see it! It's a beautiful thing and I am so happy that this is happening right before me!

I am so thankful for Hannnah, too. Her heart is HUGE! She is so loving and caring! Anytime I'm sleeping, she will come up to me and gently play with my hair and give me kisses all over my face, head and sometimes my arms! She loves to care for me and for Chris. It's kind of crazy, but oh so beautiful! She loves it when I lean into her so that she can put her arm around my neck and hold me close to her face. She'll pull us in just to hug us and kiss us. She won't let us go, either. She'll just sit there, holding us and giving us kisses! Her heart is so wonderful! Some of you may know that I went through a phase of depression and in that depression period, Hannah was seriously acting out. (Post here.) However, she has definitely changed now. That's not to say she won't go through another phase, but this sweet, gentle, loving child is such a blessing to me right now! I often get frustrated because she can be so demanding and exhausting but lately my heart is so warmed by her. She brings me so much comfort. We cuddle so much right now and she covers me with kisses. She loves to tell me all that she knows and loves to see me smile at her. She seeks out my praise every single day and it is such a wonderful thing to see! I see the joy on her face when her daddy comes home from work and she's showing off for him!

I could go on. My life is by no means perfect, but oh man, it is beautiful!!! I am so in love with my sweet little family! God has blessed us with love and joy! 

Don't get me wrong, we have disagreements, small arguments and fights regularly, but by the grace of God we are learning how to become more selfless, more caring and more forgiving! For THAT, I am so grateful!!! God is good!

Where you can find me this week: At home. I'm trying to drive a little less since we were never at home during the holidays. Also, we're all needing a little down time and some relaxation time. It doesn't help that this flu and bronchitis stuff has been floating around! We're trying to rest up because we've all caught a tiny bit of it! Another thing to be grateful for: We haven't gotten full-blown flu or bronchitis sickness yet, and hopefully won't! 

Pregnancy Update: I am officially 29 weeks pregnant!!! We're almost there! Eleven weeks to go! Next week will be only 10 more weeks! Oh my goodness! I'm seriously freaking out! What am I going to do with TWO little girls??? EEP! 

Baby Charlotte has done A LOT of growing this past month! This is her growth in December alone! Wowza! I don't remember such a quick growth spurt with Hannah. Do you remember going through this with your little ones?

I've gained some, but I haven't gained even 20lbs yet. My appetite is definitely not what it was when I was pregnant with Hannah! It's crazy how very different these pregnancies are! With Hannah I craved everything I thought of and everything in my sight, but with Charlotte I've had a loss of appetite and it's never really picked up. Food kind of grosses me out this pregnancy.

I have the WORST heart burn and it hurts so badly. I can't wait for it to go away. I'm also constantly sore. Charlotte is so low that I almost always feel like I'm just recovering from labor! I'm pretty sure that's not too good. I'm realizing that I need to really take it easy these next couple of months so that I don't push it. I don't want to encourage an early labor. Hannah was never this low, not even towards the end!

Charlotte has gotten extremely active but I can almost never catch her in the act! She is constantly running in place, punching, kicking and rolling around! I see her jump all the time. She's so quick, too! She seems so hyperactive! Haha! I am so interested to see what her personality is like as she gets older!

I'm definitely getting to that point where I can say that "I'm definitely pregnant". You know what I mean? I've got the preggo stance down to an art already. The preggo walk is not quite present yet, but I feel it whenever I'm tired. The preggo back ache and sore feet are definitely starting to kick in at the end of each day. Yep. I'm definitely pregnant. Haha!

Now, what about you? What have you been up to these days? Are you reading anything good that you'd like to share with the rest of us? Are you listening to any new favorite artists or songs? What has been occupying your mind this week? What are you thankful for today? Where can I find you if I wanted to spend some time with you?


My Nursery Dream Board

So, with baby number two on the way, I am ready to finally paint and finish the kids' room! I've been thinking about it for months! They will be sharing a bedroom as soon as Charlotte is ready to move into her crib!

I have seriously struggled with WHAT exactly I want their room to look like. I like the millions of ideas I've seen but I think after tons of thought, research and conversation with the hubby, we've finally made a decision! YAY!!!

I love so many of the soft simple nurseries with pastel shades but Chris keeps reminding me that I like BRIGHT COLORS!

Here are my favorite nurseries I have seen in my search of ideas.


I love the grey walls, the bright blues, greens, pinks, and yellows! 
I love the polk-a-dots and the bold patterns!
I love the white furniture and the bright colored furniture!

We've definitely decided that we are going to paint the walls grey. Possibly a medium gray.
We've also decided on the colors PINK, BLUE and GREEN for her room. I'm so excited!!!

I've spent this weekend planning the layout of their room. Who knew 
putting a baby and a toddler in the same room would take up so much space! Haha...

As you can see, we've definitely got some work to do if we want to have grey walls, white furniture, white doors and trim! The colors I plan on adding in slowly by painting some cheap picture frames, making pillows, and painting some canvases!

I would love it if you have any other ideas for me on how to make this little toddler room/nursery more cozy and put together! Do you have any organizing tips for me? Do you have any painting tips you could share with me?