Marriage Mondays – If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

You’ve heard the saying before:

If you don’t have anything nice to say….don’t say it all!

I don’t know about you, but I KNOW what my weakness is. I’ve always known it, even at a young age. It’s my tongue. My mouth. The words I speak.

When I was in middle school, I once got out of a situation where a girl wanted to fight me. She was taller than me, bigger than me, and would undoubtedly beat the tar out of me EXCEPT, I had a secret weapon. My mouth. So I hurled insults her way (not something I’m proud of as an adult!) and when it was time to “fight” she was nowhere to be found because I embarrassed her. I don’t say this as something to be proud of, but to emphasize the fact, that even at a young age I knew I could use words to hurt people.

As an adult, the more I learned about words and the power of the words we speak, the more I realized the words I spoke had weight, power, and could affect a situation or a person positively or negatively.

Now picture a girl whose weakness is her mouth in a relationship with a person who is hot headed and is also known for his mouth. Guys, it wasn’t a good combination. Jose and I spent the first few years of our relationship arguing a lot and using our words to hurt each other. The thing with the words you speak is that once you say them you can’t take them back and hurtful words are so painful and wound so deeply. If I asked you right now to tell me something someone said that hurt you, you could distinctly give me a specific incident and person. We remember these things.

This is why I want to tell you something I’ve had to learn myself in marriage.

When I don’t have anything to say that’s going to produce fruit in my marriage, sometimes the best thing to do is to BE QUIET.

As in literally, zip it and not say anything at all.

Here’s the thing – I know there are times where you will have to have difficult conversations within a marriage. This is a reality that’s inescapable and healthy. What I AM saying is this – if what you are going to say is not going to produce positive fruit in your marriage, don’t say it.

In this post, I’m talking specifically about those low blow moments. You know what I’m talking about. Those moments where you have something you can say that will really hit your spouse where it hurts. Maybe it’s a weakness, a vulnerability that’s been shared. You are so angry or mad and you just want your spouse to know it, so you prep your ammunition and are ready to aim. My plea to you – don’t.

 

Our first year of marriage, in the middle of an argument, Jose used to simply stop speaking and leave the room. At first, I was even more livid, “I’m talking to you! I’m trying to have a conversation with you! What are you doing?!” I would call after him. He would later explain that he just needed to step away from the situation until we could talk calmly about it. Oh, it would make me so irate because I wanted to talk about things RIGHT NOW and resolve it RIGHT AWAY. As time has gone on, I’ve appreciated how much it has saved us from a lot of pain! Eight years in, we don’t walk away from each other in the midst of hard conversations, but we have learned to guard the words that we speak to each other.

I love what James has to say about the words we speak:

“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:5-6

I love how it keeps mentioning “fire.” One terrible word or conversation can cause a world of pain and destruction. This can be avoided if we guard our speech and the words that we speak to our spouse.

I’m not telling you that anytime you get into an argument you need to physically run away from each other! When we were newlyweds,  we were learning how to fight fair.  We had to actually give each other some physical space for a few minutes or a half hour or so, then reconvene when we were calm. I’m glad that being married almost 8 years; we’ve come such a long way and don’t have to do this every time there’s a disagreement. We’ve learned that we respect and love each other enough to protect each other from words we might regret.

So if I could share anything that has helped me:

  1. If you’re ticked off, don’t try to force a conversation in that moment.
  2. If you have to give each other a few minutes, do it. Don’t force it in that exact moment, BUT…
  3. Refuse to go to bed angry with each other (Ephesians 4:26).
  4. DON’T SAY INSULTING THINGS YOU WILL REGRET.
  5. Talk to your spouse when emotions have calmed down and you can be reasonable.
  6. Your words matter and will be remembered. They also can HURT and create a deep wound so PROTECT each other by refusing to engage in trading insults.

Here’s the thing – all couples have disagreements at one point or another. If you’ve never argued with your spouse, you are a magical unicorn and can I please have your autograph? The point is this – when you know you are on the verge of saying something destructive and life killing, ask yourself if it’s going to produce positive fruit in your relationship in the long run.

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27

xoxo

My Favorite Ways to Save on Groceries

Groceries can be a major expense! If you have a large family, even more so. Even with our family of four, we can spend hundreds on food each month. I thought I would share some of the EASY things that I do to save on groceries each month.

  1. Manufacturer’s coupons.

Before you start panicking, I am NOT talking about Extreme Couponing. I don’t have the patience or time for it, so I stick to cutting coupons each week for items I use. I do keep a coupon binder and I look through it before I go to a grocery store. There are websites you can use if you’re interested in Extreme Couponing. DON’T disregard using coupons! You would be shocked to find there are coupons for items you regularly purchase and need and if you use them you can save so much money. For awhile I stopped couponing, when I started again I was staggered at how much I saved and it reminded me to stick with it. Take advantage of grocery store digital coupons as well!

2. Store coupons/apps – especially the digital ones!

This sounds obvious too, but some people don’t realize the savings that can be found here. My favorite drugstore to shop at is CVS. The reason is because CVS is ALWAYS sending me coupons through my e-mail that I can send directly to my CVS card. If I log on to my CVS account and click on the extra card section, there are always about a billion additional coupons that I can send to my card for everyday items. Pair this with manufacturers coupons or items that are already on sale and you will see the savings. Be sure to read the fine print! Those 30% off coupons don’t always include sale items. I’ll give an example. Let’s say CVS has pull-ups on sale for 10.99. They offer a digital coupon of $2 off all pull-ups. You have a manufacturer’s coupon that is $2 off. You can get the item for as low as $7. I save SO much at CVS because I never shop without a coupon there. Don’t ever shop Target without the Cartwheel App or without your Target or debit card where you’ll save an extra 5% every single time you shop.

3. Ibotta.

Y’all! You have heard me talk about Ibotta before! I write about it because it’s a really easy way to save money on grocery items you are already buying. It’s too easy to not be using. Also, if you refer a friend, you easily earn $5. All you need to do is keep your receipt, verify your eligible purchases, take a picture of the receipt, and voila – free money. After $20 you can have it cashed out in the form of a gift card or sent to you through Paypal or Venmo. The easiest money you’ll make shopping for groceries.

4. Walmart Savings Catcher

I don’t particularly enjoy shopping at Wal-mart (as I’ve written about in the past!) BUT Wal-mart is just so cheap that sometimes, I can’t resist. That being said, I love using Walmarts Savings Catcher. The way it works: you scan your Walmart receipt, Walmart compares prices, Walmart gives you the difference in price through a Walmart eCard and you can use it on any of your purchases. Now imagine combining coupons with sale items AND using this feature on the app. Win-win for your wallet. 5. Meal plan/freezer/cook/leftover life.

5. Favado.

Favado is a really excellent app that you can use to look up items and find out where certain items are the cheapest. If I’m looking to find a deal on Tresemme shampoo, I type that in and it will show me the stores that have Tresemme on sale. If I click on a store and the item, it will even show me what coupons I can stack with this item to make sure I am getting the lowest price.

6. Plan. Never shop without a list!

When I first started adulting and shopping for groceries on my own as a newly married woman, I never brought a list. I would just go to the store, walk through the aisles, and grab what I thought I needed. I ended up with stuff I didn’t need, a budget that had been blown, and essentially a hot mess on my hands. Bringing a list is important because it helps you stay focused on what you need! Also, don’t shop on an empty belly and also MEAL PLAN! So you know exactly what you need for each meal and will get just that. I recommend this grocery list template that will help you get started! They also sell these at select Marshall’s for really cheap!

7. Grocery shop online.

Here’s the thing, you’ll pay $10 for the online grocery shopping fee at some places, BUT you’ll save in buying exactly what you need – nothing more, nothing less. This is really helpful, especially if you’re insanely busy. I HATE grocery shopping , but there are times it’s unavoidable and I have to step foot into the actual store. I find that shopping online saves me money in the long run because I’m not tempted to buy things I don’t need and can look up exactly what I need to buy.

8. Shop at Aldi’s.

Aldi’s is insanely cheap and has some really solid items you can purchase at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay at a big box store. I don’t shop here all of the time, or even super regularly at that, BUT if I am really looking to slash spending I come here. The items I buy: rice, cereal, peanut butter, cooking items, etc. I don’t buy meat or produce from here, but I know so many people who do! It’s just my personal preference, I usually buy those items at Shoprite or BJ’s. Don’t count Aldi’s out as they’ve added many gluten free items and organic items at very reasonable prices.

9. Meal Plan.

This goes along with planning. I use a Google Calender to plan our meals every two weeks. This week I’ve slacked, but I meal plan and then make my grocery list around that. This way I have exactly what I need to cook and also don’t have to worry about spending money eating out on the week. Meal planning will help you stick to a grocery budget!

These are some simple things I do to save money on groceries. Nothing here is groundbreaking, but I wanted to share what I like to do personally! I always love hearing about new ways to save, so if you have some strategies that work for you please leave a comment and share!

 

Marriage Mondays – I Always Will

“I don’t love you/I always will.”

This line is part of a chorus of a song that has been our JAM lately. “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars [this song came out years ago, but we’ve been listening to it a lot lately!]

We love this song because of that particular line.

I don’t love you/I always will

Say, WHAT?  The more we listened to the song and talked about what it meant, the more we said YES! Let’s do a cover to this song.

This song is so cool because it really addresses the reality that is marriage. When you make a commitment to marry someone, you are saying some very serious vows to each other.

I will…

Hold you..

Stand with you through better or worse…

Through richer or poorer…

In sickness and health…

I will love and cherish you…

until the only thing that separates us is DEATH itself.

Those are POWERFUL words! When you are married, those vows WILL be tested. I have been married for eight years and have walked through some of those things with my spouse. We have made a conscious decision to make sure that these trials and struggles [infertility, job loss, job change, parenting twins, life issues…the list goes on] didn’t push us APART but that they would be a catalyst to draw us closer together. Y’all, that takes actual effort. Because the hard things of life will draw you away from each other if you let it. The hard things of life will push you to isolate yourself from one another…but you can make a choice and a decision which will require effort on both parts, to do the opposite and run towards each other. Hold each other. Through the good, the bad. The failures and victories.

Yet, I digress. Back to the song.

The lyric – “I don’t love you/I always will” so captures the essence of marriage (in our opinion) because GUESS WHAT! There are times where you will not feel the magical rainbow butterflies floating in your belly. Particularly when your spouse does something to TICK you off. You will not “feel” love in that moment. Yet, you made a vow.

I always will.

I always will…

Love you.

Hold you.

Cherish you.

Stand by you.

Support you.

Encourage you.

Walk through the desert with you.

Climb the mountains with you.

Celebrate the victories with you.

Cry with you over the failures.

I always will.

I believe this is a decision that you make daily. The world and society would have you to think the opposite. The world tells us that when things are hard and the going gets tough, its okay to go. Commitment can even be seen as laughable nowadays. “Marriage isn’t a big deal…” people say. Yet, it is. You are making a lifelong commitment, a promise, a vow before God and before man that boils down to – when crap hits the fan, I’m not going to leave because “I always will.” When we are singing those lines, we are not actually saying “I don’t love you!!!” we are saying,

“You drive me crazy at times, but I will always choose you, I will always run to you, I will always love you. I ALWAYS WILL.”

There’s something so beautiful in that kind of commitment nowadays. This is why we decided to do a cover to this song. It so clearly covers how marriage feels at times, the ups and the downs, the mountains and valleys, coming down to the powerful commitment of, “I always will.” 

I hope you enjoy our cover to this song. Xo

Thred Up Review – The Good and Bad

I’d heard about Thred Up from a friend at work. She raved about it. I kept seeing it everywhere and decided to give it a try – especially because I have been trying to stick to a tight budget! I am a Plato’s Closet gal but haven’t been for quite awhile. I LOVE shopping at good thrift stores because there are so many choices and at such a reasonable price. Thred Up is like an online version without having to dig through the racks.

I went on a few times and was overwhelmed with all of the options and possibilities, I would browse and then feel like there was too much to look at. Finally, I started to sort through and ended up finding a few pieces I liked. I decided to order because it was 40% off of everything, which I thought was a good deal.

I ordered a total of eight items, which came out to a total of 87.99 which included $5.99 shipping. With the 40% off it came out to $58.74. This means for eight pieces I paid $7.34 for each item.

Not bad considering a few of the items were dresses! After a few days, my order came in!

Super cute!

This top was $6.

This top was $5.95 from Xhiliration [Target brand].

This dress came out to $7.20 from Old Navy.

This dress came out to $7.20 from Old Navy.

Another dress from Old Navy $7.20.

This top came out to $4.80.

Another dress from Old Navy for $7.20.

Brand new dress from Forever 21 with tags, $7.20.

So, out of all of the items I ordered, I kept five and returned three.

I returned:

  • The Target top – fit very strangely and in a crop top kind of way that wasn’t flattering on me.
  • The Yellow sleeveless – this one was annoying because a button was missing! Someone had replaced it with a safety pin! Thrifted or not, I’m not paying for something that’s missing a button.

I didn’t like the fact that someone obviously tried to pass this off like it was in good condition but was missing a button. I did not order this from the “Basement” section of Thred Up, which is basically a section where clothes have flaws, but the buyer knows about it before hand and decides to purchase. This felt deceptive so I was annoyed!

  • The white cutout.

I LOVED this top! However, on closer inspection there was a slight gray mark. On a white top, it was noticeable. I decided to send it back!

The way Thred Up works, if you want to return items within 14 days you will receive full store credit. If you choose to get your money back, you have to pay $8.99 in shipping and handling. I’m not willing to pay that for thrifted clothes so I opted for the full store credit. You fill out everything online. They want you to tell them why you’re returning it. Next,  you print out two pages, one which has the specific clothes you’re returning in list form and a shipping label. You ship the items in the same box the clothes were sent to you.

So, overall, would I use Thred Up again?

Probably. Why? I think the pros outweigh the cons!

Things I liked:

  • Clothes are cute and reasonably priced
  • Return policy is good
  • You can shop by brand, size, etc. Easier than going through a thrift store.

Things I Didn’t Like:

  • Two of the items having issues! They need to check their products better.
  • The 8.99 fee if you want to get your money back on a refund.

Also, Thred Up has an option where you can sell your clothes to them and they will pay you. However, I’ve done extensive research and it sounds like Thred Up doesn’t pay much for even items that are in excellent condition. It sounds like they used to! They have something called a “Clean Out” bag where you can put clothing you don’t want that’s in good condition in, send it to them, and they’ll pay you for anything they choose to keep and donate the rest. The bag used to be free, now it’s $9.99 and the payout isn’t much. Before I did the research, I put in for a bag. I put some items in and am sending it in, so if I’m wrong I’ll let you know! BUT I will stick to Ebay for my valuable items/items in excellent condition.

Bottom line: Thred Up is a solid option if you are into thrifty clothes! However, when you receive your order check your items carefully! If you plan on returning, do so promptly so it falls within the 14 day return policy. This is a good option if you HATE to dig through racks. They also have items that are brand new with tags. I don’t think I’ll buy from them all the time, but once in awhile I will check them out! They just need to go through their items more carefully before putting them up on their site. Make sure they are in the condition you are trying to sell them for Thred Up!

Wore the Old Navy piece to work!

Have you ever used Thred Up? Why or why not? Would love to hear from some others on your experience with them!

 

Marriage Mondays – 20 Fun Facts About the Mr. and Mrs.

So I thought it would be fun to try to do Marriage Monday posts and dedicate a post each week to married life! Hubs and I have been married for almost eight years (in July) and often field a lot of questions from other couples, especially younger couples! We are non-experts and don’t know what we’re doing – but I can say that I honestly love being married and I love my husband. It has taught me so much about him and myself. I learn something new probably EVERY DAY. To start, I thought I would start off with twenty basics about the hubster and I!

  1. We met through a mutual friend when I was 16. The first time I met him, he actually had another girlfriend. I started to really pay attention to him when he started coming to church.
  2. I made the first move by calling him (which I NEVER did before – I was the shy type).
  3. We were high school sweethearts. Kind of – does it count if we didn’t go to the same high school?
  4. We have a lot in common, but pretty much zero in common when it comes to hobbies. He’s into outdoor/active types of situations, I’d rather snuggle up with a book and do something quiet/completely relaxed.
  5. We were 22 when we got married on July 11, 2009.
  6. I didn’t realize how much of a fear of heights my husband had until our first vacation as a married couple to Virginia. He was in complete hysterics at the top of the rollercoaster, I literally thought he was going to have a heart attack. I haven’t made him get on a rollercoaster since.
  7. He thinks I’m really rude because around the house I never say excuse me and typically nudge him out of the way.
  8. We’re both huge homebodies!
  9. When he proposed to me the day after Valentine’s Day in 2008, the ring got stuck in his pocket and he spent a minute trying to get it out.
  10. Before we found out we were having twins, Jose always wanted twins and looked up both of our family histories to see if twins ran in the family and what our chances would be. This was years before we even had babies on the brain.
  11. Parenting has turned us into huge saps, especially my husband. Movies, shows, and even some commercials make him cry.
  12. Our favorite beach is Ocean City.
  13. Our favorite city to visit is Chicago.
  14. The furthest we’ve driven together is Texas (with the twins in tow)!
  15. We always run into the weirdest experiences/people when we’re together. We once had a cashier at Walmart who insisted on sniffing every item we purchased before he rang it up.
  16. The most ridiculous argument we’ve ever had was over the wrong pizza order when we were watching “The Green Lantern.” I was so angry I refused to watch the rest of the movie with him (#earlyYearsofmarriage).
  17. We like to read books together – fave place to read together is during a car ride! We read through The Hunger Games and Divergent series this way.
  18. We didn’t settle on names for the boys until maybe an hour or so before they were born!
  19. I once cried because he put food in the sink.
  20. We are committed to loving each other for a LIFETIME.

First Valentine’s Day together! Take note of Jose’s awful shirt and the paper flower.

 

Thanks for checking out the first installent – if you have any suggestions, topics, questions, suggestions, let me know!

8 Ways to Save Money and Make Money

There are times in life where you need to stop spending and are in a position where you need to save or even make money right away. Perhaps you’re saving for a vacation or it’s right after Christmas and you’re trying to rebuild your savings. Maybe your family is a position where there is limited income. Maybe you just want to rein in your savings and make some money. Here are some tips/suggestions that have helped me!

  1. Go on a spending freeze.

You heard it straight. STOP SPENDING MONEY. I have been able to do a successful spending freeze for about two weeks. The goal can be up to YOU. A spending freeze means you complete freeze spending on anything. Ideally, you want to try this for about a month, but you can adjust the time as necessary. One of my favorite bloggers writes in detail about this here. I have also shared my experience about what it was like to go on a spending freeze. You can save money REALLY QUICKLY doing this. You would be shocked at what you might spend on a daily basis, though it does take some prep work! A coffee here, a quick snack here, a stop over at this restaurant. Freeze your budget, expand your savings.

2. Download the Ibotta app and start cashing in.

I heard about Ibotta a long time ago and used it awhile ago! A friend recently sent me a link and was telling me about it and I decided to use it. It’s ridiculously easy. You shop at a store of your choice. After you’ve finished shopping, you look to see if any of the items you purchased offer a cashback reward on Ibotta. You scan your receipt, scan the item, and voila – you have money. After you’ve made $20 you can withdraw it and SPEND. This is by far an easy way to make a few bucks. It works even better if you look on Ibotta first and see what items you can receive cash back for!

3. Ebates.

Ebates is THE BEST. I’d heard about Ebates for awhile but didn’t get all of the hype. Finally, around Christmas season, I decided to look into it. Ebates offers a rebate anytime you shop online. This means that I can spend $50 at a store online and if Ebates offers 10% back, I automatically earn $5. You can also make major bucks for referring friends. They issue out two “Big Fat Checks” each year. I have one coming to me for about $50. There are Ebates for almost any store imaginable.

4. Sell your stuff on Ebay.

I started selling things on Ebay when I was pregnant and really started picking it up after the boys were born. Ebay is by far my favorite way to sell and in my opinion, the easiest. I have sold on Facebook group sites but I don’t like meeting up with strangers face to face. I’ve had the most success selling baby/toddler/children’s clothing and women’s clothing. Those jeans that don’t fit from American Eagle or Express? Sell them. That top you bought at Target that you don’t love anymore? Sell it. Those clothes your kids only wore a few times? Sell it. I’ve made a few hundred dollars doing it and it serves two purposes – you clear out your house while making money!

5. Yard Sale.

I recommend selling anything that you couldn’t sell on Ebay at a yard sale. These items will be priced to sell, so when you have a yard sale you should have a lot of items and be willing to haggle. This works best in the spring or summer. For example, our neighbor was having one and advertised well, she encouraged us to have one too to drive more traffic to the neighborhood. We made about $150 and we literally threw it together. I think with more planning and pricing things well, we can make even more. This is an easy way to make money.

6. Cut those coupons. 

It sounds like common sense, but this one will make a big difference in your savings. The average family spends about $380 a month on groceries! Grab your weekly newspaper, look at coupon websites, and get to clipping. Consequently, I saved $65 grocery shopping last week! As I was looking through our budget interested in ways to slash the budget (because who doesn’t like to save); I decided to resurrect my coupon binder. I divide the coupons into categories and when I make my list each week, use the coupons that I can. Combine your coupons with what’s on sale and you will slash your grocery spending greatly. Some websites will even show you how to be an extreme couponer if you’re interested!

7. Stop going to your guilty pleasure stores. 

We all have them. Well, I know I do. The stores that you go to and can’t help but spend money in. “This is on sale…” or “It’s SUCH a good deal.” Anyone who knows me knows what this store is for me – TARGET. I can go to Target for toilet paper and walk out with everything short of the end caps. When I’m trying to save or am in a freeze, I’ll avoid going here unless I have to.  I avoid the temptation.

8. Side Hustle.

Pinterest the term “side hustle.” You will find loads and loads of ways to work a side hustle, a.k.a to make extra money on the side. My suggestion is this – if you are good at something, find a way to cash in on that. My husband is the kind of person that’s good at so many things (piano, photography, Photoshop, and a bunch of other things), work a side hustle. Sell on Etsy, write for money, do online surveys, drive for Uber. I would say my side hustle is probably selling on Ebay!

There are so many other ideas, but these are some of the things I’ve done and have worked for me. What works for you?! Would love to hear some of your tips and suggestions!

 

How to Trust God When It’s Hard

Have you ever been in a season of your life where your future seems so uncertain? You are trying to look a few steps ahead but can’t even see what’s in front of you? You feel anxiety creeping in, doubt screaming in your face, and fear threatening to consume you? Maybe you find yourself in a situation you simply don’t understand? How do we trust God when it seems hard?

I’ve been there! I’ve said the words, “God – I want to trust You. But it’s hard.” Yet, I recognize that true peace and freedom is ONLY found in complete and total surrender and trust to God. And it’s not hard.

The question is – how do we do it? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Commit to prayer.

Coming to a place of trusting in God starts with talking to God. Make this a part of your every day life by inviting God into every aspect of Your life. I used to run to my comfort zones when I was stressed out about things and made turning to God secondary, or sometimes the last resort. It was “easier” to distract myself with other things – mindless entertainment, hanging out with friends, shopping, etc. Yet, the end result of that was pain for me because it always left me desensitized and apathetic.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Commit to prayer when you feel like running or turning the television on. Have an honest and open conversation with God – He hears you, He cares.

2. Commit to His word.

Commit to reading the Bible every day. Replace checking your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and all of the like with opening the YouVersion Bible App. The more you do it, the more habitual it will become. Seek HIS truth. If you are in a place where you need answers or guidance, there is no more solid place than the Word of God to start with.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

God’s word will give You clear direction and guidance.

3. Commit to spending time with people who will build your faith.

I learned this the hard way. The worst thing you can do when you are struggling with trusting God is to surround yourself with people who are in a similar boat. NO.

Don’t fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you. – 1 Corinthians 14:33

Surround yourself with people who will speak life, encouragement, and faith over you. Spend time with people who will remind you of all that God has done in Your life. Go out for coffee for a friend who will pray WITH you and remind you of God’s wisdom and promises.

4. Commit to remembering what God’s done in Your life.

I recently heard in a message, “Sometimes you need to recount the victories.” It resonated in my heart because it’s something that God reminded me I need to do! Take a minute to remember all of the amazing things God has done in your life. You’re still breathing aren’t you? There are times where we look back and can so clearly see God’s hand of protection over us, perhaps we remember His clear guidance or direction on a topic. REMEMBER these things. The same God that’s taken care of you then, is the same God watching over you now.

Our Lord, I will remember the things you have done, your miracles of long ago. – Psalm 77:11

Sometimes I read through my prayer journal and am amazed at how many prayer’s God has answered. It’s encouraging!

5. Commit to worship.

I was listening to a worship song and the singer said, “Don’t let fear steal your song.” Those words landed on my heart with a thud. I was so worried and letting anxiety consume me, that I didi just that. I stopped worshipping God and started focusing on my problems. When we worship God, we take the focus off of ourselves and onto HIM. We take the focus off of our problems and worries and onto HIM. I don’t know what worship looks like to you, but to me it’s putting on some worship songs and sitting on the floor, listening, praying, singing…walking around. I look at these songs as more than just a song – declarations they are. Of my total trust in Him.

6. Commit to surrender.

This means that we let go our fears and worries and we literally give them over to God completely. We recognize that we have no control and God has all of the control. We recognize that at the end of it all, God opens the right doors and closes the wrong ones.

Surrender to God All-Powerful! You will find peace and prosperity. – Job 22:21

A surrendered life is a peaceful life.

7. Commit to trusting Him.

Wait, is this a trick  Nope. It’s not. How do we trust God when it’s hard? We trust Him. Even when it’s hard. We just DO. We know He holds our time in His hands, our life in His hands. We know that if he cares about the birds, how much more does He care about us? We know we can trust Him. So trust Him.

Thanks for stopping by and reading a topic that’s been so close to my heart lately because God has been working with ME in this area. Until next time!

 

 

 

“So Do You Want More Kids?” and other “Fun” Questions

When I was dating Jose for awhile, the line of questioning was as follows:

When are you getting engaged?

After we were engaged, the next question was:

When are you guys getting married?

Shortly after we were married the question was:

So when are you guys having kids?

*Insert struggle with infertility here which made for a really ‘fun’ time of questioning*

After we had the boys, TWINS might I add [this means two babies came out of my belly]:

So when are you guys having more kids? Don’t you want to try for the girl?

I have been guilty of this line of questioning myself. It’s rather obnoxious though, isn’t it? Just a tad? Yet, I wanted to share my thoughts especially on the last one.

I will admit, I always without a shadow of a doubt thought that I would have a girl. I thought this because I knew that for the life of me, I was as girly as all get out. I wanted life to be sprinkled in glitter and covered in pink. I sulked for awhile when I realized I couldn’t paint my entire house pink and all of my rooms pink, because marriage is about compromise isn’t it? Just trying to paint a picture for you. Literally. I also figured God knew I wouldn’t even know what to do with boys. However, a day before the ultrasound to determine gender, I had a dream and woke up knowing with all that was within me, I was having boys. And it was OKAY. Better than that, it was an amazing blessed. I was pregnant with twins, healthy, and the boys looked fantastic.

When they were born, they stole my heart and I never felt sad, bummed, or like I missed out on something. Yet, people didn’t wait long before the question:

“So are you guys going to try for the girl?”

My heart is full, content, and COMPLETE with my little boys. I am a boy mom and proud. My house is chaotic, full of superheroes, sports, and lots and lots of wrestling. I am open to God’s plan, but feel completely fantastic about where we are as a family at this point in time!

That’s all folks.

2016, I Won’t Miss You

While everyone is over here writing really emotional posts about 2016…I’m over here like:

2016. I won’t miss you. Yes, there were so many amazing highlights to this year:

  1. My family – my sweet boys, my amazing husband. This year more than any other year, I have never been so grateful for this squad that I get to call my own family!
  2. My niece and best friend moving to the East Coast.
  3. An awesome student teacher who literally made this school year a million times greater because she was so amazing.
  4. A church family I love, pastors who are the REAL DEAL. Love them so much.
  5. Husband making a career move to full-time agent which opened up so much more family time.
  6. Home renovations.
  7. Boys went to preschool and are slaying the game.
  8. I’ve really learned who “my people” are this year – this has been amazing.

There are a thousand blessings upon blessings that I can go on and on about!

But…if I’m being truthful. I won’t miss this year. This year was a HARD year. There was so much triumph, but a lot of pain as well. I ended this year being confident in who I am, being unshakable in what I believe, learning how to prioritize my life (God, family, ministry) and the lessons continue to unfold. I am so tremendously grateful for such an awesome husband and two gorgeous little boys who give me endless joy every day. For that, I feel like a winner at life. Nonetheless, 2016…

I won’t miss you, don’t want to repeat you.

On the other hand, 2017…

The Power of a Forever Friend

Every woman needs a forever friend. That 3 am friend you can call at any moment and they will have your back no matter what. They listen. They don’t judge you. They don’t gossip about you to others. When you hurt, they hurt. Their victory is your victory.  You want to see each other win at every single turn and celebrate each other when you do!

I once read this post about how childhood friendships are the BEST friendships you’ll ever have. I agree with so much of it. I have been blessed with SOLID friendship from two people in particular who have been there through the best and worst moments of my life. We have had ups down, we have loved each other, fought with each other, forgiven one another…and over fifteen years later, are still the ones I can go to no matter what. Life has proven this repeatedly and I realize how blessed I am to have this! Maybe you don’t have that kind of friend yet. Can I make a suggestion? BE that kind of friend for someone else. Here are the qualities of a forever friend:

  1. They’ve seen you at your absolute worse and absolute best. And still love you.

In literally my best and worst moments, my forever friends have been by my side. Engagement? Check. Wedding? Check. Parenting craziness? Check check. When

2. They aren’t intimidated by your success. When you win at life, they win and celebrate you.

Sometimes women don’t do well with celebrating other women. In a culture that at times, tries to pit us against one another, it’s a great thing to be surrounded by people who WILL celebrate your life wins with you. Promotions, meeting the love of your life, a new house, new car, exciting achievement. I wasn’t always so good at this! I struggled with comparison! I can honestly say, I’m not at that place and have grown, and I’m proud of that.

3. They’ll keep it real with you when no one else will.

My forever friends are the first one to call me on my crap. If I’m being a diva? They won’t tippy-toe around it. They’ll call me out quicker than you can blink an eye. They don’t do it to hurt me or tear me down, they do it because they love me. And so when it’s hard to hear what they might be saying in that particular moment, in the longterm, I’m grateful.

4. They hear you.

Good listeners are EVERYTHING. Nothing is worse than being around a person who doesn’t genuinely listen when you’re talking to them. Instead, they are thinking of what they can say next or cut in with what they want to say. A forever friend will hear you out, process what you’re saying, and then respond. Or sometimes say nothing. And that’s okay too.

5. They know how to laugh. At you and themselves.

They don’t take things too seriously! I love being able to laugh simply by making direct eye contact and thinking the EXACT same thing when you probably shouldn’t be. When everyone was taking tennis quite seriously, we were thrilled we found the perfect air guitars!

6. Major life moments – they’re there.

You’re not an inconvenience, burden. They do everything they can to support you at every turn. My girls have stood with me through dating, engagement, graduation, marriage, first home buying, preemie babies, and more. Even in the little life moments, it’s not a burden for them to be there because they want to be!

7. They make time for you. You make time for them.

Not a novel concept, but one of the biggest friendship killers out there. If someone or something is important to you, you make time for it or them. With one of my girls, we actually get our families together once a week and eat dinner, watch our favorite shows, catch up on life. We trade off on who will cook and where it will be. With both, if we can’t see each other we will call each other on the way to work, when we get off work, or text throughout the week.

8. They’re ridiculously loyal.

This means they have your back. You know that no matter what, they are your “ride or die.” The end!

I feel grateful that our friendship has withstood the test of time. Circumstances have shown me the solid, steady, strength I have in these amazing women. For that, I am insanely grateful.