Wednesday, July 23, 2014


*This is a guest post written by Hayley from A Beautiful Exchange.

A few months ago, my family and I moved back to our hometown and have spent this time getting back into the swing of things, meeting up with friends, and finding a new home church. We have finally found the place that God is calling us to be in community with fellow believers and serve Him and we are really enjoying it so far! One of my favorite things about this church is that they are so gospel centered, from their "welcome speech," to their music, to their messages. I am challenged each and every week and adore the raw, real, experience of worshipping alongside those people each week. Since we are the "newbies," we are still learning some of the songs that they play frequently, and I found myself standing in awe as I let the words of a song we sang this last week ("Raised to Life") truly sink in and become a sort of anthem for my life. The whole song focuses on how we are all new creations in Him, but the bridge speaks the loudest, to me:

Sin was strong
But Jesus is stronger
Our shame was great
But Jesus you're greater

I really just love how God will use lyrics to a song or something from His word to remind us of just how much he loves us and just how much He did for us. If you've read my story before, you know that I have made (and continue to make) so many bad decisions that it is basically unfathomable. I snap at my husband, get frustrated with my son, think things I shouldn't think, and a million other things each and every day. Those four lines just remind me time and time again that though my sin and temptation is strong, my Jesus is stronger. That though my shame was so, so great, my Jesus was, and always will be, greater.

Throughout all of my bad decisions and worry, He has always been constant--lavishing more grace on me with each new morning and giving love where it was so undeserved. These words remind me that no matter what I face and no matter how weak I may feel, that I serve a strong God. A God that has already overcome the world (John 16:33) and is always stronger and always greater.

I hope that this little reminder has been as much an encouragement to you as it was to me. I have written these words on the front of my journal and would encourage you to pray these words as a prayer of thanks to Him!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Things I'd Splurge On

You've heard me talk about how we are on a budget and are working very hard to save our pennies and pay for Ronnie's school debt free. I've analyzed our budget over and over and figured out where to trim it, but I also have a few things that I seriously do not mind spending money on here and there. Most of these things just show me that I am actually, quite lazy. Just kidding. I would call myself very busy with a limited amount of time, not lazy.

10 Things I'd Splurge On

1.Someone to clean out all one MILLION spam comments from my blog (Thanks, Annie)

2. A Deep cleaning of my house

3. Getting my car washed and vacuumed

4.Staying in a decent hotel room when we travel that doesn’t look like its rented by the hour

5. Diet Coke from the fountain

6. PicMonkey 4.99 monthly fee for unlimited to access to all the fonts and editing tools.

7. Extra data on my cell phone plan

8. Healthy food that inevitably costs three times as much as food from the box. I’m looking at you, Quinoa and Coconut milk.

9. My house to be cool at night when I go to sleep

10. Getting my eyebrows waxed.

What about you-what are you okay with shelling out a little of your hard earned money for? Expensive jeans that fit right and make you feel like a million bucks? A babysitter so you can go out on regular date nights? I'm linking up today with Erica for "Listed Tuesdays" so if you want to play along and write a list of well, anything ,then feel free to link up at the bottom of this post!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back Yard BBQ

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess

Every other week, two of my best friends and our husbands take turn hosting Dinner Club. Each one of us takes turns playing hostess, and who ever is hosting is responsible for everything-dinner, dessert, drinks, and cleanup. Twice a month, we gather around tables and talk about life, about work and church and things that make us laugh and things that sometimes just plain bum us out.

Its almost been a year of dinner clubs, and aside from the good conversation and the many laughs with friends, we've had amazing food. More often than not one or all of us girls show up in yoga pants, and takeout is never discouraged or judged. I can honestly be myself around these people, and whether my house has been freshly scrubbed or a broom hasn't come near it for weeks, they are going to love me regardless. We've had make your own pizza nights, loaded baked potato nights, breakfast for dinner, and everything in between. This is our first summer though, so I was so excited to be able to host a backyard BBQ complete with ribs, chicken legs, corn on the cob, and watermelon.

The first word I think of when I think of BBQ ribs and chicken is messy. I don't know about you, but I can't eat ribs without making a huge mess of myself. When I was shopping at Wal-Mart for dinner club I picked up a package of Wet-Nap hand wipes in the Napkin Aisle for easy and quick cleanup. Wet-Nap towelettes work so much better than our usual paper napkin, and they are softer and stronger than ever. We especially loved the way these moisturized with aloe, leaving our hands (and faces) soft and clean. We were reaching for these all night. 

My favorite part about Dinner Club isn't the amazing food or the constant refilling of the wine glasses. Its getting to do life with these people. Its setting aside the stresses and burdens of our lives to catch up and laugh together. Its knowing that in good seasons and tough seasons, these people are always going to be in my corner, cheering me on and praying for me. Its allows us room to reconnect even when life is crazy and take turns serving one another. Dinner club is more than just dinner. 

Seasons come and go, and as we embrace the out door seating and sticky finger dinners of summer, we know that as Summer turns into fall, we will still gather around tables, sharing our meals and opening our hearts up to one another. 

Are you hosting any dinner parties or bar-b-ques this summer? If so, we'd highly recommend picking up some Wet-Nap wipes for easy and fast cleanup. We got them at Wal-Mart because of their everyday low-prices and you can use this coupon for .55 cents off any of the Wet-Naps products.

Cheers to summer, good food and good friends!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Non Scale Victories

My entire adult and even teenage years, I think I’ve been concerned with my weight. Borderline obsessed with the number on the scale. At the beginning of this year, I saw one of the highest numbers I’ve ever seen when I stepped on the scale and though I haven’t lost a drastic amount of weight, I’ve lost about 6 pounds that have helped me feel better in my clothes and more confident. Its not much, but its something.

I still feel like I have a long way to go in my journey to being healthy and fit and last week, I was thinking about all the reasons I like to workout and eat healthy besides just seeing that number on the scale go down. These are some things that motivate me, that make me feel amazing, and keep me wanting to treat my body well. These are what I call non-scale victories-milestones and accomplishments that are so much more than a number.

-Running my fastest mile

-Fitting into a pair of pants that I haven’t been able to button for years

-The endorphin high after a workout

-Liking the way my arms look in a tank top

-Feeling confident in a swimsuit

-Having energy to do more than veg on my couch after work all night

-Beating a personal running record or even just beating my last week’s time or distance

-Having will power to say no to food beacause it will make me feel terrible, not because I’m worried about the calories

-Not wanting to delete the first 3 pictures on my camera roll because I hate the way I look and think I look fat

-Not beating myself up over a treat because you know I ate healthy the rest of the week

These are the things I am focusing on while I work to stay diligent about working out and eating healthy. I haven’t accomplished every one of those things on the list, but I am working hard at keeping those in mind instead of obsessing about the number on the scale. Tell me,what are some of your non-scale victories?

PS: This weekend only, you can take 40% off any ad space with the code COOKIE. Because, I love cookies and I love you all. I'd love to work with you!

S P O N S O R   S P O T L I G H T

Today I also have the pleasure of introducing you to one of the most positive and uplifting people on the internet! I first discovered Erin's blog, Life Fun Football because of her money-saving-debt-killing Sallie and Perkins series. If you need some serious inspiration about how to stick to a budget, save money,  and slash your student loans rapidly, you need to check this girls blog out. They paid off over $25,000 in debt in ONE YEAR. Hello, rockstars! I absolutely look forward to each S&P segment because it inspires me and gets me motivated to be wise with our fin aces.

Not only is Erin basically a financial genius, she is always so positive and uplifting. I almost never hear her complain about disliking a Monday or grumbling about being at work or complaining about well, anything. She is always finding a reason to be happy and thankful which the world needs more of, and you can find her celebrating the little things on the regular.  She and I have some similarities like our love for saving money, running, and not learning lessons we should know by now.This girls blog is a gem and its definitely one of my daily reads. Go stalk say hi to her on social media and follow her blog-you won't regret it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things

Its Thursday and a fun Thursday at that-its Total Social Day with Helene in Between and Venus Trapped in Mars. Today, lets talk about a few of my favorite things  that I am loving lately.

Carmel Toffee Crunch Ice Cream

Last night, I wanted to cry when I got about half a bowl of ice cream when I realized that I was hitting the bottom of the carton. I ran out of ice cream like a total rookie. Normally, I have a second carton of ice cream for emergencies like this but I missed the mark on this one and had a sad night of only a half a bowl (but probably still 2.5 servings) of ice cream.

My bed

I honestly have a love affair with my bed. Most days I have to fight the urge to crawl into it the second I get home at 5 PM and eat dinner in it, blog in it, watch TV in it and sleep in it. Some nights I do better than others at resisting it but other nights, I change into that comfy yellow oversized tee shirt and sweatpants before I can even set down my bags and kiss my husband hello and I head straight for my bed for the night. Its a real problem, so I try and do productive things instead like workout or do a load of laundry before I retreat, but I don't always succeed.

Fresh brewed fancy coffee

Recently Ronnie bought a special pour over coffee maker thing and an Aeropress Coffee Maker and the coffee he's been making me has been the I especially love the cups he makes and delivers to my bed (see above) and wakes me up nicely by setting it on my bedside table. Those cups always taste the best.

Anniversarymoon Plans

We officially booked our trip to Hawaii for our one year anniversary!! We were able to score a smoking deal and get a free flight because of our airline miles, and saved our tax return and got another great deal on a hotel + rental car through Costco. We're going in October and I can't believe how quick it is coming up. We're focusing now on saving spending money in a separate account so we can enjoy ourselves on the trip. I can't wait to wake up every day and drink coffee on the balcony over looking the ocean!

White Collar

Ronnie and I have been binge watching a new (to us) show now that every single one of our shows is on summer break. We are watching White Collar on Netflix and I LOVE IT. The basic premise of the show is a sneaky and very smart criminal makes a deal with the FBI to let him out of jail to be a consultant and help the FBI catch other criminals. The show is amazing and I am not sure how we will spend our time once we finish the last few episodes on Netflix.

Those are just a few things I am loving lately. What about you? What are some of your favorite things right now?

Helene in Between