Friday, September 30, 2011

Just a Little Update

It's been several weeks since I posted, so I thought I'd catch you all up on my life. I'm still a stay-at-home wife. I'm hesitant to call myself a homemaker just yet, because I really stink at making a home. I'm confident the Lord will do a great work in me, and I will, someday, be a good homemaker.

I do not have a job, and we're still OK with that. We're still praying that if God wants me working outside of our home, He'll drop a job in my lap. I'm sure you all have differing opinions on that matter, but we have a peace about our decision. God has provided faithfully over the last several months, and we trust Him. Our photography business has been steady, and we're praying that it will grow if God wants us to continue pursuing it.

I'm in school. I'm taking Design and Art History at Greenville Technical College. I like both of my classes. Design is much more challenging than I anticipated (probably because I had NO CLUE what that class involved when I registered for it), but God has been faithful. He has answered the many prayers that have been lifted up on my behalf, and I'm making it through the class. Art History scared me. Historically (hehe), my strength has not been in history, and I've only taken one art class in my life (it was in sixth grade, and I only remember one assignment that involved lots of black crayons). Surprisingly, I'm doing well in Art History. I give all of the glory to God, because I know He is the one making my brain work for that class.

The plan for next semester is to take three classes. I wanted to take four, but they are only offering three that I need. Fortunately, they are all back to back, so I'll still only be on campus two days a week. I'll actually be taking a photography class, which is why I'm a student at GTC. I'm excited! I met the photography professor, and I'm looking forward to being in his class.

I'm leading a small group for the women's Bible study at my church again. We're going through Breaking Free by Beth Moore. It's been a good study so far, and I'm looking forward to the weeks to come. I have a great group of ladies who are open to the Lord working in their lives, and they're open to sharing with the group. That's a great combination.

I'm loving our community group. Over the last several weeks, we've made an effort to take things a little deeper, and it's been a rewarding experience. I'm grateful that God has provided us with a group of people to do life with, which is the way He intended things.

There are babies galore being born, and four of them are in our lives (yay!). Joseph's sister, Gina, had little Ruthie in August. She's precious! We're really happy for Jay and Gina. Our friends Brent and Shannon had their daughter, Brigid, about a month ago. She's adorable! We took her newborn pictures, and it was a blast! My best friend, Crystal, is pregnant with little Isabella Grace. I can't wait for Matt and Crystal to have her in their arms! Dan and Rachel from our community group are expecting their son in December. Exciting times all around!

Nope. That wasn't a segue to tell you I'm pregnant.

I hope you're all doing well. If you just read this whole post, you may be sleepy now. I give you permission to go take a nap. :o)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Opening the Curtains and Battling Depression

I've shared with you that I'm unemployed. That has left me with a lot of free time on my hands. For some of you, that might sound thrilling. You could probably come up with a list of dozens, if not hundreds, of things you would like to do around your home. I have a list like that. I've accomplished some of it, but certainly not all of it.

Often, I find myself sleeping late, sometimes until the middle of the day, because it makes the day go by faster. I watch the minutes tick away, waiting for Joseph to come home so I'm not alone anymore.

Loneliness is hard for me. It's one of my biggest struggles being unemployed.

One of my other struggles is a lack of desire to do anything. I've wondered if it just boiled down to laziness, but I don't think it does. Oh, sure, some days I'm just being lazy. Others, I just don't want to do anything, even things I enjoy doing. I just want to stay in my pajamas, not put my contacts in, leave the curtains closed and the lamps off, and lie on the couch.

I recognize that as a symptom of depression, because I've been depressed before.

It seems different this time. It comes in spurts. Sometimes, it sneaks up on me in the middle of a happy moment. I'll have a few good days, and then I'll have the days where I want to keep the house dark and keep to myself.

I don't think I'm depressed because I'm unemployed. I think the unemployment triggered the depression. There's a difference.

I think if I were depressed because of the unemployment, I would have some sort of longing for my old job or for a new one.

Instead, I think the loneliness, a feeling of a lack of purpose, a feeling that I no longer contribute to our family, those things triggered my depression.

I don't want you to feel scared for me. I assure you I am not depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts or anything of the like. If anything, I would consider this a mild case of depression, because I can usually pull myself out of it (with the help of the Holy Spirit, of course, because without Him, the curtains stay closed).

I'm trying to recognize when I'm feeling depressed and counteract it. When I notice the living room is looking dark and gloomy, I make myself open the curtains. When I look at the clock and it's almost 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas (oops ... like now!), I make myself get up and put on real clothes. I make myself put my contacts in, brush my teeth, brush my hair ... you know, typical good hygiene.

One of the most important things I'm doing is striving to spend time with the Lord in the mornings. I notice a difference in my days when I do. I'm more apt to be joyful and to be productive around the house. When I connect with the Lord, I'm reminded that I have many reasons to be grateful and filled with joy. I'm reminded that He is with me always, even when the curtains are closed.

Also, when I connect with the Lord in the mornings, I'm more apt to connect with Him throughout the day. When I start my day talking to Him, I talk to Him throughout the day. When I bring others to Him in prayer in the morning, I find myself thinking of them throughout the day, and I continue lifting them up in prayer.

I also recognize the spiritual warfare connected with this depression. I've been seeking to trust the Lord and follow His leadership in this new phase of my life. I know the enemy doesn't like that. He is going to do everything he can to try to distract me and keep me from staying connected to the Lord. So I must suit up:

"10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand inthe evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." (Ephesians 6:10-20, courtesy of

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I'm unemployed. I've been unemployed since March 1, 2011. Being unemployed is strange for me. Strange because I don't know what to do next.

Joseph and I started a business with Premier Designs about a year ago. While it was profitable for us, and we think Premier Designs is a great company, we sensed the Lord directing us not to continue our business. Initially, I thought our business with Premier would replace the income I made at my last job. With that thought in mind, I wasn't concerned about losing my corporate job. Without it, I grew a little concerned.

Joseph and I have a photography business. We really enjoy photography, and we'd love to see our business grow. We just have to be realistic that sometimes it can take a while for a business such as photography (particularly in a pretty saturated area) to grow. The Lord has really used photography to help us make ends meet, and we're so grateful. It just isn't a full time job for me.

I was just about to blog about the fact that school hasn't worked out for me. I attempted to register for classes at Greenville Technical College in the spring, but all of the classes I needed were full. The same thing happened in the summer. As I started to type, I was prompted to check GTC's website to see what courses were available. The two classes I needed to begin my coursework with were both open, so I'm registered for them! Praise God!

I feel hopeful now. We've been praying for direction. Course availability was direction we needed.

That still doesn't answer the unemployment issue, but at least it will occupy a lot of my time and eventually help us in our photography business (I think I forgot to mention my goal is to take photography courses at GTC).

Our prayer as far as employment is pretty simple right now. If God wants me to pursue a job, we're asking Him to drop it in our laps. That may seem like we're being lazy and not doing the good old fashioned hard work of looking for a job. Please trust that it's not. We don't know what we want me to do. I don't want another corporate job like I had before where I was unhappy. I think I would enjoy a job in a church or other non-profit organization, but I don't know what exactly I would like to do. God knows me better than I know myself, and He knows our needs better than we know them. We're trusting that if He wants me to work, He'll prepare just the right job for me and make it obvious that's what we should pursue. I would love it if you would join us in that prayer.

I know this post was a little dry, but I thought it would be a good way to answer the "what next" questions I receive on a regular basis about what I'm doing now that I'm unemployed. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day

Friday, July 8, 2011 was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a. Anyone who went to Chick-fil-a dressed as a cow received a free meal. Fortunately for us, Chick-fil-a was generous with what they considered a cow costume. Ours consisted of dressing in black and taping white paper spots onto our shirts. I put my hair in pigtails, and Joseph made bull horns out of paper and one of my headbands. We totally rocked the cow-look. haha! Enjoy a few photos from our fun evening!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thrifting for Children's Books

I've had fun over the last several weeks thrifting for items to use for my birthday party and for photography props. Most recently, I've started thrifting for children's books. It has been so much fun for me!

I have a lot of children's books from my childhood, including 6 books from the Raggedy Ann and Andy Grow and Learn series that was published in 1988. My mom purchased one for me each time she went to the grocery store - so sweet. There are 18 books in the series, plus a parents' guide. I actually found the parents' guide at Miracle Hill today (25 cents!), and that gave me hope that I can find the other 12 books. I could purchase them online, but they're a minimum of $4 each, plus shipping. I'd prefer not to pay more than $1 each for them.

Because of my love for these particular Raggedy Ann and Andy books, I decided to start collecting any Raggedy Ann and Andy books I could find. I've already purchased several. Even the covers of them make me smile! They're tempting me to decorate our nursery some day (in the distant future) in a Raggedy Ann and Andy theme, but I think that may be too much red, white, and blue for me. Maybe I could incorporate them into a generic "vintage" theme. We'll see. I have time to decide, haha.

I've also started purchasing Berenstein Bears, Little Critter, Sweet Pickles (Do you remember those? They had a special carrying case!), Clifford the Big Red Dog (for Joseph!), Cabbage Patch Kids, and Ameleia Bedelia books. I would really love to have a great collection of "classic/vintage" books for our kids when the time comes.

My trick for purchasing books without duplicating any is a small notebook I keep in my purse. I have a page for each series (or character) of books. As I purchase a book, I make a note of it in my notebook. This came in handy today when I was scratching my head and thinking, "Hmmm, do I already have this one?"

Do you like collecting children's books? Do you have a favorite place to purchase them? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Thanks, Husby!

I'd like to thank Joseph publicly for all he's done around our house lately. Recently, he fixed two problems in our master bathroom that were a major nuisance to me (really to both of us, but, not-so-surprisingly, I was the most vocal about them). He fixed our toilet that ran constantly (to the point that we finally turned off the water so it didn't bug me at night), and he fixed our sink that didn't drain well (gross, people, gross).

I'm so grateful to have such a diligent husband who takes pride in our home. He seeks to serve our family any way he can, and he does it all without grumbling or complaining. On a daily basis, he points me to Christ through his servant leadership, and I thank the Lord for bringing us together.

Thanks, Husby! I love you!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thoughts on Divorce: Part 3

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." ~ Ephesians 4:29

As we go throughout life, talking and interacting with people, we have two choices: 1) We can tear them down, or 2) we can build them up.

I've used Ephesians 4:29 many times to discuss this topic of building up/tearing down with children. I told them when they said hurtful things to people, it was like tearing down a house with a bulldozer. On the flip side, when they said encouraging, grace-filled things to people, it was like they had a hammer and nails, and they were building a house. Which one sounds better for people: tearing them down with a bulldozer or building them up with a hammer and nails? I could often be heard saying, "Please put your bulldozer away and get out your hammer and nails."

Ephesians wasn't just written for children. It was written for all of us, and it's a great place to start when considering how to encourage divorced kids.

One Sunday when I was in high school, I was at church with my youth group preparing for Youth Sunday (one of the best Sundays invented in Baptist churches, haha). I was lying on the floor working on something. I'm not sure what prompted the question, but I looked up at one of the sweet youth volunteers and asked, "Since my mom hates my dad, and I look like my dad, do you think she's reminded of him when she looks and me, and it upsets her?" She answered wisely, "When she looks at you, I'm sure she's reminded of the good things about your dad, and she sees those things in you."

Please don't think my mom ever said she hated my dad. She never spoke negatively about him. That was her policy, and she stuck to it. I think somewhere in my mind, I determined my parents hated each other because they weren't married any more. I guess I thought the only alternative to married love was hate. I'm glad I was wrong!

The youth volunteer who encouraged me hit on something important. She mentioned that my mom saw the good qualities about my dad in me. This is where I'd like to exhort you to encourage divorced kids.

When talking to them, you have options. You could speak negatively about their parents, or you could find positive qualities about their parents that you can encourage them in. Example: "Sarah, I love the way you serve your younger brother. I think you get your compassionate spirit from your dad. He is kind hearted and always considers the needs of others."

Remember to keep your bulldozers parked when you're talking with divorced kids (or anyone for that matter!). If you say negative things about their parents, they tend to internalize them. They're a part of their parents, so they may think you see those negative things in them as well (even if you don't).

Pull out your hammer and nails. Build these kids up as much as you can. Encourage the areas where you see God at work in them, and look for opportunities to say kind things about their parents. Your kind words will go a long way.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughts on Divorce: Part 2

I mentioned in Part 1 that my parents divorced when I was a baby. For me, that divorce was just something that happened before I could even walk. I don't remember any of it. I just remember life after it. My earliest memories are after both of my parents remarried. Life as I have always known it consisted of two families.

When I was 15, my mom and stepdad separated, and they divorced when I was 16. That was the divorce that rocked my world.

I lived with my mom and stepdad, as well as two of my siblings (both several years younger than me). Aside from my raging hormones and temper, I thought our house was normal and stable. I was shocked when I learned that my parents were separating and then divorcing. If ever there has been a time in my life when I felt like everything was crashing down on me, that was it. Have you ever watched a scene in a movie where everything disintegrated? Life felt like that for a long time.

The purpose of this series isn't for me to tell you all the details of our home life. I just wanted to give you a smidgen of background.

Fast forward a few years. I was working at a summer camp, a place that God used to provide me with a great deal of comfort and solace over the years, a place where I grew closer to Him and learned about serving others.

During one of the weeks of camp, we had teenage girls in our cabin. One of them was a 15-year-old with a slight attitude. We didn't bond right away. In fact, I don't think we really bonded until her last night at camp.

We always had a worship service that concluded with the girls filling out commitment cards. They could commit to anything they wanted - anything from a commitment to following Christ to a commitment to clean their rooms. The choice was theirs. After the girls filled out their commitment cards, we as counselors spent a few minutes of one-on-one time with them discussing their commitments.

I don't remember what this girl's commitment was, but I remember her story. I remember it because her story was so incredibly similar to my story. With slow, quiet tears gliding down her cheeks, she told me about her mom and stepdad divorcing. She shared with me that all she remembered was life living with her mom and stepdad. She told me how close she was to her stepdad. She told me about slamming her bedroom door, curling into a ball on the floor, and crying her eyes out. She told me about feeling helpless, about screaming out and wanting to fix things. She felt her whole world was crumbling around her, and she didn't know how to deal with it.

With each word she spoke, I had flashbacks to my own life. I had never heard a story so similar to my own, and I knew God had placed this girl in my life for a reason. She needed to know someone understood her pain, a pain most of the people in her life couldn't relate to. I shared my story with her, and her eyes sparkled behind her tears. I hugged her, prayed with her, and encouraged her as much as I could in the time we had together.

Paul encouraged the Romans when he wrote to them. He told them all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). That verse came alive to me that night. I saw God working together everything for my good, for the good of the sweet girl in my cabin riddled with pain from divorce. Perhaps for the first time in my life, as I helped someone start processing her pain, I began to feel a peace about my own pain.

I only had a few minutes with the girl in my cabin. I wish there had been more time to try to encourage her, but I trust God gave us the time we needed.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've felt God nudging me. He has laid on my heart the hurting divorced kids out there. I'm praying about possible ministry opportunities He may have for me. God has blessed me through the hurting, and I want to be a blessing for others through their hurting.

Are there divorced kids in your life? Pray about how God would have you encourage them. As I continue this series, I'm going to try to share some ways I think you can help them, whether they're your own kids or someone else's.

Thoughts on Divorce: Part 1

I've never been divorced, and, by God's grace, I never will. I know a lot about divorce, however, just from a different perspective - the perspective of the child.

My parents divorced when I was a baby. That divorce laid the groundwork for life as I knew it from that point onward. I never knew life any different from having two families. In fact, the lives of my friends who only had one set of parents were always intriguing to me.

My mom and my stepdad divorced when I was 16. That was the divorce that rocked my world.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking a lot about how divorce affects the children of the divorced couple. I'm not a professional with any kind of degree in counseling or the like, but I'd like to share my insights.

Why do I want to share my insights? Do my readers really care what I have to say? Am I going to be one of those people who uses a public blog to vent and hurt others?

My intention is not in the least to hurt others, or even to vent. I pray that I will be very careful and guarded with my words. The purpose of this series will not be to say negative things about my parents. I love ALL of them VERY much! They all did the best they could with what they had.

I want to share my insights because I think believers are missing opportunities to minister to the children of divorce. Part 2 of my series (which I may post in a few minutes) will be a story of an experience I had with another divorced kid, a moment where God spoke to me and confirmed that I could use my experiences to be a blessing and encouragement to others. If I can help even just one person be a blessing and encouragement to just one hurting divorced kid, it will have been worth writing these blog posts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Fine China

When Joseph and I were registering for wedding gifts, we decided not to register for fine china. The main reason is because it can be very expensive. If someone wanted to spend $100 on us, we would prefer that person be able to purchase an entire set of dishes from Target, not just one dinner plate from the fine china section of a department store.

For our wedding reception, we purchased china tea cups, saucers, and dessert plates from thrift stores. As we were shopping, we found a china pattern that we liked, and we decided to start purchasing pieces of that pattern as we found them. We committed not to spend more than $1.00 (vs. $100!) per piece, excluding serving pieces (do I hear $2.00?).

Since then, we've done just that. We've purchased pieces of our pattern as we've come across them in various thrift stores.

The thing is, I've had a hard time remembering the name of our pattern. I just had a good idea of what it looked like (white, silver trim, white "lacy" overlay around the edges). It was simple and classy. After purchasing the wrong pattern once, I had the idea to jot the name of the pattern down in a notebook I keep in my purse. Only, I never did that.

Fast forward to today. I was out doing a little thrifting, and I came across a dinner plate in "our pattern". It was $1.00, so I snagged it up. I also committed to jotting down the name of the pattern in my notebook when I got home, as well as tallying up the pieces I had so I wouldn't over-buy in the future.

When I arrived home, I pulled out my notebook and our china plates. If you'll recall, I knew I had purchased some that weren't the same pattern, so I was expecting two patterns. It turns out we had SIX different patterns! SIX! haha! Oh, well! They're all so similar that I'm not too worried about it.

I now have them cataloged in the notebook I keep in my purse. It starts out "assortment of the following" and then lists the SIX patterns! haha! I'm still giggling a little, because I guess my memory and eye for the pattern aren't as good as I thought they were!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dream Home

I told Joseph yesterday that I have an idea of what I would like our next house to be. I'd like an old farm house with a good bit of land (not a working farm or anything crazy like that) and a barn that we could convert into a studio for our photography. If we landscaped well, we would have a great location for outdoor photos. We would have our own barn, so we wouldn't have to drive down road after road looking at barn after barn wishing we had access to use them for photos. Inside the barn, in addition to the studio, we could create a playroom so our kids could be right there during photo shoots. I think it could work. Now to save up the money and find the perfect house ... :O)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Little Less Ugly in the World

We had one of those moments today where we both said, "Why didn't we do this a long time ago?" and "We should have done this the first week we had the house."

We had three ugly trees in front of our house, as in flower bed style. All three of them looked like Christmas trees. One was as tall of the house, and the other two were probably 3-4 feet tall and flanked our front steps. We've disliked the trees from the first time we saw the house.

We borrowed a trailer from Joseph's parents today so we could clear some limbs/branches/piles of ugliness from our backyard. Doing that was a big improvement to our yard. After we loaded the trailer with limbs, Joseph mowed the grass - another big improvement to our yard! He was preparing to return the trailer to his parents, and I suggested that we saw down the ugly trees and throw them on the pile in the trailer. Joseph agreed that it was a fantastic idea!

This is a shot of the tall tree.

Joseph sawing the tree

Joseph sawing the lower branches

These are the two smaller trees (I like to leave the front door open so people feel welcomed ... and, you know, I was raised in a barn.)

This is the side of the house minus the tall tree. I think I actually like the drain pipe better than the tree. It's OK if you disagree.

This is the front of the house without the smaller trees. I will admit it looks a little naked now, but we can put something prettier where the Christmas trees were.

The trailer all ready to head back to Piedmont. Buh-bye, ugliness!

Can you believe it only took us about 15 minutes to saw down the Christmas trees? I think that's when we really wondered why we didn't tackle the trees sooner. We both assumed it would take longer. We do still have to dig up the roots, but I think our house already looks better! A little black paint on the shutters, a new front door, and some pretty flowers in the flower beds, and we might actually have a little curb appeal.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Linen Closet

I decided to work on the linen closet first, because it would help me with the laundry closet and the guest room.

I started by pulling out all of the towels and putting them on our bed. I thought if I put them on the bed, I'd be motivated to finish.

I told you it was a lot of towels! We have a king size bed, and it was covered!

Another angle - I counted, and we have almost 50 bath towels (not counting hand towels, washcloths, or beach towels). That's just a few too many for two people.

I decided to box up the bright and pretty ones, because those are my favorites, and I think those will make me the happiest when we un-box them. I kept out the brown ones that we chose to go with our hall bathroom and all of our old towels that we had before we got married.

The closet looks a lot better. We have a manageable number of towels in there now. I also pulled out a few sets of sheets to donate to Goodwill. We have enough for when guests come, and we don't need more than that! There is also room again for extra blankets on the top shelf. I managed to clean out three stacks of towels and some blankets that were in the guest room.

I added a shoe organizer to the back of the door. It's loaded with an assortment of things that were previously in the laundry closet. By using the space behind the linen closet door, I'll have room for more stuff in the laundry closet.

3 Projects

I have three projects on my to do list that I would like to finish over the course of the next couple of weeks. 1) I'd like to clean out our laundry closet so that only laundry supplies are left, along with empty shelves that I can use to store stockpile groceries and toiletries as I find good deals on them. 2) Our linen closet is a little out of control, partly because we have so many towels (there are 3 stacks of towels in the guest room). I'd like to put some of the towels in storage and straighten up everything on the shelves. 3) I'd like to make the guest room a place where guests feel comfortable and welcome. At one point, we had the guest room cleaned out enough that someone could sleep in it. Then we started using it as a dumping ground for anything that didn't have a permanent home. The following pictures show you the chaos. :O)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sought Out

In my whiny post, I mentioned that I just wanted to feel sought out. There are two people in my life who constantly make me feel sought out.

Joseph is the first person. He sought me out for our first date, and he's been seeking me out ever since. He seeks me out to make me feel loved. He seeks me out when I'm hurting. He seeks out ways he can serve me. He seeks to extend grace and forgiveness to me when I've wronged him. He seeks to show me God's love day in and day out. My relationship with Joseph has strengthened my relationship with the Lord, because, through Joseph, I have a better understanding of Jesus.

That brings me to the second person: Jesus. Over the last couple of years, I've learned more and more about His grace. I could have never done anything to earn God's favor, but Jesus sought me out and extended it to me. He sought me out to save me, and He continues seeking me out as He leads me by the Spirit. He seeks me out to make me feel loved. He seeks me out when I'm hurting. He seeks to extend grace and forgiveness to me when I've wronged him.

With Jesus and Joseph both in my life, I really don't have any reason to be whiny - just grateful and humbled.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Organizing My Coupons

I aspire to be a great couponer. For some, that isn't a big deal. For others, you know being a great couponer could mean the ability to save our family a lot of money over the years. Having a good organizational system for coupons is a key element in my goal to be a great couponer.

For a while, I kept my coupons in a 3-ring binder. Rather than clipping all of the coupons from the inserts each week, I just punched holes in the inserts and put them in a binder. When planning my trips to the grocery stores and pharmacies each week, I use She matches coupons up with the sales each week. When she matches up the coupons, she mentions the insert containing the coupon. That's the only way the 3-ring binder system worked for me so long. I liked it because it saved me a lot of time by not clipping coupons I didn't end up using.

I decided a few days ago that it was time to change systems. It took a few days, but I'm all set and ready to go now. I bought a plastic container and alphabet dividers. I put an envelope behind each divider (I cut the flaps off). Then I filed the coupons by brand. Pretty simple.

The other thing I did was file my coupons electronically using an Excel spreadsheet. Now when I'm making my shopping lists using Southern Savers, I can search my spreadsheet to see if I have the coupons before I start digging through my box. It my seem like a lot, but I'm hoping it will save me a lot of time as I'm making my lists each week. Yes, it's more time on the front end, but I decided I'm more interested in saving time on the shopping list end.

Mini Meltdown

I had a mini meltdown today. I think it was one of those days where a lot of things had been building up, and one little, insignificant thing tipped me over the edge.

My meltdown happened as I was driving down Woodruff Rd. Joseph knew I was sad, so he said we could go to Michael's to look for baskets for our kitchen. When we left Michael's, he reminded me that I could always talk to him when something was bothering me. I started telling him about the little, insignificant thing that tipped me over the edge. Then it hit me why it bothered me so much, and I started crying.

I cried and told him I just wanted my family to want to come visit us, even if they couldn't. I at least wanted them to want to. We've had our house for over a year, and I'm pretty sure my cousin Johnnie Ann and her family are the only ones from my side of the family who have come to see us.

Please don't read into this that I'm upset with my family. If you're my family, I'm not upset with you. I know life is busy. We're all busy. I know gas is expensive (I had a dream last night that it's going to be $20 a gallon, so prepare yourselves). We're just always the ones who do the travelling. It would be nice to be sought out.

I guess I should have warned you that this post would be a little whiney. I've been a little whiney for a couple of days. I should probably spend some time outside in the sunshine when it returns.

Joseph and I decided that the only thing we could do about the situation of people not coming to visit us is make sure our home is ready for visitors. We're going to tackle the guest room over the next couple of weeks to make sure it would be comfortable for anyone who chooses to head this way.

I could also actually try inviting people to come, rather than assuming they know our home is always open to them. I think I've just been rejected enough over the years that it's hard for me sometimes.

OK, enough. I'm sorry. I know I don't typically write "downer" posts. I guess I just wanted to be honest and show the world I'm not a shiney, happy person 24/7. I do get a little whiney from time to time. :O)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Things I Love: Wet Wipes from Quaker Steak & Lube

Quaker Steak & Lube has amazing wings (my new favorite flavor is Louisiana Lickers), and they provide wet wipes to their wing eaters. I love them! Why do I love them? Because they smell like Froot Loops!

Flip It-Fold It

Joseph gave me a very practical gift for Valentine's Day this year, a Flip It-Fold It. Because it was something I've wanted for years, I was totally OK with receiving a practical gift. The fact that Joseph remembered I wanted it was romantic. :O)

Valentine's Day was well over a month ago, and I just used this wonderful gift for the first time today. It wasn't at all because I didn't want to use it. It was because I knew I wanted to refold everything using it rather than just starting with the laundry.

Today worked out to be a great day to get started with Joseph's two t-shirt drawers. I'm going to share the excitement with you using step by step photos! Aren't you so excited?

I hadn't even taken it out of the box yet! I love opening things for the first time!

This is what it looks like, all ready for something to fold!

Start by placing the shirt with the front down (the back of the shirt will be facing you). If the shirt is longer than the folder, fold the bottom of the shirt so that it's flush with the bottom edge of the folder.

Flip the left side.

Then flip the right side. (If you have any excess sleeve hanging over the edge, flip the left side again.)

Then flip up the middle.

You end up with perfectly folded garments that are all the same size and stack neatly.

Isn't that beautiful?

Look how neat they look in the drawer!
Love it! There was enough room left behind the t-shirts that Joseph's shorts will fit there as well. Yay!

Joseph, thank you for showing your love to me through a practical gift that made doing laundry a lot more fun! I love you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Leftovers Transformation: Yummy Burritos

I made a not-so-incredible dinner two nights ago. It consisted of chicken quarters I cooked in the crock pot with a lemon pepper marinade. The chicken had a good flavor and wasn't dry. That's all I needed in the chicken. I decided to try to make black beans and rice as the side. It didn't turn out quite as well as I had hoped. In fact, it was pretty mushy and bland. Joseph said he liked it, but I wasn't a fan.

As we were putting dinner away that night, I had an idea to transform the leftovers into burritos, and I'm so glad we did! The leftovers made delicious burritos!

We used carb smart tortillas, the mushy black beans and rice, the leftover chicken (pulled off the bones), salsa, shredded cheese (a blend of the remnants of a couple of different bags in the refrigerator!), and Bird's Eye's Southwest corn (yum!). It was a really easy meal, and it tasted really good! It was filling as well.

How do you like to transform your leftovers?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quick Update Regarding School and Work

Since my last post, Joseph and I decided I should go ahead and pursue school this semester. I'm going to have to be a little creative with my course selections (a combination of online courses and classroom courses), but I'm hopeful that the Lord is going to work out all of the details. I have the privilege of attending a 4 hour orientation this Thursday. I'm hoping I'll be pumped about it by then, haha. Please be in prayer that God will open up a spot for me in two different classes I'd like to take. I ask that trusting completely that He has something else in mind for me this semester if those spots do not become available to me.

The last I heard, January 31st will more than likely be my last day at work. I'm not making a countdown calendar this time (to be fair, I only made a Post-it Note last time). While we're grateful for the extra month of income, Joseph and I are both really looking forward to the next chapter in our sweet romance.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and encouragement. I really appreciate you!