Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Super Wesley!

It's been a little while since I shared a post about Wesley. It's about time! The kid is always on the move, plays HARD all day long, is stubborn, hard-headed, and just like his mama and dad. He's smart, funny, and laughs all.the.time. He is not always a joy to parent, but he lights up my world in incredible ways.

For a while I thought I wanted his big boy room to be Superman Wesley themed. I think we're going to go with dinosaurs (more on that another day!) but I still love the idea of a big super W for my maniac kid. I had a blue shirt that I got on sale to make for the 4th of July. I put a cute patriotic tie on it that I could easily remove with a seam ripper after the 4th of July. I don't see any need for Wesley to have a special shirt that he can wear 2-3 times a year. So I took the tie off and figured out what to do with it.

My genius sister suggested a Super Wes! Perfection! I purchased 1/4 of a yard of yellow and red fabric, red thread, and got to work.

First I found the Superman logo online. I found the most simple one I could. I opened it in photoshop, although I bet you could use any photo-editing program. Once open, I removed the S by paint bucketing whole middle section yellow. Then I laid a big W over it in a font that looked close. This is what I ended up with:
It's not perfect, but it's exactly what I needed. I printed this baby and got to tracing! First, I cut out the red fabric. Because I planned to use heat n bond, I put that under the red and cut it with my rotary cutter. It wasn't easy to get in all those little areas, but I got it! The yellow fabric was much easier because I just cut one big piece - the diamond shape. I also lined it with the heat n bond.

Once these two pieces were done, I ironed the red to the yellow. I prayed that it would fit together and it did! Then I ironed on the yellow to the t-shirt. I centered it on the front and ironed until it was all fused together.

I could have stopped here, but I knew I wanted the crest to be super secure. So I set the stitch to a thick and wide zigzag and got to going around each.and.every.edge.

It actually didn't take as long as I thought and I think sewing the edges makes it look really nice!
I don't know why I didn't cut out the bottom like in the computer image. I guess that's a tracing error. Oops! It still looks really awesome. Perhaps someday I'll velcro a cap to the shoulders. Until then, I'm super proud of how it came out. Of course I couldn't get a picture of the boy actually wearing it. He puts it on and like a flash - he's gone!
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Hometour: Office/Guest room

I promised you when I shared photos of our living room that I would soon be sharing more photos of our home. Next on the list is a room that is the easiest to keep clean - the office/guest room! This room is in the very back of our house, down a long hallway. The door is normally kept closed. It took us a month or so to get it unpacked - it was the last space in our home to have boxes - but it's done now and we love it.

It's not fancy at all, but it's functional. With Jarrod starting school in the fall, we knew we'd need a quiet place for him to study without being distracted.

We originally thought this room would be Wesley's. The two spare bedrooms are about the same size. One is connected to the bathroom and one is across the hall. We assumed it would make the most sense to have the guest room connected to the bathroom. But once we started figuring out furniture, it made sense to flip them. We're very thankful we did! It makes having guests a little inconvenient because they need to cross the hallway to go to the bathroom, but it makes nightly bath time very easy.
This room is a good size, with plenty of room for our pull-out couch, two thin windows, and a nice walk-in closet. We've had a few guests stay here and haven't heard any complaints.

We also hope that someday this will be a good entertainment space - maybe a game or movie room? Who knows. But for now, it houses some of our favorite shows, books, and movies...

And although Jarrod is now a pastor and doesn't do music professionally anymore, he still has a place for his instruments.
It's a fantastic room because Wesley isn't in there at all. There aren't any toys in there and we don't have to worry about him getting into anything. Of course there aren't any window treatments on the windows, pillows on the couch (the ones that are there came with the couch in the living room and are UGLY) or decorations. I'm working on curtains for the rest of the house and getting things put together there. Once the rest of the house is done, perhaps I'll take on this one. For now, it's completely functional and is going to get a ton of use in the fall. I can picture Jarrod sitting at the desk and me lounging on the couch reading a book or working on my laptop. In peace and quiet with our boy sound asleep across the hall.

Do you have a room in your house that isn't decorated and that's completely fine?
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Logo Design {Elizabeth Givens Web Design}

When the Walkin' Sista-tas decided we needed t-shirts, I knew we'd need a fantastic logo. I also knew we'd need someone who would support us and understand the unique nature of designing a logo with tatas in the name...

Elizabeth Givens Web Design was absolutely incredible to work with. I contacted Elizabeth with a few ideas and asked if she'd be willing. Elizabeth jumped on it and had something to me within 24 hours. Here's the info I gave her:
I think having cartoon girls walking, maybe in converse sneakers would be cool... I like the colors gray, pink (hot pink or pale pick) and white would be good. We want to have the logo on pink, white, gray, or black shirts - we haven't decided yet. Basically, the sky is the limit!
Not at all specific or helpful, I'm sure. And here's what she came up with:
I know, right? The crazy part is that we only made a few minor tweaks from her original idea because she intuitively knew exactly what we needed. The changes were putting us in capris and not shorts, minor hair changes, a change in eye color, and... yeah, that's all.  I'm the cute curly haired girl on the right, Courtney's in the middle with red hair, and Susan is on the left with the blond hair. The shoes on our feet are just like the logo from our previous team. Which is amazing!!! Elizabeth rocked it!

She also made a one-color version for the t-shirts you saw yesterday. Doing a full color shirt for a fundraiser didn't make much sense, even though they'd be so cute. What we will be doing with the logo is making a flag for the 3-day!

If you need a logo, web design, custom photography, or other publicity materials, I highly recommend Elizabeth at Givens Web Design!
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Support the Walkin' Sista-tas t-shirts!

As you know, I am walking in my 7th Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure in November. I have raised more than $2,300 for each walk and this year is no different! In order to raise our funds, the Walkin' Sista-tas (my team!) is selling support t-shirts. In order to allow as many people as possible to be part of this exciting movement, we're inviting small businesses to purchase logo space on the back of our t-shirts. Not only will we be wearing these t-shirts in the walk, but we are also selling the t-shirts. Nothing is better publicity for your small business like showing that you support an incredible cause.

Elizabeth Givens Web Designs did the logo and we are THRILLED!!! The design process will get it's own post later today because it was that incredible.
As you can see, there are spots on the back of the shirt just for you! Want one? It takes a $100 donation for the large spot or a $50 donation for a small spot. Make a donation here or click the buy now button below. Once we receive your money we will contact you about how to get your logo. Once the spots are gone, they are gone, so be sure to get one soon!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Debt-freedom: Now What?

We've been debt free for nearly a week now and already I'm overwhelmed with feelings.I thought I'd feel completely at peace and free. I do, mostly. But now I feel even more dedicated to living below our means so that we can really accomplish our goals. Because our debt was so high, buying things didn't seem like as big of a deal. Now that we have our eye on the prizes, I am even more dedicated to simple living.

Now that we are debt free, we are spending the next two months paying for Jarrod's school. Seminary tuition is due on September 20th, so we have to use every extra penny between now and then to hit that goal. There's no other option.

After September 20th, every penny will go to our 3 month emergency fund. We're opting to make our emergency fund a little smaller than it could be because our next goal is also a huge savings goal.

Once we hit our emergency fund goal (which will hopefully happen before the end of the year!) we'll begin saving for our adoption. I wrote about this yesterday and I am passionate about putting every free penny towards finding and bringing home our baby. No book, pair of shoes, or new dress will stand in my way.

I haven't decided if it would be best for us to begin saving for retirement after the emergency fund or after the adoption. I'm not exactly sure what Dave Ramsey would say about this. Hopefully I'll have the opportunity to ask him! Either way, I pray that we will have enough money to fund our adoption around the end of 2014. At this point, we can begin saving for retirement, college, and a down payment for a house.

For many people, a house would be a higher priority than adoption. Because of Jarrod's job and school, we will not be buying a house for a few years, at least. In the United Methodist Church pastors are itinerant. This means that at the call of our Bishop and others, Jarrod can be moved anytime. We won't buy a house unless we think we will be in one place for at least a few years. There is no guarantee, but at this point, we know we won't be here for more than 3 years or so. The house can wait. Perhaps someday we'll know we'll settle somewhere and be able to pay cash...

I'm not even thinking about a house right now. I'm completely focused on bringing our baby home. I don't know where she is, but I know she's out there, or will be soon, and we'll do whatever we can to bring her home.

I know that now that we're debt free, we should celebrate. We should go on vacation, spend money, and live a little. That sounds like fun, but we can do that once we have the money saved for our adoption. Because we've been so tight for so long, another year or 18 months doesn't feel bad at all. Especially since the reward is what we've wanted.

I'm thrilled to be debt-free because it means that we can begin to do what we want with our money. For my entire adult life, I've spent my money on things I HAVE to. I am not finally able to spend money on what I WANT to because with the exception of normal bills, every other penny is completely ours!
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Our Adoption: The beginning

Since I was a little girl, I've felt the call to adopt. I cannot describe it, but something inside of me has always known that I would adopt. I knew that there were lots of children who needed loving homes and even as a child, I knew I could provide that. Long-time friends will remind me that there was a time when I was sure I didn't even want to be pregnant. My desire to adopt was stronger than my desire to birth a child. (I'm CRAZY thankful that I had Wesley!)

When Jarrod and I were dating, he got on board with my desire to adopt. He wasn't really sure and we wrestled with it, but he's slowly gotten on board completely. I wasn't sure where our baby would come from, but I was confident he or she was out there somewhere. Just like it took Jarrod a little while to get on board with my desire to have a natural birth, he is now completely sold on adoption. And just like last time, it took a video this time too.

This past weekend we watched Stuck, a documentary about international adoption. I sobbed through the whole thing. I couldn't get the images out of my mind. It literally rocked my world. The more I've prayed about and researched adoption, the more I've felt called to international adoption I'd love to have a rainbow family with children with lots of different skin tones. I'd love to provide a loving family to children who might not otherwise have one. I know international adoption is hard, especially now that I've seen Stuck, but I'm up for the challenge.

At this point, we have completely decided on international adoption. We'd like a little girl (for 8 generations that we know of, the Johnston men only make boys...) and we'd like to preserve birth order. Ideally, we'd love to bring her home in the next 18-24 months. We are open to a waiting child with correctable or minor special or medical needs. That's the extent of the decisions we've made. We will begin saving for the adoption by December. We hope to start our application process prior to that and do the home study sometime around the first of the year.

We have not decided on a country. We have not chosen an agency. We'd like to do one or the other in the next few months. We're interviewing agencies right now and are hoping to narrow it down and choose a country sooner than later. We obviously have no idea what we're doing. Even the decisions we've made are loose as we learn more. We are completely open to the leading of the Holy Spirit as we continue through this process. We are praying that God brings the child that needs us to us sooner than later.

We'd LOVE advice! I'm researching everything. I'm reading blogs, learning about accreditations, and researching countries. If you have information I should know, please share! If you know what country or agency we should use, let me know! We are thrilled to begin this journey!
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Monday, July 22, 2013

Hometour: Living Room

I'm embarrassed that we've lived in our home for almost 3 months and I haven't shared any information about our new house. As I'm sure you can understand, with a toddler underfoot, it's nearly impossible to find time to take pictures when the house is clean and the sun is up. Last night I finally decided it was time. The pictures aren't perfect, but if you wait for something to be perfect, you'll wait forever!

Here's the view from the front door. There is a short entrance, with a closet on the left side. The entryway opens directly into the living room.
On the left side when you enter the front door you will find hooks for purses, backpacks, and keys. On the otherwise we have a picture collage of photos from our trip to France.

This is a view of the front door. I recently took the panels we had covering the glass sliding doors and made a curtain for the front window. It is double-sided, so it looks good from both sides. It covers a lot of the light, but it also keeps the dog quiet when people walk by our home.
One you are inside, you'll see that this house has gorgeous built-ins (made a little less gorgeous with our collection of toys and balls on the bottom 3 shelves!), a huge fireplace, and lots of windows!
The door on the far left is a huge walk-in closet for storage. The door to the left of that is the central air system. The master bedroom is directly across from the utility closet and the other bedrooms are down the hall.
The sliders are old, probably original to the home, but they allow a TON of light! Like I said, we did have curtains up, but I recently took them down. I'm working on choosing fabric for new curtains. I haven't decided what I'm looking for yet! There's also a great bar/pass-through to the kitchen.

Turning around, your view from the sliding doors is the newest piece of furniture.
This sidebar is fantastic. It has 2 large drawers, is in perfect condition, and will provide us a ton of extra storage. We purchased it from a vendor on craigslist who had recently refinished it. It's in perfect condition but is distressed black with ornate handles. We're not sure what we're going to do wit it yet, but we are looking at replacing the hardware to something a little more modern. I'd love to paint it a funky color like kelly green or bright yellow.

This whole area is tile. The entire house, minus the bedrooms, are completely tile. It's awesome! We quickly purchased a large rug to anchor the living room and make for a better play space for Wesley.

That's the main living area in the house. I don't know that our kitchen will ever be photo-ready, so I might just need to bite the bullet and share it with you as it looks on a normal day. The next room I'll share is our office because pictures there were easy!

What does your house look like on an average day? Is it photo-ready or chaos like mine?
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Friday, July 19, 2013

Coffee Date Friday - July 19th

I'm vlogging again! I'm always happy when I find some time to speak to you all personally. Here's what's going on this week!

If we were having coffee today, what would you want to share?
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Thursday, July 18, 2013


I cannot wait until we can scream those words straight into Dave Ramsey's microphone, but for today, the airwaves of this little blog will have to do. That's right - on Sunday night (after our paychecks hit out account!) I paid off our final debt. It was Jarrod's student loans from seminary and I'm so thankful that they are finally gone!

If you are new around here, please check out some of our financial journey. It started before this blog, but you can read about how we began attacking debt from the beginning of our marriage and how we can have $3.5 million in our retirement accounts if we start now. That post was really a huge motivator for us to keep going. It's been a VERY long journey! Jarrod and I have been collectively paying off our debt since we got married in July of 2009. Prior to that I spent 2 years feverishly paying off a car, three maxed-out credit cards, and student loans that I thought might last forever. (Private university all on loans in order to be a youth minister wasn't the greatest idea...) Jarrod began paying off his truck and credit cards quickly as soon as we got engaged. In July of 2009 we had $115,586.16 in exclusively student loan debt - no other debt and no assets at all...except 4 expensive degrees!

This post takes you back to the beginning of my financial journey and the scary anxiety that made me begin this journey almost 7 years ago. Sticking to a budget meant that I could sleep at night. It removed the financial stress in my life. When Jarrod and I began dating I knew that being on the same page with regard to money was essential if we were even going to be serious. Thankfully he jumped right in and working together financially has eliminated so much tension in our relationship. While we didn't quite meet our goal - it took a few months longer than we intended - we're most certainly on the same page and have continued to work together. Throughout this long journey, we worked together to cut the budget as much as possible if we ever got lax.

On one hand, it feels like it's been forever since I began this journey. I started this as a single, innocent, hard-working young woman. I'm now a 30-something mama living my dream - great job that I love, fantastic husband that I love, and the most precious boy on the planet. I am so excited that we're finally here. On the other hand, I cannot believe we're here already. I don't know that it's sunk in yet.

Over the next few weeks I'll share with you more about what we plan to do now that we are debt free. We aren't loosening the reigns quite yet - our eye is on a few other prizes before we can change our lifestyle even a little bit. Our goals include adoption for sure. I'm really digging in, researching, and praying about the direction God is leading us.

Other helpful posts about our journey to financial freedom:
Are you debt free? Are you stressed out about money, wondering how to make the change? Here's hope - you can do it!! 
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 5th Photoshoot

On the morning of July 5th we woke up, got dressed, and went outside for some family photos! We haven't taken any family photos in a while and I wanted to get some documentation of Wesley turning 18 months (which happened a week later). I got our tripod, remote, and did some lighting tests before Jarrod brought Wesley out and we began shooting as quickly as possible.
The first set of photos we did were of us standing in front of a tree in our backyard.
Jarrod held the remote and hit the 2 second button to give him a minute to put his hand down.

At this point, Wesley was about done. We switched things up again and took a few of Jarrod and Wesley together.

Our next few photos were of the 3 of us sitting down on the rocks in front of a tree.

Wesley was about done after this so we let him just run around in the backyard. 

One photo I really wanted to get was of us "swinging" Wesley. Don't worry, we were very careful and held his arms carefully so they don't pop out of socket. This is a huge fear! 

A few wardrobe notes:

  • My dress (it's like this one) and shoes are from Target. 
  • Wesley is wearing a plain black t-shirt that I dressed up with a tie using extra fabric from this pillowcase project.
  • Jarrod is wearing a shirt from Express for Men, his fave. 
A few photography notes:
  • We tried to start as early as we could, but it got very sunny. That's one huge thing I'd change but it's always sunny around here and we opted for a time that was convenient even though we knew the lighting wouldn't be ideal.
  • I wish I could have taken the photos myself rather than use the tripod because some of the focus is off, but I got to be in the photos with my family. Yay!
  • I'll sing Monica's praises again - Better Mom Shots is awesome! 
  • Jarrod got a little confused on the light meter and the photos of Wesley and I are completely blown out. It's okay - I'll make him take photos of us again soon! 
How do you get good photos? Do you have pictures of your whole family or are you always the one behind the camera?
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Monday, July 15, 2013

Whole Living Challenge Recap

Jarrod and I are done with the Whole Living Challenge! I initially said we would go for 4 weeks, taking the optional 4th week, but we've decided not to do that. We are adding things back in VERY slowly, though! So I guess we're still sort of on track... Here's a little recap...

Our first week was tough, but the second week went really well. By week 3 it was old hat, really. Definitely challenging, but as long as we were home, it was great. Even eating out got easier. I have to do a lot of eating out for work and I managed to do really well. I had a delicious smoked salmon salad on spinach greens with a curry dressing - YUM! It's not something I would have tried if I could have gotten chicken or turkey, but it was incredible.

This week we were really into the swing of things. We got into the habit each night of chopping, peeling, and getting everything ready for the next day. I'd pack Wesley's lunch, we'd pack our lunches, chop veggies for dinner, and make sure that we have everything ready for our smoothies. Some nights it would only take about 30 minutes or so and others it was closer to an hour. We roasted veggies for dinner the next night so we didn't have to wait when we got home from work. It was hard and not what we wanted to do after a long day, but it worked.

We had delicious food this week. One unique thing we did was chop and saute asparagus and toss it with sweet potatoes and quinoa. We roasted the sweet potatoes with onions in the oven, sauteed the asparagus on the stove with olive oil, and then tossed it together. We served it over spinach greens and a dijon dressing. Really delicious. I expect to continue having delicious food and a lot more vegetables than we had before. I'll write more about this later, but we picked up our first CSA drop this weekend. It was awesome and I'm so excited too eat delicious produce that has been locally grown!

I know many people say that they don't have cravings at this stage in the cleanse, but I do. I'm not missing meat at all. I'm only missing cheese a little bit. Occasionally I crave a diet coke, but then I remember the damage it does to my stomach and I get over it. When I'm really missing is chocolate chip cookies and cake. I'm a HUGE sweets fan and I miss them. The candy aisle at the grocery store gets me. The bakery at the lunch place taunts me. I miss icing. I wish they didn't. I feel weak.

Jarrod's lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 7-8 lbs. I've lost 2 lbs. I'm not proud of this either. The first week or two I was doing great, but once we could eat grains again, I went a little crazy. Turns out I have a carb problem. :-) This was an incredible experience and I really feel a lot better. We have experimented with different vegetables that we wouldn't have without this cleanse. We've eaten almost exclusively vegetarian (with the exception of a few fish items when we're eating out) for 3 full weeks.

I plan to go very slowly into old food favorites. I don't know that I'll be having meat anytime soon. I think I'll have diet coke much more sparingly. I hope that I'll be able to say no after 1 cookie and not 17. :-) I'm definitely looking forward to wine again, but probably even more sparingly than before.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Coffee Date Friday

I meant to do a vlog this week but got caught up in other work-related things and now I've showered, removed my make-up and my hair is wet. You don't get to see me looking like this! :-) Today I'm linking up with Alissa from Rags to Stitches. Hop over there to see what everyone else is talking about over coffee today!
  • If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that my heart is hurting for a friend. It's not my story to share, but I'd ask for you to be praying for her and her family. My heart is heavy and has been for about a week for her.
  • If we were having coffee today I'd definitely tell you about the Whole Living Challenge. I'd explain that I'm drinking juice or water this morning because we're really doing well on the cleanse. It's been CRAZY hard and hasn't gotten easier for me. Many people write that their cravings go away. That must be nice, but everyday I drive past McDonalds and I want a diet coke. I see chocolate chip cookies or white cake with thick vanilla frosting and I want to quit this stupid cleanse. I desire sugar but it is easily quenched with fruit salad. I've gotten really good at making fruit salad (with a little honey and sliced almonds!). I haven't missed meat at all and don't miss cheese nearly as much as I thought I would. We're enjoying new veggies and I am incredibly proud of Jarrod. It took me 4 years to get him on board with smoothies, but we're finally there. He wants one every morning! 
  • If we were having coffee this morning I'd tell you about how our offices are closed every Friday for the next few weeks. I still have to work some Fridays, but sleeping in some with my boys and playing with Wesley on a weekday is AWESOME! We've tried a splash park and are trying another one today. I'll share those stories soon!
  • If we were having coffee today I'd tell you how excited I am about our very first CSA drop-off tomorrow! It's from a farm in Weatherford, Texas and I cannot wait to see what is in our basket this week! We opted for the summer session of 8 weeks of produce to see how we like it. We'll decide if we'll continue. After all of the produce we've eaten for the past 3 weeks I'm really excited about trying new things! Because we paid for it already up front, it'll be 8 weeks of "free" produce! 
  • If we were having coffee today I'd tell you that next week is going to be a very exciting time around here because I'll be sharing some SUPER exciting news and some other things that have been on our heart. Hint? It's financial and it's AWESOME. Another hint? We're exploring adoption and it's completely overwhelming me in a million different ways. Gets ready! I'll also be sharing some beautiful family photos I took over 4th of July weekend of my precious family. YAY!
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Simple life - The Taize Way

I never thought of a fork, plate, or cup as distractions before. Forks aren't optional because food isn't optional! Cups are necessities to sustain life! Right? They don't cause unnecessarily noise in our lives, right?

I thought that Jarrod and I lived a pretty simple life. We drive ugly cars, don't have a house full of furniture, and basically just have what we need. We try not to waste much and don't like to throw things away. We are definitely blessed and have an abundance, but we try to live a simple life. At least, I thought we did.

When I went to Taize and realized how much we really have. Not in the mission trip sense. I've been on mission trips before and seen incredibly poverty. I know that I am incredibly blessed to have a roof over my head. The realization in Taize was different. I'm always thankful for clean water, but after Taize, I became thankful for forks.
Breakfast roll, butter, jam, and hot tea served on a tray with one large spoon. 
While in Taize, we ate very simple foods. For breakfast, we ate bread with butter or jam and a hot drink. There was hot water and you simply could add powdered tea, coffee, milk, sugar, or chocolate to the water. These were the only options. Breakfast was the same every day. Needless to say, Jarrod brought bars to eat because of his gluten-intolerance. We ate this food off of a tray in our laps. No tables. No plates. Just a cup for hot water and a big spoon to spread the butter. Each meal was similar - no utensils other than a large spoon, no plates, no cups, and very few options. Lunch and dinner were typically vegetarian and no-frills.
Lunch of apple sauce, a small cookie, cheese, lentils and carrots, and bread - mine and Jarrod's.
I love eating bread and was thankful for that staple in my diet. If I didn't want to eat anything else, I could eat a piece of bread with cheese and be incredibly happy. As a foodie and someone who finds such enjoyment in food, it's difficult to admit how happy I was with bread and cheese. I realized how little I needed to be happy.

Besides a fork, I am used to being able to use my cell phone. At Taize my cell phone was almost completely useless. I could receive texts for $.05 and send them for $.50 but the time difference made that challenging. Phone calls were too expensive to even entertain. No talking, no texting, and nothing that needed the internet or cell service - facebook, instagram, or the internet. The time was perpetually set to Texas time, so it didn't even work as a clock. I thought this would panic me.

It didn't.

I was calm. It was hard to be away from Wesley for sure, but there was a peace because there was less noise. Not just auditory noise, but distraction noise. Because life here lacked that noise, I was able to be completely present. I was able to sit in silence and reflect on life. Even in my "simple" life in Texas, there is a whole lot of noise. I'm working hard at removing some of these everyday distractions from my life to get back the peace I had in Taize.

But I'll probably still use a fork and will definitely be checking e-mail on my cell phone...at least every once and a while!

How do you find a simpler life?
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Whole Living Challenge - Week 3

Jarrod and I are in the middle of the Whole Living Challenge. Our first week was tough, but the second week went really well. We were tested...we hosted a 4th of July open house for some friends and family on the 4th - complete with sangria, pigs in a blanket, chocolate dipped pretzels, and other delicious foods we can't eat. Other than a few exceptions on the 4th, we did really well and are feeling great!

Here's how things went down last week...

Monday - We rocked it. We tried a new recipe and it was DELICIOUS! We didn't make the sauce but instead made a dijon and olive oil sauce and we substituted sweet potatoes for the squash. It was incredible.

Tuesday - Energy is back and we're really doing well. I was traveling today and had to eat lunch out. I did really well! I packed my own snacks and had sushi for lunch. I skipped my normal choices with sauces and deep fried deliciousness and had simple rolls like avocado. YUM! Even after a day of driving 7 hours, I was feeling good. Jarrod's doing really well too!

Wednesday - Jarrod worked really hard and avoided some temptations at work today. He helped make sandwiches and had to handle lunch meat. But he did it! I had a great day, took the day off, and spent the afternoon with Wesley. We had a picnic in the car and ate our packed lunches instead of going out. Just as fun! For dinner we went to a local Mexican place with my cousin and his girlfriend. We got fish tacos, no dairy, and beans. Not quite as good as it is with the cream sauce and cheese, but we stuck with it!

Thursday - We had some friends and family over for the 4th of July! We ate a healthy breakfast of quinoa porridge and lunch of lentil stew before everyone came over so we'd be full and not tempted to eat the food. We had lots of fruits, veggies, and hummus, but there was also beer, sangria, brownies, pretzels, and soda. It was so tempting! I think we both had a few sweet treats, but mostly stayed with healthy options. By 6pm my head hurt so bad. I think it was sugar overload. I had 1/2 a marshmallow and a small brownie bite. With dinner (veggies, black bean-brown rice patties, and guacamole) I had a glass of sangria and Jarrod had a beer. Surprisingly, we didn't feel terrible afterward. I was much more affected by the sugar!

Friday - We woke up feeling refreshed and ready to stick with our diet. We had pancakes for breakfast with green smoothies. We went out for dinner for our anniversary at a local vegan restaurant. That meant that everything on the menu was fair game, as long as it was also gluten free! We also opted for some of the naturally sweetened, no sugar added, sodas. BIG mistake. Upset my stomach and I won't be doing that again! Overall, the restaurant was incredible and we had a fantastic night!

Saturday - Jarrod woke up with a headache but we were feeling good. Somewhat sluggish during the day, but that could just be our body catching up with us from the junk we ate on Thursday. We took it easy and ate fairly well all day. We went grocery shopping for next week and enjoyed getting lots of veggies. We're having brussels sprouts, asparagus, and eggplant next week! 

Sunday - I was dragging on Sunday. I got up, went for a walk with Wesley, went to Sunday school, church, and lunch after church, but by 3pm I was exhausted! I'm not seeing the increased energy promised by eating a healthy diet. Perhaps it's some of the cheating we're doing... Jarrod feels good, but not as good as he expected. But he's lost 6-7 pounds, so I don't want to hear any complaining! :-)

This week we're eating a lot of roasted veggies, quinoa, brown rice, fruit salad, smoothies, and even some gluten-free pasta!
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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fundraising Failure!

When I wrote this post, I intended to keep you informed on how the fundraiser was going. I didn't. I updated on facebook, but didn't have my act together enough to post that over here. I said the fundraiser would conclude on July 4th, but didn't give you any reminders. So sorry.

If you intended to grab an envelope and make a donation because you believe in a world without breast cancer, it's not too late!

Just as a reminder, here's how the fundraiser works:
I hope that each of you reading this to take a virtual envelope. Imagine a wall of envelopes, each with a number on it from $6-$60 on them. I’d like you to consider taking an envelope and making a donation for that amount. That means 55 people making donations for $60 or less. Can’t donate much? Pick a low envelope and donate today! Want to make a big impact, pick a larger envelope or even choose to donate more than $60!

Just click on the envelope you'd like to take and enter that number in the box next to, "Enter an amount that's meaningful for you." Having trouble? Click here and that will take you directly to the donation page.

Remember, many companies match, making your donation go even farther in the fight against breast cancer! 
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Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's been 4 years...

4 years ago today, at 2pm in the afternoon, Jarrod and I got married! It is still one of the happiest days of my life. It was the hottest day I have ever experienced, probably one of the most stressful weeks, and the best day ever! 
We thought we were so grown up when we got married. We paid for our own wedding, already had our masters degrees, and were about to embark on an adventure in Louisiana.
 Looking back at these photos, we were just babies. We thought Louisiana would be an adventure, but I don't think I really understood that our life was an adventure. Since then, we've live in 4 homes, had 8 jobs between the two of us, and I've been pregnant twice.
I'd say that I hope our life slows down for a little while, but I know it won't. This year promises to be one of the best and most exciting yet. And I couldn't imagine doing life with anyone else.

We are enjoying a family and friends gathering today and tomorrow will be going on a date night to celebrate. I hope to talk my boys into looking good and taking some pictures at some point this weekend as well. I'll have lots of stories (and hopefully some photos!) to share after a relaxing weekend!
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