Wednesday, November 28

All in a Year

     I love houses filled with holiday cheer on Thanksgiving! The hugs and laughter are plenty to go around and loud cheering can always be heard from a living room full of men cheering for their favorite football team. Last minute preparations are being made in the kitchen while the Thanksgiving table is set with china bowls filled with creamy mashed potatoes, stuffing, sugared cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and marshmallow sweet potatoes. Ding. Ding. The oven timer is shut off and the turkey pulled out, cooked to perfection. As we sit down the sparkling cider is poured and dinner is served. There is nothing like being with family and friends on a day set aside for remembering all we have to be grateful for.

     This past year has been an amazing one! There have been so many beautiful moments and lots of life changing events. I moved to New Mexico last fall, I met and went on a first date with Jon on October 7th, got engaged on December 26th, got married on May 26th, honeymooned in Jamaica, moved into our first apartment, then moved to Colorado and now here we are making a new life for ourselves! Last year I went snowboarding for the first time, went swimming during a thunderstorm, tried sushi (and hated it), went snorkeling and wind sailing, roasted mini marshmallows in a park, went off-roading, met the New England Patriot cheerleaders, and got a new car.
     I am incredibly grateful to have my best friend and husband be a part of my life. Jon has made me complete and helps me be a better person. We just celebrated out 6 month anniversary on the 26th and he still keeps me laughing and smiling and he understands me better than anyone I have ever known. He's the only person I know who would sit in the Best Buy parking lot on Black Friday for two hours (without complaining) just because he thought I wanted to shop there. (And I thought he wanted to shop there so when we finally figured out neither one of us wanted to be there only 10 minutes from the doors opening, we laughed about the situation then went home and snuggled instead.) He has helped me learn to love unconditionally and without regret. Without him I don't know where I'd be.
     I'm grateful for my family who I know I can always count on and the new family I gained this year! I'm grateful for sunsets, mountains, and coats for the cold winter days. I'm thankful for friends, opportunities, and life lessons.
     This year has been so full of memories and I'm blessed beyond measure. I can't wait to see what this next year brings!
Live. Laugh. Love.

Monday, November 19

Not a Freak-Out Woman

     Today I woke up and knew it was one of those days...of the month...that are NOT my favorite...if you know what I mean. Plus Jon was late for work so we were both in a slight mood. So, its on days like today that I have to check myself and remember the things that are most important to me. I'm working on building good, foundational habits that will hopefully come naturally later on down the road.
     As a single woman I never freaked out (ok well very rarely) but as a married woman I have gained quite a few more very big, redefining variables in my life. There's a loving husband, a shared bank account, bills, that type of thing. Anyway, when we first got married I freaked out A LOT because I wasn't the only one in charge of what went on in my life anymore. Ha, I remember the first few months of marriage when life was exciting because we got a pay check. It was money, glorious money!, and we would cash our checks and I would be so excited because we had money again! Then, bill day came faithfully every other week and WWHAAAWHHHAAAAwwaaAAAAAAAA! **sniff, sniff**  We ar-are bbroooooke! BwaaAHAAWAAAHHAA! Life-fe-fe-fe is h-hard-d-d! And I would cry my eyes out!
     Dear Jon always lovingly gave me 30 minutes to get it all out and I would get over it and be my normal happy self again (smiling, sweet, and unshakable) until pay day came around and then again, WWHAAAWHHHAAAAwwaaAAAAAAAA! **sniff, sniff**  We ar-are bbroooooke again! BwaaAHAAWAAAHHAA! **choke, cough cough**
     Lol I don't know what got into me because I'd be determined not to cry and freak out but as soon as I checked our account... Whew! Life was rough with only a little more than $500 of spending money every two weeks. ;) Anyway, I think I'm finally over that phase but really, for my emotional self, there's always something I could choose to freak out about. So I've been reading the book Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst and she has made quite a few good points.

"Brain research shows that every conscious thought we have is recorded on our internal hard drive known as the cerebral cortex. Each thought scratches the surface much like an Etch A Sketch. When we have the same thought again, the line of the original thought is deepened, causing what's called a memory trace. With each repetition the trace goes deeper and deeper, forming and embedding a pattern of thought. When an emotion is tied to this thought pattern, the memory trace grows exponentially stronger.
We forget most of our random thoughts that are not tied to an emotion. However, we retain the ones we think often that have an emotion tied to them. For example, if we've thought over and over that we are "unglued," and if that thought is tied to a strong emotion, we deepen the memory trace when we repeatedly access that thought [This also causes us to have the same reactions to the same type of situations]...We won't develop new responses until we develop new thoughts...The Bible encourages this process, which only makes sense because God created the human mind and understands better than anyone how it functions... 'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.' (Romans 12:2)
Scripture also teaches that we can accept or refuse thoughts. Instead of being held hostage by old thought patterns, we can actually capture our thoughts and allow the power of Christ's truth to change them: 'We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.' (2 Corinthians 10:5)

     I am not perfect , but I can make progress. What about you?

Tuesday, November 13

The Coupon Nazi

     Coupons! Oh, they are such a delightful way to get unsuspecting people to spend money they were planning on keeping in a nice safe bank somewhere. Its a chance for you to buy something you wouldn't normally buy, and you consider it only because it's on sale. It could be $5 off a dinner for two or 43¢ off a 50 pack of toilet paper but somehow the word SAVE just makes the world seem so much brighter!
     So in my case tonight, it was a free Chik-Fil-A chicken sandwich (with a  purchase of another sandwich of course). Lol I had told Jon I was feeling Chik-Fil-A and then I mentioned that I had a coupon. His response was, "Wait. Are we buying Chik-Fil-A because you have a coupon or because we feel like eating Chik-Fil-A?" I proudly responded, "Babe, we feel like eating Chik-Fil-A because I have a coupon!" Well this was a new concept for him and he thought it was hilarious! But it was so true! It had come in the mail a few days before so I'd already been dreaming of this meal for ages it seemed. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that I didn't need to eat out, the more I wanted to "save money" by spending money to use my coupon! And I get caught every time. :)
     Every once in a while they do come in handy and man do I make good use of them! Jon jokes that he's gonna be the old man shoving the credit card into the Wal-Mart cashiers hands while I'm the little old  lady that holds everyone else up because I have to use all my coupons! And if I have a coupon for a restaurant but I forgot it at home, I can't eat at that particular place unless I have a coupon! (I was disappointed this past weekend when we went to The Outback because I had a coupon and we discovered when we were paying the bill that my coupon was only valid Monday thru Thursdays. Oh, that was such a hreatbreaker! But we enjoyed ourselves anyways)
     So I admit I'm a hopeless coupon pushover but if I am going to buy frozen veggies and there just happens to be a coupon then of course I'm going to use it!

Here are some links to my favorite coupon websites. And if you can do it and not get addicted then I say, 'Happy couponing to you!"

Monday, November 5


Life Lesson Learned: Reviews, opinions, two cents worth, and a say in the matter are all very important, especially when looking to rent an apartment.

     This weekend, Jon and I had a day off to spend together and we decided to go apartment shopping! We weren't neccessarily ready to move out of our basement situation but we wanted to see what was out there. Now, I have to admit apartments in Denver are waaay more expensive than in Albuquerque so when we saw a sign that said some apartments were on special for a price we could afford, we decided to stop by Hocus Pocus Park Apartments* (name changed for reasons unbeknownst to even me) ;)
     Anyway, we stopped by their front office asked about pricing and specifics and utilities, etc. Then we got the Grand Tour. Jon and I became more impressed by the minute! There was an indoor basketball court, gym, pools and hot tubs, Zumba classes, a cafe, tennis courts, and multiple parks! The actual units had fireplaces and washers/dryers, dishwashers and a patio. This place was incredible! Our tour guide was nice and everyone waved as we passed by, it was the perfect place for us.
     Jon and I are firm believers in asking for an outside opinion. This seemed too good to be true, but we didn't want to get swept away by desires and emotions so we talked to my parents and asked them what they thought.

"Hey Mom and Dad! We found the perfect place and its right at our budget so we won't be able to save a lot but seriously its amazing! You should see the place!..."

     And the conversation went on. In the end, we all agreed it seemed perfect for us, but we wanted to sleep on it and pray about it. Cause there was just something about it...
     The next morning we woke up and talked about it a little. When Jon left for work I was still thinking about it and began to ask God if He thought it was a good idea. This had to be a quick decision and also a long commitment, who knew if that place was really all it was played up to be. God began to bring to mind different scenarios when we'd had to make decisions before and we got multiple opinions and reviews, so I Googled it. "Hocus Pocus Park Apartment Reviews"
     Oh My GOODNESS! You will not believe what I read! Out of like the ten review websites I pulled up almost everyone said, "Do Not, DO Not, DO NOT, live there!" Everyone had complaints about management and how nothing ever got fixed. Apparently its almost impossible to leave even if your lease is up and they slap fees on you like "Hail Mary's" in morning mass! Everyone is always drunk because of the cafe drinks and no one cares if you are married or not they just want to hook up! Plus all the major sex offenders in the area happen to live there!
     I texted Jon immediately and we were both blown away! We couldn't believe that something that looked so nice on the outside could be so rotten on the inside! This goes to say you really can't "judge a book by its cover".

     We were protected by God and other people's reviews. And I'm so glad we didn't move there. But its definitely a good reminder of why we pray about things and don't make major decisions off a whim. So, we are still living in the basement, at least for now, but you know...
     "Home is where the Heart is."

     And my heart is with Jon so we are living in the perfect place, even now. :)

Live. Laugh. Love.