7.31.2013

Meet the MOH

Today I am excited to introduce everyone to my Maid of Honor, Alisa. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did!


I first met Cassie in high school while we were both working at The Good Egg in Gilbert. She is one of my best friends from high school, and funnily enough, one of my best friends from college too! In college, we lived in the dorms together our Sophomore year, and then got an apartment together (thank goodness..no more dorm) our Junior and Senior years. Living together was an absolute blast.... Read more HERE.

7.30.2013

Generosity

Lately, with so many big life changes coming my way, I have really been trying to be in the moment. In doing this the last week or so, I have noticed one recurring theme. The people in my life are so incredibly generous, most of the time for no reason at all. Although generosity surely is not always material, there have been a few material things that have reinforced this theme.


1. I did some dog/house sitting for a friend this last weekend while she went to Vegas on vacation. I was honestly expecting nothing for it since she was allowing me to have my own space for a whole weekend, and basically gave me permission to raid her fridge. Despite the fact that I was not expecting anything, she surprised me with a sweet card and some gas money for our big trip! 

2. Last Saturday was the final BIG event I did at work. It was a food, wine, and art show. I was in charge of the art show. As a thank you for all of my hard work, one of the photographer's wives gave me a sweet package of cards with his photos on it! He is incredibly talented and only does it as a side job! You can see more from him HERE.

3. A Chia Pet. Yes, I was pretty excited about this one. A member at my work had donated it to the Recreation Center, and my boss knew I wanted one so he gave it to me as a "going away gift." I'll take it. 

4. On Sunday evening, my mom took me to the Sedona Rouge Hotel which is about 45 miles south of Flagstaff. She treated me to a massage, facial, and some great food/wine. It was nice to get some final time in before I leave this weekend. 

5. As a going away gift, my pastors presented this Lutheran Study Bible to me on behalf of the congregation. I really wasn't expecting anything more then a going away blessing, but this made my heart so happy. My pastors knew I had been using an OK bible that I bought while in Scotland, but that I needed something that could help me better understand what I was reading since I am so new in my faith. I am so grateful for how God has moved in my life through this church. I am going to seriously miss them.  

6. Finally, another one of the artists (well, authors) at the art show on Saturday gave me a signed copy of his book "Ida's Story" as a thank you. It is really refreshing to have people recognize my work and be genuinely grateful. 





The point of this post isn't to completely brag about the great gifts I have received, but to remind myself and my readers that being generous, no matter how small it might be, makes a difference in someone's life. I have been overwhelmed, albeit excited, about the changes coming up, so it has been nice to be reminded that I have supportive people in my life who care about me.




The theme of generosity also got me thinking about how generous God is. He generously gave us His only son so that we might be forgiven. He continues to generously bless us even when we go against Him and deny Him. He constantly seeks to be in a relationship with us and give to us despite the resistance we may put forth at times. He gives us rain, and shelter, and food, and protection, I mean talk about generosity!
 



So friends, I encourage you to give more generously whether that is to a friend in need, your church, or a charity. Give to the person behind you in the drive thru by buying their meal, give a busy friend a home cooked meal for no reason, or agree to house sit for a friend so they might go enjoy themselves on vacation (and you might just get a gas card out of it, just kidding!!). As Proverbs 11:24 tells us, those whom give freely grow richer, and might I add closer to the Lord. 

As a side note, please bear with me over the next week or so as we move to Missouri. I might be a little absent from this space, but you know you can always keep up with me on Instagram and that I will be reading your blogs on our travels!


7.26.2013

Choosing my Bridesmaids

So far, it has been difficult to do much wedding planning since Matt and I are planning on getting married in Missouri. The one thing I have been able to do, is ask my bridesmaids and maid of honor if they would be a part of my special day. I wanted to make this special, because I know what work it is to be in a wedding (I've been in two in the last two years and have one coming up in December). So, I set off for the perfect (and affordable) way to ask my bridesmaids.

Now, the first step for most people would be deciding who they want their bridal party to consist of, but it was an easy decision for me. These ladies are more like my sisters. They know the real me, and have been through thick and thin with me. They support all of my decisions whether they agree or not, and always offer their most honest and sincere opinions, and that is what friends are for. I wanted to keep my bridal party small, because I feel that being a bridesmaid loses its significance if there are 8 others (no offense to those who did, this just isn't me). I'm all about small and intimate, and since that is the feel M and I want for our wedding, I figured I'd better stick with the same theme for my bridal party. 

So, without further delay, here is a peek at my bridesmaid gifts... in poor iPhone style

If you can't tell, these are monogrammed over-sized t-shirts for us all to get ready in! All of my bridesmaids except one have a new last initial from when I met them! Crazy.



The back of these cards included my promises to them as bridesmaids.. I'll keep that one private!

Not everyone has received their packages yet (hoping this post gets overlooked by those who haven't), but once they do I hope to feature each of my maids in a guest post! Stay tuned.

7.24.2013

Gluten Free

So, after a few years of strange GI issues, I have decided to go gluten free for a week starting today. This is going to be difficult for me because I love cereal, pizza, and beer among other things. But, to be honest, the pain I have been experiencing the last few years is awful. I'm not totally sure if these symptoms are the cause of a gluten allergy, or something else, but I am going to cut out gluten and see if I notice a difference. I have been wanting to get tested for gluten or lactose intolerance, but with our move coming up and me working so much, it just isn't feasible to find a doctor right now. 

For the last few years I have had intense abdominal pains, cramps, and bloating. I also sometimes have back pain. I saw a few doctors about two years ago, who ran everything from tests to samples to ultrasounds, and came up with nothing. A psychologist I was seeing at the time suggested it might be psychosomatic, so I kind of got on board with that for a while. Managing my stress better did seem to help, but it still seems to be unmanageable at times. 

The point in writing this post is to see if any of my readers have had similar experiences, or if they have any suggestions for going gluten free. I don't eat a ton of gluten to begin with, but having to be more conscious will be difficult. Also, some have suggested I might have Celiac Disease even though I do not have all the GI symptoms. A friend of mine said before she was diagnosed she had similar symptoms to mine.

What have your experiences been with gluten allergies or just going gluten free for health reasons? Any tips you can share with me? 

7.23.2013

Snail Mail Collective: Maryland

If you haven't heard of the Snail Mail Collective, I suggest you check it out and sign up here. Anyways, this month I was linked up with Megan over at Write Meg! This sweet gal from Maryland sent me the perfect package that I received yesterday.





Seriously, this lady knows me. I am obsessed with cooking, and I love crab cakes. I would say it's a win-win. I also got to learn a little about Maryland, a place this west-coaster knows little to nothing about!

I must thank my fiance for his photo services here. For those of you that didn't read Friday's Letters, I am aware that I post horrible iPhone photos far too often. I am working on it...

7.22.2013

Charity Rides and Kilts

My weekend was just that, a charity ride and some kilts [and some work thrown in for "good" measure]. Well, sort of. Friday after work, I sent off my "will you be my bridesmaid" gifts! They still do not know who they are (although I am sure they assume), but once they do I am going to do a post on what I did for them! Friday evening was spent with my lovely fiance. We had received a gift card to a local place in town for our engagement, so we stopped in for some dinner. Monsoons were CRAZY that night, and it was coming down hard when we were finished up with dinner. We literally RAN from the restaurant to a coffee shop next door, where we had to camp out for another 30 min or so before it was clear enough to run back to the car. Life is always fun with this guy, even when it is pouring down rain.

A big hot chocolate and shy finace.

Saturday morning was the 45 mile Taylor House Charity ride, an annual ride in Flagstaff. The longest ride I did to train for this was 30 miles, which had me pretty terrified, especially since I knew the ride wasn't only 45 miles, but that it also had about 2,000 feet of climbing. Despite being a little scared, I suited up and met my friend Jessica and her husband, Owen, at the start line. I love riding in a big group, there's something about the pack mentality, especially since we had a police escort the first few miles. To say this ride was not mentally and physically challenging for me would be an understatement, but I did it! I really had to force myself to hydrate and take electrolyte supplements frequently, and I felt like dying towards the end, but I DID IT! And I'm pretty happy about that.



Sunday, I was finally able to go to church after missing the last few weeks due to work. After that, Matt and I met my parents for brunch at one of our favorite places in town, Josephine's. You can't beat sitting outside on the patio with a mimosa and tasty food.




Following this, we headed to the Celtic Festival in town, which was really cool. We got to see the Highland Games, different Celtic bands,  and all the different clans. For this Scotland loving gal, this was pretty fun for me. Plus there was beer, and well, lets be honest, that makes most things better. The rest of the evening was spent with my future in-laws and my parents having an early dinner. Can't beat beer brats, corn, potato salad, and pecan pie to finish it off.


It was really nice spending some time with my fiance and our families since we are moving so soon. As of today I officially have 9 days left of work and 12 before we pack up our U-haul and begin our adventure.

7.19.2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Boss, thank you for sending me home early yesterday so I could watch a movie and nap with my fiancé, I really wasn't feeling super well and today I'm feeling much better. Dear work, please be nice to me this next week and a half, I really would like to leave on a happy note. Dear fiancé, please teach me how to use your fancy camera so I can stop torturing everyone with my horrible iPhone photos. Dear new house, I am absolutely obsessed with you and cannot wait to get the keys August 6th! Dear Jenna, I hope you are having a blast on your honeymoon with your new husband, but I miss talking to you. Dear mom and Andrew, I'm pretty excited you guys are coming to visit Sunday, we're packing brunch, the Celtic festival, and dinner all into one trip! Dear graduate school, it is just now hitting me that I will be facing you in the near future, please be nice to me. Dear coffee, you are getting me through this early morning at work. Dear bridesmaids, I know I haven't officially asked you yet, but you can expect something super adorable in the next few days or so (hopefully soon because I really want to write a post on it). Dear Flagstaff weather, I love you this time of year but oh man is it hard to want to workout in a monsoon. Dear Snail Mail Collective, you have been super fun and today I am sending Megan my package, woot woot!

Photobucket

7.18.2013

Finish the sentence

I just absolutely adore this link-up, it always has me cracking up when I read others answers. So, "finish the sentence" round 2 here I come.

If I had one extra hour in the day... I would sleep. Seriously, today I am just feeling like I could sleep the whole day away and feel great about it.

I wish my name... was easier for older people to get. I swear, my name was not from previous generations so most people over the age of 45 think my name is "Kathy." So. Annoying.

I think anything chevron is... overused. It's cute, I get it, but that doesn't mean we all need a chevron pillow on our beds.

My last nightmare... had something to do with Matt breaking up with me. Not sure we can break up at this point, but you know what happens when  you have crazy sleep deprived dreams.


Sometimes... I really wonder if anyone thinks I'm even remotely humorous when I fill these out.


My last meal on earth would be... sushi and beer. And maybe some cheesecake, or a whole cheesecake.


I would much rather... be already living in Missouri with my man then still be working in Flagstaff.


Mayonnaise... makes me want to gag. Literally. I can't even do it.


10 years ago, I didn't think... I would be engaged. Seriously, I thought I would be 30 before I even met a nice guy. I got slapped in the face on that one, but in the best way possible of course.


Selfishly... I'm hiding inside at work to escape the humidity while my poor staff work outside.


My favorite show on TV right now... isn't really on TV since I don' have cable right now. Instead, my go-to has been watching the Bachelorette on Hulu. Winning.


And, George Zimmerman... yeah.....



button

7.16.2013

Inviting God to YOUR Wedding

When I was just engaged and wrote a post on glorifying God through wedding planning, a sweet blogging friend suggested the book, "Inviting God to your Wedding: and Keeping God in your Marriage." I have really loved this book so far, and I know it is important for me to take it seriously while reading it, and not just zip through as I sometimes do with books. I've also attempted to get M to read it, but that never turns out well for me... he's not exactly a bookworm like me.


“I knew that before I began organizing the most important event of my life, I needed to organize my heart.”


After attending my step-sister's wedding last weekend, I could not help but see myself in the same shoes a year from now. I also couldn't help but think about how important it is to me to have a spiritual wedding above everything else. I don't want to get caught up in the details, instead I want to focus on preparing myself for possibly one of the most spiritual days of mine and M's life.

“Because when God is there, suddenly all of your priorities are in order. You become less concerned about losing ten pounds before the last fitting. You’re not worried if it rains. Your highest priority is to get ready spiritually.”

 

This book has so many great quotes I just could not help but share with you all, and I am not even half way in yet! I mean seriously, this book is blowing me away!

“I think that’s why God puts such a great value on marriage, because it can be the best example on earth of His own love for us- unconditional, intimate, and forgiving.”

 

In the next year I want to make sure my heart is focused on preparing for my marriage, and not just my wedding. That above all I set my sights on Jesus and how important it is to have Him at the center of my relationship with M. 

7.15.2013

Bucket list

I have been avoiding actually writing a bucket list for years now. I just have so many things I want to do that it's hard to keep track of them all. But that's the point of a bucket list, right? So, who cares if I add five new things each week, or don't cross a thing off for a whole year? Not I. So here it goes.

Marry the love of my life. 

Move cross country. 

Visit Greece. 

Hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim. 

Hike the Zion narrows. 

Get my PhD. 

Go sky diving. 

Visit every state. 

Go on an international mission trip. 

Do a half ironman. 

Run a marathon. 

Take dance lessons. 

Adopt a pet of my own. 

Go to Nepal. 

Finish my sleeve. 

Take a fun cooking class. 

Order something from Sky Mall. 

Visit Yosemite. 

Travel to Africa. 

Adopt a child. 

Have a garden.

Buy a nice camera and actually learn how to use it.

Own a home. 

7.14.2013

20 Days

In twenty short days, Matt and I will move to Missouri and begin our lives together. Before we take off on our new adventure, I was able to spend one of my last weekends on this side of the country with some of my most precious friends and family members at my sister's wedding. 

I could not be more happy for her and her groom. They are wonderful, God loving people. I feel grateful each day for the friendship I have built with them. Here are a few photos from our weekend. 

Please excuse the poor quality of this post. I'm learning I desperately need a real camera... Plus I had way too much fun taking over the photographers camera at the wedding for a bit.


The winner of the Something Beautiful giveaway is Susannah Kellogg! You should already have an e-mail in your inbox

7.13.2013

Hope Engaged

While I am off watching my lovely sister get married this weekend, I thought I would introduce you all to a wonderful friend of mine, Katie. Enjoy.

Hello sweet readers! my name is Katie and I am so honored to be guest posting for Cassie today as she is on vacation. I just adore this little space, and Cassie's honest and genuine heart:)

My husband Kevin and I are currently living in Nepal, working in an aftercare home with girls rescued out of sex-trafficking...

"wait, wheeerrrreeee?" you might ask.
Don't worry, I was pretty clueless where this mysterious land of Nepal was a few years ago too.
Actually, I was pretty clueless about a lot of things.
You see, my husband and I grew up in sunny california,
spending massive amounts of time at the beach, going to disneyland, eating mexican food, etc.
ie: a wee bit insulated

but a few years ago Kevin and I started asking ourselves a question,
"does our life and marriage matter?"
 I mean, yes, we knew our lives mattered to us and our families and friends.
But beyond that, was our life and marriage making the world a more beautiful place?
Our hearts craved a vision where our marriage was about more than just "us" and being comfy.
{don't get me wrong, I still love my fro-yo and bach same as the next girl}
But man oh man, it sure can be hard gaining perspective on the deeper things in life when you live in the midst of some of the richest zip codes in the US. 
Where driving a range rover is absolute top priority.
so we figured, as christians, we'd see what the heck Jesus did when he was on earth.
{i mean, JC's a pretty good place to start when you're looking for answers, right?}
and pretty much it was this...
he hung out with the poor, the prostitutes, the hurting and the broken.
and guess what? this scared us half to death...like no joke. 
last time we checked we didn't know any poor people or prostitutes. epic fail.

so we decided to get a lil' brave, 
and ask God to show us what this might look like smack dab in the middle of Orange County.
aaannndddd He did.
just two miles from where Kevin grew up was an immigrant neighborhood we'd never even noticed before.
and so with our knees knocking, we decided to move in, and it changed our life. 
that was the start of our marriage on mission.
but then, God continued to surprise us. 
It's like He was taking our humble little vision for our marriage and putting it into high gear.
just about 7 months ago, Kevin and I were approached and asked if we would consider moving to Nepal to work at an aftercare home for girls rescued out of sex-trafficking.
we were speechless. 
turns out, the exact jobs God had placed us in the years prior were the very skills this home was looking for to help them build their infrastructure.
wwaaaiiitttt, what?

So yes, in a matter of a few months, we quit our jobs, packed up our life, and now live in one of the most colorful and vibrant cultures i've ever experienced!
 From the moment we arrived, Nepal has been absolute delicious chaos. And while this in-your-face country has certainly given us some challenges (little electricity, dusty roads, monsoon rains), we are absolutely smitten with our new home! Every day we seem to get lost in the hues of gorgeous colors splashed about on clothing and buildings and food. Kevin and I love to take public transportation all around the city and explore the hundreds of years of history that seem to unfold around every corner.
But most importantly, we are ever so humbled at the work our marriage gets to take on each day. Many of you know that there are more slaves today than ever in our world's history. The precious ones that come to our home have often been trafficked across borders, their tiny bodies abused in the most horrendous and evil of ways. It breaks my heart and the tears constantly flow, but every day I am reminder over and over again that God is a redeemer, and i've seen first hand how the power of Christ's love has transformed these girls. Kev and I work on building the infrastructure for the home by doing policy/structural work as well as financial and accounting projects, but our favorite time is spent just hanging out with these brave sweet girls.
Their courage inspire us.  
{a sweet little hike with the girls}
And lastly, living abroad has allowed me to soak up life to the fullest each day with my beloved husband.
You guys...I get to be with him every minute of every day!! {insert massive smile and confetti!}
we walk all over the city together, we snuggle up at night after the electricity has gone out and talk and laugh and watch movies together, we attempt to cook together and buy fresh vegetables and fruit at the market together. we meet new people together, and love on these sweet girls together. We take each other to the doctors together, and slowly, painfully learn nepali together.
together. 
my favorite word.
It is like Abba has handed us this sacred gift of time,
where we have one goal and one heart to love and serve God.
{don't mind my majorly off-centered bindi! oh well!!} 

so i suppose that's where our little prayer got us.
i've learned that every marriage matters, because every marriage is a ministry.
no matter where we are.
so here's to be being brave with our lives) 

Thanks for letting me share my journey!
I'd love for you to stop on by my blog Hope Engaged and say hello as Kev and I continue our adventure in Nepal and this summer as we travel through Europe and SE Asia!
love katie

7.08.2013

A Something Beautiful Giveaway

Good morning lovely readers. I feel like I have been absent for quite some time now. After finishing a 55+ hour work week, I am ready to jump back into committing time to my blog. My sister is getting married this weekend so I will be heading out of town, but I promise I have some great posts planned for you while I am away. But for today... 


I'm beyond excited to host this giveaway for my lovely sponsor, Lauren. She is a real sweet lady, with a crafty talent and a great mission behind her craft.

Lauren is a small-town newlywed with a passion for helping others. In addition to working at a pregnancy center, Lauren owns the etsy shop Something Beautiful. All of the proceeds from her shop go towards a second trip to Tanzania, Africa. After visiting four years ago on a medical mission trip, she fell in love with it and cannot wait to return.

After collaborating with Lauren, we have decided to offer a giveaway of a piece that really represents the goal of her shop, and my blog.




How adorable is this piece? I know it would look great in my place, on my bookshelf particularly. You can see more photos here.





7.06.2013

Some things I'm currently loving.

My time alone. M has been out of town for the last week or so and does not get back until tomorrow night. Although it has been hard having him be away for so long, I have been enjoying being able to go for a quiet walk alone or spend a little more time reading in bed on a Friday night. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for him to get back, but as an introvert I desperately need that time alone, especially with work being so crazy the last week.

The mountain. I love how serene it is, and how it can be seen from all over town. Right now it is just in my backyard.


The movie "Safe Haven." I watched it last night and it had me in tears, like five different times. Not the "no I'm not crying" tears, tears that are very obvious and in no way flattering. That one hit home big time.

The fact that M and I move in a month, and our cute little home. I'm struggling to hang on to my sanity at work lately. I can't wait to get a fresh start and get away from all of this stress. And of course I can't wait to get the keys to our place!!


Monsoons. Monsoon season is in full swing here in Flagstaff. I love our afternoon storms. It keeps things cool around this part of the state and gives me a reason to stay cuddled up in bed during afternoon naps for a bit longer.



Americanos. I just can't stop. I won't stop. Since I moved back to the west side of town, it has been nice to be able to walk to my favorite little coffee shop and grab some caffeinated goodness.

My sweet sponsor, Lauren. This girl has the sweetest heart, and a crafty little etsy shop of her own!