11.28.2014

Loving People + a Call for Questions


Our church has been going through the book of 1 John since September and what I am about to share has been on my heart for just as long, if not longer. 1 John talks about JOY. Not the surface level feeling that can be manufactured or produced, but the joy that results in a state of satisfaction, a state of strength and power, a casting out of fear if you will. This type of joy cannot be stolen by circumstance.

In 1 John 1: 1-3 we are lovingly told that joy comes through relationship and fellowship with God and other believers. When we live in sin, it breaks down these relationships.

Fellowship with other believers is so important to a full life in Christ. Even though I know this, I often times fail miserably. 

I like to blame this on being an introvert, but I think I sometimes use that as an excuse. I've really been asking myself lately: How is my relationship with other believers? Is it regular and deep? Do we keep each other accountable for the hard things and love each other despite our shortcomings?

I think my answer to many of these questions is, "sometimes." I don't like that. I mean, it's easy to love the people that are easy to love. To have fellowship with friends who put forth equal effort and make time for you in their lives. It's not so easy to love those that sometimes act unlovable, say offensive things, or really cause you pain. I struggle with forgiveness, which really makes it hard to love people. Even those who are fellow believers.

I want to be that person that loves people. Not because I think it will make my life easier, or because I think it will make me popular, but because I want to experience that JOY that John tells us about. And I want to be able to share that joy with people that don't know it yet.

Can we really truly be connected with God and not love others? I don't think so. That's where this whole thing gets me. Sometimes it's easy to be hateful for annoyed with people, but that only pushes me further away from God in the end. I pray that God changes my heart, because in the end this is only hurting me.

What are you struggling with?

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Here comes the less heavy and far more fun part!!! I am working on writing a Q&A post about myself and I need your help! Ask me anything you want to know (however I won't answer questions about my job). Please leave your question below! If you feel more comfortable e-mailing me your question PLEASE do!!

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11.27.2014

Happy THANKSgiving

Happy Thanksgiving friends! It seems that every year, we as a society jump from Halloween straight into Christmas without any consideration of Thanksgiving. Since Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays growing up, this saddens me. It also makes me sad that Thanksgiving is a time we are supposed to reflect on what we are grateful for, and all the blessings we have been given, but instead society tells us this isn't important and it's on to the next one. The one where we WANT instead of GIVE. So, in honor of Thanksgiving and all of my blessings, here is [a non-exhaustive list of] what I am thankful for this year:


1. My husband. I mean, this one is pretty self-explanatory but I have been blessed with the most amazing husband to do life with. Marriage isn't easy, but it is SO worth it.

2. Our jobs. When we first moved to Missouri, M didn't have a job and it was stressful. Luckily we have both been blessed with salaries that help pay the bills AND have a savings.

3. This blog and all of you. This blog has brought me so much happiness. I have some of the most amazing friendships because of it, and it brings me closer to Jesus every day just by reading your posts and interacting with you all.

4. Jesus and our church community. God really has been good to us this year. What I might argue was His biggest blessing, besides our marriage, was finding our current church. Our church encourages us to grow in a way that is loving and holds us accountable for furthering our relationship with Christ. M and I wouldn't be where we are today with our faith if it weren't for our church.

5. Our families and friends. So many people rallied around us this year for our wedding. Even though it meant they had to shovel out quite a bit of cash and travel across the country. I'm thankful for those who make sacrifices for us, who believe in us, and who go out of their way to maintain good relationships with us despite any distance there may be physically.

6. Our health. Although I have had some health problems over the last few years, overall we are very healthy. I'm so grateful for that, and for the fact that we have insurance that protects us when anything happens that is out of our control.

7. A place to call home. Our home means the world to us. It has really started to feel like OUR place and I know that's something not everyone has the means to say. For this, I am SO thankful.

8. The fact that we have a vehicle. We are so lucky to own a vehicle that is reliable. We were fortunate enough to be in a place financially this year where we could make this investment.

9. Spending Thanksgiving with my grandparents. It has been at least 10 years since I have been able to do this. What is even better about this year is now I get to bring my husband with me. The best.

10. Our cats. Because life just wouldn't be the same without those two crazies.

What are you grateful for this year?

Ember Grey: Grateful Heart

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11.26.2014

Equally Yoked: Prayers for Your Husband

Good morning friends. I am so happy to be bringing you another chapter in Equally Yoked! Isn't it funny how these posts just seem like they were written to you, FOR YOU? I thought I created this series to help guide others, but I think God has been using it to help me even more in my own marriage. 

Today you get to hear from Beth. I have been following this lovely lady for a number of years now. It has been so wonderful to watch her blog grow and to really get to know the heart she has for Jesus. I just know you are going to love her too!
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Hello! My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at Oak + Oats. I am thrilled to be guest posting in this series and sharing how praying for my husband has impacted our marriage and a tradition I started a year & a half ago has continued on. I hope that you enjoy and are inspired! 


I wrote this blog post originally a year and a half ago. It is amazing how the time has flown by but that raggedy stack of prayer cards is still sitting with my Bible. It all began even months before that post was written when a dear friend of mine and I were sitting down to Starbucks and sharing about life. We both voiced the need and desire we had to be faithful in prayer to our husbands but we rarely made time to pray for them specifically and purposefully. We wanted to be supportive wives - not bitter ones. We wanted to build our husbands up - not tear them down. we wanted to make prayer for them part of our schedule and daily routine.

It wasn't long later when my friend came back to me with this prayer list she found. She had already started praying them over her husband and was enjoying having scripture that went along with each little paragraph. She printed off a copy for me and I went straight home to start writing on notecards each prayer. When you read the list here you will see that they are all written "pray that your husband..." when I began writing them down, I wanted to make them more personal so I wrote each card " I pray that Bruce..."

I wrote a couple and left them on the table as I ran off to do errands. Bruce asked me later that night if I thought he was a bad husband because he read through the cards and saw that specific things were being prayed for like "I pray Bruce would see his sin" and " I pray Bruce will stay faithful to his wedding vows" and then I would have multiple references at the bottom like I really was doing my research. I was taken aback and responded with " no I am praying for you to prevent things like that and just cover you in prayer..." It was weird, life moved on, and I stopped writing the cards and praying intentionally.

Flash forward to the day I wrote this post in April of 2013. Bruce and I were running about doing the same old same old when he asked me out of nowhere if I still prayed for him with those cards. I said no and talked about how I thought he thought it was weird and made up excuses of why I stopped. He said " I wish you would. I really appreciated that" I was shocked because I thought he really wasn't on board with the whole card prayer list but it made me want to run back all the more to those cards and finish.

Now I can pray one prayer a day. Specific and intentional. If I have time and want to dive into it more I have references to research and commentaries to look up. Or I can just pray in the car. Or during my devotions...

I want you to think about it. Satan desires to destroy your husband. He wants to break him. He wants to tear down his character, his relationship with you, and his role of a father. Trust that by daily surrendering your husband to the Lord that the Lord would move and live in your husband and help him lead you and your family well.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life"
proverbs 31: 11-12

I wish that I finished the cards months ago. That I was faithful in prayer for Bruce even when he was unsure why I was praying because I want to create that habit and I want to be a wife who does my husband good. Now is better than never and I am starting now.

I highly encourage you to pray for your husband. I think it is one of the most important things us wives can do for them. If you want to use the templet and verses that I used click here or you can just make your own prayers up. Either way make sure you are daily lifting up your man. Imagine the impact you both can have for the kingdom if you stay faithful in prayer!










Connect with Beth


Did you like this post? See more from the series HERE.  

11.25.2014

Blogger Men Tell All Part III

We are back for another "Blogger Men Tell All" hosted by Becca, Melissa and Samantha! I feel the need to brag on my husband for being such a great sport and for just having the best answers ever (with my commentary inserted of course).

1. What food do you look forward to most at Thanksgiving dinner?
I usually like all of it, but definitely anything with sweet potatoes. I have never met a sweet potato I didn't like. But he has met other things he didn't like, like deviled eggs, carrots, celery, the list goes on my friends. Don't be fooled.

 2. Do you ever go shopping on Black Friday?
Haha No. If I do, it's late in the day when the deals are gone. Ya'll, I have met my match. Hallelujah.

3. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
We don't have too many traditions. It's usually an early afternoon "dinner" with family. Followed by naps, and whatever football we can find on TV or a movie out at the theatre. He's out of control.

4. Do you travel for the Thanksgiving holiday or do you stay close to home?
95% of the time we travel. When I lived in Arizona, we were at 7000ft of elevation and that was hard for my grandfather to take, so we would travel to either California to their house or to my aunt's in Tucson. When travel became hard for both my grandparents, it was California all the time. "We" being his parents. The "we" he meant to refer to (me and him) also travel.

 5. What are you most thankful for this year?
I am most thankful for family, both by blood and by faith. We (he means wife "we" here not parents "we") have met so many wonderful people in Missouri and have been so blessed with a great church family. We also have had such an out pouring of support and love from our family as we went through our wedding and other big events of the year. They never cease to amaze me with the amount of support they have given to us. 

Becoming Adorrable
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If you're still keeping up with In the Word in One Year and you are here looking for next month's bible study. We have to get real for a minute- Cassie and I talked and decided to hold off on the study for December. We have both gotten behind and thought it would be a good chance to catch up. So, if you're also behind, I would encourage you to use this time to catch up on the study. We will be back full swing (and hopefully all caught up) in January! Happy holidays my friends!

Here are a few of the past month's calendars:
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11.24.2014

Registry Dos & Don'ts

I felt pretty comfortable planning our wedding. After all, M and I did event planning for a number of years prior. However, the idea of a registry was SO OVERWHELMING for me. Many of my friends had been married in previous years, each doing something different for their registry, so I felt like I at least had an idea of what NOT to do.

One friend went over the top and registered for anything and everything she thought her or her husband MIGHT like or have a need for. Another friend didn't register at all with the hopes that they would get cash or gift cards. In the end they just ended up with a bunch of mismatched things they didn't have space for in their current apartment. Lesson learned.

Enter my feelings of utter confusion. I can't say I did it all right, but I think I can offer some advice on what you should and should not do (with the help of a few other bloggers mentioned at the end of this post).


DO

DO register. Trust me, people WANT to know what you need! We registered for Williams-Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Target, REI, and Traveler's Joy (more on this later). 

DO register for your honeymoon. We used Traveler's Joy, the best service EVER. Traveler's Joy is basically a cash registry. Since a lot of people have a hard time giving cash, you can designate items or activities you need/want for you honeymoon and people can fund those for you. For example, we registered for massages and snorkeling! There's also an option to give just a plain cash gift. The majority of our gifts came through this registry and it funded a large chunk of our honeymoon! Although they take a small percentage of your total amount, I think it makes people feel good to be contributing to something "tangible" even if that's not actually what you put their cash towards in the end.

DO be certain you will use something before adding it to your registry. If you're not sure on the color of your kitchen yet, don't ask for a certain color of appliance, or ask for something neutral. 

DO add items that you think might seem expensive. We added a wine fridge and a vacuum to our registries thinking it would be a long shot. BUT we got BOTH! Even if your guests do not end up purchasing these items for you, many times the stores you register through will send you a coupon for a certain percentage off the items left in your registry. If you still really want that item, you can purchase it then! Also, although these stores say the discount is for the items left in your registry, the coupon codes typically work on the entire site. 

DO ask for nicer versions of the things you already have. For example, who likes to spend $12 on a towel? Toss those cheap towels you have from your single days and add some nice plush ones to your registry!

DO register for holiday decor! This is another thing I have a hard time spending a lot of money on, but getting them as a gift is great! Plus you can reuse them for many years to come!

DO focus on the necessities. Measuring cups, mixing bowels, and kitchen towels will probably be more of a need compared to a grilling set or new television. Luckily, some registries even let you rate the priority of certain items! Utilize that option if you have it!

DO return things. Those duplicate sets of bed sheets? If you don't think you will use them, don't be scared to return them!

DO write thank you notes as soon as you get gifts. Many people will send their gift before the wedding, make sure you write a thank you and send it off within a week. This will make writing the rest after the wedding FAR less stressful. It also shows people that you care. 

DO read reviews. It sucks to put a high ticket item on your registry and after you receive it learn that the quality is awful.

DON'T

DON'T add home decor items for the rooms that you haven't fully thought out yet. You will end up with a number of mismatched items that don't work well together for the space you finally dream up after the wedding craziness is over.

DON'T register for elaborate items. Those super cute dishes at Target? Watch out. They will likely go out of style in a few years. Instead, go for simple and classic, that way they will be less likely to become dated!

DON'T register for cocktail specific glasses. Trust me, I made this mistake and now there are more craft beer glasses than coffee mugs in our house and that says something. AND my husband doesn't even drink...

DON'T ask for cash. If you would prefer cash I would suggest you still make registries but also have the option for people to give a gift card. You should also spread the word verbally. 

DON'T only register for items in a certain price range. Register for items that cover a large price range. You want people to be able to work with their budgets and no one owes you a gift. 

DON'T be scared of registering for things online. This was the only way we registered and it was FAR more convenient. However, there are certain things you might want to first see in person, so keep that in mind.

What would you add to this list?

*A huge thank you goes out to Amanda, Madison, Kelly and Rachel for sharing their own Dos and Don'ts with me for this post!

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11.22.2014

7 Things You [Maybe] Didn't Know About Me: One Lovely Blog Award


I was nominated by Nina at Flowers in My Hair, Faith from Life with Mrs. G and the Artist, and Kate from Ahoy Kate! for the One Lovely Blog Award. Part of the award is sharing seven things about yourself and I figured this would be a wonderful opportunity to do just that!

 1|| My husband and I hail from Northern Arizona more recently where we lived at 7,000ft and got more snow than our current home in Missouri. Don't let Arizona fool you people. 2|| I have a number of tattoos, this is my most recent. 3|| My husband and I don't particularly like cake, so we just had a small two-tiered cake at our wedding and opted for other desserts on the side instead. 4|| I'm overly expressive and hate having my photo taken. This is only one of the many examples. 5|| I am a Northern Arizona University alumni with a degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. I graduated with honors. 6|| I have a coffee obsession but that probably isn't a secret. 7|| My husband and I met while working at a private golf club. One season I taught Pilates there and it was my favorite thing ever.

The rules:
– You must display the award logo at the top of your post
– You must thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog in your post
– You must add these set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do
– You must add 7 facts about yourself into the post
– You must nominate 7 other blogs and leave links to each of them in your post
– You must let the people you have nominated know that they have been nominated
– You must follow the person back who nominated you on Bloglovin’ and GFC (if you have one)

 Now for my nominations!
Rachel | Our Yellow Door
Kaitlin | Sew My Soul
Amy | Set Free

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Hello Neverland

11.21.2014

Link Your Ink: My First "BIG" Tattoo


I always knew I wanted tattoos. BIG tattoos. By the time I was 19 I had two small tattoos and I had begun the work on my second largest: my Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, skull on my left shoulder. The Day of the Dead is a holiday where family and friends gather to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. My skull was a way of honoring those in my life that had been lost in a way that was beautiful.

Since this was going to be my first big tattoo, I was very careful about finding the right artist. I wanted someone that was skilled in Americana-style tattoos and that had a stellar portfolio. Thankfully, I stumbled upon an artist by the name of Keegan whom worked at a local shop owned by a guy from my hometown in California. I hung around the shop quite a bit trying to get to know Keegan better, stalking his portfolio, and watching him tattoo. Like I said, if I was going to put something on my body forever I wanted to make sure that it was done by the right person. Keegan was really great; even despite the fact that I was a naive 19 year old.

When I shared the idea with him, he was excited and sat down with me to draw up a few sketches. It was exactly what I wanted and I couldn't have been more excited. It's funny how close you can grow to an artist when you spend hours upon hours sitting in a chair while they tattoo you. After our first 3 hour session, the outline was done and I was sent home to heal before my next session.


About six weeks later when I went to go make another appointment, I got devastating news. Keegan had taken his own life just a few days prior. Somehow, this really impacted my life. I barely knew this guy but next thing I know I am at the tattoo shop donating to his benefit, meeting his family, and attending his funeral. It's funny how such a seemingly insignificant part of your life can leave such a lasting impact on you.

I didn't really feel right about working on my tattoo after that. I was left with an outline, and I wasn't sure if that was how it was always going to stay or not. Many artists won't touch other artist's unfinished work, and I didn't even know that I wanted them to. The owner of the shop, after almost a year, encouraged me to finish the tattoo. He reassured me that he had a talented artist that would give me just what I wanted. I gave in and decided to do it.

I don't even remember this guy's name to be honest. However, I do know that he did a great job on my shoulder. The tattoo isn't at all the idea that Keegan and I came up with originally, which took some adjustment, but in the end I was really happy with it.

A year or so later when I was ready to get my sleeve started, I tried to reach out to this artist again. This is when I took another hit. The artist who had finished my shoulder had overdosed on heroin and died.

I often joke with people that my tattoo is cursed. My current artist always jokingly says things like "I hope I don't die when I finish this piece." That's the only way you can make light of a situation like this.

What started as a memorial tattoo for a few people in my life, turned into a memorial for those whom I lost in the process as well. It's funny how things like that happen.

Although the circumstances are unfortunate, a lot of good has come from losing Keegan. I am still in touch with his wonderful family, whom have gotten me pretty involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and I have this amazing tattoo to remind me of what a talented artist and person he was.

Do you have any "memorial tattoos?"

Kaitlin and I hope that you will grab the button below and link up with your own tattoo story! The linkup will be open until next Friday so if you can't link up today be sure to sometime in the next week!

Link you Ink Link up on Sage



One last thing: in honor of tattoos use the code "TATTOO" to get 30% off any ad space (excluding the medium space) through next Friday!
 
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Hello Neverland

11.19.2014

Equally Yoked: Conflict in Marriage

Time for another installment of Equally Yoked! Kelli is a newlywed living in Texas with her husband (who has the most amazing testimony). She has been such a resource for me in my own marriage and she is full of God's grace and wisdom. I am so elated with where this series has taken us all and your sweet comments and encouragement have really inspired me. I feel that Kelli's post is such a great one now that we are halfway through the series. I love how she ties in topics from previous weeks and relates them to resolving conflict in your marriage. Thank you to those of you that have come back week after week to read each installment of this series. It means more than you know.
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Hey guys!  I'm Kelli and I blog over at A Deeper Joy.  I love to talk about all facets of life from marriage to beauty and most importantly, what the Lord is doing in my life and what I'm learning from Him.  My husband and I recently moved so right now we're just trying to figure out what God has for us where we are now! Thanks for having me in this amazing series, Cassie!

Just to give you a little background, I got married about a year ago at age 30 to my best friend of three years - not having dated that whole time.  We had an awesome foundation of friendship before we took it to the step of dating which was a whole new experience for me in the dating world.  I think it created a unique foundation for our relationship that allowed the Lord to be first, unlike my previous relationships.

Getting married at 30 meant that I knew what I wanted and was so ready for marriage, as I'd struggled with the timing and had it out with God on numerous occasions.  I can't imagine it being any other way and feel that our marriage has an amazing strength that I'm so grateful for!

However, it has definitely come with some struggles....struggles that I brought into our marriage that have caused conflict.  If you're married, have you had conflict in your marriage?!  If you say 'no', then I'm pretty sure you're fooling yourself, because we ALL struggle with conflict, some worse than others.

Today I want to share what I've learned about conflict in my year of marriage as well as what I've learned from my parents and other friends that are married.

1 // The goal is not to win.  I'm stubborn.  I spent 12 years on my own and developed a way of life and had a pretty good set of opinions and way of doing things - even the trivial things: laundry, washing dishes, making the bed, what kind of food to cook and what type of social activities I enjoyed.  But what do you know?!  My husband had a different set of opinions on these things which have caused conflict between us since we've been married. 

Have you been in that argument before?  You like dishes to be put directly into the dishwasher, but he thinks his cereal bowl should sit in the sink dirty for a while and then magically appear in the dishwasher a few days later? Ha! Arguments like this can escalate and turn into pretty ugly "discussions", but why?  Because we want to win.  We want to be right and for him to apologize.  But guess what?!  It's not always going to happen that way.  There are so many times in marriage that you just have to let things go - "choose your battles" I've heard other people say.  Even if you were right (the bowl should go into the dishwasher), is it really worth damaging your relationship just to "be right"?  I've learned to just let things go and not always have to be right.  It doesn't matter who "wins".  It matters how you handle the conflict and how you show love to your spouse in the process.

2 // Resolving conflict requires forgiveness.  Man, this one can be hard!  What if your spouse really does mess up? Whether it's a BIG mistake or little mistake, we are called to forgive them.  Hopefully he's asked for that forgiveness but even if he doesn't, we should offer it to him.  It means forgiving without expecting something in return.  It means forgiving with a gentle spirit and not holding it against him ever again. Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."  We have more opportunities in marriage to practice forgiveness.  We also have a great amount of power in lifting up or crushing our spouse's spirit.  Offering forgiveness is one of the best ways to encourage and lift up your spouse!

3 // Accept your spouse for who he/she is.  We try our hardest to know everything about our spouse before we get married, right?  But little do you know, there are characteristics about him or her that you learn along the way, big or small, that you don't really love.  Then we find ourselves trying to change that characteristic.  Let me preface it with this first - if you find out that that "characteristic" involves physical abuse, do NOT overlook it and think, "oh, that's just who he is."  Please seek help from someone that can help you and your spouse!

Now if that characteristic is something that does not cause you or your children harm, take a step back and think, "am I trying to change who my husband is?"  Say you don't like your husband's hobby of fishing. You'd rather he be at the gym lifting weights and developing bigger muscles.  But that's not him - he doesn't want to be that super fit guy. Fishing may be a huge part of who he is and what he loves.  If it's something he enjoys, don't take that away from him and try to turn him into something that he is not.  Allow him to be the man that he was when he married you.

4 // Communication is key.  This is one that I struggle with often.  Most conflict arises because of a breakdown in communication.  One person doesn't hear the other in the way it was meant to be taken and gets offended.  One person says something hurtful when they didn't mean it in a hurtful way.  One person never listens to the other person's point of view.  One person assumed the worst about the other.  The list goes on and on.  If you think back to your most recent argument, poor communication was most likely the culprit.

I am NO expert on this, but there is one thing that I've learned.  Assume the best about your spouse.  When my husband says something that offends me, I try to take a step back (before retaliating) and think, "did he really mean that to hurt me?  How can I put myself in his shoes and see this from his perspective?"
Quite often, he didn't mean it in the way that I took it.  If I look at it in that way, we can usually work it out calmly and productively.  Turn it around as well.  Think about how you talk to your spouse and how he might take what you say.  Be careful with your words - they are more powerful than you think.

What are other ways that you've been able to navigate conflict in marriage?  What are challenges that you face when conflict arises?
Connect with Kelli

See more from the series HERE.  

Hello Neverland

11.18.2014

Tell Me About Your Town: Things About My Town I Am Thankful For

I'm really excited to be linking up with Amanda and Rebecca today for the first "Tell Me About Your Town" linkup. You can find more about it here! Today's prompt is "Things About My Town I Am Thankful For." Although we have only lived in Missouri about a year and a half, it has really grown on me and I am starting to appreciate it a lot more. 

Since I am a graduate student, I spend a lot of my time on campus. One of the things about this town that I am most thankful for is this beautiful area. Mizzou's campus has amazing architecture and history. Although it was a transition after coming from a small university, I really love it here and it makes me feel incredibly fortunate to be a student.


Something I was really worried about before moving to Missouri was how sustainable it would be. I'm a big fan of all things sustainable. Growing up on the liberal west-coast, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect in terms of conservation. To my surprise, our town is really sustainable. This is probably because we are a big agriculture school. There are a number of community gardens and recycling programs around town that are pretty visible and well-known. There are award programs for using reusable grocery bags and recycling your plastics. I'm a fan.

The final thing about our town I am thankful for is how bicycle friendly it is. Although there are a few roads without bike lanes, overall it is a really great place for cyclists like my husband and me. It really makes commuting more pleasant and less nerve wracking.


What about your town makes you thankful for living there? What makes it stand out, in your opinion?

The Rambling Llama
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Hello Neverland

11.17.2014

5 Months In- What I Have Learned

 Today I am beyond excited to welcome Kristyn to the blog. Kristyn is a newlywed just like myself. Her wedding was absolutely gorgeous and she shares updates weekly! Be sure to check them out- you won't regret it! I have asked her to be here with you all today and she could not have chosen a more perfect topic. If you love Equally Yoked, I know you will love this post as well!

Chits and Giggles
Hi Sage readers. My name is Kristyn and I blog over at Chits and Giggles. I am a newlywed, a 30-something, and an Atlanta native. I am just sharing little bits of my life including all the "Chits" and the "Giggles".

I got married in June - June 21st to be exact (same day as Cassie) - and I can tell you that I have learned a few things. When we were engaged, I thought that marriage would be easy since we lived together before we got married. And for the most part, it has been similar to before we were married, but some things have changed.

5 Months In - What I've Learned * I am not a marriage expert at all, but I have learned quite a few things in my 5 months of marriage.
Learn each others love languages.
Jeremy and I express our love for each other in very different ways. I like to be shown that he loves me. I like when he touches me and let's me know that I am important to him. He likes when I complete one of his chores for him. We don't have designated chores, but he does the chunk of the dishes and I do most of the laundry. Learning each others love languages and actually using what you learn about each other will help you express yourselves. And you won't get frustrated when he doesn't always express love the way you like. Knowing how he views love is really important in your relationship.
Communicate
This one might seem like a no brainer to you, but trust me. You need to communicate. Over communicate if you can. We communicated when we were engaged, but I have made it a point in our marriage to communicate even more. We both come from divorced families, and I know for my parents, communication was nonexistent in the end. I clearly don't want to go down that road, so we communicate like it's no ones business.
Balance each others family obligations.
We are still working on this one, but you have to work on balancing each others families. Jeremy's mom and dad live out of state, but his sister is here. We don't visit as much as we should - and that is something we need to work on. We see my family (my mom, dad and sister all live in Atlanta) often. Balancing between seeing my family and Jeremy's sister is one thing we need to continue to work on.

What have you learned from being married? 


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Hello Neverland

11.15.2014

eShakti Review

eShatki dress
Ladies, I HATE shopping. It seems like every time I get really excited to go shopping, I can never find anything. But when I don't want to spend money on clothes, I seem to fall in love with EVERYTHING? AM I RIGHT. Anyways, this usually prevents me from going out shopping (unless I have a strange amount of patience that day).

When I heard about eShatki, I was intrigued. Honestly, it mostly sounded great because I could order custom clothing ONLINE. No trying on a million things at the store, fighting lines, or navigating my way through MASSIVE amounts of clothing racks.

Also, I've really been in need of some more business casual pieces for work. Dresses are always a go-to, but it can be hard to find dresses with sleeves that cover my tattoo. So you know I was excited when I found out I could customize an eShatki dress to have sleeves! Who knew?!

I was SO excited to get my dress in the mail. It came incredibly fast considering it is custom sized. Unfortunately, when it arrived, the cardboard packaging my dress was in was SOAKING wet. Luckily, the dress was in a sealed plastic bag inside.

The bad luck didn't stop there. Although I was IN LOVE with the dress (and got SO MANY amazing compliments about it), it started to fall apart within hours. First, I tried it on and noticed the waist was pretty large on me. Since I already have a hard time finding things that fit me, this was frustrating. Luckily, the belt it came with solved that problem. However, then I noticed that some of the threads were loose. No biggie, right? I can fix that. THEN, the top button of the dress fell off while I was SITTING in a chair. Sitting. As the day went on, I realized how poorly made the belt was. It wouldn't stay latched and kept coming undone. Classy.

I have felt really torn writing this review. On the one hand, I hate writing negative reviews about companies that send me their product to try. However, what I hate even more is being dishonest with my readers.

I promptly contacted eShatki's Media Relations before writing this post to let them know what had happened. They were incredibly accommodating and offered to send me prepaid return labels, alter the dress to my size, and send it back. If I didn't want to do that, I could send this dress back and pick a whole new one. I told them no because I can honestly fix these things myself and rather not go through the trouble. The belt can be replaced, and alterations can be made.

I debated about whether or not to write this post at all. Since eShatki isn't cheap, I decided that sharing my opinion might be useful to someone wondering whether or not to spend the money.

Here's the bottom line. Based on my experience, the dress is LOVELY. It's absolutely what I wanted and it's beautiful. However, it did not fit properly and seemed poorly made.

That being said, if you would still like to check out eShatki, I encourage you to do so. This was only my experience and I hope that it was only a rare case!

Have you ever written a negative review and shared it with your readers?

eShatki dress

eShatki dress

I received these products for free in exchange for my review. All opinions are honest and my own.

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Hello Neverland

11.14.2014

Coffee that Provides Clean Water to Uganda

Three Avocados Coffee
A few weeks ago, I was asked to try some coffee from Three Avocados. Now, if you know me at all, you know coffee is my love language. That being said, my immediate answer was YES PLEASE. GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEE. Little did I know, Three Avocados is SO much more than just a bag of precious caffeine.

Three Avocados was started after their founder, Joe Koenig, visited Uganda in 2010. He writes, "I was absolutely stunned at what I saw. The level of poverty was unimaginable, yet the people were some of the kindest, most generous that I've ever met. In fact, it was the generosity of one widow in particular that inspired our name when she selflessly gave all she had, three avocados, so that others could eat."

If that simple story doesn't speak directly to your heart, I'm not sure what will.

Three Avocados is a non-profit coffee company. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of their net proceeds provide clean drinking water in Uganda and education in Nicaragua. In Uganda, water is HOPE. You can read more about their mission here.

Three Avocados Coffee

After learning more about the organization, I was pretty sure the coffee would taste like gold just purely out of osmosis from these people's hearts. And it didn't disappoint.

I encourage you to read more about Three Avocados and check out their affordable LIFE CHANGING coffee. What are you waiting for? Your coffee can change a life.

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Hello Neverland

11.13.2014

Thanksgiving Vlog

I gave into the peer pressure and decided to join in on the Golden Vlog series this month. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I was joking about catfishing you all. Surprise, I'm not a catfish! However, I am awkward on camera and that might be scary enough. Enjoy!


Life w/ Mrs G & the Artist

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Hello Neverland