Friday, August 31, 2012

Well hello there!

So nice of you to drop by! I thought you'd been avoiding me. What? I've been dead silent for four months and you thought I was ignoring you? Nonsense! I was just, um, a little bit, um, well, it's been.... Summer! There, I can blame everything on a the glorious summer I've had. Can't be cooped up blogging when there is summer to enjoy, can I?

Now that we have that out of the way, hello! Overall, life has been very good and I'm excited to get back here sharing music, hospitality and Jesus with you again. I have a few posts rattling around in my head about the amazing new music that's been released this month, the bible study I'm starting next month, and the autumn party hosting plans I have which will all come pouring out in the coming weeks.

I left you all on the rather heavy topic of finances. Since that time, I've paid down 7% of my debt, made two major repairs to my car and paid/saved for a week trip to Florida (taking The Boyfriend home to meet the fam!) I've been learning to coupon and so far I've reduced my grocery budget by 33%.  My goal is to bring it down more to reach a full 50% reduction from what I was spending at the beginning of the year. Being the organizational freak that I am, I'm actually having a LOT of fun with couponing. Fits my personality well. I've been slacking off on that adventure that was not-to-be-named, but with the summer over, I'm going to kick it into high gear and show that debt who's boss!

Enjoy your holiday weekend if you are in the US of A, or your regular weekend if you're anywhere else.  See you next month!

P.S.  If you're new around here, be sure to check out that link up there ^ that says FAVORITE POSTS because really, they're my favorite for a reason!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Emotional Money

I need to study Dave Ramsey. Can anyone tell me, does he cover money and the emotional single girl?

I grew up with a family that never had extra cash. I learned lots of good budgeting and frugal living lessons from my mom. I might have been the only person doing the envelope system with my 50 cent allowance at age 5. I made it most of the way through my 20s with a savings account and no debt. I was on top of this stuff! But then I encountered real grief for the first time. No one mentioned emotional health and it's effect on your finances.

My dad died every suddenly in 2008. I went through all the emotional stages. They took longer than I thought. And I wasn't prepared that the resulting depression meant I wouldn't care. I am not the type to not care. I didn't budget. I didn't track. I didn't care.

For the rest of the year and the following two years, I didn't track anything. I traveled, I shopped, I ate out. I had never carried a credit card balance in my life, but somewhere in there, I let the balance roll over. I budgeted sometimes, but only to make sure I could make the next minimum payment. (I never missed any of those thankfully.)

I finally started to care again in 2010. I was scared by what I saw in my accounts. I moved to find cheaper rent at the beginning of 2011. I cracked down and restarted my account several months later and studied where my money was going. I found a LOT of money in my budget that is now going towards erasing those credit cards.

You might ask what being single has to do with anything.

Monday, April 2, 2012

For He is kind

Sometimes we forgot the simple things. Sometimes we make things difficult and detailed. Sometimes we need to get back to basics. This is why one of my favorite verses is Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

We struggle to find the answers in life. We struggle to know how to interact with this world that we are in and not of. Along these lines, I offer you this passage today. Read, ponder, think and chew.

Luke 6

27 But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.32 But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.37 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clutter awry

Ladies and Gentlemen, this project has been a failure! Sometimes, the best intentions go awry. There has been no deculttering in my home since my last post. Technically, I've cluttered. You see, I had this storage unit that I've finally cleaned out. And by cleaned out, I mean I moved it all into my living room.  So the storage unit is 100% decluttered! But my living room? Not so much. My personal goal is now to get all those boxes opened up and taken care of once and for all.  Some need to be condensed into scrapbooks. Some need to be repacked in Rubbermade and shoved into the crawl space. Some might just need to be trashed.

What about you?  Did any of you keep up with Simple Mom and her projects? (  She's a great motivator!

Life otherwise is peachy keen! Winter is gone, spring has come, and all is well in the world. See you soon for a real post!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Our first project!

Okay, time to get with the simplifying!

Tsh has posted a great motivational kick-off post to get us moving. Check it out and then tackle your first project; either the kids' stuff or your bathroom/linen closet like I plan to do.

Before: (cleaning products, travel toiletries and shampoo in one big mess!)

Tune in later this week for the AFTER picture!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Is "decluttering" a real word?*

It's become very trendy to claim a word for a year. Sometimes the word is about something they're learning that year, such as learning about joy or grace. Sometimes the word is about action, such as challenge or expand. I haven't followed the trend very well. I waited until last year was half over and then I choose TWO words and I'm reusing them this year. My words are RICH and FOCUSED.

I am an organized person living with some messy person tenancies. I procrastinate, hoard and, well, I think those are the main issues. My home is regularly in need of some TLC which my mind is SCREAMING to offer it, yet that pesky procrastination keeps interfering with again and again.

In my quest to be FOCUSED in this area, I'm joining a blog challenge for the month of March and I'm offering you to join me. Start by reading this amazing post titled What's Holding You Back from Decluttering?

(((waiting, waiting, oh, you're back!)))

That was a really good post, wasn't it?? I realized my lack of FOCUS here was robbing me of the RICHness I was desiring. This is why I am joining Project: Simplify for the month. You'll be seeing two posts a week from me on this topic. The first will be sharing the week's assignment from Tsh over at and the second will be sharing how I actually DID on that assignment, complete with before and after photos!

Click on that empty box and you can read about how Tsh plans to get us moving. One little tweak I'll offer to you. Her first project is to declutter your kids' stuff.   don't have any of those at the moment, so I'm planning to declutter my bathroom and my equivalent of a linen closet.

See you Monday for our first assignment!

*not according to  Maybe in the next edition?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sunshine, cleanliness and shoes

Today is a day that makes me smile. Is it the 65 degree sunny weather outside? The nice clean office that I purged yesterday? The new shoes on my feet? The boyfriend who loves to spend time with me?
(it's through glass, forgive the reflections)
Yes, yes it is.
Psalm 118
23 This was the Lords doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
James 1
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Community. We all crave it. We want to belong. Be understood. Be supported. Receive solid app recommendations. 

What? Did you think I was talking about a deep emotional issue here? Well, I kinda am. This girl is very emotional about her smartphone!

Once upon a time, I had a phone that just made phone calls. Then my brothers insisted that I use it to send text messages. I hated typing with a phone keyboard. Everyone around me had a Blackberry. They had email and QWERTY keyboards don't you know. Pretty fancy! In March of 2009 I joined the world of smartphones with a pink Blackberry Curve. Oh how I loved that thing! I felt so DC.

This was my NKOTB era as well. All the Blockheads had BBs to keep up on Twitter at all times. Twitter was our clubhouse, our hangout, our community. My BB kept that community within reach day and night. BBs were part of our culture.

Then my brother started talking about his fancy new Android phone. It did lots of fun things. It could even use the internet in an actually USEFUL way! With Flash and everything. Email and QWERTY weren't enough for me anymore. I wanted the full internet experience! Silly as it sounds, being in the BH community made it hard for me to leave BB, but I decided to make the change. Enter the Droid 2 Global by Motorola in November of 2010.

Now, you could tweet just as well on a droid as on a BB. And soon, as the twitter apps improved, you could tweet even better! And the pretty shiny WWW was so nice to have at my fingertips. I bonded with my brother and a few friends over the wonderful world of android. I grew to love and rely on Google Navigation to get me around the incredibly huge "town" called the Greater DC area. Google and I are besties. I give Google all my email, contact and calendar info and in exchange I get all my info on the go and fully integrated.

But you know what I've discovered? The iPhone people out there have a pretty tight knit community going on. Because every phone is like the other, everyone has a phone that works just like their friend's phone. Not a lot of customization in models or anything else. I used to think this was a negative. But I'm also realizing that I'm not as big a geek as I wish I was and I don't really make use of the android customization options.

If you took a survey of my closest friends, you'll see all sorts of phones. The ones that just make phone calls and all three main types of smartphones. But the percentage with iPhones just keep growing. I even know someone who switched from android to iPhone. (SHOCK. HORROR. DISMAY.)

Community is a very powerful thing. When I'm eligible for an upgrade this summer, community will be part of my consideration. I'll consider screen size and processors and LTE networks, but I'm also going to consider the people around me who make my life rich and focused. Because even my technology touches my heart.

(mobile technology is a very personal thing: a very interesting review of iPhone by an android user)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Home - revisited

Three months ago, I issued you a challenge. Remember? I never fully circled back, though I did give you MY update and gave you an extenstion through the end of the year
The Challenge: Have people over to your house between now and Thanksgiving. As long as they come in and stay long enough to sit down, it counts. I'll be asking how it went!
So now I want to know!  How did it go??? What are you doing NOW to open your home this year? Fill me in!

I've been stretching my boundaries a bit. A few months back I opened my home and started leading a bible study a couple times a month. I threw the party I told you all about. I've had friends over hear and there. I've been happy to invite people over at the spur of the moment for two reasons. #1 - my home stays cleaner and less cluttered when I routinely have people over and #2 - when I routinely have people over, my impossibly high standards of perfection lower to a more normal level. Know what I do now? I let people into my home when there are dirty dishes in my kitchen sink and hair on my bathroom floor!

SHOCK   HORROR   Really, I need to keep up with both of these a little more, but I'm not letting them hold me back.

My next challenge? Can I make my home kid friendly? Hmmmmm.......

(Don't forget, leave a comment with your own story of how you met this challenge.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's been almost six months since I broke-up with Facebook.  I've had an account for just my family since then, plus a "page" for this blog. I've felt the itch now and again. I've also enjoyed the freedom. When I started dating The Boyfriend, I realized I hadn't considered how my family-only FB related to that sort of relationship. I tried over-thinking it, since I'm so good at over-thinking things. I finally said to myself, "Forget it! You did this because FB wasn't fun anymore. Don't let it add stress again. You want to be "friends" with The Boyfriend, then do it!" (though in my head, I called him Josue, because I really only say The Boyfriend on this blog and at work, not in the rest of my life) So I did it. I asked him to be my friend. And then I asked him to be in a relationship with me. On FB, since these things were already true in real life, just in case I've confused you. And you know what? THIRTY-SEVEN of his friends, many of them my friends as well (just not on FB), hit that little "like" button. And that made me smile. And this is how I knew I made the right FB decision. Because it lead to smiles and only smiles.

And then the other night I thought about contacting someone and realized I didn't have a phone number for them. Or an email address. And that if I had a normal Facebook account, it would be super helpful and easy. So yesterday I said, "What the hey!" (because good girls say hey), and friend-requested some people. I was going to rule FB and not let it hold me back.

Now, you might wonder if you can be my friend. I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. I haven't created a set of rules for who can be my friend and I don't think I will. What I WILL be doing is following the spirit of RICH & FOCUSED that I wrote about back in July. And if FB tries to run my life again? You can be sure I'll be doing what I need to keep my priorities straight.  Facebook is SECONDARY to real life. Not the other way around.

If you've struggled with Facebook, consider pulling the plug. You can read HERE why I did it back in July. Social media is constantly evolving and the way we let it interact with our lives needs to be monitored. Don't be afraid to make a fresh start.

Oh, and don't even THINK of asking me to play FarmVille. Really. Don't.

And as an aside, I'm avoiding making my Facebook commercial as much as I can. I'm not "liking" businesses just to get coupons. They just aren't getting that power over me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pose for me, pose for me

I love photographs that = memories. I would much rather take pictures than buy souvenirs on a trip. I love the stories that are held in my photo albums. A few weeks ago I was given the privilege of participating in a photoshoot sponsored by my church leadership and Ginny Filer Photography. The church was prepping for a new website that launched this week (which looks AMAZING [because Jenna Jones Designs rocks too!].) We took pics we would need for the site and Ginny was gracious enough to take extra pics for all of us. It was a lot of fun and I'm so excited to have new memories of my dearest friends!
(You can check out the official public album HERE on Facebook.)

I really do love hospitality!  I'm offering you a muffin and coffee right now.

 There were also some fun color effects!

(more pics after the jump)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy just to be

Over Christmas I was down in Florida visiting my family and while I was there I managed to make it over to the beach twice, once with my mom and once alone.

There is nothing like sitting on a warm beach.
The wind.
The sun.
The waves.
The salt in the air.
The seagulls. (Really, I like them.)

I spent a little more time there then I should have one day, just soaking all that up. My back soaked up a little TOO much sun...I should have known better. But it was very much worth it. There is something therapeutic about listening to the ocean. It manages to clear your mind and heart unlike anything else.

If you live within a decent driving distance from the ocean, make a little trip. Cold or not, just go and sit an hour. Dig your toes in the sand and let the majesty of creation surround you.