Thursday, April 30, 2009

I must say...


Again, that God is so faithful. He provided the sweetest friends (namely Debra & Kelly) to devote an entire day to packing all of our things. You can't imagine how much peace and relief I felt after all of that help. (Packing and unpacking are at the top of my list of "Things I Don't Like Doing"). So, our house has been a maze of boxes for the past week (we move tomorrow), we've been confined to our bedroom, eating random leftovers (like turkey steaks and jello. and cutting those turkey steaks with a plastic (barely serrated) knife), drinking water out coffee cups
---and you know what---this has been one of the best weeks of our marriage. We are together. And I've decided that I'll "live in a tent" with Stephen just as long we're together, loving each other. And I thank God that He does things in such an upside down way. In the most unlikely of circumstances (ie; living in a cardboard wonderland, moving in with the parents), my heart safely trusts Him with the outcome of this whole thing...and that in and of itself is a sign and wonder.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last Night I was remembering....

Several defining moments in my life when God showed me He was there. And I think it's important to recall such things because they remind me of His steady love for us. So I'll share:



1) About 9 years ago, when I was at the Teen Maina Honor Academy, my mom ordered me a coffee pot. She ordered this coffee pot on a Thursday. Unbeknownst to me, they told her that the coffee pot was on back order so it would take a minimum of two weeks to arrive. In the meantime, I prayed privately and asked God to deliver the coffee pot on Friday (because I was having a meeting and I thought it would be special to serve coffee). The coffee pot was on my desk Friday morning. I knew that God did that for me. And I called my mom ecstatic (not knowing about the back order thing) and she was blown away. Now this may sound trite because I've prayed for much much bigger things in my life (like people to healed and then they pass away), but this was a moment in my life that God just wanted to wink at me and let me know He hears me and I'm His daughter. And really I can't think of another time that something like this has happened again. But at that point, this did wonders for my childlike faith.






2) In 2003, I approached my parents about giving me their blessing to go to Afghanistan to teach English. My mother's words exactly were, "Over my dead body. I'll never give you my blessing to go there." And I told her that I wouldn't go without her blessing. So, the next day when we were lying on her bed watching TV, I brought it up again and just gave her some more background. She asked me how much money I had to raise and I told her $10,000, to which she responded, "If you can raise $10,000 I'll believe this is God and I'll give you my blessing." So with God's help, I raised $10,000. And the night before I left, she called and told me that she wanted to me know that I had her full and complete blessing. God showed me that He had it handled the entire time.

And a side note...when I got back from Afghanistan about 4.5 months later, I was put in ICU for viral meningitis. Needless to say, this put me out of commission for quite a while. And even after two months of being in bed in California, another full month of recovery in Dallas, and a bunch of medical bills, my mom still said that if we had to go back and do it all over she would, because she really believed that it was God's will that I went to Afghanistan.







3) And most recently was my wedding day. I prayed for several months that I wouldn't be "bridezilla". You see, for most of my life there's been a control beast that comes out on special occasions and it tries to sabotage my peace and joy. And because I knew my wedding was like the pinnacle of my party planning, I prayed about this a lot. And you know what? My wedding day was a dream. And not one single thing set me off. God filled me with peace and I let the little things go. And really this was so clearly God showing me that He was there, right there.

It's so important that I remind myself of moments like these because I can't always "feel" Him. But He is always there, and I am so grateful.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lazy weekend and Garage Sale Finds=$2.50

We had a great weekend. Friday night we did n-o-t-h-i-n-g, and it was awesome. I spent Sat morning with some girlfriends, having breakfast and then watching "The Soloist" (excellent, tasteful film, two thumbs up). Then Saturday night, Stephen and I watched the Mavericks playoff game with our friends, The Bunkers. Sunday we went to church and then Anna joined us shooting & we ate delicious Mexican food afterwards. Then we got home and I took a 3.5 hour nap! I never nap. I think I've been emotionally drained by this past week, my body needed the sleep :).

And Friday I stopped by a garage and found these few things, for a total of $2.50:

Love this belt (it matches my cowboy boots perfectly):



I plan on putting several unique cacti in this cool faux wooden box:



And here's a nice Saturday lounging shirt. Nothing special at all, but perfect to throw on with shorts and flip flops:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Well....

....I've spent the majority of my day packing with several of my dear friends and now our house is in boxes. We don't physically move until May 2, but most everything is in boxes now. We will be living with Stephen's parents for the next month or two while we look for a house. We're still not sure if we're going to buy or lease again this next go around. And the reason that we're moving now, before we actually find a house, is because neither of us were feeling safe in our neighborhood anymore (and it will be good to save a couple of months of rent and bills). It's crazy because the property value in our neighborhood is SO high (like the dirt alone for most small lots on our street costs $200k, $500 if you put a nice house on it). But it's still known for crime. And between: Two car break ins (well, technically 3, but we caught the guy the 2nd time), a drunk frat boy trying to get in our house at 2am, and party's all night long next door, we decided it's time to GO. So pray for our next step, we just want to do what's best for our future and we need God's guidance.

The last few days I've kinda felt gloomy about leaving our first home, the first place we ever lived together and the first place I've felt a sense of ownership over. Have you ever felt that way? I told Stephen it's like I need to subtly grieve the passing of one season and the beginning of the next; this home is very symbolic of that for me. The home feels like an extension of who I am and this home in particular represents so much of what these past two years have meant to me....cooking my first salmon (thanks Jess;), waking up in the morning to my "husband" (I still call him that in morning too...I say, "Hi husband":)), decorating just the way I want (without three other female opinions;), grilling together on the patio, and for the first time in my life having my own matching dishes. And you know the funny thing? I moved in "exactly" two years ago May 1. Isn't that crazy? We've been going month to month for a year now, but it ended up being exactly two years. I took a video of our duplex this morning before we started packing (I'll attempt to post it, but that's never likely;) and just appreciated each little brass door knob, the old mexican tile, and my painted kitchen ceiling.

My friend Kathie put it best last night, "Your undoing your nest."



And as most women probably feel as they undue their nest, I'm just feeling really low, pray for that too if you can. I'm a highly emotional female, so that's part of it, but I'm also letting of a lot of expectations for our future. And I just want to take this time in my life to deepen my trust in God's plan to give me a future and a hope.
And He's never disappointed me. That's all for now, hopefully the next post will be much more colorful ;)~.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Coupons and Jello

I found a new sight for good coupons (for stuff you actually buy on a regular basis):

RED PLUM. COM

And I made a yummy, easy, jello recipe (from a local Dallas restaurant) the other night and it turned out well.

2 c Sour Cream

2 c Cranberry Sauce

2 packs of Rasberry Jello


Cook the jello as normal. Blend Sour Cream and Cranberry Sauce. Combine all three. Pour into a glass dish (& paper towel off little bubbles---per the cooks advice to me) and chill overnight. It tastes just like raspberry sherbet. I LOVE it!

We spent some time with my Grandparents this weekend and I'll post pics tomorrow. Also, we're getting ready to move (and I'm getting very sad).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I was on TV...

Stop by BRATIQUE HELENE and follow the link! (It says the link doesn't work, but it really does).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Showing off...

...So I'm unbashedly going to brag about the stuff my mom and I found together last weekend. Because I've realized that once you get married that satisfying part of living with women who "Ooooo and Ahhhh" over all of your treasure hunt finds is pretty much no more :). So at least I can come here for one or two "Ewwws and Ahhhhs".

Well, my camera's not working, so I had to "personally" model each item in front of my computer (lucky you. not to mention the fact I felt like such a dork taking these pictures (and you know, when I tried to dodge the camera and not show my face it looked even more odd, so I thought, why not pretend this isn't so awkward, right;)?. And personally, I appreciate it when people post pics of themselves and not just their kiddos b/c I miss seeing their faces. okay okay, so enough already!)

My mom's personal favorite find ($10):




My personal favorite find ($10):



Our overall favorite find ($20):



Fun bracelet ($1):




Cork watch ($2):




All at the inspiration of Anna (who sports 80s jewelry oh so well) ($.25):



They make my mother "gag" (and I love them) ($6):




This is an authentically vintage table cloth, it still had the gold label from 1951 indicating that it had been handpainted. There are a few stains I'm still trying to get out, but I love this color blue and gold together ($6):



The best part of our treasure hunts is that my mother and I have SO much fun together and we share a love for vintage things. And we have such similar taste. And the most expensive item was $20 (which is steep for me, but that necklace is stunning up close & my mom "insisted";). And a note to you Californians (yes I'm still one at heart), you have THE best thrift stores and garage sales! Retro Galore. I'm jealous!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Before and Afters...

Here are three BEFORE AND AFTER's--- 1 2 3 --- that inspired me this morning. This is why I don't like to buy many things "new", it's just too affordable and "fun" to renovate old things.



Like who thinks of adding wallpaper to chairs & trollies? So ingenious. (The only drawback is that these days nice wallpaper can be expensive b/c it's not in demand. For example, I went to Home Depot last week and asked them where the wallpaper section is and they said they don't carry wallpaper anymore, can you believe it?)













And here's another gal---KNACK--- that I've recently begun to admire (stalk) and if I lived in South Carolina I'd beg her to hire me! Her stuff is incredible. Looking at these things makes me think stuff like..."What should I do with my life? Master sewing or learn how to restore furniture, or both?"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I'm back in Dallas...

I don't really know where to begin, not because I'm not doing okay (I'm in a good place), but because so much has happened over the past five days. And when you watch someone else's grieving process it touches you. I feel impacted today. I'll give you the brief version (well, I'm not sure I'm capable of making anything brief).

I left my house Friday morning at 3:30am (ouch!) in order to be at the airport in time for my 6am flight. And at 3:30 am (5:30am Central), Uncle Norman passed away. Once I arrived in San Jose my Aunt Angel and I drove directly to Chico, CA to be with the family. My Aunt has had an extremely hard season and I was so grateful to be with her during this time. Growing up we spent a lot of time together, so it feels like no time passes in between visits. Once she and I arrived in Chico, my great Aunt LaDonna and Angel hugged and hugged and cried deeply. We spent the next three days just being together, all of us. Here's a picture of everyone together:



One thing that impacted me in a profound way was how much Aunt LaDonna loved Uncle Norman. And after 55 years of marriage she lost her soul mate, all in a weeks time. She shared stories and memories and processed the last month of his life (little things they did together) and listening to her was such a gift for me in my new marriage. One thing she said that sobered everything inside of me was this,

"I'd live in a tent with him if he was still here."

Do you know how many times that has echoed in my mind. And not in a haunting sort of way, but in a way that brought me relief.
You see, Stephen and I have been "considering" buying our first home this year and "I" have been in a lot of fear. Not fear about buying, but fear about not buying. My fear-driven train of thought has gone something like this, "Will we ever grow up and settle somewhere? Will we ever have even a 5 year plan? Will we ever own anything? Will I ever get to decorate something in a permanent sense? Will I be 35 before we have our first child? Do people think we're incapable of being adults?"....and on and on and on. But what these last few days have brought to me was a renewed sense of trust. Trust in God, that he is guiding both me and Stephen, and that he has a future and a hope for our family. And trust in Stephen, that he has a lot of wisdom and that he loves me and wants what's best for our family. I can rest in those two things and wether we live in an apartment next or wether we buy a house doesn't matter. What matters is that we have each other, we're in love, and we're a team. Come what may, we're gonna make it together.

I also had a ton of fun spending a few hours garage sale-ing and rummaging through a thrift store with my mom and my aunt. It was cute, my mom picked out (and bought me!) so many fun things. Maybe I'll post pics of my favorite finds later this week. It's crazy how to see how similar mine and my mother's taste has become (however, I bought several things that made her "gag", like a loud cherry/white/navy pair of vintage pumps. Oh and I was reminded where my "drama queen" persona originated from...ahem...mother). Here's a few pics from my trip (btw, my mom thinks she looks awful in this pic, so I must give the disclaimer that she had just woken up. And I must add that I bought her the earrings she's wearing at a garage sale for $1.):




Me and Aunt LaDonna:



One of the last pictures of Uncle Norman:

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I leave in the morning....

Please pray for my family right now, specifically my great Aunt LaDonna. Uncle Norman is in the last few days of his life and she's having a really hard time. I fly out early tomorrow morning to meet my Aunt Angel (who just finished her breast cancer chemo and radiation treatment six months ago) and drive up from San Jose to Chico, CA to be with the rest of family. Uncle Norman was like Angel's dad (the one I'm driving with), so I wanted to spend some time with her too. Please pray for God's comfort to be tangible. Pray that God would simply use my presence as an extension of Himself. Thank you so much.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me...to comfort all who mourn." -Isaiah 61:1&2

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Second best is a-okay with me...

First of all, thanks for giving me a venue to brag about my Neiman's finds on my WalMart budget. Cause c'mon, what girl likes to shop without showing her friends what she bought?!

So here's the lamp I just found at a garage sale for 10 bucks. I've liked this style of lamp for quite some time, but could never afford it's competitors. I don't mind replicas, as long as they're not super cheesy or plastic, and they must be budget friendly:




It's competitors:

Design Within Reach, only $390 (yeah go out and get one today!!!):




Euro Lighting $374.71



Euro Lighting, $399.91



Euro Lighting, $599 (oh, that's all?!):




And a while back I bought this lamp at Wal Mart for $9.99, nice huh?




And though I couldn't find a close original, here's a lamp with similar sensibility:

Hive $380



Okay, and I just have to brag about this vintage wallet in mint condition (real leather). I love it and it cost me a quarta:



And at the suggestion of my new blogger friend, (she's awesome, i've stalked her for awhile now, you should check her stuff out), here's my nifty wallet's competitor:

Nordstrom, HOBO $78



So here's to fancy finds from my second-hand pocket book. Cheers!