a rainbow's promise

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What have I been up to... Quite a few things, actually.
For now I will update on our recent trip back home to Texas. My, was it too short or what! We were so happy to be in the lone star state and got a full dose of family and Whataburger, as well as enjoyed a beautiful homemade and completely personalized and Elaina-style wedding! Yes, my sister in law Elaina was married last weekend to this boy named Dylan. They are too cute together! But I have to say that since Marshall and I were the yellow to their rainbow, the only pictures I have of the event are the ones my mom sent to me after the fact. Sorry not sorry! Being in a wedding is fun, and I love seeing the pictures of us match in yellow. We love yellow! It's kind of our thing. Hence:
The wedding took place at my in-laws' front yard. It was awesome. I seriously had no idea how it would turn out, but it was really beautiful. Everything was homemade, from the flowers to the table settings to the shoes to the yard décor. I don't have really any pictures of the details but it was wonderful. Elaina & Dylan are an eclectic pair to say the least, so the rainbow theme fit perfectly to their aurora. They are the kind of people that light up a room just by stepping in!
My father in law pastored their wedding as well, and gave his only daughter away that day. My mother in law made the cakes, just like at our wedding, and guess what? It was rainbow layered! So good! Sorry I don't have pictures of that, but take my word for it. She makes cakes for a living, well part of it, and they are delicious every time. A family friend DJ'd the whole shebang on the patio. The after party was a riot. There was even a bonfire once it got dark in the pasture, until it rained on everyone and we had to move the party inside! Another family friend did all the flowers (so much cheaper...she basically bought out the local grocery store floral shop, then made it all herself!) Everyone in the wedding party helped set up and take down. A few things were rented, like the chairs and tables and tablecloths. The programs were actually fans that were homemade. But it was wonderful and so personal and sweet.
See what I mean? We hung those lanterns in the tree, where the ceremony took place. How cool is that rainbow?! And look at the tulle on the bottom of her dress & her shoes! My sis in law is pretty cool :)
I love also how my father in law integrated the rainbow theme into the ceremony. He began by speaking of God's promise of the rainbow, that he will never flood the earth again, found in Genesis 9. The rainbow is a sign of the covenant between God and his earth, a reminder of our God and his promise, his blessing to us. And so Elaina & Dylan are to enter into a covenant of marriage, one full of promises and blessings as well! And of course the rainbow color fits their personalities well!
Family! All the men wore suspenders and shoes of their color. We couldn't find yellow shoes for Marshall so he just wore his boots. All the ladies wore dresses and shoes of their color. I had my dress and shoes picked out for months - Then forgot to pack my shoes (big bummer there!). I ordered yellow lace toms especially for this. So we instead went to Old Navy and got some $6 yellow flip flops to suffice. Elaina of course painted hers rainbow! And my father in law wore a rainbow bowtie and suspenders! How cool?!! And look at the tulle on that arbor!
All the ladies - Now you can see the rainbow!
Well, that wedding weekend went by way too fast. It was such a short trip home, but it felt amazing to be back on Texas soil. The homeland. Each time we go back we always leave our hearts there. It's just hard being away from some place so integral. We are both Texan born and bred (Okay, so I wasn't born there [Army brat], only Marshall was, but you get the point) - forget California! Ha, I guess the Marine Corps doesn't think so, we still have another two and a half years here on the west coast. It's so strange living far from family now, even though I've kind of always done so. But we're still enjoying our time here :)
So what is that... One out of three of our collective siblings are married, right? Here's to the next family weddings...Whenever that may be! I know we've missed a few living away, and are going to miss another later in the year, which is a bummer. But hey - not so long from now we will be roadtrippin' back for Christmas with the pups in tow! Now to finish homework, head on over to bible study, clean the house, read, plan the next few blog posts.... Yep. Until next time!

Walkin' on Sunshine..

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Well, I was finally able to catch up on my blog reading and it looks like Emily from Just the Stew of Us nominated me for another Sunshine Award! Yipee! Without further adieu, here are her questions!! Also, since I already did one of these and am feeling quite lazy at the moment with all the studying catch up, I'm just going to answer the questions for now... {And don't worry,  I will add pictures later once my computer stops acting funny}

1. If you could travel to one place in the world, where would you go? I would go back to Texas and STAY FOREVER with my studmuffin. This past wedding weekend was too much of a tease, we really miss it. I don't care as long as I'm home!
2. What is one beauty product you can't live without? Chapstick! Or homemade sugar  scrubs.. My skin is so soft because of those!
3. What is your biggest fear? Haven't thought much about that...
4. You only get one food item to eat for the rest of your life.  What do you eat? Easy - chocolate. As long as the "one food item" includes ANYTHING chocolate-like or covered in chocolate. Is it funny that we just watched the chocolate episode of Good Eats? So good!
5. Who is your celebrity crush? No one, really. In middle school I really liked Orlando Bloom. In high school I really liked Cary Elwes (Westley in The Princess Bride, DUH). Now... I really like my husband ;) He's famous in my book!
6. If someone had to describe you in five words, what words would they use? N/A ....{I have no idea how to choose! Any input??}
7. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? I see this question everywhere... Probably the ability to cook a meal like Giada! If only I could cook, that is!
8. What is the best gift you've ever received? I would have to think about that one.. Perhaps the gift of  a wedding from my parents? Best decision I've made!
9. What is your dream car? Any type of convertible I guess! I haven't really thought about that much, but I love our new Ford Escape right now. It's an awesome car. It would have to be a Ford though, never another!
10. What would you do with 1 million dollars? I would invest half of it, pay off any debts, set aside money for graduate degrees, pay for our land and forever home back in Texas in cash, then put it in savings...And whatever else we can think of! We'd probably each take a little chunk for a shopping spree and a really fancy schmancy date night as well!
11. Tell me about your most memorable date.  It can be with your spouse or maybe just a really awkward date you once had. One of my favorite nights with Marshall was back in College Station, when we were both students at A&M still. We took a break from studying and extracurricular duties, and planned to go to Lake Somerville. We got ourselves chicken from Layne's, an Aggieland staple, then stocked up on blankets and pillows from my dorm and went down to the lake for a picnic. At that point we just reached one month of dating, so this was a fun little impromptu date to have a picnic! We watched the sunset off the lake and enjoyed just getting to know each other better in the great state of Texas. Miss that place!

In the Christmas mood...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Well, I see that it's been a few days since I've visited blogland. Sorry, not sorry! Things have been really crazy around here. I finished finals in my 2 subterm classes and got an A and a B. Then I started my other 2 subterm classes and worked ahead in order to avoid late assignments.

Photo: So excited to start this today!! Love her other book One Thousand Gifts. Also, it's never too early for Christmas! Can't wait for this season.Then I started reading Ann Voskamps' The Greatest Gift, a Christmas devotional, and I just had to - I got a mini tree for my office and decorated it, and got all of the boxes of ornaments out of the garage! Christmas is in the air!!! I am so excited to celebrate the full love story of Christmas - Jesus' birth. I am just getting a head start on it all. I even have my Pandora tuned to the Christmas station, every time I study. And I have found that it helps so much on my studying! It puts me in such a wonderful mood. No matter how bad a day I've had, I just have to listen to this music to remind myself of the true meaning and gift of Christmas. I just have to listen to this music to remember God's great plan for us in that day over 2000 years ago. It brings me so much joy just to think about this season! I've never been a big fan of halloween, and thanksgiving - well - I give thanks every day! Thanks to Ann Voskamp's other great book, One Thousand Gifts, I have learned to seek joy in every situation, and to make lists each day of the little things I'm thankful for. Sunshine. New friends. Bible study. Puppies. Candles. Memories framed in pictures. Homemade laundry detergent. Stuffed bell peppers. Crafts. Books. School. Neighbors. You get the idea! So I celebrate thanksgiving year round thanks to her book, and now I'm studying the gift and birth of Jesus- getting a head start on Christmas- thanks to her newest book!


Aside from all this, we are getting ready to head to Texas - HOME!- early in the morning. I mean seriously early. We still need to pack and clean the house up a little bit. I finally got everything in one concise bag for my sister-in-law's wedding gift. But I still need to actually pack - laundry just finished! So much to do- devotional, packing, cleaning, dishes, food for animals, studying, carry-on bag (choosing books for the flight...Toughest job of them all!). I feel incredibly blessed to have met a godly woman and to have made a wonderful friend here since I started going to the bible study on base. She came over for a bit earlier and we had a little heart to heart, then I gave her my key and got to packing! She is watching our sweet Scruffy while we are gone, and also our Trigger kitty, though she's just gonna stop by each day to feed them and walk the pups. It was such a nice day!

Things have started to slowly turn around here. I think it's that I'm in the Christmas mood, I am ready for more of Jesus, more community, more love and holiday joy!  I am so ready for this season. I am so excited! I also just web registered for the spring with Liberty - my final semester - the end is near! Almost to that bachelor's! And I have a plan pat down for certification back home. Everything is coming together. Happy season. So it will probably be a week until I will be able to post again, I know it's been sporadic lately, but hey - a girl's got priorities. Hope everyone else has a blessed fall season!

Sunshine Award

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why, hello Friday! I am so excited for this weekend to relax and do some homework. My two education sub-term classes have ended, so now I have a little break until the rest of my fall classes start in a few weeks. This weekend we are going to be packing and getting ready to leave next week for TEXAS for my sister in law's wedding - We are so excited to go home!! I think a date night before the festivities are in order for the weekend!

So before I try to work ahead on my homework in order to not have anything to do while we travel, I'm going to answer some questions, for Chelsea from Anchors Aweigh nominated me for the Sunshine Award! One of many awards floating around in blogland, this one is given to another blogger who brings sunshine into the world - how cute! So, here are the questions she asked me!

1. If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be and why?
Well, to be honest, I really love my life, and I would just want to be myself. I'd just like to be me! But if I have to choose... Do animals count? I would love to be our dog Scruffy for a day - to see her perspective and have her worry-free life! Is that weird?

 2. What is your all-time favorite TV show? *Bonus points if you say Friends ;)
All-time? That's a tough one. Fawlty Towers (a British sitcom) or  Married...With Children. I also love Once Upon A Time!

 3. What is one talent you are thankful for?
Playing the flute and piccolo! I love Walter & Winnie (my flute & piccolo..Yes I named them), and although I only get to play sweet music with them once a month between all this school, it just brings me joy! I love music, and being able to play a musical instrument makes it even sweeter. I've been playing since 6th  grade, so over 9 years. I can't believe it! I've been slowly learning the Flight of the Bumblebee on the flute, so hopefully soon I will be able to play that at tempo.. Which is ridiculously fast, mind you. I mean, I can play fast, but that is something you really need to work at!

 4. We all know I am obsessed with babies. What are your favorite baby names?
I really like the names Lyla and Brayden. I first heard the name Brayden when I was at a church camp in middle school and thought it was so cool. And Lyla is, of course, the mother in the movie August Rush - I just love that movie and story so much! Such a pretty name! We have so many ideas for baby names when that comes, it's going to be hard to choose!

 5. What is your favorite holiday of the year?
Without a doubt - Christmas! Celebrating the birth of Jesus, Christmas trees, gift giving, family, baking, the smell of fall, candles, handmade wreaths, garland... I love everything about it! I am so excited for Christmas this year!! Finally, the first one where we actually are in a house - that I can fully decorate - no more temporary living!

 6. What advice would you give the 12 year old version of yourself? For example, I would tell myself to put down the clunky doc martins and wear a shoe actually made for a girl, but I digress.
That was about 7th grade.. Oh my. That's when we moved from Texas to Wisconsin, and was it traumatizing or what! I was so nervous - moving to a new school in the middle of middle school! I was devastated when I found out we were moving. So the advice I would give... Don't sweat. You wouldn't believe the friendships you are going to make. Be yourself - even if others make fun of your accent. And above all, never wear a cheese head! Stick to your Texan roots!

 7. Name three things you can't live without.
God, Marshall, books. (Also, cats, cupcakes, the beach...)

 8. If you could relive any moment of your life, what would it be and why?
I was just talking to a friend about how we were proposed to, so I would say the weekend Marshall proposed. Driving to Corpus Christi, waking up at dawn, taking a stroll on the beach, eating some honey butter chicken biscuts at Whataburger to celebrate. I would re-live the proposal at Corpus, definitely! Such a sweet weekend! I outlined some of that here in our story.

 9. If you only had $20 to spend at Target, to which section would you go?
I would go to the dollar section.. More for your money! Although most of the trinkets there we don't really need, there are some useful things. Such as candy, of course.

 10. What is one thing most people do not know about you?
I would love to go to pastry school one day! I want to have an in-home baking business, where I bake cupcakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, pies, everything. That will come in time, once we are able to move back to Texas and settle in.. But I'm not sure if the pastry school thing will - maybe I'll be a self-made baker like my mother in law! She made our wedding cakes, ya know!

 11. What is one fashion trend you wish would come back in style. For example, overalls. Those babies were so comfortable!
I'd say the 50's style swimwear and shirtdresses. I love that style, and I love how it's modest. I've really been searching, like seriously searching, for a cute one-piece swimsuit, that actually covers you up, but it is so hard to find today! Seriously impossible to find, with all that skimpy swimwear that's out now! I love that style and how 50's swimwear hugs your figure, and also how flowing and cute shirtdresses are, so that would probably be it for me!

And here are the bloggers I nominate.. with their questions as well!
Can't wait to see your answers!

Julia @ Eternal Girl
Meghan @ Beautifully Inspired
Amanda @ Happily Ever After
Victoria @ Anchored by Faith
Rebekah @ Rebekah's Ramblings
Courtney @ Air Force Wife & Our Life
Julie @ Becoming a Navy Wife
Melissa @ A Little's Enough
Courtney @ Chase All Your Dreams
Amanda @ Prepared to Take Off
Kym @ Red, White & Marine Wife

1. Fall is in the air! What is your favorite thing about fall?
2. What is your favorite all-time movie (or movies if it's a tie!) and why?
3. Where do you call home, and what makes it home?
4. Where did you find or order your favorite meal/recipe? (And how was it?)
5. Favorite vacation spot? When did you go there?
6. What is one thing about you, that people are surprised of when they find out?
7. What is your biggest dream for yourself? (Job, goal, life's mission, etc)
8. If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to?
9. If you were a painter, what would your greatest work be? (What kind of art would you create?)
10. What is your favorite American landmark that you've visited? (Capitol, state parks, statue of liberty, etc?)
11. What is one of your favorite quotes, and why?

Book Review: Jesus > Religion

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I have gotten back into the swing of things and have read a few books in the past few weeks in addition to my schoolwork. I am finally able to start blogging somewhat regularly again, so I'm bringing back that notion of regular book reviews. Of course! One of the most anticipated books of the year, or really just a one that I've been following for a while, is Jesus is greater than Religion, by Jefferson Bethke. I was really looking forward to his book for a long time, and it really struck a chord.

Some may remember when he burst into the Youtube scene with his spoken poem by the same name. It's gained over 25 million views in the past year and a half since it came out January 2012. The book is like an extension of the poem - Why following Jesus is much more than just organized religion, in so many words. In it, he tackles what authentic Christianity is all about, and takes a personal relationship with Jesus to the next step. He shares his struggles and hurts, his personal journey through a rough childhood, a rash early adulthood, and a raw understanding of it all. From the beginning Bethke points out that he doesn't have the answers, but is sharing his journey for others to hopefully see Jesus more clearly. To want more of Him. Bethke's rough background is shared with such humility and openness, his style of writing is so personable and real, it feels like I'm having a conversation with him face to face. He's not putting on a show- this is really him. His journey to discovering what authentic Christianity really looks like is one that believers and not should read. Jesus is the star, not him as the writer. After all, the entire narrative of the Bible is all about Jesus. In order to discover more of Him, though, we are to leave behind empty religion.

You know what I mean, megachurches, or any for that matter, who only care about how much is in the till and how many are in attendance, and how good the sermon went. Not all are like that, I assure you, but this is typical American Christianity which we have been fed our whole life, coming out of consumerism and saying "Jesus loves me so it's okay if I do this, but then why does he allow me to go through this? I tithed this week, I attended service on Sunday, what more do you want?"--- and it's battled head on. Bethke sees this attitude first hand by attending a Christian college, and being on the baseball team, among other areas. Everyone prays before the game and attends church, but that's where it ends. He saw his team members wasting their lives away on the sidelines, only taking their faith as far as they wanted to as long as it was still convenient for the college scene. They believed in God, so other than professing their faith, they didn't have to do anything else, right? That is part of what Bethke means by empty religion, or spoon fed American Christianity, if you will. This is one of the many motives behind the spoken word poem which led to and is further explored in this book.

Bethke approaches it with such humility. He encourages his readers to leave behind this empty religion and follow the true hero, the true star and writer of our story - Jesus. Furthermore, an excerpt from the poem which inspired the book ---

Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums
See one’s the work of God, but one’s a man made invention
See one is the cure, but the other’s the infection
See because religion says do, Jesus says done
Religion says slave, Jesus says son
Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
And that’s why religion and Jesus are two different clans

As Christians, we are to abandon empty religion with rules and rituals that strive to earn God's approval. That's not he wants - God designed us as individuals, not robots. Instead, he wants us to choose him by our own free will - he loves that. We are to embrace the free gift of God's very own son, Jesus, who came to die for our sins as a sinless perfect sacrifice. Jesus already paid the price, and Jesus sets us free - we don't have to do anything else. Works alone won't get us eternal life, faith and works plus Jesus will. Grace.  I think Bethke has got it pat down, and many others out there do, too. Bethke has found a message here that many end up searching their whole lives for, but instead come up empty handed. I would recommend this book for anyone and everyone, no matter your background, where you came from, or what you believe. This book has provoked me, challenged me, convicted me, and led me to a deeper understanding of who Jesus of the bible really is and what he is all about.

I encourage you to check it out as well!

Check out Jefferson Bethke's book:
Barnes & Noble

Get to know him better:



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's no secret that in the past few years especially, there has been a big talk on reducing size of, and therefore costs of, our military. It's much harder to get in and stay in. For instance, since Marshall is in a land MOS (job) his contract time that he has to be active is significantly shorter than it would of been if he were flight. For the amount of time and effort that goes into training new pilots, of course these service members will be required to give more time back within their field. Because of these cut backs and the fact that Marshall is a Log-O, it is without a doubt that he will be asked to get out after we hit the 4 year mark (2016), and we will honestly be more than ready to do so. The first few promotions are pretty straightforward, as they are accounted for by how many years you have been in service. But after that, it gets harder and harder to be picked up because of the downsizing and numbers involved.

But hey- if you are looking at the same situation with drawbacks- don't sweat! AAFMAA is here to help in assisting your husband's detachment from the military go smoothly. AAFMAA stands for American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association, and has been America's first Military Mutual Aid Association since 1879. AAFMAA is a non-profit member-owned life insurance association that provides life insurance, survivor benefits, and financial planning services to the military and their families. Their programs offer a sense of stability, low-cost life insurance and loans, wealth management, as well as spousal services. They are definitely the ones to go to for planning your future, with or without the military. I was contacted a few weeks ago to highlight a few of these services for other military spouse bloggers out there and to help get the word out, so here it is!

One thing I was asked to highlight is the Career Assistance Program (CAP) Loan.
This loan is a one-time only CAP loan of $4000 at just 1.5% interest and can help you pay off your high interest debt or buy needed items for your family. This loan is available to AAFMAA members who are active duty who are E5-E9, WO1-WO2, and O1-O3 . This loan has a 48 month repayment schedule through the military allotment system. No penalty for early repayment. More information about the CAP Loan Program can be found here.

The life insurance program has competitive rates for services members and spouses. Benefits of the program include the following:
·         Survivor Assistance Services for members’ spouses included with all policies
·         No war, terrorist or aviation clauses, exclusions or surcharges
·         No coverage limitations based on deployment status
·         Continuation after separation or retirement from the Military (as policy allows)

And for perspective, the bellow chart compares SGLI for Level Term I Insurance to the AAFMA life insurance program:
Something else I appreciated from learning about the programs and vision behind the company is their pride. AAFMAA is here to help military families find answers about how to go about the drawdown, keep their families safe, and prepare for the future ahead. They live for military families - this isn't just another insurance company. One thing that caught my eye is the "Superflag," the world's largest American Flag which was unveiled in 2011. I just had to include this video which gives us a history and meaning behind the American flag - it represents our nation's strength and freedom:

The official colors on the American flag are "White," "Old Glory Red," and "Old Glory Blue." White signifies purity and innocence. Red signifies valor and bravery. Blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Stars are considered a symbol of the heavens and the divine goal to which man has aspired from time immemorial; the stripe is symbolic of the rays of light emanating from the sun. Also, the Continental Congress in June 4, 1777 established that there were to be 13 stripes, representing the thirteen original colonies, alternating in red and white. There were originally 13 stars as well, white on a blue field, and stars were added as more states entered the union, the last being Hawaii in 1959. Now past the history lesson, here is more information on the Superflag:
 On September 9, 2011, AAFMAA sponsored the unveiling of the Superflag, the world's largest American Flag at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, CO. With the help of the Fort Carson MWR, 650 troops and over 400 school children, the 3,000 pound flag was unfurled at Iron Horse Park. Each star on the flag is 17 feet wide and the entire flag measures 255 feet by 505 feet -- that's almost one football field long by two football fields wide! This video captures that event as well as a history of how the flag represents the American values we hold dear. - See more here

I have to admit that this video brought tears to my eyes. I have been surrounded and engulfed in military life my entire life, that sometimes I take our country for granted. Whenever colors plays on base, when the flag is lowered or raised for the day, everyone stops still and acknowledges that we are in the present because of the sacrifices of our past. Everyone needs a reminder of this, and I'm not proud to admit that sometimes I overlook this, too. Even with the deployments I experienced with my dad growing up. In our go-go-go culture today, it's too easy to forget what had to happen in order for us to even live in this country today. Something else I wanted to point out was that this flag unveiling happened in Colorado Springs/Fort Carson, CO, which is where we lived for a few years when I was a toddler. That's where I learned to dip my pizza crust in honey.. Don't ask, it's really the only memory I have of the area, but it's oh so delicious. Besides the point, take a moment or a few to sit back and thank God for our military. Squeeze your Marine, sailor, soldier, or airman extra tight tonight.

And before I forget.. 'Merica!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ladies and gents, it's about that time. I have been completely overwhelmed with school and studying, as I've mentioned, and I'm just not getting myself out of that grumpy rut that comes with that. Except for one thing - dreaded midterms. They aren't completely bad though, because two of my classes are over on Friday, and for bio it's more of a quiz than a midterm test. Still, it's that hump in the road that I can't wait to get over. We are in week 8 of 16 here at Liberty online, and I am more than ready for Christmas time to be here, please. I would love to road trip back home to Texas right now for a few weeks and maybe years. What? No, we're not moving back until our time here in socal with the Marines is over, but hey, we're looking forward to it. Really looking forward to it.

But here's to making the best of the now.

As I reach mid-term, I come to realize just how close I am to being done with college. Done with university - a college graduate come this time in May. MAY that's in SEVEN months! Wait, exactly this time in May in 7 months. I kind of touched on that on my last post, didn't I?

Let me move on then.

These aren't really, exactly "midterms" - All I have to do is turn in a research paper, write a short paper, take a few quizzes, and write a behavior intervention plan. Doesn't sound too bad, but those words do well masking what actually goes into those assignments. Hours of research. Which isn't bad, but just takes time -time that I'd rather spend hibernating right now.

I think I'm taking the rest of the day off. Or just part of it - I'll stay up tonight and finish my final paper and behavior plan, those are the ones due Friday, anyway. But did I mention that I haven't slept for the past two days? Part of that is because I received some new books, that I will touch on in the next couple of posts, and couldn't set them down just yet. Yes, I already finished them. So now what? Then I got hooked on HGTV again, oh how I miss Trading Spaces - the good ol' days when I watched it at home with my mom. Now I get to see Genevieve in action on her show, which only plays re-runs, apparently. It's okay though - she is definitely my favorite designer, aside from Hilary Farr from Love It Or List It. Wow, I should just stop talking. I watch too much HGTV. Why are we renting again? I need some major home décor and design in here. Another reason just to move home sooner, right?

Okay, this post about how my midterms aren't necessarily as threatening as midterms usually are, which is a nice change of pace might I add, isn't toning up to where I thought it would be. So I'll just leave it at that. Maybe I just wanted another excuse for a blog, eh? Next, I am in the works of writing a few book reviews, and also a few walk-through juicing recipes. And maybe a feature. Who knows! I am just now getting back in the hang of this blogging thing, so we'll just see where it takes me!

just one of those days

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'Tis a gloomy day. This is the one day out of the year in southern California where it is cold, raining, dark shows up early, and you hear thunder. That's right, there's a vicious thunderstorm in oside right now. Quite the damper in my plans to the beach tonight. It must not be fun for the stud working in the rain out there! I was also just told that the majority of base lost power  for a few hours because of the weather. Woah, where'd that come from?

I met a friend for coffee earlier and it was nice to get out, get warm, and have girl talk. I came home, finished a book, snuggled up to some HGTV and my cupcake blanket, and lit some candles. Now, it's off to homeworkland. Two of my classes are done on Friday, so I need to get started on that. I also need to get out of this rut and get some sleep tonight so that I can actually wake up for bible study tomorrow. I've really missed it lately - needing some encouragement, please.

We are more than ready to be home for the holidays. Fall always seems to drag on for me. Summer is usually too busy, and spring just flies by. But fall and winter seem to go on forever. I don't know what it is - the  fact that it gets below 65 and I freeze at night (note that I grew up south of Houston..) or the fact that I can't get away with cute dresses and sandals anymore. Not that kind of weather right now. At least it's a great excuse for a mocha!

But back to school - I am finally caught up! Now to get ahead... I really need some motivation right now! I am still on track to graduate in May and will do so (whoop!), and as of my current GPA will also graduate with honors (double whoop!) - just got to keep this up and I will be Magna Cum Laude. Hello Dean's List... How cool is that?! Liberty has been good to me - it's been quite the journey. I am SO ready for summer - to teach my final lesson, turn in my last paper, and receive that degree in the mail and get it custom framed. I need summer right now - sand, sun, and a college graduate. Also, a good excuse to order more blue bell - we are almost out of homemade vanilla, and the half gallon we currently have is about to get freezer burn. Eeek!

Woah, this has been kind of all over the place. It's just one of those days, you know?

Soon I will be posting a book review, an update on the juicer and sewing machine adventures, and a few other things :) Just got to get through midterms due Friday!

Have you been to Sam's?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

With the government shutdown, and for military/DoD, the loss of commissary use, we have to find other means to get groceries. For some, this can be devastating, but for others, it's a little easier to look to the next grocery store down the road since you live in town. I realize that there are many military families who live with next to nothing based on pay, rank, etc, and I know from personal experience that many others may not have to be as careful- couponing and calculating every expense down to the penny. I'm not here to get into an argument on paygrades or anything, just to offer an alternative --- for those milso's out there who live on base and only shop at the commissary, and know no other alternative.

Here is something I found which may ease the situation:

While the military commissaries are closed due to the government shutdown, Sam's Club is allowing all military members with a valid military ID card to shop without a Sam's Club membership. This includes ALL military members, active, Guard, Reserve AND retired! All you need to do is go to the customer service counter with a valid military ID card, and you will be provided a number to use while shopping. This is a great gesture on the part of Sam's Club while military members and families are unable to shop at military commissaries.

I found this here, and have also received confirmation from other military spouses that have already taken to this and found on location that this is true. Sam's Club looks like a great alternative to the commissary right now, right? I remember growing up we had a membership for maybe a year or so, and though everything is generally in bulk, there are some prices you can't beat, and some items you can't find anywhere else. I realize that produce and meat especially at the commissary are premium/choice - you can't find that quality for that price anywhere else - but hey, let's give it a shot!

Having the commissaries and many other offices on base close down because of this isn't the end of the world...Though I have seen pictures from commissaries around the country which look like an apocalypse just hit. Really, though, we just have to stretch our resources - don't fret! Stay safe, and be mindful out there ladies!

Autumn Tag

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Autumn tag

For Autumn, what is your...
1.  Favourite thing about it?  The cooler weather, piles of leaves to jump into, and the fact that I can now get away with wearing scarves and boots!

2.  Favourite drink?  Right now I have a white chocolate smoothie mix that I can add coffee to which is divine. I love vanilla and chai lattes, as well as mochas, and really anything with chocolate. Even though it's fall, I still prefer cold/blended drinks over hot. Is that strange?

3.  Favourite scent/candle?  Funny thing, I just ordered the "Love" and "Education" candles from CLARO, a company that makes all-natural soy candles while donating the proceeds to fight injustices in the world - each candles provides one life-saving dosage to an underprivileged child, one day of school and books, etc. Totally go check them out! The scents are vanilla honey and pumpkin...Among many more... Mmm.

4.  Best lipstick?  I don't really wear lipstick, SOMETIMES lip gloss, but not really. It just bothers me - chapstick, please.

5.  Go to moisturizer?  I have a Suave cocoa butter lotion that works wonders! No specific moisturizer brand here, I keep it simple.

6.  Go to colours for the eyes? Again, I keep it simple. I haven't worn eye shadow since high school. If I ever do, it's a beige/light pink or natural color. I keep it simple with mascara for my extra long eyelashes (seriously, they are super long) and a thin layer of eyeliner. With brown eyes, I feel that less is more.

7.  Favourite music or band/singer to listen to?  U2. They are working on another album to come out in another year or two, and I am beyond ecstatic! It's amazing how influential and humble Bono and the band members are. I cannot wait for them to announce their next tour dates! I only listen to U2 and Christian radio -seriously, my faves.

8.  Favourite outfit to wear (i.e. boots & a scarf combo)? I usually stick with flats, dark crop jeans, a flowy shirt, and a cardigan. And some jewelry. I don't wear boots that often, and you can't exactly get away with scarves in southern California....

9.  Autumn treat?  (i.e. a new scarf or bag you have your eye on)  I really just want to get my juicer fixed, and to make a fall wreath for our door. I'm more of a crafts person, rather than a clothing person, does that make sense?

10.  Favourite place to be?  At home, with a new book, my Scruffy and Trouble sittin' on the couch, laying next to my stud, and sippin' on some fresh juice, watching a good movie or Duck Dynasty. Or chillin' on the beach in the summer!
Katie @ Going Coastal
Victoria @ Anchored by Faith
Chelsea @ Anchors Aweigh


I was contacted a few weeks ago about helping to get out the word about Armed Forces Eyewear- an online eyeglasses retailer tailored to military families and veterans, as well as policeman and firefighters, at an exclusive low-cost. As my husband and I both wear glasses and contacts, I was very interested in this from the start! It is a great resource, for glasses and contacts are completely out of pocket and not covered under Tricare for military. It even covers non-prescription designer sunglasses! (Can you say Oakley's??) For many families, this can be a great burden, and Lauren Purcell saw this need. She is on the blog today to share and help get the word out about this great opportunity and service - take it away Lauren!


About Lauren: Lauren Purcell is the Military Marketing Manager at AFEyewear.com. She is married to Captain Jason Purcell who serves at Scott Air Force Base in the United States Air Force. She and her husband have two daughters.

Explain a little bit about AFEyewear.com and what the company does:

AFEyewear.com is an online eyewear retailer dedicated to helping military families gain access to the best eyewear at an exclusive price, especially those deployed or in remote locations. Affordable eyewear is a need for every military family, but as an out-of-pocket expense it can be difficult to find the right eyewear at the right price. As a military spouse, I understand first-hand the challenge of trying to find affordable eyewear.   I wear eyeglasses / contact lenses and my 5 year old daughter wears eyeglasses.  My husband was blessed with perfect vision but he likes to indulge in Oakley and Costa del Mar sunglasses. Whether it’s a need or a want, AFEyewear.com has the best brands, selection, and prices for military families.

AFEyewear.com launched five years ago at the request of AAFES (Army & Air Force Exchange Service), Congress and the Surgeon General’s Office in order to provide a solution for families looking to find the most affordable eyewear.

What is it like to work at AFEyewear.com with other military wives?

Combining my lifestyle as a military spouse with my dedication to serving those who serve, working for AFEyewear.com allows me to work for a cause that is close to home. The military spouses behind this company bring an extremely high level of customer service. We all understand military life and no one is better suited to take care of our customers. Hard work comes naturally to military spouses as we are often juggling many roles and responsibilities on the home front.  Our “go get ‘em” attitude is a great asset in the workplace as well.

I’ve made great friendships working with other military spouses at AFEyewear.com. When I first started in 2009, we were all initially stationed in California and would work together in the living room  of one of the spouses.   Since then, we have all gone through multiple moves and deployments but have remained close friends.

Lauren &Ashley -Marketing Manager at AFEyewear
Lauren &Jennifer- Operations Manager at AFEyewear

If I need eyewear, how does it work?

It’s easy! All you need is a current prescription and we take care of the rest. As TriCare beneficiaries we are entitled to one eye exam per year. AFEyewear.com uses SheerID to verify the credentials of our customers and is available to all military, veterans, fire fighters, law enforcement & their families. We are always available to help.  If the Internet intimidates you, you can always pick up the phone and give us a call.  We have opticians on hand to walk you through the entire process.

Anything else you would like to share?

This year we are thrilled to be celebrating five years of dedication to those who serve and their families. We are proud to have helped more than 30,000 families receive up the best possible price on eyewear and we look forward to helping many more.  Our biggest challenge is getting the word out about the benefits we offer to military families.  Many thanks to you Katherine for helping us do just that!

Lauren & Family

Like us on Facebook and sign up for our emails to learn more!

showing up

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I was going through my daily feed on Facebook and came across a few posts from Wives of Faith, an outreach ministry for military wives founded by Sara Horn, author of God Strong, and My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife. I know I've posted about Wives of Faith before, because I led one of their bible studies in the area, and also because I gave my review of God Strong, and followed along the online study they had for that book. Oh, they also host a weekly Wife 2 Wife linkup on Wednesday that I sometimes partake in as well.

Whew, that's a lot of links. About the posts- a take on the impending government shutdown. We all know, being married to the military, that this is something that affects us directly. I mean, I was just on base this morning, and the pending shutdown accompanied with payday made a 10 minute drive over 1 hour long - the gate was so backed up that it makes me never want to leave home again. Traffic in socal is already bad as it is, but payday plus the news makes it to be too much to deal with at times.

This article on the Wives of Faith website is titled, Shut down or show up? Rather than fretting about the uncertainty and worry of the state of our government's finances and operations, we can instead use this crisis to see our God more clearly. Because, really, doesn't he do his best work when we feel at our lowest?

It's funny that at our young adult small group yesterday  we were talking about this same thing. What is some crisis you have gone through, that led to something beautiful? At our church we are undergoing a 31-week study of The Story, the Bible written as one flowing novel of God and his people - of the promise & the blessing. We just read Chapter 3- It is the story of Joseph, the favorite of his father, sent into slavery by his jealous brothers, and given the ability to interpret Pharaoh's dreams and in turn prepare Egypt from a pending famine, making him second in command of the nation. But what if this never happened- what if he never experienced the hurt of his brothers' betrayal? Nobody would be fed, nobody would be safe. Then we went around and told of our version in our own lives,

"If I didn't do/go through ____ then I wouldn't have gotten/be ___"

Maybe, in our current state, it can be read as this: If we weren't all experiencing the shutdown, I wouldn't be able to reach out to our neighbors - just as the Wives of Faith article notes. Showing up. This is our time to show up. Instead of fretting about our current state and that of the government, we can use our resources to help those most in need.

I'd like to share with you an excerpt from one of the Wives of Faith articles which is the essentials of what I'm trying to relay. Look toward God in a crisis, and show up for another who may not be in the best situation through this.  The following excerpt says it well:

Crisis situations remind us where our faith and our trust must be. And it’s not on the politicians in Washington. It’s not on whatever savings we may have been lucky, or wise, to have put away for rainy days such as the one we’re looking at right now. When we face a crisis, we have choices on how we respond: we can look every which way for an answer of our own making, or we can look to the One who created all of us in the first place.

While the politicians are pointing fingers at each other right now, I’d like to challenge all of us to point ours to God. To remind ourselves of His promises. Of His assurances we can find in His Word.
If you know God, and I hope you do, you know the peace He gives when storms come. Sometimes it’s easier to remember with our heads than with our hearts, but it is in a crisis, that God desires all the more for us to come to Him. Because when it seems there is no way out, God loves to make a way.

This is what I have to say:
God has a plan - do not fret! Look to Him for guidance, be frugal, be smart, be safe. Use this instance to seek the Lord and His plan for your life - use this as a sort of wake-up call, that we cannot control our own lives. God works for the good of His people- He in is control- we must now, more than ever, put our faith and trust in Him and His Word. He will give us peace in troubled times, just as He did with Joseph. Show up for another in greater need, and allow God to take control. Let go and let God. It is in times like these that we can truly seek the face of the Lord, times when we are at our lowest, and He will guide us through the storm - he just loves to do so.

Here are some verses Wives of Faith has noted, which can give us aide in our current situation:

Verses for Wives of Faith:

Romans 8:28 – And we know, that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him who are called according to His purpose.

Ephesians 3:12-13 – In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Philippians 3:7-8 – But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things…

Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 – We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

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