Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Marriage Isn't For You

Today I came across this article on Facebook via my cousin and I thought I would share it with my readers. I have been married for almost a year and a half now (1 year and 5 months tomorrow :D) and I couldn't agree more with the wise words this man's father gave him. Here is the entry from his blog, I hope that you can all learn and be inspired by his story. I know that I was. You can go to his post by clicking here.

Marriage Isn’t For You

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.
Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.
I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. :) I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.
Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?
Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.
Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.
My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”
It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.
My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.
No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”
Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.
But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and aguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.
I realized that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.
To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.
And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Update and Giveaway!

So I've been super busy lately and haven't posted on here in a while but I'm BACK! One of the reasons I've been so busy is that I started my own company. I am making handmade Shea Butter Sugar Scrubs and hope to expand to more bath and beauty products as I generate more business. I have an Etsy shop where you can check out all the scrubs I have for sale at the moment.

If you haven't come across Etsy yet, you should totally check it out. It's the "Farmer's Market" of the internet. It's a giant online marketplace where anyone can open up a shop and sell their products, as long as they are handmade, vintage, or a supply. It's one of the greatest sites on the internet, especially for finding geeky stuff which I LOVE. I got most of my wedding ideas and supplies from there as well as my save the dates and invitations.

Starting a new business, especially at a young age, can be stressful but it's also so much fun! I am making something I love and doing something productive with it. My goal is to offer women (and even men, the Hubby loves trying out my scrubs!) the chance to pamper themselves without shelling out a fortune. The financial struggles of last year taught me that just cause you can't afford the "brand name" doesn't mean you can't have something. Like my mother always says "necessity is the mother of invention". And honestly we all deserve to be pampered every once in a while and these scrubs make you feel like you've just been to the spa, without ever leaving your home!

Click here to view the shop

In honor of my return and beginning of my new business, I will be hosting my first giveaway! You can scroll down to enter or check out the Facebook page here.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November.

Here's a freebie for V for Vendetta fans. New blog post to come soon! 
High Quality Download here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We Can't Help But Be Blessed..

I have struggled with writing this post for a little while now. When I started this blog just a few weeks ago I told myself that I would be as honest as possible in my posts. Well here's the truth, for most of my life I was very trusting and open with just about anyone and I have learned that people have to earn trust or else you end up hurt. With that being said I will begin this post to my basically nonexistent readers in hopes that maybe one day I'll have a few readers who will be encouraged by this story. Warning: this is going to a be a long post.

To begin I have to start at the beginning. A year ago (almost to the day) the Hubby and I moved from Miami to Orlando. This was always the plan, get married and move to Orlando for UCF. Adjusting to life on our own in our beautiful 582 sqft apartment was not easy. Prior to moving I worked as a secretary for my MIL (mother in law) for a year and a half. I was so grateful for the opportunity she had given me to work for her and was confident I would have no problem finding a job. Everyone needs a secretary, right? NO. I was out of a job for months, staying at home was driving me insane. This is the main reason we got our little happy ball of fur.
Isn't he just the cutest?

It wasn't until January that I began to work as a cashier at Chick Fil A on the UCF campus. It was a humbling experience that I hated 90% of the time. The coworkers were great but the work was too tiring which often lead to a messy house and eating tons of CFA. All the time I was working there I was always looking for jobs but with the Hubby and I only having one car, my range wasn't very far. This limited my options to basically zero.

It wasn't until I had basically given up on looking for a job and accepted my fate as a lifetime CFA worker (I'm very dramatic) that my sister in law told us that her old boss had recently mentioned to her in passing that he might be looking for a new legal assistant. She told me to email her my resume and she would contact him. She assured me that I was a shoe in for this job. I, on the other hand, didn't think it would really work out. I wasn't studying to become a lawyer. I was barely in school at all ( more on that later). Why would someone choose me to be a legal assistant? I only had experience working at an Insurance agency. Well within a week from that conversation I had an interview and got offered the job, starting the next week!

My "I got the job!" face.

All the while I had no job or worked at CFA making minimum wage we had bills to pay and mouths to feed. The Hubby was working hard at Menchie's (best frozen yogurt shop ever!) but hours were scarce and it just wasn't enough. Remember that awesome 582sq ft apartment I mentioned earlier? It cost a pretty penny to live there, more than 2 minimum wage jobs make that's for sure. We struggled A LOT, for a long while we lived off of the savings we had from the wedding and Hubby's financial aid refund. That got us through to October when the Hubby started working. Eventually we had to face the facts, we couldn't afford this. I said I was going to be honest. Things were bad. One meal a day bad.

With the new job we were able to afford to stay where we were but just barely. Now, our plan isn't to stay in Orlando forever. We've got another year or so and then wherever the Hubby's job search (and the Lord of course) takes us is where we will go. Well, we learned from our experience and decided we were going to look into other housing options for the next year because we refuse to go through this again when we relocate. We want to be able to have a cushion for when we leave and have to find jobs and housing where ever we end up. So after a lot of apartment searching and praying we decided that our best option was to rent a house, with roommates. Now, this wasn't ideal and certainly not what we had planned but we felt at peace with our decision. Thankfully, most of Hubby's friends moved up to Orlando at the same time we did so we weren't going to have "random roommates". Hubby's best friend (and best man at the wedding) was of course our first choice and eventually we chose a second close friend to join. 

Our Home

Because my boss is also a Real Estate broker it was fairly easy for us to find a great house within our budget that met all of our needs. The Hubby, the Best Friend, and I all moved in the Fourth of July. "Roommate 4" was spending the summer in Miami and would move in before Fall classes started. This is when things started to go wrong. "Roommate 4" contacted us and told us he wouldn't be able to move in with us. We were devastated, what would we do now? Thankfully after a crazy few weeks we were able to get another good friend to join us and he moved in. The next and most stressful crisis came August 1st, the reason I am writing this post. 

Back in December we signed a renewal lease for the apartment because we thought it was our only housing option. When we went to let them know we would no longer be renewing we were informed we were responsible for finding someone to take over that lease. Finding someone was easy, I got calls everyday from people wanting to come see the apartment. We found a girl to take over the lease and she got started on the paperwork. Once the fee for canceling our lease and finding someone else was taken out of our account we assumed everything was taken care of. On July 31st, the day before the girl was supposed to move in we got a  text message from her saying that she hadn't been able to do the paperwork with the leasing office because they would never answer the phone. She told us she was on her way to their office to get everything finalized. The next day she informed us that the leasing office had no record of her and the confirmation codes they had given her weren't working either. She also told us that her mother's credit had been stolen and she wasn't qualifying as her guarantor. I panicked. What were we going to do? We would be charged for rent the next day if this wasn't settled by 7 pm. Money we simply couldn't afford to lose.

Thankfully, Peter (Hubby) has a much better head on his shoulders and assured me things would be alright and that I didn't need to panic. I continued to panic anyway but it was nice to know he wasn't completely losing it like I was. After I got out of work at 5 pm we headed over to the leasing office to find out what exactly was happening. We were relieved when the first person we spoke to was the person who was personally working on our case. He assured us that she had been in the office earlier that day and that she had just sent in an application for another guarantor. He told us that she would most likely be able to move in that night because they were staying in the office all night to get students moved in. The moment he said that I felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders and I could breathe. I thought to myself, "Why did I ever doubt that God would take care of it all as He always has my entire life?" Then the person helping us went on to make sure our account hadn't been charge and proceeded to say "You guys know you have a credit for "x amount of money" on your account since December, right?" All I could do was laugh and almost cry. Back in December our washer was leaking and maintenance was in and out of our apartment for a week, the credit was for the "inconvenience". This credit would basically cover 1 month's rent at our new house.

A month or so back the Hubby had wanted to post a photo on Instagram of us with our parents with the caption "We can't help but be blessed, when you've been raised by God's finest" which is a lyric from Maylene And The Sons of Disaster (a christian rock band). On our drive home from the leasing office he looked down to see that he was wearing his Maylene shirt. We are both so very lucky to have been raised by amazing Christian parents who pray over our lives on a daily basis.
He loves to make silly faces.

We both (but mainly myself) learned a great lesson that day. That when things get crazy and we don't see the light at the end of the tunnel, don't freak out God's got it under control and usually is going to bless you abundantly. All through out my life this has been true and of course I knew that I should trust God but in the midst of all the crazy it really is hard to relax. I am working towards trusting God during the storms more.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

1 Peter 3:3

I came across a pin about this verse today and decided to make a poster with it, I will most likely be hanging this up in my bathroom. I am posting it here as a freebie for anyone who wants to use this for personal use. I think this is such a great verse to read every morning to remind yourself that it's the inner beauty that counts.
You can download the full resolution version here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Michelle's (not so) Famous Chili

The few people who have had the chance to visit the Hubby and I in Orlando have had my chili. I'm not one to brag but those who have had it love it and always request it. I can't take all the credit though, this is based off my mom's chili which everyone (but my picky little brother) loves. This is simply my take on her recipe. This isn't your typical chili, I like to think of it as a southwestern chili. This chili features Rotel Lime & Cilantro Diced Tomatoes as well as my personal favorite hot sauce, Cholula. What's great about chili is that it's very easy to change up with the toppings you add and it's still great the next day with some spaghetti (my favorite!).

There a few things I would like to mention before I get to the actual recipe. First, you may have noticed that I use mostly Great Value products. For those worried about a taste difference between brand names and generic, there is no difference. I promise. I always tell anyone who will listen to buy the Great Value version, why? It's a great value, it's in the name, people! Seriously though, take it from someone who doesn't have the biggest budget (college student + finance major Hubby= tiny budget) every penny saved makes a difference. Another thing is, I never measure out my seasonings when cooking (except for when making recipes for posts) nor do I ever follow the measurements for seasonings in recipes. Here's why, when it comes to cooking for you and your family it's about what you like not what the recipe says. I always start by adding a little at a time and keep adding until I'm happy with the flavor. With that said, this recipe is pretty spicy if followed exactly so I definitely recommend tasting as you go.

Here's a tip that my grandmother taught my mom. This a quick way to cut onions very small, which is great when cooking for those who don't really like onions. First, cut your onion in half (like you would a lemon) and create a grid of cuts with your knife about 1/4-1/2 deep. Once you have your "grid" then slice your onions and you'll have tiny little pieces of onion that even the pickiest eater won't notice in your chili but you still get the great flavor. Hopefully the photos below will help to explain better than my words. I added the white lines to help show the cuts.
Here's the recipe.

You'll need:
1 can of crushed tomatoes (GV)
1/2 can of tomato paste (GV)
1 can of Rotel's Mexican Lime and Cilantro tomatoes
1 can of whole kernel corn (GV)
1 can of chili beans (GV)
Less than 1/4 of a yellow onion
1lb of ground turkey (or beef)
1 1/4 Tbsp. of Chili Powder
3/4 Tbsp. of Cumin 
1/4 Tbsp. of garlic powder (or the real stuff, the real stuff is much better)
A dash or 2 of cayenne pepper (very spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cholula Original Hot Sauce
Jalapeno slices (pickled or fresh, I like pickled)
Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
Guacamole Ranch Dressing from Wishbone

First, cook the onions on a frying pan with butter plus a little oil for a minute or two on medium high heat until they are clear. Once the onions are done, add all the canned ingredients into a large pot (6-8qt). Then take the empty can where the crushed tomatoes were and fill it halfway with water and add that into the pot along with the cooked onions. Place the pot on the stove and set it to medium heat, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn't burn. Next brown your ground turkey or beef on the same pan as the onions using the leftover butter/oil. Add a little salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if you dare) to the ground turkey while its cooking. Once your meat is browned add it to the pot and then add the seasonings, remember to taste as you go! Once you've added your seasonings your chili is ready to eat but remember that good chili simmers for at least 2 hours (thank you, Wendy's!). I personally like to leave my chili on low for at least 30 min, usually longer, before serving. There have been cases where the Hubby and I have been very hungry and have eaten the chili straight away and it's still delicious so really it's up to your tummy. One thing to keep in mind, the longer your chili simmers the more the flavors come out and it tends to get more salty and spicy. If your chili gets too overpowering after simmering just add a little water ( about half a cup or so) and a little more tomato paste.

There you have it!

Oh and please excuse my not so great iPhone photos, my camera was packed away in a box somewhere because of our move. Better photos are to come, I promise!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Small Step...

So here's my first post on my brand-new blog. You'll have to bear with me because I've never been a great writer, it actually scares me. ALOT. But I am extremely determined to finally get my blog started, so I'll just have to learn through the process. I strongly encourage you to go and read my about page to get a feel for why I started this blog and chose the name. I don't really know how to write a "first post" so I'll just list a few goals that I have for the blog, ok?

  1. Document different experiences in this adventure called marriage.
  2. Create (and feature other blogger's) DIY Tutorials for all sorts of different crafts.
  3. Create (and feature other blogger's) recipes 
  4. Have fun!

With love,