Field Trip Fridays

We just made this thing up. Field trip Fridays. They are more for me than the kids. I don’t particularly enjoy kid fun. It’s not because of my kids, it’s me. I get really anxious doing new things. I’m nervous driving places I’ve never been (what if I get lost? where do i park?!). I’m afraid I’ll lose control of my kids and we’ll have a big public meltdown a mile and a half away from my car. I don’t like sunscreen. I don’t like talking to other mom strangers (I KNOW! I’m anti-social and strange!). We have a good time around the house. Mostly just daily life, but sometimes we mix it up. Only lately I’ve been feeling like all their really fun memories go to someone else. Someone willing to go in public. Mostly grandmas and grandpas and aunts. But I really wanted some of those memories for myself too. Still, I’m chicken. So a few weeks ago I instated Field Trip Fridays. The first time we just went to an ice cream shop around the corner. The next time we went to a park up the road. But today was a landmark. A big event. I took my smalls to the zoo by myself. I know this is absolutely nothing to most of you, but for me it’s monumental. The world is my oyster. I drove in downtown Houston. I didn’t get lost, I didn’t cry. I spent too much money, but that’s just to be expected I suppose. It was no more than I’d spend at Target. I didn’t attempt an all day event. I kept it short and sweet and hit the road at the first “I’m hoooot….”

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The Big Event for this summer is Sea World. I’ve got my heart set on it. But Field Trip Fridays are going to also let me explore my new bit of Texas. I’m going to hike in Lost Maples, splash in the Frio, see the bat caves and pick some peaches. But Sea World is the Big Event. Wish me luck (and let me know if you know anything cool to do). I almost feel like I could do anything. I could go to IKEA y’all! Anything!


Art Sale Tonight

Hey guys,

I have been a busy bee painting nativities. It was just a little art experiment, but they’ve been pretty popular. It was getting a little tricky working on one at a time and then posting it, so I decided to just work all week and then post them all at once. So that’s happening tonight at 8pm Central time. My Etsy shop, which is pretty nekkid right now, will get refilled. I’m doing these a bit differently, though. I’ve left the space next to Mary and Jesus empty so you can add something special to you. I can’t fit the whole gospel on there, but a verse or two will work. Here’s a few ideas to help you choose (and a sneak peek of some of tonight’s pieces!).

IMG_8088(tons of rich gold, bronze, and copper detail. and glitter. i wish you could see these dance in the light)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

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And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14

O Holy Night, The stars are brightly shining

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright

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The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14

Star of Wonder, Star of Night, Star with Royal Beauty Bright

So if you want to buy one tonight, you just tell me what verse you want on there and they will ship out this weekend. I have been SO blessed by making these. It has really changed my focus of this Christmas season and I hope they will do the same for you.

XOXO, Beth


The Dog Whisperer and Your Prayer Life.

Have you guys met Chili? He’s my dog. We got him a few months ago from the animal shelter. When we said that he was The One, the lady shook her head, sighed, and said, “He’s cute, but he’s really destructive. He was adopted once from here, but the couple brought him back because he tears everything up.” We said we’d take our chances and took him home. Well, she was right. He’s a wreck! From Day 1 he would chew everything. Shoes, pillows, crayons. Today he ate the head and arms off a Barbie. Disturbing sight, really. She still kept singing “Perfect Day!”.

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Anyway, after about 24 hours I told my husband that there was absolutely no way I could handle a dog like that and to please take that thing back. He requested a few days to see if he could get a grip on the situation. Now is the part where I have to tell you a little about my husband, Brandon.

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He’s a bit obsessive when it comes to learning. He’ll pick a topic and it’s all consuming for a few weeks/months. He can speak Amharic. He can grow a mean garden. He can roll cigars like a Dominican. He can really master a topic, and he decided to master dog obedience. He’s up in the middle of the night watching The Dog Whisperer as a jumping off point. Have you seen it? Do you know the show? Cesar is a hero in our house now, right up there with Martin Luther and Justin Timberlake. Anyway, we started watching a lot of Dog Whisperer and here’s the main gist of it. You have to be a dominant pack leader in the eye of your dog to get them to be chill. If you don’t lead well, they become anxious, stressed, or depressed. They need you to communicate your authority. And get this: they must be calm and submissive before ever attempting to do anything. For example, what happens if your dog sees other dogs and gets all worked up? They pull on the leash trying to go their own way, do their own thing. But if you are the “pack leader” and you demonstrate that you don’t care about all that and this is the way we are going, your dog will obey. Cesar can get a dog he’s never met to do what he wants just with his leadership. Stay with me for one more dog example. I’m totally getting to the point soon, but you gotta see it play out. Say the doorbell rings. Many dogs will yap, jump, and freak out in general for a while when company arrives. What if, the doorbell rings and your dog is freaking out and you say “roll over”? Will she stop what she’s doing and roll over? Probably not at all. You can’t get them to obey when they’re in a tizzy like that. You have to get them calm and submissive first. And now we get to the point.

I was thinking about this the other day. I’m reading Whispers of Hope, Beth Moore’s new devotional. LOVE it, by the way, but I’ll review it another day. I missed a day. I woke up, literally, to someone coming in and saying “Mom, I peed the bed!” and just like that, at 5:20, I’m on. No quiet time, no thoughtful prayer time. Just popcorn “help me’s” to God all day. The Holy Spirit was certainly not manifesting in me that day, and by 10 I realized it was because I didn’t start out calm and submissive. I started out in a tizzy. Like my eyes opened when the doorbell rang. I kind of hate waking up that early, but there is SUCH a difference in my day. So much that it’s become just a necessary thing. Like my wacked out dog, I can’t take direction when I’m all worked up. It’s just not going to work then. I need to listen when I’m calm and submissive, and for me, that’s first thing in the morning. What about you? Do you notice a difference in your days when you do a devotional and when you don’t?


And Then We Moved.

So, long time no see. I totally dropped off the planet for a couple of weeks out of necessity. I guess we’re friends, right? So you should know what’s up over here. Well, here’s the scoop. Since we moved to the country I have loved and hated it. I LOVE the house (even the little ghetto parts) and the cows and the quiet and the space. It doesn’t bother me how isolated physically I was. I’ve been far more isolated with people close to me. But the thing that got me was that I missed my husband too much. I know one million women who’ve held down the fort while their husbands travel much of the week and I thought I could be like that. If I was honest with myself I should have known that that would not work for us. I do feel like God gift-wrapped that particular house for us and that we should be there, but I think we should be there together. I knew that before we left, deep down, so failing shouldn’t have been a shock. The kids missed their dad too much and I’m just not really an independent kind of gal. 

Fast forward to now… we’re back in Houston and the country house is still there. We’ll use it as a vacation house for now until we figure out what it’s supposed to be. I’m gun shy now and a little blue. I’m confused about where God wants me and how to fix what I clearly botched. So I’ve been wallowing a bit for a few weeks. 

But yesterday started a new thing. I don’t know what God’s grand plan is for me or this house or that house or some business or some ministry. And I figure today that it’s not my job to try and cling on to what I think it might be. I can just go one day at a time and focus on what I’m clearly called to do. Today, without question, I’m supposed to be a wife and mother to the best of my ability. To take care of this house, the one I’m in. And the people that are around me. That’s enough to think about for now. 

So sorry that’s a downer. That’s partly why I haven’t blogged anything. Nothing completely wonderful to say, just where I am. I’m totally fine. I’m just nesting a bit. Thanks for popping by and I’ll be back in just a few days, surely, when I’m a little more chipper and we’ll talk about something hilarious or insightful or something like that. 


How to Be Broke Like a Granny

last week my grandma popped over for a little visit and we got to chatting about being broke. she told me how things used to be done and how she still does alot of those things. here’s the big game changer for me. i tried it this time and it was life-changing granny wisdom. ready?

don’t piss away all your money on payday! hang on to it. act like you’re still broke. when you have a couple grand in the bank account it’s easy to think that there is plenty to goof off with. i will usually go shopping and eat out on payday. not this time. i just got off a broke stretch, so i just kept it going. today i’m halfway through the paycheck and i have way more than i thought i would. but still it’s enough to make me think twice about eating out… also, all that time gave me a chance to mull over whether i really needed what i thought i did. so the rule of thumb is to spend only on necessities during the first half of the pay period. then the second half is for fun stuff once you see (accurately) how much you have left.

make do with what you have. we have guests coming in a few weeks. i always feel a little inadequate with our house situation. i wanted new linens for the bed, an update for the bathroom, and a patio makeover. well, all that’s just not going to happen. instead, i used linens and pillows that we already have and put new combos together for something ‘new’. i bought a piece of art off etsy to bring it all together. $25. done.

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i brought patio furniture from the other house.

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and i used paint from another room to revamp the bathroom. is the bathroom still tiny and funky? yes, it is. is it much better, though? yes, it is.

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before

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after

spend your time wisely. you know yourself. if you can’t go to the stores without dropping a bunch of $, then don’t go. i can’t go. so what do you do all day? hmmm… what would your granny do? bake bread from scratch. i did this today! it spent 3 hours of my day, made my house smell amazing, solicited praise from everyone in my house, made me giddy, and costs like 30 cents in yeast. 2 loaves, baby. it was crazy awesome. here’s the tutorial i used and it came out perfectly!

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what else do grannies do? sew. sewing can be cheap or expensive. if you’re broke you should maybe think cheap. yo-yo’s are fast and fun and you can tote them all around. you don’t need a machine or batting and all that. or you could embroider some dish towels. or maybe some hoop art. that’s all cheap. or you can get together with friends. my grandma said that her and her girlfriends used to get together to do housework and laundry and stuff. one day at one person’s house, then the next day at someone else’s. that sounds fun, right? or maybe canning. that’s fun with a crowd. anyway, think like a grandma.

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save some for a rainy day. my grandma used to save money for hard times. smart, huh? they always come. also, this goes for food too. this week (while we still had $), i made a bunch of freezer food for next week (when we might not). more on that tomorrow. but we also stocked up on ‘stuff’ this week. diapers, gas, paper towels, laundry detergent. those things really hurt when you have $30 left to your name. so sock away some money, some food, some necessities.

count your blessings. things aren’t perfect and they never will be. so stop chasing it all day! look around. there’s awesomeness all around you.


How to Be Broke on Payday

so last week we found ourselves with negative dollars in the bank. we’ve come very close again and again lately, but this is the first time in the red, and something had to change. i’ve been planning and praying and thinking about how to avoid some of these $$$ problems in the future and here’s what i’ve come up with.

it all starts on payday. my usual is to be broke, and then super broke, and then go crazy on payday. i’ll usually eat out and light up the internet with some online shopping. but that’s all wrong, y’all! i already know it when i do it, but this time we implemented some strategy. i will do those things, if and only if, i make it through the first week just fine. we’ll entertain all that on week 2. more on that later. today i spend on just a few things.

1. the tithe. we aren’t in a church here yet, but God still has to get his part. i’ll just pray about it before payday and ask that he reveals a cause to me. something that i know is in his plan. sometimes it’s a church or a fundraiser or an adoption. this week it was our local christian radio station. i think God’s cool with it. if i don’t do this immediately on day 1, it gets spent. for a month now we have spent the tithe. it feels icky.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11:24

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. Malachi 3:10

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. Proverbs 3:9

2. speaking of wine… there is one other thing i say it’s cool to spend on today. a $10 treat. i got a bottle of cheap wine and some nail polish. it satisfies the whole ‘i can’t buy anything or do anything fun’ thing, without blowing all your spending money in one day. don’t go out to eat! that’s $60 you’ll wish you had back next week. hold on to it for a bit and see if you still want to.

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tomorrow’s broke topic: grandma wisdom.

and i won’t forget today’s Thankfuls.

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32. Children’s HopeChest and World Vision. We have some sponsored kiddos through those organizations and they have been amazing. i am so thankful for trustworthy organizations like these. i was thinking of it today when we were talking about tithing. alot of times we’ll put our tithe towards our community in ethiopia. we still need a couple more sponsors. seriously! this little girl has no sponsor. what’s up with that?! my hubs said she’s the stinkin’ smiliest cutest thing ever. he said she’s bouncy.

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33. a dryer!!! ok, line drying is charming and everything, but dryers are freakin’ awesome. do you know how many loads of laundry we’ve done in the last 24 hours?!

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that’s all, folks. chime in with all your tips on graciously being broke. i’d love to hear them!


weekend thankfuls

hey guys! we went out of town for the weekend. we went back to houston for our final homestudy. they said we could keep jude. yay for no more homestudies!

so you know how mopey i am about my two house problem. my thankfuls have really really really helped me learn to love this house. but it didn’t erase my love for my old house so i bawled like a baby for a spell. then i decided maybe i should photograph some of my favorite things from there. maybe someday we’ll be in renovation mode and i’ll bring a little of it over here. so my weekend thankfuls start off with my faves from my old house. i am thankful for all the time i got to spend there.

27. my chandelier. i actually might move it. can i do that?

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28. my ghetto bathroom. i used to think this bathroom was outdated and boring. i was way wrong. i didn’t know what i was talking about then. now i have [practically] an outhouse. never again shall i complain. i had the best shower while i was there this weekend. with just regular city water and no scorpions. it was awesome.

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29. my fireplace and brick floor. that’s what made me buy the house in the first place. love it.

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30. the funky stained glass by the front door. it’s a little weird with the hummingbird and everything, but it really grew on me and i think stained glass is so charming. i’d really like to get some going here.

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31. then we came home from our weekend away and i found this on my door! wonderful, lovely surprise mail! and margarita loveliness at that.

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so that’s my Thankfuls for the weekend. tune in tomorrow for my ‘how to be broke’ series. lots of wisdom coming at you from my grandma! should be good.