The Life Not My Own

Monday, October 31, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: Coming Home

Friday afternoon Andy and I finally pulled in to our driveway after being gone for a week and a half.  For a week, we had been in High Point, NC, at the furniture market.  The days were long and tiring.  My husband and I got to be together all day, but somehow it felt like we didn't actually have any time together.  We were too distracted with being "professional" and "working".

It's good to be home.

111. A delicious lamb gyro.  You just can't get that where we live.
112. Peace about God's plan and timing.
113. A bonfire with the college group.
114. Working like crazy on our house and seeing our dreams take shape.
115. Getting to actually spend time with my husband.
116. A Sunday afternoon nap after a long couple of weeks without a weekend.
117. The lowest energy bill we've ever seen.
118. Celebrating my beautiful Mama's birthday, even though I couldn't be there.
119. Sweet little pets so excited to see us home.
120. Getting to take a bath...after being stuck in a handicapped hotel room with only a shower.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Escalator

I have a fear of escalators.  Not a huge fear, as in I won’t get on them, but my stomach definitely drops out before I step on one.

I know they’re perfectly safe, and that if I step on that moving step I will be quickly deposited on level ground.  But still, every time I step on I grab a hold of the railing and look down until my feet are firmly rooted on the ridged stair. 

My life is like an escalator sometimes.  Many times, I have to step out in faith.  I know that I can trust God, way more so than I can trust an escalator.  But still, it’s scary.  My stomach drops out, and the pain of worry cuts deep within. 

The question is, will I step out and trust Him? 

Shakily, I grab the railing and step on.  I push through my fear of the unknown.  The great drop to the bottom floor scares me, but I know that I can’t get to the next level any other way.  And I know that if I step out in faith, God will safely carry me there.

A year ago, I was going through a very confusing time in my life.  On the one hand, I was incredibly happy and enjoying newlywed life with my hubby.  On the other, there were problems and worries back home in Arizona that I had no control over.  Most days were busy enough that I could get through them without thinking of the worries far away.  But then something would remind me.  My stomach would tie itself in knots, and the pain of not being in control would seem almost too much to bear.

It was then that I had to grab a hold and step on anyway.  I had to trust God, knowing that He would carry me through.

Today, things have changed, but they’re no less confusing.  I’m still not in control, and things are far from perfect.  Yet, I’m learning that God truly does have an awesome plan through all of it.  I’m learning that I don’t have to be in control.  I’m learning that the pit in my stomach will go away, and that God will carry me through.  Worrying about it won’t help anything.

So, like stepping on the escalator, I press through my fears and worries.  I trust Him—He who is able to supply all our needs.  He who is watching over those I love.  He who has a plan through everything.

So, I ask you…will you step on with me?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 Reasons Why Vinegar Rocks My World

I know, I know…a post about vinegar?  Seriously, though, I love the stuff.  Read on and you might just learn to love it too!

1.) It’s good for everything from cooking to cleaning to deodorizing.  Mix it with water to clean surfaces around your house.  Combine it with baking soda and you can get the worst stains out.  Vinegar can pretty much do anything…it’s a superhero in all respects.  It even sanitizes (seriously…why are we using toxic bleach instead of vinegar?!) 

2.) It’s natural and non-toxic.  Get rid of all your chemicals and start using this stuff…it will do wonders for your health!

3.) It smells better than bleach.

4.) It comes in large quantities.

5.) It’s cheap.

So, there you have it.  Wanna save some money?  Switch to vinegar from all your cleaning supplies.  You might just learn to love it too.  And, yes, it might even rock your world.

Monday, October 24, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: Sweet Surrender

This week has been…odd.  I’ll explain more later this week, but until then, suffice it to say that things haven’t exactly gone according has planned.  They haven’t gone at all according to plan.  During those times, I can get all uptight and freak out, or I can give up and surrender. 

And I’m learning that surrender, while hard to do at first, is oh-so-sweet.

101. A fire in the fireplace on a chilly day.
102. A man that I’m always excited to be with…and always sad to be away from.
103. Homemade apple chips.  Yummy!
104. Finding really cute earrings on sale for $5!
105. Blue skies worthy of any blue sky in Arizona.
106. Made-from-scratch hot chocolate.  The best.
107. Movies that make me laugh and cry.
108. Getting to catch up with my sisters on the phone.
109. The crisp, cozy smell of Fall.
110. Hope.


Friday, October 21, 2011

The Big "C" Word

Compromise.  Usually it’s portrayed in a positive light, as far as it relates to relationships.  But compromise in the way we live?  I think we’ve taken it too far.

Nobody’s perfect, and Christians even more so.  But I’m sick of the compromise that’s going on.  I’m sick of us professing Christians living just like the world, instead of being the lights we should be.

Take purity, for example.  Often, we draw the line at the big “s” word.  Yet, in our dress and our actions, we are sending the message that we want to be as close to the world as possible.  Why do we compromise so much in this area?  No, you may not have had sex, but have you preserved your purity?  Purity is about so much more than just sex.  Purity is a mindset and a lifestyle. It’s a direction to go instead of a line to get close to. 

Now, I’m not saying that everyone has to wait for their wedding day to share their first kiss, like Andy and I did.  That was just something that Andy and I decided to save.  What I am saying is that, as Christians, when approaching the subject of purity and boundaries, as well as any other area of our lives, we need to think about our witness.

Last week, I saw some things posted online by a fellow believer in Christ.  They were very sensual and, to say the least.  There was nothing about them that was honoring of God.  Furthermore, this was public online for everyone to see.  Unfortunately, this is nothing new.  I am constantly let down and disappointed by the compromise I see in fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  I struggle with compromise myself. 

So, my question is, why compromise?  Why see how close we can get to being like the world while still proclaiming Christ?  God doesn’t want lukewarm, compromising followers.  He wants followers who are truly sold out to Him and willing to live a life that’s radical in the eyes of the world in order to follow Him. 

I have news for you: the world isn’t drawn to themselves.  They’re empty, so why would they look to other empty people to fill them?  What they are drawn to is Christ as He overflows out of His followers.  And they can’t see Him when we look like the world.

Are you ready to stand up and be different?  Lets start running the race with our eyes fixed on Jesus instead of on what others are thinking of us. 

Not compromising.  It’s about so much more than toeing the line.  It’s about being different for Christ…and being okay with that.  

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caitlin B Learns to Run

I’m not really the runner type.  Sometimes I think I am.  Like at church camp when I decided that I could run the 3-mile race.  Why, you ask?  I have no clue. I almost died.

You see, I like working out.  Sometimes I don’t make time for it, but I like it. My mom’s a workout superstar, so I have a good role model.  But when I work out, it’s usually something fun, like biking or dancing, or even walking…I love walking.  And lifting weights is no problem.  Running though?  Running is just plain hard for me.  My legs start to burn, and I feel like I can’t go one more step.  So, usually, I stop.

I never felt the need to run.  Week knees run in my family, so I don’t want to add to it.  But then I moved out in the country.  There’s a gym, but it’s housed in a shop building and it’s not really worth it for me to pay for that.  And then, walking isn’t as easy because I don’t live in a neighborhood, so I have to walk along the highway.  But I still do it, because I need to

I have a few workout videos, but they get boring after awhile, and we haven’t saved up enough yet for a treadmill or elliptical.  So, I usually walk.  I get a pretty good workout in, because I walk fast, and I walk up a pretty steep hill on the way home.  Only, it just doesn’t push me enough. I want to keep my heart in better shape.

It’s always bothered me that I can’t run.  I don’t want to run all the time, but I want to be able to.  Usually on my walks, once I start going uphill I start running…for about 300 feet.  And then I stop.  It just gets too hard.

The other day I started thinking about how I could push myself more…how I could do so much more if I’d push through the uncomfortable feeling and just keep going. So I did.  I pushed myself harder.  And guess what?  I finally felt that runner’s high you always hear about.  Up until then, I thought it was a myth.  But now I don’t…now I know it’s real.

I didn’t run the whole way, and I didn’t run very fast, but I ran. 

When I got home, my heart was pounding and my face was red.  And I felt good. 

And then I did it again.  And again.  I pushed harder every time. 

No, I don’t want to run all the time.  I don’t want to ruin my knees, and I enjoy just walking too much.  But it’s nice to know I can do it.  It’s nice to feel the wonderful feeling of pushing yourself past your comfort zone.  It’s nice to know that I really can do all things through Christ, my Strength.

And that’s how Caitlin B, the non-runner, learned to run.    


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: Life

I missed a week, I know.  Last week I was working on painting rooms, moving and reorganizing items, and rearranging furniture.  Between that, my usual housework, and my actual work, the days were full to the brim.  And so, I never had time to write a post. 
Yet, life went on without my post, as it always does.  With it came lessons on faith and love…as well as some very precious moments. 
DSCF2012 (3)
91. Holding a tiny newborn.
92. Flowers still blooming in October
93. The weather changing, bringing the promise of rain.
94. Sharing in the exciting news that a dear friend has another baby on the way.
95. Nieces safe in Momma’s womb for another week.
96. Wind chimes singing outside my kitchen window.
97. A pumpkin sitting on the table, reminding me of this glorious season.
98. A hot bowl of chili on a rainy fall day.
99. My yellow stand mixer that makes baking something that much more fun.
100. Friends and family to share life with.


Friday, October 14, 2011

New Post on Newlywed's Bliss

Also, go check out Newlywed's Bliss today.  There's several new posts up as well as the announcement for who won The First 90 Days of Marriage giveaway!

Kitchen Pictures!!!

Okay, so I've definitely been slacking on this.  I finally updated the house blog with pictures of our new kitchen!

Check it out here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What Comes First?

We all have a variety of roles we play.  Wife.  Daughter.  Sister.  Mother.  Student.  Employee.  Nursery worker.  Friend.  Writer.  We all have different parts to who we are.  Yet our lives are often so busy that all these roles get muddled.

It’s easy for me to think that as long as I’m busy doing something, then I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.  Busyness means effectiveness, right?  Lately, however, I’ve been realizing that this point-of-view completely misses the role that priorities play, or at least should play, in our lives.

Take my main roles.  My life right now comprises of being a wife, homemaker, substitute teacher, administrative assistant, blogger, writer, daughter, sister, friend, church-worker, and, most importantly, a follower of the most High King.  So here’s how my priorities time-wise should go:

1. God—Quiet time with Him, serving Him in various ministries that He has called me to, following His leading, worshiping Him, etc.

2. My husband—Attending to his needs, helping him at work, keeping our house, planning meals, and anything that will help and please him.  Even working out to stay healthy and fit for him!

3. People—Building relationships, encouraging people, practicing hospitality, etc.

4. Work—Subbing and working at Stone County Ironworks

5. Writing, blogging, other interests—Blogging, writing, sewing, crocheting, creative projects.

6. Free time and Rest.

Lately, my days have gone along the lines of what I think of next, or what I want to do at the time.  I’ve worked on blogs before working on the house.  I’ve sat crocheting before spending time with God.  I’ve gotten it all mixed up because I’m doing something…and something useful!  If I centered my days around this list instead, working in a little bit of everything and doing tasks according to priority, then my days would be a lot more productive

So, I’m working on getting my priorities straight, and centering my tasks around them.  Blogging is taking a back seat.  It’s still something I love and have a passion for, but it’s not my priority.  I’m not going to work on it before doing something Andy needs done, spending time with God, or completing necessary housework. 

After all, when my priorities are right, then my writing might just be a whole lot better.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To Marvel at His Creation

This morning I went outside as soon as it was light to let the dog out of her kennel.  As I breathed in the cool, fall air, I was struck by the beauty of His creation.

The trees in our yard are just starting to turn, but the hillside behind our house was covered with greens and reds and oranges.  Fog lay softly in the field below it, and fluffy grey clouds filled the skies.  It was perfect.

I wondered how much I would have missed if I hadn't taken the time to look marvel at His creation.  There's a persimmon tree tucked into the corner of our property, but I would never have noticed it if I hadn't taken the time to look.  How many things am I missing out on by letting life become so busy that I never have the time to just sit and ponder?

Lord, help me to enjoy the slow, simple life.  Help me to never miss out on the beauty of Your works.

For it's a beauty that takes me breathe away.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Giveaway!

Be sure and check out Newlywed's Bliss today!  Our love story is up, as well as a new giveaway.  Check it out and share it with friends!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unexpected Days

We’ve had this turkey in the freezer for almost a year.  Technically, it wasn’t always in our freezer.  For the first eight months it was in my mother-in-law’s freezer, until we moved into our new house and got a freezer big enough to fit it in. 

All year we’ve been wondering what to do with it.  You see, Andy’s work gives every employee a turkey for Thanksgiving.  Only problem was, we weren’t even here last Thanksgiving.  Instead we were in Arizona with my family eating their turkey.  And then, for Christmas, we were at my in-laws, and they had their own turkey too. 

I kept thinking we’d make it for a special occasion.  Valentine’s Day perhaps?  Somehow, it has to be a very special day with lots of free time to have the patience to roast a turkey for hours.  And so in the freezer it sat.
Then we thought we’d have it for our own Easter dinner.  Only problem was, I forgot to get my turkey out of my in-laws freezer before they left for the holiday.  With no key, and no way to get my turkey, we settled for a nice roast instead.

So, when the turkey was moved into my keeping at our new house, the plan became to roast it once we had our kitchen done.  Well, it’s done!  And so yesterday I put it in the roasting pan, smothered it in olive oil and thyme, and stuck it in the oven.

I’d let it defrost a few days, but apparently not long enough.  The turkey never finished cooking.  It was in there for hours and then the time for Wednesday night church came around and we ended up having to get fast food instead.  Compared to the delicious smelling turkey in my oven, that was a crime.

So, today it’s in my oven once more.  I’m determined to have a turkey for dinner.  I even made stuffing and I’m thinking about making an apple pie with all the apples I bought at the store earlier. 

Who cares that it’s Thursday.  Who cares that my husband has had a long day and is late from work.  Who cares that it’s not a holiday and I don’t have sparkling grape juice. 

What I do have, is worth much more than all those things.  I have a husband who can’t wait to get home to a good dinner and a happy wife (and I can’t wait for him to get home either!).  I have a dream kitchen with plenty of room to make this feast.  The sun is shining, the taste of fall is in the air, and by gads I will have me a turkey dinner!

Besides…I wanted to get rid of it before the next turkey enters my freezer in a month.  Leftover turkey anyone?


Monday, October 3, 2011

Exciting New Places

I wanted to share something really special that is happening in my life right now.  As you know, I’m happily married to a wonderful guy.  And, as you also know, I love sharing tidbits and stories from our life and marriage in order to encourage others. 

For the last while a blogging friend, Emily from Scribbles from Emily, has been working on a new blog specifically geared for newlyweds, Newlyweds Bliss.  It’s going to be a great place for newlyweds to share about life, marriage, finances, home, intimacy, and so much more. 

And guess what?  It launches today!  This week there are going to be some great giveaways and introductions to celebrate the launch of this brand new blog.  I encourage you to check it out and share it with as many people as possible.  Do you know any newlyweds or soon-to-be-marrieds?  Then share this site with them!  And go over and check it out yourself…you just might win something!

I’m also excited to announce that I’m going to be one of the main contributors to the blog, along with Emily and Kelsey.  I’ll be posting there every Friday, so don’t forget to go over and check it out.
I’m incredibly excited to be a part of this team.  Sometimes it’s hard to balance the things that I am experiencing and have a heart for, and what you as my readers and “bloggersphere” friends will relate to.  Not everyone is a newlywed, after all!  That’s where Newlyweds Bliss comes in.  This site will be devoted specifically to newlyweds (and those that still feel like newlyweds).  Check it out today!

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One Thousand Gifts: A Simple Cup of Tea

Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed a quiet moment in the midst of a busy life.  A fresh pot of loose-leaf Chai tea served in my blue china teacups, an open Bible, and a blank journal—these things do wonders to my soul.  Everything was still and quiet, and I was able to just talk to my Lord and let Him speak to me.  The day was chilly and sunny, and brown leaves covered the ground outside, but I had my seat at our big kitchen window.  And with a hot cup of tea and my Jesus, that was all I needed.

81. Precious nieces still safe in their mommy’s tummy.
82. Making a dinner my husband really enjoys (Chicken Fried Steak).  And I mean really.
83. Sweet hugs from kindergarteners two days in a row.
84. Slipping into a breezy summer dress after a long, hot day.
85. Wearing said dress on a spontaneous week-night date with my man.
86. Making dinner in my new kitchen for the first time.
87. More cabinet space that I need.
88. Brownies and biscuits perfectly baked in my newish oven.
89. A dishwasher that actually cleans dishes.
90. Enjoying tea and quiet time on a Sunday afternoon next to my sunny kitchen window.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011


Buying this house, Andy and I have found ourselves with more space on our hands than we know what to do with. Our previous rent house was around 900 square feet with three tiny bedrooms, one of which was completely taken up by my husband's weight machine. Our current house is 2300 square feet...a big difference.

Most days I just pass by the empty rooms without a thought. We don't need them. One of them is filled with boxes and items we haven't found a place for yet. Two others sit completely empty. I rarely go in the second bathroom.

But sometimes, as we fix up this home of ours, I see something else.

Sometimes as I look down the hallway to the little back bedroom, I see a yellow nursery, filled with toys

Sometimes, as I clean up the second bathroom for guests to come over, I see warm bubbles in the bath, and children giggling as they laugh and play. 

Sometimes, as I rearrange the furniture in the living room, I see a Friday night of boardgames on the floor, and a homeschool area set up in the corner.

Sometimes, as I play the keys of my grandmother's piano, I see chubby little fingers slowly hitting the keys.

Sometimes, as I put things away in the kitchen cupboards, I see baby bottles stacked high and a high chair by the table.

Sometimes, as I crawl into bed at night, I see a rocker in the corner where I rock my sleeping babe.

Sometimes, as we dream of the dining table we want, I see a family gathering, with grandparents and children all around, eating dinner on my blue china.

Sometimes, when I look out in our back yard, I see our children playing with Sam and Elsa, soaking up the Spring sun.

Yes, sometimes I dream such things.

This house, this home, is so much more than a place to live.  It's a place to grow into and shape. 

And it's a place to dream.