Monday, September 2, 2013

The Big Reveal: A New Blog

Hello readers! Sorry I haven't been blogging much this summer. Like I said earlier, I've been working on a pretty big project (along with half a dozen other craft projects that cropped up). Well, the project is finally ready to be revealed - I'm starting up a new blog with one of my close friends, Cara Kramp! 

We spent much of the summer brainstorming post ideas & designing (and redesigning and redesigning) the look of our blog. We launched our site today - go check it out!

You can visit the meet page and the first post to learn a little about Cara & me and our heart behind the blog. We'll be posting every Monday and Friday at 9 am, so be sure to check back with us!

I haven't decided yet what this blog will look like now that I'll also be blogging over there, but for now I'm going to leave it up and see what happens. I do know that The Helpmates will take priority over this blog since Cara will be counting on me to post regularly, so don't be surprised if the posting here slows down a lot. I'll be posting there about once a week, so if there's nothing new here, just head over to to check up on me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

summer reading list

Now that summer is here and I've (finally) finished up my undergrad, I've been devouring books like crazy! I love using the Audible app to listen to books while I'm driving, cooking, cleaning, & working out. But I also love having the actual book in my hands. So, I usually have two books going at once, one physical book & one audio book.

Just for fun, I've added my summer reading list to the sidebar of the blog. You can follow along with what I'm reading and get my (extremely short) reviews. Four of the books I'll be reading are part of UBC College Ministry's Table Talk. Every summer, the college staff chooses four books that they consider fairly vital to a Christian's library to take students through. In the past years of Table Talk, I think I've only completed one book (shameful, I know), but this summer I'm hoping to finish all four. You guys can keep me accountable to that!
2013 table talk books
I'm already a little behind, since I just started last week's Table Talk book this morning, but I'm determined to catch up. Feel free to comment here if you want to know more about a book I've read or have any suggestions of what I should read next. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

18 months of marriage - advice from a novice wife

me & Steve at a friend's wedding a few weeks ago

It's wedding season again, & as the invitations pour in, I find myself reflecting on everything that God has taught me over the past 18 months that I've had the privilege of being Steve's wife. I know that I have so much more to learn about marriage - I'm far from being the perfect wife, no matter what Steve tells you - but I thought I'd write out some of the biggest things that I've learned about marriage so far. So, here's my shortlist. Other than #1, it's not in any particular order:

1. By far the most important thing that I've learned is that love isn't just an emotion. C.S. Lewis puts it this way:

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's 
ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

Love is a conscious choice to sacrifice myself for Steve. Just as God loved the world in such a way that he sacrificed his only Son, I must love Steve in such a way that I am willing to sacrifice my wants & desires for Steve's or for what is best for our marriage as a whole.

2. Be spontaneous! Don't let your laundry or homework plans keep you from going out to watch a movie or get ice cream. Set up the tent in the living room & spend the night in it. Even if you need to get up early, don't keep yourself from staying up talking to each other deep into the night. Have pillow fights & tickle wars, play hide & seek, read aloud together, and just be yourselves! Revel in the knowledge that you get to live with your best friend.

3. Learn more & more about each other - ask questions! One of the greatest joys in marriage is getting to know your spouse better than anyone else does. I learn new things about Steve every day, and it fuels my love for him.

One silly & embarrassing example of this is that just last month I discovered that Steve likes mayonnaise on his sandwiches. I've been making him sandwiches for over a year without a clue, until one day I finally thought to ask him, whoops!

4. Your budget is important. Decide on one together & stick to it. We got an awesome excel spreadsheet from my brother-in-law that's helped us a lot in budgeting. Make sure you have common goals for spending, saving, & getting rid of debt.

5. Husbands need encouragement. It may be an affirmation of his leadership of your family, or something as small as thanking him for taking out the trash, but encourage him often. Your words mean more to him than anyone else's, so keep them positive & uplifting! When you do need to offer less than positive opinions, don't whine or complain. No one needs that, especially not your sweet hubby.

6. Make spending time together a priority, but keep your friends close, too. Being together is very important, but that doesn't mean that your friends get tossed to the side. Steve has always been great about letting me have girl time whenever I want, & I usually use his guy time as an excuse to try out new recipes for him & his friends.

You don't want your spouse to be your only relationship, that's not what marriage is about. Also, building a community of married friends is important. Steve & I get together with at least one other couple every week to hang out, and I'm in a young wives Bible study. It's always encouraging to hear from other women about struggles & successes in their marriages - it's such a relief knowing that I'm not the only one having trouble sticking to the grocery budget!

7. Get a mentor who is older than you & has been married for a few years - a woman who will be real with you & doesn't hesitate to call you out when you're being stupid. My mentor has been so encouraging to me in my walk with Christ & my training as a godly wife. I can get great advice from my mom, my sister, or my friends, but it's different coming from someone who was in my shoes just a few years ago.

Since Steve is the interim college pastor, we don't get to attend the young married Sunday school class. It's hard for us, since we aren't college students anymore & we don't connect with them in the same way that we do with other couples. So, when I was looking for someone to disciple me, I found another pastor's wife. She's been where I am & is excellent at encouraging me in my service alongside Steve in the college ministry.

8. Your husband will change & so will you - marriage is dynamic. My husband is a different man than the one I married, but not in a bad way. Being a husband has changed him, taking 12 hours of seminary has changed him, growing in the Lord has changed him, and growing closer to me has changed him. I can see the changes in him better than the ones in myself - like his new love for writing slam poetry, & his seminary studies shifting some of his theological views - but I know that I, too, have changed from the woman he married.

Don't let that change freak you out. Enjoy the man he was, the man he is, and enjoy watching the Lord mold him into who he'll be next, as he molds you, too!


So, those are the big things that God has taught me in marriage so far. I hope it's encouraging to some fiancee or newlywed out there!

On a different note, sorry I haven't been blogging as much recently. I've been working on my last college course (which I finally finished up last week) and I've been working on a secret project that has also taken up some time - hopefully it will be ready to reveal by the end of the summer!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

blue dress refashion

While Cara was here last weekend, we went shopping at a local thrift store. I got this dress for $4. It's a size 14, which is giant on me. I bought it, along with a white button-up shirt that is my size, so that I could use all of that pretty blue fabric to make something I could wear. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

slipcover tutorial {how to make the couch body}

This is part 4 of my couch slipcover tutorial. Go here to start from the beginning. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

chewy peanut butter granola bars

Here's my recipe for granola bars. Steve loves them, and they're great for snacking on the go! 

You'll need a small sauce pan, a casserole dish, and a mixing bowl.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

happy birthday, nike!

Nike turns 1 year old today! We tried to take pictures of Nike every week when we got her so that we could see her growing, but after a few months we forgot. Still, you can see her growing, so here are some pictures of her over the past 9 months.

Here she is on the car ride home from the breeder, & playing with her favorite toy the week we got her. She was 3 months old & about 18 pounds.