8.30.2013

Five on Friday!

Is it just me, or did this week seem a little long? I had a good week, so it's not like I was wanting it to come to an end. I don't know, I guess it was just really full and I'm excited for the long weekend. :) Anyway, here's this weeks Five on Friday...

{one} Last Friday we enjoyed a delicious homemade Mexican dinner with some sweet friends. It was great to catch up with them! They're expecting their first baby in November, which is so very exciting!! Then, on Tuesday, we enjoyed dinner with Mia and Dustin and guess with Mia and talked about....OUR TRIP TO CHICAGO!! Yup, after the boys trip to Alaska, we decided we needed a girls trip. Destination, Chicago! Let me know if you have any suggestions of things we must do/see while we're there in October.

{two} I made big progress on the school room! I finished painting the two main walls and purchased two fairly large white boards. Now we just need to hang the white boards, finishing painting the wall around them, set up the room and get started! Collin and I are so excited to start! On my to-do for this weekend/week is everything I already mentioned, plus getting all the curriculum ready to go. We haven't even started school yet and I'm learning things I would do differently. Ha! Hopefully next week, I can show you a finished room.
 
 
{three} Date night with my man! We've been more intentional about having "date nights" at home. The other night we enjoyed playing Dutch Blitz. It's fun because we get competitive with each other, trash talk, the whole nine yards. We played a lot of games and watched a lot of football together in our dating years, so we're getting back to the basics. Ha! We've decided to make Monday nights "date night in" at our house and watch football after the kiddos go to bed. May not sound too fun to most, but I just love football and I love my man, so it sounds like a perfect night to me! :)
 
 
 
{four} Nearly every morning the kids and I start our day with a walk. Often my mom joins us on the walk, but not always. Yesterday morning this was my view :)
 
 
I just LOVE them!! Sure, I play referee between them, but really they are the best of friends. They laugh so hard together and play together all day. Nothing beats siblings. :)
 
 
{five} I'm obsessed with Purex crystals, specifically the Fresh Spring Waters scent. I've tried lots of different laundry add ins, but this is the one I keep coming back to. It's amazing! You need to try it....then let me know what you think. :)
 






Well, there you have it. My weekly Five on Friday. I hope you have a good weekend planned...hopefully a long weekend with those you love! :)

Until next time,
Kristal

8.28.2013

Wife After God: A book review

If you know me very well, you know I'm passionate about marriage and family.  My marriage and family are far from perfect, but it's not something I take lightly. My marriage to Robert is a beautiful gift God has given me and through our marriage, He has tremendously blessed us with our children. So, to think about something and/or something coming in and trying to damage my marriage and/or family makes me down right feisty. Hard to imagine, I know! Ha!!

So, when I was given the opportunity to review the book, Wife After God, I was thrilled!! This book is designed to draw women closer to their husbands by drawing them closer to God. You can learn more about it here. It has been wonderful!

I'm amazed by the writer's (Jennifer Smith) ability to speak directly into my heart about my marriage. She provides thought provoking, and sometimes convicting, daily devotions with daily challenges to put into practice immediately.

One of the biggest things God has been teaching me the past year or so is that my marriage isn't about making me happy, necessarily, but, rather, about bringing Him glory through my marriage. This devotional has been a great tool in helping me achieve that and keep my perspective in line.

I highly recommend this devotional. In fact, I'm planning to go through it again and would love for you to do it with me! We could have weekly chats, or even quick daily check ins, about how God is working in our marriages. Would you be interested in that?!

If you'd like to purchase the book, you can do so here. Thank you, Jennifer, for the opportunity to review your book! It has already been a tremendous blessing to me and many others to come, I'm sure!

Until next time,
Kristal

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8.26.2013

He is faithful!!!

Happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. We had a good, full weekend. Friday night we had a delicious Mexican dinner with friends; Saturday morning we witnessed the baptism of a friend's little boy in our pool and Saturday night brought a fun family pool/pizza party; Sunday was full of church and family time. Busy weekend!

I thought now would be a great time to share how the Lord brought us to our new home. It was not an easy or fast one. But, it was such a sweet time of growth and fellowship with Jesus that I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Our last home was the first home Robert and I bought together. It was a cute 3 bedroom, 2 bath home and it was ours! We loved it. So many sweet firsts occurred those first few years we lived there. That's where we started our family when Collin was born in February 2009. Then, in September 2011, Emma was born. That home holds a special place in our heart for sure. But, by the time Emma joined our family, we had outgrown our home...or at least we weren't comfortable in it anymore.

Robert's parents live in Chicago and come visit as often as they can and I hated not having a place for them to stay. Plus, as a stay at home mommy, the walls of our little home were beginning to close in. Can anybody relate to that?!

Well, one day the kids and I were out running errands. While we were out, I noticed a "For Sale" sign in a neighborhood Robert and I had longed to live in one day. Out of curiosity, I followed the signs to the home so I could snag an information sheet and see the details of the home. I was shocked, in a good way, at the price and promptly called Robert to tell him about it. He, too, was pleasantly surprised. Thus, the wheels began turning.

After much talking and praying, we decided to bring a Realtor to our house and talk about putting our home on the market. We were nervous! Yet, excited! Our talk with the Realtor didn't go as well as we had hoped, but we ultimately decided to list our home. Selling a house is not easy...at all! From keeping it spotless for showings, to the highs and lows of constant showings, it's exhausting!

After 4 months of having our house on the market, receiving one offer that was insultingly low, we talked with our Realtor about taking our home off the market. We just weren't convinced it was the right time for us to sell anymore. But, she encouraged us to keep it on the market a little longer and just see what happens. About two weeks later, we were under contract on our house!

I'll be honest, it was bittersweet  for me. I was excited that after all this  time and stress we were finally under contract, but it was bitter because I didn't know where we were going to live. There was one house that we had looked at several times that, on paper, was the perfect house and an incredible deal. Everybody was on board with this house, except me. I just knew it wasn't the house. But, I didn't understand why I was so polar opposite from how everybody else felt. What did they see that I didn't?!

We made an offer. And immediately my heart sank. I had absolutely no peace about that house. The owners took quite a while to respond to our offer, which left Robert and I more time to talk and pray it over. And as the weekend went on, Robert felt more and more reservations about the home, too. Thus, we walked away from that house. I immediately felt peace about our decision to walk away from the house, however our move out date was fast approaching and we had no where to live!

My parents graciously opened their home to us for as long as we needed to find our house. So, most of our possessions went to storage, while we moved into my parents home. We continued to faithfully house hunt, but the Lord kept telling us to wait. And wait. And wait. Seriously, I have countless passages, spanning many weeks, that the Lord gave me during that time that speak of waiting on Him and His timing. We didn't understand why He was telling us to wait, but we knew He had a reason for telling us that and our job was simply to obey.

Time passed and still nothing. We continued to look at homes both online and in person, but none of them were "the one". And then I received a call from a dear friend's mom. She had just visited an estate sale in her neighborhood, which is the exact neighborhood Robert and I longed to live in, and thought we might want to walk through it and check it out, in case it went on the market. She warned us that it needed a lot of updating, but that the bones of it were good and she really thought it might fit our family perfectly. So, the next day we went to the estate sale.

And y'all, for me, it was almost "love at first sight". There were things about the home that concerned me and made me wonder if it would work for us, but there was so much potential there, too! I tried really hard not to get too excited, though, because Robert was very unsure about the house and about the timing of buying it. I knew I needed to respect him and not push him at all, so I went to the Lord all the more. I prayed and sat in His presence waiting and asking Him to clearly open or close the doors to the house. And He did!!

He first started with Robert. He softened his heart to the home and the timing of buying it. Then, He moved to me and calmed my anxieties. Finally, He very clearly showed us through Scripture that it was time to move on the house, trusting Him and allowing Him to show us His faithfulness.

And, oh how sweet it is to wait on Him and His timing. He worked things out in ways only He can. There was no doubt at all that He lead us to this house, that He was fighting for us and this was why He wanted us to wait on Him and His timing.

We closed on our home in December and promptly began updating and making it our own. On March 5, 2013 we moved into the most perfect home for us because it is exactly the home He lead us to. Our hearts desire is to use our home in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.

I believe He was honored and glorified this weekend when we witnessed the baptism of a friend's son. Baptism always chokes me up because of what it represents, another soul that has been added to the Lamb's Book of Life. But it was even sweeter this time. God was, and is, using our house to bring Himself glory and we are just very thankful to be a part of His story.


We look forward to our days in our home and continuing to give it back to Him; moving over so He can take the reigns and use our home to reach others for Him and bring honor and glory to Him.

Until next time,
Kristal

8.23.2013

Five on Friday!

THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
 
Whew!! What a week it's been. So very busy! I haven't blogged once since last Friday and let me tell ya, I've missed blogging and you!! Have you missed me?! :)  I'm excited to get back to blogging as usual so let's get started...

{one} Robert is home!! He arrived safe and sound Sunday around lunch and to say we were all so happy to see him is a huge understatement!! We were thrilled! I'm so happy he was able to go to Alaska and enjoy what he enjoys. He had one scary incident, but thoroughly enjoyed his time roughing it. I feel like it was good for our relationship, too. Sometimes it's easy to get set in the routine of things and miss the beauty of the everyday in our relationship, but having him gone for a little over a week reminded us both how much we love, love being married to each other and walking everyday together. Good trip, indeed!

 

{two} Before our men arrived home, though, Mia and I had the best time together last week. She is a real gem, y'all! I am so very blessed to call her a best friend! We enjoyed dinners at home, dog rescuing adventures, lots of loving on my kiddos and, finally, a girls night out that included dinner, conversation and a little shopping! We had a great time together!
 
 
 
{three} Remember last week when I told you about our schoolroom and that my MIL and I were working on taking wallpaper down and getting it all ready to re-do?! Well, we made great progress! The wallpaper came down surprisingly easy, thank the Lord!! We decided to texture two of the walls, though. It would have been a lot easier to texture than get them perfectly smooth. Plus, I like the texture. Once Robert got home, he took down these homemade planter-like light boxes the previous owner had installed. I really didn't want to keep them, but I didn't think they would be able to come down without tearing up the wall. But, Robert to the rescue again!! :) So, after that, we finished prepping the walls for the texture and sprayed the walls Monday. Wow! Let me tell you, that texture is STINKY!!! But, it looks good and the smell has finally dissipated. Next up, painting. We picked a color for the two side walls. But for the main wall, I'd like to do white-board paint. I'm pretty sure I saw that somewhere. Have you ever heard of it or used it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!
 We've decided on the blue gray on the left. Like it?!
 
{four} Again from last week is my desk. Oh, I'm LOVING it!! When Mia and I went shopping Saturday night, I picked up a great light and picture. My little "office area" is coming together so nicely and is so comfortable and cozy! I love it!!
I'm still wanting a new desk chair, but this is working for now. This is the one I have in mind. It's almost exactly the opposite of the lamp shade, since you can't see the detail of the shade.
 
 
{five} Finally, what would a post be without my kiddos?! :) Friday night we went over to my parents for a big family dinner with my cousins, aunt and uncle, grandparents and, of course, my crew. There were a lot of people! But, the kids (and grandparents) got to swim and had a great time. Collin is such a little fish in the pool! He amazes me with how much better and stronger of a swimmer he becomes every time he gets in the pool. I seriously wonder if he'll be on a swim team someday. It's early, though, so we'll see how his love of swimming develops.
Oh, that face, that boy! Love him!!
 
Grammy and Emma!
 
Since when did he start diving?!
 
Nana and Papa helping Emma get in on the action, too!
 
 
 
So, there's my week in a quick review. It's good to be back blogging, even though it's only been a week. :) I hope you've had a good week and have a fun weekend ahead!!
 
Until next time,
Kristal
 
 
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8.16.2013

Five on Friday!

It's Friday!! That means Robert comes home in 2 days....woohoo!!! This week has gone surprisingly fast, but I'm definitely ready to see my man. :) Here are some of my faves this week.


1.
This cutie and I had a fun date on Monday morning! We went to see Planes in 3D. It was really cute. I would recommend it. We had tried to take him to movies before, like a couple years ago even, but he's always been a bit sensitive about really loud noises and the surround sound of the theater always scared him. This time, though, he was "big boy" and had a great time. It's so fun going on little dates!
 
 
2. I have been hunting for the perfect little writing desk for in our den and I found it Tuesday night!! I'm LOVING it! I need to get a couple cute things to put on it, a lamp and a cute chair, but I love it already. See my Erin Condren planner?! :)
 
 
3. So, since our fellas are in Alaska, Mia and I have taken advantage of this time and spent lots of time together. Sadly, we have pretty much no pics from the week, but we plan to change that tomorrow when we spend some time in the city. :)
 
4. My mother-in-law arrived Wednesday to visit for the week. It's always nice having her come visit. This time, we've decided to tackle our school room and get it ready for the year ahead. First thing, remove the wallpaper. Here's a little look at what we've done so far.
Here's the plaid wallpaper to remove. That's a sheet below the wallpaper covering the paneling so it doesn't get super messy while we work.
Here's the same wall with most of the wallpaper gone. It went surprisingly well and fast yesterday, which I'm thankful for, but I'm excited for it to be done.
 
 
5. Finally, I'm so excited that Robert comes home on Sunday! I had a surprise call from him last night, which was great, but my heart sank at first seeing the number come up. I wasn't supposed to hear from him until today, when they're out of the woods, but apparently there was one patch of reception, so he called. Once I heard that, I felt better. He's having a great time, for sure! And I'm so glad about that!! Listening to their adventures, though, I found myself thanking God over and over and over for having His hand of protection on them always. I can't wait to see him!!
 
So, there are my faves this week. I'd love to hear yours!
 
Until next time,
Kristal


8.14.2013

No Sew Curtains!

Ok, I'm clearly behind the times on this front, but I just discovered how to make "no sew" curtains. And I love them!! One of my girlfriends just bought her first house, I'm so happy for her, and has been having a great time decorating and getting all settled into her new home. One of the things she did was make some adorable curtains for her kitchen. I was asking her all about it so I could try my hand at this, too.

So, off to Hobby Lobby I went to find some material and the tools I needed to make my own curtains. Since our fellas are roughing it in Alaska, and having a great time I might add, Mia and I have been having a great time hanging out together. She came over for dinner this weekend and we decided to knock these curtains out. :) Although they are really easy to do, it was a really good thing we were doing it together...two brains are definitely better than one. :)

This was the magic ticket in making these curtains happen...
 

 

I had my damp cloth (I promise it's clean!) and iron and we were off!

Iron, iron, iron


Check it out, I made a hem!


And here's the finished product! :) And, a really cool thing that I didn't even notice until after it was hung, is that the fabric matches so nicely with the curtain in the den!! I'll have to show you around our house sometime and all the work we've done since we moved it. That'll be some fun posts.
 
 
Until next time,
Kristal

8.12.2013

Little mouths praising Jesus

In our home, I have worship music playing nearly non stop. When we wake up in the morning, I usually turn on KLove and have it on all day. Music is powerful and it's a great way to help me stay encouraged and focused on the important things. And it's a great ministry tool. Collin and Emma are little sponges, soaking in everything they hear and see.

While we were staying at my parent's house, in between our last house and current house, my dad introduced us to a wonderful song full of great truths. Collin and Emma immediately became enthralled with He's Alive!.


They quickly learned the words to the song and request to watch it over and over. I pray those words sink deep in their hearts and they claim the truth that He Is Alive!! in their lives, as early as they can truly understand what Jesus did for them and accept His precious gift of salvation. I haven't been able to get a good recording of them singing along, but I'll keep trying. Here's a picture, though, of sweet Emma intently watching along. :)

 
 
Another favorite song around our house is Great I am;
 
 This is another song chalked full of awesome truths!! We were driving home from church yesterday listening to this song and Collin was singing along to it. :) This is one of those songs that when it comes on during the day, we stop what we're doing, turn it way up and praise Jesus together. Few things melt my heart more, than when I hear their sweet voices praising Jesus! These truly are the best days of my life!!
 
video
(If you look closely, you'll see sweet Emma's little leg moving along to the music. She may not be able to fully sing along yet, but she's praising Jesus too :))
 
Until next time,
Kristal
 
 
 

 

8.09.2013

Five on Friday

Time for another Five on Friday post!!

1. I had some girlfriends over Monday night to watch the Bachelorette finale. We had a good time, as always. I was/am a huge Chris fan, so I was thrilled they ended up together. But, I have to admit, I think it's pretty hard for her to come back from the Brooks' deal. She was SO into him the week before and then suddenly switched to Chris. I was fully expecting Brooks to come back. But, I'm really happy she saw what we saw in Chris and I do hope they make it because I think they're just perfect together. :)


2. My hubby heads to Alaska today with this lovely's hubby to meet up with some of Robert's college friends. They're roughing it this next week with lots of backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, cabin staying...you name it, they're doing it. That means we'll get lots of girl time, too. So, it's a win win for all of us.



3. We're getting a new fence! Yay!!! It should be complete today and I'm just thrilled.

4. Remember when I talked about my beloved life planner, well they are 10% off until August 23. Seriously, you should get one!!

5. Finally, this cutie wanted to swim at Nana & Papa's while I was at the dentist, but he didn't have his swimsuit. Not to worry, Papa came to the rescue and let him borrow one of his swimsuits. :)
 
 
Until next time,
Kristal

8.08.2013

Walking through life together (Tulsa metro)


I missed linking up on Tuesday, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to brag on God and thank Him for the precious group of ladies He's placed in my life.

Back in 2012, I approached my friend, and neighbor at the time, about starting a Bible study just her and I. I was so nervous to ask her, not knowing what her response would be. We had grown a friendship through our mutual love of Scentsy, we're both on the same team, and I was excited about growing our friendship beyond that, specifically in the Word. So, one morning I invited her over for muffins and coffee, because really what's better than blueberry muffins and coffee with a dear friend?!, and I asked her...after our time together was almost over. Again I say, I was so nervous. But, once I finally asked her, I was so relieved and excited by her excitement to start a study! Not only did she say Yes!, but she asked if another friend could join us!! I was thrilled, albeit super nervous about leading a group (even if it was only 3 of us) in Bible study. Was I equipped to do this?! What if I stumbled over my words?! What if I didn't know an answer to a question!? What if....

What if God showed up! What if He was the one actually in charge of this study! What if our friendships grew like we never could have imagined! What if...

To say I am grateful I obeyed His call on my life to start a Bible study with my (old) neighbor, is a vast understatement!! God has so richly blessed our lives through our time, once a week, studying His word together! That neighbor of mine has become one of my very best friends!! I cannot imagine doing life without her. And we have added some lovely ladies to our group. And friendships have grown and blossomed together that I never could have been put together apart from Him. He is so good and knows just what we need, exactly when we need it!

Our Bible study group has been meeting almost every week since January 2012 and it truly is a highlight of my week. Growing with these ladies has been such a blessing to me. They have forced me to dig deeper in the Word as I attempt to lead/facilitate our study. And sure, I stumble over my words. I don't always have the answer to questions. But, He gives me grace and they give me grace. And it's beautiful!

If you aren't involved in some kind of community/life group, especially with just women, I encourage you to find one in your area....or even start one! It is a blessing to do life together with other women striving to live a God honoring life.

Until next time,
Kristal

8.07.2013

Planner, anyone?!

So if you know me very well, you know I am obsessed in love with my Erin Condren life planner. See, here's a pic of my current LP.
I love this beauty! After I had Emma, well before, too, it was just more manageable, I couldn't remember things for the life of me...unless I wrote it down. I thought that as Emma got older and I became a little less sleep deprived, my memory would return. I was not so lucky. So, what's a girl to do but get a planner!!

I came across Erin Condren products last year and began drooling over the planners. My only hang up....can I justify spending $50 on a planner?! So, the hunt was on. I looked and looked and looked for something different, but just couldn't find anything I liked as much at the EC planners. By this point in the year, Christmas was fast approaching. My sweet parents got my first EC life planner for me for Christmas. To say I was excited  was an understatement!

I fell in love with it in person immediately! And I finally wasn't forgetting things like I once did. :) Plus, I started writing down everything, which was helpful for me as a stay at home mom for two reasons 1) it serves as good confirmation that I truly am busy all day, and 2) it keeps me on track with everything I need/want to do. I just love it!! (Can you tell?!) I talked my planner up so much, that my mom purchased one for herself shortly after I got mine. :)

Well, the beginning of this month brought the release of the new 2013/2014 life planners. You can imagine how excited I was about this! While I loved my planner as it is, I'm really excited about the changes and improvements they made to the new planner! I cannot wait to order a new planner. However, my current planner goes through the end of this year, plus it's surprisingly hard to decide which one I'd like to get this go around. So, I need your help!

Here are my top picks...I'd love to hear which you love...for me and yourself!

Find this planner here
 
Find this planner here
 
Find this planner here
 
Find this planner here
 
Find this planner here
 
 
See, there are so many great options! So, which is your favorite?! I'd love to hear! :)
 
Until next time,
Kristal
 
 



8.05.2013

Grace through hurt

How do you handle hurt? I'm talking about hurt in your heart from somebody very close to you? Over the past couple of months, I have been dealing with hurt like this. And it hasn't been easy.

It's almost unchartered territory for this friendship. Sure, in the past I have experienced hurt and broken friendships, but it's different when it happens from an unlikely source. As I've been praying through the situation, I've concluded that there are two different paths I can take when dealing with this hurt and moving forward: 1) I can dwell on it or 2) I can use it to become a better friend to others. I think option 2 sounds better, although, up to this point, I've been living option 1.

Like I talked about in this post, grace is so important to any relationship. God has lavishly poured grace out on me, and continues to pour it out on me daily. Therefore, the best way I can show God's love to others is to bestow that grace on others-even, and especially, when it's hard. Because really, if I haven't needed that grace yet, I certainly will in the future.

This doesn't mean the hurt I'm feeling is void or shouldn't be addressed. It absolutely should be addressed. But, it does mean that I need to remember that we all make mistakes and cause hurt, whether intentional or unintentional.

What are some of your favorite/best ways to deal with hurt and disappointment in your relationships?

Until next time,
Kristal

8.02.2013

Five on Friday

It's Friday!!! And this is a very special Friday because...

1. Today is my hubby's birthday!! I'm a big fan of birthdays. I mean, what's better than celebrating those you love?! And this man, I adore! He's a wonderful husband and father and I thank God every day for the blessing he is in my life. I cannot imagine going through life without him!! Happy birthday, Babe!! I love you!!


2. Last night a few of my girlfriends, including this beauty,  and I started our study through Acts. We've been meeting (almost) every week for Bible study since 2012 and I adore our group. Our members change a bit each study, but there are a few of us who have remained constant and I cherish those ladies. There is just nothing like getting together on a weekly basis, studying the Word together and doing life together. So sweet!

3. My bestie from college came over for the day on Wednesday and it was so great to see her. She lives about a hour and a half away and we try to see each other every few months. It's crazy how fast time goes by and how we can go for months at a time without talking, but when we are reunited, we pick right back up as though we were never a part. Those friendships are so sweet and rare and I'm thankful for her!

4. Our home and the way the Lord is already using it. I need to share our story about how the Lord lead us to our house sometime, but I received a really neat call from a friend this week asking if they could use our pool to baptize their little boy who recently accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior! How cool is that?!?

5. And finally, this is just fun. I was at Target, by myself, buying the hubby some birthday cards. I had to wait in line, just like everybody else, but received a fun surprise as I was paying. The cashier told me he was going to give me a $3.00 discount just because I had to wait in line. Haha! I was only buying two cards, shocking I know that I only left with what I came for at Target, and that basically paid for one of the cards. How fun :)

Until next time,
Kristal