Thursday, December 5, 2013

30 Holiday Date Ideas

The holiday season can be overwhelming. There is so much fun and activity, lots of time spent with family and friends -- but don't forget to spend quality time together as a couple! Here are some fun date ideas for the holiday season. 


1. Go ice skating. - bundle up and hold hands!

2. Get coffee/hot chocolate at Starbucks. - Yeah, it's expensive. But get red cups and have good conversation. :)

3. Window shop downtown. - Check out cute shops that you normally wouldn't go to. 

4. Look at Christmas lights. - You can search online and see if there are any known elaborately decorated houses near you. 

5. Bake cookies. - Go all out and make them from scratch, or get some slice and bake ones and decorate them. Don't forget the milk! 

6. See a matinee movie. - Less expensive and a fun change to do during the daytime. Or search for a $1-$2 theater near you.

7. Go to the dollar store or Five Below and pick out some gag gifts for friends or family. - You know your brother-in-law would love that Justin Bieber light-up pen.

8. Make an Operation Christmas Child box or two. Fun for you and for the kids who get the boxes - win/win!

9. Serve at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. - Find one you can help year-round, not just during the holidays!

10. Have movie night at home. - Redbox, Netflix, or ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas would give you some great options. Make a fort or pallet with lots of blankets and pillows and try to actually watch the movie without falling asleep. :) Or go through movies you already have. It's easy to forget ones you'd love to re-watch!

11. Go underwear shopping for each other. (This is for married couples, obviously, haha.) - How long has it been since you got lingerie? It doesn't have to be expensive, places like Kohl's or TJ Maxx have good stuff! And American Eagle has some great holiday guy underwear. :)

12. Go bowling. - Such a classic date night. Who cares if you're any good? Be silly. Have fun. 

13. Have a reminiscing night. - Watch your wedding video. Look through old pictures. Bust out the yearbooks. Watch home movies.

14. Deliver candy or cookies in your neighborhood. - Complete with Santa hats!

15. Have a board games/card night. - A few board games we love that can be played with two people: Monopoly Deal, Ticket to RideFlash Point.

16. Make a Top Ten of 2013 list. - Take time to remember all of the amazing things you did together this year. Is there anything you loved that you could recreate before the year is over?

17. Make a music video. - Pick a song. Maybe a Christmas song. Either plan out the dancing or freestyle. Hilarity is sure to ensue. 

18. Have a Minute to Win It night. - Have minute challenges with household items. Raise the stakes and make bets with each other to increase the competition!

19. Make a fire and s'mores. - Either make a fire in a fire pit in your backyard and cozy up together, or make a fire inside and toast the marshmallows in the oven. :) 

20. Recreate your first date.

21. Read a fun book together. - This may sound boring, but we love to do this and my husband isn't even an avid reader like myself. We've liked revisiting childhood favorites together (like The Great Brain) and now we've been reading Jim Gaffigan's book Dad is Fat which is hilarious (and we don't even have kids yet). 

22. Go dancing. - I don't mean in a club. I mean go salsa dancing. Or shagging. (Side note - apparently shag dancing is a North Carolina thing? I thought it was everywhere, but alas, it is not. Please look up videos and go shag dancing or try it at home. Do it.)

23. Make Christmas ornaments. - Get as crafty as you want or go old school with popsicle sticks or paper plates. I'm sure Pinterest has approximately 4722 ideas for this.

24. Go on a scavenger hunt. - You could set up a special holiday themed one for your spouse that includes a favorite dinner spot and dessert!

25. Visit a nursing home together. - Read the Christmas story in Luke to residents, or be bold and sing some Christmas carols to them. :)

26. Make a gingerbread house. - Start from scratch or buy a kit from somewhere like Michael's.

27. Go thrifting. - Everyone knows I love thrift finds on the daily, but this could be a fun date idea. You can find cute vintage Christmas decorations at thrift store or pick out hilarious outfits for each other.

28. Attend a play or ballet. - Obviously A Christmas Carol or The Nutcracker would be good choices this time of year!

29. Make your ultimate Christmas wish lists. - Go all out. I mean if you could have anything in the WORLD. For instance, mine would say a pet fox. A real life R2-D2. A dish washing fairy. You get the idea.

30. Have a video game night. - This is the most fun in my opinion when you have old school gaming systems such as Super Nintendo, Playstation, or N64. Just don't fight too much about who gets to be Mario and who has to be Luigi...



Hopefully those ideas get your wheels turning about what you can do with your significant other this holiday season. For ideas of what to do at your Christmas party, click here!

Ashley

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3 Wise Words for the Holiday Season

I was reminded of something yesterday through Lara Casey's Instagram that I had read before, but had completely forgotten about and NEEDED to read. It was a quote from Shauna Niequist's blog that is perfect for the holiday season.

Three Words:

Present Over Perfect.

With so many plans, distractions, and good intentions for Christmas we can become a little crazy. As in running around the house throwing dirty laundry into closets begging your husband to vacuum the pine needles on the floor and wrap his parents' gifts oh wait where are the the presents probably in the closet under the laundry well crap I accidentally bought a large oh there's the doorbell people are here I forgot to preheat the oven the lights on the tree just went out we forgot to do the last couple days of advent what are the visitors going to think and ceramic baby Jesus fell on the floor and broke and now I'm crying crazy. Sound a little familiar?

I was already stressing out before Christmas season even started about when we were going to decorate and get our tree. But Thanksgiving is so late this year! I said. It will be December 2nd when we're back from the Thanksgiving beach trip! I complained. Whatever shall we do! I cried.

Well, guess what? We got our Christmas tree December 2nd and it was magical and everything is just fine. Nothing happened because we didn't decorate early. If our Christmas party was tomorrow and the tree was still naked it would be just fine. 

 

I tend to get a little (okay a LOT) stressed and overwhelmed when lots of plans and parties and traditions and obligations are happening all at once (a.k.a. the holiday season for everyone). Just ask Jordan. Well, if you ask Jordan he'll probably just chuckle and not say anything bad about me because he's really sweet but in his head (and to me when we're alone) he'll be like yeah Ashley can be a crazy person.

And it's not like it's just with worldly things -- I can be like this with the good things. The "Jesus is the reason for the season" things. We can be so tired from having people over that our eyes are barely open and I'm like JORDAN WE HAVE TO DO THE JESSE TREE (our daily advent devotional) because I'm worried that we're not talking about Jesus' birth enough. Which defeats the purpose because then it's about me and not about Jesus anyway. So now that you know how ridiculous I can be and why these words from Shauna help me so much I will share them with you. :) You can read her whole blog post here, and please do, but I'll provide some quotes.

"You can show up with your perfectly wrapped grab bag gift & your perfectly baked cookies...and your perfectly resentful and frazzled self, ready to snap at the first family member you see. 
Or you can choose to rest your body & nourish your spirit, knowing that bringing a grounded, present self to each holiday gathering is more important than the gifts you bring."

"I co-hosted a party the next night, and one of the things I brought was...frozen meatballs. You know I love to cook, and I was planning, of course, to make them from scratch. But it was too much -- time and energy I don't have in this season. 
And, of course, no one cared. That's the lesson in this for people like me who sometimes get wound up about doing things perfectly...90% of the people in your life won't know the difference between, say, fresh and frozen, or handmade and storebought, and the 10% who do notice are just as stressed out as you are, and your willingness to choose simplicity just might set them free to do the same."

Wow. What a perfect example. It reminds me of when Jesus called Matthew to follow Him and Matthew is like YES and then has a feast for Jesus at his house with a bunch of other tax collectors. I bet Matthew didn't have time to make all of the food from scratch or fully clean his house! He just DID it - present over perfect - because he loved Jesus. 

Shauna then goes on to present her "guiding thoughts for this season":

"Present over perfect.

Quality over quantity.

Relationship over rushing.

People over pressure.

Meaning over mania."

This is going to be my mantra for the holiday season. For the glory of God. For the love of friends and family and anyone God wants to be in our home. Present over perfect. I'm so thankful the Lord sent me that reminder. I want to put it up on my wall somehow so I won't forget. I know I will forget in stressful moments, but I pray that I will quickly remember. 

With that said, tomorrow I'll be sharing some Holiday Season Date Ideas with you! Because one thing that should NEVER take a backseat during this season is marriage. :) 

Ashley

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Recommended Read: The Unfurling

I read a lot.

That's a huge understatement, but I don't know how else to put it in a way that you will actually understand how much I love to read and how often I fit it into every bit of time that I can. It can be a problem for me. I have to limit myself -- even when it comes to the Bible. Seriously. I can get caught up in too much reading and learning and not enough doing

With that said, it's about time that I started recommending some books on here. They will mostly be nonfiction, because I tend to read the same fiction ones over and over. :)

Today's recommendation is by an author whom I actually know in real life. How cool is that? We met for the first time in person at the Influence Conference and she was everything I thought she'd be (in the best way). I'm talking about the beautiful Annie Wiltse, author of the blog what she saw and her new e-book, The Unfurling.



This book is a refreshing, beautifully written collection of essays that pointed me to Jesus in a variety of ways. From talking about fear in the midst of mission trips to discussing dating relationships and purity, Annie approaches a spread of relatable topics with a lovely mix of wisdom and grace.

I'll share with you a few quotes, but to get the full effect you obviously have to read the whole thing, which is a steal for the price she's asking. :)

First of all I loved what she lays out for her readers in her intro:

"I say 'maybe' a lot in this book, because I’m learning, because these are 
lessons on the life lived open, not absolute determinations I arbitrarily pulled 
from space and time. And my hope, my desperate, raw prayer, is that my 
heart lain open here will give you the grace to breathe and the courage to 
chase Him anew."

This next quote really hit home for me as I've been thinking about authenticity a lot lately. 

"I’m finding that out about myself, too, that I can be as quirky as I like, 
as long as I don’t compromise myself or what I believe in."

She expounds more on this idea which was one of my favorite parts of the book for sure. And then this declaration of what she believes, well just wow:

"I believe in a God whose every quality goes beyond our understanding, 
whose love, grace, and mercy I do not deserve, whose anger and judgment I 
fear, who gave His life for my sake and who wants nothing less than the 
willing surrender of my own if I choose to follow Him."

If I could insert the raise-the-roof emoji right here I absolutely would. AAAAMEN!

Annie addresses some fears of hers, but instead of making her look afraid it absolutely shows how very BRAVE she is. 

"I praise God through tears as I lay down the fear of being single forever. 
It’s a fight to sing the words but I mean them with broken authenticity."

I loved her thoughts on marriage, relationships, singleness, and purity. We had excellent discussion about all of this at the conference so I was QUITE pleased that she talked about it in this book. 

I think that one of the quotes that best sums up the idea of The Unfurling is this next one:

"What if possibility is camouflaged in the mundane, secreted in the pockets of 
time we think are wasted? Or maybe the ones we never notice at all?"

Yes. Yes. And yes. This is so hard to learn, but Annie lets us in on her journey to surrender to Christ and how she is boldly serving Him in the most seemingly mundane activities. Don't we all feel like this at times? I mean she talks about living the gospel on a sales floor, in the midst of angry customers. Yeah.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to quote the whole thing! Annie is an inspiration and I am so glad to have read her book. The Unfurling truly was a breath of fresh air. Like I said, it is a steal and can be bought and read right this very second here on her website. :)

Look for more book recommendations to come! There may be affiliate links in here someday, but that day is not today. Annie gave me the book but I am in no way receiving compensation for talking about it. All opinions (as always) are my own! 

Ashley

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Respecting my Husband: His Confidence

I'm doing a 31 day series about Respecting my Husband! To read about why I should respect him and go to a list of all 31 days, please visit my 31 Days of Respecting my Husband post.


Day 16: Respecting His Confidence

I know that I have emphasized encouragement and support throughout this series, but today is going to be all about that. I should be my husband's biggest fan!

This is easy when you're dating because you're both putting your best feet forward, showing each other your best sides. Then when you become more and more comfortable with each other, especially in marriage when you are committed, live together, and share a room, it gets different. We are exposed to all of each other's faults and bad habits. One of my biggest issues in life is being too comfortable with people I'm close to -- taking things out on them, not thinking before I speak, using an angry tone, etc. And I have definitely let that creep into my relationship with Jordan.

One demeaning phrase can break down his confidence in a second. Yes, he can forgive me, but it can still stick in his mind. James 3:2-10 points out how much of an impact the tongue can have -- such a little part of the body, but it can do much damage. This is definitely true with my marriage. 

This doesn't mean that I have to be positive in a fake and phony way all of the time. I can be honest, genuine, and authentic with my husband, telling him how I feel when necessary, discussing hard things. But I can be respectful and supportive at the same time. Actually think about how words may come across to him before I say them. Be tactful. Watch my tone. And yes, some of those things may have to be forced and will seem fake to me if I'm not used to it. But with the help of the Holy Spirit these can be formed into good habits. My mind can become accustomed to thinking through what I say and saying it in a respectful way. And when I focus on the love I have for my husband in spite of whatever difficult moment we are having, it won't be fake. 

Respecting his confidence also means showering him with compliments. Letting him know when I notice wonderful things about him or his actions. Being free with laughter and smiles, especially when he is the cause. Feeling his muscles. Never ceasing to be impressed by his skills and telling him about it. Cheering him on. Compliment, compliment, compliment. Complimenting him in private. In public. With family. With friends. Like I said -- I'm his wife, his biggest fan! I don't want him to forget it. 

Does this mean I never address him with concerns that the Lord has laid on my heart? Of course not. We are married to give God glory. For our sanctification. To point each other to Christ. But in my opinion, the building up should far exceed the reproofs. 

How can we build our husbands' confidence today?




Ashley

Friday, November 8, 2013

My First Stitch Fix - I Need Your Help!

So here's the thing. I'm on a mission. A mission to have a simple, functional, quality wardrobe. One that doesn't include a bunch of clothes I don't wear, or that have stretched out/lost color.

I didn't buy any clothes in 2012. That truly helped me figure out what I actually wear -- my go-to pieces. I've never been a huge shopper anyway, but it made me realize that I do not in fact need to try out every trend or get clothes just because they are on clearance and a great deal. I needed to learn how to shop smart.

Enter Stitch Fix. I was introduced to them at the Influence Conference this year and knew I had to try it out.

Here's their description from Facebook:
"Stitch Fix has re-invented shopping, the way women really want to shop. Keep your wardrobe up-to-date with no hassle. You give us your size and style preferences, and your stylist sends you a selection of 5 items picked just for you. Try everything on at home, and only pay for w hat you want to keep! Free shipping both ways and a 25% discount if you buy all 5 items."

So I went to their website and made a style profile. This part was so fun! It was much more in depth than I thought it would be. It asked me all about my likes and dislikes, my body type, what I'm looking to incorporate into my wardrobe, my price range, and even what parts of my body I like to have covered up! (insert raise-the-roof emoji) It showed me examples of style boards and asked me what I liked out of the examples. They even take my Pinterest board into consideration! It was an excellent way for me to work out for myself what my style truly is. (Mine is a mix of casual chic/classic/edgy with a little boho and preppy thrown in! Haha.)

The way that they can do all of this is that they set me up with a Stitch Fix stylist who gets to know me through my style profile. The stylist takes all of my ideas and comments and comes up with 5 items to send me in my "fix". I told her when I filled out my profile that for this fix I was looking mainly for tops. Say you have an upcoming event and need a dress -- you can let your stylist know to focus on that for the fix. It's whatever you want!

Alright, enough with the talk. Let's get to pictures! I set my fix date for November 7th, and sure enough it arrived on that day much to my happiness. 








Here's my Stitch Fix stylist note. I love how the whole experience was extremely personalized. I didn't get some random box of clothes that hopefully I would like -- thought and effort were obviously put into this box just for me! Thanks, Jill. :)





And then I opened up the pretty packaging and was instantly oohing and ahhing over the pretty patterns laying before me!




These are the lovely Stitch Fix pieces that my stylist Jill picked out for me to try on. 

A Dantine striped skirt.


This Cheyanne printed dolman sleeve cardigan.


A Marci zig-zag print tab-sleeve blouse.


A Stevenson polka dot crew neck sweater.


And this MacArthur leopard trim hi-lo blouse.



One thing that I really love about the process is that Stitch Fix goes one step further and includes style cards for each item of clothing with suggestions for how to style it. So handy!




So without further ado, here's me being a big dorko in my living room trying on my Stitch Fix clothes. As you can see, I am no fashion blogger. Ha. I didn't accessorize much for the pictures, but I did try to make outfits that I would actually wear in real life by pairing them with items I already own.




I like this sweater more than I thought I would and it is SO COMFY. Jordan liked it too.




I liked this shirt okay (especially the sleeves), but it wasn't my favorite of the bunch.




As you can see, this skirt has a pocket (kinda like a front hoodie pocket) that I love. I also like how it can be dressed up or more casual, and I think I could wear it year round. I'm glad the stripes were angled in a flattering way in the front so my bottom half didn't look like a big stripey box!



They had suggested pairing a chambray shirt with the skirt which I probably never would have done, but actually really liked. :)




My black, skinny, cigarette pants are not currently clean or else I would have gone for an all black look with this hi-lo top. I really liked this one! It's sheer so I put on a black tank underneath. I love the leopard accents on the cuffs and button down part. 




I liked this cardigan, especially the colors. It is super comfy, but definitely billow-y. Jordan said it kinda looked like a robe, haha. What do you think?




So there ya have it. What a great first fix!

What I loved about the Stitch Fix process:
  • I didn't have to go to the mall and hunt for these items. (This could really benefit you moms out there.)
  • It was completely personalized for me.
  • It was fun!
  • I was able to pick my price range (which is low, let's just say it), but still get high quality pieces. The "styling fee" is $20 which then goes toward what you purchase which is great.
  • I could focus on these five pieces instead of looking through piles of clothes and picking things just because they're on sale (which adds up and defeats the purpose!).
  • It is so great to be able to try clothes on with the clothes I already have! So often I hold something up in a store thinking, "I really like this, but what in the world would I wear it with?" The style cards and being in my own home made it so easy to think about the practicality of the items.
  • I have time to think about what I want to get. I am a HORRIBLE decision maker when it comes to buying stuff and usually end up standing in a store thinking about pros and cons for 15 minutes only to give up. This way I had no pressure to decide at that moment, and I have three business days to think about it!
  • My husband was able to give me his input without going shopping with me. He actually enjoyed the fashion show. :)
  • I was a little wary of if the clothes would fit or not, but they all did! I can be such a weird size (Can someone please invent a smedium?) but my stylist truly took my height and body type into account.
  • Free shipping, and being able to send the clothes I don't want right back to them with the bag they provided. 
  • They want good feedback from me to influence my next fix if I choose to get another one. (I will!)
  • It's not a subscription -- you just get "fixes" when you want them! No membership or fees. Yay.


So what do you think? Will you help me decide what to keep? 




I am not receiving compensation for this post, but will get credit for Stitch Fix if you use my referral link :) All opinions are my own and are what I really think, as always!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Respecting my Husband: His Dreams

I'm doing a 31 day series about Respecting my Husband! To read about why I should respect him and go to a list of all 31 days, please visit my 31 Days of Respecting my Husband post.


Day 15: Respecting His Dreams

I recently wrote about how God doesn't call us to follow our dreams, but to follow Him. At the same time, He made us uniquely and knows our wants and desires. He knows them better than we do ourselves! For instance, God knows I love working with teenagers and college students and can help me do that for His glory. He made us with desires, passions, and gifts to glorify him! So that doesn't mean I just throw my dreams out the window, I just need to surrender them to Him. Align my desires with what HE wants and not just what I want. 

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Ps. 37:4) The first and foremost part of that verse is delighting myself in the Lord.

In light of all this, I can respect my husband by supporting his dreams. We can help each other discover our passions, our gifts that God has given us. To cultivate them and explore how God wants us to use them. But sometimes we can go through the day to day not spending any thoughts on dreams, and before we know it a year has gone by. Or five years. And we're still wondering what God wants to do with us.

First of all, this whole thing with "finding God's will" is truly just an every day surrender. It's not some mystical idea that will one day pop into my head. His will is laid out for me in the Bible! All I have to do is read it. I can expound upon that on a later date, but I just wanted to clarify. :)

Along with the act of daily surrendering to follow Jesus, we can work through and explore our dreams for His glory. This is what I can help my husband do. I can ask him about them. Do I even know what his dreams are? And not just a "where do you see yourself in five years" question, but questions like, "What has God burdened you with?" or "If you could go anywhere or do anything for God taking money out of the question, where or what would it be?" Or, "What are your dreams for our family?"

And then I can support him in those dreams. Dream with him. Encourage him. Pray with him about them. It would seriously make a good date night! That's the kinda stuff you do when you're dating, why should it stop then? No matter what age you are, you can dream! We can write them down, talk about action steps, make a "mission statement" for our family. Get excited about what God can do through your family and marriage! I know I am. :)




Ashley

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Goals - Follow HIM

I finally sat down and worked through Lara Casey's "Make It Happen" booklet that she made for us at the Influence Conference. It was a lot about dreams, fears, and goals - but in a Christ centered way. SO refreshing. 

With phrases like "Follow Your Heart" and "Follow Your Dreams" floating around everywhere in this world (and on Pinterest) it's easy to become focused on what I want and what my plans are for my life. The life that was given to me by a loving Creator. By the One who redeemed me from my sinful self. The same sinful self that apparently has all the right plans? No. I do not, in fact, know what's best for me. I've tried that. It wasn't pretty.
Being a follower of Christ is a full-time thing. It's not something to throw in to the mix of my life and think happy thoughts about once in a while. It affects EVERYTHING I do. 
"Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" - Matthew 16:24-26
It's not about me. Actually, let me rephrase that: I don't want it to be about me. Because, yes, I am going to have selfish times. While I'm here on this earth I'm going to struggle with my flesh. But Christ is inviting me to surrender to what He wants, to walk in the Spirit. To forsake what my flesh wants and have an eternal perspective. 
I'm saved by grace through faith. I'm covered in God's grace. I now have Jesus' righteousness in place of my filthiness. But it doesn't just stop there. I won't just sit and wait and play it safe. I want that abundant life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10. Abundance that comes through surrender
When talking about goals in the booklet that she gave us, Lara Casey told us to ask these three questions about our goals:

I love these questions. They are convicting, challenging, and Christ-centered. They build an excellent lens to look through when crafting goals - short term or long term. 

So here are some of my November goals:
  • Set apart time in God's Word and for prayer journaling each day.
  • Work on BSF 3-4 days of the week. 
  • Devote 30 min. to one hour to cleaning the house each weekday. 
  • No dishes left in the sink at night.
  • Finish Respecting my Husband series.
  • Finish my one year Bible reading plan (that turned into two years).
  • Make sure to set apart time with the Lord during our three trips this month. 
  • Take Christmas card pictures and order cards.
  • Send three hand-written notes (thank you/encouragement) per week. 
  • Plan meals each week.
  • Finish planning new blog design.
  • Post on blog each weekday.
  • Work out at least four times per week.
  • Set apart at least 30 min. each weekday to answer emails.
  • Finish planning Christmas shopping and budget.
  • Plan youth group movie night and youth group girls' day. 
  • DON'T start another book until I finish the ones I'm already reading. :) 
These are small things - not grand in any way. But I'm learning to be faithful in the little things for the Lord and for our family. (Luke 16:10) I'm a big idea person and sometimes I can become too focused on dreaming and not on the small things. 

What are some of your November goals?

I'm linking up with Hayley at The Tiny Twig to share goals. I like how she talked about setting three must-do goals each day and not being overwhelmed. Such a great idea.

Happy November from the Shelleys! We had a wonderful time in the mountains of NC this past weekend. :) Hope you enjoyed your extra hour on Sunday!
Ashley

Monday, October 28, 2013

Grace and a Huge Sale!

Okay, so obviously I haven't written 31 consecutive days, haha. But I promise the 31 days will be completed. I just had to take the pressure off myself to catch up quickly. We've been extremely busy and out of town every weekend. Not only that but I feel like I've been getting attacked lately...I know that sounds audacious to say, but it's true. The exact things I've been writing about have been overwhelming me recently, making me feel like I'm not a good wife. Just going through some spiritual and mental battles, trying to do it all, and have gotten sick on top of all that. But like I've said - it's all about grace! Grace through our Lord Jesus Christ. His strength is made perfect in weakness. So thankful for that. And thankful for the encouragement of my husband, parents, in-laws, older sister-in-law (who I got to see last week!), church, and sweet friends. God is good, all the time.

In other news, there is a crazy ridiculous sale going on today that I couldn't NOT tell you about. Seriously, the prices are insane. I can't believe Scentsy is offering this stuff for this low! 

Visit my Scentsy website for the Monster Monday sale - up to 75% off! 
http://ashleyshelley.scentsy.us

This Silhouette Glowing Core warmer is usually $30.00 and is only $7.50. It's beautiful, and you can put different "wraps" around it as shown in the next picture.


This is an example of the core with the Linden wrap around it - this wrap is normally $12 and is only $3.00 today. Wow. So you can get core + wrap for only $10.50! That is crazy. Jump on that. Later you can get Christmas or other holiday wraps to go around it. It's my favorite warmer. :)

This plug-in is normally $20, but is $5.00 today!

This is Tom the Turkey. He is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving decor. (He is the only member of MY Thanksgiving decor, haha.) Normally $35, today he is $8.75!!!


There are other warmers, Scentsy buddies, and body products for sale on the site as well. But it's today only, so don't miss out! 

As for Grace Adele (Scentsy's bag and accessory line), there are some amazing Monster Monday sales on that website today as well.


I love their bags. Cute, great quality, plenty of pockets. Would make excellent Christmas gifts!

I'm getting one of those fabulous leather bags for Christmas. $120 off? Craziness. Love it. 

You can order under "October Online Orders" for Grace Adele. The quality is outstanding!



Happy shopping, and thank you for bearing with me on this little blog! Much love to y'all on this beautiful Monday. :)


Ashley

Monday, October 21, 2013

Respecting my Husband: His Talents

I'm doing a 31 day series about Respecting my Husband! To read about why I should respect him and go to a list of all 31 days, please visit my 31 Days of Respecting my Husband post.


Day 14: Respecting His Talents

This kind of goes along with respecting his hobbies, but is somewhat different. My husband has been blessed with certain talents, and God didn't give him those talents for nothing. He wants to be glorified through them!

I don't want Jordan to set aside those talents as he gets older. I want to encourage him to continue to develop his skills and serve the Lord through them. Just because life is busy doesn't mean he shouldn't find time to practice his talents. I can support him taking the time to do that.

One of Jordan's main talents is music. Besides being something that makes me melt like a popsicle on the fourth of July, it's a talent that can be used in service to the Lord. Jordan likes to play music on the guitar or piano on his own, but he also likes for me to be in the room listening. Not just sitting there on the computer with his music playing in the background, but actively listening and telling him which songs I like and which ones are perfect for his voice. He leads worship at church sometimes, and also at youth rallies and camps. I'm glad he doesn't keep his talent to himself!

Another thing I can really try to encourage him in doing is speaking at church. At our chapel there is no "pastor" - there are elders who preach a lot, but they also ask other men in the church to speak as well. The men rotate the responsibility. I need to do whatever I can to help Jordan as he prepares for speaking at church, which can include making time for him to study (not overloading us with plans), helping him proofread, listening to what he has prepared, helping him work through his thoughts. This goes the same way for when he leads Bible studies and speaks to the youth group. I have to remember that I'm his helpmate!

Talents could include all kinds of spiritual gifts. As wives we can help our husbands figure out what those gifts are and encourage them to their gifts for God's glory. This is how the church works best! It's also an awesome feeling to build my husband's confidence in something that I know he's good at. Yeah, sometimes thinks I'm too biased to actually give him good feedback...but I can't help that he's good! Haha. :)


Jordan and his brother Joseph playing and singing at church.

Uncle Jordan teaching Harvey some piano!


Ashley

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Respecting my Husband: His Hobbies

I'm doing a 31 day series about Respecting my Husband! To read about why I should respect him and go to a list of all 31 days, please visit my 31 Days of Respecting my Husband post.


Day 13: His Hobbies

This is another difficult one for me to write about, because it comes easy to me. Jordan and I share many hobbies - the biggest one being sports. (see post about girls who love sports here)

My husband is a BALLER. He is extremely athletic and I don't think I've seen him play a sport that he's bad at. And that's not just me being biased, I'm sure his friends would agree. I know many strangers agree, because when I watch him play basketball and make it obvious that he's the one I'm cheering for, random people come up to me to tell me how good he is. Okay sorry I'll stop gushing.

I worked for an NHL team, the Carolina Hurricanes, for 3 years. I played basketball, volleyball, and softball in high school and loved it. I then coached basketball for 6 years at that same high school. Jordan ended up coaching there for a year as well. :) It was a dream come true. So obviously we share a love of sports, especially basketball. We pull for the same college teams which is a blast. 

Jordan plays in a very competitive basketball league in the spring and fall and I looove going every week. I probably get a little too intense. But it is so fun to cheer him on and then analyze the game with him afterward. One time I complimented how great and well-placed his screens were and he responded with something to the effect of, "You are the only girl I could have married who would appreciate that." We just GET each other when it comes to sports. And even though he doesn't love baseball like I do, he doesn't think I'm TOO crazy when I get extremely emotionally involved in the Red Sox games.

With all that being said, what if I hated sports? Firstly, I don't know if we would have ended up together if that was the case, but what if we did? If there's one sport I don't really like it's soccer, so I'll imagine that Jordan plays soccer. It definitely wouldn't be as fun for me to go cheer him on. I would probably be tempted to skip games. But he's my husband and I want to support him, so I would go. I would go and I would pay attention and I would tell him that he did a good job running back and forth. (Sorry, I don't know anything about soccer really.)

No matter what he loves or enjoys doing - sports, music, painting, crossword puzzles, hunting, classic cars, history, video games, running, etc. - I need to support him and respect those hobbies. That means asking him about them, listening to him talk about them, watching him, trying to participate when possible, and always giving him encouragement to do what he loves to the glory of God.

PS - Here are some of Jordan's other hobbies so you don't think he loves sports and only sports - woodworking, music (we'll talk about that later), video games, movies, board games. :)


Us at an NC State football game

We had a sports themed cocktail hour at our wedding - with food like popcorn, barbecue chicken skewers, mini sliders, and root beer floats. We had my basketball team's state championship trophy there and balls for guests to sign autographs. :)


Jordan and I coaching back in 2011.

We had a Mario Kart themed engagement party complete with a Mario and Peach cake, haha.

Jordan after his basketball game with his biggest fans - his parents and me!



Ashley

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