Friday, March 28, 2014

The Best Road Trip Ever- #RasmussensinSeattle

I am writing this somewhat frantically this morning before I go to work, as I was a busy busy bee last night. I was a real genius and waited to do laundry, pack for our trip, and clean the house til the night before our trip. I was actually amazed at just how much one can get done in one evening. It was a far cry from my typical evening where if I manage to make dinner, I feel real proud of myself and park on the couch or in my bed in front of netflix for the rest of the night as a reward.

Anyway, today Ronnie and I are going on our first ever road trip. We went on a two-hour road trip to McCall, ID once for a day when we were dating, but Seattle is more like 7.5 hours away and we're staying til Monday. We're leaving today right after work, so I thought I'd make a list of things we can do to make 7 hours on the road more fun and interesting.

1. Ask each other some of these questions

2. Play road trip games. Like the "My Cows" Game. Have you heard of it? Basically, whenever one of the people in the car spots a herd, or even one, cow, you have to be the first to yell MINE. You get however many cows you spotted-so if you spotted a herd of 50, you get all 50 cows added to your total. Sometimes you have to guestimate. At the end of the trip, the winner is the one with the most cows. SO FUN.

3. Study for your PHR. Oh, thats just me. I'll be studying for my PHR Certification.

4. Jam out to really quality music, like Taylor Swift and Rascall Flatts.

5. Load your Kindle up with great books. Unless you're someone who gets car sick. Don't do this.

6. Name your future children

7. Make goals and plans for where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years.

Okay people, thats all I got . Help a sister out. What else can we do to keep each other entertained on our drive today? I won't be back to the blogging world til Tuesday, so make sure you follow me on Instagram and see updates on our fun weekend getaway with the hashtag #RasmussensinSeattle. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If You Came Over for Coffee

If you came over for coffee, we’d settle in and the first thing I’d ask you is how you’re really doing. Oh, I know you want to smile and say fine, maybe tell me that work is busy and life is crazy. But how are you really doing? How is your heart? What are you wrestling with right now? Will you share with me in the comments below? If you don’t feel comfortable, will you e-mail and tell me: how are you doing, really?

 If you came over for coffee, I’d tell you that I have a confession to make. I haven’t opened my bible for over two weeks, and I haven’t had time just pouring out my heart to God either. I feel shame for this, so its not easy for me to admit that I have been choosing sleep, time on the computer, blogging, and Netflix over this time with Jesus I desperately need. Why is it so easy for me to let something so crucial, so vital to my own spiritual and emotional well being slip? Why is it constantly pushed to the bottom of my priority list when I know how despartely my heart and soul needs this time?

 If you came over for coffee I’d tell you that I read something the other day in Beth Moore’s book, Breaking Free and it just hit me straight at my core. It was in a chapter of the book called the "Obstacle of Prayerlessness" and it said : "Without a doubt, avoiding prayer is a sure prescription for anxiety, a certain way to avoid peace. " 

A sure prescription for anxiety. I don't know about you, but I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis without needing a prescription for more. A certain way to avoid peace. I've felt this restlessness in my heart, this doubt creeping in, a fear of the unknown over the past few weeks and couldn't quite put a finger on it. I couldn't quite understand where it was coming from, but I've been trying to do this thing called life on my own, and I haven't been staying in communication with the One who gives me His strength and His peace.

So if you came up for coffee and asked me how I was doing, I'd confess this to you. I'd tell you that this is where I am at right now, and instead of feeling shame and guilt for it, I want you to know that I'm human. I fall short and forget to say my prayers at night and read my daily scripture, but God is relentlessly pursuing my heart, and He's pursuing yours too. It doesn't matter that I haven't met with God for weeks because tonight, when I sign off this computer to sit at His feet with my bible and a cup of tea, He will be waiting for me with open arms and joy as His child turns back to Him.His love is not dependent on our works, and He desperately longs to be our strength, our comfort, our helper, our peace and pour out his love onto us.

So tell are you doing, really?

Monday, March 24, 2014

My 21 Year Old Self Wouldn't Recognize Me

It donned on me the other day, while laughing at just how accurate this article by Thought Catalouge is, that my twenty-one year old self not only would not recognize me nowadays, but, also, would probably be horrified.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel like you should know I spent my college years in a perpetual "Girls Night Out." It started with Wednesday nights for BOGO margaritas and usually continued every night until Sunday morning when our bodies were screaming for some advil and a good nights rest. I am not proud of the amount of time I spent tearing up the town, and am glad that I have retired that girl, but those days still helped shape me into who I am now.

My twenty-one year old self would not recognize:

1. Stopping at two glasses of wine on a Friday night because I have a long run in the morning.

2. My need for throw pillows

3. My desire to tell every girl I know that she should not be pursuing that boy she's into.

4. My aversion to the tanning bed and new found love for self tanning cream
5. Why I am not putting that education major and teaching certificate to good use and work in Human Resources instead of teaching high schoolers

6. Why I am choosing to voluntarily go back to school for a second expensive piece of paper called a Masters Degree

7. The desire for two uninterrupted hours for blogging, pinterest and reading
8. How desperately I need a routine and carefully planned out days
9. My Grown Up Saturdays that revolve around grocery shopping, laundry and housework
10. Not buying that new dress/pair of shoes/pair of jeans/etc because I am on a budget
11. Going to two different grocery stores because chicken is on sale at one and produce at the other
12. Waking up thirty minutes early to sit at the kitchen table drinking coffee and reading my bible
13.Turning down plans because "I have to wake up early for work." WHO AM I?
14. Meal planning. 

15. My obsession with having a guest room that is clean, organized and ready for guests. 

So there you have it. I used to be a wild-child and now, I am suddenly desperate for routines and carefully planned out meals. The days are long, but the years are short my friends. And this season of my life is what I never knew I always wanted. I am off to go organize my guest room now, okay?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hello, Friday.

If you're wondering how I spent my Thursday night, (you're not) I spent it frantically cleaning my house, vacuuming every inch of carpet, dusting every surface, and washing all the blankets. I don't know if I've suddenly become a victim of spring time allergies, but my eyes ARE SO ITCHY. And contrary to the Facebook not-doctors, I am NOT pregnant. I think Twitter is where all the real medical unprofessionals are. They told me it was allergies, that its perfectly normal to suddenly be affected by them, and to try Claritin so that is what I am going to do.  My pets, God love them, are also shedding SO MUCH HAIR and its really just not helping this situation.

We share an intense love of Maple Leaf Cookies

Anyway, its Friday and I couldn't be happier. Dragging myself out of bed this week has been downright painful. PAINFUL. I've had to give myself pep-talks every day to get up out of bed and to work. Bribed myself with Starbucks, told myself "You only have two more days. You can do two days" and promised myself I could sleep in Saturday and Sunday.

Actually I only sort of get to sleep in on Sunday, as I am now officially training for a half marathon and am happy to say I haven't skipped a workout yet. This Sunday I'm running 5 miles with my friend Molly. I've been busy planning out where I want to run 6 miles when we're in Seattle. Any suggestions?

This has been a really quality post. Itchy eyes, not wanting to go to work, and boring running details. You're welcome.

I do want to introduce you to a wonderfully talented and creative blogger/designer/photographer, Lix. I first met Lix when she offered to do my blog's Media Kit before I went to the Build Your Blog Conference. She is extremely talented and really easy to work with. If you need a new blog design, I encourage you to go check out her work! Having a good blog design is one of the BEST investments you can make into your blog in my opinion.

Lix blogs at A Classic Notion and always has gorgeous images, and is the perfect balance between being real and relatable, but also engaging and interesting. She's a fellow cat lady like me, and beyond blog design, she also makes gorgeous scarfs and shawls and even jewelry. I wish I had an ounce of her creativity and talent!  Her blog is a must read, so go stop by and say hello!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weekend Getaway: Seattle

One of my favorite things to do is travel! I love going on vacations, whether its a weekend road trip or tropical vacation in Hawaii, I live for traveling! I never have traveled outside of the country besides Mexico, but there are so many wonderful places here in the US I am dying to visit.

Next weekend, for Ronnie's birthday weekend, we are going on our first weekend getaway to Seattle! I went once a few years ago over Halloween Weekend with a big group of girlfriends and absolutely had a blast. This time, I am even more excited to go with my husband!

Here is what is on our to-do list.

1. Pikes Place Market

2. Visit the Space Needle

3. Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island

4. Attend Judas Smith's church City Church

5. Visit the original Starbucks

6. Visit the other adorable, unique coffee shops downtown

Is there anything else we should add to our "must-do" in Seattle List? I am SO excited to go! I'd love to hear if theres anything else you think we absolutely need to see/do on our weekend getaway!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Facing Fear

Happy Wednesday, loves! Today my friend Casey is taking over my blog talking about something close to my heart-fear and anxiety. She speaks words of wisdom and truth and I was so encouraged by her response to these feelings. 

Hi friends,

I'm Casey and I blog over at Aslan's Auspicious Albany Adventure. I am honored to be part of Brittany's space today. I wanted to touch on a topic that is one which sadly seems to be more frequent in our lives as time goes on. I have read and heard heart breaking stories from women who struggle daily to fight away fears. If this is you, I hope this helps you today.

Fear, anxiety, loneliness. 
Yes, I'm afraid a lot of women know all too well the emotions and feelings that come with those three simple, yet complex words. If you're one of these women, I urge you to take a moment to read on and then send your anxieties up to the Lord. 

This world can be a daunting place. Sin is everywhere we walk, talk and breathe. Bills, appointments, arguments and stress overwhelm our daily lives. When such things pull at our heart strings and push us to our limits, some people may turn away from God. We may ask over and over, Lord, why me? 

Did you know that the Lord gives us only what we are able to overcome? When he brings us to these stressors and difficulties in life, did you know he will also bring you through it?

I myself deal with daily anxiety. I fear that emotion could overcome me, or if I'm capable of making it through the day. I will be the first to tell you, that I do make it through every day, but not without the promises and grace of God. 

God promises us that if we just stick by him and fully trust in His grace, we should have no fears or worries. Challenges in our lives need to be embraced, so that we may be eager to discover the blessings that come from our hardships. Anxieties become areas of growth and opportunity. 

On the days when my anxieties have overcome me, I take the time to pray and recite Proverbs 3:5-6. It's my daily mantra and one that lets me know that I can definitely survive these next few seconds, minutes, hours, days...

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will direct your path."

As women, we stand together as a support system through His grace. There are things you can't forget:
  • You are strong.
  • You are loved.
  • You are not alone.
  • Trust in Him with all your heart, and your burdens shall be set free!

Proverbs 31:25 "She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future."

Luke 1:37 "For with God, nothing shall be impossible."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St Patricks Day Race

This weekend, my beautiful bestie Karissa and I got up bright and early to run the St. Patricks Day Run in Boise. I ran the 5 mile race, and was pretty nervous because I haven't ran 5 miles since our 10k last summer. I was so happy Karissa agreed to run the race too, even though she did the 5k, and we didn't run the actual race together, it helps so much to have a running buddy with you on race day. 

Racing keeps me motivated when I don't feel like running. I am someone who thrives on having a goal to work towards, and knowing I have a race coming up keeps me running and pushing myself. I haven't had a PR since before I got diagnosed with autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis, but that is okay. My body might never be as fast or as strong or as fit as it was before I was sick, but the fact that I am still running is a miracle to me. I am so thankful I am physically able to run, especially after months of hardly being able to walk without pain.

My garmin told me I ran the 5 miles in 52:33 and I am really excited about that number even if it isn't a "personal record".  Saturday I was reminded that I can do hard things. Saturday I was reminded of the thrill of accomplishing goals. Saturday I was reminded that good friends are few and far between and life & running is simply more enjoyable with them. Saturday I was reminded that running makes me feel alive.

And because I like to challenge myself, I registered for the Great Potato Half Marathon on May 17th. So thats whats next for me. My fourth half marathon ever, but my first half marathon post Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis. Saturday morning long runs, Gu-chomps, and ice baths, here I come. Its training time. I am going to share more about my training plan over the next couple of weeks, but I couldn't wait to share with you what is in store for me running wise! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Kindle Giveaway

One of my favorite ways to spend my time is getting lost in a good book. I absolutely love reading, and my favorite mornings involve waking up slowly, going downstairs for coffee, and crawling back in bed with my kindle to read all morning long. When life gets crazy and my to-do lists overwhelm me, I remind myself to take a pause and indulge in an hour of reading a good book.

I got my Kindle about 2.5 years ago, and it has changed my life. Fun fact about me: I used to pack 3+ books when I went on vacations because I was terrified of finishing books and having nothing else to read. Now, with my Kindle, I never have to worry about that. First of all, I have at least three books I am either in the middle of, or I am waiting to start. I also can download a new book in about 30 seconds. I always carry it around in my purse and read whenever I can. I am currently in the middle of  The Fault In Our Stars right now and am LOVING it.

Today, a few gorgeous gals from my sidebar have teamed up with my to give away one of these blessing for readers to you! ;) We are giving away a Kindle to one of you lucky readers!

The giveaway starts today and ends Sunday at 11:59 PM! I also wanted to mention: if you already have a Kindle, you can also choose to take $55.00 of Amazon Cash instead. If you are the winner, I will email you and ask what prize you prefer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 14, 2014

Lady Antebellum Concert

Happy Friday! I am so happy to see this day. Its been quite a week. A long one, but still a wonderful one. Wednesday night was a total dream-I won front row tickets to the Lady Antebellum concert and dinner at a restraunt in town, and a limo ride to and from dinner/the concert. I also won meet and greets with Lady A! Meeting them was a dream come true for me ---they are my FAVORITE band and one of their songs is really special to me because we danced to a it for our first dance at our wedding.
Kip Moore and Casey Musgraves came with Lady A to Boise,and they both were SO GOOD. I am also OBESSED with Kip, my girlfriends and I saw him about 6 months ago and met him when he came to town last summer. I'll leave you with pictures, and will be reliving this awesome night!

Tonight, I get to hang out with my friends Ashten from Always Ashten and Amber from Mr. Thomas and Me for happy hour hangout, and tomorrow my friend Karissa and I are running a St. Patricks Day Race! I hope you have a lovely weekend friends!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weekly Marriage Checkup

I mentioned last week that something Ronnie and I were going to start doing is having an intentional time to talk about our marriage weekly. To take its temperature if you will, and be sure we were loving each other well. We decided on Saturday mornings. Saturdays are "our day" and we both do a pretty good job of protecting that time. During the week our nights get crazy busy between dinner club, youth group, hanging with our friends, and working late, but Saturdays we don't usually make plans to do things apart and save the day to do whatever we want together. Sometimes we just lay around and read, sometimes we binge on netflix, sometimes we go out to lunch and run errands, but we always start the day with breakfast.

Last Saturday, we ate our breakfast prepared by Ronnie in bed and asked each other three questions:

1. How did I make you feel loved last week?
2. How can I love you better this week?
3. How can I pray for you?

Those three simple questions are to help us serve and love each other best. Sometimes, I know I don't do a great job at intentionally loving Ronnie, and I know that me communicating to Ronnie about exactly what would make me feel loved helps him, like giving him a road map. There is so many expectations that we as women can bring to marriage, and I think its important to first admit we have them, and then working on changing those expectations into desires. I can tell Ronnie I desire him to help me with the cooking, but as soon as I expect it, if it doesn't happen, I could become resentful and frustrated.

One thing I did tell Ronnie that he could do that would make me feel loved is be in charge of dinner a couple nights a week. I am just such a planner by nature, that being able to write my name by dinner on Sunday, Monday and Friday and write Ronnie's by Tuesday and Thursday is just calming to me. When we didn't really have a plan, I sometimes felt stressed and tired and didn't feel like cooking some nights so I would just lay in bed and pout until he caved and threw something together because he was starving.  This week has already gone beautifully and it has taken some serious stress off me simply having a meal plan plus knowing who's "job" it was to cook.

I also was really blown away by what a simple thing that Ronnie mentioned for a way I could love him better. He asked me "to tell him he was awesome" more. Basically that is guy speak for "give him words of affirmation and encouragement." He is seriously SO good to me, and I don't do a good enough job of telling him thank you, of using my words to express to him how much I love him and appreciate him. I am much more of a "show me" and he definitely is a "tell me" type of guy, so this week, I am working on being more intentional with using my words to tell him I love him.

I'm really excited about this and can't wait to continue having our weekly Saturday Marriage Checkups and seeing how our relationship grows because of it.

Tell me, do you have a "marriage checkup?" weekly, monthly, etc? Do you have certain questions you  ask each other? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bible Study Tool: Journaling

Over the past few years, I have grown so much in my relationship with God, and a lot of that has to do with intentionally setting out time every day to read his word and talk with Him. My favorite mornings include a cup of coffee and a candle burning while I read God's word and journal through it.

Journalling is such a great tool for really getting the most out of my time I spend in the word. I think I process things best by writing, which is why I love blogging! There are a lot of different ways to use your journal to help you with your bible study, and I am going to share how I use journals in my devotional time. You might use yours different, and everything I do might not work for you. These are just some ideas to get you started, but I hope you find what works best for you!

I ordered this adorable notebook from Tiny Prints. They have a huge selection of customizable notebooks. I included one of my favorite scripture verses on mine, "Let all that you do be done in love" as a reminder to myself. A reminder to showing the love of Christ with every word I speak, every thought I think, and through my actions. I love that this notebook is personalized to me, and there is just something great about writing in a really cute notebook that makes it writing more enjoyable. Or is that just me?

The first way I use journals is as a running prayer list. When I tell someone, "I'll pray for you," I want to actually pray for them. The easiest way for me to keep my word is to keep a list. I always pray for Ronnie, and our marriage, and then I add to this list things people in my life ask for prayer for and whatever else God lays on my heart to pray for. I use this list as a reminder. Somedays I will work through the list in my prayer time, other days I will just pick one or two things off it per day.

I also use this journal as an actual prayer journal. I write out my prayers to God. This is seriously SUCH a rewarding thing to look back on months, or even years later to see all the ways God has answered prayer. Sometimes, when I am stuck in fear or am anxious about something, I can look back and see just how faithful God is to me. I am reminded that God always comes through for me in ways I wouldn't be if I didn't have a tangible journal full of my prayers to look back on.

This is what the majority of my jounrals get filled up with. I write out my feelings, my thoughts, my fears all to God and then just lay them at His feet, knowing he is in control and has never made a promise He didn't keep.

Finally, I use this to jot down scripture and really process it. I posted last week my reflection/devotional on Psalm 130 and I started by just writing out the scripture, and then ended up breaking it down on verses that just stuck out to me. Sometimes this will send me off in a writing tangent, really breaking down what the verse means and how I can apply it to my life, and other times, just writing it in my journal helps me remember and reflect on that truth.

Those are just a few ways that I personally use journalling to help me while I am studying the bible and praying. If you use a journal for your quiet time with God, what do you fill it up with? Do you write your prayers, write down scripture, or answer devotional questions?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Grateful Heart Monday

I don't know about you friends, but grateful is not the word I'd use to describe myself on Monday mornings. Weekends go to fast, and Mondays are here before we know it. I definitely need a dose of gratefulness today, and every day. So lets start this Monday out grateful.

Source: SimplyClarke

I am grateful for:

Good jobs that provide us with a stable income, health benefits and some time off to play

The simple pleasures of a clean home, candles burning, and new sheets on the bed

A lazy Saturday spent with coffee and books in bed

My husband who invests in our marriage

The INCREDIBLE thing I won on the radio on Friday: Front Row tickets to see Lady Antebellum on Wednesday with a limo ride to dinner and the concert, AND backstage passes to meet Lady A. Lady A is my favorite band EVER, and we even danced to one of their songs, "When You Got A Good Thing" for our first dance. I seriously never win anything, and I won this Friday and couldn't be more excited!

What are you grateful for today?

Ember Grey.

I'm linking up with my sweet friend Emily from Ember Grey!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Treat

I am here on a rare Saturday morning for two special reasons.

First of all, I want to remind you all about the Ivy Movement Giveaway. This giveaway includes ad space from 10 AMAZING bloggers. If you want to grow your blog, you will want to win this  package!! I wish I could win it, actually. But it doesn't end there, you can ALSO enter to win a $100 Amazon Giftcard! Amazon is basically my danger zone because you can order anything you ever could want right at the tip of your fingers. Right now, if I had 100 extra dollars to spend at Amazon I would order a new iHome that works with my iPhone 5s, and a few books to read on my kindle.

All you have to do to enter is give a one-time donation to The Ivy Movement, which is a local non-profit here in Boise that exists to fight against sex trafficking. The Ivy Movement was co-founded by one of best friends in Boise, Idaho.  Can you sacrifice $5.00 to help join the fight to end Sex Trafficking? If you're like me, sometimes you spend $5.00 on far more insignificant things. Your donation doesn't have to be big to be used by the Lord friends! God takes our sacrifices and multiplies them in ways that are so beyond us. Lets help bring freedom to those enslaved by Sex Trafficking!

The other reason I am here blogging on a Saturday is because I want to introduce you to my friend, Vivian.

Speaking of making sacrifices, Vivian is one of the selfless bloggers who has donated to the Ivy Movement. I am in awe of her, as she is currently working, going to school, and planning her wedding! I was blown away by her post about getting out of your comfort zone. I think Vivian has one of the sweetest souls and am so glad to have gotten to know her over the past few months! You should go check out her blog or say hi on twitter because you'll love her too.