Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wife After God Reflections

One of my goals for January is to complete the Wife After God 30 Day Study. As most of you know, I am a newlywed and married my husband last October. I desire to have a marriage that honors the Lord and glorifies God, and going through this study was such a blessing to my newly-married heart. 

Some of my favorite takeaways from the reflection:

On Reconciliation:
"Your heart will attempt to manipulate your motives. However, if you fight your flesh as Jesus did, for the sake of reconciliation, your marriage will thrive with true intimacy."

Ronnie and I don't typically fight, but there are times that I have found that I allow my pride to come in-between us,  and causing me to withhold forgiveness, or even repentance when I need to say "I'm sorry" to my husband. Jesus didn't wait for an apology before he surrendered himself, and I realized that it is my responsibility to seek reconciliation just as much as it is my husbands.

On the Ministry of Marriage
"Your marriage is a ministry where you and your husband can work together as a team to fulfill the needs of people around you, to show hospitality, to pray for people, to show compassion, to love by reflecting Christ's love as you mirror His image." 

The thought of being a team to serve and bless others excites me so much. I desire so much to serve with my husband, to show Christ's love together. Its such a blessing to have a partner in this. My husband is one of the most generous people I know, and his selfless heart lights a fire in me to want to serve and bless people even more.

On Refining in Marriage
"Marriage is not just to make you happy by fulfilling all of your needs. Marriage is to make you holy by refining you through a process of transformation."

It's a really good thing that we had an amazing couple who did our marriage counseling and drilled this lesson into our heads. It really is a blessing I didn't come into marriage thinking it's sole purpose was to make me happy. Although Ronnie does make me happy, God's purpose for our marriage is to refine us to make us more like His perfect son, Jesus. The hardships we face, I can do so with joy knowing God is using them for His glory.  I've never been so aware of my own sinfulness and ugliness in my heart as I am now that I am married, but I've never known more than I do now of just how much I need Jesus.

This is our amazing friend & Youth Pastor we serve under who married us and his amazing wife, Kara. They blessed us SO MUCH by walking through our engagement season with us and being such an amazing support system for us!

The last day of this study is my favorite part. I can't share it with you guys just yet because I don't want to give anything way incase Ronnie reads my blog but I will after I complete the "challenge."  I would seriously recommend this book to any married woman or any girls who are engaged to be married. I downloaded it on my kindle, and know that I will probably go through it again in the future. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grow Your Blog by Jen from Boone+Owl

Happy Wednesday! Today Jen from Boone+Owl is here to give us all a few tips to grow our blogs! I really have learned a TON from this tutorial, and absolutely adore Jen's blog! Once you read this tutorial, make sure to go stop over there and say hello!

adding alt tags to blog images, blog seo, grow your blog

Hello! I'm Jen! twenty-something college student living the southern life with those most dear to me. I blog over at Boone+Owl, where I share fashion, photography, beauty tips and tricks, a DIY here and there, and tasty delights + a dash of all the other happy things in life! Today I wanted to share a quick tip that I have found very helpful in growing my blog. I hope it helps you too!

You might have heard about Alt and Title tags for images. They are one of the best things in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Alt and Title tags can bring you a lot of traffic from Google Image Search. 

Now, I have only been blogging for eight months. The majority of which I was blissfully ignorant of SEO, particularly in the imagery area. With a few simple tips, that I found on the interwebs, I started adding tags to pictures on my blog, and badda bing badda boom, a lovely little stream of traffic. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is infinitely sweeter. We all want to be seen and heard and reach others. In order to do that more effectively we have to make it easier for others to find us. So here's a little knowledge for ya!

The Alt + Title Tag
An image tag is an HTML language that is used to display images in webpages. Simply adding an image to your blog post is not enough. Search engine robots can't read an image like they read text, therefore, they don’t understand what the image is about. In order to describe and categorize your images to both your visitors and search bots you need to add title and alt text.

An image tag has three attributes; src (image source), title (image title) and Alt (alternative text for image).  For example sake, let’s say you're writing a post about “Blog SEO” but you're focusing in on “adding alt tags to blog images”. 
You would define the image tags like this -

<img alt="adding alt tags to blog images" src=” title=”Blog SEO” /> 

Now, you can have fun with the alt tag. Depending on what you're writing about, adding SEO rich titles and being descriptive with your alt tags is key! Here's an example of a saucier alt tag.

<img alt="adding alt tags to blog images, image seo, blogger images, blog seo" src=”” title=”Blog SEO” /> 

The more descriptive you are, the better! 

Adding Alt Tags To Blogger Images
My blog is powered by Blogger, which I happen to really love! It is super easy to add these image tags, and here's how you do it in Blogger.

Upload your image in compose mode on Blogger and select the image. Select "properties" from the menu. In image properties add the title and alt text that are your keywords. 

adding alt tags to blog images, blog seo, grow your blog

adding alt tags to blog images, blog seo, grow your blog

And there you have it! Some basics on using the alt tags to improve SEO on your blog posts.  This really is an easy, but super effective way to bring more traffic to your blog!

Do you use alt tags to help improve your SEO? Any advice to add on using these tags? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Don't Make These Dating Mistakes

I have an idea for a series about Dating Mistakes that I commonly see girls making, and mistakes I myself made. I am not an expert, nor do I know everything there is to know, but I did learn a lot from my early years in the dating world. And now that I am married to a guy that loves and honors me well, I can say with faith that a guy like him is worth the wait for you as well. I want to talk you girls who aren't married. I have a few thoughts on all the mistakes I made dating. And if I  can save one person from the heartache I caused and/or experienced, then I want to share my experiences. Today I want to talk about a really important Relationship Mistake that I made and didn't really learn from  until I was in mid-twenties.

Over the next month or so, I want to explore a few more "dating mistakes" I've made, because I think that theres lessons to be learned from them. Take my advice with a grain of salt because I am not relationship/dating expert, I simply want to share my experiences in hopes they might help one of you gals on your journey!

The other day, Kate from The Florkens, a blog I absolutely adore,  shared a wise piece of marriage advice which boiled down to making sure you marry the right person, and also making sure to BE the right person. Both of these are crucial to making a relationship or marriage work, but today, I want to focus on that first part. Please, think twice of who you're pursuing a relationship with! Many of the mistakes I've made have more to do than the person I was with, than what I was doing.

I am sure, if you're single, you've most likely created a list. A list of non-negotiables of what you wanted in a relationship. For me, my list included like "Follower of Christ, Respectful, Honest, ect." What is on your list? Now think back to the last person you've allowed in your life. That guy you started flirting with, going on dates with, maybe your ex-boyfriend, or maybe it never got as far as boyfriend. Did you compromise on your list at all?

Did you tell yourself you wanted someone who loved Jesus, but then somewhere along the line realized his "I am a Christian" actually meant nothing in regard to how he led his life? Did this person build you up, encourage you, honor your and respect you? Or did they tear you down, little by little? Did they disapoint you regularly, go back on their word, blow you off, tempt you to participate in things you made clear you weren't going to engage in?

Here's the truth. I compromised on my list more than one time. I dated someone who was physically & emotionally abusive, even though I promised myself I would only be with a guy who honored me and built me up. I dated someone who told me he was a Christian, but really, he had no relationship with the Lord and it was evident in his words and his actions. If you are compromising on things that are non-negotiables to you, its time to re-evaluate those priorities and maybe even your relationship. I can't say what deal breakers are for you, only you can detirmine that. But I am praying that if you're single, you never settle for someone less than you deserve.

Maybe you don't have a list, but you are with someone who is controlling, or has codependency issues or anger issues, someone with no bondaries, etc. I call these things red flags, and would recommend you figure out what your own red flags are. You don't have to sacrifice on important things like how you're treated, respected, etc. There ARE good guys out there, and they're worth the wait. I promise.

Also worth mentioning is making sure "YOU are that person who the person you are looking for is looking for." Thats another post for another day, but just one more thing to think about.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Get Fit and Fab Linkup: When You Feel Like A Failure

This week I want to talk about those weeks that I think we all have when we're on the weight loss journey. The weeks where you step on the scale and not only does it not go down, it even goes up. The nights where you are so tired you can't imagine cooking, so you grab Chipotle before running off to Youth Group. The cold dreary days where the last place you want to be at lunch time is running outside. The days where you wake up and try that old pair of pants on hoping it might just fit after trying so hard for a month, and you still can't get them zipped.

That was my week. And it is discouraging and frustrating and it plain sucks sometimes. But, its real life. A journey to healthy is much like life. Its raw and real and sometimes its just hard. Sometimes its hard to chose to prepare healthy lunches instead of just grab Wendy's to eat in your car while you're reading. Sometimes it is hard to get up off that couch and go for a run in the cold. Sometimes, its hard to say no to pizza. Am I right?

And even though the scale didn't budge in the way I wanted this week, I learned a valuable lesson: It isn't just about the number on the scale. 

Above is my three week progress, and I can definitely see a difference in my stomach. Its encouraging to know that my body is changing, and hopefully I continue to replace fat with muscle. I am participating in Kym from Travel Babbles Diet Bet, and I have til this Friday to lose the remaining few pounds. 

This next week, I am going to go on a pretty strict cleanse consisting mostly of fruits and vegetables, and I am also going to allow myself egg whites with veggies in the mornings and grilled chicken breast in the evening. I want to get those last few pounds off so I can make back that $25 dollar bet I put into the Diet Bet!  This week I also am going to go heavy on the cardio and try and run every day. 

Wish me luck girls! I am determined to make this week better than last week! How is your journey going? I want to hear how you're doing, and what is working for you! 

This link-up will happen every Monday, but it is absolutely not necessary that you join in every single week (although we'd love to have you!) Get Fit, Feel Confident, Be Healthy is all about ANYTHING having to do with your journey to a more fit, fabulous, and healthy you in 2014!
This can be:
Your goals
A recaps of how you did the week before
Your new favorite workout songs
A salad you made for dinner that was healthy and delicious
Something you struggled with last week
Ways you've been able to successfully relieve stress
Fit + Fab

Will you please join in the fun with us?! Here's what you need to do:

1. Follow us on Bloglovin (Brittany and Sam) or GFC. Leave us a comment letting us know so that we can follow you back!

2. Write your Get Fit, Feel Confident, Be Healthy post on Monday. Link-up at one of our blogs!

3. Grab a button (above) and link back to our blogs in your post.
4. Meet new friends who are on a similar journey as you! One of the best parts of this link-up will be meeting other ladies who are sharing their ideas and stories so make sure you check out the other fit+fab women who are linking up!
Use the hashtag #getfitandfab - tag us on instagram and twitter so we can follow you on your journey!
Instagram: @brittmrasmussen and @samanthamarie_8
Twitter: @brit_rasmussen and @samanthamarie_8

Friday, January 24, 2014

How to NOT Get A Job (From A Recruiter)

I mentioned the other day how I ended up in the career field I am in. I even mentioned how much I love it, and how fulfilled I am by the work I do. If I have learned anything in the past six months as a Recruiter, it How NOT to get a job. So, for all of you that may be job searching, or who will someday be looking for a new job, please go ahead and keep these things in mind.

If you don't want a job:

1. Have a really unprofessional and borderline inappropriate email address. Bonus points if it is along the lines of "Yourfavoritesin" @ email host dot com.

2. When you do not get offered an interview, call the Recruiter and tell her how incompetent she and everyone else at the organization is.

3. Write a three page essay on why you were wrongfully terminated at your previous job in the Reason For Leaving application blank.

4. Straight up bash your old employers in your job interview. That really makes the interview panel feel comfortable.

5. Ask really weird questions at the end of the interview like "If you were a fruit, which one would you be and why?"

6. Be a little TOO honest about your weaknesses. "I have anger management issues and threw a stapler at the wall when I was upset at my previous job" is a really good way to never hear from the company you are interviewing for again.

7. Be late to your interview. Does this one even require explanation? Do not under any circumstances give yourself a few extra minutes in case of traffic, do not consider it is okay to arrive early and sit in the lobby or in your car, leave in just enough time to get their right in time and you will most likely be late. And you will most likely not get a job.

8. "Spin" your experience and job titles. For example, if you were an Administrative Assistant, but want to work in Purchasing, if you've at least looked at a purchase order before, go ahead and change your title to Purchasing Agent. Same thing, right? And pray the company you're applying at doesn't actually call your previous employers!

There you have it friends. Straight from the mouth of a recruiter. Things to do when you really do NOT want to get hired.

Speaking of work, this girl is EXCITED today is Friday. I have a full day of interviews, and am already dreaming of sleeping in tomorrow for as long as my heart desires AND not having to put on real pants all day.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rasmussens Get Married: Ceremony Pictures

Finally I am ready to share some more wedding pictures with you beautiful people! I don't know why I took such a long break from our pictures, mostly because I want to continue to relive this day as long as possible.

Lets start with some details:

Of course we had coffee favors. What other favors would you expect from us?

Our guest book was seriously such a FUN part of our wedding. It was unique and special to us and I am planning on sharing more details of the filled out pages from guests soon.

Minutes Before I walked down the aisle, my beautiful bridesmaids prayed with me for a minute, praying for peace and calmness and asking God to use our marriage to point people to Him. This was one of my favorite moments of the day and so special to me.

Our friend Jake sang at our wedding and it was so incredible! He leads worship at our church and is a close friend of Ronnie's. He sang the song "How He Loves" while I walked down the aisle, and sang two worship songs during the ceremony as well.

Ronnie's nephew's sign says : Uncle Ronnie, here comes your Girl. So precious.

My niece Nora did a knockout job as our flower girl. This picture of my sister-in-law trying to get my 18 month old nephew down the aisle is hilarious to me. He didn't make it, but it was so cute and funny and everyone laughed.

My dad walked me down the aisle, but I also wanted my step-dad to meet us at the end so they could both give me away together. This was a really special way for me to honor both of these men in my life who loved me so well. The entire walk down the aisle I was crying (and so was Ronnie!) and I still cry when I hear "How He Loves".

Another one of my favorite moments of the ceremony was when Jake sang "I Have Decided". This song was really important to us because we were declaring to our friends and family that we have not only decided to follow Jesus for the rest of our lives as individuals, but also as a couple. We've decided to put Him first in our marriage, and committed to loving Him and serving Him as a married couple and as a family with children someday.

Having all our friends and family singing with us was such an emotional and sweet time for me. I literally felt the presence of Jesus so much this day, and was so blessed to have so many brothers and sisters in Christ singing along with us. We also had our bridesmaids and groomsmen pray over us and I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to have Ronnie's childhood best friend praying for God's favor and blessing over our marriage with the rest of our best friends surrounding us.

I still remember this day SO vividly and am SO thankful for all the wonderful people that helped make it the wedding I always dreamed of. I still can't believe I am married to my very best friend. Marriage is so sweet.