Monday, March 24, 2014

My blog has moved!!!

Hey faithful readers!

I've created a new blog so please head on over there and check it out!

I've been trying to think of a better name that expresses the true purpose behind my blog and I've decided on 'A Deeper Joy'.  Check out this page to learn more about why I called it that.

I've moved all of my old posts to it so you can easily find anything you've already bookmarked!

Don't forget to add to your Reading List, save it as a favorite, and follow me on Bloglovin!  I'd hate to lose contact with those of you I've "met" so far!

Thank you!!  Happy reading!!


Friday, March 21, 2014

5 on Friday!

Thank God it's Friday!!!  I'm linking up with AprilNatashaChristina, and Darci again for 5 on Friday so I've got 5 random thoughts for you today.


Trader Joe's recently came to the DFW area and I had yet to visit one, even though that's where the wine for my wedding came from!  My coworkers were sweet and provided all the wine as a wedding gift to us. 

Yesterday, my coworker and I ventured out during our lunch break and went to Trader Joe's and it was awesome!  I really wish there was one closer to where I live!  I'd go all the time!  They have way more food than I was expecting. They have fresh produce, frozen pizza, all kinds of oils, cheeses, breads, and even household products - mostly organic.  I bought some lotion with aloe without "fragrance".

These Irish Bangers make me laugh....Arrested Development anyone???


I think I'm going to revamp my blog.  It'll have a new look and possibly a new name soon!  I never realized how technical blogging can be.  I'm super impressed with all of the blog authors I currently follow!  See my blog roll on the right side!


I've been trying to make us salads for dinner lately.  It's so much lighter and we haven't been home until later, yet go to bed early.  I definitely can't go to bed with a full stomach so a salad settles a lot better.


Chopped Romaine
Red Bell Peppers
Feta Cheese
Sliced Banana Peppers
Kalamata Olives
Balsamic Vinaigrette (I love making my own with the little Italian packets)


My friend, Carroll, is a consultant for CAbi, a very cute, classy clothing line that you will love!  For the next week, we're having an online "party"where you can purchase anything on the website with free shipping, including free shipping if you have to send it back in to exchange for a different size.  I know you will love the new Spring Collection!

If you want to purchase something, just contact Carroll directly at


Don't miss the beginning of my Wedding Story series.  You can read the first post about how Kevin and I met here.  Many posts to come that complete our story!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wedding Story: How We Met

I'm thinking about doing a blog series on my wedding!  This is the freshest it'll ever be in my mind (seeing as how it happened last October) and I'd love to have it documented here so I can come back and enjoy it over and over again.

So I start with how Kevin and I met and our story of dating.  I hesitate sharing this with you...why?  I'm afraid of being judged.  I'm afraid of people thinking that I'm a jerk.  But our story is quite beautiful considering how God orchestrated it all.  If I had to summarize it all in one sentence, it would be this: God works in ways that you will never understand or ever be able to predict, but He is in control and knows what He's doing AND what is ultimately best for you.

So in November of 2010, I was not in a happy place.  I had just gone through a really tough breakup and to be honest, was pretty depressed.  I was 27 and not understanding why I was still single.  Though I was NOT old, I thought I was because most of my friends were already married and on baby #2.  Thankfully, I have a very supportive family who has always loved me and NEVER pushed me to marry quickly or feel inadequate because I was not married yet.  They believe in God making your story happen the way He wants it.

My roommate and I decided to visit the young adult gathering at my church on a Thursday night, November 4, 2010 to be exact. Ha!  It was on this night that I met Kevin, my future husband.  I remember thinking he was a good-looking guy who was very sweet and seemed down-to-earth.  At the end of the night, we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to hang out again. 

Now a bit about my thoughts at this point: my heart was very broken.  I still cried daily and just couldn't get out of my depression that started the previous September.  I had considered counseling before, but never wanted to pay the money to invest in it.  The daily crying finally convinced me that I should give it a go.  I was sick of being in a such a terrible place.  I got a recommendation from a friend for a great Christian counselor and started going weekly.  I cannot tell you how BIG this time in my life was!  I learned SO much about myself, my desires, why I process things the way I do, what in my childhood affected the way I handle situations today, the kind of men I was attracted to, and more.  This all came from the LORD and His guidance in this time of counseling.

Ok, back to Kevin.  We immediately became great friends and hung out often, even just the two of us.  I think that because of my brokeness, I couldn't see past being friends at the time.  I knew I was not in a place for a relationship.  I did go on dates with others in the meantime, but nothing became of any of it.  I got to know Kevin very well.  I knew deep stuff about him and he knew deep stuff about me.  I was always honest with him about my intentions - being friends.  He so graciously accepted me where I was and accepted me as his friend, best friend.  There were times that I felt like we shouldn't hang out as much but I just couldn't stop....I LOVED hanging out with him.  I felt like he got me for who I really am and accepted me despite all of my inadequacies.  In fact, I had an ex-boyfriend that viewed my querks as annoyances.  He rolled his eyes at the things that Kevin loves about me.  I was always 100% myself around Kevin.

So for a year and half, this was life.  I continued my counseling which went from getting over the ex-boyfriend to moving onto bigger and deeper topics that I had never dug into.  I highly recommend counseling for everyone - we all have stuff we need to dig into, no matter who we are.  No one is too good for counseling.  But hear me on this - there are good and bad counselors!  Get recommendations!  Ask around!  Don't just Google someone.

I was also digging deeper into my relationship with God and getting a true understanding of grace and His unconditional love.

Kevin and I became better friends.  During this time, we got to know each other's hearts without the temptation of becoming too physical or caring way too much about what the other thought since we weren't dating.  I so appreciate that phony filter not being a part of our friendship.

Here are some photos of the random things we did while we were friends over that year and a half:


Coming soon....Wedding Story: How We Started Dating

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Favorite "Road Trip" Things!

I'm linking up with Erika and Andrea for the Favorite Things Party today!!!  Since Kevin and I just returned home from our road trip with Grandpa Bill from Phoenix to Dallas, I thought it'd be a great time to share some of my favorite road trip items (all under $10).  And don't judge!  Health goes out the window when I'm on a road trip!!

First...some photos on the road:

Grandpa Bill and Callen (last stop on the roadtrip  - to see Kevin's brother, his wife and our sweet nephew)
My favorite snack: Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos.  I'm so addicted!  I know they're bad for me, but they are so good.

Kevin's favorite snack: Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn - also very delicious!

Other snacks we love to have on hand:

We try to not drink sodas often, but occasionally, we'll get a Vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic.  It's definitely our favorite drink on the road so we got one to share at the beginning of the trip.

And of course a good book to read when you're not the driver.  Right now, I'm reading "Love and Respect" by Emerson Eggerichs.  It is wonderful so far!  He hits the "conflict in marriage" nail on the head!  It's a little over $10 brand new, but if you get the Kindle version or a used one, it's under $10!

As for music, we usually just plug in our iPhones/iPods and let them shuffle with our favorite tunes.  Sometimes we feel like listening to country, including my favorite...

Why is Josh Turner my favorite artist??  Let me tell ya... He has the most amazing voice EVER, he can hit notes lower than I can even imagine hitting, he's easy to look at (wink wink), he's an amazing family man and sings about his wife and kids in many songs, you never hear about him getting involved in negative celebrity drama, and most importantly, he's a follower of Jesus Christ and is very vocal about it.  See his I Am Second video here.

Or sometimes we're in the mood for a little worship music.  One of my favorites is Kari Jobe.

What are your favorite roadtrip must-haves???

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Morning Boost Smoothie!

For starters...I won't be doing a '5 on Friday' tomorrow. :( I will be in Arizona with Kevin picking up his grandpa to bring him back to Texas!  Please pray for our long drive back!

I've been drinking smoothies for breakfast for about 3 or 4 years now and I LOVE it!  I don't have a super fancy blender, but I've always been fine with what I have.  I started with a really cheap one in college and then an Oster that my dad bought me and honestly, it was great!  Now I have the Ninja NJ600 Professional Blender and it's been great!  I just wish it'd clean itself like a Vitamix!  I'm not sure I'll ever spend that much money on a blender though!

Here's the deal...I cannot drink the same smoothie every morning.  I need to change it up often so I've experimented with many recipes.  When I'm in a hurry, I just make an Advocare meal replacement shake.  I have the berry, vanilla, chocolate and chocolate mocha ones.  They're pretty filling and taste great, but I prefer to not spend that much money so I don't have one every day.

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite smoothie receipes with you!  It wakes me up and gives my body a ton of nutrients!

Morning Boost Smoothie

1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen grapes
1/2 avocado (peeled and seeded)
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 handful of fresh kale (remove stems)
2 tablespoons chia seeds or ground flax seed
1 1/2 cups chilled green tea (photo shown with almond milk instead)
1/2 lemon, juiced
agave nectar, if needed
ice, if you like a thicker smoothie
Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender to your preferred consistency.
Recipe adapted from Skinny Ms
This smoothie really does wake me up and gets me through the morning.  Let me know if you try it!  I hope you enjoy it!
And just for are my kale chips I had last night with shrimp for dinner...
I just cooked those on 300 degrees for 15 mins with a little extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Goodbye Student Loans!!!!

It's time to celebrate!!!  We paid off my student loans on Monday and we're so excited!  I'm so grateful for my husband encouraging me to pay them off.  As weird as it sounds, I finally feel like I "own" my degrees!

Just a little background if you don't know me -  I got my BBA in accounting from Baylor University and my MS in accounting at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Thankfully I had scholarships help me pay for my first two years at Baylor and worked to pay my bills, but I took out student loans to help me with the rest of Baylor and graduate school at UTD.  And Baylor isn't cheap...had I known how much it was going to cost me, I probably wouldn't have gone there.  BUT the Lord has others plans so I don't regret going.  I really did love it!

The full amount of time that it would have taken to pay off my student loans was 15 years.  I've been out of college for 8 years and was only able to make the minimum payment for most of those years.  At times, the minimum payment was the same amount as most people's rent so I'm sure glad to be done with that.

I didn't do everything right when it came to paying them off, but here are some tips that helped us pay them off sooner:

1) Anytime you receive money that is not a part of your normal budget to pay bills, put it towards the loans!  Examples - income tax refund, work bonus, selling stuff on Craigslist/Ebay, gifts, commission

2) If you can afford even just small amount more than the minimum payment each month, do it!  It makes a big difference in the long run!

3) Cut back your food/entertainment budget so you can pay more on the student loans.

4) Do NOT get yourself into more debt.  Only purchase what you can afford.  I could argue either way on a mortgage, but I won't go there now.

5) Keep driving the car you have rather than buying a new one if it gets you from A to B.  Don't get a car loan.

I hope those are helpful!  Just remember that student loan debt will not be forgiven!  They can garnish your wages if you don't pay, so don't think you can get away with forgetting about them.  The longer it takes to pay them off, the more of that pesky little interest you will pay.

Now we're onto attacking the mortgage!!  Woo hoo!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

5 on Friday!

It's time for 5 on Friday!!  I look forward to this every week!


Last weekend I did a wine tasting with my small group girlfriends in downtown Grapevine at D'Vine Wine.  We had such a blast!  I just love these girls and feel so blessed that God has brought them into my life.  We missed the three that weren't able to make it and love them too!  They are such an answer to prayer!

(sorry for the zombie eyes!!)

On that day, 50% of the proceeds from wine tastings went to support Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas.  This is the organization through which Kevin got our sweet little (but big!) Riley....or as we call her "Riley Cakes".  Isn't she adorable?!


This week, my sister, Lauren, sent me this adorable photo of my 3.5 month old niece, Kassidy.  Isn't she so stinking adorable???  I just had to share it with you all!


I don't normally brag but I'm going to for a second.  Ok maybe I did in #2 about my niece already. Ha!  Before Kevin left for Arizona, he bought me flowers!  Aren't they so pretty?  I'm a lucky girl!  And I'm posting a photo of him looking mighty handsome along with it.

This week I made Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos using my Crockpot!  I used this recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff, bought some corn tortillas, shredded a little cheese, cut up an avocado and we made them into tacos!  You may have to scroll down that post a bit to get to the Cilantro Lime Chicken with Corn and Black Beans.  We also added a little of the awesome Fuzzy's Taco Sauce.  They were delicious!
Caroline over at In Due Time had a really great post this week about "taking captive" your negative thoughts.  She was talking about Philippians 4:8 and the thoughts that the Lord does want us to have.

The Lord really convicted me while reading this post.  This is so hard for me.  I mean, how often does a negative thought come across your mind?  And more often do you verbalize that negative thought?  I know it happens for me in the form of complaining.  I've really started praying and asking God to take those thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).  I'm really trying to be aware of when these thoughts come through my mind and ask God to take them away.

Have a wonderful weekend, folks!!!