Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Review of 2013 & Looking Ahead to 2014

This year was a tough one for our family, but we definitely grew a lot in 2013. Here we go..the good and the bad from 2013:

  1. We got approved for, designed, built, and lost a house all in the matter of months. (definitely a blessing in disguise)
  2. We graduated from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. 
  3. I got let go from my first industry job on my birthday in April.
  4. Our first baby, my therapy kitty Ying, passed away unexpectedly at the end of June.
  5. In July we adopted 2 kitten brothers from the Humane Society (Oscar and Bo).
  6. In August, I started teaching the lab portion of an Introduction to Web Design class. I also started my second semester of graduate school.
  7. In September, I finally found a job that wasn't minimum wage. I love it.
  8. In October, we moved out of our apartment in Cicero and moved to Noblesville. We are closer to everything and have less "interesting" neighbors here.
  9. My dad's doctor found a lump in his prostate in November. (He is having surgery to remove it in January - shouldn't need chemo or radiation after).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


I've already started working on the things in my "goals for 2014" list. I've always felt it's stupid to start until January 1st to do something, so I've already started a few of these.

  • Get Young Love Graphics branded and start picking up several freelance jobs (no more than 5 at a time - be realistic).
  • Fill up my empty shelf (see more on this).
  • Tithe better. 10% - period. No ifs, ands, or buts.
  • Organize the apartment following the Organize in 5 Diary.
  • Love myself. I have already learned to love my body, so now it's turn to love the inside of myself - that's going to be a tough one.
  • Get rid of at least $10,000 of debt.

Have a happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Youngs!

Below is this years' Christmas letter and photograph. All family and friends have received them now, so it's okay to post! ;) Be sure to click on the image for a larger view!

What happened to my thankfulness every day in November?

Well. Life happened.

Classes and work got very chaotic. My dad was also told that he has prostate cancer.

Once finding out my dad had cancer, I fell apart. I would lay on the couch or in bed with no motivation to do anything. I fell behind in grading. Fell behind in homework, and my work started deteriorating. As some of you know, my mom had breast cancer about 8 years ago. She is a survivor by the grace of God. However, she went through chemotherapy and radiation. If any of you has seen someone go through that, you know how painful it is to watch. Once I found out about my dad, I started having flashbacks of when my mom went through that. Just, not a good time.

My dad has decided to do a robotic surgery in January. Not too sure if the doctor will want him to do chemo and radiation with it, but I'm assuming we will find out on Tuesday when he goes to see the doctor again.

Sorry about all of the bad news - just hasn't been an awesome year for our family. Is it 2014 yet?

I am finishing up the last of my finals today. Tomorrow, I will begin working on my "game plan" for my freelance business in 2014.  I found out my hours got cut in HALF at the university, so I either need to find another part-time job or start up my freelance work again. I'm going with the ladder and hoping for a good turn out. I truly believe God will provide. We will figure this out. We are a strong family.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thankful: Dave Ramsey, Medication, A Car

Dave Ramsey

Now that I have a steady monthly income coming in, we were able to get back on track with our budget. We have been so stressed since April - not sure if we could make the next months rent, if we could afford pet food, or our own food for that matter. Being back "on plan" with our budget has made me much happier. Less stress = a happier Ashleigh.

This year we are not using credit cards for Christmas either. Last year, I maxed out a Kohl's credit card and added even more to my other credit card. Christmas isn't a surprise this year - we know it is December 25. We know we have get togethers where we will need to bring food and/or treats. We have a game plan, and we are sticking with it.

Check out my posts on Financial Peace University if you haven't already!


I haven't been feeling well since Friday. I think it's the weather changes. I've had migraines, sinus congestion, nausea, and stomach issues. Pepto-Bismol, Excedrin Migraine, and Dayquil/Nyquil have been making this "bug" less miserable this week.

A Car

America doesn't realize how lucky they are to have cars, let alone cars that are paid off. I am so thankful that I have reliable transportation to get me to and from work and class. My car also has heated seats and a rear defroster - very thankful and blessed to have that this time of year!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thankful: My Creative Mind, Furbabies, Bible Study

I'm posting one for the last 3 days because I have been a bit busy lately. Finals season is among us!

My Creative Mind

Last year, we made a "visual" Christmas letter to send out to friends and family. I don't like writing, so it was an awesome alternative. I just finished up this year's letter and they have already been printed! We seem to be ahead of schedule this year, so I'm trying to keep it that way! Sharayah (from Little Neighbor Studios) is taking our family pictures next weekend so we can include some holiday pictures with the letters. An added bonus to making visual christmas cards...I can add them to my portfolio!


Mia, Oscar, and Bo are awesome. They are a bit of a handful sometimes, but I wouldn't have it any other way!! Oscar seems to be a Momma's boy and is always a therapy kitty when I need him!

Bible Study

Every Friday night, Jon and I go to a couple's Bible study. We look forward to it every week! The group is awesome and we seem to go later and later each week because we get into great discussions. I'm happy we were invited to join the group.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thankful | iPhone

Seriously, what would I do without my smart phone? I wouldn't be as connected, that's for sure. It keeps me on schedule and on task. It is also great for relieving stress by playing games and chatting with friends.

I sometimes wish I could go back to the basic phone, but then I realize I would forget EVERYTHING. I still have a physical planner, but that often isn't 100%. My phone is great for those last minute additions to my schedule.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful | My Job

I am so incredibly thankful I have a job that I enjoy going to every day.  The beginning of this year was very shaky and I was unsure of where we would be at the end of the year. God was there the whole time and ended up finding me a job I wouldn't trade for anything! I've gotten some emails and phone calls from recruiters with things for me, but I love where I'm at. They work around my teaching schedule as well as classes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thankful | Fountain Beverages

I look forward to my fountain coke every day. Without it, I'm sure I would be fine, but I love having one every day. It helps calm me down when I'm feeling the most stressed.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thankful | Lazy Sundays

Today was very relaxing. Jon and I laid around all day watching football. In the evening we went to church and ate dinner out with our friend Sharayah. I stayed in sweatpants all day. It was glorious.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thankful | Our Apartment

I am so thankful we have a roof over our heads. It has been a rough year with so many uncertainties, but we have always had somewhere to live. Not only somewhere to live, but somewhere to live in a nice neighborhood.

Where we lived before wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't a place I could see us starting a family. The neighbors were shady and our building always smelled like cigarette smoke. I'm thankful we were able to get back on our feet enough to move to a nicer place.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thankful November (Round 2) | Showers

Well, guys I'm at it again. I did it last year, and I'm doing it again this year. Every day in November, I will be posting something I am thankful for. I loved doing it last year, and I'm excited to do it again this year.


This isn't our shower, but man, is it gorgeous!

A few weeks ago, Jon and I were without a shower because of lack of water pressure. We had to bathe "old school style" for a week until it got fixed. We would take pot by pot of hot water from the kitchen into the bathroom and fill the bath tub. It would take us about 1.5 hours each to get clean every night.

Life was a bit chaotic anyway because we just moved, then God had to lay this one on us. He definitely has a sense of humor - reminding me it could always be worse.

Ever since our shower has been fixed, I thank God every time I'm in there. When something you take for granted each day is taken away from you, it makes you think a little differently.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

We Moved!

Nothing has changed too much - life is crazy, as usual.

Last week, we moved! It's about time! After losing the house, we had to stay in our old (not so nice) apartment until we could get back on our feet and move - moving is expensive!

We did downsize - we had to if we wanted to stay in Noblesville (as well as in a nicer apartment). We traded our 2nd bedroom for a washer and dryer. It was worth it. We have made our dining room an office. Who needs a dining room when you're so busy anyway? We'll get some TV trays until kids come along, and we will be just fine! ;) I'll have to post pictures once everything is in it's place. We are also on the first story (we do NOT miss the third story stairs at all).

We ordered a new living room set two weeks ago. It could take up to 6 weeks to get here, so we are getting antsy. We can't wait! We were on a hand me down love seat sleeper sofa (that has been through 3 generations). We also had a hand me down recliner that had seen better days. We ordered a chaise sofa, rug, arm chair, and ottoman. We are relaxing in the bedroom for now, since we don't have any furniture out in the living room at the moment.

While it is great to get new furniture, it was even better that our old furniture went to a family in need (someone we didn't even know). We had to get rid of our sofa, chair, and dining room table before we moved. We sold the recliner, but couldn't get the table or sofa sold. I asked around at church and we got a private request from a single mom of 6 that they needed furniture because the ex-husband literally left them with nothing. It felt so great to give them furniture to get through this time. The sleeper sofa was also nice because it sounded like a lot of them were sleeping on the floor.

Anyways, back to the new place. Our shower/bath pooped out on us Friday night. The water was literally down to a trickle. Maintenance came and can't fix it until Monday - sounds like they need to suction out the pipe. All I can say is, I hope it's fixed tomorrow because I would LOVE to take a shower Tuesday morning. I've been taking baths (filling the tub from the kitchen sink - pot by pot), but I sure am thankful for showers. 

Mia also went trick-or-treating at PetSmart yesterday morning. She is Miss Piggy this year. ;)

Friday, September 27, 2013


My new job is awesome.

School is awesome.

The family is awesome.

Life in general is just...awesome.

Sorry for the short and somewhat lame post. I don't really have any updates. I don't miss Facebook and life is awesome. The end. :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Deleting Facebook/Twitter, New Job, and Life Update

To put it simply: life has been crazy lately.

This week, I have been asking God to show me how I can spend more time with Him. Facebook and Twitter have been bringing me down lately. To be honest, I don't gain anything from them. I have deactivated my accounts before, but this time...I really mean it. I'm a day without them so far, and I honestly don't miss it. I've had more time to enjoy the little things today instead of mindlessly scrolling through posts that don't benefit me at all. I've spent today catching up on homework, but I'm hoping Monday I can start reading my Bible daily again.

I have been working at Panera Bread the past month, while still applying and interviewing for industry jobs. After interviewing, I accepted a part-time position at Westlund Concepts in Lapel. This week was my first week there, and honestly, I love it. I am working on graphic design and front-end web design as needed. I am still working at the university as a teacher's assistant. Panera left me on the roster to fill shifts if they need someone to come in - I loved it there and wasn't ready to completely leave.

We also got a new apartment (finally)! We are downsizing, but it is perfect for what we need. We're on the first floor, so Mia will have a yard she can pee in. They also have a bark park for her that is only a few minute walk away! They have a pool...which is closed for the season, but it will be nice next summer!! And, drum roll, the best part is a washer and dryer! We are moving in 3 weeks, so the crazy packing and organizing has begun!

Mia and the boys are doing well. The boys are growing so fast! Bo is about 9 lbs now, and Oscar is 8 lbs. Mia just turned 1 last week and is 19 lbs now! Everyone is nice and healthy (except for my allergies kicking in)...

Couldn't ask for better. <3

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Job!

I accepted a job at Panera Bread this week. I filled out the application on Monday, got a call on Tuesday, and interviewed/was hired on the spot Wednesday. What a crazy turn of events!

I'm happy to finally find a job because:
1. Bills need to be paid, and we are already behind.
2. Classes start in 2 weeks.

I emailed my contact at IU Bloomington a few times during the past 2 weeks about the status of my application. After not hearing a peep since my interview, I decided I did not want to let Panera Bread go and went ahead and accepted the offer.

But Ashleigh, why Panera Bread? You are ridiculous for stooping down to such a low level. a few weeks I will be working 60 hour work weeks (Panera + teacher assistant at school) as well as taking a full load of Graduate cla
sses...after taking a semester off. I really did not want to wait any longer for a job. It's already going to be stressful starting classes back up again. If we would have had to pick up, move, and have me start a new stressful job + classes and lots of commuting....

Yeah. That's why. So no, not ridiculous. Smart. It's time to focus on my Masters and finish that up.

I'm actually really excited about this opportunity. It's as a shift supervisor. The first 90 days will mainly be training (learning all of the positions and duties). Once I get 2 employees trained, I'll be making salary instead of hourly (+ benefits!). I've always had strong leadership skills and I haven't been able to put them to work in the last year. I'm way too excited. I'm also thrilled to be meeting new people. After being in Noblesville for a year now, I have yet to meet many people. I did join a women's Bible study group this summer and made some friends! Now working at Panera, I feel like more friends will be made. So incredibly happy about this.

What's another perk? Free food! I won't get free food until I'm "officially" a manager, but they still offer a hefty discount on meals! It sounds like any leftover bakery items at the end of the night can go home as well - we will see what happens on Monday!

I am also thrilled to get out of the apartment. I love my time with Mia and the boys, but I've been stir crazy. My first day at Panera is Monday! There is a bread baking seminar and then they want me to stay and help close so I can see closing procedures (since I will mainly a day worker).

This is exactly where God wanted me and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bathtub Cleaner: Trial & Error

Because we are still month to month on our apartment, I have been slowly deep cleaning and packing everything. If I get a job offer, we may need to pick up and move within a week or two. I hate cleaning the bathroom, but the bathtub needed scrubbed..big time. We aren't dirty people, but I feel we aren't the only family who neglects to clean their bathtub more than once a year.

I wish I would have taken pictures, but of course, I didn't think about it until after the fact...

Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner

I had a can of this left over from my college days. I don't like letting things go to waste, so I went ahead and used it on our tub. I sprayed it all over the tub, let it sit for 30 minutes, scrubbed it, let it sit another 30 minutes, and rinsed it off.

Well, it looked a little better...maybe? I wasn't too impressed with the results. The dirt and grime was still visible. I don't remember how much I spent on this can of cleaner, but it was definitely a waste of money - I won't be buying it again.

This cleaner gets two thumbs down from me.


Borax is my favorite thing to use as a cleaner in the dishwasher and washer - so why not use it in the bathtub? The box suggested sprinkling it on the surface, scrubbing with a damp washcloth or sponge, and letting it sit for at least 30 minutes. I did just that, but let it sit for an hour (our tub was really dirty).

After rinsing the Borax out of the tub, I was disappointed that there were still some spots with scum and grime!

When I can't figure out something, I turn to Google. I searched for homemade bathtub cleaners, and came across the next recipe...

Hot Vinegar + Dish Soap

We have a winner!

I used all of the dish soap we had left (maybe 1/4 cup) and put it into a spray bottle. I microwaved about 3/4 cup white vinegar for 90 seconds. I put the vinegar in with the dish soap, and shook the spray bottle to mix everything up. I sprayed the bathtub until the solution was gone. After letting it sit for about 10 minutes, I scrubbed away. Most of the Google results said you didn't need to scrub, but our bathtub has so many little grooves..I wanted to make sure the tub was covered. I let it sit for another 50 minutes. I then turned on the shower with the hottest water setting. I let it run for about 10 minutes. The bathtub looks amazing - almost like it did when we moved in!

Another article recommended keeping a scrubber brush with 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 dish soap in the shower. Scrub once a week while you're in there!

This was one of the cheapest solutions, and ended up being the best. I also saw that some use a similar solution for window cleaner. We still have quite a bit of Windex left, but once that is gone...I'll be trying it out and letting you guys know about it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Welcome to the Family, Bo! (& Life Update)

After picking up Oscar up at the vet last Monday, we went inside the humane society to see if his brother was still there. Bo was there alright, but not the happy kitten I remembered. He was very depressed looking and his fur was so dirty. After closely monitoring his profile on their website all week, I could not believe he still had not been adopted by Friday!

We went in on Friday, ready to add another furbaby to the family. Unfortunately, he was at the vet getting we couldn't get him until Saturday. On Saturday, Jon was gone for a guys weekend, so I got to the humane society right when they opened to get Bo. He still seemed depressed and was very anxious the whole car ride home. Once I got him home, he ran around like a crazy cat. He was very, very scared. Oscar hissed when he first saw him, then they immediately bonded again. They've been inseparable ever since - we're so happy we kept these brothers together!

Mia still hasn't figured out how to play with kittens. She was so used to 13 pound Ying, and now she has 4 pound kittens. We have to constantly remind her to be gentle. It's going to take some time, but I think she's finally learning.

Bo seems more comfortable here (less terrified) and his fur finally feels clean! I think we have a pair of very happy kitties. They have also been eating all of their food! The first few days, they were barely eating anything, which made mommy and daddy a bit nervous.

They've been such a blessing this last week and a half. I love them both so much. I originally thought Oscar would be the cuddle bug, but Bo is starting to come out as a sweetheart. I think Oscar keeps reassuring him that he'll be okay and we're a good family.

Bo is on the left, Oscar on right
Last night, we got the call that Ying is ready to be picked up. We are going to go get him this evening. I'm still so, so sad about him leaving us. While the new babies have been a blessing, we still miss Ying. Even Mia misses Ying - they were best buddies (even though they did fight a lot). I keep hoping all of it was just a nightmare that I have yet to make up from. We are still working on what we want to do for him. On our list so far is a memory album and a shadow box with his bowtie(s), favorite toys, and pawprint).

Now for a job update - still nothing. Some of you have been asking, I did get a job offer last week from a company. I accepted the offer, and the salary they sent me was not what they had originally proposed. I rejected the offer because I just did not have good feelings about all of the shadiness that was happening. I do have an interview in Bloomington next week, though. It is for a position I really want (it's in the industry I'm aiming for). If this job doesn't work out, it's my sign from God to focus on my Master's next month and find a part-time opportunity or internship. These past three months have been so stressful, and it is definitely taking a toll on my body. I don't feel well very often. I have canker sores and migraines all of the time, and my IBS is constantly acting up.

The unemployment office has been ridiculous, but it looks as though the new claim will be starting next week. I just need to keep reminding myself - God has provided this whole time. He knows what He is doing. I'm ending this post with one of my favorite verses (that will soon be added to my Breathe tattoo).

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" 
- Matthew 6:25-27

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome to the Family, Oscar!

On Sunday after church, Jon and I decided to go take a peek at the Humane Society across the street. We went in there and it was so chaotic - they were having a sale on cats this weekend because they had over 400!! I have never been into a shelter before and had no idea what to expect. They had 4 different cat rooms, as well as some kitties in the lobby.

There were so many sweet older cats, but because we have never experienced kittens, we mutually agreed we would try to find a kitten (or at least a younger cat).

Then we looked over and saw this little boy (4 month old Luke) >>

He was crying and once I reached out to pet him, we had an instant bond. He loved having his chin and nose rubbed. He was so incredibly cuddly and such a lover!

After checking out his information, we noticed he was a stray and came in on Friday. I looked at Jon and said it was meant to be! What a great way to honor Ying's memory.

We couldn't take him home on Sunday because he wasn't neutered yet, so we got to bring him home yesterday evening after surgery. He loves exploring the apartment! He has only sniffed Mia through her kennel. We aren't letting them interact until his wound has healed.

Last night he did so good! He only woke us up a few times with his ninja-ness (attacking, jumping, and running). He is too sweet!

Some may say it's too early, but we were so incredibly distraught and depressed with the loss of Ying. Oscar has brought so much joy into our life already (and he's only been here a day!). Ying would have loved for us to save another cat. We saved him, and now it was time to pass it forward!

Now time for kitty pictures!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rest Easy, Ying

Yingy, Buddy, Kittle, Baby Boy...

On Friday evening, my husband and I lost our first child. Our hearts are broken, but we know we gave him a great last year and a half of his life and his last few moments, he was doing what he loved best - playing with a feather toy.

On Wednesday, I heard an awful cry come from the hallway and went to check on him. He was panting, having trouble walking, and looking terrified. Once I got him calmed down, he came out into the living room and pooped in the corner. That has never, ever happened before - I knew something was wrong and called the vet. The vet said since he was panting, he was clearly in distress and to bring him in immediately.

After going to the vet, we were told it seemed he was just constipated or had a urinary obstruction. The vet was leaning more towards constipation. The vet said we could do bloodwork, but it probably wouldn't show anything. His heart and everything else sounded fine. We were instructed to watch him for a few days. As I monitored his eating and litter box, his bowel movements and peeing were normal. He was drinking and eating like usual. He loves wet food, so I made him a batch in hopes it would help clean out anything that was going on inside of him.

Thursday and Friday were pretty usual. He slept most of the day, came out when daddy came home, and cuddled with us at night. He even came to smother me during a nap on Friday.

Friday evening, we were playing with him on the bed with his feather toy. Jon and I were about to walk across the street to get some fountain pops. I looked down the hallway and saw him just laying there. I called his name and no response. I made the noise I usually make when I make him wet food (which always gets him meowing and attentive)....still nothing. Jon and I rushed over and noticed he was struggling to breathe. He made a choking noise and his breathing started slowing down. I immediately ran to the computer to find an emergency vet clinic's number. Meanwhile, Jon was performing CPR on him. He had stopped breathing completely. Jon wrapped him up in a blanket and we rushed to the animal hospital. The closest one was about 30 minutes away (it was around 9:30pm, so not many are open) - we couldn't get there fast enough. Traffic wasn't bad, but it was dark and raining...and on top of that, I was crying my eyes out.

We got to the animal hospital and they gave us a room. They were very caring and let us take as much time as we needed with him. As I filled out paper work, Jon was cuddling him. We asked about getting an autopsy done, but that would include us driving his body up to Purdue and back. We just couldn't do that - this was hard enough. We chose to have him cremated privately. We gave him one last kiss, nose rub, and chin rub before letting our baby go. We threw away the blanket that we brought him in. I didn't even want to deal with washing it (he had peed and pooped in it) and using it again.

After we got home and all family had been called, we held each other (and Mia) a little tighter. This weekend has been so hard, but I'm happy we have Mia. She has made us laugh a few times this weekend. She has also been comforting. Last night, I was folding the blanket I washed that hangs on the back of the chair. Ying hair was all over it, so it needed to be washed because it was a very painful reminder. As I placed it on the back of the chair, I lost it. Mia was so concerned for me. We have put most of his things away, but sometimes memories come rushing back.

Losing a baby is never easy - especially when it came so suddenly and we had no idea. He was only 3 years old. After going online and looking around, it looks like it was due to a heart condition or urinary obstruction. Either way, we couldn't have done anything different to help him.

Yes, we will probably be getting another kitty, but I don't think my heart will ever heal completely from losing Ying. I've taken so many anti-depressants throughout the years, and he was the best medicine I could ever ask for. Whenever I was sad, he would often come and curl up on my lap or hug my neck. If I was sad and he wasn't around, I would go find him (usually sleeping under the bed) and hug him. He would hug me back, purr, and rub his face on mine. I never even liked cats until I got Ying. He was such a sweet little boy.

He was famously known for his bow-ties. My husband and I are currently working on several things to remember him by. A shadowbox with his favorite toys (his blue mouse, fishy, straw, and feather toy), his black bowtie + collar, and a picture. The cremation services includes an urn with his ashes as well as a paw print (we should be getting those in about a week). We are also creating a photo/memory album of him. Friends and family - please let me know if you have any pictures of him as we would like to collect as many as we can!

I was planning a thigh tattoo out in April before I lost my job, but my next one will be in honor of Ying. I can't decide if I want his paw print or a portrait...or even where I want it to be. All I know is a black bow-tie will be somewhere in the design.

It's times like this when I want to say - why, God? Why do you let this happen? I lost my job, we lost our house, and now this? I would give anything just to hold him again. Satan needs to back off, because seriously....I'm not sure how much more our family can take. Jon and I have been through more this first year of marriage than most couples go through in their first five...

We miss you, baby boy. I know we will have a hard time finding a kitty that comes close to you. You were such a sweetheart. Have fun up there with all of the birdies and wet food. We'll see you soon. <3

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Book Recommendation, My Weight, and Job Updates

Being unemployed this summer has made me really lonely and anxious to get out of the apartment. Once our church announced new connection groups, I signed up for a morning women's book club. I was a bit anxious about joining the group, not sure if I would fit in or not. Well, after a few weeks, I honestly love it. It's also great for me to get out of the apartment and actually talk to real people!

Becoming More Than Just A
Good Bible Study Girl by
Lysa Terkeurst
The book we are studying is Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. This is the first Bible study book I can say I honestly love. I've never been able to relate to a book so well! I found it at my local Barnes & Noble, but it can be found on Amazon as well. I also suggest picking up the study guide. It brings up a lot of questions that really make you think as well as making you write out certain verses. Two thumbs up from me on this book!

Speaking of that book, it really hit the nail on the head with me this week. As several of you know, my weight has been up and down since high school. I've gained weight, lost it, and gained it again. When I first went to Weight Watchers, I wanted nothing more than to weigh 135 pounds. It would make me the happiest person in the I thought. After reaching my goal weight and maintaining it for several months, I really wasn't happy. I wanted to be thinner! Being thinner would make me happy!! No. No, it won't. After the wedding, I no longer had a dress I needed to fit into. I have gained back all of the weight I lost, and then some. Honestly...this is the happiest I've been in several years with my weight. I feel healthy and, well, better.

Mia also got microchipped last weekend!
Look at both of those smiles!!!
At last, God has given me the power to love me for me. Lysa Terkeurst has a chapter in that book called "I Want What She Has". I always wanted to be like my friends in high school - so thin and beautiful. She mentions that bad things also come with the good. When I lost all of that weight, my neurocardiogenic syncope got really bad. I often felt lightheaded (almost every day) and passed out more frequently. That was the bad. I also still didn't like myself. My syncope is mostly triggered by stress and lack of food. I have to eat frequent meals to keep my blood flowing. This has slowly increased my weight over the last 9 months. However, I haven't had dizzy spells as often...and I haven't passed out since April (when I lost my job, but that's understandable).

I'm a size 12/14 and so happy. I love myself and my body. This is how God made me. No, I'm not going to stop exercising or eating fruits and veggies - I don't think I could give that up anyway! I'm just so thankful I have finally loved myself and stop looking at others for guidance and acceptance. God has told me several times lately that this is me. This is how I was made. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me! Self love is so beautiful...

Now for a job update! Exciting news...I finally got an offer this week! I have talked with all of the companies I was waiting to hear back from and I should know about those positions by the end of next week. I have it narrowed down to 3 companies. I am still waiting on an offer or rejection from 2 of them. I'm so incredibly thankful that the company who sent me an offer this week is okay with waiting to hear back from me next Friday! I'm very grateful that they are so understanding and know they want me to make the right decision for myself and my family.

So....about this time next week, I should be able to let you know what position I took and when I'll start (it's looking like sometime in mid-july for either position)! We still aren't sure where we will be living in July (emergency funds are empty and rent is due in a week and a half), but having a job in hand is very reassuring. Thank you God for your unfailing love.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's next for me?

My entire life, I have always known what is coming next.

After elementary school...there was middle school and high school. Then I would move away for college. After college it was time to get married and work on my Masters degree.

But what's next?

What comes after graduate school? Land an awesome job? Have kids? Build a house? Move far away and start out all over again? Change the world?

There have never been so many uncertainties for me. I've always had a plan, and went according to plan (even though it often veered far from it). It's frustrating for me, because I have always been a planner.

When planning our wedding, I wanted everything to be perfect. By the end of the day, almost nothing went according to plan and I basically threw my hands up and didn't even care anymore. It was the best day of my life, and I wasn't going to let "little" things ruin it for me.

Right now I'm at that point of throwing my hands up again. I've had 3 major bad things happen throughout the last few months: I lost my job, lost our house, and something else happened...which I'm not going to mention on social media. Instead of letting myself go with the flow and not care anymore....I'm asking God for guidance. He's been silent for the last few months, and it is so discouraging and frustrating. We skipped church for a few weeks because I couldn't stop crying in the morning before we left. I know Satan is trying to hard to pull me from God right now.

I saw my therapist again this week and she told me I have been taking everything extremely well, it seems. She asked me why I think I haven't been worse. Honestly? My faith has kept me hanging on. It's that tiny light at the end of a long dark tunnel that is giving me hope..

Friday, May 24, 2013

Well, it happened.

Earlier this week, we got the call saying they can't hold our house like they thought, and it will be on the market June 1.

We are heartbroken.

Today, I am going out to check out an apartment complex in Noblesville. I honestly never thought this is what we would be doing at the end of May. We were supposed to close on our house next week.

No job offers yet, which is also very frustrating. After what seems like dozens of interviews, I have a few companies that are still making decisions. Money is low, so I'm hoping I will get an offer sooner rather than later.

Short post today - don't really feel like talking about it. Seems like a nightmare I can't seem to wake up from.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Update: The House & Job Searching

This week, we got paperwork we needed to sign from the mortgage company. It stated that nothing has changed and if it has, and we lie about it, we can face up to 5 years in jail for mortgage fraud.


So, I contacted the mortgage company and told them about our current situation. The builder called us yesterday and said we can still keep the house, this will just delay closing. I need 30 days of paystubs (at a new job) before we can close. So...

Good news: We haven't lost the house, yet. Thank God.
Bad news: We have to stay in these apartments a bit longer..

I went to the apartment office yesterday and they said our apartment was still available to extend the lease because it hasn't been rented out yet (Thank God again!). Our rent is going to be $100 more expensive, but it's still better than moving back to Kokomo, then back to Noblesville again.


K-LOVE's encouraging word for today.
Job searching has been an endless task, it seems. I've had interview after interview, followed up with numerous people and have yet to hear back from several. No offers yet, but I have a feeling one is coming soon.

I interviewed at 2 places yesterday. One felt like a really, really good fit. The company is fantastic (with great benefits). I followed up and am waiting eagerly to hear back. I sent them over some additional portfolio pieces in hopes of winning them over.

Just trying to keep the faith has been hard. Satan is attacking us at every aspect of our lives, it seems. My God is greater. Sorry, Satan - I'm not going back to how I used to be. This depression and anxiety is awful, but I'm not letting it get worse like you want it to.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hunting, Applying, Calling, Emailing . . .

Well, it's been a month since I was let go.

I have had a few dozen phone interviews, and 2 in person interviews.

Sorry the blog has been quiet, I've literally been using up all of my time with packing, job searching, and cleaning. Still no update on the house (we stopped by last weekend and the cabinets and countertops were in!). Fingers are crossed that an offer, or something promising comes through this week.

We turned in our intent to vacate at the beginning of the month - we have to give them 30 days notice. It's scary not knowing for sure where we will be living in June, but I know God will provide.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. - Philippians 4:13

Monday, April 22, 2013

This Week's Update

I'm sorry for being MIA the last week. I haven't had much to talk about, really. Every day, probably 8+ hours a day, I have been working on my resume and searching for jobs. This weekend was full of church activities and my brother's track meet. I haven't had much time for a break.

We also are continuing on the house. Met with the builder, and we plan to close May 31. Drywall should be getting finished up this week...

Sometimes, looking for jobs can be mind numbing, so I take 4-5 breaks throughout the day to do something productive. Since we are moving at the end of May, I have been working on boxing things up. I have also been working on going through things to sell/give to Goodwill. I've acquired a lot of crap throughout the years, and I'd rather not move it...

I have an interview Wednesday afternoon with a place here in Noblesville. It sounds like it would be perfect, so if you could all keep me in your prayers - that would be wonderful. I had an interview set up in Muncie, but that fell through. Everything happens for a reason.

God is good.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Here We Go Again . .

Yesterday was my birthday.

I also lost my job yesterday.

There was a lot of panic and running around yesterday. I was trying to figure out what was going to happen since I would no longer be receiving paychecks. Since I am the breadwinner, it puts our whole family at risk. We also risk losing our house. I was let go because there wasn't enough work for me. It's not my fault - they just didn't have enough to keep me busy. I was happy we had about $1500+ in savings - so rent would be covered for at least a few months. Thank you, Dave Ramsey!

This morning, I woke up to find a low balance in our checking/savings account. Work took out $1400 because I was -80 something vacation hours. Ugh - thank you mandatory Christmas break. We had $300 left in our account.

Come to find out, when I was hired, I signed a paper saying when I left I would either be given the positive balance back, or have to pay the difference. This triggered a pretty bad panic attack, so I went and ran.

I ran 2.5 miles and spent about 40 minutes outside. It was nice - and really cleared my head.

After my shower, I stayed calm and tried to figure out where all of our extra money was. We had $2500 in our health savings account and are able to transfer that over to our checking account. Some of this needs to be used on prescriptions for this month as well as the crown for my tooth...but that's great! I also checked my wallet for birthday money - $340. We should be okay for rent for a few months..and also have enough to close on our house.

We aren't willing to give up our house just yet. We haven't signed the official mortgage agreement, and we haven't even locked in the interest rate yet. We aren't saying "no" to the house until we are absolutely sure it isn't affordable.

My old company is offering a week's pay..which is better than nothing. I also applied for unemployment, and hopefully that will be coming sooner rather than later.

Prayers would be much appreciated throughout the next few weeks.

Friday, April 5, 2013

House Progress & FPU Update

We haven't seen our house in about a week, so I'm sure it has even more done on it! We have walls!!! Well, sort of.

This is me, way too excited about our "walls".
Taken from inside the garage.
Here's the front.
Down the hallway.
Part of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Our front door! Sort of..
The front again.


Now for our Financial Peace University update - We bought life insurance (on top of what my employer provides)! Woo! It should not have taken us this long to get it, but we finally did and that's all that matters. Also, our last credit card is getting paid off this weekend! Woo!!!! We're well on our way to being debt free!

1) Credit Cards ($1,200)
2) Jon's Car Loan ($5,000)
3) Student Loans ($96,000)
4) Mortgage ($140,00)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Budgeting is hard.

No joke.

As most of you know, my I have been doing the envelope system since January (so 3 full months now). I cracked this week...sort of.

My birthday is next week, so apparently I think it is an excuse to eat out every day for lunch and spend money on new running shoes and clothes. I dug into savings this week and spend about $200 on running equipment. I'm giving it back when I get paid this weekend, but that's besides the point.

I haven't went clothes shopping since before Christmas, and it has been killing me. It was an addiction, and I never realized it. Since I have gained weight and half of my clothes *barely* fit, it's been even harder. I feel awful in everything I try on. I change outfits at least twice before heading out the door each morning. I feel ugly and just plain awful. I tried finding clothes at Goodwill, but...unusually, nothing fit me right and I hated everything I tried on. I think a part of it is me being SO frustrated with myself. I'm at my highest weight I've ever been. I can't believe a year ago, I was at my goal of 135 pounds. I wish I could just love myself for who I am...

I'm hoping running will help me lose the weight, and gain some self-worth back. I also signed up for a women's soccer league that starts up April 11.

Just like any lifestyle change, you will mess up. No one is perfect. I messed up this past week. I should have saved for a few months before going out to buy shoes and running clothes. We had the extra money in savings, so it's okay....but it's really not okay. Savings is for our emergency fund and house fund.

What do they always say? Practice makes perfect? I'm not too sure about that. I'll just keep praying and let God steer me in the right direction.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Cleaning Recipes Pt. 1

Here are a few recipes I have successfully made, and loved! I wouldn't share recipes with you before I tried them out for myself. Saving money for the same (if not better) quality is awesome!

Dishwasher Detergent

This was the first DIY recipe I have made. I was a bit skeptical at first, but after trying it out for a few weeks - I'm a believer!

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup food grade citric acid

Mix it all together and there you have it! Homemade dishwasher detergent! The ingredients above fit in an average mason jar (+ a little, which I just threw in an extra container).

Use 1-2 Tbsp. per load. Use white vinegar as a rinse aid.

I use 2 Tbsp. because I don't exactly clean my dishes completely off before tossing them in the dishwasher. It eliminates having to send some dishes through the cycle twice.

Warning: The citric acid WILL make your solution as hard as a rock. Tips? I left mine open on the counter for a few days and stirred every so often. I also threw it into the fridge. It still gets solid, but not too bad - it's easy to scrape apart. I also used my Ninja blender to break it apart the first time it went solid - an excellent solution. Some also leave the citric acid out until when they're putting it in the dishwasher (leaving it separate from the rest of the solution).

Laundry Detergent (Powder)

I found several recipes like this on Pinterest. Some add OXYclean, but I think this works fine (for our household anyway). This detergent is also safe for HE Machines.

3 cups Borax
2 cups baking soda
2 cups washing soda
1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap

Use a grater (or blender - I used my Ninja) to grate bar soap. Mix all contents together and pour into mason jars. Makes enough for 2 regular sized mason jars.

Use 2 Tbsp. per load.

Tip: This stuff gets in your nose if you aren't careful. I used my blender, which has a sealed lid. This helped with the powder and pouring it into the jars.

Some people use essential oils on a wash cloth to get fragrance. Honestly, I loved the smell of the Fels-Naptha that's what we're sticking with! ;)

Liquid Body/Hand Soap

I love liquid soap, but hated spending the price. I will admit, I bought a $20 bottle of Philosophy shower gel JUST because I loved the smell of it - yikes.

1/2 bar soap of choice (I used Yardley Oatmeal & Almond)
2 cups of water

Add grated soap with 2 cups of water into large pot. Turn the stove on medium heat, and stir until flakes disappear (the mix will look milky). Once flakes are gone, let pot cool for several hours. After 2 hours, check the thickness with a spoon to see if it is the right thickness for you - if not, add more water. When you add water, heat it up on medium heat and stir again. Let sit for several hours to cool.

This makes 24 oz. of body wash. I did not want to make a lot at first, because I wanted to make sure I liked it! ;) As always, you can adjust the measurements to fit your needs. I used 3 of these 8 oz. bottles to store my soap in. (Be sure to grab a funnel!)

Coming soon (once I try them): Laundry Fabric Softener, Sugar/Salt Scrub, cleaning chemicals, and more!