Why I Will Never Say "I'm Poor"

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 4 comments

There's just no way around it, you guys- adulting is hard. There's always something left on the to-do list, always a goal or two that has remained unreached, and always a bill to pay.

Ask any marriage counselor and I bet they'll tell you that finances are really tough on a marriage, and being financially secure is important for that reason (along with others of course).

And financial responsibility is, of course, important. We need to be good stewards of our money. I struggle in that area and want to improve. But sometimes, financial hardship can become an obsession, which causes a completely different problem.

Making Memories Versus Getting Rest

Monday, October 17, 2016 29 comments

Do you ever feel less rested when you've had more time to rest? I have a feeling there are a lot of head-nods and raised hands to that question. Let's face it- we are often just really terrible at resting. But sometimes, a lack of rest is totally worth it when it means you've been enjoying life. Sometimes, the bags under our eyes are actually smiling and jovially shouting "Hey, look at me! Sure, I look like crap. But I also had the best weekend everrrr"!

I'm assuming I'm not the only one who's eye-bags talk...oh, I am? Ooops! ;)

But seriously though. I believe in resting and making sure we take care of ourselves, but sometimes we need to be thankful for our exhaustion, because we know that the cause of it was well worth the side effects.

Today I am coming off of a four day weekend, but I feel like I haven't gotten any rest. Here are a few of the reasons I have bags under my eyes today:

1.) I was able to spend the day with my grandparents, mom, and brother on the farm on Thursday. We make it a habit to spend as much time together as possible when they are in town, so driving over was a must! And if you follow me on Instagram Stories, you know that my day also included lots of puppy love and piggie adventures. I am learning that life on the farm is never dull.
2.) On Friday, wonderful husband surprised me with a full day of birthday plans that included a bike ride (even though he hates riding bikes) and a trip to Build-A-Bear (yes, I am four years old- and I like it that way).
3.) We drove back to the farm for a delicious steak dinner that my mom made to celebrate my 26th birthday. It was so good. Amazing, actually.
4.) My brother came over for the weekend and we spent multiple hours out at the mall and in Charlotte (the mall always wears me out!). But we did get some amazing Korean fried chicken and home made donuts out of it!
5.) I was able to work on blog-related things for multiple hours despite a very busy weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't get any extra posts written, but I accomplished some other important tasks, so it was still a win.
making memories versus getting rest

I will probably be dragging for the next day or so, but when I look back and see all the blessings of my weekend, I know that my eye-bags and low energy are completely worth it.

I'd rather have amazing memories than a few extra, restful days.

Did you have a good weekend? Do you think that sometimes being tired is worth it?

Coffee Sips and Lovely Links: Birthday Edition

Friday, October 14, 2016 6 comments
coffee sips lovely links birthday

Happy Friday, friends! I can't tell you how excited I am about this day. If you read my latest post, then you know that I don't get as much time with the hubby as I'd like, so it makes my heart do a little pitter-patter that today I get to spend all day with him as we celebrate my 26th birthday. I don't know what we are going to be doing, but he says he has a plan :) Then, we will meet my parents, brother, and grandparents for dinner. It's going to be a good day!

And since it's the middle of October now (say WHATTTTT?!), Fall weather is actually, legitimately here for a lot of us. I hope you are making the most of this time. I am trying to. I have already marked two major items off of my Fall Bucket List: hosting a pumpkin party and going to a pumpkin patch. I am proud of myself for checking those off, and I want to keep at it. I hope you will too. Fall doesn't feel like it lasts very long, unfortunately, so we would be wise to carpe diem the heck out of this month!

So enjoy today. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back in your comfiest of chairs, and enjoy these links that I have picked for you!

Happy Birthday- Coffee sips and lovely links

First of all, don't forget about Pinterest Love Friday. If you are unfamiliar with this, it's a link-up I do on The Peculiar Treasure Facebook page. The link-up is simple, quick, and beneficial to all who participate. Come share a pin you'd like some love on or ask for followers. We'd love to have you!

Do you have a Barnabas? A Barnabas is someone who is constantly pointing you to and encouraging you in God. Julie of The Hallway Initiative explains this concept and offers some encouragement whether you have a friend like that or not.

I am so excited to share this Facebook post by Summer of Coffee with Summer. She has teamed up with Emergen-C to share their clean water campaign for Ethiopia. Seriously, check it out. A simple post on Instagram can help give clean water to the people of Ethiopia!

And finally, on a lighter note, earlier this week Rachel of The Confused Millennial shared a super-fun post about what she has learned from the Gilmore Girls. For anyone who is feeling excited about the show's return in November, you need to read this!

Seminary Wife Life: The Blessings and the Challenges

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 8 comments

When Taylor and I packed up and moved to Charlotte last year, we knew we were in for an adventure. We had never moved away together. We had never lived in a city, and we only knew a handful of people. We were excited for our first big adventure as a married couple, but also completely unsure of what to expect.

Our naive little selves had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We didn't know how bad the Charlotte traffic was (not really, anyway), we didn't know it would suddenly be harder than ever to make friends, and we didn't know it would take us months upon months to decide on a church.

We knew that we were entering uncharted territory, and we knew that it wouldn't be easy. We expected great things and hard things, and that's exactly what we've gotten.

Seminary Wife Life is hard stuff, you guys! It has more challenges than I anticipated, but it has also come with many blessings.

Challenge #1- We are learning a lot...

Seminary Wife Life comes with lots of lessons to learn.
Learning is hard, because learning means seeing our faults. Nuff' said.

Blessing #1- We are learning a lot!

I am learning to be more patient, kind, and helpful even when I want to be selfish. I am slowwwwwly learning to be more of the person that God has called me to be, even if it's taking a lot longer than I would like it to! Isn't it funny that one of our biggest challenges is also one of our greatest blessings?!

Challenge #2- "Being well-rested" is quite possibly a myth...

Seriously, what is it about this stage of life that turns me into a zombie? It doesn't matter if I get enough sleep, have a relaxed day at work, or anything else for that matter- I'm still exhausted all the time. And poor Taylor never gets a break. He has a better excuse than I do.

Blessing #2- We are Adulting more efficiently

Well, sometimes we are anyway. Adulting is hard and honestly we're not very good at it, but we are getting there. Being at least an hour away from both sets of families and having to rent a home, take care of our cars, and be responsible adults (HA!) has not been easy, but I feel like maybe me and Taylor are starting to see what we need to do to #adultsuccessfully. Baby-steps, my friends... baby steps.

Challenge #3 And speaking of Taylor, has anyone seen my husband?!

I knew I would see Taylor less. It comes with any sort of grad school situation. But good grief, Charlie Brown! Unless I stay up wayyyy past my bed time or go eat a hot dog multiple times a week at the restaurant Taylor works at, I barely see him. And we do our best to make it work. Taylor sometimes brings me lunch on his break or meets me for lunch. And me? I have never eaten so many flippin' hot dogs in my entire life. They are very good, but seriously, I'm so sick of hot dogs!

Blessing #3 We cherish our time together

Taylor and I know now that during this season, we are just going to see each other less. We have less time for dates, to hang out with friends, or to go on trips. So when we do have opportunities for such things, we usually take them. Sometimes our trips have to be solo. Taylor has gone back to the mountains without me a couple of times, and I've gone to the beach without him. It's not ideal, but we make it work. And when we have time together, I think we better-understand now that we need to cherish that time.

Honestly, there are more challenges than this, and there are more blessings. If you guys are interested, I could definitely do a second installment or something similar. If that's something you'd like to see, let me know in the comments.

God is teaching us so much. It can be obnoxious when we'd rather have a cushy life than be stretched and challenged, but God is faithful and it's a good thing He doesn't just do what we want Him to do, or base His plans, His will, or His timing on how we are feeling.

Be encouraged, wonderfuls! Things take time.

Do You Create Your Own Limitations? (Mug-spiration Monday)

Monday, October 10, 2016 20 comments
*This post was originally published in May of 2016 and has since been revamped*

I grew up loving basketball. My dad and I would watch every Duke game we could, along with quite a few WNBA games. I began taking basketball seriously in the 5th grade, and I would watch ESPN in the mornings, go out and shoot around in our driveway at lunch time, and watch WNBA in the afternoons. That's practically all I did the summer before my 6th grade year. I then went on to play basketball through middle and high school.

For most of my basketball career, I played at a small Christian school. I was one of the top scorers in my conference, and by the end of my 10th grade season, I had scored 1,000 points. I loved the game so much.

But in 11th grade, I transferred to public school. I loved the school itself and had a good circle of friends, but when it came to basketball, I was miserable. It's true that some of my experiences at the Christian school had not prepared me for the level of play at public school. But before I even gave myself a real chance, I had myself convinced that I could not play at that level. I was so anxious and nervous at practices and in games because of the perceptions I assumed people had of me.

I rarely made it off the bench. Some of that was just the coach. But some of it was because I had not shown my full potential at practices. And honestly, I was just as capable as many of those girls. Was I the best? No. I was definitely lower on the totem pole than I had been used to at my small private school. But I was still capable. I was still talented. But because I had psyched myself out and convinced myself I wasn't good enough, I limited what I was able to accomplish.

Michael Jordan once said, "Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just illusions"

Do you limit yourself by your own, faulty perception of things? Do you tell yourself that you cannot accomplish your goals? Do you give into your fear of failure and limit your full potential? Please stop.

Know that you are so very capable!

Chase Your Dreams

I'm not going to tell you that you can play in the NBA if you're not even 5 feet tall and have a limp. I'm not going to tell you that you can be the next Lady Gaga if you can't carry a tune. I am also not going to tell you that you can do it all! Part of what we accomplish is up to God's plan for our lives, but the majority of things, especially those that we are good at and passionate about, can be accomplished if we work hard and decide not to quit.

Do you want to be a full-time blogger like I do? Well then spend every moment of free time working towards that goal and improving. 

Do you want to be an artist, but your scared the money won't be good enough? Do what you love. If you can't make it financially at first, then do it part-time, until it becomes a more consistent revenue source.

Or maybe you want to work in the corporate world, but you are terrified they will eat you alive. Don't give in to that fear. Put on your big-girl panties and go take on the world! Chances are, if you give yourself the chance, you'll do amazing things!

Don't limit yourself like I did. I was capable, but I gave in.

A Little Perspective Goes a Long Way

I would like to add though, if there is something that you have "failed" at, don't look at it in such a negative light. Even though I wish I had given myself a chance to succeed, my decline in basketball was actually what God used to help me realize I didn't want to play ball in college. For years, that had been my dream, but because of my "failure", I realized that I was done with competitive sports, and that was actually an extremely positive thing for me.

So in areas where you don't do as well as you had hoped, don't lose perspective. Look at what good came from it, and how it may have actually benefited you.

Today is a new day, my friends. Make it count for something grand. Don't limit yourself, don't be afraid, and don't give up!

Want to stay encouraged throughout the week?

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Coffee Sips and Lovely Links (Vol. 4)

Friday, October 7, 2016 10 comments

Happy Friday, wonderfuls! Have you had a good week? I sure hope so. Have you been able to do any fun Fall activities? If so, good for you. Pinterest is chocked-full of all-things yummy, pumpkin-y, apple-y, and delish right now. I want to do #allofthethings and make the most of this weather, so the fact that Baby E and I were able to go feed the ducks at the park this week in the fantabulous weather made my heart very happy. And this weekend I am hosting a pumpkin party for the ladies at the seminary. I am so excited and so ready. *Sigh* I love Fall!

But no matter how much I love Fall and love the month of October, that doesn't mean that we suddenly get to be free from the trials and struggles of life.That fight we had with a family member is still there, that rude remark from a co-worker is still in the back of our minds, and our failures still follow us around waiting to tell us how awful we are.

Why You Should Not Stop Pursuing Others

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 11 comments

Have you ever tried so hard to reach out to someone, but they just won't let you get anywhere close? You want to be their for them, you want to show them kindness, and you just can't get them out of your mind, but every time you step towards them they take three steps back?

I've always been easily offended and self-conscious, so when someone acts like this towards me, I often feel as if I have offended them, annoyed them, or that they just don't like me. I start panicking, wandering what I did. I start thinking of ways to ask them if I did something wrong, or ways that I can make them like me more.

But the truth of the matter is, sometimes, a person keeping their distance has nothing to do with me. Most of the time, in fact, they aren't offended, they aren't annoyed- they just have something on their mind and they are feeling distant from the world.

Each person we come into contact with has secret struggles that we know nothing about. And whether those struggles are small or large, it affects the way a person functions. And because of this, people often remain trapped inside their own thoughts, feeling disconnected from the world, but needing a friend oh-so badly!

We all need friends, support, and encouragement, yet when we are so trapped inside our worries and fears that we can't see straight, we tend to push away the one's who seek us out and pursue us. But when we come out on the other side of those hard times we often realize just how grateful we are that people kept pursuing us, despite how difficult we were being during the process.

So I believe that we should keep that in mind when we pursue others.

Where would we be if our close friends gave up on us when we were in the midst of our darkest times? Where would we be if everyone just shrugged and brushed us off as a lost cause?

Read the Room

Now,  before I go any further, I have to say- sometimes people just won't like me and sometimes they won't like you. Sometimes I forget to bring my filter with me and I can say things that unknowingly hurt others (I'm working on it). I'm sure you've done the same at some point. So yeah, we definitely have to read the room, and if it genuinely seems like we are part of the problem, then we need to back off. But I believe that a lot of the time, people pull away when they need us most.

When that's the case, we need to be persistent. We need to show that person (in the least obnoxious way possible) that we are not going anywhere. We need to refuse to take their cold-shoulder personally, and realize that there is more to the situation than we can see. In these moments, we should not stop pursuing, even if it hurts us, confuses us, or frustrates us.

The bigger picture of being there for someone in need is far more important than someone reciprocating our efforts and friendship.