More abundantly

The words “more abundantly” came to mind today. I started looking into what it meant and went to the Bible first.

John 10:10 says “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The word abundant is defined as:

– existing in large quantities

– plentiful

– more than adequate

– richly supplied, as with resources

I was laying in bed, and I found myself staring at this prayer request board I have by my bathroom door. I can see it perfectly from my bed. I put it here so It was always in plain sight, and because I wanted to get intentional about my prayer life and record things so I could be tracking what was answered!

The prayer request I wrote around 7/11/2018 was “My relationship/courting/90 day friendship with Stephen Cherveny.”

But on 10/17/2016 I wrote “My future husband.”

It’s so crazy how much has changed in just one year, but even more so in almost 3 years! In the last 3 years I’ve changed churches, got a puppy, met the girl I didn’t know would become my sister in law and met my future husband. But in the last 12 months, I got a phone call from said future husband asking me on a date (so old school), got engaged, AND married.

If you EVER forget how good God is, look back at all the prayers he HAS answered. And ‘yes’ is not the only answer. God has answered SO many prayers over the years, especially when it came to dating, with ‘no’. I obviously had no idea what was in store for me, but God did, and he protected me from so much to get me to where I am.

And where I am is far “more abundant” that I absolutely ever imagined for myself.


How has God been using you lately?

I’m always amazed when my prayers get answered. Not that I didn’t think that could be because I absolutely know God answers prayers, but sometimes the answer comes so quickly!

Last night I was praying for a girlfriend I’ve had a falling out with. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but nevertheless I was praying over her, her family, her marriage, her heart, her career, etc.

After praying for her I switched to making it about God. My whole life. My business, my career, my family, my marriage. All of it is His and because of Him, and with that in mind I want Him to receive all of the honor and the glory.

Any money we every make is His.

Any recognition we ever receive is His.

I also asked that He use me. For the growth of His kingdom. To pursue His people. To make followers of Him.

Today I had the opportunity to meet a girlfriend at the dog park, and guess what topics naturally came into conversation? The Christian nonprofit I volunteer with that I learned about at church. The church where I attend now. How I met my husband.

ALL THINGS THAT BEGIN AND END WITH GOD.

I love how God answered this prayer immediately. You want to be used by God for God and not in a way that benefits you? Ask for that.


My pride bought me the car I wanted

The car I wanted in 2017 was not the car I could afford, but it was the one my pride said I needed. I’m learning that a few years later.

In May 2017 I had the privilege of getting to replace my vw turbo. How lucky of me. Right at 65,000 miles it needed to be replaced…apparently something normal for VW. Something I was NOT warned about at my 60,000 checkup.

The replacement cost me over $4,000. That’s after 4 brand new tires, a windshield and a 60,000 checkup in March. Needless to say, that first half was very very expensive.

So after getting the turbo replaced, I sold the car and upgrade to an Acura RDX & a lease. A car I really couldn’t afford, but a car that I knew was nice, that my friends and family would think was nice, and a car that honesty id been eyeing for years.

10 months later I was at Honda begging them to buy my Acura and put me in something cheaper. They happily did, and into another lease. See, I didn’t have any savings. I had a lot of debt, so there was no money for a down payment.

Now it’s June 2019. My husband is realizing that a lease is essentially a long rental and the HR-V that I got will not work in Colorado when we move in the future. Which means we’ll be selling the HR-V to get me into something different that can handle more than sprinkling rain. (LOL but seriously)

Looking back my pride was such a big issue. I could have gotten something way less nice for a payment I could afford without a lease but didn’t want to. So much learning has been happening, and will continue to do so. It’s neat watching God break me down to build me back up.

My advice. Look HARD before making a big purchase. Check your heart. Did you walk into Acura because you can really truly afford it and do want it, or because it’s something your friends will compliment? My reason was definitely not the first. Also look hard before deciding to sign a lease. You do not get to keep the car at the end. You make all the payments and then give it back. Renting an apartment sucks because you’re putting money into an investment for someone else, a lease works the same way.

Buy the car you can afford. Pay cash if possible. If you can’t pay cash, make sure you truly can afford the payments. Do a lot of research before signing a lease. Check for the best sales and haggle!! Even though you can’t at CarMax, you can everywhere else!!


Our year of sober living

Stephen and I decided while we were engaged to give up alcohol for a year after our honeymoon. We found that a lot of our social lives revolves around food and alcohol, and since we’re super strict budgeting for the next long while, we decided alcohol would be a good thing to give up as well.

On the last day of our honeymoon we were killing time, stting at a Mexican restaurant I decided on water and a coke instead of a margarita…I’m also giving up caffeine. I’m a terrible sleeper and we’re hoping that the removal of both uppers and downers from my diet changes that, but I digress.

We’ve been alcohol free for 7 weeks, and honestly it’s been WAY easier than I thought it would be. We’ve gotten some “you’re not going to last” comments from friends, but if the rest of the year is as easy as the last 7 weeks have been, we’ll make it 10 months and many more.

I’m sleeping better, my skin has cleared up, I’m not bloated or holding water like I was before, and waking up without a hangover has been amazing! I’m waking up at 8am on the weekends and spending my mornings productively before enjoying the rest of the day with my husband. I am loving the extra time I’m getting in my weekends!

Do you live a sober life? Have you noticed anything different in your life now than when you were drinking? I’ve noticed lots of things but will post about this in a few months.


DIY laundry detergent

When I started looking into homesteading and what it looks like for my family, DIY cleaning products, soaps, detergent was the first thing I started looking into.

My sweet husbands skin gets irritated by laundry detergent and I have ezcuma so anything to help improve both of our skin was the first change I wanted to make. Through research, I learned there are a ton of different recipes, different soaps to use, so you use borax or no? Essential oils? Unscented/scented?

This is what I ended up doing and it’s so simple.

– 1/3-1/2 cup dr. B Castile soap. I bought the baby one since that’ll be the most sensitive for our skin.

⁃ 1/2 cup white vinegar

I bought a 1/3 and 1/2 cup measuring spoon that stays in the laundry room for this stuff only.

That’s it. The recipe I found, on the Dr.Bronners website, suggests the vinegar at the beginning of the rinse cycle but my washing machine has a special compartment for liquid softener, so I just put the vinegar in there!

Ive always preferred liquid detergent which is why I didn’t look into anything that was powder/dry.

This mix hasn’t caused any issues with either of our skins and his skin has cleared up since we made the switch! Who would have thought something made for cleaning our clothes could cause our bodies so many problems?!

The best part is that Dr.Bronners soap can be used for all kinds of different things! For more ways to use it, check out their website!


Planning an eco-friendly wedding

I’m going to be honest with you, I did 90% of my own wedding planning myself. I didn’t hire a planner or a full coordinator because I had an idea in mind and new I could figure it out myself. But I did hire a day of coordinator to help with all the details that day like keeping us on schedule, dealing with the vendors, cleaning up, collecting gifts and cards to put in my car, etc.

One of the changes I’ve been working on as a soon to be new wife was how can our money go further, but how can we be more sustainable in the process, even when it comes to the wedding?

Dishes: Our appetizer and dinner plates were all eco-friendly, made from 100% Natural Sugarcane. How cool is that?? I had looked into renting beautiful dishes, but that would have cost us $2,500. Instead we found these simple, elegant dishes that would work perfectly, while also being cautious of the environment. You can order them here.

Napkins: We bought cloth napkins for our guests and donated them to our wedding coordinator for her to rent out to future clients, instead of just tossing them. Plus they looked really beautiful in burgundy with gold silverware tucked inside.

Dessert Bar: We did a dessert bar for the reception. Instead of hiring a fancy bakery, we used our local grocery stores bakery instead to cut on costs. For the set up, we reused all of the items my mom had created for the bridal shower. She’d made these beautiful 2 tier serving platters from plates and candle sticks she bought at the Dollar Store and had other plates and trays that we took advantage of as well.

Guest book: We wanted a guest book that would be useful, rather than something that would hang on the wall. We ended up ordering a giant custom Jenga set for people to leave a note on, so they could help us build our love. ♥️ it’ll be great to have for tailgates, backyard bbqs or just hanging out with our kids in the future. Plus, every time we use it we’ll be reminded of all the love from friends and family!

For my bridal shower, my mom also purchased us a beautiful Bible with our names on the cover. She has guests highlight their favorite verse and sign their name. We used that as a guest book as well so we can look back on those scriptures!

Decor: Our ceremony decor consisted of on a cream chandelier that we rented from the venue. I wanted super simple. Nothing to take away or distract our guests, but also to highlight to beautiful backdrop. We got married under a massive and stunning oak tree and I felt she was a star of the decor. Nothing additional or unnecessary fluff was going to make her any more beautiful.

Our reception was SUPER simple. We rented farmhouse tables from our venue, which thankfully don’t need much decoration since they’re beautiful on their own! I took the labels off of 40+ wine bottles that we’d saved or collected from my parents and friends to use on the tables. My mom added glitter to about half and our florist filled them all with flowers. We added gold candle votives as well for a change of dimension and a little romantic lighting. I was able to rent the majority of those from our florist and then purchased an additional 25 + the tea lights on amazon. We let all of the guests take home the wine bottles with flowers so they could continue to enjoy them at home and hopefully reuse the bottles!!

How did you incorporate being conscious and eco-friendly into your wedding?


How we will save $1,200/year by making ONE change.

I’ve had gel or dipped nails for over 5 years now. and now that were getting super strict about our budget, I’ve decided that my manicure needs to go as well.
 
 
If you asked me 6 months ago if id ever volunteer to give up my manicure, i’d say absolutely not. Actually, Stephen and I had a long discussion about this one night and I had put my foot down that our budget WOULD allow the room for me to get my nails done every other week.
 
 
I’ve lived INCREDIBLY comfortable while being broke, trying to keep up with what I felt was the demands of the world only to find out it was really just the devil’s influence.
 
 
Stephen has been incredible about calling my debt OUR debt, and that we’ll tackle it together. My debt is causing him to give up a lot, and i’ve decided this is one thing I can do to show him how serious I am, but also how much I appreciate the sacrifices that he’s making.
 
To give you an idea of how I got to a debt number of $40,000+:
 
I went to Ireland, Cabo and Jamaica all on a credit card.
I bought a new laptop I really didn’t need.
I furnished my new home – living room, dinning room and master bedroom.
I purchased appliances for my new home – Refrigerator, Washer and Dryer.
I spent thousands of dollars on Lululemon to stay with what was trendy and popular…like the rest of the world.
I bought a Peloton bike I didn’t need…which has now been sold to pay down debt.
 
Honestly, those are only the things I can quickly think of.
 
Some things on my card I couldn’t avoid. I had a bad crack on my windshield that had to get replaced…$500 repair. My turbo in my VW needed to be replaced…that was $3,000. I didn’t have the cash this year to pay my taxes, so I put another $1,000 on my credit card.
 
But now, as a penalty, not a punishment because its the right, adult decision to make, i’m choosing to give up my manicures. Right now i’m spending $53 every other week…That’s $106 a month, for 5 years, which equals out to over $6,000 I’ve spent on manicures…and that’s just manicures. With that realization, I’ve decided I’m enjoying my last manicure right now.
Because I know my nails are going to be a disaster, I did some research on how to repair and strengthen my nails! These’s are the products I purchased:
 
  • Butter London Horse Power Nail Rescue Basecoat – The reviews on this product are really good and lots are from women who had gel nails and were trying to repair as well!
  • Hard As Hoof Nail Strengthening Cream – I LOVE to buy products that are listed as #1 Best Sellers on Amazon, and this product is one of those. With over 1,300 reviews, i’m hopeful that the results are as wonderful as the reviews make it seem! The description says that it prevents splits, peels, chips and cracks even in the most severe case. I haven’t seen what’s under my SNS dip polish yet, but i’m assuming i’m one of the severe cases.
  • Revlon CrazyShine Nail Buffer– Everything that i’ve read has said that besides keeping your nails trimmed and short, you also need to keep them buffed, so I bought this buffer to help keep them smooth and shiny.
  • Ella+Mila Soy Nail Polish Remover  – This is a soy based, acetone nail polish remover that contains lavender essential oils and Vitamins A, C, E oil. These ingredients promote healthy and moisturizing nails without drying out your skin or damaging your nails or cuticles.
  • Ella + Mila Love Collection – Stuck on You polish – I know that it’ll be tough for me to not have any color on my nails, so I decided to get a pale pink to enjoy a few weeks after having naked nails. What I really like about the Ella + Mila brand is that they are vegan and animal cruelty free, while also not containing 7 common chemical: Formaldehyde, Toluene, DiButyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) and Xylene.
 
 
I have another week and a half or so to enjoy this mani, so i’ll keep you posted on how the healing goes after the removal!