Enduring All Things: October 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! {+ Ad Sale + Giveaway}

You guys! It's finally here! My favorite holiday! Unfortunately, now that I'm grown up, the actual day isn't as magical as it used to be. I don't go trick-or-treating anymore and we don't get trick-or-treaters at our apartment complex. But I just enjoy all the festivities in the whole month of October. There are always Halloween parties, haunted houses, and plenty of scary movies to watch! Today I'm at my Alma Mater for homecoming so I don't imagine I'll do anything particularly Halloween-ish today, but I'm certainly in the spirit with my nails and t-shirt.
Last weekend, Pearson and I watched Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown and Halloweentown 2. We decorated pumpkins and put Pip in a costume for pictures. Have I mentioned that I love Halloween?
Anyway, I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Halloween! Be safe if you're doing anything to celebrate. Actually be safe no matter what you're doing today. I can't wait to see (more) cute costume pictures all over the web after today!

Are you doing anything fun tonight?
Thanks for reading!

P.S. Today is the LAST DAY to get my ad spots for 31% off using code HALLOWEENSALE.

P.P.S. I've joined some lovely ladies for a giveaway of some Jamberry Nails!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday Party - October

Today for the #ThankfulThursdayParty this month, I am thankful for Harding University! It's no secret that I love my Alma Mater. I've talked fondly of Harding here, here and especially here! Every word I've said is true. I loved Harding and loved my time there.
I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to attend Harding. I'm thankful for the time I spent there, the friends I met and still keep in touch with, the teachers who cared about my grades as well as my well-being, the mentors who were always there when I needed guidance, the focus on Faith, the "at home" feeling I always got when I walked on campus and so much more. I am thankful for it all.

Pearson and I are on our way to Searcy, Arkansas right now. We are heading to Harding for homecoming and I couldn't be more excited to see people and just walk on campus again.

What are you thankful for this month? Be sure to link up below!

*I am currently looking for one or two co-host for this linkup. Rachel has (understandably) closed down her blog for privacy reasons and I would love to continue the Thankful Thursday Party linkup. If you're interested in co-hosting, email me at charlenemarie11@gmail.com
We have so much to be thankful for and a lot of us take that for granted. Lets change that! Introducing the #ThankfulThursdayParty linkup with Charlene @ From Bisons to Buckeyes! We will be writing about what we are thankful for and linking  up on the last Thursday of every month. We would love to have you and can't wait to see what you're thankful for in your life!
Charlene: Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
Linkup Rules:
  1. Link up your Thankful Thursday Party post NOT your blog URL
  2. Use the hashtag #ThankfulThursdayParty when you share on social media
  3. Grab the button and display it on your blog so others can join the party


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How to Fight Fair in Marriage

Hello lovely readers! I am packing and getting ready for a 12 hour drive to Harding tomorrow for homecoming so I am very glad that Cait from My Life As A Long has agreed to take over for me today! I know she's got some great tips for you guys so I'm gonna let her take the reigns...
Hey I'm Cait! I blog over at My Life As A Long. Huge thanks to Charlene for letting me take over today. 

If I am being completely honest, and I am, marriage is fun basically all of the time. At least it is for me and C. But there are those few times where a fight emerges and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Maybe it is that C has moon walked out of his socks too many times or maybe I dropped my bags in the hallway again. Either way, we sometimes just have one of those days where we fight. It is always the same with us, it starts small, like with the socks, then just grows until one of us is just over it. So today I am sharing a few tips on how we fight fair. 

1. Don't bring up the past. As tempting as it is to throw something that happened in your spouses face when you are mad, it shouldn't be done. If you are constantly reminding your spouse of their past mistake, it can make them feel as if you can't forgive. 

2. No name calling. Remember you can't take words you say back. If you are constantly calling your spouse an idiot while fighting, soon they may begin to believe it. After all, you are supposed to be their best friend, the one always on their side. Stay away from name calling. 

3. Don't raise your voice too much. I get that raising your voice, yelling even, happens. I understand completely. However, when you raise your voice, you change the entire tone of the fight. It causes the mood to escalate which can end up causing people to get defensive. This can ultimately cause a simple fight to turn into something that was blown way out of proportion.

4. Don't get defensive. When you get defensive, you put up a barrier between you and your spouse. From time to time we all get defensive, especially if we feel like our character is being attacked. If you put up too many barriers in your marriage, it doesn't end well. Do what you can to keep your cool and stay as calm as possible to stop yourself from putting up a defense barrier. 

5. Take breaks. If you realize you and your spouse are getting no where with your fight, step up and suggest you take a few minutes to cool off, then you can talk again. Usually tension is so high during a fight that a short break may be the only thing it takes to resolve the whole issue. 

6. Don't fight to win. This has been the hardest thing for me to learn, but someone explained it to me that made so much sense. If you win, then your spouse loses, which means you both ultimately lose. Marriage is not a competition, it is a partnership. You don't want to see your partner lose right?

7. Say your are sorry. After fights, feelings are usually still hurt, at least a little. An apology goes a long way. 

8. Never fight tired./Go to be angry, sometimes. Tons of people told us to never go to be angry, but we have learned that when when we fight when we are tired, we do more damage than good. So while you should avoid fighting tired as much as humanly possible, I get that it happens from time to time. So when it does happen, don't be afraid to go to be angry. Like I said above, taking a break from the fight can help, and sleeping on the argument can allow both of you to clear your head. Just be sure to tell your spouse that you love them before you go to sleep. We have a rule in our house. "No matter how mad or tired you are, always say you love me and kiss me goodnight." When C and I go to bed angry, I know that I have at least shown affection to him before bed, and I know that he knows I love him. And it works the other way around as well. 

Do you have any fighting fair tips? 

Thanks again to Charlene for letting me stop by today! Be sure to stop by and say hey! 
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blogger Men Tell All {Volume 2}

Alright guys! It's time for another Blogger Men Tell All post. I really like getting Pearson involved in the blog so I always enjoy these. Also, don't tell him I told you, but I know he really enjoys answering the questions too! So lets get to the questions, shall we? [as always, anything in bold is stuff I said]
  1. Is Halloween your favorite holiday? If not, what is? No. Christmas. Do you want me to elaborate? Yes, why? Well, it used to be because I got presents but now it's because I get time off school and work and it's the end of the year and you can look back and reflect. And everyone's in a pretty good mood. And seeing family is good too.
  2. What will you be dressing up as for Halloween this year? Nothing. Wait, are we dressing up? No because we'll be at Harding. Oh yeah, Harding! (We are going to Harding University for Homecoming this weekend)
  3. What is your go-to drink? Vernors Ginger Ale
  4. What is your favorite scary movie? *long pause* Cabin in the Woods *laughs* 
  5. What is your best Halloween memory? Scaring children while handing out candy dressed as the grim reaper.
Becoming Adorrable
So what do you guys think? Did he have some good answers?
Oh and be sure to check out my blogger men post from last month in case you missed it!
Thanks for reading!
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Inspiration of the Month - Changing How Women See Themselves

I know a lot of bloggers have talked about this, but I wanna take a little time today to share my observations on how women are portrayed in media, how it affects us, and how I believe it's changing. (And yes, that is a selfie taken in poor light with no filter. I don't have makeup on, I don't have contacts in, and I did nothing with my hair after I showered. It took a lot for me to post that but I thought if I'm gonna post about inspirational things people are doing to change our views on beauty, I should at least be able to post that picture.)

We all know that all forms of media skew women's (and men's) views of themselves. We're told everywhere we look that we need to buy new things and work on ourselves in order to be good enough and to be accepted. There are certain, unattainable standards seeping into our subconscious minds from everywhere! It's not just TV and magazines either. I'm talking about just simply walking around a store or down the street. I'm talking about social media. I'm talking about fashion shopping websites. And I'm talking about almost every conversation we have with our peers. It's everywhere.

But you know what, we're recognizing this disease. We're recognizing it pretty late in the game, but we're still recognizing it. And some people are doing what they can to stop it.

I've been so inspired lately by what some of these people are doing to stop this terrible problem. Did you know that Aerie released an ad campaign last spring in which they refused to air brush and touch up their models? These women are beautiful just the way they are! No Photoshop needed. And Aerie sure is making a statement with this stance. The amount of Photoshoping that goes on behind the scenes on every picture we ever see is absolutely absurd and it's refreshing and inspiring to know that at least one company out there has had enough.
Songs about women in media
Also, there are some wonderful songs out there right now that confront this issue. Of course we all know "All About that Bass" by Megan Trainor! Megan reveals to the world that we are beautiful. Every inch is perfect. She calls out magazines using Photoshop and "stick-figure, silicone Barbie dolls." It's a fun song we can all relate to. Listen here.

And then there's "Try" by Colbie Caillat. Colbie's song comes at the issue from a different angle. It's a slow, passionate song. Colbie talks to girls telling them not to do things just "so they like you" and she takes off her makeup in the video. She says w"Why do you care what they think? All that matters is that you like you!" Amen, Colbie! (Except I would add that we should be dressing to impress and glorify God as well as ourselves, but certainly not to impress our peers.) Listen here.
Source: blogilates.com

Cassie Ho from the ever famous Blogilates website recently called Target out on a Photoshop incident. Side note: I LOVE blogilates! Free awesome workouts and clean recipes and all the wonderful positive motivation for getting fit and healthy (not necessarily "skinny") that you could ever want. Anyway, Cassie's sentiments were shared across the internet. Jezebel.com also wrote an article about this issue. And of course, Ellen had the model on her show! Target found out and took down the offending picture. I'm positive Target still uses Photoshop, but at least Cassie was noticed, right?

You see, we can make a difference. Granted, all of these people may have a little easier time getting noticed than you or I would just because they are famous or well known, but we can make a difference. Even if the only person you ever affect is yourself. Stop seeing yourself as imperfect! Stop comparing yourself to these fake and unattainable standards. God made you beautiful just the way your are. It's hard to remember that in our society, trust me, I know! But you have to work hard every day to remind yourself of that because you are so worth it!
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to Host Your Parents for a Weekend

So my parents came to visit this weekend for the 3 year in a row. It's sorta become a tradition. They always come for a weekend on October to see the beautiful leaves and see us. Anyway, the last two years I was really prepared and had meals and fun stuff to do planned for the whole time. This year, not so much. So I give you 15 tips for how to host your out-of-town parents for the weekend.
  1. Go to Universal the weekend before and get really tired so you don't wanna do anything to get ready for your parents' arrival.
  2. Only seriously clean your shower once per year right before they come.
  3. Start cleaning your apartment the day before they come.
  4. Take off 2 days of work to sit around and do practically nothing with your parents just because you can.
  5. Don't plan meals or anything and just wing it the whole time.
  6. Send your hubby and/or your dad to the store a couple times per day to get things you forgot you don't have.
  7. Don't plan much to do while they're here. In fact, you could buy some tickets to the Ohio State game the day before they get here. There's one day planned.
  8. Oh, and of course you've gotta watch Dancing With the Stars. That's one night planned.
  9. Stay up late every night for no reason. Just talking, playing cards, and watching movies. Then sleep in through late morning and then nap on the couch all afternoon.
  10. Go to Lynd's Fruit Farm on a Monday when "U-Pick" is closed (we couldn't pick our own apples) and the market is out of all the good stuff after selling it all over the weekend and hasn't gotten new stock in.
  11. Watch Oh Brother Where Art Thou because your dad found out your husband has never seen it and that's just absurd.
  12. Have your dad 'teach' you and your husband the card game, Rook because that's what your parents do for fun and it's more interaction than watching another movie.
  13. Let your dad drive everywhere. Hey, he would rather be the one driving and you can certainly save on gas!
  14. Take no pictures for the blog because you're too busy living life. (My mom took the above one at Lynd's and I took a couple of Pip but that's it.)
  15. Enjoy every minute with your parents! I sometimes forget how much I really miss them with my busy life. But when they're around things just seem right, you know?
What do you do when your out-of-town parents come to visit?
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Letters to the World {October 2014}

Well it's that time again. Time for me to write some open letters to the world. I had a lot of fun writing these this month so lets just get to it!
Dear Husband,
I know we've talked about going to Universal (and Disney) for our 5th wedding anniversary, but I don't know if I can wait that long. Can't we go now?? Harry Potter World is calling my name and I can't stay away much longer!

Dear Mom and Dad, 
This weekend has been so relaxing and refreshing! I really miss you guys and I really like showing off our home to you. I am so glad we've made a tradition of you coming to visit every October. Can we keep it going? I look forward to it every year!
Dear Pip,
Please stop shedding so much! I don't get it. It starts getting colder so you start getting rid of your fur? It doesn't make sense.

Dear Harding,
Are you ready for us? We're coming for Homecoming next weekend and I'm just not sure you're really ready. Are you? I suppose we'll see.
Dear Sadie Robertson,
I have so much respect for you. You have stayed true to your morals on Dancing With the Stars (especially this week). You've not caved to the pressure to be something you're not and something that God doesn't want you to be. And you've shown everybody that you don't have to be someone that God doesn't want you to be to rock the dance floor! You go girl!

Dear Netflix,
Why on Earth would you take 19 Kids and Counting down? Rude! I was on season 5! I love the Duggars and I want to watch them! Not to mention that show was one of the few great family shows that everyone in the family could truly enjoy. And it was 10 seasons long! A ton of people were probably in the middle of watching it. I can think of a LOT of other shows you could have taken down if you needed to take something.
Dear Marauder's Map T-Shirt,
You are amazing! I've always loved the Marauder's map. Maybe it's the creepy stalker in me, but I thought it was cool that you can see the footprints of people in the castle. And those footprints (along with the rest of the words) show up in sunlight! How cool is that? Also, you are one of the softest shirts I own. I am so glad I decided to get you at Harry Potter World at the very last minute even though I had already bought another t-shirt. (The picture above does not do justice)

Who would you write to this month?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Favorite Fall Recipes

Hey lovely readers! I'm busy with my parents here for a long weekend so I've asked the wonderful Amanda from Notes From a Newlywed to take over the blog for me today. She's got a great list of yummy recipes I know you'll all enjoy! Take it away, Amanda!
The leaves have changed, temperatures have dipped and boots and scarves have been brought out. Ahh, it’s fall! Now, I know that my girl Charlene looves this season, and while I’m less enthusiastic about the chilly weather, I do love me some warm meals. No doubt fall has the best recipes. I mean, some fall dishes just warm your soul.

To ring in this season, I compiled some of my own personal favorite recipes for fall.

favorite fall recipes

My Fave Fall Recipes

Main Dishes

Crockpot Salsa Chicken: This is hands-down the easiest recipe on Earth, and is in frequent rotation in our house. Just place chicken submerged in salsa in the crockpot for a few hours and boom: meal done. Find my recipe here.

crockpot salsa chicken

Chili with Quinoa: Chili is hearty and oh so versatile. I like to put quinoa in mine for some extra oomph. Find my recipe here.

chili with quinoa

Potato Corn Chowder: This is my personal favorite soup. It’s hearty and creamy and great fresh or as leftovers. I make a giant pot and freeze any extra. Recipe here.

potato corn chowder

Beer Cheese and Brat Soup: This is my husband’s favorite probably due to the beer and brat ingredients. I love the creamy, cheesiness of it too though. Recipe here.

beer cheese brat soup

Shepherd’s Pie: Especially cute mini ones, like this recipe on Carly Blogs Here.

Casseroles: I love that you can throw almost anything you have laying around and bake it into a casserole. Meat, veggies and/or pasta with some cream of whatever soup or alfredo/tomato sauce. Always a winner.

chicken broccoli rice casserole
Chicken, broccoli cheese casserole. Recipe here.

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cake: I made this for a co-worker’s birthday and it was a big hit! And yes, it does taste as good as it looks. Recipe here (I used half the amount of oats).

salted caramel pumpkin cake

Warm Apple Crumble: I love warm fruits, and a good ol’ apple cobbler or crumble always hits the spot. It’s as easy as baking layered apples, oats, butter and brown sugar.

Pumpkin Cheesecake: Every single Thanksgiving, I make Paula Deen’s pumpkin cheesecake. It’s really simple and yummy, especially if you use a pre-made graham cracker crust.

Warm muffins and butter, like this Whole Wheat Pear Muffin recipe I recently made:

pear muffins with butter


Crockpot Apple Cider: I also love this at Thanksgiving dinner. Buy store-bought cider, put in a crockpot on warm, add some cinnamon sticks and an orange peel, and yum! Splash in some booze for adult treat.

Homemade PSLs: Is this not the signature drink of the season? Since I learned how bad-for-you the Starbucks version is, I’ve had my eye out for DIY, healthier versions, and a quick search on Pinterest will give you tons of recipes.
What’s your fave fall indulgence?
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Costumes of the Past

Ah Halloween. My favorite Holiday is just around the corner! I love Halloween so much because I love dressing up and being something I'm not. I love exercising creativity with my costumes. Almost every costume I remember wearing was homemade by my mom. Then later, I 'made' my own costumes for Halloween and other occasions. I'm not as crafty as my mom, so I didn't really make the costumes like she did, but I put them together. Here are just a few of the best. Or at least the ones I could find pictures of.
Minni Mouse
My brother and I were dalmatians.
A football player.
An Egyptian.
Harry and Ginny.
Bellatrix and Voldemort.
Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory.
What were some of your favorite costumes? Did you/your mom make them or did you buy them?
Thanks for reading!


Hey guys! I'd like you to meet Susannah from Simple Moments Stick!
Blog // Twitter // Pinterest // Facebook // Bloglovin // Instagram
I've been blog-friends with Susannah for a long time. I really admire her Faith and how she shares that on the blog. She has a heart for people and service. I love to join her weekly "Faith and Fellowship" blog hops! She's also doing a Halloween Costume series right now where she's collecting costume ideas from around the blog-o-sphere! (Pearson and I are featured as Shamy here). You may remember she wrote a wonderful guest post for me at the beginning of this week with tips to make your marriage great!

Here's what Susannah has to say to introduce herself and her blog...
I'm Susannah and I blog at Simple Moments Stick.  I live with my handsome hubby in Portland, Oregon.  (Do you live nearby?  I'd LOVE to meet you IRL!)  Nate and I have been married about three years and are expecting our first little one (a son named Caleb) in the next few weeks...  Life is good!  Currently Nate’s attending seminary here in Portland studying to be a pastor.  I’m a future pastor’s wife and I love it!  Simple Moments Stick is a place where I share all aspects of my life.  One day you I might talk about my family (I have ELEVEN brothers and sisters!), another day I might talk about my faith, and a third day I might flaunt how awesome my husband is.  (Although, he thinks that should be ALL I blog about)  My heart behind my blog is to connect with other women around the country (and world!) to love on and encourage one another.  Come on over and visit!  Make sure you leave a comment so I know you stopped by and I'd LOVE to become your friend!!!
 I asked Susannah a few questions...
  1. What is your favorite thing about Fall? I love the crisp air fall air and the beauty of the changing leaves. I love how the change in the weather prompts us to put on cute boots and scarves and drink our favorite warm beverages.
  2. What is your cure for Blogger’s Block? When I get bloggers block I get really introspective. I think about what's been bugging me recently, what I've been loving, or what other bloggers have written that I have something to add. From there I just start typing and typically I love the post I come up with.
  3. What songs would be included in the sound track to your life? Goodness, this is so hard! I want to say all country songs but I'm really not a country girl... Maybe that's just how I wish my life were...
Go show Susannah some love and be sure to check out these great posts while you're there!
P.S. All my ad spots are 31% off right now until October 31st! If you liked this spotlight, checkout the options on my sponsor page and use promo code: HALLOWEENSALE at checkout!
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lessons from Carrie Underwood's New Single

So Carrie Underwood recently released a new single, Something in the Water. Can I just say I love this song!
He said, "I've been where you've been before.
Down every hallway's a slamming door."
No way out, no one to come and save me
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me

Then somebody said what I'm saying to you
Opened my eyes and told me the truth."
They said, "Just a little faith, it'll all get better."
So I followed that preacher man down to the river

And now I'm changed 
And now I'm stronger

There must've been something in the water
Oh, there must've been something in the water

Well, I heard what he said and I went on my way
Didn't think about it for a couple of days
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hope and all out of fight

Couldn't fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, "God, if you're there come and rescue me."
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood 

And now I'm changed
And now I'm stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I'm singing along to amazing grace
Can't nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live everyday, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed

I am changed
And now I'm stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

Oh, yeah I am changed
These lyrics really made me think about my own life and experience when I was saved in the waters of baptism. Carrie says there must be something in the water. Of course, we know salvation has nothing to do with the actual water, but I think she's just using this as a play on the phrase.

But there is so much truth in those lyrics. She says she is changed and she's stronger. That's right. When we come up out of the waters, we are made new. A new person. A new Christian. That doesn't mean we are perfect, but it means we are saved. We are on the track to Heaven. We are His and nobody can take that away from us.

We are stronger and free by the grace of God after we've chosen to obey and be baptized in His name for the remission of our sins!

When we are down and at our worst, God comes and rescues us with His love and grace. We should feel joy. We shouldn't be able to wipe the smile off our face. We should be singing along to Amazing Grace!

And last but not least, once we've been changed, do we have this attitude to "look ahead, no turning back. Live everyday, give it all that I have. Trust in someone bigger than me." That's the most important part. What we do with the rest of our lives after we're saved in the waters of baptism. What do we do after the initial shock, excitement, and newness wears off? Do we stay changed or do we eventually go back to life as it was before we were saved? It's certainly something to think about.

And to think, all this reflecting came from a 'secular' country artist!!! I love Carrie Underwood. Oh, and congrats to her and Mike on their soon-to-be new addition to the family!

Have you heard this song? What do you think? Did it make you reflect on your own salvation and life as much as I did?
Thanks for reading!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If We Were Having Butterbeer- I mean Coffee

Well, I'm back to real life today. Work and house cleaning and other boring things we Muggles do. Like drinking coffee with friends instead of butterbeer. Won't you come have some coffee with me and let me tell you about my fantastic weekend!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you my crazy story of the airport(s) on Friday trying to get to Orlando. I was flying standby because my awesome grandpa is a retired Delta pilot and lets me use his "buddy passes" to fly standby for cheap. The problem was, apparently everybody and their mother, grandma, and second cousin twice removed were going to Orlando that day. All flights were overbooked and there were 15+ people on the standby list. And all major airports in the country were having this problem. So I ended up buying a first class ticket on the last flight to Orlando because that was the only seat available to purchase and I did NOT want to spend the night in the airport, fly out the next morning, and miss half a day of Universal time!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you that all the trouble I had on Friday was so worth it! Harry Potter World was everything I had ever dreamed of. Meghan and I felt like we were home and we did not want to leave!

If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd try to describe to you just how amazing and exciting it was to walk up through the entire park to the back and to finally see that beautiful castle peaking out over the trees.
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you how amazing the butterbeer was and how I wish we were having some now. Meghan wasn't a huge fan, but I gulped mine down. It was amazing!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you we went on the Forbidden Journey ride 3 times and every time I closed my eyes through the entire spider part! You walk through the beautiful castle where they've not left out a single detail. You pass portraits of the 4 founders who are bickering about Muggles being in the castle and placing bets on who's gonna win today's Quidditch match. Dumbledore talks to you about the lecture about Hogwarts: a History that you'll be sitting in on and Harry, Ron, and Hermione come to rescue you from the lecture and take you to the Quidditch match instead. But there are a few obstacles along the way. It was absolutely amazing!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I would tell you all about The Escape from Gringotts ride and how all the details inside Gringotts were perfect again. I would also tell you that we tried to ride it on the first day but the wait was 90 minutes long. So we decided to do it first thing in the morning on the second day but it was closed down! We went back around 10 and it was still closed down. We went back around 1 PM and it was finally open. 3rd time's a charm I guess. The wait said 105 minutes but we were determined to ride and we had already done everything else we really wanted to do so we waited. It ended up only being a little over an hour and it was so worth it!!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I would tell you I bought 3 wands. Only one (Bellatrix's) was for myself, of course. The other two were for Pearson and my brother. I bought 2 t-shirts for myself because I couldn't decide between them. One has Bellatrix's Azkaban poster on it and the other has the Marauder's Map with footprints that only show up in sunlight.
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell we didn't spend all our time at Harry Potter World. We went on several other rides. The Hulk, Spiderman, Shrek, Transformers, E.T., Twister, M.I.B. and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit were all pretty awesome! And the lines were a lot shorter than the Harry Potter lines.

If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you I had more trouble again flying home standby. I didn't have to buy another ticket, but I did have to fly into Cincinnati instead of Columbus and poor Pearson had to drive what should have been 2 hours each way to pick me up. We came across a wreck, lots of construction, and detours. We didn't get home till after 1 AM. He really is the greatest!
If we were having Butterbeer coffee... I'd tell you that I did not want to come home and if any of you go to Harry Potter World and want a companion, call me! I will go at any time! Even tomorrow! (Ok I might need a little more notice than that). It was awesome!

Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What did you think? Did you love it as much as I did?
Thanks for reading!
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Keeping Your Marriage Strong, Healthy, and Loving

Hey y'all. Today I'm heading home from a very busy and fun-filled weekend at Universal Orland... Wait, let's be real, I was mostly just there for Harry Potter World! Anyway, Susannah has been so gracious to take over for me today and I am so excited for what she has in store for you guys! So without further adieu, take it away, Susannah!
Hi wonderful From Bison to Buckeyes readers!  I'm so excited that Charlene is having me to guest post for her today.  My name is Susannah and I blog at Simple Moments Stick about everything from babies to my faith and from outfits to food.  Of course, my favorite thing to blog about is my handsome hubby!  I love making blogging friends so stop by my blog and start up a conversation!

I love reading about Charlene and her husband.  It's great to read about another couple committing their marriage to the Lord!  Even when the Lord is the center of a marriage, it can be really difficult sometimes to make time for each other when life gets in the way.

My husband, Nate, and I have been married for three years.  Those years have been wonderful years of growing and learning more about each other daily.  I see so many marriages fall apart - even after just a year or two - so I wanted to share with you all some of the ways we've found keeps our marriage strong, healthy, and loving!

PS.  All these tips are great for dating couples, family relationships, and friendships too...  Maybe ignore #5 though.  ;-)

1.  Make Time to Communicate:  I can't stress this one nearly enough!  In a world where we're all so busy and have all sorts of distractions it's so easy to not have deep meaningful conversations where you're able to voice your opinion.  Right now we have such limited time together - Nate's in grad school, we're both working full time jobs, we're super involved in our church, I blog, and of course there's also whatever else life throws at us.  This doesn't leave us much time together and DEFINITELY not a lot of deep conversation time.  Because of this, Nate and I make sure we go on walks together at least four times a week.  During these walks, we don't have distractions keeping us from talking.  Sure, I might be crying as we're passing our neighbor's house because of something that's on my heart that I'm sharing with Nate but it's totally worth it.  (Plus, I cry a lot so I'm starting to get used to people seeing it)  Nate and I also have started going out on Sunday nights to sit down somewhere outside our home, away from distractions.  Happy hours are great for this because we can sit for an hour or two, have some drinks, and walk away only $10-15 poorer.

2.  Be Each Other's Biggest Cheerleaders:  You need to have each other's backs no matter what, even in the small things.  (Nope, I'm not talking about big deal, "you can't abide by that" stuff like abuse, neglect, etc)  It's easy for me to have Nate's back when it comes to schoolwork or preparing a sermon for church.  You know, the big, career driven things.  Recently, though, Nate wanted to start homebrewing.  I know it's a little thing but I'm not a huge fan of beer.  I think it's kinda gross and smells yucky.  I could easily just decide to not encourage him in it and ignore the fact that it's something he loves.  Instead, I jumped on board!  I talk to him about it, learn alongside him, and even taste the beer he makes.  (Yes, I do tell him it's disgusting as soon as I try it)  Nate supports me too.  He'll spend hours talking to me about blogging and really desires to understand why I am so passionate about it.  He is starting to know my blogging friends by name and understands that they're real friends to me.  He knows my passions and dreams and is helping me pursue them.

3.  Take Time to Yourself:  No matter how much you enjoy your spouse, you're still your own person.  Nate and I both need our alone time.  Firstly, we're both introverts (me a little more than him) so we get revived by being alone.  The time I spend reading or blogging or crafting rejuvenates me and makes me a better wife.  Even extroverts shouldn't be spending all their time with their spouse.  Go out with friends, get involved in a sport, join a hobby WITHOUT your spouse.  It will make your time together so much more special!  Secondly, if Nate and I were together all the time we'd probably bite each other's heads off.  Seriously.  I can get vicious, especially when I'm tired.  It's something I'm working on.

4.  Have Fun:  Why be married to someone you can't have fun with?  Sometimes I think if anyone else saw the shenanigans that went on in our house they'd think we're nuts!  We have more inside jokes than I can even remember.  We love to laugh with one another.  Whatever you have fun doing, make sure your spouse knows so you can do it together.  I love to dance so Nate signed us up for swing dance lessons.  We both love to go on trips so we try to take as many as we can together.  Joy is so important in a marriage.

5.  Be Physical:  This one is pretty self explanatory - Hold hands.  Give each other back rubs.  Cuddle while you're watching movies.  Hug a lot.  Kiss even more.  And, of course, enjoy "bedroom time".  Seriously, you guys, if you're not being physical there's something wrong - get counseling   (And I don't mean that in a negative way.  I'm a huge advocate for counseling.)

Love is such a special thing!  I sincerely hope that each and every one of you truly commits to loving, respecting, and honoring your spouse!  It's the best thing ever!
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Just Gonna Shake it Off

Starting a couple weeks ago (when I posted about my week from You-Know-Where), I decided to challenge myself to have a positive attitude about life and to stop complaining so much. You know, most of the stuff I worry about or get down in the dumps about just really doesn't matter all that much. I won't say I've been completely succeeding in this area, but I have been better just because I've made a conscious effort. There have been times when I find myself dwelling on the negative and it shows in how I treat others (especially the hubby). If I see it happening, I stop and focus on something good.
Anyway, what are the odds that while I'm trying to make this transformation in my life, the one and only Taylor Swift releases the absolutely perfect song for the situation? Actually, we are talking about T-Swizz here so the odds are probably pretty good. But I thought it was pretty cool regardless.

I stay up too late, got nothing in my brain
That's what people say mmm, that's what people say mm
I go on too many dates, but I can't make 'em stay
At least that's what people say mmm, that's what people say mmm

But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I got this music in my body and it's gonna be alright

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I'll never miss a beat, I'm lightning on my feet
And that's what they don't see mmm, that's what they don't see mmm
I'm dancing on my own (dancing on my own), I'll make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that's what they don't know mmm, that's what they don't know mmm

But I keep cruising, can't stop, won't stop grooving
It's like I got this music in my body saying it's gonna be alright

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey, just think while you've been getting down and out about the liars and dirty, dirty cheats in the world you could have been getting down to this sick beat

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She's like "oh my God", but I'm just gonna shake it
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won't you come on over, baby, we can shake, shake, shake

'Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

I, I shake it off, I shake it off (x a bunch)

Isn't it great?? So catchy and sends an empowering message. I want to "shake it off" like Taylor does. I want to know I'm awesome no matter what the haters say. I want to fake it till I make it and when I do make it I want it to truly be shaken off. I want to be positive and smile all the time and try to encourage others by doing as I go because really, there is so much better stuff to be doing with my time that worrying about stupid, little things!

What do you think of Taylor's new song? What songs are inspiring you right now?
Thanks for reading!

P.S. I really wish I had been invited to one of her Secret Sessions! Don't you? What's up? What do you have to do to get invited anyway?
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Personal Goals for October

It's time again for me to share my progress on my personal goals from last month and set some more for this month. So lets see how well I did in September...
  • Continue the Couch to 5K program 3 times per week and do some Blogilates the other three days with one off day. Almost Check. I didn't do much the week I was in Georgia and the week after I was busy, but other than that I've done well.
  • Spend time in the word every day with my Promise Journal and talk to God about everything. Sort of Check. I have been praying a lot more, but I stopped doing my promise journal and started another sort of study with Pearson. I still do the promise journal every once in a while, but not every day.
  • Continue to blog consistently and set aside time for it so it doesn't take over my life. FailI haven't set aside time really.
  • Leave my phone and laptop in another room while I'm spending time with Pearson in the evenings so I'm not tempted to check social media or blog. Major Fail.
  • Finish The Book Thief and Margo. Check!
Yikes, not so good. Now for my October Goals:
  • Continue the Couch to 5K program and Blogilates. My goal is to be active for at least 30 minutes, 6 days per week.
  • To read the Bible with Pearson every night and pray all the time.
  • Leave my phone and laptop in the other room while I'm hanging out with Pearson.
  • To react positively in every situation.
  • Read 2 books.
We'll see how I do. 
What are your goals this month?
Thanks for reading!

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I am so excited to introduce you all to Amanda of Notes From a Newlywed! She has been on my side bar quite a bit in the past and when she was interested again, I was beyond excited. I love reading all about Amanda's adventures as a newlywed, her goals for her life with her husband, and her fur children. She wrote a wonderful guest post for me a while ago and I've learned some great things from her about married life!

Here's what she has to say about her blog...
I'm Amanda, a crazy cat lady, reality TV fanatic and new wife. On my blog, Notes from a Newlywed, I write all about my newlywed life, from wedding planning tips to what I've learned about marriage, even a few recipes and randoms thrown in there.
I asked Amanda a few questions for you all to get to know her a little better.
  1. What's your favorite thing about Fall? I'm one of those weirdos who isn't crazy about fall. I much prefer summer when it's warm and I can drink on the deck and wear flip flops. But if I must choose a few things that are OK about fall, I do like warm apple cider, comfy sweaters and curling up on the couch with a blankie (and my husband). 
  2. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why? Ooh, good question. I'm going to go with the Cheshire Cat. I would choose Alice herself, but I think the cat has the best role in Wonderland. He's kinda sassy and can disappear whenever he wants. 
  3. What are 3 things you can't live without? Easy. Cats, chapstick and Cal. 
Go show Amanda some love and be sure to check out these great posts while you're there!
P.S. All my ad spots are 31% off right now until October 31st! If you liked this spotlight, checkout the options on my sponsor page and use promo code: HALLOWEENSALE at checkout!
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Putting Effort into my Appearance - Marriage & Relationship Goals {link up}

Last month, our 'young married' group from church discussed the chapter in His Needs, Her Needs about the man's need for an attractive spouse. Wow. Talk about dangerous waters. But the argument was not really that the men should love their wives for who they are not what they look like, but more of how the wife should feel like she can be herself when she comes home. We've had a long day at work and just want to put some comfortable clothes on, take our makeup off and contacts out, and give our bodies a rest. And you don't even want to know all that was said about what we wear to bed.

But someone said something that really got me thinking. One of the guys said "But when you put on all that makeup and get dressed up to leave the house and then come home and take it all off, it looks to us like you are trying to impress other people instead of us." That was all he said, but what I heard was that this could be interpreted as we wives put more stock in what other people think of us and maybe we are even trying to gain the attention of other men outside of our home. This is not it at all, of course. We were makeup for many reasons but a lot of it is our culture and what is expected of us.

Anyway, I decided I want to put more intentional effort into my appearance for my husband. Even if I mean nothing of it when I dress down when it's just the two of us, I don't want him to think anything of it either. This means even if I've been working at home in my pajamas all day and we don't have anything planned for that night, I will still change into some jeans and a nicer shirt before he comes home. Or maybe on a Saturday when I don't have anywhere to be, I'll still get up and shower and put on a little makeup. That's surely not too much to ask, right? Right!

What are your marriage and relationship goals this month? Link up below!
Thanks for reading!
Marriage & Relationship Goals

New to the Marriage & Relationship Goals Link-up? Goals help our relationships grow stronger and get better with time as well as help us move forward and avoid the "ruts" of life. This link-up was created in hopes of inspiring your relationship with your significant other no matter your chapter in life and love. We would love for you to join us in making the things we do in our relationships intentional. 

If you would like more information, click here. If you would like to sign up for the newsletter, click here. If you are interested in cohosting, click here.

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