Sunday, September 19, 2010

Family Experiment- No Spend October

oI desperately want to live a more simple life... but I find myself looking for more "things" to make my life simpler and I know that this desire to gather more "stuff" is the exact opposite of what I want. As I was checking the blog world, I came across this challenge on Small Notebook and decided it was just what we needed to break the vicious cycle of stuff.

Sooo... Ben and I have declared October a No Spend Month
Here is our challenge to ourselves: 3 people, 31 days, $250
This means in October we are going to budget just $250 for all food & eating out, gas, clothing, household necessities, & entertainment. We will, of course, still pay our bills, tithe, and pay for any health emergencies that may come up in October.

So, why am I throwing this out into the blog-osphere?
1. We need your accountability... we still have almost 2 weeks left in September to change our minds, but by putting this out there, you know our plans and can hold us accountable. I will also blog each week to let you know our progress and how much we have spent.
2. I want to challenge you to join us in No Spent October. Every family is different, you may be able to spend less or you may have to budget more... whatever your dollar amount is, can you cut your discretionary spending to the bare essentials, really learn the difference in what you need and what you want, and take a step to simplify your life?

Wether or not you are ready to jump on board, I encourage you to go to Simple Notebook and read her articles about No Spend Month. She shares her goals, what she has learned, and tips for making it work for you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Road to Port St. Joe

I have had a crazy few days to say the least... on Thursday night, after sewing for 5 hours, I realized that I had kidney fun. The rumor is true, at some points it is just about as bad as labor pains. In the midst of all that, Friday and Saturday was Ben's 10 year reunion. I know Ben had a great time catching up with old classmates and we both enjoyed spending time with the Moores and the Vadens. We left the reunion to load up our car and head to FL to meet Ben's family. We drove through the night and arrived early Sunday morning. We are having a great time. The house is absolutely beautiful... I really feel like I am in a Pottery Barn catalog... I will post pictures in my next post.

Here are some pictures of our time so far:
Rachyl Ann and Rex
Sweet little sandy toes... they remind Ben of cinnamon sugar donuts
Walking in Daddy's of his favorite things to do
It has become increasingly hard to snap a picture of Rex, he either looks away to closes his eyes...I did manage to get a couple of good ones though.
I really like taking pictures of boats these days
Below is a picture of the back of our beach house

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Great Find- Knock Off Wood

It's true, I love the Pottery Barn... If I had the money, my house would look like the glossy pages of their catalogs that come to my house at least once a month. Alas, a one income pastors salary does not afford the simple, classic designs of the Pottery Barn. I like to think that I am thrifty enough to take the ideas I find there and find similar pieces elsewhere for a much more affordable price... Well my friends, if you are like me in this fetish and you are crafty/handy or have a friend or relative that is, I've found a goldmine for you.
I was reading fellow pastor's wife and friend Susan's blog where she posted her first building project. She mentioned she got the plans from a blog called Knock Off Wood. I visited the site and was blown away at the projects I found... I don't know if I will be as adventurous as Susan and attempt to build my project list myself... I may be delegating it out. Watch out Daddy, Pops, and Ben... I'm making my list to send your way.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

London Trip- Extension & Home

If you haven't heard the good news... we are going home tomorrow... both of us will be back in Nashville at 3:12 Friday afternoon! We are so excited to be back in America and hold and kiss our little Rex... it's been way too long.

Today we took a train to Oxford and took a C.S. Lewis tour. Our to
ur guide knew C. S. Lewis (Jack is what he called him) when he was a boy and was friend with Lewis' stepson. It was neat to get a first hand account of what Oxford and C. S. Lewis were like then... a very fun and interesting day. Here are some pictures of some of the highlights:
Above: Sitting in the pew Lewis and his brother sat in for years... they always got to church early and left while the service was still going on... it was thought that they left so they could be first in line at the pub across the street.
Above: J.R.R. Tolkin's house... the garage behind us was his library and where he wrote the Lord of the Rings.
Above: The path you see on the other side of the river is call Addison's Walk and is where Lewis accepted Christ. We weren't actually able to walk the path because it is part of the college campus below.
The college where Lewis taught English for many years.
The woods behind Lewis' house that is thought to be the inspiration for the Land of Narnia... Lewis used to sit on the same bench below and watch the lake.
Above: Lewis' house

Above: The Rabbit Room at the Eagle and Child Pub is where C. S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkin, and the other "Inklings" met every Tuesday morning to discuss what they were writing. They called it "the Bird and Baby".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

London Trip- Day 9 & Extension

Monday, we went into London to try to see the few more places that we wanted to see on our last day. We went to Big Ben, Westminster Abby, and Buckingham Palace, but did not tour any of them. We also went to the British Museum and saw the Rosetta Stone and some other neat things. Airways were still closed and we were hoping with all hope that they would open before our flight... then we got the discouraging news that our flight had been cancelled. They said that even if the airways opened like they were supposed to, we would have no plane to get on because it was still in the US.

As it turns out, only 3 plane flew out of London Tuesday morning before they closed airways again. We decided to make the best of our day and go into London and try to catch a play. We walked around a shopping area called Covent Garden for a while, then went through the remainder of Harrod's, and saw Les Miserables. Fun day and a wonderful play, but in our hearts we just wanted to be home. I've missed Rex the whole time that we have been gone, but I had peace in knowing that he was well-cared for, and that if something happened I could get back to him. The unknown of when or how we might get home, and knowing that we couldn't if he needed us has made me more homesick for him than ever.

So where do we stand today...waiting. The air ban has been lifted and flights have been coming in and out of London for a little over 12 hours. As you might imagine after 6 days of canceled flights, the airports are crazy and everything is booked solid. We are booked on the first available flight, but it isn't until Monday, April 26 (though we are blessed to be on that flight. It was booked for us a few days ago. I have heard that flights are now booked up for 2 weeks or more). The hope is that at least one of us could make it out before Monday, but that possiblity is looking slim.

All of that to say, we are in the best possible situation to be stranded. We are staying with family and are not in need of anything. Rex has grandparents lining up to take him... and who were maybe secretly hoping we would get stuck a few extra days so they could have more time with him. We are not sleeping on the floor of an airport eating McDonald's everyday... this is true for some who have been stranded for the entire air ban.

Please pray that the skies will remain clear and that we would be able to get home soon and safely. Our flight path home does go over Iceland... which makes me nervous, so pray that the volcano is sealed and stops erupting.
Also, Ben was supposed to launch several new community groups on Sunday. With the real possibility that he will not be back in time, Connect has been handed off to other staff members. Please pray that it will run smoothly and that folks will be able to get signed up for groups without any problems.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

London Trip- Day 7

I think today has been one of my favorite days so far. We spent most of the day at the street market on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The whole time we were there the song from Bed Knobs and Broomsticks played in my head. There was so much to see... pretty amazing. From there we went to Harrod's Department Store because we had a little time to spare before our play started. It was unlike anything that I have ever seen before. It was seven stories and took up a whole city block and extavigent in every aspect, from the items in the store to the way it was decorated. There were even men with trays of champagne in some of the designer rooms. There was even a room for pets where you could spend over 100 pounds on a food and water bowl for your little pooch. The toy room was unbelievable. There was a toy car that a kid could ride in for just under 10,000 pounds... Rex won't be getting one of those for Christmas.
Wicked was also amazing... the theater here rivals that in New York and we were told that actors come from all over the world for a chance to perform. Like the rest of our trip, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
I probably won't post tomorrow. We are going to have a low key day and stay in Egham and catch a service at Hillsong Church tomorrow evening. Monday we plan to finish seeing the sights in London (I will post then). We are having a blast but look forward to seeing our little guy Tuesday... that is if the Volcanic dust lifts and they open flights in and out of London again.
Portobello Road:
The chocolate room reminded me of Willy Wonka
This is a life size model of Buzz made out of legos
Below: Ben with the Harrod's bears... this picture is for Rex, he has a couple of the smaller ones at home.


Friday, April 16, 2010

London Trip- Day 3-6: Scotland

We left for Scotland early Tuesday morning and arrived by train in Edinburgh around 4:00 pm. Our first order of business was to get something to eat for a late lunch/early dinner. We walked to Royal Mile up to the castle and then down a hill covered with hundreds of daffodils.
We woke up Wednesday morning and had a full Scottish breakfast which consists of: 1 egg (poached, fried, scrambled), bacon (we call it ham), sausage (not like any we have in the US), mushrooms, a broiled tomato, haggis, and a potato scone. Thats right folks, I tried haggis... tasted a lot like dressing/stuffing. We took a bus tour around Edinburgh and took a tour of the castle. I was very cold and miserable for most of the day do it was nice to be able to sit on the bus and see all the sights. The sun came out around 4:00 and just before sunset we climbed up a little hill just down from our hotel, Calton Hill. There was a part on top with a few monuments and gorgeous views of the city. It was a great end of the day... followed by sticky toffee pudding and cheese cake (you can say we ate our way through Edinburgh).
Edinburgh Castle:
Calton Hill:
View of Arthur's Seat & Edinburgh from Calton Hill:

Thursday we took a tour up to St. Andrews stopping at a couple of fishing villages in Fife. I really thought this part of the trip would appeal more to Ben because he is such a golf lover, but I think this has been my favorite part of the trip so far. I was a beautiful day with sun and temperatures reaching almost into the 60's... really unheard of for Scotland this time for year. I really enjoyed walking the beached in the Fife and St. Andrews looking for sea glass (it even inspired me to by some wellies (rain boots) because everyone else walking the
beach was so cute in them). The golf coarse was amazingly beautiful. They were preparing for the 2010 British Open. We also stopped off to see the university
and the old ruins of an abby that Henry VIII had destroyed after the church told him he could not divorce Ann Bolyne.
Fishing Village:
St. AndrewsAbby Ruins:

We got back to London around noon today. After getting Tyler settled on the train back to Egham, Ben and I decided to stay and see more to the sites. We toured St. Paul's Cathedral. Very nice, but I really did not like being up in the dome. Ben climbed to the very top the catherdral, I sat on a bench in the dome and tried not to look up or down while I waited for him. From there we went back to Tragalgar's Square to tour the National Gallery... we saw paintings by Monet, Reimbrant, Michelangleo, and Van Gogh just to name a few. From there we made our way to Piccadilly Circus and ate dinner in a little family run Italian place... probably the best Raviolli I have ever had. It's been a great few days and
we feel so blessed to have the opportunity. Looking forward to tomorrow... Portabello Road in the morning and ending with seeing Wicked.
St. Paul's Catherdral:
Piccadilly Circus: (A lot like Times Square)
Made by Lena