Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Post: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary

Boy do I have a treat for you today!!! Today I am so honored to be hosting the beautiful Heather from Finding Beauty in the Ordinary. Heather has an amazing story and such an honest, full heart. 

Show her some love!


Hi! My name is Heather and I blog over at Finding Beauty in the Ordinary. I'm a 26 year old, happily married, adventure seeking blog lover :) My little blog is a place to share what's on my heart, what God is teaching me, and what my husband and I are up to as we have recently relocated to a new city for his new job.  I love capturing a moment by camera and simply finding beauty in the ordinary moment of life. 

But let me tell you something. Finding beauty in the ordinary moments of life is something that has taken me some time to embrace again. It's barely been a year since things have started getting better. I will be honest: the circumstances over the past couple of years before that left me hopeless, and somewhat even cynical, about life. 

My husband, Joshua, and I had only been married for a year-and-a-half when he and a major crop of people at his work lost their jobs due to the failing economy. I was working at Starbucks trying to finish college. We were blissfully happy newlyweds, freshly back home from a trip to San Francisco for our anniversary and a vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Joshua had a job that we thought would be around until retirement. He had just been told months before the layoff that a relocation to Europe was quite possible if he wanted to grow with the company. Life was great and we had the world at our fingertips. I was making coffee when I got the call that would turn our world upside down.

Joshua was unemployed for over a year before finding a job that sufficed while he was in the hiring process for the federal government job he has now. And after he got that interim job-- managing a hardware store where he was severely underpaid and overworked-- he waited a whole year before he finally got "the job." We were strapped those years; financially, emotionally, and even physically. We were tired all the time. And stressed. We gained weight, but yet were worn so thin. Joshua's blood pressure skyrocketed. I do not wish any woman in this world to have to watch her man go through unemployment. It is such a massive blow to a man's ego. Our relationship and our vows were tried-- "... for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer." We had to fight to make sure our relationship stayed focused on God, and on living life in the moment, on still trying to have fun together-- and not on our circumstances. But it was rough on us. Without God in our lives and marriage, I don't know how we would have gotten through it.

To top it off, his truck completely died on us and we had to share one car for over a year. We moved in with my in-laws for almost a year to save money. I hated the job that I had. I was fresh out of college and hated the corporate world and the miserable, work-driven people I worked with that were consumed by materialism and making money. Everything was upside down and not anywhere near how I imagined my first couple years of marriage looking like. I never thought I would be in a position of being the primary bread-winner, or of making more money than my husband. I've always just wanted to be a mom. It rocked my world. It rocked his.

We were just at our wit's end. Everyone around us called us "troopers" and were so kind to ask how we were doing or what was the "next step" in our lives. We became somewhat anti-social to avoid the questions. To this day, I don't think any of our friends or even family have any clue exactly what a difficult season we went through. It was 2 years of patience, of worry, of questions, and of feeling like God abandoned us. There were some great moments in those years, too, I don't mean to not mention those. But -- I hate to say it-- the stress of life really did overshadow the flecks of beauty in our lives during that long, testing season of winter.

I learned a lot through that season and having come out of it, I believe that I can truly say that God will give you the strength that you need to get you through whatever trial you are currently facing. And even if the circumstances seem so out of control, and hope seems so lost, He will never give you more than you can handle. And I'm very confident, that one day... the sun will shine for you and you will see why God brought you through that storm. He will show you incredible things that you would have otherwise never seen had you not gone through it.

I've learned that I want to approach my life moving forward always trying to find beauty in all of life's moments. Even when it's rough. Because there were a lot of things that I closed my eyes to see because I chose to. Because I let my bad attitude cloud everything. Yes, my circumstances seemed out-of-control at the time, but that is no excuse to not thank God for my daily breath, or to punish God because I feel like He had "abandoned" me. Who am I?

Have you seen this?

Let's thank God for each and every season. Even the seasons of winter, when everything is falling apart before our eyes, and when we fell like there are few things to be grateful for. Autumn is here and Thanksgiving is coming. Let's live out an attitude of thankfulness every day, not just one special day a year when we carve a turkey. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow. And life is a gift itself. Will you join me on working on an attitude of thankfulness today?  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Randoms

I have decided that every couple of weeks I will do a "randoms" post. I keep thinking of things I want to blog about but couldn't possibly create one entire post with. So here are my randoms from lately (oh and check out my last Thursday Randoms post here)

  •  Jon and I are flying to Cleveland tonight for a wedding this weekend! We will also be making the rounds with both sides of his family and old friends. We are ready to get out of the heat. I have some cute guest bloggers so stay tuned :-)
  • Last week Leah and I had a gym/hobby lobby date when our hubbies were both out of town. We seriously spent almost an hour perusing through the Halloween & fall decor. We decided on making our own letters with scrapbook paper and embellishments. I can't stop staring at them!
  • I read an article about 10 people food's that are good for dogs (and can make up 25% of their diets). One of them is apples so we've been treating Ernie with apple slices and he is freaking hysterical with them. He will jump around and growl at it as if it is a little rodent. Perfect babysitter! Here is the article. Sorry Ernie, I will not be making you $10 a pound salmon, your food is already expensive enough. Maybe some pumpkin and yogurt soon. 
  • I took this picture two weekends ago at Mary's casa. How funny is that towel?? The other side is printed with tiny tatas and a jungle downstairs...I think I peed my pants the first time I saw it. 
  •  While hunting for 70's bowling gear at Goodwill 2 weeks ago, I ended up finding a Free People dress in perfect condition. It is one size too big but I figured I will only get bigger in time and a green lace cami did the trick. Oh and did I mention it was $9!
  • Everytime Jon eats dried apricots or drinks Firefly (sweet tea vodka), I tell him his breath smells like canned corn. Weird right? But I swear, next time you open a can of corn, notice the distinct smell. He got home late Tuesday from a work dinner and after a kiss I immediately asked if he had Firefly. And he did. Am I demented?
  • I bought this print at the Old Pecan Street Festival last weekend. Not sure where I will put it yet but it looks exactly like Mr. Ernie
  •  I saw this picture on "What's Wrong With These Pictures" Pictures on Ellen. How hilarious!?
  •  Check out what I picked up at World Market...Pumpkin Gnocchi! Can't wait to try it.
  •  Here is a funny video of Ernie and his fur-cousin Athena playing at my parents house. She is obviously so much bigger than him but he loves to play with her. They are 4 years apart so sometimes she doesn't want anything to do with him (annoying puppy). Is this a foreshadow of me and my sister's human babies?Oh and Ernie is snorting like crazy! Lots of activity for this chunky Frenchie.

  •  If you are FB friends with me you might have read on Monday night that my brother broke a middle school record with a 98 yard touchdown pass...and that was only 1 of 2 td passes that night! No wonder us girls lacked in the athleticism was all saved up and given to James!
  •  I tried my hand at making rosettes this week and now I have tons of rosettes hanging around haha. I have some ideas on how to use them so stay tuned. 

  • Guess who's birthday is in 2 weeks from tomorrow? This girl. I will be hosting my first giveaway (so excited to feature one of my favorite bloggers!) and wanted to give you all a heads up. For entry, you must be a public follower of my blog via Google Friend Connect. Scroll down on the left sidebar under Followers. "Join This Site" is a little blue box (if you don't see it, try another browers ex. Firefox or Internet Explorer). You will have the option for additional entries via Facebook and Twitter too!
  •  I did something to my back yesterday and I am in so much pain! Tuesday night I sat up at our table doing some stuff and I figured it was from that but then yesterday I could barely move it after cardio dance party. Jon thinks I strained a muscle or something (should be great for the wedding this weekend!). I broke my back in 2003 so I do have a fragile back. 
  • One last blog is a special feature on the Comment Hour website this week. If you've never done comment hour, be sure to check it out here!

What random stuff is going on in your life??

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Living with Ruthie

Please give a warm welcome to my husband in his blog post debut!


Hello everyone!  Some of you may know me from the occasional vlog post (here & here) or numerous incriminating photos which my wife has so graciously shared with you.  I am Jon Hart -- the larger half of Ruthie Hart.  This week, my little blog-master asked me to write a guest post about what it's like to live with her.  I'm still hoping this isn't just a tricky way for her to find out what I would say about her, but even if it is, I'm going to run with it.  

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone -- my wife is awesome.  Therefore, living with her is a pretty easy job.  I get to enjoy all of the things that keeps you blog-followers coming back day after day, every day of my life.  For starters -- the food!  As much as you folks like to read up on her latest recipes, I like to eat her recipes even more.  I probably owe some thanks to you for keeping her active in finding new and tasty recipes all the time, so keep reading and I'll keep eating.  

Besides all of the great eats, Ruthie also keeps such a great house.  Things are always neatly organized and well-decorated, which I think most guys would take for granted, but not me.  I know how much I would avoid doing all of the little things around the house that she loves to do, which makes me appreciate it even more.  I've never heard of someone who has so much fun ORGANIZING.  The process of filing papers, putting similar items in labeled bins (costumes, crafts, office supplies, toiletries, etc) -- everything has it's place, and nobody could have enjoyed putting those things in those places more than she did. 

One thing that some of you may not know about my wife is that she is a total morning person.  She pops out of bed every morning, ready to embrace the day.  I am the exact opposite of that.  I am a night person and find it much easier to stay up until all hours than wake up early.  Because of this, Ruthie typically falls asleep before me and keeps me entertained with her random dreams and sleep-talking.  Yep... sleep-talking.  Because this is far more interesting (and much funnier) than how much I like to eat her recipes, I will spend much more time telling you about it.

I first realize she's asleep when she starts twitching -- hands, feet, body, you name it.  After that, it's just a matter of time before she's dreaming about something important enough to wake her up or "tell me" about.  Most of the time, it's complete nonsense and random mumbling that always has me giggling.  I wish I would have written down some of my favorites, but they never make any sense so I have trouble remembering them.  She might say something like, "oh I left my sandwich on the roof", to which I would then reply, "girlie why were you on the roof with a sandwich?"  She may mumble a few words, and then start to realize none of it made any sense and just go back to sleep.  She is rather famous amongst friends and family for waking up frantically because of seeing a spider in the bed.  This has happened to me a number of times even in just the several months we've been married.  I typically have to get out of bed and turn the light on to prove there is no spider, then ask her how she could have known there was a spider when it was pitch black in the room?  My guess would be that there are plenty of good stories that I've missed out on because I'm such a sound sleeper, but nevertheless, she keeps me plenty entertained.

More importantly than the cooking, keeping a great house, and being a silly sleeper, I love living with Ruthie because we just have a blast together.  We are always having fun, regardless of whether we're really trying to or not.  Of course our numerous theme parties and friendly hang-outs are a lot of fun, but even if we're just sitting at home cuddled up on the couch, we always find ourselves laughing and thoroughly entertained.  We keep a great mix of being out and about, but also being home-bodies watching lots of HGTV and a select few reality TV shows.  I'm always looking forward to our movie nights together.  Even if one of us picks a bad movie, we end up laughing at it together by the end.  Ruthie is the best wife and roommate a guy could ever ask for and I'm so blessed to get to spend the rest of my life with her.  


So there you have it...what it's like to live with an sleep talking, way too happy in the mornings, organizational freak :-). Thank you for writing this Jon! I laughed. I cried. And now I know you don't think I am all that crazy for labeling bins for my tampons and birth control. 
Oh and yes, I have a weird thing about spiders at night. I could have sworn there was a spider at the end of our bed. A giant, 3 foot, hairy spider...

And one of the best grossest sleep talking incidents was in college with my roomie Alyssa. We were getting our beauty sleep and I all of the sudden shot up and said "oh! I thought you were a moist corpse!". Disgusting right? What the heck was I dreaming about?! I also sleep walk which is creepy too.

Question time!

What would your husband//roommate//sibling//parent say about living with you?? Do you leave crusty dishes in the sink for days? Do you forget to do laundry for weeks at a time? Or are you Martha Stewart in the kitchen??

Monday, September 26, 2011

Church ladies with typewriters

Morning everyone.  How was your weekend?? It is hot as heck here again (105 but the good news is that this is a short week for us! Jon and I are flying to Cleveland on Thursday for a wedding this weekend. Yay! I have some awesome guest posters for when we are gone so stay tuned!

This was an email chain I got from my big sis, Cori, and I found it absolutely hysterical!!
SNL anyone?

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS & TYPOS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.

Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.  

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.

Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.

The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.

Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.

The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.

Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.
Cynthia Hendricks

Do you have any funny email chains?? Share with me please!! I work for a small company thus no funny emails circulate :-( 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Corn muffin casserole

This recipe comes to you from my mama and you should probably make it TONIGHT. We've coined it 'corn muff cass' (Fannings are all about abbrevs) and it has played an integral part of my life. It is that good. The recipe below makes 1 8 by 8 pan, my mom usually doubles it for our family. It  makes as great side (I made it last week with chili) or the perfect late night snack cold :-).

1 box corn muffin mix
1 can corn
1 can creamed corn
1 stick of butter (Paula Deen style baby!)
2 eggs lightly beaten
8 oz sour cream

1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl (be sure to drain the liquid from the regular can of corn)
2. Pour mixture into a greased 8 by 8 baking dish 
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
4. Let cool and try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sleepy head

Ernie is the most cuddley creature on this planet, more than any other human I know! His big bat ears regulate his temperature and he is always cold at night and in the mornings, it is so darn cute. At night, Jon spoons me and I spoon us crazy but we love it. 

Jon has the luxury of working from home full time (with the exception of traveling 1-2 days a week) so he gets to hang with the little chunk all day. It's funny because after we eat breakfast I usually head off to work and Ernie nudges Jon as if to say "okay let's get on the couch and go back to sleep!". Jon works from the couch on his laptop FYI. I love my dog a little too much and miss him throughout the day (look at his face, you would too!) so Jon always texts me cute pics of Ernie. I finally decided I needed to post Ernie sleeping pics, they are too funny not to share...

Oh and you have been warned...Ernie's pee pee is pictured below..

Hysterical right? He is too cute!

So what are your plans this weekend?? 

We are running walking a 5k tomorrow, going to the Pecan Street Festival downtown, Browns football, family will be an awesome weekend for sure. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight #2!

Remember last week when I showed off some of my beautiful September sponsors??

Well today I have more ladies to brag on...

Head on over to their blogs, tweet em, leave em some love!

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