making candles

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To me, there is nothing more relaxing than a candlelit room and a cup of tea or sitting in a bath surrounded by candles. While that is all well and good, candles can be expensive to buy. Also, I have always wanted the scents to be stronger and candles to be a little more affordable. More than those things I have really just wanted to make them myself.

Let me be honest, I’ve don’t think I have ever written directions for anything. I am not great at writing down recipes because I’m not great at following them. I don’t really write how to’s because my mind works more creatively. But hey, I will give it a try because there is a first time for everything.

Supplies needed:

  • Candle Holder
  • Candle pouring pot
  • Boiling pot
  • Candles wax blocks or flakes
  • Sent oil (optional)
  • wick & wick stickums or sticky wax
  • Colorant for wax (optional)

Alright, Let’s do this!

  1. Fill your boiling pot 1/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Place the candle pouring pot inside and place wax a little at a time for it to melt.
    Adjust heat as needed so the water isn’t jumping out at you.
  3. While the wax is melting— place the sticky wax on the bottom of the metal to hold the wick in position and press firmly in the center at the bottom of your holder so that the wick can be held in place.
  4. Once wax is completely melted you can add your scent and color, as little or as much, to fit your preference.
    I love strong candles so I use more.
  5. Stir in scent and color
  6. Pour the wax till the container is almost full.
  7. Allow time for it to dry.
  8. Spice up your jar with labels, string, or fabric to your liking.

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Tips & things:

  • I got my pouring pot, wax, wicks, and that sticky stuff at Michael’s. You could probably find them in your local craft store or online.
  • You can add more solid things for look and scent; I added fresh rosemary to a vanilla candle & my husband grated orange peels so he could have an orange scented candle.
  • Also kind of a fun, I used essential oils for some of my candles because…. why not!
  • For containers I used old mugs (I have so many anyway), mason jars, and even old candle containers.
  • If you want to use an old container place it in the freezer over night and the wax will come out the next morning with ease.

have fun creating!

The Beginning of Something Great: Marriage so Far

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The last several months of my life have been a beautiful whirlwind. I got married a few days short of two months ago. It was the most wonderful day.  I’m convinced that there is nothing in the world like your wedding day; the immense love, the solemn and joyous commitment, the gathering of so many dear souls, and the combination of all things beautiful. That once in a lifetime day was followed by trip north where the waters rage but there is such rest. The mountains were our daily view and I understood oneness and selflessness more with each passing moment. When we arrived home from our honeymoon the house had to be cleaned, put together, and we got to adjust to living life together.

This post isn’t to brag on my husband, even though he has brought the most laughter and love into my life. It also isn’t to talk about my wedding day as much as I loved it. It’s to share the things I’m learning and areas I’m growing in these almost two months of marriage.

Serving Him
I have found as a wife that works part time and is mostly at home that I have a lot to learn about servant hood. I have had roommates my entire life, but this is different. I do the wife stuff; cleaning, cooking, laundry, and most of the times I am playing the part well. But I have learned that there is a side to serving others that is mental. There are moments that I want to throw a plate on the ground and break it because I’m sick of doing all the cleaning, there are moments that I want to throw all the socks in the trash and buy new ones over matching them again. Those are small things, but sometimes my thoughts get the best of me and if I’m not careful, on the outside I’m playing the role but on the inside I’m growing in resentment.

Thoughts
I mentioned this but it’s a big deal. In marriage there is a deep intimacy that your thoughts either encourage or they divide. I have to continually repent, remind myself of truth, and speak truth to myself and our marriage. He is not doing things to hurt me on purpose, it is possible that he has NO idea, it is also possible that things are my fault. It’s possible that I am the one who is wrong and needs forgiveness. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in 2 months is that I must pay attention to my thoughts, pondering the wrong things will soon lead to believing the wrong things as truth.

Monies
Wanna know what’s funny, two 23 year olds talking about money like it runs the world. Tim and I are both independent, have lived on our own for years, and merging our lives and bank accounts has been like arm wrestling continuously. For me to trust him to make wise financial decisions for him to tell me what we can and cannot afford… that’s hard. It’s hard to make decisions together that are, quite frankly, easier to make on your own. When your finances are together you quickly learn to depend on each other and make decisions together, but this one for me has been difficult. We are young and have the world in front of us, sometimes it’s hard to forget we aren’t 45 with mortgages and 10 kids. To the young and married, take out a bottle of wine and talk about your $5 like it’s $5 not a million… together, you can make it work and you have all you need.

Community
We go to one of those churches that are for real, they want to know you and invite you to their house and give you food when you’re sick. I go to one of those churches that are the way church should be; I have never experienced anything like it. For me, weirdly, it’s uncomfortable. Generally I like to have a couple of close friends and see everyone else like once a month. Since moving closer and getting married I have learned my dependence on people is much greater than it has ever been. They say “it takes a village to raise a child” I think it takes a village (or community) to raise a marriage. We have gotten invited over for so many dinners and have been covered in support since our wedding. I think the most valuable gift we have been given is our community. It’s easy to stay inside do married life and forget to invest in community. But now more than ever I have been challenged to pursue, to ask, and to hear from those people that know more than I do. Around us are men and women succeeding, each differently and in their own way, in marriage… probably a good idea to glean any wisdom they are willing to share.

Laughter
This may seem out of place with my lessons and learnings but it’s not. I’m young, no seriously… I’m young and somehow life grew me up really fast and I got a little serious about things and I laughed less for the last couple of years. Marriage gave me my laughter back; between the MOUNTAINS of laundry, the feasts of a meal that this man eats, and the sudden replacement of action movies to my normal chick flick… I laugh. I think that’s what gives me strength, hope, and joy. We laugh together about our money, our annoyances, and differences. It’s so healthy to laugh. So if you just feel the need in the middle of your serious talk (be smart), dead silence, or as you lay your head on your pillow to recount your day… Laugh, it could be just the thing that reminds you of this blessed gift.

Marriage is the greatest adventure, ours has only just begun.

when being “us” takes work

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Some times it just flows, we can be around each other always, our schedules are in sync, our expectations are met, and I feel so loved.

I would be lying if I said it were always like that.

Sometimes it takes work to be us. It takes understanding, it takes adjusting expectations, it takes accepting, it takes grace, and it takes a ton of forgiveness. I can’t expect him to be the answer and contrary to fairy tales I can’t expect him to be my everything. He can’t be.

We had a talk about finances that ends the way they all do with a 20s something almost newlyweds… We don’t have a lot of money, but what we do have we need to be good stewards of.
We also had a trust talk, where I need to trust him because he is called to provide for and love me.
Lastly, we had the “I don’t feel loved” talk…. all in just a week.

I have accepted the fact that I am going to live with a boy and that will be so different but I haven’t accepted that that boy will hurt my feelings and do the wrong things AND never leave.

I am having a hard time believing that he won’t leave. I can’t do enough to scare him and warn him and he just looks at me with big brown eyes and stays. He stays just stays there and loves me.

I know that people don’t like to talk about this side of their relationship; it’s not Instagram worthy, it’s not the story you tell your grand kids, and it’s not what you see on tv. But it’s real. Most days it takes work for two people to be “us.” a lot of time the reason it doesn’t work is because the work gets too heavy and we (I) try and lift it on our own, and we (I) don’t allow the other person to bear our burdens and failures and insecurities.

The truth is, tomorrow may be easier. These hard days don’t normally last long because I do so deeply love him. Sometimes I just forget… I loose perspective.

We must never be afraid to admit weakness; in our weakness we can depend on perfect strength, we can grow together, and in that, marriage (or my future marriage) can fulfill the purpose for which it was created… A picture of love and sacrifice making us more pure and holy.

laughable thoughts about merging two lives to become one

In the process of joining our lives we are learning to make room for the things that will make our home and our lives shared. I want Tim to be just as at home in our house as I am. This may seem like a small thing but Tim and I have had quite the laughter over how particular he is and how free spirited I am when it comes to home.

It’s funny how he gets so used to things being a certain way. His room at home (in New Jersey) looks like a very close replica to his room here in Texas. The furniture is similar, the placing of the little Knick-knack’s. It’s funny because I am completely different; I like to shift things around regularly, get rid of things and add new things. Once I have gotten used to something, I need a change.

Every person is particular about certain things, especially if you have a picture in your head. I picture maps, cow rugs, trunks, big mirrors, and blankets; lots of seating and comfy pillows. Tim is like “do whatever you want but please not a lot of pillows.” But he is particular about where the placing of things should be, and how his books will be arranged.

It’s the little things like that that can drive you crazy or make you laugh. You can decide it’s too much or that it’s not worth your frustration. Here are some things I have thought through this week;

Pick your battles
practical example, Tim needs drawers on his desk. Needs is the key word, he was worried about where his stapler will go if there is no drawer. When he gets so particular I have a choice to let that bother me or choose to laugh at it. If he needs drawer… alright! We are getting drawers.

Some things you can get used to
I LOVE pillows, my family is crazy about pillows. There are so many on our couch that you can’t sit down without moving them…. Most of our beds have so many pillows it’s simpler to never make your bed. I am used to having tons of pillows, but don’t need them. I can get used to having a normal amount of pillows.

I threw out the gold pillow that he hated, and he has agreed to not hang a flag over our bed.
He gets rid of his furniture, and I will get rid of some of mine.

I know that these are funny and simple things but I am happy to be practicing now; before we are married, before we have those HUGE decisions to make. Its working together in the everyday things that makes you ready for the bigger ones that are to come.

dear busy season,

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Life seems a little hectic, right now I should be working… or planning… or spending time with someone. I’m one of those soak in the moment girls and it seems like the moments keep slipping away. The month of June came out of nowhere and then flew by… all I want is to enjoy this season.

I work full time for a Missions Agency and the summer is our busiest time, because it’s prime time for everyone to go during summer break. So here everyone is rushing, kind of stressed, looks a little tired, and could probably use one more cup of coffee. This is my last season like this, in this place… I want to care more, do more, love deeper, and finish stronger.

I am currently planning a wedding for September… which means if it’s not color swatches, it’s food samples… if it’s not invitations then it’s the guest list. There is so much excitement and joy, there are moments of peace often interrupted with a thought that was too late in its arrival…. I forgot that person that I love or I completely missed that appointment…. Or I STILL need to figure this out….

Besides the fact that I am engaged, I live in a house of 4… 3 of us are engaged and getting married all within nearly a month of each other. So all of those emotions, all the questions, planning, finding the perfect centerpiece idea, and moments of stress… we should multiply that by 3. Yes, our house is the place to be when it comes to love and weddings.

It seems that also in this busy season you want to grasp tight to your friendships and spend every ounce of time with people because this is the last season you get like this one. I also always have the desire to wake up earlier because that is when it is quiet. Even if I just stay in bed, in the quiet for an hour… hmmm, I soaked in the day a little bit more. I “go to bed early” just so I can lay in bed and think about the things I did that day. I want to think through the moments.

One thing I can say ever so confidently is that I’m going to want to remember this season perfectly. I want to remember being ridiculous about the guest list with my mom, I want to remember talking about a bow tie for 45 minutes with my fiancé, I want to remember when my invitations weren’t right and I had a minor freak out…when we have dates and don’t talk at all about the wedding, I want to remember when someone comes into my office for a question about life instead of work.

I want to soak in the moments of pure bliss and panic.

In response to this business I have cried a little bit, I always think tears are a good thing though. I have planted flowers so I could watch them bloom. I have scheduled, I have stat in complete silence, I have captured beautiful things, and filled my heart and room to the brim with things that bring me joy. I have even had more time for the One that always refreshes me most.

The best way to describe it all is beautiful, messy, and extravagant. And the best advice I can give myself is take the time living requires. To live is so grand an adventure and to look back and all that can be seen is a busy whirlwind would be a missed opportunity to embrace beauty.

Have moments everyday alone to think, don’t make the decision right away, give every moment everything that you have…. At work, in ministry, in planning, in relationships, and most definitely in the quiet.

So all of this to say, you (busyness) won’t get the best of this girl. I am determined to love each day, and even you can’t take joy away from this gift of life.

with grace & poise,
a woman who isn’t TOO busy to live well

Beauty of missing you

One of the ways you know someone belongs in your life is when you miss them.
It feels like they belong in your days, hours, and moments. Coffee tastes sweeter, you hold tighter to the memories, and you laugh more, and you feel deeper because they are around.

When they aren’t you want to remember the details because you have to re-live them when they are. You memorize the feelings, the things you see, and the things you do. Because you want to share as though they were there the whole time.

The beauty of missing someone is that you have let someone into your heart and life enough to feel. To feel loss and love, to feel close and far. I love missing you because it helps me remember where I belong. That’s with you.

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22 things about being 22

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I’m closing one of the best years of my life at the end of the week. I have learned a lot of things and this is probably more for me than for anyone else. My goal is to simply put the things I have learned and the beauty I have seen in one year.

  1. GRADUATION REALITY
    I graduated college this year and more than ever I realized I don’t know everything…. or even a lot for that matter.
  2. SAY “I’M SORRY”
    Saying you are sorry doesn’t fix everything but it’s a beautiful start to reconciliation. This year I made a great decision in apologizing for soo deeply hurting (breaking up with) the man I will soon marry.
  3. BE A STUDENT
    I read 23 books this year and proudly learned all of the books in the world combined have less wisdom than the bible.
  4. CREATE SOMETHING
    I started making jewelry…. creating things, no matter what it is, helps you to appreciate life more.
  5. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
    I started “doing photography” and learned to let the things you love energize you to do the things you have to do.
  6. YOUR PLANS MAY LOOK DIFFERENT
    I tried to plan the next 5 years of my life and in 2 months it all changed. All plans are subject to change. Planning is healthy, right, and good… but just know it’s ok if things look differently than you plan.
  7. TIME IS PRECIOUS
    we don’t have a lot of time so make the time count. If you need to work over… DO it. But if you don’t need to work, leave the office in peace.
  8. DYI & PINTREST
    I completed 3 DIYs from pintrest, it’s NOT as easy as it looks.
  9. EVERYONE IS UNIQUE
    after taking hundreds of test I have learned that there are some things that cannot be measured. So much of the beauty in people is that we are all different.
  10. TRY NEW THINGS
    I learned to try new things; black coffee and kale is not that bad!
  11. DRINKING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SINFUL
    Most of my life I have been afraid to drink because I have really only seen it abused, this year I learned that its possible and normal for people to drink every once in a while… enjoy it and fellowship… and NO ONE gets drunk.
  12. I AM NOT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE EXPECT
    This year I was a part of upper and middle leadership during a VERY hard season at the ministry I am so grateful to work for. I learned that age (22) and status (in school/ almost graduating) doesn’t define success or capability. I can do more than what society says.
  13. HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
    Let’s talk about family, I have always wanted to “grow up and go out” and be independent. This year I have realized how much I love and need my family and how they are always there.
  14. BE SELFLESS
    I started dating that guy (Tim) that I apologized to and learned how much it means to be loved by someone and to love someone…. Being selfless is hard but so rewarding.
  15. MARRIAGES DOESN’T HAVE TO FAIL
    I also got engaged this year, in that I also learned I am the most selfish and prideful woman and that all marriages don’t & won’t fail.
  16. RACISM CAN BE OVERCOME
    Maybe you didn’t know but racism is still a thing. A thing I used to think it would alienate me from my family but this year I saw love triumph over all those petty things.
  17. WEAKNESS IS A GOOD THING
    It helps you to lean on others, in that becoming so much stronger. It also helps you realize that no matter how hard you try you weren’t meant to do life alone.
  18. “TOO BUSY” ISN’T A GOOD THING
    I realized that business is the enemy of love. you aren’t too busy for people or for life…. If you are… You’re doing something wrong.
  19. LOVE IS NOT A FEELING
    People that fall in an out of love, I fear, have never experience love as it was created to be. Love is constant and endures through much suffering and thrives through much joy. love is the most beautiful gift that holds everything together.
  20. PLANNING A WEDDING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE STRESSFUL
    That’s right, I said it. I am having so much fun. It’s planning a party to bless all the people you love and celebrate something much bigger than one day. Stick to your budget, ask for help, and make decisions of things you like.
  21. REST IS A GOOD THING
    It’s not a waste of a day to stay in your PJs…. All day long. Resting is so frowned upon in our culture because we are in pursuit of money and success. Some of the most beautiful moments in life are weaved into simple minutes and found when your clock and iphone aren’t near.
  22. STARTING NEW AT 22
    it’s never too late to do what you want to do, it’s never too early to start anew.

This year has been a busy one; graduating college, getting engaged, planning a wedding, SO MUCH at work…. I have faced more fears than I thought possible. This year has been one of my favorites. It’s been a whirlwind of learnings and failures, of brokenness and beauty. I am expectant looking forwards to a new year, a new season…. But I have found such joy and loveliness in this past year.

Take time, breathe in and out, take a walk in the grass, have your coffee “for here”, seek to be humble, have a great year.

beautiful boundaries

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As a newly engaged woman, a lover of life, a lover of God, and people I wanted to write my thoughts on boundaries in relationships. Not everyone is the same and boundaries look different when considering your past, what stage of a relationship you are in, and what the goal of your relationship is.

Boundaries are not meant to take away from your relationship physically or emotionally but add safety and freedom to it. Have you ever played a game with someone who makes up rules as they go, it’s frustrating, seems selfish, and you normally end up losing. But if you establish guidelines beforehand everyone is on the same page, it’s fair, and you are set up to win. As a woman who lives each moment to the full, is adventurous, and is intimate; it’s a joy to walk in boundaries. Before I understood the love of God is was hard for me to cherish a life set apart, now it’s my greatest joy. My life looks different. I don’t get drunk, I don’t do drugs, I don’t sleep around. Those are clear guidelines set up in scripture for believers but there is a big GREY area before marriage that needs to be thought through.

Are you above sin?
You can set yourself up for failure by being prideful. (proverbs 6:18) Because I have lived a pure life up to now does not mean that sin is less of a possibility. Wisdom, leads to fear of the Lord, which leads to humility. Because I am human, not to mention, I am unbelievable attracted to this man and no matter how strong I think I am…. There is a war going on for each decision I make. God created boundaries for his people so they would be pure and holy for his sake, it is the same in any relationship whose goal is to bring God glory.

What’s the rush?
I am engaged… meaning I am going to be married… forever. This can do one of two things, it can become an excuse, “we are going to do everything anyway” or it can become the most valued relationship I have had “I want this to be different than any relationship I have ever seen or experienced.” I will get to do many things in such freedom and experience new things so I want to wait out of joy and purity for those new experiences. Be careful of what I am going to call a “build up” things lead to things that lead to THINGS…. And if you are behind a closed door, making out, and all over each other THINGS are much more likely to happen. So don’t set yourself up for failure. Waiting now can multiply beauty and enjoyment later.

Am I cherishing the other person or using them?
GOSH- so many things have become so selfish… even the most beautiful things. Holding hands, kissing, making out, sex these things were created by God because he wants us to enjoy what he has created to bring Him glory… Everything God values he gave it boundaries or guidelines. People, His temple, His Kingdom and more practically sex. It’s not about you, it’s about Him. If you are doing something out of a selfish pursuit or a good feeling you are no longer loving and serving the other person (therefore glorifying God) you are servicing self and building destructive habits in your relationship.

Do you find yourself hiding?
Are you hiding from people, are there things you are keeping secret, or that you aren’t telling others. In marriage I believe there is an intimacy that is only for the man and woman, therefor not openly talked about. But before then throughout history there have been systems set up to protect (specifically) women’s purity. If you are hiding and withholding from your God given community that’s normally called shame. Community is one of the most beautiful things you can experience on this earth. You should have accountability, value their opinion as someone who prays for you, and as someone who has an outside perspective on your relationship. When you are the one in the relationship it can be harder to make sound and wise decisions because of your desires and emotions. It’s ok that you have a hard time (believe me, I have a really hard time some days) but it’s not ok to go ahead and make decisions leaving out wisdom.

A couple of quick questions I ask myself to sober my own mind:

  • If someone looking in saw what I was doing would they think that something is different about my relationship? sidenote: this is more that just words, it’s actions… even the smallest ones.(Romans 12:2)
  • Is this wise? (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  • Is this for now or for later?
  • Does someone know besides us? (Hebrews 10:25, Galatians 6:1-2)

 

Coming soon I am trying to compile some thoughts from my married friends on this topic.

Why I said YES (the abridged version)

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I have never felt so protected by someone
Once there was an ice storm and I was at Tim house, I was going to leave and he said I needed to stay there…. I said I would turn around if it was too bad. He got up and grabbed his keys and went outside without a word. He came back in after 10 minutes and said… “no babe you are staying here tonight. You can sleep in my bed and I will sleep on the couch”

There is no one who has ever made me feel so special
Flowers and words are the best ways to make me feel loved. Tim has brought me flowers on our “month-a-versy”, when I have had a hard day, and just to make me feel special…. also he always cooks for me.

He is disciplined and self-controlled
I have never met a man that denies his flesh like Tim. He does his homework, makes time for people,  he seeks to be excellent. We set boundaries (still do) in each season of our relationship and by the grace of God he has completely honored those boundaries. Making me feel safe and cared for.

He is vulnerable with me
He doesn’t hide struggles, hard things, or things he is learning from me. In this, he equips me to pray for him and to fight with him through these seasons. Some of my favorite moments with him are moments when we both have tears rolling down our faces and we have a chance to pray together for each other.

When he is around I feel like the most beautiful woman
He looks at me like he looks at no other person. I have actually been told this by other people. This is something that I may never be able to explain but being adored and cherished so deeply by a person brings so much confidence to women.

He is a good friend
He is not just someone I love to hold hands with, be all romantic with, or get flowers from. He is someone that I can act goofy with, pick on, and make funny faces at. He makes the most normal things fun and funny.

He is so intentional
He doesn’t do things without a purpose and plan. He makes people feel valued and makes people feel safe through his intentional way of living. He lives his life in the light that he was created for something greater.

He dreams big
He has goals, dreams, and a big calling on his life and he lives his life to the fullest. Once he came into my office moved my globe onto my desk and talked to me for 30 minutes about the church in Dubai and how he wants to go there.

He loves God more than me
Tim will talk for hours about how much God has done in his life, he studies and reads more about God than I thought was possible. This is the last reason I am listing because it is what validates all the other reasons. If and when everything else fails; looks, jobs, dreams, plans…. God is faithful. Tim’s dependence on God has made his arms the safest place for me to be.

To be loved by a man that protects, cares for, plans for, and lays down his life for you is an indescribable feeling. To know that in a few months I will walk down the isle towards a man that loves me as I am but seeks to see me refined and made more into the image of Christ is the greatest gift God has ever blessed me with. I know life hasn’t been perfect but nor will it ever be but I am plum excited, for these reasons and a million more, to live life with this man.