Because I'm Terrible at Scrapbooks
Confessions

Thursday Things, 21 August 2014

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Alright sweets, we are nearly weekend bound. Let’s finish strong!

Let’s talk about how this week is most certainly not my best in terms of eating healthy.

Not.at.all.

It involved this 5,000 calorie cupcake.

I'm dead.

Plus Will had two softball games Monday, one at 6:30 and one at 9:30, also known as past my bedtime.

What do you do when you have a two hour gap between games?

You eat French fries and fried pickles.

Real life.

And then I felt like a big heavy greasy bomb was in my stomach and I kind of wanted to slip into carb coma and pass out until morning.

So I did.

It was raining for Will’s second game so I stayed in the truck and fell asleep.

Supportive wife.

I also got to spent some quality time talking to a dear friend this week.

Oh girls, I am so refreshed by our conversation! We are not extremely close, however we have a common bond and love for God that has allowed us to strengthen, encourage, and pray for one another. 

Winning.

I’m kind of pumped about the weekend.

It involves a trip to a nearby fair with a little two year old girl. I’ve never been more excited to sweat my butt off in 100 degree heat and pet smelly blue ribbon goats in my life.

Here she is last year. Where does the time go!?

The fair!

Speaking of time passing, Lucy turned 8 this week and Boz turns 8 this weekend.

I fully acknowledge they’re not real kids, but I seriously can’t believe how quickly our time has gone with these old pups.

In hindsight, I feel a little guilty about getting them during our 45 day vacation home from Kuwait back in 2006 (but there was really no other time unless we waited until we moved home).

What were we thinking!? Staying with my in-laws with unruly puppies biting, tinkling, and flopping about!?

the babies

I also cringe about how we tormented our neighbors with their yapping during the nearly 2 years they lived with us in Kuwait.

Bad neighbors. Bad dog parents.

It’s probably a good thing we didn’t have real kids back then. We were totally clueless.

Soooo I’m 100% positive I’m not preggo, but guys, I’m having some seriously strange and insatiable cravings lately.

Like some weird stuff. Last night for dinner Will had leftovers and I had a giant bowl of broccoli and then proceeded to squeeze tablespoon upon tablespoon of mustard over it.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?

Don’t google that stuff either or it will pretty much make you worry about everything.

Okay, that’s it for now friends. Check in tomorrow! 

How to Fall Away From God (Streams of Consciousness)

When we cleaned the garage last weekend I found lots of interesting things.

Some I wondered why I even kept, some made me laugh (like my Super Nintendo), and still others made me incredibly reminiscent.

The reminiscent stuff is what I want to talk about today.

Do you have some time and some coffee?

Go get some and come back.

***

We found lots of “treasures,” but a few stand out:

A giant picture frame someone gave us, full of pictures of us with youth at the church where we served,

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A couple pictures that used to hang in my bedroom before I got married,

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And a journal I wrote in my first few months in Kuwait.

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All are distinctive, yet united under the same feelings evoked when I saw them.

Depending on how long you’ve read my blog, you may not know that Will was a youth minister when I met him.

Will & Brittny-counselors at Super Summer 2003

Here we are serving as camp counselors together way back in 2003!

It was perfect. I surrendered my life to ministry as a youth, and our marriage and ability to help serve alongside Will at our church was a dream come true.

Only, no one ever really told us just how difficult our time there would be.

It didn’t come easy like the places where we were before.

The youth were so very different than we were used to. No more squeaky clean preppy kids with parents who were involved.

Every week Will would drive the church bus to pick up almost every single one of those kids in some of the worst neighborhoods in town.

Only a few had parents that went to church, and only a couple helped out.

The biggest struggle was that the church was wrought in pain from the past. There was much division, and the church had never really recovered.

A few months into Will’s service, the pastor was asked to leave, and we faced so many new challenges.

Talk about a heavy load for two kids in their early 20s.

It was hard, and Will hated it. It wasn’t exactly the dream I envisioned.

Then the chance to go to Kuwait surfaced.

What initially seemed like something so outlandish, became an attractive opportunity.

We prayed about it and it seemed like everything lined up to go, and so we went. (Perhaps this will be a future post?)

If you read the archives from waaaay back in 2005, you’ll see lots of adjustments to the new life.

I didn’t work for my first four months there, which felt like torture at the time but in hindsight was such a huge blessing.

It gave me time alone with God. To seek Him and draw close to Him.

When I look back on my journal, I could still see a lot of immaturity and want to tell myself, “Oh Brittny, if you could only see how God was doing a work!” However, I also saw growth and my desire to really pursue a relationship with Jesus.  I had loved Him all my life.

When I looked at people seemingly very close to God who had fallen away, I could never understand it.

How could you be so close to God, and so deeply pursuing Him, and then all of a sudden completely fall face first and turn away from His goodness?

Well, sadly I can tell you how it happens.

Listen up, and be mindful my friends. It pains me to be able to share these lessons, but I sincerely hope it somehow serves as a lesson to some of you who may be going through something similar.

The truth is, when I would see people who were formerly strong in their faith who had fallen, I was only seeing the end result of much more.

A process.

Do not be deceived friends, the enemy is all around and wants us to stumble. The Bible says he looks for someone to devour.

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It’s very true. The enemy was very patient with me, as I suspect he is with many believers.

It was years of slow erosion. Slowly chipping away in such tiny increments that I barely noticed. He’s crafty that way.

Oh friends, I allowed myself to step out from God’s umbrella of protection and became so vulnerable to deception.

How did it happen?

Let’s dissect.

1.Lack of Community

Moving to a Muslim country made it difficult to openly pursue a relationship with the Church.

Thankfully, someone we knew hosted a Bible study which allowed us the opportunity to meet with other Christians and fellowship and study the Bible.

Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, conflicting schedules prevented the leader from hosting and things dissolved.

Will and I were on our own.

The Bible stresses the importance of relationships with believers.

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I needed that community of like minded people in my life to encourage, to get encouragement, and to have a support group as we collectively pursued God together as a unit.

It was hard doing life on our own, but we managed to adjust.

Of course we did.

If you’re a Christian not attending church, you’re missing out and vulnerable. I would encourage you to find a church that preaches God’s word and get plugged in.

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2.Compromise & Complacency
In addition to lack of community, small compromises here and there primed my heart for falling away.

Seriously- like minuscule things that didn’t seem like a big deal.

However, that small wearing away allowed my heart to become vulnerable to attack. The more “small” sins I determined to be acceptable, the more I was on a slippery slope.

The more satan can get you to dip your toe in sin, the easier it can be to get dragged into the depths of the sea.

Sin is sin in God’s eyes, friends, no matter how we weight it here on earth.

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The Bible says God has “honest scales.”

Sin separates us from God.

If we allow what we believe to be “small” sins in our lives, we are sinning plain and simple.

We are opening our hearts up for more and more compromise. I know because I did it myself!

Before long, compromise was followed with complacency.
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Being totally fine with those “small” sins. In reality though, they were totally hardening my heart more and more.

Want to fall away from God?

Start making compromises and allowing sin in your life under the justification that “it’s not that bad.”

3.Apathy

Inevitably, compromise and complacency give way to apathy.

You just slowly stop caring about the things of God.
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You might say you do, but the heart doesn’t lie.

When we first moved back, we halfheartedly visited churches and kept on the outskirts or things.

Having spent three years without attending made us sort of accustomed to not going.

The first few years home weren’t our best. As I’ve shared so many times, my heart was so different than the one I knew so well as a youth and young adult.

As crazy as it sounds, I didn’t feel like me.

I felt like some other person, so unlike the Brittny I knew my whole life.

Living a sinful life far from God.

I stopped praying and reading the Bible.

Apathy will do that to you.

Apathy is such a dangerous place to be for professing Christians.

In fact, I’d venture to say it is nearly impossible to come back from a place of not caring unless the merciful Lord intervenes.

Thank God He is slow to anger and bountiful in love.
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4.Fear and Doubt

I started to feel Jesus’ gentle pull back to himself a couple years ago, but I believed I had gone too far. That He couldn’t take me back.

After all, I was the “perfect one” all my life. The youth leader, and the one who went on mission trips and truly loved God with every fiber in my being.

How could I go from that, to what I had become?

And how could God forgive me after I had already known his love so well and yet still fell away?

Apathy turns to fear and doubt.

And fear and doubt can often keep people from repentance.

It’s one of satan’s worst lies of all.

I was paralyzed in this fear, and yet slowly and continually, piece by piece, God reassured me of His love.

He reassured me that He could scatter what I had become as far as the east was from the west if I truly came with a broken and repentant spirit.

That he could restore me and bring me to an entirely new level of knowing Him.

Verses

***

Oh friends, this is but a glimpse into the story.  However, I felt compelled to share it with you because we must be on our guard against the devil’s schemes.

They’re much more insidious than we think.

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That’s what makes them so dangerous and painful. 

If you want to fall away from God, you do the foolish things I did above.

Saturday night, as I tried to go to bed, I thought about the things I discovered in the garage and hot tears began to stream down my face.

The streams turned to quiet sobs, and I did my best not to wake Will.

Sooo, I crept into the bathroom and sat on the toilet seat.

Classy gal.

God and I had been in this place many times before (well, maybe not plonked down on the toilet seat per say, but in this very same situation).

I needed a lot of reassurance from Him along the way.

I found myself at His feet once more apologizing for wasting such a huge portion of my adult life living selfishly. Thanking Him for His mercy, and pouring my heart out to Him.

Telling Him how I want to get to the same level of intimacy we were before, yet in some strange way feeling as though I was more raw and intimate with Him recently than in my entire life.

I ended up reading exactly what I needed at that moment. This post about how God can make beauty from ashes.

In fact, the Bible days that things meant to harm us can even be used for good.

We serve a big God.

Bigger than our failures.

A God big enough to help us pick up the pieces and create a masterpiece that could only be used for His glory.

Perhaps you’re caught in one of these situations?

Maybe you’re on a similar path to falling away that I shared?

Oh friend, turn to Jesus.

I know the trappings of this world and “doing as thou wilt” sure seems great sometimes, but it pales in comparison to the freedom of living a life centered in Jesus.

I can say it because, unfortunately, I’ve lived on both sides.

Commit to Him and His plan, friends.

To wrap things up, I decided to hang a couple of those pictures.

And who knows, maybe I’ll even hang the collage I once deemed “hideous” as a simple reminder of the impact a life devoted to Christ can make.

Thanks for listening, and know I’m here to listen too!

❤️

The Hostess with the Mostess

A few years ago, when my heart was incredibly hardened, I would come unglued at the thought of people coming over to our house.

Absolutely unglued.

I was in graduate school, working full time, stressed out of my mind. Seemingly any little deviation from normalcy would derail me.

I would have such an ugly attitude.

Since I was in school at the time, our house was a disaster not as tidy as I hoped, so I would take off Friday and spend the whole day cleaning.

Cussing, and cleaning.

Angry and ugly.

I was mad my plans and schedule were interrupted, and I was always relieved when our guests left.

Oh friends, when I look back I was seemingly forever in a state of total pissed-off ness. Sorry for the term, but it is so very true.

You’d never know on the outside, but I did. I know Will saw plenty of glimpses of my ugly heart, too.

That’s the funny thing about the heart. You might be able to fool a lot of people, but you can’t fool God.

As you have hopefully seen over the last couple years, The Lord has been doing a work in my heart and in drawing me back to him.

He restored me, cleansed my filth, and made me new.

I look back over the course of the last several months and see His guiding hand over so many changes in my life.

Hosting family last weekend was yet another confirmation of His grace. 

He is so good to me.

I never would have looked forward to hosting four people overnight before, and yet this time I did.

The Bible says to be hospitable without grumbling, and with his spirit and help, I was able to actually do that!

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I enjoyed preparing for our guests last weekend. I got excited thinking about ways to serve them.

I made little gift bags.

While I cleaned, I didn’t stress about the details.

I simply thought about having our family with us and enjoying their company, and less about my selfishness and being “put out.” I didn’t feel that way at all! I was blessed to host them.

Who the heck is this lady!?!

Girls, The Lord has blessed us richly, and we should enjoy opening up our homes to others and sharing his blessings and love.

I realize I sound all fluffy, and that I’m making this transformation seem so easy.

Trust me, I’m not.

However, Jesus is able to transform even the hardest of hearts.

So how are ways we can begin that transformation and be the hostess with the mostess?

1. Be thankful

I find when I’m worrying less about what others have and what I don’t have, I’m much more conscious of what I do have.

Practicing gratitude is a must if you’re going to be a good host.

I decided to worry less about dirty outside windows and more on ways I could show my guests I loved them.

I decided not to worry about my house not being fully decorated in some places, and more about the many blessings God has given me and our house.

2. Be generous

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Everything good and perfect thing comes from God.

It’s His, and it’s important to keep that in mind.

He’s given me a beautiful house he’s allowed me to live in, and I can’t help but feel compelled to share these blessings and God’s goodness with others.

Proverbs tells us that when we are generous we will prosper, and when we refresh others, we are in turn refreshed.

Instead of feeling like the life is sucked out of me, I want to feel like I’m willingly giving myself to others.

For example, I got totally giddy at the thought of making them little goody bags!

Just a simple mindset change actually blessed and refreshed me just as I prayed I would refresh my guests.

3. Be a servant

You don’t hear that much these days, do you?

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I would often scoff at all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry associated with overnight visitors.

However, the more I prayed for God to soften my heart and make me more like him, the more I desired and actually looked forward to serving my guests.

I took joy in cooking something yummy for them, or laying out freshly scented towels.

I wanted them to see God’s love in me, and the best way I felt like I could do that was to serve them with an undivided heart.

4. Ask for a heart change

Sometimes?

Sometimes, just like my story, we need a heart readjustment. No amount of trying to serve or be grateful can change us if it doesn’t first start with our heart.

Oh friends I’ve so been there!

The good news is that He makes water flow in even the driest deserts. 

He can change your heart towards being the hostess with the mostess and a whole lot more if you let him.

But it’s our choice. We have to choose to turn away from or junk and let Him be Lord.

So what’s it going to be?

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Here’s to hoping you show some hospitality to your family this weekend!

It’s Will’s birthday weekend, so I intend to do just that! Our weekend involves a peanut butter ice cream cake. HELP!!

Check in Monday! ❤️

Thursday Confessions: 26 June 2014

Soooo, today’s post is a confessional of sorts.

Just a few random facts or things you should probably know as we continue to be internet friends.

For example, I am seriously sensitive to heat.

(Read: I rain from my head.)

I totally wilt.

I sweat buckets.

It’s embarrassing!

Softball games should be a blast this summer.

I get kind of stressed out about outdoor functions during the summer. So, if you want to invite me to one, please make sure we can mingle outdoors or indoors so I don’t faint and totally ruin your party vibe.

Or you could have them at like 9:30 at night when it drops to 90 instead of 120.

Although, that’s sort of near my bedtime so…

I kind of totally hate parking garages.

Mainly because:

1. I’m kind of terrible at driving and parking. “Oh hey, I know! Let’s put Brittny in a confined, dark, crowded space and make her do both!”

And

2. I’ve watched way too much TV. Seriously- we all know no good comes from these places.

It drives me batty when Will leaves a tiny single shred of toilet paper instead of simply changing out the roll like every adult in the world knows to do.

Seriously, what am I supposed to do with that thin piece of nothingness? Sheesh.

One of my favorite movies is Ever After.

I think Drew Barrymore is stunning in it, and I fall in love with the good guys in the movie every time I watch it.

I heart the Jose Gonzalez Pandora station at night as I get ready for bed, contemplative days, when I’m doing mundane chores, or during rainy weather.

To this day, I still love the King of Queens.

If you read my blog during the Kuwait days, you know Will and binge watched the box sets. Every now and then I’ll catch it on Nick at Nite and have to watch.

I am also a big fan of Top Gear.

Not the US Knockoff.

The original, British-based show that’s been on for-ev-er. Even if you’re not a big car person (I’m not), the show is still pretty great.

I was an only child for seven years before P came along, and I was boss-sy.

Britt-5 yrs old & ready for school

Like super duper bossy.

Hearing stories about myself back then crack me up because I don’t think I have a single bossy bone in my body.

Where did that girl go? I could probably use a little of her spunk.

Oh, and I realize the “B” word is a little controversial these days.

Don’t worry. I wasn’t saying bossy and meaning I had great leadership skills.

I was straight bossy. B-O-S-S-Y.

There’s a difference.

Maybe having a little sister changed me a bit?

My face in this pic. Ahahahaha

Brittny & Carissa-2 weeks old

I pretty much love the 80s.

I was born just a tad too late to really have enjoyed it in all it’s acid washed, Goonies, Nintendo glory, though. smile

When I was 19, Will made me get my first “real” job.

Will & Brittny-Feb 2003

Okay, he didn’t make me, but I always like to tell him he did.

After all, I was 19. It was about darn time.

I laugh because at the time, I was working as a nanny and also helping my Mary Kay director fill orders and keep up with her books. They were both very fluid jobs, not “real” ones with a hard set schedule and a monthly paycheck with taxes and all that grown up crap.

I totally argued that I already had a “real” job. In fact I was working two “real” jobs. Haha

The truth is, though, having a “real” job came in handy as we prepared to get married.

Not a confession, but still worth saying- I love Jesus so very much.

There was a long time on this blog when I kept my faith separate from my posts, and it was wrong for me to do so. I can’t keep it separate anymore because my life isn’t segmented from Him anymore. He is my life, and I can’t help but have Him come out in all facets now.

Just some fun facts to share today. Any of your own fun facts you care to share?

When We Only Have One Piece of the Puzzle

No flowery thoughts or helpful insights to share today.

Today, I simply feel compelled to share my heart.

Because sometimes?

Walking the straight and narrow isn’t easy.

It’s hard.

It takes faith in what is unseen.

It takes trust in another.

And I realize that may come easy for some, but that’s not always the case for me.

The B-Love family had faced some recent challenges lately, probably no different than many of you.

Why is adulthood so hard sometimes?

Why don’t things go as planned?

Why does it seem like we are going in the opposite direction from where we want to be?

I realize there are plenty of places on the internet that may say otherwise, but God never promises our lives will be rosy 100% of the time. I think it’s important to remember this truth.

Right now, I’m working through this reminder.

Will and I made a family decision about something I am so sure is grounded in God’s will. When we made the decision, we knew it might come with some challenges. However, recently we’ve been bombarded with so many of these aforementioned “challenges” that we are left scratching our heads wondering what’s going on!

In times like these, it’s easy for me to question whether God really guided us to this point, or whether we made the wrong decision.

Should we have done something else?

Should we change the course now?

However, I know we can’t. I know we made the right decision, even though things seem to be going wrong right now.

You see, we only have one small piece of a much bigger picture that only God holds. “He’s got the puzzle box top,” my pastor shared the other day.

It’s a weird thing, being in God’s will and trusting Him during a time when His path feels rocky under my feet.

A gamut of emotions run through me, and even more run through Will.

He bears way more on his shoulders than he should.

However, I keep coming back to the truth that I know for certain He has brought us here. And all I can do is cling to Him for dear life! That’s all we can do, and perhaps that’s all He wants.

Despite the gloomy picture I feel as though I’ve painted, the Lord has held me close and really let me know he’s here and he cares.

That’s the best part.

Oh, and I realize I sound a little dramatic.

It’s nothing like that.

Don’t worry, this is all normal life stuff I’m certain you’ve faced too at some point, nothing extremely serious. But seriously, “normal life stuff” can still be tiring sometimes, right?

I’m just feeling a little tired today.

Every now and then I think about abandoning the decision we made, but I’m continually reminded I haven’t been abandoned and I need to obediently stay the course.

Besides, I don’t want to be where He’s not, and so I stay and wait patiently on Him to carry us through and give us wisdom and grace along the way.

I had this big elaborate plan to share something else today, but it would seem as though that’s not in the good Lord’s plan because I’ve been trying for an hour and still can’t get things to flow.

And so I simply share this. Which is still part of my tender heart exposed for you to see.

Sometimes when things don’t go our way, we just have to hunker down and hold tight. 

Sure, there are times to fight back in the name of The Lord and go to the mattresses, however sometimes the storms of life require us to brace ourselves and take shelter in His arms.

My dear Will is struggling with this concept as he’s the fixer, often relying in his own power to get.stuff.done.

I too have had my moments. However more and more I find myself crying out for Him. Telling Him I love Him and have to have Him. Because, after living a season without His fellowship, I can attest with my entire being it’s true.

I have to have Him.

And even more so when things that seemed so clear, feel so hazy now.

Friends, if you are His child and walking in His light, He will guide you and keep you. He never promised it would be easy, but He promised he would never forsake us.

So as I walk though this fog, I hold my hands out before me to grasp onto our Savior. I would rather be with Him in obedience during this storm than without Him and out of His will.

Prayers this helped someone else out there today wondering just why the heck things may be going the way they are. He is faithful, and we have one small piece of the puzzle. Remember, He has the box top and will use it to create His masterpiece. ❤️

More to come.

Verse

Thursday Confessions: The House Edition

1. Now that you have refrigerator rights, I feel I can be totally real and lead off with a huge home confession:

I have a complete internal meltdown when people wear shoes inside my house.

Complete.internal.meltdown.

You can probably see the color start to drain from my face, and the smile fade from my mouth.

I hold it together on the outside, but guys?

I’m dying inside.

2.Sooo chances are if you were ever to pop in unannounced, you would find we use Walmart sacks as trash bags.

Very Classy.

This has been a “thing” at our house, oh for about five years now.

Yep. True story.

I used to throw a total fit about it, but after while got tired of arguing with Will about the trashiness of it all (no pun intended haha). The truth is, we have a freakishly large amount of Walmart sacks and I guess we are putting them to good use?

I disgust myself.

3. Favorite chore: Dust busting with my new Dyson handheld. smile

My new toy

Least favorite chore: Dusting & cleaning the shower

4. Speaking of dusting, how often do you guys dust your blinds and baseboards? 

I’m not really sure what constitutes “normal dusting.” I usually do basic surfaces every week, but do in depth dusting, to include baseboards and blinds, twice a month.

Too much?

Not enough?

Help!

5. Will and I have a heightened sensitivity to the way our house smells.

Like for real.

Do you guys do that too?

We kind of sort of have a mini breakdown in the Sam’s aisle during the spring-summer months when we religiously check to see the scents they have only to realize they never ever carry what we need EVER during the warmer months.

Did the Sams people ever consider that vanilla and apple cinnamon are always in style!?

ALWAYS!?!

Sheesh.

So yeah, we pretty much hoard those two scents on the fall and winter when we can get them in bulk at Sams. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

That’s enough for me. Any household confessions to get off your chest?

Work it Out Wednesday: Tracy Anderson Dance Cardio

Okay, confession.

I own a Tracy Anderson workout video.

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It’s true.

Here’s when all the hardcore lifters that may read my blog totally roll their eyes and click off today’s post, and maybe even ban me altogether!

But wait!

Here me out!

There’s a method to my madness, I promise.

So, first things first. Let’s talk about Tracy Anderson’s controversial Method training.

It’s a bit of an understatement to say she’s a polarizing figure in the fitness industry.

After all, she has no formal schooling and claims if you use more than three pound weights when working out, you’ll bulk.

Thats right, if you more than three pounds, you’ll bulk

You know, because who wants to rock a bod like Jamie Eason, when we could pump up on a whole three pounds, right?

Jamie Eason

Anyway, I don’t really want to talk about all that today because I’m sure you can guess my opinion on the matter.

This review isn’t about her method program and is instead about her Dance Cardio series.

Aaaand, here’s where you judge me all the more.

Yep. I totally bounce around in my living room using dance as a workout tool sometimes.

Sue me.

The truth is, though if you do the whole workout (one hour), it’s a ridiculous cardio session.

It’s a lot of fun too.

So judge all you want, but I’ll still be dancing it up in my living room sometimes.

So I wanted to highlight some pros and cons about the DVD incase you too want to have a dance party in your living room.

Ready?! Let’s go!

Pros

1. It’s just plain fun.

It really is.

We’ll… Once I learned the moves, that is.

Before that it wasn’t fun at all. I felt like a complete idiot bouncing around trying to figure out how to do a freaking grapevine.

What?!

Once you get the moves even somewhat down (and I still don’t) it’s fun.

2. The time passes fast.

Once you learn the moves, you can skip straight to the actual workout and dance your heart away. It’s an hour long and goes super fast.

One hour dancing is a lot different than an hour on the elliptical, at least it is for me. I get bored easily and could never stay on an elliptical that long, but could definitely dance for an hour.

3. You can torch some serious calories.

On average, you can burn about 400 calories doing dance cardio for an hour. I was surprised just how sweaty I got, and that I was even sometimes out of breath.

4. It’s convenient.

You can do it in the comfort of your own home.

If you’re not big into visiting a class to learn dance moves you have no idea how to do, this is a great option. You can pause and rewind the instructions (over and over if you’re me haha) and take your time learning.

5. You can even use your own music.

I’m not skilled enough to do this just yet, but once you get the eight counts down and get comfortable, you could even mute the TV and turn on your own tunes.

6. Tracy takes you through stretching, too

It’s definitely important to incorporate stretching, and Tracy does just that.

7. Option to watch the cardio with Tracy facing you or facing away.

This was a helpful tool. You can watch her instruction facing you, and you can also watch her facing away, to see it from your own perspective. This especially comes in handy when she’s talking about left and right motions.

Hopefully that gives you some insight into some of aspects I liked most. Now let’s discuss the cons!

Cons
1. The DVD is not user friendly.

This is my biggest complaint, and it’s a major one.

The DVD set up is very frustrating. You have only two real options, learn the moves or do the cardio. 

The moves are broken into several different unique training sessions. So basically, you’re learning multiple mini dances that all come together to create the entire 60 minute workout.

The problem, though, is that there was no way I was going to be able to learn that all! Instead, I wanted to master a section at a time to make sure I had it down.

The DVD distinguishes these as unique dances, however you cannot simply just skip to them, it’s all or nothing. You have to watch the whole thing.

Sure, I can fast forward to the sessions I want to learn, and rewind to make sure I have a specific dance down. However, it would have been far easier to create the DVD to break up these dances so you could click on the specific one you wanted to learn. Sort of annoying.

2. It’s long.

Especially when you’re learning the moves.

If you’re a dancer or fast learner, it may not take long to catch on. However, I’m not blessed with coordination, so it took me a long time!

So, I didn’t really get the full benefit of a workout until I first learned the moves. Learning the moves, followed by a 60 minute dance cardio session was unrealistic, so I broke the learning part up into multiple sessions.

3. It’s recommended you do the program 4-6 times a week.

I suppose that’s fine if all you want to do is cardio and nothing else, but that’s unrealistic for me. I like to incorporate multiple types of exercise into my program, especially resistance training.

If you buy the DVD, you may want to just use it as a fun supplement to your current program, which is what I did.

So there you have it! We can learn from anyone. Even ladies who only lift three pound weights. wink

Ipsy review tomorrow!

posted in Confessions,Health & Fitness bullet permalink bullet 3.26.2014

Why Sometimes I Eat Thin Mints

Sooo, I wanted today’s post to be all about my first day.

However, when I stopped to think about how overwhelming Monday probably would be, plus the fact it would be my first day battling life as a commuter (which means getting home late), I thought I better play it safe and write this post on Sunday.

So that’s what happened.

I figure I will share some highlights about my first week on Friday!

With that in mind, I didn’t really have anything else planned for this post.

Which means we are both in trouble.

We could talk about how Will is sabotaging me.

Help!

Yes, there’s two in that pic.

Regular people eat one, and save the other one for later.

I’m not regular.

I eat both pretty much back to back.

I disgust myself.

Or we could talk about my own self-sabotage.

For Will… Minus the row if thin mints I ate

Will loves Girl Scout cookies (who doesn’t!?), so I surprised him with four whole boxes last week.

He was very appreciative.

Only… Will is regular (see Reece’s story above). He can open a row of thin mints, eat a few, and stick them back in the freezer.

(Because everyone knows that’s where they belong)

Surprisingly, even though I love all things sweet, the Girl Scout cookies don’t get to me that much.

In fact, we even have a Sam’s size box of Grandma’s Cookies that don’t tempt me much these days either.

Except…

Last Friday Will was out late at a friend’s for poker night. Which meant I was left to my own devices.

Around 10:30, you know, the perfect time to eat 600 calories in one sitting, I decided I would sneak a few of his thin mints.

He had half a row left in the freezer.

Who does that!?

Regular people.

I ate three, and called it good. After all, I had cake for my going away party and also splurged at my mom’s birthday dinner.

Five minutes later I decided, “Oh what the heck, let’s call this a cheat ‘day’,” and ate the rest.

Not regular.

Irregular.

Whatever.

Anyway, as I reflected on the day, I was surprisingly okay with it.

What’s crazy is that a couple of years ago, I would have felt like a total failure.

Like I had to punish myself the following day by eating less and exercising more.

I finally have such a healthy relationship with food and my body, that I’m okay having a “bad” eating day like that every now and then. Mainly because I eat so healthily all the time.

It’s living my life and enjoying the going away parties, birthdays, and even occasional late night snacks that keep me from eating an entire loaf of bread over a weekend (Real life).

Setting my mind on things above instead of earthly things or my past food fixation has helped me immeasurably.

No, I don’t recommend eating two giant Reece’s a day or eating a row of thin mints before bed every night. I’m just saying finding your own balance can go a long way to enjoying your life and still reaching personal goals.

I received two super thoughtful compliments while at the gym this weekend, and it’s not because I spend hours doing cardio or not eating carbs. It’s because I’ve found my healthy balance and no longer obsess over food and exercise. Definitely felt good to realize that this weekend.

Here’s to a healthy recovery week for me, and a healthy week for you! <3

Ups, Downs, All Arounds: Reflecting on 10 Years of Marriage

This week will mark mine and Will’s tenth anniversary.

Tenth!

I seems so long, yet simultaneously I can’t believe it’s already here.

Today I wanted to take a few minutes, just for my own selfish benefit, to shotgun out thoughts, memories, and things I wanted to remember about our life.

Beware, this post is going to be completely scattered.

-Will and I got married the spring of my junior year in college. We were such a babies!

We naturally picked March 13th because it was during spring break, which meant we could get hitched and go on our honeymoon all in time to get back home for the rest of my semester. It was either that or wait until summer, which wasn’t going to happen.

Such romantics. haha

Will kissing Brittny on the cheek with Carissa watching

-The morning of our wedding I distinctly remember starting the day with two packets of instant blueberry oatmeal. Flash forward from 2004 processed instant oatmeal to 2014, and I’m still eating oatmeal. Only steel cut these days. Pass the Benefiber and old lady jeans, please.

-I totally regret my poor bridesmaid’s dresses.

They were hideous.

And I wasn’t even picking out hideous ones to be a total Bridezilla. I’m pretty sure at the time I actually liked them.  Dear Lord, thank goodness my tastes changed. And if you’re reading this and had to wear one of those dresses (Cough:: P), I sincerely apologize. What was I thinking!?

Brittny,Carissa & Kaci Michael-13 March 2004

-Although my tastes in bridesmaid’s dresses might have been appalling, thankfully my house wear selections were not. I went with a very (very, very) simple and classic dish set which I still use to this day and plan on using for a looong time to come.

Dishes

-My wedding cake was layered with both strawberry and lemon tiers.

Will & Brittny getting ready to cut the cake

I still love both flavors and have strawberry cake for my birthday every year.

Um- AMAZING

-Will and I woke up late the day after we got married and barely made it to the airport in time. In fact, we even got into our first married argument at the airport trying to figure out where to go and where to park.

Not much has changed with my directional issues. smile

Oh- and they lost our luggage.

Will & Britt at the airport on their honeymoon with lost luggage

We went to the Poconos. It was a blast.

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-I absolutely loved our first year of married life. Whoever said the first year was the hardest was crazy. For me, it got harder later.

The first year was full of so much fun and wonder. Neither of us had ever been out on our own, so we had a total blast. We were like kids left home alone to play house. Only it was for real. haha

Look at these crazy kids! Such babies.

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Will & Brittny-Falls Creek 2003
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-We had a condo, and our bedroom was on the second floor.

There was a skylight in the living room that you could see from our bedroom, and turns out, when you went to bed each night, the street light from across the street shone right on your face. Awesome.

Will & Britt in front of their 1st home in Lawton,Ok-May 2005

-The very first meal I cooked for Will as his wife was shake and bake chicken (fancy haha), green beans, and instant mashed potatoes and gravy.

Very gourmet. 

Hey, I was 20. Will didn’t marry me for my amazing cooking.

-In fact, one time? I cooked a cookbook.

No guys- I’m serious. I actually freaking cooked the darn thing, in my complete right mind.

In my defense, we got a George Foreman Grill and I heated it up only to realize, “Hey, for some stupid reason they put the cooking guides and stuff, inside the grill part.” WHAT!? Yeah- I think that’s more their fault than mine.

For the record, we did not eat the cookbook.

-It’s no surprise things were tight financially. I was a full-time college student working a student worker job that pulled in a whole $500 a month (cha ching!) while Will was a fulltime youth minister. It was tight, but it was still wonderful.

When we wanted to indulge in a treat, we knew all the super great deals. For example, Back then (haha, waaaay back then), Little Caesar’s pizzas weren’t always $5. It was only on Mondays. So we totally did that pretty much every single Monday. Whataburger had a buy one, get one on Wednesdays, so we would hit that up from time to time. Oh, and let’s not forget Sonic’s brown bag special which we occasionally did too. I remember sometimes even “splurging” on Taco Bueno and walking around our college campus reminiscing.

Cheap meals, good times. Ten years later and the thought of eating greasy fast food almost always makes me feel sick. How times have changed!

Even through being tight and out on our own for the first time, Will still managed to buy me a beautiful Christmas tree that December and surprised me with a weekend getaway that following summer.

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-Getting OU season tickets was definitely one of our first year highlights.

Will & Brittny at last game of the season-2004

Although things were tight, we found a way to swing tickets. I’m pretty sure Will’s entire birthday present from both sides of the family was money for season tickets.

He was so proud to see our tiny names in the football programs that first year. We had so much fun getting up Saturday mornings and driving to Norman for the game. It was a pretty huge deal.

-In February of 2005, I started a blog on The Nest. I had no idea that a community of newlyweds would get me through some serious growing pains while living overseas in Kuwait. I was even one of their featured bloggers for a year. I am so thankful for that place and the fact I have years of memories and posts to read..

-Our first anniversary was totally un-glamorous. I had surgery on both my feet (crazy!), and laid up for two weeks straight.

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My mom and sister had gone to Kuwait to visit my dad, so they let us house sit for them, which was really nice. I managed a short bath that day and changed into nicer sweats (haha).

Very fancy, I tell you.

We had Applebees to go and ate it in my parent’s living room. Me sprawled on the couch, with Will on the floor next to me. Definitely not the first anniversary I had imagined. haha

-When I look back on our ten years, the first one is most definitely among my favorite.

Then, we packed up everything, put it in storage, and spent three years in Kuwait!

Will & Britt at Al Kout mall in Kuwait-May 2005

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Camels in Kuwait

Now that I’m nearly six years removed from my time in Kuwait (seriously- has it really been that long!?!), I now look back fondly, with rose colored glasses and realize just how great so much of that adventure was. There were definitely bad parts- like my job, which was a huge part of my life there, but there were also a lot of good parts.

Will and I got to travel and see so much and experience so many different things. Going to Qatar, Dubai, and Jordan was so special and I will treasure those trips forever.  During the first year or so, when we both didn’t have to work weekends, I really loved that time too. It was fun to spend time in Kuwait together, even if it was doing totally American things like seeing a movie, going to the mall, or eating at Hard Rock. It still felt so different. We were a tight unit because we really had to hold on to each other.

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brr!

Britt's Pics 098

air conditioned taxi

-Coming back to the States was a hard thing for us.

It was a blessing in a lot of ways, I mean we were home! But it was such a whirlwind. From moving our entire lives back to America and into Will’s parent’s house, to driving two hours a day to work while we searched for a house and waited to close. It was a bit stressful to say the least.

-Eventually things started to settle down, but things just didn’t seem to go as we had hoped and planned. Will struggled to find something he wanted to do which made things difficult for both of us. It wasn’t easy like it had been before. It got hard. We pulled away, I stopped blogging. I became a total grump and didn’t feel like myself anymore. Love, fun , and happiness abounded always, so this hard marriage stuff was something new for me.

Red and White Game 09

Things weren’t “bad,” they were just distant. Which, I suppose is “bad.” We were always at each other. My heart was in a terrible condition and far from God. Of course, there were many good times too, but anyone who has been married for a long time probably can relate to some degree that marriage is not always easy.

-I did the stupidest thing ever during that time and decided to get a master’s degree. Genius!

It occupied a lot of my time, and most nights were spent on the couch together watching TV while I slaved away at what felt like meaningless research, all for a piece of paper. In the middle of my program, things began to turn around for us, thanks be to God. Will found something he really enjoyed and that seemed to change his whole disposition. It also helped change my disposition, too. It’s amazing how much a job can leave you downtrodden and affect your whole being.

-For that reason, I interrupt today’s post to say- stop being miserable! If you hate your job, you’re not only making yourself miserable, you’re probably contributing to other people’s misery too. I realize our own personal feelings shouldn’t be predicated upon another, but let’s face it, when you live with someone, it happens.

It was like the bitter winter had passed and spring arrived, with fresh renewal, and I was so thankful for it. 

More flower pics. Geez

-I finished my degree in the summer of 2010 and never want to go back to school again. Haha

School is over!

Finishing school took a huge weight off both our shoulders, and for the first time in a long time, we were ready to be carefree and have fun again. To enjoy life and move forward with new goals and dreams.

-The last two years, have probably been the best of our entire 10 years of marriage.

Christmas 2013!

Sure the first year was bliss, but this is blissful in a different way.

It’s blissful because the “beer googles” are off this time.

The first year I was 20 and completely blinded by love.

This time I am nearly 31, and have had lots of life experiences.

Lots of ups and downs and goods and bads, and through them all love my Will all the more.

So much more.

Cheesecake Factory!

In the Way He Walks (Happy Valentine’s Day)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovelies!

Are you up to your ears in flowers and chocolate?

Or perhaps today is a little more low key, as is such in the B-Love house.

We’ve never been huge Valentine’s Day celebrators. Not to say I don’t enjoy the trinkets the holiday brings, but at the same time, you won’t find us out at dinner tonight with the masses either.

Nonetheless, today is a good reminder of our loved ones. No time like the present to tell them how much they mean to you!

With that in mind, today I want to share a total twist on Valentine’s Day. But hang with me, because I promise (or at least I hope!) we will come back full circle.

Today I want to talk about the green eyed monster, and how it got hold of me recently.

Yes, it’s true.

I even debated sharing today’s post since it’s so raw. And at the mere thought of questioning whether I should share such a soul-baring post, it propelled me all the more to hit “submit.” It’s no use for me to have this blog if I can’t be transparent, yes?

Anyhow, let’s get back that green eyed monster stuff.

The other day I had the opportunity to be around someone (and I apologize in advance for the cliché)on fire for God.

Just being around her was so exciting.

Talk about major girl crush.

Her positivity was electric, her love for others and God even moreso. 

And? And she was humble. 

Her heart is simply beautiful. And let’s not even talk about how super perfect her outfit, hair, and makeup was. No amount of foundation could make a face as flawless as hers.

Does she ever have a bad day?

Insert green eyed monster.

Not that you can really ever justify jealousy (though I’m about to. Ha), but I wasn’t “maliciously jealous” toward her (you know, because now I’m also compartmentalizing types of jealousy).

Rather, I just was more in awe. I totally wanted her heart, her amazing fashion sense, her love for others, her passion, her inner beauty.

As I left my encounter with her, you’d think I’d be feeling all excited and inspired, but the truth was that it left me feeling sort of lousy.

Why can’t my life be perfect like that? Why can’t my relationship with God be that amazing?

Why, why why!?

Sheesh. Talk about attack of the green monster and pity party fairy.

(what’s up with all these silly names to describe negative emotions?… eh, I’m just going to go with it.)

I just felt sort of blah.

I felt like a mess.

All the more I began to stare at the ever deepening lines under my eyes, and the bags to go along with them. My frizzy hair, and ridiculously pale skin.  Ugh, then my messy house. Don’t get me started on that! Then I began to contemplate my heart condition and how I wished to be so bubbly and enthusiastic much like her.

Sigh.

Days passed, when I began to think about the whole thing again.

As I contemplated, I realized instead of looking outward, I really needed to be looking upward.

So much of what I admired about this woman wasn’t necessarily all just her, it was God totally working in her.

You know what’s amazing about that?

He can use all of us.

The people we admire often have characteristics we’re entirely capable of possessing ourselves.

Not only that, but the traits I admired in her were simply extensions of the very traits God himself possess and gives freely to those who seek him.

When I watch others able to give so freely, I realize- I can be a giver too. When I see others show mercy, I realize God can give me a merciful heart too.

These are all things God can mold and make us into for his own glory.

With that said, it’s also important to remember our own uniqueness!

I know we’ve heard it our entire lives, but seriously- we’re unique.

And we’ve been placed on this earth for this very moment in time to fulfill opportunities the Lord placed in advance for us to do.  Okay, I know some of you are probably like, “Hmm… is she drinking the Kool-Aid?” If I’m wrong, I’m wrong (but I’m not smile ), but I’m a firm believer of this truth based on scriptures.

What I’m trying to say is, we’re not all going to be the Donna Reeds or Mrs. Billy Grahams.

I’m me.

I have my own unique story and past and present that can be used as inspiration to point others upward just like this girl did for me.

To put a bow on today’s topic, and come full circle to today’s special day, it’s in remembering our first love that we’re able to show love to others.

To be that light and inspiration others are drawn to. It’s simply a matter of walking in the way HE walks, and not looking at others.

Looking upward, my friends.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the man who held my heart before I even knew his name. <3

He walks

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About

brittny I'm B-Love. Lover of God, my husband Will, my doggies, OU football, weight training, plyometrics healthy eating (mostly!), peanut butter, and all things health related. Buckle up and get ready for my constant embarrassing moments, health and fitness tips,and my effort to rely on Christ while living life in the real world. Follow me on Feedly! Sign up for monthly emails at blove@theblovelife.com!


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