Tuesday Creativity

So I’m going to brag for a minute and tell you that I come from a family of super creative and uber talented people. My older sister is one of the very best [[now retired]] wedding photographers that I have ever seen. Yes, of course I am biased. But seriously….go check out her work at Brandy and Beau Photography. Brandy was the Matron of Honor in my wedding and also shot our engagement photos, bridal portraits, and oversaw our wedding day photo shenanigans as well. However, I mentioned above that she recently has retired and moved on to a new adventure. And [[this is where I got sooooo blessed]] when she closed down her studio, she gifted Ryan and I with a gorgeous canvas of our wedding day. It was so pretty, I couldn’t just hang it. I had to paint my living room first, then collect some other art/pictures from around my home to accent it. This is what I came up with. I’m in love. I’m so proud to be featuring such a gorgeous photo in my living room. And I feel even more blessed that we are in it. I don’t mean to sound vain, but I’m obsessed with her work and creativity in photography. She found this sweet little corner of the garden we were married in where there was a mini forest of bamboo shoots that created such a beautiful canvas. I feel so blessed. Enough words. Check it out.

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Lets do this 2013

Last month I shared with you my 2013 resolutions. Well, I’m not sure if I mentioned that my husband and I did this together. We set some individual goals and some joint/family goals and in an effort to keep these goals in the forefront of our minds, I created a Resolution Board for our home. Now we have a constant reminder and accountability system to help us reach our goals this year!

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To make this board, I bought a thin sheet of plywood-like material from Lowe’s and painted it with black chalkboard paint. Then I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the board title, “Lets do this 2013” and I used a chalk paint pen and chalk to write each goal. As you can see, some of them are more detailed and “trackable” while others are just words to remind of us each goal. When I was finished my stud husband drilled some holes and hung it for me.

We’re both pretty pumped to have this daily reminder in our home.

Craft win. ūüôā

Love, Steph

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day Blogosphere! I hope that if you are single or attached, you enjoy this day and celebrate the ones you love. This could be a spouse, a child, a best friend, or another person. Show some LOVE today!

Below is a sneak peak into our home today. I snuck out of bed after hubby was asleep last night to do just a little decorating.

Our bathroom

Our frig

Our entrance

On a side note, I had an epiphany at about 1am this morning while I was decorating. I’m pretty confident the best motivator for me to clean my home, is the potential to decorate and improve it. And the worst part about decorating is that I have to clean to make room and to show it off. I don’t like cleaning but I put up with it to achieve the beauty and peacefulness I find in a new project and fresh clean decor. Haha….whatever motivates you works right?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love, Steph

2013 New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year from the Arnold’s.
Better late than never!

I told you yesterday that I set some outrageous resolutions last year that I knew wouldn’t be easy and I really loved the challenge, the entire year I worked with intentionality toward (some of) those goals. Now, don’t get impressed, I only completed 1 1/2 of my 4 goals but I still felt such accomplishment because each goal was pretty massive. With this in mind, I wanted to set even more goals/measurable resolutions for 2013. First I set up some categories (that I completely stole from my husband’s leadership team at work) then put an outrageous goal in each category. Here we go!

Social: Have dinner with friends once a month. Don’t let a busy schedule keep us from investing in our relationships.

Spiritual: Find a church that we are excited to invite people to, join a small group, serve on a ministry team once a month. We’ve been here for a year, and still haven’t gotten plugged in and we both hate that.

Physical: Run a half-marathon. Training for this will help get me in better shape in general.

Professional: Increase my income to $3500/month. Perhaps a new job, keep waiting table on the side, and build a business.

Intellectual: Read 12 books. Leadership, entrepreneurship, spiritual type books, not the Game of Thrones series.

Family: Have more sex. 3-4x/week. Don’t judge me, I’m being honest. Our schedules are opposite most days and I really want to be intentional with this.

Financial: $25,000 in Emergency Fund & $5,000 in checking account. We’re Dave Ramsey disciples and we are on Baby Step 3.

So, these are my goals/resolutions for 2013. I know it’s already February, this is just a late post. I decided on these in January and have already begun working on them. I’m reading three books right now, we had dinner with Steven and Mallory and their new baby Andrea in January, we fell in love with Fairfax Community Church and committed to a small group that starts next week, and I called Gold’s Gym to inquire about membership. Haha Ok you caught me, I still haven’t actually worked out yet this year but I am making progress. Baby steps. I’ll do my best to keep you posted on my progress throughout the year.

What kinds of goals/resolutions have you set for 2013?

Love, Steph

2012 Resolution Recap

I set four lofty goals for myself last year (Read the whole blog post here). Here they are below with a recap of how they played out.

1. Read more. My goal is to read 12 books this year.

I didn’t quite finish this goal but this is a list of books I read in 2012. I included links to purchase these on Amazon as I recommend every one of them! The Language of Sex: Experiencing the Beauty of Sexual Intimacy by Gary Smalley, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey,¬†A Woman and Her God by Beth Moore and friends, and¬†The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire. If you can count, then you understand that this is only eight books, not twelve. However, most years of my life, I have completed 1-2 books/year. So this is a HUGE victory for me and I am so proud of myself. I set this goal of twelve books again for 2013 too.

2. Eat healthy and lose weight. My goal is to lose 17 pounds. 

I tried Weight Watchers in the beginning of the year, but didn’t put enough effort into it to see any real results. I also ran in my very first 5k. But other than that, I didn’t loose much weight and didn’t really¬†exercise¬†much at all. I definitely did not form any new positive habits in this area.

3. Pay off debt. My goal is to eliminate my student loan debts.

FREEEEEEEEEEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Using Dave Ramsey’s Debt snowball and Financial plan we buckled down and completely paid off all our debts (except for our home) this year. This is the best feeling in the world and I highly recommend every person who ever reads this to invest in your future and legeacy by enrolling in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

4. Start a business. My goal is to build a shop on Etsy.com to sell handmade crafts and the like.

Yeah…..sooooo……..this one….I opened a shop, ¬†but I have still not posted any crafts. For this goal, I cut myself some slack. I wanted very badly to start this last year, however, I was working the equivalent to two full-time jobs and whatever free time I could muster up, I wanted to dedicate it to my husband and family. This is not the case this year so my umbrella of “slack” has been removed in 2013. ¬†Keep on the look out for my Etsy shop this year!!!!

For the recap, by setting lofty goals, I ended up achieving way more than I would expect of myself normally. I am really excited to make even more crazy goals this year. I’ve already set several of them and have already begun working toward them. I’ll share those with you tomorrow.

One lesson I learned last year regarding resolutions/goal setting: Make your goals specific and measurable. Avoid vagueness and take time to determine exactly what you want to accomplish in order to achieve the most success.

How did you do on your 2012 resolutions?

Love, Steph

The Excellent Wife….in all her imperfect glory

The purpose of this blog is to document my learning, growing, and failing ¬†experiences in my role as a wife [and one day mom] and it is my hope that you will benefit from reading this material as well. My hubby, Ryan and I have been married for a year now ¬†and it has been amazing but I still have so much to learn. ¬†I have seen what the horrors of divorce in families and the dis-functionality that ensues when the marriage relationship is not properly honored and I am committing to focusing on becoming The Excellent Wife. For the purposes of this blog, I will be defining “The Excellent Wife” by King Solomon’s (the wisest king in Biblical history) poem in Proverbs 31:10-31. And in each post I will strive to better myself in one of the characteristics listed below.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
11  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
12  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13  She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.
14  She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.
15  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.
16  She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
18  She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.
19  She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20  She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21  She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22  She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23  Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.
24  She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25  Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
26  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27  She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28  Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:
29¬† “Many women have done excellently,¬†but you surpass them all.”
30  Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31  Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Now, your first reaction might be that this passage is dated and since it was written over 2000 years ago that it can’t possibly be relevant. But I beg to differ, read it again. Try to find things in your life that parallel to these verses. If you still aren’t convinced, stay with me, over the future posts of this blog, I plan to dive in and tear each of these verses apart to make it easier for you to make the connection.

In this passage, God has written out the exact specifications for the ideal wife and mother. I hope you’ll join me as I try to embody these characteristics in my own life. And please don’t walk away from this thinking that I am claiming to be the perfect wife. I am so imperfect but I am anxious to learn how to serve my husband and my [future] children the way that the above passage describes and I want you to learn along with me.

An excerpt from the ESV Study Bible footnotes regarding Proverbs 31:10-31:

An Alphabet of Womanly Excellence. [In it’s original language,] this wisdom poem is an acrostic, in which each verse begins with the successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The ¬†poem begins and ends with mention of the woman’s “excellence.” The probable intention of putting this together with the acrostic pattern is to show that the woman’s character runs the whole range of excellence. The woman is married (as expected in that culture), and she is devoted to the well-being of her household, to which she contributes by her participation in outside economic concerns. At the same time she makes her home the center of ministry by giving generously to the poor and by instructing her children and household workers in true kindness (neighbors may be included in this audience). So her husband and children enjoy their lot and honor her for her industry. This lofty portrait of excellence sets such a high standard that it can be depressing to godly women today until its purpose is understood. First, the woman embodies in all areas of life the full character of wisdom commended through out [the book of Proverbs]. This shows that even though the concrete situations up to now have generally envisioned a cast of males, the teaching of the entire book is intended for all of God’s people. Second, as with other character types, this profile is an ideal: a particular example of full-scale virtue and wisdom toward which the faithful are willing to be molded. It is not expected that any one woman will look exactly like this in every respect.

A Niece and a Nephew

Ryan and I spent Christmas with both our parents and became an Uncle and Aunt when our first nephew and niece were born on December 28th. The twins are so perfect and healthy! Ah! They just make me smile from ear to ear! I am so excited to spoil Kennedy rotten with bows, manicures, and lace and I can’t wait to dress Weston in an oxford with a bow tie. After holding these two beauties, Ryan is even more ready to start our own family! He’s going to be such a great dad one day.Little Niece and Little Nephew