Lifestyle

Happening Now: Volume One

Forty-eight hours. That’s the amount of time I spend with Dillon each week. I could complain and whine about it all the time but what is the point? This is how our relationship has been since the beginning. It is our normal.

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Photo credit: Kyndle Katzer

I work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and he works 3:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. On top of that his company sent him back to college last summer which absorbed some of our “us” time. He will start his third semester on Tuesday. I’m very excited about this because his work shift will move to days and he will be at school until 9 p.m. It’s going to be a long day for him but this means I will get to see him every night before I go to bed. Hurray!

His busy schedule will all be worth it in the end once he has his degree because we will be on the same schedule. Double hurray!

I get asked a lot “Aren’t you lonely?”

Honestly, yes sometimes it does get lonely being by myself a majority of the time but I don’t sit around crying into a bowl of ice cream about it.

Our relationship has taught me to value time. Every dinner we eat, every walk we go on, every trip to the store, every Netflix show we watch, every road trip we take, I value. I truly believe it has brought us closer together.

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Another thing that has brought us closer is praying for each other. I recently purchased “31 Prayers for my Future Husband” and “31 Prayers for my Future Wife.” Praying for your significant other, in all aspects of their life, strengthens the relationship so much. By putting God in the center of your relationship you both will prosper. Even if you aren’t dating or engaged right now, I strongly recommend these books. They are eye openers. Just remember these books are to be used as aids. Nothing can replace opening up your Bible with your partner!

To me, it’s not about how much time we spend together but how we use that time to serve the Lord.

-Kayla

 

What Really Matters This Christmas

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The hustle and bustle of the holidays is upon us. Christmas is just around the corner and the stress of having the perfect holiday has blown in with the cold front.

This year our family has grown significantly. Sara got married earlier this year, had a baby, (the cutest baby on the planet) and Dillon and I got engaged. With these amazing life changes our families have branched out and new Christmas traditions have been introduced to the both of us.

I knocked out all of my Christmas shopping a few weeks ago and presents are nicely wrapped under the tree. Although I’m ahead of the game in the gifting department I’m still feeling the stress of having the perfect Christmas with both sides of the family.

I’m stressing about if everyone will like their gifts. I’m stressing about making the tastiest party food. I’m stressing about finding my camera battery so I can have the best family photos. I’m stressing about making sure we get to each Christmas party on time.

I realized last night I was being a bratty Christmas elf and as usual I was stressing about nothing. What really matters this Christmas is gathering with family to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

It doesn’t matter if we are running a little late in our travels. The gifts don’t matter. What day we gather with our family doesn’t matter. Watching our favorite Christmas movie (Polar Express) doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if mom doesn’t make her Magic Bars. (gasp)

Sure all these things are great but we are all lucky to find time to spend together. We are healthy, live in a free country and have people who love us. God has truly blessed us.

So remember to not sweat the small things this holiday season. Live in the moment, hug your loved ones and count your blessings.

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

God Bless and Merry Christmas,

Kayla

 

Day Trip to Lawrence

For my 26th birthday Dillon bought me Kansas Men’s Basketball tickets. I guess he picked up on all the hints I was dropping. We attended the University of Kansas v Stanford game and I think it’s safe to say we both had a blast.

It was awesome to be back at my alma mater. I can’t believe it’s almost been four years since I graduated from KU. I had a nostalgic moment while riding the KU bus to be shuttled to the game. Awe, sweet memories of riding the bus while being smashed against a complete stranger.

Allen Fieldhouse has a great, electric atmosphere. I’m glad I got to share all the traditions with Dillon. Waving the Wheat, singing Crimson and Blue and doing the Jayhawk Chant. *chills* The 3 hour drive was worth it. Plus I can’t leave out the five 3-pointers Devonte Graham had in the first half. Wowzers. It was an awesome Jayhawk win, 89-74.

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Half time.

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Delish dinner after the game.

 

How to Read the Bible Daily

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I acquired a love for reading at a young age. I could pick up a new book, hide in my room for a whole afternoon and have it finished by bedtime. This wasn’t the case when it came to the Bible. When I was about 14 years old I convinced myself that I would be able to read the Bible daily and read the whole thing cover to cover. And that NEVER happened. I have failed reading the Bible daily countless times. I would run into books of the Bible that were very, very, very hard to comprehend or even stay conscious reading. Leviticus anyone?

I know I’m not alone in this. I’ve had friends tell me that they would love to read the whole Bible or even read it daily but……

  • They are too busy.
  • It’s confusing.
  • It’s boring
  • They don’t know where to start.

Excuse alert! Excuse alert!

Believe me, I was right there with ya. Life does get busy, it is confusing, it can be a tad bit dry and finding the right place to begin is hard. Guess what?!? It is possible. I’m about to complete reading the whole Bible in a year and you can totally do this to. I achieved this goal with the help of God and taking it one day at a time. Reading your Bible daily builds your relationship with God and it can change your life.

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1.Prayer

Pray, pray, prayyyy, prayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy my friends. The first step before jumping into God’s Word is to ask him for help. Every day before I dive into the Word I pray that God would grant me guidance through my reading. This is what got me going and kept me going. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

2. Pick a Time, any time

So you’re busy? Please show me a human being who isn’t. I use to use this excuse for not reading daily because well I’m an excuse maker. I would go three or four days straight of reading and then “life got in the way.” Then I would just stop completely. It wasn’t until I actually carved out time in my day that I started to succeed and grow. It’s about priorities.

I prefer to read a chapter right before work, a chapter on my lunch break and then again before I go to bed. I’m not saying you have to do this exact thing but find a quiet time in your day, no interruptions, and be consistent.

 

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3. Apps and Aids

Isn’t technology great? You can order pizza and read the Bible on your phone. Nifty. I cannot recommend The Bible App enough. I knew reading from Genesis to Revelations hadn’t worked for me in the past so I tried the OWNit365 Bible Plan. It mixes Old Testament, Wisdom books and New Testament all into an easy read. You can find the plan on their website here or find it on The Bible App here. It worked for me and I actually know people it also worked for. Try it!

Ask a friend, family member or church member to read along with you. You can help keep each other accountable.

4. Take it slow

Listen, no one says you have to read the entire Bible in a year. It is possible, yes, but if the thought of taking on God’s Word all at once is overwhelming start small. Start with reading a verse a day. Once you’re comfortable with that move to a chapter. Everyone learns and grows at their own pace.

This is not a race. Take your time and actually absorb what you’re reading. Mediate on it. Write down verses that stick out to you. There is not a prize for the fastest Bible reader.

I hope these tips are somewhat helpful. Reading God’s Word is such an amazing experience. I have grown spiritually more and more each time I sit down to read. I pray that you do to.

-Kayla

October Favorites

Hey everyone! This is going to be a little collection of products I tried out in October for the first time that I ended up really liking. #notsponsored

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There are six items in total. I’m a big supporter of saving the bees, so I already love Burt’s Bees products.  I tried out these two products.

The Banzet side of our family gave us many blessings, but good skin was not one of those gifts. Both of these items became part of my nightly routine. The lotion although very concentrated compared to other lotions I’ve tried, was great. It made a huge difference with the softness and hydration of my skin. As for the wipes, it kept my skin feeling fresh and new and did a good job at getting all the daily gunk off my face.

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This is the other skin product I started using. I would use this in the morning; anything that the wipes missed, this would get, because it cleans deeper than the wipes. My favorite part about this item was there was no weird smell, and you don’t have to use a bunch of it for each application. Between the two skin care products not only was I able to get my acne under control, I was able to completely get rid of it. Which is something I hadn’t acquired since hitting puberty. A lot of youtubers have been putting this product in their favorite videos and I figured, sure why not, can’t hurt to try it. I’m really happy with it, and I highly recommend it.

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One thing I learned rather quickly about being a first time mom with a full time job is that personal time is hard to come by. And in order to get things done, you have to make sacrifices. Time and time again that sacrifice has been my hair. I have long, thick hair that gets tangled very easily. It takes at least an hour to brush my hair and I don’t always have the time to do the up keep for it and I can’t pull off short hair (reference any picture of me from 2005-2007, 2012-2013). One of my favorite youtubers is always talking about dry shampoo because shes always too busy doing videos, tours etc. So I picked one she has recommended a few times. And I really liked it. I would describe it as a combination of hair mousse and putting color spray in your hair for Halloween. It gets all the gross oil out of your hair so you can wait to wash your hair a little longer when you actually have the time.

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This eye shadow kit was a present from my husband and I absolutely love it. The colors are super easy to match. (I am anything but a makeup guru). Which cuts the getting ready time in half. Why spend 45 minutes getting ready when you can do it in 15?

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I bought this poncho wrap from Walmart and absolutely love it. It’s super soft and comfy. I feel like I’m just cuddled up in a blanket all day when I wear it. Plus it was like $15. Woot woot

What were some of your favorites this October? Let us know in the comments.

 

-Sara

Campfires and Hikes

This past weekend my family traveled down to Ponca, Arkansas for a fall hiking trip. They visit Ponca twice a year, once in May and then again in October. The weather this October was unusually warm during the day but the nights were nice and chilly. We all gravitated to the campfire at night. We stayed in a bunkhouse at Lost Valley Canoe and Lodging. Our neighbors on the other side of the bunkhouse joined us around the campfire Saturday night to enjoy some music. Our neighbor brought a fiddle which was a nice addition to the guitar we brought.

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Saturday morning we hiked down the Indian Creek Trail to the Eye of the Needle. We had done this hike in May when there was lots of water in the creek bed. It’s a rough 3 miles in 3 miles out hike but was a tad bit easier without the water. There are a lot of slick spots on the rocks and I fell pretty hard on the way out of the creek. #bruisedbum The last time we did this hike we scaled a bluff known as the cathedral and thought we had made it to the Eye of the Needle. Turns out we were wrong. We were determined to make it to our destination this time and it was totally worth it.

 

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Indian Creek Trail.

 

 

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Indian Creek Trail

 

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In order to get to the Eye of the Needle you must scale the Cathedral with ropes and crawl through a small tunnel.

 

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The Eye of the Needle is pictured behind us. When there is a heavy rain a waterfall comes gushing through the eye.

When we made it to the Eye of the Needle people were propelling off the top of it. You can see a man propelling at the very top of the picture above. It looked like a lot of fun but you’d never catch me doing that. I wish the waterfall was running through it while we were there but it was still beautiful.

Sunday morning we visited Hawksbill Craig, which is also known as Whittaker Point. It was a gorgeous hike.

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I’m hoping the weather stays nice a little while longer so Dillon and I can hike on trails in Missouri. Where are some of your favorite hiking spots? Leave me a comment below.

-Kayla

 

 

What I’ve Learned About Buying a Home

For years I’ve been an avid HGTV watcher. I watched closely as families would tour houses to purchase. Purchasing a home was one of my fiancé and I’s top goals for our future together. We sat down and began listing what we wanted in our first house and what we could live without.

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Our current rental.

 

For months we surfed the realtor sites oohing and aweing over local houses on the market. After careful thought we decided to take the plunge and apply for a home loan to figure out what our budget really was. Once we were pre-approved so many possibilities opened up for us and we both have learned a lot so far.

Pictures Can Be Deceiving

 

It’s nice to be able to view houses from the comfort of your own living room. Many homeowners and realtors list multiple pictures of their living spaces to give a buyer an idea of what the house looks like. Although pictures and room dimensions are nice to see ahead of time take caution when planning to look at a home.

The person listing the home wants to show the very best parts of their property to make it look appealing to a buyer. Which in return means they are leaving out the water stain on the ceiling, the dirty spots on the 50-year-old carpet and the mold growing in the bathroom.

It’s a little disheartening when we looked at a home we thought we loved through pictures only to find out it smelled musty and moldy.

Also, houses can be listed on a website even after it’s purchased which gives false hope for a potential buyer. We wanted to view a cute little home with a nice yard that was listed on one site but it turns out it had been off the market for four months!

Lesson: Keep an open mind when first viewing a house in person. Just because a house is photographed perfectly doesn’t mean you’ll instantly love the house when you walk through the door. This process takes time.

Find a Good Realtor

I thought my reality TV house shopping knowledge would make this first time home buying process a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong. Don’t get me wrong, those shows taught me what to look for in a house but it’s hard to do it on your own.

Contact a local realtor to work with through the process. You can communicate what you’re looking for and they can help you hunt down the right place. Many times there are houses out there that realtors know about that aren’t advertised on websites.

A good relationship with a realtor comes in handy when negotiating a purchase too.

Lesson: Don’t do it all on your own. It’s ok to ask for help when looking for the right house.

Chose Your Loan Wisely

For years my dad always told me “Don’t get a 30-year loan.” It’s engraved in my brain. I’m not advising anyone to avoid a 30-year loan but Dillon and I want to do a 15 or 20-year loan to cut down on interest over the years.

There are tons of loan options out there for young first time buyers. We wanted a fix-rate loan but that might not work best for everyone. There are FHA (Federal Housing Administration), VA,  and USDA loans. We considered applying for a USDA loan because there is no down payment needed but decided to go for a conventional loan because it works better for us.

We spoke to several lenders before applying for our loan. Our best fit was the bank we both bank with. They are friendly, fast to respond and are very helpful when we have questions.

Lesson: Sit down and weigh your options before jumping into a loan.

Ask Around

Being a first time home buyer is scary business. We have both rented all of our adult lives and spending money on a house is not a cake walk. Doing research is great but also ask family or friends for advice when making the purchase. I’ve bugged my dad with tons of questions on what is a good investment and what is worth passing on.

It was a tad embarrassing to ask since I’m in my mid-twenties and want to be able to do this on my own but the advice we’ve received is so helpful when we view homes.

Lesson: Put your pride aside and ask for advice.

We haven’t found the right house for us just yet but the search is still on. We want to take our time in finding our forever home. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

What are some tips that you have for first time homebuyers?

Kayla