Being The Rule

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To continue on a bit from my last post, I have pondered a bit more on why I crave to be a mother so badly. It’s not just that I want to be a mother ‘someday’ is that’s I want to be one RIGHT NOW. Why every time another pregnancy announcement finds its way to social media I suddenly feel like I’m running out of time to be a mother. The urgency has always baffled me, why can’t I just be looking forward to being a mother in the future? Why must the anxiety creep into my life and complicate things? What stirs up this urgency in my mind and heart?

Well, last night, I think I figured out a small part of it!

I have lived much of my life as an exception.

Compared to this world we live in, I grew up in an exceptionally large family, in an exceptionally small town for many years, though we moved around a somewhat exceptional amount of times, I was always exceptionally tall and/or mature for my age, I didn’t date until college, an exception these days, I got married exceptionally young, and we paid exceptionally low rent for an exceptionally large house for only two people, and so on. It included big things and little things over the years, but there was always some kind of exception in place, something a little different than the normal of the world and I LOVED it. I thrived on being different and a little off beat, it was my normal and kind of how I gauged if I was on the right track. Being the exception felt so right.

When I would imagine having kids, I always wanted to be the exception. The ones who had babies young, the 28 year olds who already had 4 kids, the ones you would be shocked to find out were pregnant already, the ones who had learned to be parents at a young age, and all that jazz. That’s who I wanted to be, because it was the exception, and I knew how to be the exception.

It’s hard for me to switch my perspective to actually understanding that it’s okay to not be the exception so many times….it’s okay to be a little more normal, how a little more normal may be more right then being the exception. It is quite fascinating to me how normal I feel as the exception…how it actually makes me feel more secure most times.

I wonder what it would mean in my life, my mind my heart my dreams, if I were to live more as the rule and not the exception.

…these are the things I ponder on a Friday afternoon at work :D

Out Of My Element

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These days I feel pretty out of my element while working full time. I find myself fidgety often and anxious about how slow time seems to be moving. I have always believed my element would be as a mother, home keeper, and wife. I’ve dreamed of the days when I can care for Justin and I’s children along with our home. I’ve imagined greeting Justin when he comes home from work, with a smile and a kiss, followed by little footsteps of tiny children that want to greet their daddy as well. Just thinking about it fills me with a crazy amount of anticipation.

To be honest this isn’t a great time for me personally…it’s almost like all the rebellious anxiety and identity tension that was supposed to be worked out in my late teens has actually just exploded all over my life in my early twenties. I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing with my days and my life. My job isn’t centered enough to provide fulfillment, it pays the bills, which I am incredibly grateful for, but my anxiousness to leave as SOON as the clock hits 5:00 is a testament to its inability to grasp my full attention or capabilities. I sit at my desk all day pondering news, life styles, children, and money and then I go home and make dinner and do the chores and sometimes try to eek out some kind of creative venture so I can feel like I am at least interacting with something artistic now and again, then I sleep, which is most times my favorite part of the day, and then I wake up and do it all over again.

I tend to be overwhelmed a lot at this time. I work from 8:00-5:20 in a world where the normal is so far from my normal that it feels as though my time at work is a part in a play or movie and then when I go home I get back to reality. My car is crawling to its death bed in a mess of clunky slipping gears that make the commute to work an anxious painstaking journey every new day. Driving away from work each evening in my struggling vehicle alongside my coworker’s silent expensive cars is one of the worst parts of my day and each time I’m able to pull up in front of our house in one piece I give another prayer of thanks that the car lasted another trek. Most of the time during the week Justin and I live life together what seems like halfheartedly but is actually more along the lines of all we have left to give and this whole phase of Justin being in school and me being out of school is continually more of a challenge then when we were both in school together.

Guys, I just wanna run away…..to a desert or the mountains….I just want to pack up Justin and go somewhere and make 12 babies and when they are born wrap them all up like tiny sausages and go show them the world, the ocean, the forest, the meadow, the city, and give them a lot of hugs. And as we teach them to be kind and take care of the world we live in, we’ll also teach them about Jesus and about how this world is very distracting, but Jesus is where we begin and end and He is our soul’s core and purpose. It’s all so idealistic, that desire, but sometimes, in my heart of hearts, I wish that we lived in a world where we worked more for family, and we grew food to provide for a community and we talked about Jesus on a regular basis and our purpose wasn’t muddled with budgets and houses and life plans. I think a big reason why I seek simplicity is because I  feel wearied throughout my days. I’m sure it’s some kind of shortcoming on my part, an imbalance even, but my mind almost never ceases to race and my body is constantly tired from what seems to be reward-less efforts and minor growth.

It hasn’t been a great day, as I’m sure you can tell from the content of this post, but sometimes you just feel like you have to group up all of your complaints and worries and set them in one place, so you can, in a way, feel like they’ve been taken care of somehow.

It’s pretty easy to be honest on a blog, if I was talking with you face to face, reader, I probably wouldn’t tell you what I’ve just written, or I would at least end it with, ‘but it’s all really okay, it’s gonna be great” to keep the mood light and keep you from offering any condolences. I prefer many times to make it through tough times on my own, so I don’t feel indebted to people’s help. It always seems easier to me to just have to worry about the solution myself then have a lot of people offering to help…I’m kind of a weird one :)

Tomorrow really will be a better day though, each new day brings fresh grace and promise. And in all honesty, it really isn’t all bad….. some days it just sure feels like it is. :)

The Humble Budget | #2 | Snacks

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Snack foods can get expensive on a tight budget. They are not only the kind of foods that get consumed quickly but are many times some of the most expensive items you might want to buy! Popcorn is probably one of the most highly sought out snacks, especially by those working on a slimmer budget, but what if I told you that even if you chose the cheapest bagged popcorn out there you would STILL be spending too much for a delicious bowl of popcorn? Well, that is exactly what I am going to do. :)

Introducing the Whirley Pop! This magical contraption takes the idea of popping popcorn on a stove top and makes it, not only far more cost effective, but also more fun! There are multiple reasons why the Whirley Pop is one of, if not the best, choice for popcorn snack cravings, here are some of the most important!

Cost: The Whirley pop, which actually goes by a few different names, is sold by many retailers including Amazon, Aldi, and Mast General Store. I have never seen it sell for more than $25, and Aldi right now is selling them for $16! The initial cost of the actual Whirley pop will be the most you will spend on any part of this popcorn venture, and I assure you it will pay for itself time and time again!  Kernels can be purchased virtually anywhere and can be found right next to the boxed popcorn bags at the grocery store, the cost varies from bags for $1.50 to containers for $5.00. Justin and I normally go simple on our kernel choice and pick up the cheaper bags from either Bi-Lo or Aldi!

Longevity: If treated well a Whirley Pop will last you at least five years! A small investment of less than $25 for a LOT of gain!

Ingredients: One of the absolute greatest things about the Whirley Pop is that YOU choose the ingredients for the popcorn you crave! The combinations are ENDLESS. Justin and I’s favorites include parmesan popcorn, chocolate chip popcorn, and, always the classic, sea salt popcorn!

Process: Simply take your Whirley pop, add about 2 tablespoons, or less, of oil and between a ¼ or ½ cup of popcorn kernels, with the ingredients inside put the Whirley Pop on medium heat, let sit for about 2 minutes or until you hear the oil start to bubble and a kernel or two pop, then start twirling the handle until you stop hearing the kernels finish popping, pour into a bowl, sprinkle with salt and ENJOY!

Health: Because the Whirley Pop gives you the freedom to choose what ingredients you will use for your popcorn it allows you the option to be healthier! When you buy bagged popcorn you can’t know for sure what the quality of butter, salt or kernel has been used, nor do you have the option to go without certain ingredients. But with the Whirley Pop! Do you want unsalted popcorn? You’ve got it! Want to try a new fancy organic salt? Go for it! Want to use olive oil instead of canola oil? Give it a go!

Amount: why have a pre-decided popcorn amount if you could decide yourself? With the Whirley Pop the amount made in a single batch is up to you! A full Whirley Pop batch makes a large bowl of popcorn perfect to share with a significant other! Just want some for yourself though? Just pour in a half the amount of oil and kernels you would for a full batch and your all set!

Now you might say, why would I do all that work if I could just stick a relatively inexpensive bag of popcorn in the microwave and let it do the work for me? And I would understand, but I would also challenge you to consider the cost and quality saving and upgrade that you might be sacrificing just to avoid a minor amount of effort! Sure, when you want a quick snack it isn’t always the most exciting thing to have to put in a bit of work before you can enjoy the treat, but I can assure you that if you try out the Whirley Pop the benefits reaped will convince you of the worth of the investment!!

*this was not a sponsored post, all of the above thoughts are thoroughly my own offered without compensation. :)

Being Choosy

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So, since THIS post, I’ve been doing some thinking.

I still most certainly believe that we should all do our best to provide for our families and ourselves within our budgetary/life means, however,

I’ve been thinking over this idea of choosiness.

Normally I’m not too picky with gifts or shopping, this trait makes is so I am very easy to please when it comes to presents and I can shop for myself very quickly, but it also means I tend to bring things into my home, closet, and life that I either don’t truly need or would simply be better to do without.

Now I think there is something to be said for being TOO picky to the point where people are afraid to try to bless you with a gift or thought, but what if we were all a little more choosy in the things that we bought or brought into our homes and lives.

I’ve decided to try it, being a little more choosy.

This means not getting another dish at Walmart because we are functioning fine without it, it means not just picking out a shirt quickly because it looks ‘pretty nice’, but never checking close enough if the fabric/make looks like it will last long enough to be worth the cost, it means paying closer attention to what we use on a daily basis and pin pointing what the things are that we use and what things that just seem to be collected for no reason, it means using what we have instead of just buying something new just for the sake of wanting to spend money, it means not buying another mascara since I never really use the one I have, it means realizing that just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it has to be bought (especially if it’s something that won’t’ actually be used in the end), it means using up bottles and containers of things until they are actually empty before stock piling more of the same thing, it means thinking about things long term and asking questions like, would I really mind having not bought this if I walk out of the store without it? Is this worth spending money on right now? Is this something that will last? Can I see a use for this right away? Is this practical? And so on.

In my continuous desire to live simpler and spend less I have found that I also have a bad habit of contradicting that initial desire by not being choosy enough, so then I find myself with things I have no use for and become frustrated. It takes a little more thought to be choosy, but in the end you really do find yourself surrounded by, not only things you love, but things you actually use!

I do believe this is an important step towards more simplistic living!

What about you? Any thoughts on being choosy?

On Being 21

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I have found 21 to be one of the most interesting ages I have ever lived.

I still have about 3 more months to go as a 21 year old, but I think I’ll be glad when it’s done.

21 seemed to give the promise of adulthood, but it seems much more like the age of transition to adulthood then adulthood itself. I suppose it makes sense, experiences and learning don’t happen overnight. I think I was just surprised at how much it truly feels like a transition.

I have always been told I look older than I am, and I’ve always felt older than I was, but for the first time in my life I am beginning to feel young, and that is something that is wholly new to me and a little unnerving. I like to be mature and put together, and many times that’s how I’ll feel, but the more I interact with the adult world the more I see how far I have to go. It isn’t a bad thing, on the contrary it seems nice to know that I can only improve from here.

I never used the fact that I was young as an excuse before, I truly believed that I was just as capable as anyone despite my age, but the more I understand what comes with being older, the more I realize that maybe I should be alright to only be able to handle what a 21 year old can handle, and not attempt to say that I am as mature or capable now as I will be when I’m 30.

Maybe this is what it means to become an adult, to realize what you are truly capable of.

I guess we’ll see. :)

And then, we decided to move…

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…even if it’s just up the street, and we are nothing but excited to go down from 3 bedrooms to 1, from 2 bathrooms to 1, and from 9 rooms to 3, and I get to live my minimalist dream and get rid of almost everything we own, and Justin gets to be less concerned with being safe in such a big space and for the first time in our married lives we get to have internet at home! For many people downsizing would be a struggle and a disappointment, but Justin and I are so ready to embark on a life of more simplicity, practicality, and modernity. It’s certainly going to be a change, but it’s one that we feel we want to experience and so, we are. :)

What I Will Miss

  • Big picture window in our living room
  • White walls
  • ‘Henry’ the tree in our front yard
  • Neighbor-less free walls
  • Space to store crafts
  • The quaint dead end road our house is situated on
  • Two bathrooms

What I will NOT Miss

  • Too few windows
  • Empty, useless spaces (aka: garage + attic + back porch)
  • Old appliances (we’re talking 70’s appliances, at best)
  • Cracked ceilings
  • Too many things in too much space
  • Old windows, walls, and floors with spaces and cracks I don’t even know of fully
  • The habit of not getting rid of things only because there was space to keep it
  • Cleaning two bathrooms + an entire house
  • Lack of Internet

More updates to come along the way!

The Humble Budget | #1 | Birthday Presents

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I’ve decided to pursue another series on this blog called ‘The Humble Budget: a compilation of tips and tricks for those living on a truly modest budget’.

Being a, not freshly but still newly, married couple who are half in school and half out at this time, but  lived the first year of marriage fully in school, I find that the budget by which we must live by is one that is many times looked over by creative tricks and practical tips across the internet. I’ve been frustrated more than once by tips that claim to be budget friendly, but are still exorbitant compared to our available funds.

Enter The Humble Budget.

Disclaimer: I don’t mean this series to in any way be an avenue to complain about our current financial situation, nor do I intend for it to be a way to condemn those who have more available funds.

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To start off this series let’s talk birthdays!

The best way to have available funds for birthday presents is to, obviously, set up a planned area of your budget that you add money to when possible. However, this ideal system is rudely interrupted or even ended when the ‘gift’ money must instead be put to groceries or gas, a possible/common occurrence on a tight budget.

When this happens it can feel incredibly disappointing and very much like a road block, but as it is proved over and over again necessity is truly the mother of invention!

This past September was my niece Evie’s first birthday. At the time I had only just started working my current job after 2 ½ months of unemployment and it’s certainly fair to say our budget was tighter than usual. But I just knew I wanted to be able to give her something in celebration. I started thinking through DIY projects I’d come across or homemade possibilities and then it dawned on me, a doll. I could make a doll! I’d never made a doll before, but I knew that I could do it and more importantly we could afford it! So, with leftover fabric, yarn, and buttons and already owned thread I went to work! In the end the doll was almost nothing like I had imagined it might be, but the way Evie smiled so big when she opened the present was confirmation enough that the little doll was just right! :)

In summary, gift giving can seem like one of the first things that has to be given up when the budget gets tighter, but with a little ingenuity and inspiration the opportunity can actually become a way to utilize talent and resources that would otherwise be forgotten!

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Autumn Growth

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I have attempted to grow and maintain plants numerous times before, but I’ve never actually succeeded in seeing a plant I’ve cared for fully grow from a seed to a flower or a vegetable or a fruit. Last week at the state fair in the agriculture section I got a small container with two sunflower seeds and I became determined once again to try my hand at a successful growth process!

For almost a full week I didn’t see any green sprouts coming up and thought I had, once again, failed an attempt to have a green thumb, but then two days ago a spot of green caught my eye and there it was, a tall strong spurt of growth! I can’t even tell you how proud I was when I saw it, it was so satisfying to know I am providing an environment that fully allows the seeds to grow! I am hoping that I can nurture the little plants into full bloom, and even though my record with plants is sad at best, I am always ready and willing to try again! Maybe this time success is in the future! :D

As a side note, even though it’s mid October the leaves surrounding my house have barely changed, but yesterday I was walking past the back window and the yellow leaves on this tree caught my eye, Fall is coming!!

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2nd Annual Fall Party

This past weekend was Fall break for Justin and it was celebrated with a street festival, the 2nd annual Fall party wonderfully hosted by my brother Johnny and his wife Ryan, and of course the making of the cover music video of ‘All About That Bass’ ;)

IMG_6449 copyIMG_6468 copyThe street festival was called Jam Room Music Festival and even though we only stayed for about an hour and a half (next year we’ll come prepared with lawn chairs and cash to spend!) we had a great time wandering between the 3 different stages set up listening to each band and style of music!

The Fall Party came after the festival, last year was the very first Fall Party, and it was a grand time of reprising all of the old goodies and activities, as well as making a few new memories! Johnny and Ryan have a brother/sister duo of cats named Jack and Earnest and I couldn’t help but record the sweetness that is there little faces and personalities! :D Overall Fall break was immensely well experienced, until next time then, cheers!!

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All About That Bass

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We’ve all seen evidence of my affinity for videos, music, family, and otherwise. A Christmas Decorating Video, Thanksgiving Holiday Video, Mountains of Virginia Video, and a bored Final Week of School video are a few of the projects that have found there place on this blog at one time or another. Back in the day my younger siblings and I used to work on video projects together constantly, some as solo projects other’s as joint ventures, not many of them have found their way onto the internet but a few examples are as follows ONE and TWO. Also in our repertoire of videos we have at least 5 more Bockies Shows, a numerous amount of music videos, one 15 minute video project called the Grenfield Secret which was written, directed, produced, etc. all by my siblings and I, it’s not necessarily an amazing production but most certainly a challenging feat for a 12, 13, 14, and 15 year old, and so many other movies that capture our dynamic so perfectly! I wish I had more I could link to so it might give you a well rounded perspective on our movie making ventures, but I suppose there is no better time then the present to introduce our latest video production. :D

To preface, a bit more, back in Spring of 2012 Justin and my brothers, Johnny and Andrew, created a music video to ‘We Are Young’ by Fun, it was, in a word, spectacular. Sadly the only place the video dwells online is on my brother’s Facebook, making linking it nearly useless, so instead I would like to introduce the second of music videos created by my brother Johnny and an assortment of other members, in this case Johnny’s wife Ryan, myself, my brother Andrew and Justin.

With all of that said, please enjoy our take on Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass’ and be warned, it may be a little too brilliant to handle ;)