Wonderful Weekend Vol. 3

Hello, Blog Friends!

Do you ever have a wonderful weekend that you just can’t wait to share with the world? Well, I had a weekend like that! It was fun, relaxing and special. Below are the top 3 things I did.

1. Finished Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and made Annette’s Enchiladas.

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I read Bread and Wine after hearing good things from you, my fellow bloggers. I flipped through the pages and fell in love with the stories of food, friendship and relationship with the divine. When I read through the recipe, Annette’s Enchiladas, I knew I just had to make them! The recipe was super easy to follow, and my hubs loved the final product!

2. Meandered through the Via Colori in Fredericksburg.

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Via Colori is a street art festival which is celebrated every year in downtown Fredericksburg, specifically on Sophia Street. Mark and I loved taking Maddux downtown to look at some local art. The weather was gorgeous, and we were awed by the skill and creativity we witnessed.  Artists of all kinds shared their gifts with everyone, and we were so grateful they did!

3. Drank a PSL at Starbucks. Mark had his first day off of work since Labor Day, so we took advantage of his free time by spending quality time as a couple. We both got email notifications about the BOGO offer for fall drinks at Starbucks, so we stopped off there for a quick refreshment. I love Starbucks, and I especially love spending time there with the people I love. What a blessing to sit, relax and enjoy a beverage with my dearest Mark!

So, what were you up to this weekend? I sincerely hope you had time to relax and enjoy every moment. May you always delight in the little things and even more in the big things! I can’t wait to hear your responses, and may you have a blessed Monday!

Peace and Love,

Alyssa

 

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6 Things to put on your Wedding Registry

Hello, Friends!

As soon as I got married, all of my engaged friends kept asking about my wedding registry. “What are you glad you put on your registry?” “What do you wish you put on your registry?” “Did people buy the most expensive things on your registry?”

So, today I want to answer their questions by taking a look at 5 6 Things to put on your Wedding Registry. Please note, these opinions are completely my own, and it’s okay if you disagree or think I’m crazy!

1. A Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

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I always loved using my mother’s Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer for cookies, cakes and other goodies as I was growing up. It was as much a part of our kitchen as the table and sink! Kitchen Aids can make so many recipes easier, like making whipped cream for instance. I just love the way this handy tool can handle just about anything, and I loved picking out the color with Mark!

2. Fun Table Settings

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Mark and I put Fiestaware on our registry, and we had a great time picking out the colors! Now, we are cheered by the brightness they bring to the kitchen, and we love mixing colors at each meal! I’m not saying everyone should choose Fiestaware, but it’s important to remember that the table settings one picks will be used daily, so why not make them fun?!

3. The Griddler

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Aw yeah! The Griddler is a crazy appliance that gets so much use in our house! We use it for paninis for a quick dinner with soup. We use it to grill chicken because it’s convenient in our apartment setting. It can make pancakes, bacon, burgers, and more! We love our Griddler, and even though it’s not a must, it’s definitely a fun object to have!

4. A Nice Knife Set

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Mark had strong opinions about what kind of knives he wanted to put on our registry… So, I let him take the lead on this one! I’m so glad I let him pick out these knives because they’re so sharp and work wonderfully every time in the kitchen! I find myself reaching for one, two or three of these guys every single day, so I believe a nice knife set is something one should not glance over when it comes to registry time!

5. A Spaghetti Scoop

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So, a spaghetti scoop may sound like an odd suggestion, but trust me, this pick comes from my experience. The first meal I made at home for Mark was spaghetti because I figured we needed something quick and easy while we were still moving into our apartment. Although making spaghetti  itself isn’t hard, scooping up the spaghetti was quite difficult because we didn’t have a scoop! We also may have ran to the store for a colander because we needed to strain the spaghetti as well. At least we now have a silly memory of our first meal in the new place!

So, I’d recommend to you as I did my friends to not worry about price points. Our knife set and Kitchen Aid mixer weren’t cheap, but folks gathered around and purchased them on our behalf. Moreover, they loved helping out us newlyweds!

Also, I’d like to share how I felt receiving all these gifts from cheerful hearts. I was reminded of the passage of scripture in Acts 2, which states the believers “had everything in common” (verse 44). I truly felt like I was back there with the first Christians because my family was pitching in and sharing what they had, big or small, with Mark and me. It was such a blessing to experience that love and kindness, and I’m grateful for all their support!

I hope my little list has helped you in some way, and I would love to hear suggestions for items to add or personal experiences with registries. I’m grateful for your readership, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peace and Love,

Alyssa

P.S. I almost forgot! There’s one more thing I would recommend to put on a wedding registry…

6. A sturdy pots and pans set

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Mark recommended we add a high-quality pots and pans set to our registry… and I’m delighted with what we got! Honestly, I wasn’t sure we’d end up with the set we chose because it was quite pricey, but Mark’s relatives pitched in and bought us the set. These days, we use our pots and pans everyday, and it’s to nice to have a set that heats up quickly, has good non-stick and is easy to clean (dishwasher safe!). I don’t know where we’d be without our pots and pans!

New Beginnings

Yay! New beginnings make me so happy! I love changes, and I love learning new things.

So, let’s admit it, my recent posts about my life were kinda droopy. I mean, who wants to hear about broken cars and lost jobs? I can’t say I remained as upbeat as my blog posts let on… I may have broken down at some point last week because I was so confused about where my life was headed; however, this week, I have the best news to share with you!

First, God blessed me with a new job! Hallelujah! Last Friday, I drove past a local restaurant on my way home from buying groceries, and I noticed a “Now Hiring” sign out front. I could not get the message off of my mind. It was about noon, so I decided to wait until after the lunch hour to go check things out. At 1:45pm, I walked into the restaurant and inquired about their job opportunities. The restaurant was looking for servers, so I decided to fill in an application. After I filled in my application, the manager invited me in for an interview on Monday morning! I could not help but smile all weekend just thinking about the opportunity! On Monday, I went in for the interview and walked out with a job! I had my first shift yesterday, and I had a great time. I have my second bit of training tonight, and I’m excited to learn more and do more! I’ve been so blessed with the opportunity to work within walking distance of my apartment, and I’m so thankful that I have something to do!

Also, Mark and I have been blessed by another answered prayer. We found a pickup truck on Craigslist at a price point we could afford. We bought the truck yesterday, so now we have two vehicles again. It seems like all the heartache of the past two weeks just dissipated. Our mourning was turned into joy! I’m so overwhelmed by the love God showed us, and I’m so excited for this new season of our lives.

What has God been doing in your life lately? I cannot wait to hear about it!

Peace and Love,

Alyssa

Our Engagement Story

Good evening, and Happy Friday!

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing about Mark and I’s wedding, and I decided the place to start would be our engagement story. I’d love to share our love journey with you, and I hope you enjoy the silliness and fun with us!

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On December 15, 2013, Mark invited me on a date to celebrate our first anniversary as a couple. Normally, Mark lets me know what we’re doing and where we’re going on our date nights, but this night was different. I literally had no idea what was in store!

At about four o’clock in the afternoon, we went downtown Fredericksburg for some chill time before dinner. We chatted about our future home together, our future pets and simply enjoyed each other’s company.

We left Old Town in time to make our dinner reservations. Please note, I hadn’t a clue where we were eating other than it had to be some place nice since we were both in our Sunday Best. Granted, we had to make a Sheetz stop on the way to dinner… I was told by a close companion that Sheetz would have been an awesome proposal spot. I’d agree, but mine was better! After Sheetz, Mark’s phone went off. The alarm said, “Dinner at Kobe”, and yeah, I read it because he was driving! The secret was out, but it didn’t spoil my enthusiasm! I love Japanese food!

We ate a nice meal at Kobe; I had the vegetarian option and he had surf and turf! Go figure. During dinner, Mark was obviously thinking about something else… Meanwhile, my mind was going crazy! Was this man of mine going to propose on our anniversary?! As another clue, Mark told me I’d have to close my eyes on the way to our next location. Ah! the suspense!

After dinner, I was a bowl full of nerves. Since Kobe is across from a Walmart, I asked if I could make a pit stop there. Mark obliged. Thus, I meandered through Walmart dressed like a million bucks! (Wait, am I exaggerating now? Oops.) Back from Walmart, Mark drove for a while before asking me to close my eyes…

My eyes were closed for what seemed like an eternity. I listened to Mark wail along to B.o.B. radio. At first, I tried to keep track of our path. Eventually, I lost all orientation because Mark made tons of sharp turns (clearly, the desired effect). For the record, it felt like he was doing doughnuts… So nervewracking!

At long last, Mark parked the car and exited. He grabbed something from the back seat, and then came around to my side of the vehicle. As a gentleman, he opened my door and let me out. My eyes were still glued shut. He placed a heavy box into my arms and then asked me to open my eyes.

The box I was holding was a shoebox. Mark was directly in front of me, down on one knee (Aww). Mark instructed me to open the box, so I did. I noticed a variety of items with a Taco Bell Border Sauce packet on top. Mark asked me to read the Taco Bell packet, so I did. It stated, “Will you marry me?” Quickly, I looked down at Mark and noticed that he was carrying a box too! He had a small ring box in his right hand. After a moment’s delay, I said with certainty, “Yes Mark, I will marry you.”

Mark swiftly put the ring on my left hand (before I could change my mind). The ring is a gorgeous marquis diamond solitaire with a yellow gold band. Classic and elegant!

After a moment, Mark asked if I recognized where we were at. Honestly, I hadn’t thought a bit about where on earth we were. In effect, Mark turned me around, and violá! We were in Chipotle’s parking lot. Chipotle, you say? Yeah, Chipotle. A year before, we went to the same Chipotle for our first date; henceforth, our new life as an engaged couple began the same place as our time as a dating couple. I greatly appreciated the touch. I mean seriously, who else gets both Taco Bell and Chipotle in their proposal story?

So, that’s it. After an evening of craziness and excitement, Mark and I were officially engaged.

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A New Leaf

As we ease into fall, I’ve been given the opportunity to “turn over a new leaf”.

As I wrote before, I will soon be out of a paying job. It can be trying at times to understand, but I am glad to have the privilege of embarking on a new journey. I want to rely on God for guidance as I seek new employment or other opportunities. I want to open my eyes to opportunities for growth and service. I want to please God in everything I do and to thank Him for all he is doing and will do.

After talking with my husband, we’ve come to the conclusion that I need to find a job where I can interact with people and help people. Perhaps I will work at a park, a nonprofit agency or a government agency. Perhaps I will serve people in a shop by offering a smile and a kind word. In one of my dream jobs, I’d help people by offering them a caffeine jolt and a place to feel belonging by working at a coffee shop. I love the warmth and community that are so apparent at coffee shops! Anyway, I know I have the ability to adapt to a new working environment, and I look forward to where my next job takes me! 

Of course, with unemployment comes uncertainty. One aspect of uncertainty is the length of time I must wait before a new job comes up. Thus, Mark has advised me to find a volunteer position in our community. I must say, it’s so easy to find a volunteer position! So many nonprofit organizations are looking for bright, motivated people to help serve their clients. I know for a fact I will find a volunteer position shortly, and I’m so excited to have the time to serve members of my community. I look forward to showing the love of Christ to people who may not know him, and I look forward to spending time around people who also share my passion for service. It’s going to be a great way to spend my free time!

So how about you? Have you ever went through a period of unemployment? What did you do? Are you in a season like mine? Would you consider volunteering if you are or will be in my shoes? I look forward to hearing your responses. 

Peace and Love,

Alyssa

God is Good

“God is good.” I’ve heard the phrase more times than I could ever count, and I know for a fact it is true. God has carried me through my worst times, and God has been the source of my joy in the good times, too. 

Last week, two major things happened in my life that rocked my safe, little world.

On August 31, I was driving from a friend’s house to pick up Mark from his buddy’s Labor Day weekend barbecue. On the way, I got into a car accident which really shook me up both physically and emotionally. By Wednesday, Mark and I learned that his car (the one I was driving at the time) was totaled. Thankfully, I had a car as well, and Mark could use it to drive to work. I didn’t/don’t understand why I had to get into an auto accident and lose Mark’s car. Maybe there was a reason, or maybe it was just “one of those things”. Assuredly, God kept me safe from harm in the accident (as well as the driver of the other vehicle), and I have to learn to let go of Mark’s car and the guilt which accompanies totaling it.

Secondly, I got an unexpected call from my boss on Wednesday (I was working from home whilst recouping from the accident). He said my project (with the government) ended, and my job would be ending in the middle of this month. My boss, a family friend, is doing all he can to find me new work, but he asked me to start looking for a job on my own as well. I don’t mind applying to jobs, and I’m glad the economy is recovering; however, I’m bitten with uncertainty as I may be unemployed next week and perhaps for a while.

I know God blesses us, and He lets us go through these times of struggle to make us stronger and to allow us to rely more fully on Him. I do believe He has big plans in store for me with my work life and just in general. He kept me safe in the accident, and just as He provided a job for me before, I know He can and will provide again. Remember, God is good. I wish it was easier to stay strong during the bad times, but I must admit, I’m prone to worry and doubt. I need the gentle whisper of the Lord (and sometimes the booming voice!) to keep me calm, and I need to trust in His promises. Have you ever had a week that threw you off balance? What happened? What did you do? Can you look back and see God working through the pain, the struggle?

My Favorite Animals

Mark and I both love love love animals, and we kinda have a lot of them for newlyweds. We have Mickey Mouse the cat, Maddux the dog, Donatello the turtle and Fanta the turtle. They all give us so much love in return, and we’re so blessed to have them! 

photo (2)Meet Mickey Mouse (Mickey for short). He’s a ten-year-old cat I received at age seven when his previous owners had to let him go. He loves stealing cereal, meowing during the night, and cuddling anytime. He’s adjusting well to his new home; in fact, you’d think he owns the place!

photo (4)Say hello to Maddux the pup! He’s a one-year-old terrier mix. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Mark and I adopted Maddux from a shelter back in May. Since then, Maddux has enjoyed going to work with Mark at the vineyard, snuggling with anyone he sees, and going on long walks.

photo (1)Here’s Mr. Donatello, but I like to call him, “Big Man”. Donatello has been with Mark for a number of years, but he’s new to me. I just love having chats with him because he’s so curious! He loves to chomp small fish and sunbathe.

photoLast but not least, meet wee Fanta. Fanta also lived with Mark for a while, but we became quick friends while Mark and I were dating. You see, Fanta gets super excited whenever he sees someone come near! Mark says he gets excited because he thinks the person will feed him, but I like to think he’s just happy to see me! Love me some Fanta!

So, there you have it. You’ve met our little family. Do you have pets? Care to share about them? Thanks.

Peace,

Alyssa