Saturday, December 25, 2010

6 Countries in 6 Months of Marriage

We are home to beautiful, mountainous, crisp, Colorado and hopefully for awhile! After traveling for 40+ hours to get home we had plenty of time to reflect on our last half of a year and realized that in our short 6 months of marriage we traveled to 6 countries! The United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, China, and most recently Israel. We did make pit stops in Hong Kong, Jordan and Palestine but weren't really at any long enough to "count" them. Anyway, after all of those countries, planes, trains, taxis, buses, cuisine experiences, and adventures we decided we have grown so tremendously individually, in our marriage and in our walks with the Lord. We are grateful for that time that was often difficult but very sharpening and growing for us...

Other than that we arrived last night about 6:30 pm after some close calls with missing flights due to bad weather in Europe. We are feeling VERY blessed to be home and enjoying Christmas in Colorado. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Nelsons. We pretty much got totally spoiled with BBQ ribs, Black Butte Porter and too many fun gifts. A cappachino maker, snowshoes, and a cute gray peacoat for Carly. Ladder Golf, a knife set, and snowshoes for Ryan. We are wishing you a very Merry Christmas and praying the rest of this day is joyful and full of His presence!

Finally, here are a few pictures of our last few days in Saudi Arabia with more pictures to come of our trip to Israel with Yvonne, George and Stacey! So fun and bonding! And congratulations to Ryan Decker who now officially has his MASTERS in Environmental Engineering!!!

Ryan and Ali-who was definitely our favorite guy to tease and laugh with!

My beautiful friend Cynthia, from Nigeria who I already miss

Ryan and his friend David from Germany...check out those sweet shorts!

Ammar and Bedour who were amazing hosts and friends to us in Saudi

Our table of friends at a fancy KAUST dinner for

Celebrating Ryan's Masters Degree with the Deckers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Am I A Hippy?

Confession time: I LOVE all things natural and organic. Food. Natural Family Planning. Chocolate. Make-up. Herbs. Toiletries. And especially, cleaning products. But not the expensive ones that you might think of. And not some diluted crap shoot ones that don't actually work. No, no. I am serious about my cleaning supplies.

You see, much to my husband's bewilderment, I really like cleaning. I do it to de-stress, when I have nothing else to do or just for fun. Really! I LOVE having clean floors and spotless counters. Most importantly I loathe that fake, "lemon-mountain-bleach-breeze" smell that cleaning products offer that truly smell nothing like the lemons, mountains or breezes I have ever known.

So here is what this post is really about. Sharing the recipes for cleaning products that have changed some important health factors in our lives. I get frequent and unbearable migraines that put me out of commission for 1-2 days normally. I have tried EVERYTHING, but I had not even dreamed that maybe it was my cleaning supplies that were aggravating my migraines. Though I still get the occasional migraine switching to natural/home-made products has significantly decreased the severity and frequency of them. So let me share with you the cheap, very effective and amazing recipes I use:

Natural all-purpose cleaner- Mix 1 part vinegar and 3 parts hot water together in a spray bottle as needed. Scent the mixture with essential oil like Tea Tree Oil which acts as a natural disinfectant. You can also dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water for a good general cleaner.

-Club soda-Apply to carpet stains and scrub. So easy!

-Toilet Cleaner-Sprinkle baking soda and lemon juice in toilet, let sit and then scrub.

-Window/Glass cleaner-Mix 1/2 cup vinegar with 1 gallon water–spray and wipe off with newspaper to avoid streaks.

-Shower Cleaner-Mix baking soda and water until it is the texture of frosting. Rub on with the rough side of a sponge, let sit and scrub off.

These are cheap and so easy to make. I can pronounce every single ingredient that I am using and have seen very clear results. I won't rant about what mainstream cleaners do to you and your health; there are books for that and I have read them. They scared me enough that I started thinking more deeply about the root causes of certain health issues that I have. Although cleaning products did not cause my migraines, making a switch helped the problem. I love natural cleaning supplies and I especially love knowing that my house is filled with the smell of REAL lemons after a grand day of cleaning!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Moving to Colorado!

The move is official! Today we reserved a great apartment right outside of Golden, set in the foothills but still conveniently close to Denver so I can easily get to classes. We are most excited about a large park that neighbors to the east, a big walk-in closet, the den so we can have guests stay with us and a balcony to enjoy Colorado weather!

The Nelson parentals toured an apartment for us today (to check the for the usual rental sketchiness) and with no problems we move in December 27th bright and early. The apartment is 1.6 miles away from work so Ryan can easily bike in about 10 minutes. How nice is that??? Everything is lined up and ready for us to get home in about 2 weeks. The Lord is way too good to us and we cannot wait to wake up to this every morning...

Praying this is what we live by in our new home:

"...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD"
Joshua 24:15

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Money Money Money!

The financial dreamland is over. For the last 4 or 5 months we have been living on the KAUST campus where we were only financially responsible for food and any traveling/entertainment we wanted. The university provided basically everything: housing, medical insurance and even transportation around campus. Come December 24th, when we step off the plane back into Colorado, we enter back into more of a financial reality. A reality where we have bills and responsibility. A reality where we want to be good stewards of the money that we will be making with Healing Waters. It's new, and Carly and I are both super excited.

As you can imagine, this move back home has triggered a lot of recent conversations about how we want to be handling money. Our first priority is for sure to find a way to spend every cent of it on ourselves. I mean, that's what the world tells us after all.


Truthfully, we have been thinking a ton about what Jesus says about money in the Gospels. I have never really noticed how frequently He talks about it. It surprised me. The book of Luke alone has so many challenges:

-We don't want to be rich fools. We want to be rich toward God (Luke 12:13-21)
-We want to give, give, and then give some more (Luke 12: 33-34)
-We want to be trustworthy with worldly wealth and not waste the possessions given to us (Luke 16:10-12)
-We want nothing (riches, security, status) standing between us and trusting Christ (Luke 18:18-27)

The overall message we are getting from Luke is, "Be careful and wise with money. It can be so dangerous. To avoid the temptation to love money over God, give it away." We don't think the Bible says to give EVERYTHING to the poor and live in poverty. We are saying that it's easier to give away something that is not controlling you. We don't want money to control us, to take our attention or our affections. We have been given much and we will be called to accountability for that.

I will leave you with a last verse...

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homemade Christmas Inspiration

My friend Beth and I were in the Christmas spirit today so we had a homemade card making party! We sipped spicy orange/clove/cinnamon tea from a package that my AMAZING mom sent, listened to our favorite Christmas songs (Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby!) and Beth's apartment is decorated beautifully for Christmas so it was the perfect atmosphere. This was a fun and very cheap way to make some cute cards to bless people with! These are the 4 I had time to make and I am inspired for other holidays too! All we were missing was the snow but we will get some of that in exactly 20 days!

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.” ~Harlan Miller

Friday, December 3, 2010

Husband vs. Dwight Schrute

Ryan has desperately been needing a haircut because he has begun to look A LOT like...

Do you think he looks like Dwight? I did so we needed a change and this is the handsome after picture:

Here are a couple pictures of Ryan and his nasty sprained ankle. He finally tracked down some very tall crutches and it made getting around for him much easier. This was a bad week to sprain an ankle because he worked 10+ hour days running around to different labs, doing final research and writing a huge paper. He finished everything right on time and officially graduates with his Master's degree in about 13 days! WOO HOO!

Who knew your ankle could make so many different colors?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Belated Turkey Day Pictures

The glory of TWO perfectly roasted turkeys!

Our endless buffet of every side traditional dish imaginable

We had almost 40 people enjoying dinner together

Our good friends Juno and Qing Yu

Enjoying time together before the stuffing began!

BEHOLD--the perfect glory of desserts for my husband!

Our friend Matt really getting into his turkey leg

The Deckers!

My handsome new friend, Etessam who is 3 and VERY adorable!

Homemade braided bread

The traffic jam we caused using a shopping cart to transport our dishes to the house where Thanksgiving was hosted. Only in Saudi Arabia...


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