what?! marriage equals sanctification? really?!?!

have you heard that before? that marriage is a means of sanctification? or how about this one: "marriage isn't about happiness, it's about holiness." i know you've heard that one.

special alert! coming from 5 weeks experience-it's true!

i knew in my head it was true, but in experience (having never been married) i had no clue. but we're learning.

here is the most striking lesson i've learned from marriage:

please don't depend on your husband for happiness

oh yeah, i totally knew this before marriage. it seems a bit obvious doesn't it? why would any woman ever think that she could depend on her husband for happiness? duh! (rebuke, rebuke, rebuke) seriously though, of course it's obvious in theory, of course it would be an easy guess that you should follow the above statement. but i'm talking about real life here. you know, the world of sin we live in. and i'm also talking about me who is the epitome of "she knows it in her head but not in her heart."

i've kind-of been meditating on this phrase lately too. i know its not a bible verse or anything, but it's been extremely difficult to remove this habit from myself and i find that repeating "dont depend, don't depend, don't depend." to myself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and...well, you get the point. anyway, it really helps to remind myself of this truth.

of all women in the universe, i think i have it the hardest though. it's not entirely my fault for thinking i can depend on my husband for happiness. why?

because bryan makes me SO HAPPY!

and if he makes so happy, why shouldn't i depend on him for that?

"well, because that's not his job, lisagrace."

oh, right. bryan isn't my own personal happy machine.

but it's no surprise that he makes me ridiculously happy, i did fall in love with him didn't i? BUT, i wanted to marry him for many more reasons then just that. i wanted to marry him because he loves me selflessly, as Christ does the church. i wanted to marry him because his heart is always seeking more from our Father and his mind is always on how he can give more back to Him.

i suppose my own personal resolution from this lesson is that i don't want to be a wife who controls her husband with her mood swings and over-emotional fit of "unhappiness." i don't want to be the women that is eluded to in the quote: "a happy wife equals a happy husband." i don't want my happiness to control our happiness.

i want to be a woman of joy, who daily seeks her joy in the Lord and who's heart is happy even on the worst of days.

whoa, just re-read that last sentance. if i'm going to act as i speak, i've apparently got a lot to live up to. it's those sentances that make me really appreciate the power of the Holy Spirit.


frugal friday: wedding programs

this is officially my first "frugal living" post! i wrote an introduction here explaining why its so fun for me to save money as well as how it benefits me and my husband!

i was always trying to save money during my 13.5 months of wedding planning. here is one big way i saved-we made our own wedding programs. we also did part of our invitations the same way, but as these were entirely hand-crafted, i thought this was a better example.

we used:
  • about 300 sheets of printing paper-this paper was thicker then regular multi-purpose or copy paper, making it a little more durable during the process
  • a cheap dark tea (in bags)
  • ink. we had to replace my friend leah's printer cartridges only once
  • elbow grease-it took a lot of work and i had brown hands for about a week, but it was totally worth it
this is about the color we were looking for, we were constantly boiling fresh batches
we poured the tea into these trays so that we could soak the paper more easily
we soaked each sheet for about a minute
oh yeah, note the design already printed on the paper.
we pre-printed a pretty design on the paper, and it faded as it got wet and baked-
it had a really cool effect!

after soaking the paper, we baked the paper for another minute at around 250 degrees
then we dried out the paper on towels

then we ironed for a flatter sheet of paper.
(this was mostly so we could run the sheets through the printer)

running the paper through the printer was probably the hardest part of the whole process. we made sure the paper was lined up correctly and that the paper didn't catch on the inside.

these are the programs before they are cut and tyed together.


married life as we know it.

ah, the joys of marriage...

we've been married for 4 weeks today and we think this whole married thing is something we'll do for a while...say the rest of our lives? yes, that sounds great.

we knew it was going to be a big change, but we had no idea what to expect, of course. so we just wandered into married life with plenty of varied advice and information from plenty of varied resources. we knew we'd ultimately have to wander blindly through most of it, despite our efforts to soak in as much of the above referenced advice and information.

here are the stats of the newly formed "Team Alsbury" after four weeks of training:
  • we fight about once a week & we're great at fighting. : ) actually, i do mean that in the best sense and rather what i mean to say is that we consistently resolve our conflict quickly and gently. bryan is really the force behind our "great fights." even as most of our fights are caused by me and my sin (ex. i'm usually assuming he's done something he hasn't, or expecting him to do something that he's not. i'm stretched daily to be relieved of this sin in my heart), he is still so gentle and so eager to make things right. and if you know bryan its not really hard to believe that he has NEVER raised his voice, even in the most heated discussions. while neither one of us like fighting or arguing, it is currently the most efficient means of growth in our marriage and in our opinions, once a week really isn't bad!
  • living together has been remarkably, extremely natural for the both of us. that is a huge blessing. we've both lived with many different roommates and living with each other has been so much better then every good roommate combined! for me, i think it's the fact that we can brush our teeth at the same time without it being weird and also that if i don't like the way bryan folds the towel in half as opposed to the tri-fold of my choice, i can just tell him i don't like it or refold the towel myself. seriously though, bryan an i were just talking last night about how we love having each other as roommates. it's great.
  • we decided that as soon as we pay off our debt, we're giving ourselves a huge date night fund. i am so excited about this. and we only have to wait about 6 more months to work this into our budget. i realized that even though we see each other everyday and go to sleep together every night that i really miss just sitting down, staring him in the face and talking to him. when i told him this, he agreed and we decided to reward ourselves with $100 a month just for dates when we pay off our debt.
  • we've been so blessed, we're really trying to be wise with all of God's blessing and we're rapidly paying off every single piece of debt as well as saving enough to pay cash for college. and let me tell you, it is so exciting! we are working hard to pay off my car first as that is the only loan collecting interest. we are so blessed to be able to live really comfortably and still be able to pay off my car by august-21 months early! we expect to, if all goes according to plan, be able to pay off the rest of our debt by november of this year! heck yes! i am so excited to feel so free and to not have any "payments." in december, we'll give ourselves a tiny bit of wiggle room (bryan laughs everytime i say that) in our budget, bryan will be able to work around 15 hours a week instead of 25-30 and we will begin putting away around $600 each month for tuition. (if you did the math, that's $7,200.00 a year which is the maximum we'll pay at ISU but we are hoping for a little financial aid and possible scholarships!)
  • i'm really enjoying being an economic homemaker. it brings me so much joy to spend less then what we have to spend on groceries, clothes, and standard household items. and for some reason, even though i had begun practicing all of the tricks of the trade before we got married, i became a wizard at it after a week of marriage. i'll chalk it up to my newly acquired wifely-super-powers.
  • NEVER AGAIN WILL I EVER BUY A WHOLE CHICKEN. seriously, ugh. i never thought it would happen, but i almost became a vegetarian that fateful day. i'll spare you the details but have you ever bought a whole chicken before? it's neck, it's wings, it nubs...they still haunt me. i wasted most of the $2.59 that i spent on it. i did manage to de-bone the breast and that will make one nice meal so it's not a total loss. i am going to try my hand at buying bone-in chicken breast too so i'm not totally scarred. i'll let you know how it goes. we'll either continue our strict beef diet from this month or i'll spend a lot of our food money on boneless, skinless chicken breasts. yum.
  • in other news...bryan's car reached 120,000 miles this week!

well, that's all for now, folks!


frugal friday: introduction

welcome to mrs. alsbury's first official post about her strivings to live up to one sure aspect of a proverbs 31 woman: frugal living.
when i think of being frugal, i think of a few things:
  • living within your means
  • using the money you have wisely
  • being efficient with your time (as my friend paige always says, "time is money")
  • being creative with what you have
  • using your hands in a constructive way
in my opinion, the primary theme behind all of the above is, "not eating the bread of idleness." in order to carry out those ideas, i can not be lazy. i must discipline my mind, my body and definitely my heart if i choose to be a frugal woman.
i am making that choice, because i really think it is biblical to be such a woman and such a wife. i have never really been so interested in proverbs 31 as i am now-now that i am a wife. as i was thinking about being frugal as a wife, these bold words really popped out at me in a new way. just look at all of the references to what i believe we can call "frugality!"

"an excellent wife who can find? she is far more precious than jewels. the heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. she does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. she seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. she is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. she rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. she considers a field an buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. she dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. she perceives that her merchandise is profitable. her lamp does not go out at night. she puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. she opens her hand to the poor and reaches her hands out to the needy. she is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. she makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. she makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the days to come. she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. she looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.' charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. give her of the fruit of her hand, and let her works praise her in the gates." -proverbs 31:10-31

there are so many aspects of this woman that i want to emulate in my own life and being frugal is simply one of them. but i was amazed and encouraged by how many references there were to hard work and making the most of what you have.
i wanted to share with all of the friends and family who read this blog my goals and striving to be a godly woman and an awesome wife. i'm so excited to share our ups and downs with you!

financial goals of 2009

Goal #1: pay off our debt!
we are super blessed to have two pretty great cars but unfortunately, both of our cars are the reason for almost all of our debt. we also owe on our wedding rings. and that is all the debt we have. thankfully, it's not a huge number (around $5,500.00 after some big payments we made in june) and even more thankfully, we are both employed.
we are both committed to paying this off by november! this summer (july and august) we'll hopefully be able to whittle this number down to $2,500.00 as bryan has been getting more hours (even some overtime this week!) at the bank.
paying off our debt is not only super fun, but it will enable us to pay for bryan's college tuition entirely our of pocket-which is a huge financial goal for 2010 and 2011!

Goal #2: live within our means
this one isn't as fun for me, but i'm certainly learning to make it fun. we have a pretty solid budget set-up right now. we're almost done with our first month and we don't think we'll make any changes. this is great because we are technically living below our means so that we can pay over $1,000.00 each month on debt.
however, it is still difficult for both of us to not be tempted by the "extra" money we have. whether its the extra money we're paying on loans each month, or the money in our emergency fund or just our "floater fund" we have in our primary checking account, we have both found so much we want to spend it on. but, so far, we've stuck to our budget and we're faithfully saving for those things we really really want to buy.

Goal #3: give generously
ultimately we want to pay off our debt, pay for college out of pocket and live within our means so that we can give generously. we both agree that for "some reason", we've been incredibly blessed. and it's no secret that "some reason" is so we can give to those in need. i love that the prov31 woman is able to provide clothes for her family and servants and that she opens her hand to those in need. she is woman who works hard to make the most of what she has so that she can give the rest away. i want to be that woman and we want to be that family.