two months down...

...forever to go.

today is our two month anniversary and it's time for another update-lucky you!

we continue to learn a lot about what this whole marriage thing is about. here are some of those things:
  • moving is a challenge. and an especially challenging one for two very different people. when bryan and i moved in together, we didn't really have any problems because i had the mentality of "we're only going to live here for two months, so it doesn't matter if it looks like a bomb hit it 24-7." but now that we're getting ready to move into our semi-permanent "home," my own personal stress levels are high. i really want this new apartment to be a haven for my husband and i, not a wreck. but we have so much stuff and did i mention we're moving into a much smaller apartment? yeah, it's difficult. but on tuesday, bryan lead us in prayer about the situation and the Holy Spirit led my heart to this conviction, "more then cute decorations, matching furniture, and tidiness, our home needs to be centered around godly living and led by the Holy Spirit." we prayed this over our home and it was a huge breakthrough for me. i'm still overwhelmed, but i'm getting my priorities straight.
  • being away from eachother for 80 hours is not fun. for two people who have been the kind-of best friends that talk and see eachother every day for 3+ years, leaving bryan home for 4 days was a challenge for both of us. the bright side is bryan got in some great friend time (but he missed seth a lot) and i got to see God working in lots of big ways in minneapolis, mn. you can read my post about it here.
  • shiny new toys are more fun if you have the money for it. we are so stinking blessed. period. we love that we can afford nice things like a new tv. we love that we can take advantage of the sales because we have cash saved up. and we love treating ourselves to something really fun while working so hard to pay off our debt and pay for school with cash.
that's all i can think of right now, but there you go!


charlie conway, minneapolis, mn

ah, how i love the mighty ducks!

but this post has nothing to do with the mighty ducks, only with minneapolis. wow, God is working in great ways there! here's a quick recap:
  • we worked with STEM International, Inc. that stands for short-term evangelical missions. i was really impressed with this ministry. it was definitely the most effective and fruitful 2 1/2 day mission trip i could imagine.
  • thursday, we arrived in the city at around noon, ate lunch and headed over to the Hope Academy. this school was an amazing story of "loving your neighbors as yourself."
    • this school is located in the poorest neighborhood in minneapolis.
    • russ gregg, the founder and principle moved into this neighborhood for missional purposes
    • he started the school based on the biblical idea of loving your neighbor as yourself. he wanted a great school for his kids, so he founded a great school for his neighbors kids.
    • this school is reminiscent of a school russ previously worked at in edina, the richest community in minneapolis. that gives you an idea of the quality of education these kids get.
    • yes, it's expensive, it costs about $6,000 a year to send each kid to school. how much do the parents have to pay? as low as $60 per month. each kid has a sponsor and a scholarship for up to $5,400.00 each year. amazing? yes.
  • friday, we worked with Source Ministries. this ministry was one with about 60 arms of service. from transitional housing, to homeless outreach, to prayer, to youth outreach, to outreach through the arts and beyond, this place is a hotbox of ministry. it was a true blessing to work with them.
  • saturday, we listened. we went to a place called the marie sandvik center and there really wasn't anything for us to do. this is another ministry with their hands in a bunch of different outreach opportunities. we sat and listened to an amazing lady, marybeth, we passed out sandwiches to homeless men and women and prayed for them and we went to a church picnic. i met this amazing woman named kay at the picnic. i was so moved by her story that i almost started crying. i got to pray over her and ask God to do through her, everything she had planned. i will remember her for a long time and i'm committed to "pray for kay" for the next few years at least. it was a bittersweet parting for me, and i could simply say, "i'll see you in heaven." but it would be a sweet gift from God to see her in a few years and see the great things i know God plans to do with her life.
  • the first two evenings, we went to phillips park and did some outreach to the children and youth there.
    • the phillips neighborhood is the most culterally diverse neighborhood in the entire us, possibly in the world.
    • within 1 1/2 miles, over 150 languages are spoken.
    needless to say, it was a great place to set up camp for two evenings. a 9-year-old girl named sophia with a strict muslim father accepted Christ. please pray for her safety and for her relationship with Christ to powerfully flourish despite her living situation. also, an ethopian man accepted Christ and took a Bible with him. we mostly played with the kids and loved on them, it was an awesome time.
  • the last evening, we went to the downtown area of minneapolis and shared Christ with whoever was willing to hear from us. i had never done this before and i was amazed at how the Holy Spirit just totally took my body and my words and did with them what He wanted. i didn't experience any fear. only Power.
overall, my trip was amazing, and i have more to share with you if you would like. i'm excited for God to continue to do big things in and around me.


wifelike life.

a few weeks ago, i wrote a post about my dedication to being a miserly wife. but there's much more that i know i can do to be a godly woman and wife.

my friend paige and i are taking it one month at a time.

here's the line-up for me:

july: purposefulness
to me, this basically means i want to exercise general self-discipline in the following areas:
  • time alone with God
  • active, bold prayer
  • cleaning
  • tv watching
  • spending money
  • memorizing scripture
  • facebook
august: welcome
some ideas for this month:
  • creating a friendly environment within my home
  • loving my home by keeping it clean and user friendly
  • inviting people over (i have not done this in a loooong time)
  • challenging myself to spend more time with people then i "feel like"
  • (maybe) starting a woman's group on saturday mornings-still praying about this but are their any takers? just out of curiosity?
september: taking the sabbath seriously
i'm still not entirely sure how i feel about this one. paige and i talked about it a little and i definitely agree i need to work on this area of my life but i'm still trying to figure out what exactly the sabbath needs to look like in my life. sometimes i call the days i spend watching tv with bryan all day "my sabbath", but i don't think that's exactly what God's getting at. then i got the idea that my sabbath is actually the day i get the most stuff done as far as preparing for the week goes, but i'm not sure that's it either. i'll take any comments you'll give.

october: streamlining
not sure if this is the right word, but basically i want to "deal with today's problems today." and have a life that is somewhat predictable and efficient. ok, so that sounds incredibly boring when i put it like that. but i want to "streamline" my home so that things don't get so piled up. i want to have systems in place for the laundry, the mail, meal times, and things like that. i feel that this will both honor my husband and keep me from going crazy.

i'm not sure about the next 8 months (we're trying to do this for a year) but i'll keep you posted.

so how am i doing?

july update: purposefulness
  • time alone with God: definitely been particularly discplined in this area. last week, i spent time with God 5 out of seven days and this week i'm 4-0, ready to finish out strong with 7 out of 7. this is not to boast, but to rejoice. june was a "good" month when i spent time with him about 6 times total.
  • active, bold prayer: i've seen God work in a few awesome ways. another positive result of solid prayer time: i find myself actively encouraging others according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit-something i haven't been in the habit of for at least 4 years.
  • cleaning: overall, not the best but i am more determined at tidying up after myself and husband. i'll work on that more in august! : )
  • tv watching: also a work in progress, but their have been some significant improvements such as not turning on the tv as soon as i get home from work.
  • spending money: i actually just added this to the list because i realized that i'm not very purposeful with the money i have to spend. sure, i have stayed within budget, but i'm not sure where all the money is going. i have yet to come in under budget and would like to work towards that.
  • memorizing scripture: paige and i have almost 2 1/2 chapters of galatians memorized! my challenge will be to begin memorizing before the night before i have to say it to paige.
  • facebook: no improvement. work in progress?


new tv-$435.64, crapton of groceries-$16.32...

...getting so excited about the deals in target that you forget why you came there in the first place-priceless.

the alsbury's needed packing tape because we're moving into a new apartment on july 31st. so, we ventured to target...

i had a bunch of great coupons for some things, and i thought i'd multitask and check out some deals. boy, did i find them! i got everything pictured above for $16.32 with a savings of $56.32! i was so excited!

while we were shopping around for deals, bryan wanted to check out the tvs. we've been saving up for a new tv for a while now and we've had several fun little chunks of extra income come in so we had about 450 bucks saved up.

so, the tv we were looking at was reduced by another 50 bucks making it $450+tax. bryan then got 10% off by applying for a target credit card (which we'll probably cancel right after we pay it off) after tax it was less then we had saved up: $435.62!

here's bryan with his new toy:
we bought everything with such excitement that we forgot to buy the packing tape. so we went back into target and purchased what we came there for in the first place : )




i turned 21 a week ago! woohoo!

i don't have pictures of allll the birthday festivities that took place but let me tell you, i had the best birthday EVER! here was the line-up:

friday, june 26th: avett brothers concert
this was soooooo fun. we have the most fun friends and the music was AWESOME.

here's a picture of audra, joel, me and bryan eating at spaghetti works before the concert
this is the amazing opening band. they had every element that i love about my favorite bands.
band name: samantha crain & the midnight shivers, i asked the birthday fairy (bryan) to get me a cd. he did! : )
and the avett brothers, these guys were boss.

saturday, june 27th: land of adventures!
mikaela hooked me up with some sweet free a-land tickets and it was a birthday miracle indeed! bryan and i rocked the rides, ate gyros, funnel cake and corn dogs, and got really sick on the galleon.
this is my alltime favorite a-land rollercoaster: the tornado (of death)

we then left and headed to hickory park in ames because i NEEDED to be sung to by the hickory park people. last year, we went to hp on my birthday and bryan FORGOT to tell them it was my birthday, we even ordered ice cream! he only realized that he didn't get the discount on my ice cream. i was pretty ticked but i promise i'm over it. ok, well, i got over it when i got my redemptive birthday song this year! : ) sorry, i'm out of pictures because our camera died at adventureland. too many adventures...well, here's too good old fashioned "word pictures!"

monday, june 29th: i'm 21! woohoo!
due to the weekends amazing birthday events, we opted for a simple meal of b-bops and free coldstone ice cream. it was so good to have a little date with bryan and to not have to cook anything on my birthday! i was soooo full from the yummy food that when we got back to the apartment i just dropped on the couch and started shouting things like: "BIRTHDAY COMA!!!!!!" and other strange things. i was glad bryan and i were just going to get to sit around and do nothing. i wanted to read my bible and hang out with God and bryan wanted to pray through Operation World with me. the book was in our room, and he tried to get me up but i didn't want to walk all the way to our room! he finally got me up and we went and prayed for some nations and called it a night.

surprise! just kidding!

there were a bunch of people hiding in our room! it was a surprise birthday party for me. and yes, they heard all my random yells because i really was convinced it was just me and bryan in our abode. definitely wasn't expecting it at all!

then we all walk out of my room and SURPRISE! another group of people were hiding in the other room and decorated the rest of the apartment while we were in the bedroom! at this point, i definitely started jumping up and down! : ) it was awesome! thanks to all of you who were there!

tuesday, june 30th: new driver's license
i strategically waited until after my 21st to get my name changed on my driver's license because i wanted a "big girl license." seriously, the sideways licenses are soooo cool! here's a picture-i have a neck like a giraffe!
i'm legally 21 AND LisaGrace Alsbury! : )

friday, july 3rd: day-off and alcohol
my bosses decided to give me a day off for my birthday! actually it was just a holiday day because of the 4th. but still, AWESOME. i walked with my mom, hung out with paige, and did nothing. then bryan and i went to the cafe where our friend joel works (same joel from above). joel is seriously the best bartender EVER and i was adomate about being served my first alcoholic beverages from him. he gave me the tastiest drinks too! don't worry-no drunkenness here! i highly recommend the key-lime martini if you're going to the cafe anytime soon!

sunday, july 5th: family birthday dinner
my mom made me chicken divan and fluff & blueberries. it was a great finale to a wonderful week!

as you can see, it was an extremely amazing birthday extravaganza!


frugal friday: credit cards-the good and the bad

are credit cards evil? because they certainly haven't been evil to us. i know the reasons why they can be evil but overall, i think credit cards fall under the same concept-the love of money is evil. if you love money, it will be lord of your life, that is certain. and you can't trust yourself with something that technically allows you to spend money you don't have, i have one piece of advice for you: don't get a credit card.

BUT, here's what we've found about credit cards: they are manageable AND they can reap reward. here's a little summary of my history with credit cards.

i got a credit card right when i turn 18, three years ago. i had a fulltime job and made way more money then i needed as a single lady living in cheap housing. i didn't get a credit card because i thought i needed it. and i didn't get a credit card so that i could buy things that i wanted.
i had heard of the sharky world of creditors and of people being swallowed whole by credit card companies because they owed so much. i had heard of that fateful credit report that made you or broke you. i had heard how little it takes to ruin your credit and how long it takes to rebuild it. i had also heard of all the young people who had no credit. and well, i wanted to start right. i wanted good credit.

so in my three years of credit card history:
  • i've never carried a balance
  • i've had one late payment
  • i've made close to $250 bucks
  • i have excellent credit
my experience with credit cards is that they can make you money. we have a credit card from chase bank that give us 5% rewards on all the gas we purchase at bp, 2% rewards on travel & dining and 1% on everything else.

we fill up at char's, a bp station that i like to give my patronage to anyway and we spend about $150 a month on gas. that is $7.50 of FREE money each month-or $90 a year. um, i'll take it!

we also buy our plane tickets on this card. we'll probably fly at least once a year as bryan's family lives on the coasts. we just bought tickets to california for $500 and got $10 bucks for it.

that's already $100 bucks a year that we're making because we're spending on things we need and have budgeted already. other then those two major budgeted items, we also use the card for major purchases that we've saved for. for instance, bryan is going to the eye doctor next week. instead of taking the cash we saved, or writing a check, we're going to use our card and get the 1% reward for it. might as well, right?

seriously, sometimes i secretly wonder if chase is kicking themselves in the pants because they've given me around $200 bucks and have not been able to charge me interest. but then i think about all of the people that are spending more then they have and are being charged 18% interest and i am reminded of why they can shell out these sweet rewards.

i guess this weeks frugal friday tip is to take advantage of FREE things, but be careful with those that are offering it. if we would have been unwise with our credit card, that $200 in rewards would have been lost a long time ago.



this is long over due, but i wanted to finally share one of the super fun products of my bachelorette party. the awesome girls who blessed me with such a fun party thought of the great idea to tye-dye some clothes because of bryan's "hippie" nature. here are the long awaited results:

krystal made these socks:
i got to do the shirt!
this is the most comfortable nightshirt EVER!

thanks girls!

things i love thursday


ok, i know that was an easy one, but seriously, could i be any more blessed?

something i especially love about bryan today (as each day there seem to be new things to love about him) is that he allows me to give freely. a lot of times he even stretches me to give more. a few examples of this come to mind...

i tend to be a "bite off more then i can chew" type of person. at least half the time, because we're married and all, he gets roped into my next and newest BIG idea. almost all of the time, he has a better attitude about it then i do! we a moment like this last week. i volunteered us for something i should have thought about a little more and bryan was such a trooper. he is sooooooo gracious to his wife.

also this week, i asked him if we could help someone out in a very small way. it wasn't anything big, just a very minor inconvenience to us. what did bryan say? he not only agreed with such a happy heart but he also gave me a way to help them in an even bigger way! so fun!

also this week, i forgot to ask bryan if i could spend some of our money on a friend. its not like bryan would be livid at this anyway, but we really try to check we each other on everything, especially in this massive pay-off debt season we're in. but rather then being frustrated with me, he celebrated with me that i found a great sale and wanted to give the result to my friend. i love his generous heart.

i love my husband. yes i do!