come and eat

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one of the greatest lessons i have learned in my short three months of marriage is that there is power in a meal. so much power. not only to make Eric happy and full, but also to facilitate conversation and warmly invite people into your home with no strings attached. my ever so wise and honest mother-in-law told me shortly after we got married that food was truly one of E’s love languages (i would say that that is true of most people, honestly–they may not know it but food joins people in ways nothing else can) and my response was that i was learning that cooking was one of the best ways i had learned to show love to others. it isn’t always easy. our apartment doesn’t have a/c so it is H.O.T. which often means my already sweaty self has no desire to add to the heat issue by turning on our oven or stove. in those cases, going to a restaurant with a/c and already prepared food sounds far better. but meals at our table are truly something to be valued.

a few weeks ago, that same mother-in-law sent me a link to apply for a book launch team. it was a charming blogger that i had somehow never heard of. and her book was titled Come and Eat. funny, huh? as i did some research and read some posts, i found that this was truly a women that i would sit and talk with for hours upon hours over cold coffee if God would ever allow our paths to cross. Bri McKoy is incredibly wise and now as a member of her book launch team, i am diving into the stories and challenges that her own table has presented her with. it is incredible what i have found to be true of myself in her delicately written pages.

you see, E and i have this desperate desire and tug on our hearts to minister to friends and strangers alike. we want to share our home with them, our table with them, our stories and our lives with them. but you and i both know that inviting people to your table–especially those we don’t know can be so very intimidating. we can come up with so many reasons to take the gathering elsewhere. maybe we should go out, maybe we’ll just have a game night, let’s not invite people that could judge us into a very intimate spot in our home. what if i don’t know what they like to eat? what if our table isn’t big enough? what if our house is too hot? (my personal favorite excuse) what if they don’t like our house? what if we don’t have anything to talk about? what if what if what if?

but friends, as i have dove deeper and deeper into this book, the Lord has called me deeper and deeper into myself. and i am finding that this fear of judgement is stopping me from extending to others the one thing we all desire–an invitation. Bri has taught me in her pages that in order to be more like Jesus, we must be willing to do the things Jesus did to the best of our human ability. and if you think about, the entire essence of the Gospel is a Savior that is continually and always extending an invitation. 

so as i crawl my way to the halfway mark in this read i am finding myself challenged and setting goals. before this table can be the heart of ministry in home, we need to give it a more sacred place in our marriage. our ministry builds from there. i have decided that my table with no longer be fancy and ornate–dressed to impress, if you will. my table will be normal. flowers when they’re on sale at Aldi sometimes? i am striving to pull away from my human desire to be approved and validated by the people that come into my home because i am already approved and validated by the One that gave me this home. and now it is up to me to use the table in a way that glorifies Him and shares His love with our friends and families and neighbors. i am challenging myself to pray for this table to tell this table what it is going to be: a safe place for people to laugh and cry and talk about death or just the weather. it will cultivate friendship and soul-wrenching connection. it will help me to love better and more like Jesus. i will make food to the best of my ability, within my budget to feed instead of impress.

Bri has a tactful way of gently challenging me to search out the deep, dark insecurities that are stopping me from doing the Lord’s work (can i get a “DANG”?) and challenges me to look past them for His glory and to reach the full potential of the mission field He has put in front of my fridge.

“But what I would come to learn is that sharing a meal at the table isn’t so much another thing to check off my list as it is an invitation from God to see his goodness and rejoice in his work before surrendering to the night.” -Bri McKoy

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repurposed shorts

img_7828now pals–i am NOT a seamstress, i can barely thread a needle. but it is SO easy to turn something at a thrift store that is almost what you want into exactly what you want.

i recently found a pair of what E referenced as “old lady” shorts at a local thrift shop for $1.50. they were halfway to my knees and well above my belly button. i guess he had the right to term them as such. but thought i had failed before, i knew i had the ability to turn these babies into a classic pair of trendy but modest high-waisted shorts. let me show ya.

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this is what i was working with. they are not nearly as bad as E made them seem but needed some work if i wanted them to be at all flattering. so i started by taking two inches off and by some miraculous act of the Lord, it was perfect.

we were taking a beach trip the next day so i seeing how i could wear them. i’ve worn them a few days a week since. i am in love.

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like i said, i tried to keep it modest but definitely not as long as i bought them. i love how they turned out. as they have endured multiple wear and wash cycles, i love how frayed they’ve become. 


they have become a staple. 

what pieces of clothing do you repurpose or dream of repurposing? this is by far my favorite, i’d love to see yours.

lex

the art of thrifting

to my heart’s dismay i often hear friends discuss their distaste with thrift stores or the most common “i never find anything when i go”. in the past couple of years i have slowly transitioned into becoming a thrift shopper for close to all of mine and now my husbands clothing and accessories (even more so, we have found almost everything we need for our house the same way, but that’s for another time). if it’s not Goodwill, its likely a garage sale or a local thrift store. when we are traveling, we search Google Maps for thrift stores on our route and keep our eyes peeled for half-off days and coupons.

God has blessed Eric and I tremendously in so many ways and allowed us to live abundantly with little money in this season of our lives. we furnished out entire living room for under $70, find name brand clothes for pocket change or a few bucks, and truthfully, it has been so much FUN getting to go on scavenger hunts through towns and store to find the things that we want and need or will need at a reasonable price. so if you’re willing to learn, i’m willing to share the method to our thrifting madness. here are some things i think you need to know if you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about this or if you’re getting ready to head out the door.

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  1. commitment level– the best advice i can give to you is to be completely honest with yourself before you really jump in. you may need a little encouragement, to read through some different tips a few times, and to grab a coffee on your way to the store–but you can do this. if you truly WANT and/or NEED to learn to stretch the dollar when it comes to shopping, you have to be committed. neighborhood garage sales can take hours to walk through and there are a LOT of racks with look through at Goodwill. but the reward is far greater than the wait if you’re willing to dive in.
  2. more often, less specific– thrifting will be far more encouraging and enjoyable if you walk in with a mindset of savings and an openness to whatever you may find. the difficult thing about thrift stores is that you can’t always go in the day you need something and find it. it’s okay to have a specific item in mind, i keep a running list of things i am on the outlook for at stores and sales. but going into a store only when you need something decreases your chances to find really solid items and will only increase your frustration when you’re driving away with no *insert item here*. so i say, any chance you get–when the budget permits–going garage saling or stopping at the nearest thrift store will only increase your chances of a successful trip.
  3. size means nothing–a very common reason people give to thrift stores or sale clothes in garage sale is that they don’t fit anymore. what’s a common reason clothes don’t fit? you grew or they shrank. so, on most days, you can find lots of clothes that are NOT your size but fit perfectly. don’t let it effect your self-esteem and embrace the beauty of all the new possibilities.
  4. shop for every season–if you aren’t an avid thrifter, this probably sounds SUPER intimidating. this is truly a way to get something out of thrift shopping. now, i don’t mean you have to shop the toddler rack and the mens pants if you’re a seventeen year old girl with no kids and average hips. however, if you know that at any point in the year you could wear a dress, tank tops, short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, pants, or pajamas–shop every rack. touch all the hangers, one by one. it sounds tedious but it goes so fast. trust your instinct, if your hand moves that hanger right on down the line, don’t look back. your instinctual reaction was that it was something you would never wear. and unless there is an obvious defect, when your hand stops on a hanger, put it in the cart. on our honeymoon, in June, i bought more winter clothes than anything else because we were out east, they were cheap, and i know i’ll need them.
  5. which leads me to…fill the cart– throw. in. everything. if you could ever, maybe, potentially see yourself possibly wearing it…try it on. sometimes you’re dealing with brand new with tags shirts from Ann Taylor and sometimes you’re dealing with over washed and over worn sweaters from the 70’s. you know very little about these items until they are on your body. try them on. don’t waste your money.img_7879
  6. narrow it down–keep the items you love, get rid of the items you don’t. once you have the final pile in the cart, check them for any stains or damages you missed while you were trying them on. there’s nothing worse than finding a rip of stain you can’t fix after you bring something home.
  7. take it home–if your items have made it through this many rounds of inspections, they deserve to take up residence in your closet. be excited and take them home!

here’s a look at my last trip:

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this shirt from American Eagle made it into the cart and when i tried it on i realized it was because i already owned a few just like it. don’t get me wrong, i don’t think a person could ever have too many flowy shirts but i wasn’t in love.

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i was a fan (leggings and an oversized sweater this fall?? yes.) but E said it looked like something he would wear so since he didn’t want to buy it for him to wear and me to borrow, we left it for the next comfort-focused gal.

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loved the top, didn’t love that it was see-through.

 

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wished i could’ve tried it on with black tights, boots, and a jacket because that’s what you’ll find me in this fall. LOVED this skirt.

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huge yes for all patriotic, oversized tees.

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despite E’s attempt to persuade me, i decided against this one too.

 

now friends, God must’ve decided i didn’t need to spend money because i would’ve walked out with much more had they not kicked me out of the dressing room because they were closing. but i still deemed it a successful trip.

i hope you find that these tips are encouraging and make thrift shopping a bit more practical and reasonable for you! and if you love thrifting already, feel free to add any tips or tricks that YOU use.

until next time, happy shopping!

lex

homemaking

img_7668-1what a holy, sacred, super hard and stretching gift it is to be called a wife. it requires so much more intentional time and effort and selflessness that anyone can be prepared for. you study in premarital counseling or home your own with your future husband what scripture says about this new adventure you’re about to journey on. you read articles and blogs. but truly nothing compares to the experience itself.

i could go on and on about the grace and forgiveness or the pure, joy-fill fun, or the importance of sex, or the picture of God that it gives you. but those are other (fantastic) stories (probably very long stories) for other times.

but most recently, as we get settled and are living in a half put together home, i am learning the challenge and the beauty of homemaking. the Bible makes it exceedingly clear that a man’s responsibility it primarily to provide and love, a woman’s is to care for the home and be respectful. in a counter-Biblical culture, these concepts aren’t always agreed upon. however, these are the guidelines that Eric and I know as God’s truth so we seek, in all we do, to honor and glorify God by obeying what scripture has for us in regards to our marital roles.

one of my favorite things–thus far–has been this task and challenge of turning our house into a home. it is by no means “done” and i wouldn’t exactly say that i am good at it. but i am learning that our home is an incredibly sacred place for so many reasons. our kitchen is where we feed our bodies and our souls together; where we invite friends to be in communion with us. our living room is for laughter and for fun; for cherished time with people in our lives–old and new. and our bedroom. this is the place where Eric and I connect on every level (maybe because we don’t have a/c and it’s the only room with fans). it’s where God restores and renews and challenges us. i don’t think it has anything to do with the room itself but because in this room, we have found each other and ourselves–i am attached and have a deep desire to create it as a space for the foundation our our ministry in every day life–our marriage.

it’s not much. its some box springs and a mattress on the floor. it’s box fans and piles of laundry that i try my best to keep contained. but it’s ours. it’s our space. other people don’t hang out in there. it’s just ours. so i will work and strive to continue making it a space for connection and for rest, to nourish our souls and our feed our ministry. most importantly, making it a place to solely love and be loved until the next place comes along.

sunday

i have found beauty in the rest of sundays. often times, we are so swept up in visits and dinners and laundry and cleaning that we forget how to rest. i am exceedingly guilty of it–you probably are too. but today, after two church services and some long-awaited deep connection with my Savior, i found myself seeking that rest i so often pass up.

today my rest wasn’t found by lounging around the house or sipping coffee and reading a book. today my rest was found in thought, in prayer, in smiling, and in seeking out the beauty of the day. a rare occasion.

i married a ten year 4-H member and as a proud veteran he is still as in love with the fair as he was in his prime. so today, on this day of rest, we walked the sandy, uneven paths of the county fair in the July sun. we ate cheese fries and supported little kiddos that are starting the same 4-H journey he walked. we watched teams toss hay bales to each other and the beef barn won the infamous ‘Battle of the Barns”. we watched the annual parade and it was a blast.

but amidst the dirty toes and dripping ice cream, i was enamored by our Lord. simply in awe. that’s it. no deep intellectual battles (thought i do enjoy those on occasion). no riveting church service that knocked me on my knees. just simple connection. intentional thoughts about Jesus. gratefulness. a smile. fair food and a simple, smiling husband. it was a beautiful day. i rested purely and wholly in Jesus. soaking in all that He had for me today. i am exhausted but so, so rested.

the kreiders

 

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in deciding which of my one million and one thoughts to type out into a post first, i realized that there were some things anyone would need to know about me–about us–before any of my banter will ever make sense.

maybe it’s a lame excuse to put into words (again) how perfectly God knows me or how sweet my husband is, but regardless, here we go.

we grew up an hour away from one another, myself in Elkhart, him in Warsaw. but despite our frequent journeys into the other’s neck of the woods, we were clueless. it wasn’t until we both found ourselves at a small little college in northeast Indiana that we crossed paths.

i still remember sitting across the cafeteria table from him and our mutual friend as we laughed and talked about the mission trip we were leaving for that night. our memories were few and far between but cherished nonetheless. we became friends and watched one another thrive and grow into a more abundant relationship with Jesus. as we began classes once again the next fall, we were leading bible studies that aligned well and we would meet for italian ice at the sweetest little shop and share all that God had laid on our hearts for our studies that week. we would pray together and laugh together and somehow, someway God showed us day by day the love He had given us for one another and the plans He had for us.

from friend to bible study buddy to best friend to boyfriend to fiance to husband all over the course of a year.

crazy. countercultural. stupid. irresponsible. call it what you may, we’ve heard it all. and that’s okay. we understand. it confuses us sometimes too. but what’s so amazing about it is this:

God has the ability to pick your world up, toss it around and somehow manage to keeps things just the way He wants them amongst what seems like chaos to you.

we prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed AND PRAYED. we played Gideon like no other. (how could you not when you felt God was calling you to get married…without a degree…when you’re twenty….to a boy you met less than a year ago) but eventually God must’ve gotten tired of our uncertainty or something because as we took steps toward what He was leading us to, everything fell into place. doors opened and He affirmed and there was support and joy. it was right. we knew it was right. our hearts were aligned and at peace–despite the crazy and abnormal reality to all of it.

so here we are. E & L as our family and friends have sweetly titled us. we promised God and each other to live the roles that scripture calls us to, to respect and to love, to laugh and to pray, and to forever be best friends on 05.27.17. it was the most beautiful day and i don’t think my cheeks have ever hurt worse from smiling so hard.

we don’t have much and we don’t know where it is God is leading us next but we are doing all we can right here, right now to seek His direction and live within His will for our lives TODAY.

my goal was not to bore you with a less than fairy tale love story but to share with you the beauty of God’s sovereignty and love. two broken people who never intended for this to happen found themselves chasing after God with everything they had and God led them to each other. two sinners that are so imperfect, flawed and entirely incapable of unconditional and selfless love have been brought together and called to do just that with the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide.

we share our quiet, lovely moments in a less than small upstairs apartment with tall ceilings and no air conditioning. i love watching him read and build and pray. we spend most late nights laying on top of our bedding with fans blowing on us talking about the most recent thing. we are AVID believers in Goodwill and garage sales, and i can’t wait to begin sharing those adventures here.

my guy loves to eat, which could not fit more perfectly with my love to cook. he loves to work on one of his 108 White Mountain Puzzles, and chat about football–preferably the Colts (no really, i dare you to bring up Pat McAfee). we are having so much fun building our little home and life together. i’m slowly but surely adjusting to the weird way he brushes his teeth and he’s getting used to having hair all over the shower or bobby pins on the sink. it’s a work in progress and we are bound determined to make God the center of this and the most glorified in this.

it is quite the adventure we have embarked on–this mutually flawed pursuit of Jesus– but the Lord knew me so much better than i knew myself when He gave me E to do it with. and i still haven’t stopped getting butterflies every time i sign another thank you or graduation or birthday card, “love, the Kreiders”.