Merry Christmas!

In my neck of the woods the kids are out of school for the Christmas break and of course there’s a snowstorm today!! You can’t tell from the pictures but it is blowing like crazy with 75 mph wind gusts. I’m sure my kids would’ve rather it hit yesterday (their last day of school) so they could’ve had a possible snow day (one extra day off) but that wasn’t in God’s weather forecast. Actually though they enjoyed their last school day…because it was filled with treats, crafts, and…well…laziness really!

Some would say that’s what Christmas is all about — treats, crafts, lazy days…baking, presents, etc. BUT like the theme of my post last week was based on — when you take Christ out of Christmas you miss the best aspect and the absolute only reason for celebrating the Christmas season!

Today’s devotional thought: Out front of our house we have a small evergreen tree that is growing bigger and bigger all the time. I gauge how much it’s grown by how many strands of lights I wrap around it every Christmas season and it never falls short of needing and earning an extra strand each year when I decorate it. I think this year there are three or four strands wrapped around it. I could just buy an extra long set of lights but it’s just as easy to keep adding a strand each year.

This growing tree, wrapped with its many lights, reminds me of how when we ground our faith in Jesus we see His light in an exceptionally dark world. Jesus’ unchanging light grows bigger to us the more we spend time in His word, connect with Him in prayer, and share His message all for His glory.

While we draw closer to Jesus and echo His ways that radiant “Jesus-light” is reflected to others through our words and actions and the closer we grow to Him the bigger His light can shine and work through us.

Light always serves a purpose — and God’s grace in sending His Son to the earth is without a doubt the most beautiful and purpose-filled. Jesus is truly the most perfect light, ready and willing to shine His brilliance over our Christmas celebration. May God’s gift of Love and Light be the spark that illuminates our lives with joy not just at the Christmas season but every day of the year!!

Sweet ‘Christ’mas blessings to you all!!

With love,

The Witt’s

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

Here are some fun recipes we’ve tried over the past week! Enjoy!

Link for Gluten-free Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Link for Cowboy Cookie Recipe in a Jar

Link for Cake Pops

Link for Gingerbread Crinkle Cookies

Celebrating ‘Christ’mas No Matter What

The other day I did some grocery shopping and actually checked out with a real person. This is something I never do anymore, I always opt for online grocery pickup or the self checkouts because the lines are usually shorter and my time is typically crunched. This day though I had a basket heaping full of the essentials and a gift card that can be stubborn so I decided it’d be easier to shop in-person and hit up the live cashier route to pay.

As I placed my items on the conveyor belt I could hear the customer ahead of me and the cashier as they made small talk. The woman checking out placed the last of her shopping bags into her cart, commenting she “just can’t get into the Christmas spirit this year, you know?” The cashier nodded helplessly as if she seemed to agree and without elaborating they finished the transaction and both moved on with their day.

And I just haven’t been able to get that bleak comment out of my head.

I get it for sure, but it’s sad.

It’s sad how much we’re impacted by life and fickle feelings — and yet Christmas comes regardless as a celebration of Jesus’ birth which is the absolute best truth ever. We just can’t risk missing that reality and the joy that should take place in our hearts because of it. Jesus is the only reason Christmas is even a thing.

Despite everything going on around us or how things have played out this year or any year, Christmas still comes, and it’s such a wonderful reminder of God’s faithfulness. He is why we celebrate — and in Him nothing has changed.

Literally as Christians, the most precious part of our lives was wrapped in the highest amount of God’s love in the form of our Savior, Jesus. Every ounce of that thought should be remarkably beautiful and profound to us. We should feel joy and gratefulness at the mention of Christ’ name and the idea of His unique life.

When we look at the recordings of Jesus’ arrival (Matthew 1 & 2 / Luke 1 & 2) even that season wasn’t all cinnamon sticks and mistletoe. The lives weren’t flawless of those who were aware of Jesus’ greatness. There wasn’t a picture perfect scene when Christ’ due date arrived. Perhaps Mary would’ve preferred a bed at a Motel 6 rather than straw in a stable but regardless Jesus birth wasn’t stopped!!!

Oh when I think of how imperfect all the details were, I’m humbled.

Physically our Christmas celebration may indeed look different this year, but our hearts have no reason to when we’re focused on Him.

No matter the chaos, the changes we’re experiencing, or the unknown we can still rejoice because the greatest gift ever was born 2000 years ago and by our faith we get to be a part of that ongoing blessing.

There isn’t anything capable of altering this truth.

It brings me peace and joy this Christmas season knowing and trusting that as things may seem undesirable or unstable, God is still fully in control — just as much as He was back in what was surely a dirty but most purposeful nativity scene stable.

Sweet ‘Christ’mas blessings to you all!!

‘She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’
—Matthew 1:21

God, help me to celebrate Christmas because of you and your love for the world. Things may not look the same as last year’s traditions but still you are the same. You are unchanging and faithful and you are the perfect reason for every Christmas season. AMEN!

Random Christmas Faves and a DIY for Candle Making

Hey!!! Goodness do I miss blogging on a regular basis — and reading other’s blogs as well! Subbing in the schools has been crazy busy lately. I love it BUT I miss my normal routine, so I’ve made it a goal to get a post out…even if it means currently writing at 3:45 A.M. I’m gonna include a few of my own random holiday favorites plus a DIY on candle making today. I wish I was publishing this post two weeks ago but it is what it is…better late than never!!

Just for the record you’ll see a lot of Amazon links in this post, I don’t get commission from any purchases made LOL..I wish though!

Random Christmas Faves:

1. Delicious Gluten-free Gingerbread Cookies! This recipe is absolutely amazing. I’ve been using it for a few years now and then I make a non gluten-free version for those in my family who don’t have to eat gluten-free (it’s more cost-effective this way because gf flour is pricey) and let me tell you — my family actually prefers the gluten-free over the regular.

Soft and Chewy Gluten-free Gingerbread Men recipe

2. Checkered Christmas Tree Skirt. It was time for me to update our Christmas tree skirt and I knew I wanted something simple and timeless. I feel like black and red checkered is a Christmas time staple so I couldn’t go wrong with this choice. Even Max and Eli seem to appreciate it!!

Checkered tree skirt on Amazon

3. Christmas Music! I love to listen to Christmas music and anything from Pentatonix, the Home Alone sound track, to Michael Buble is good for me!

Mary Did You Know?

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

4. Christmas (tree) Light Dimmer. We typically keep our tree lights on all day and all night. The kids like the lights to serve as a nightlight but since our Christmas tree sits right outside their bedroom doors they complained about how bright it was so I ordered (from Amazon) this nifty light dimmer. Works like a “dream!”

Christmas Light Dimmer

5. Video Projector and Screen. If you’re looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the family this might be the thing for you! The kids have been asking for a tv projector this year. They want to be able to watch a movie outback when the weather warms up again or set up a “theater” in the living room (where we don’t have a tv) and because of the versatility I caved. Kind of excited about this gift personally!!

**There’s a $20 off coupon right now on the projector so you can get it for 60 bucks and the screen for another 30ish on Amazon..add a bag of popcorn as stocking stuffers and you have a super cool family gift all for under a hundred dollars!

Megawise Video Projector

Projector Screen

Okay the last part of this post I’ll show how to make your own candles and I’m also going to include the fact that I’ll never make them again, too messy! I’m actually not even a fan of candles. When essential oils stepped into my house, I threw out every one of my candles because the oils are a safer, cleaner option. Nevertheless I happened to have leftover beeswax in my house from some soap and lotion projects my girls had been doing and since I don’t like things going to waste I figured I’d put the beeswax toward candle making and use them as Christmas gifts. This idea of candle making was close to the worst craft experience I’ve had, the first was the time I stapled into my finger with a finish nailer while making pallet-board Christmas trees.

Anyway here’s what you’ll need:

Beeswax pellets

Candle wicks

Coconut oil

A saucepan filled half full of water

An empty large soup can

Hot pads

A spoon that you don’t mind tossing afterwards

Mason jars/tea cups

Hot glue gun and glue

Pencil

**A pound and a half of beeswax pellets made 8 small candles.

Instructions: First use a glue gun to glue the end of the candle wick (on the metal piece) to the bottom of the tea cup or jar in the middle.

Next you’ll want to crease the soup can rim to create a spout and then fill it half full of beeswax. Put the can into the pan of water with the burner set on medium heat and give a little stir every so often.

**Be sure the water in the pan is a little higher than the wax in the soup can.

Once the wax has completely melted into liquid form (using hotpads) you can remove the can from the stovetop, set it on a hot pad or cutting board, add in a tablespoon of coconut oil and stir well. **At this point you could add essential oils but you’ll need about 20-30 drops to even notice the smell; I’m cheap so I went without. You’ll want to work quickly because the wax sets up pretty fast.

After you’ve mixed, it’s time to pour the wax into the jars or tea cups. **Try to avoid pouring onto the wick or the sides of your jar, see photo below.

Now you can roll the wick around a pencil and allow the pencil to rest on top of your jar or cup.

Leave it this way for about 12 hours, remove the pencil and cut the wick nearly an inch from the wax. That’s all there is to it!

**You can continue the process of the directions above using the same soup can and spoon until your wax is all used up or you run out of jars or tea cups.

Seriously the most satisfying part of this whole deal for me was watching how quick the wax hardens, otherwise I’ll resort to Yankee (candles) from here on out for gifting!!😅

Here’s the final product:

As always if you end up giving this DIY a try I’d like to hear about it in the comments.

Have an amazing week!

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” —John 8:12

Upward Faith

With last week bearing Thanksgiving, I’ve gotta be honest, I felt far from thankful on a holiday that’s renowned for thankfulness and gratefulness here in America.

It just felt off in so many ways. My brother and his family were in quarantine at the last minute and unable to join us at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, another half of our family celebrated out of town and it didn’t work for us to go, and the large Witt Thanksgiving lunch we have the Saturday after every Thanksgiving holiday (where always more than fifty gather) couldn’t happen due to Covid number-restrictions.

Side-note: I feel like writing this whole post on how sick and tired I am of Covid and everything it entails but I’ll refrain because this whole thing would turn dark real quick and that’s the opposite of my point.

Over the past few weeks my morning Bible reading has been in Hebrews and I’m now at chapter 11. As a reminder this is the chapter known as the “Hall of Faith.” Versus 4 through 12 note the commendable faith of ‘Bible heroes’ such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah.

It’s versus 13 through 16, however, that have really captured my heart:

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The things they were promised — the acquiring of the land of Canaan, the consummating of numerous descendants, the Messiah in the flesh — they never saw these things fulfilled in their lifetime. BUT, and this is the motivating and inspirational piece for me, they embraced the idea and strong belief that one day those things would come to fruition, even if it meant not seeing them happen in their present time. Referring to themselves as ‘foreigners and nomads here on earth’ they trusted in greater blessings by longing for a ‘better place, a heavenly homeland.’

None of them were perfect people, but they also didn’t have their faith hung up by unanswered hopes and earthly letdowns. Rather they held onto heavenly hope that God would one day fulfill their desired promises — and because of that we read their names in Hebrews 11 pointing straight to their encouraging faith.

You guys, we are in the same boat as those mentioned above. As believers who hold onto faith in God, His ways, and His words we trust that this is absolutely not our world to find contentment and fulfillment in. Our faith is in a God who is so much bigger than the issues and hardships we’re facing. Even if it’s just petty whining over broken holiday traditions — God is still moving, but at His will and His perfect timing. His leading has the power to take our focus away from earthly discouragement.

For me, I know I can’t get so selfish as to think of last week’s Thanksgiving from a place of my own “deserved” comfort.

True Thanksgiving points me to Christ and His home.

Disappointment doesn’t line up with faith and when I choose to be optimistic, realizing that this earth and even a holiday fixed on counting blessings isn’t the real object of true blessing, then I turn my eyes to Jesus — trusting and believing that in Him lies the real hope. It’s in Him where my faith is tied, knowing this life and all of it’s surprises (good and bad) are so far from the true goodness and rich blessings found in our permanent Heavenly home…just the same reassuring faith we find in the lives of those mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11.

With that, I can thank God passionately (no matter the circumstances) for His word and my trust in Heavenly faith — for His purpose.

November DIY Fabric Coasters and Camera Strap

Well the month is already more than half way over but at least I’m getting this out before the last day of November!!

Since I’m sharing two DIY’s I’ll waste no time and jump right in!

The first DIY features these sweet little machine-sewn fabric coasters. If you’re not a sewing gal (or guy) but happen to have a sewing machine tucked away pull it out and don’t sweat a thing. These coasters are so easy to create that my twelve year old daughter took over and finished them up!!

For one coaster you will need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Scissors

Sewing pins

A stick to push finished corners into place

4 different colors of fabric

Iron

Begin by cutting your fabric into 5 inch squares. Use whatever colors you’d like but create some type of pattern similar to my picture below…so for the fronts of your coaster you’ll want 2 matching colors and then another 2 matching colors, one solid color for the backside, and lastly another color which will be hidden on the inside as a liner piece.

Fold those front four squares in half and then take an iron over all six pieces once you are at this point.

Now it’s time to layer; pretty sides face-up on all layers. You’ll want your inner (hidden) piece on bottom, then comes the backside piece and then the top pieces need to be layered in a woven pattern with the cut edges facing out. Probably best if you just check out pics to get the idea!😉Once everything is lined up neatly pin it all the way around like the photo above, and then sew all the way around the square about a half inch from the edge (removing pins right before you get to them). Make sure you back stitch at the start of sewing and then back stitch when you’ve made it all the way around the square and back to the starting point.

Cut off any extra thread and turn the material inside out. With a dull pointed stick (or closed writing pen) poke the inside of each of the corners so there’s no bulky excess fabric within. (See photo above)

Now you can iron over the front and back sides to give a flat and tidy finish.

That’s it!! Super simple!!

Now while you already have the sewing machine out why not put together a classy, personalized camera strap?!!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Sewing machine/threaded in any color

Fabric cut to 8 x 44 inches (length can be customized to your preference)

Sheet of leather (found on Amazon or in craft stores)

Metal hooks and rings

Scissors

Embroidery thread/needle

Iron

To start, be sure your fabric is ironed smoothly and fold it in half with the inside facing out. Pin along the long open side and sew about a half inch from the edge, removing pins as you come to them; only sew down the long edge, leaving the short ends un-sewn. See photos below. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and at the end. Cut off any excess thread.

Once you are finished sewing along the edge you’re ready to turn your neck strap inside out.

For the leather sheet you’re going to cut a piece in the shape of a bow. It’s easiest if you draw half of the bow on paper first, fold it in half and then cut. Then follow up by tracing your cutout onto the leather sheet and cutting that out, you’ll need to do this twice (one for each end of your neck strap). Follow photos below.

After you have the leather sheet cut out it’s time to put everything together.

Put the leather through the ring, then lay the fabric end on top of the leather, fold the leather over (tucking the fabric ends inside).

Start the embroidery thread (about 30 inches long) on the inside part of the leather so all of the work is hidden to give a neat and clean look. Be sure the end of the thread is double knot tied and begin hand-weaving the embroidery thread through the front and back of the leather piece; work all the way around the edge like the photos below.

Once you make it around, double knot and carefully cut the end piece off, and then repeat this entire process on the other strap end. Attach the metal clips to the key rings, and then clip those onto your camera’s strap holder clips.

That’s all there is to it!!

The coasters or the camera strap (maybe even both!!) would make great Christmas gifts or any-time-of-the-year gifts!

As usual if you end up doing these DIYs I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Blessings!!

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” —Psalm 31:24

Disappointed But Not Hopeless

Y’all I was gonna try and avoid this post and publish this month’s DIY instead — but every time I try to write something else my thoughts take over — can’t avoid reality so I guess this is meant to be. I’m just being honest and hopefully something can be gained from where I’m going with this post.

During the middle of the night, recently, I woke up abruptly, this feeling of ‘unrest and overwhelm’ flooded my mind.

I won’t get terribly political (I hope) but here was some of what was rallying around up there: ‘for crying out-loud my husband works in the oil field, Biden seeks to replace oil with renewable energy…how will that impact our means of providing??…And popularizing abortion — an ugly option that isn’t a part of God’s plan. If you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex…Rape? Convict the criminal, not the innocent baby…there’s always adoption or the Witt residence. The desire to abolish the death penalty for a hardcore criminal but yet give the green flag go for an unborn human to receive the death penalty?? Come on. Call me crazy but I’ll never understand any reason or logic in that. Ever.’

**I’ve heard too many stories of doctors telling mamas their unborn child will be born with defects only to later give birth to a completely whole and healthy baby who grows up to do amazing things...And when the doctor happens to be right, well you go on and love that baby and every breath of their life just the same way Jesus does..

Sometimes it’s battle of the mind field running my life and I just need God to drop a truth-bomb. Because I know those thoughts obviously portray opinion, judgement and disgust.

Here’s what I have to remember: I’m not perfect, nor are my thoughts. I’m desperately in need of saving grace as much as anyone else.

In the quiet hours of the night, minus my busy mind, the Holy Spirit cut in — reminding me of a verse I haven’t read or heard in a very long while:

This verse, with such faultless timing, comes from 2 Chronicles chapter 7 when King Solomon and the people (Israel) had just finished worshiping God at a freshly built temple (a place to worship God) dedicated to Him.

Solomon sends the people home and later the Lord appears to him setting ground rules (including the above verse). He was the leader of what was known to be a stubborn nation and if Solomon followed God’s plan, blessing would come…if not, a nation (Israel) would come to ruin.

Eventually sin ensued and most of the kingdom was lost (see chapter 12). Solomon had lost his way to idols in the form of power, riches, and sexuality and as a result Israel suffered.

I can’t help but notice how applicable this verse is even now, all these years later. That’s the beautiful thing about scripture — it never fades out.

God wants our attention. He wants our hearts. He wants our repentance.

God wants the same requests of us that He asked over Solomon along with Israel.

Our leadership is corrupt. We, as sinful people, are problematic. None of us are perfect.

BUT…

We’ve all been given the same fair opportunity and we all live under the same God-willing expectation:

To humble ourselves. To pray. To seek God’s face. To turn from our wicked ways.

Just as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Perhaps when we do so, God will hear from Heaven and heal our land…united as one.

Will we act in obedience to God’s direction or push it off just as Solomon did with a trail of destruction dragging behind?

I can only do my part…take up self-control, admit fault, seek forgiveness, cling to God, and aim to do better through His perfection, which is where I’m at right now.

I don’t want to live in anger or disgust and I can only overcome that negative mindset because of God’s goodness, mercy, and grace with grounded faith as I commune with Him.

By my example and others who are on the same page, I pray that a testimony would show to those watching and that a contagious result would follow for His purpose.

I pray that we (as a nation) truly would encourage one another and work toward a turn around — with God as our ultimate leader and hope for healing. Only by His way will we move forward.

Tips on Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist, etc. (part 2 of 2)

Cont. from part 1 ‘Throughout the process of eliminating debt I began to feel a weight lifted with every bill paid off…and I wanted “more”….more of that feeling, so I began to purge belongings.

Over the years (and especially during that time of paying off financial debt) my relationship with Jesus was growing and as I read scripture like, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,’ I realized that ‘stuff’ and following Jesus don’t go hand in hand.

It’s a lot of maintenance to keep stuff:

  • It breaks and if you’re that attached you find yourself glueing parts back together that will never be the same in the end anyways.
  • It needs dusted.
  • It multiplies and takes up space, creating clutter.
  • It gets outdated.

I started weeding out belongings first by telling my mom to get rid of all that junk of mine she had at her house from when I was growing up. I figured if I hadn’t missed it over all these years chances are I wouldn’t and had no use for it anymore. So it went away without me thinking twice about it..except the baseball cards..I still have the darn baseball cards.

In my own home I went through and got rid of anything that seemed cheap or cheesy. Things I hadn’t used in months could go too.

This is something I still do at least twice a year (purging) and usually just one room at a time.

I want to be able to appreciate my decor, not be overwhelmed by the sight or burdened by the upkeep. Less is more in this case. It allows you to focus and enjoy your blessings.

To sell, toss, or donate once I decide I don’t want it anymore??…

Anything that has some value I sell on my mom’s Facebook account. Anything that is broken or stained I throw away. Anything that is still nice looking and usable (but I don’t want to mess with selling) I donate to second-hand stores.

MY ADVICE: Take inventory!

Get rid of things you have too much of!

For example our family of five has seven bath towels in our home. There’s no need for more than what you need or will use.

Saucepans: 1 large, 2 medium, 2 small

Skillets: 1 large, 1 medium, 1 small

Large soup pots: 1 tall, 1 short

We don’t need a dozen towels, pots or pans, coffee mugs, mixing bowls, etc when chances are we’re only going to use so many at one time.

I feel like blankets are another thing that accumulates easily in our house. Instead of four-plus blankets the kids are now each allowed only two. There’s no reason for more than that. We keep a few in storage for guests and from time to time I make sure the blanket area hasn’t surpassed its allotted number, apparently that’s a popular gift we receive.

I’m also trying to be more attentive to buying quality items as well...(thanks Nathan)!

For the longest time I was buying plastic containers and then when spaghetti sauce or something similar would stain the dish I would get annoyed by how gross they looked so I would throw them out and buy new. Now I’ve purchased glass containers with dark lids to store those types of foods; and plastics are still used but only for foods that won’t stain.

I try to decorate with simple, practical things that serve a purpose and echo the word ‘timeless’…by doing this I’m saving money in not trying to keep up with the latest trends.

Financially we have our necessity bills only: house payment, electric, insurance, and phones…thanks to Covid an internet bill until the kids aren’t at a chance of needing it, and then I’ll waste no time canceling it!!! Can’t wait!!

Using a budget and set amount in cash envelopes (for groceries, fuel, animals, and fun money) each pay check has allowed us to grow our savings account.

For phones we use a tracfone (Straightalk) at $45 a month with unlimited texting and talk and 25 GB of high speed internet.

We don’t do home internet (typically) or cable etc. because we don’t have time for it or an interest. Instead we lift weights (at home), play card games, read, play catch outside, or get creative for entertainment and family memories.

I understand many people enjoy tv programs etc. and that’s fine, do what works for you!!!

I know groceries can get expensive so to save on cost in that area we eat a lot of chicken and use turkey burger instead of beef (sorry cattlemen, I’m saddened by this too). Steaks? — ya well the only ones we ever see are the ones you poke in the ground.

We eat very clean and healthy…lots of fruits and veggies and manage to feed two gluten free people (which isn’t a cheap option) all while maintaining a $400 a month grocery budget. That amount covers not just food items but toilet paper, soaps, other bathroom essentials, etc.

No soda pop or Little Debbie snacks make their way into this home unless grandparents have spoiled their grandkids..that’s the only exception!❤️

I use the Walmart grocery app to order groceries that way I have more control of my spending habits in that way.

The animal’s food budget is $50 a month: feeding three rabbits, five chickens, two kittens, and three small dogs.

When purchasing material items I try to keep in mind a few questions — Is it good quality? Does it serve a purpose? Do I have a place for it? Is it going to end up in storage or a donate pile soon?

Y’all, the bottom line is that none of this is perfected by us; just a few weeks ago during my quarantine I went to our storage room (curse those anyways!!!) to where many unused items had collected and although it was easy to take them to the second hand store or toss some of them, I wondered how in the world we even had all of that and where had it nested beforehand??

Purging and organizing is an ongoing process. It takes time and self control to take these steps, and even encouragement from others!

Organizing…like items should stay together and never overpopulate their space.

Keepsakes…my kids are each allowed a large tub and can keep (as they’re growing up) anything meaningful in there (stuffed animals, awards, crafts). Sometimes if they’ve grown tired of something they’ll toss it to place something new in there, never overflowing their box. I use a wooden hope chest with the same process for myself.

When it comes to memorabilia or hand-me-downs from loved ones (especially those who’ve passed) it can be tough to make a call on ‘keep or toss’. If that piece means so much to you because it truly helps you feel closer to your loved one then by all means ABSOLUTELY KEEP IT!!! But if it doesn’t mean anything to you and you’re only hanging on to it for their sake, let it go. It’s not your beloved “memory-treasure” of them.

None of those things will bring our loved one’s back unfortunately.

Stuff is just simply that…stuff!! It’s never as good as our memories…those are the true keepers.

So while considering materialistic things and deciding what stays or goes remember that our memories and relationships deserve the most attention. Those can be built to last, they won’t fall apart if you mutually cover them in love, they grow more cherished with age, and they are the true and most important gift that keeps giving!!

Guys, if you’ve made it this far chances are you’re passionate or interested about this just like me. This post is waaayyy too long, but I hope you’ve found it helpful.

Message me with your own tips, advice or questions!!!

In the meantime, Happy Purging!!

Take me to part 1 Becoming a (semi) Minimalist

Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist, etc. (part 1 of 2)

Here’s the promised post some of you have been looking forward to.😊 BTW I’m out of quarantine — never got sick and honestly loved the time I had at home to organize, relax, and study! It was good for my soul.

Okay I know the title is misleading because while ‘minimalist’ refers to less, ‘etc.’ means more!! BUT here’s the deal, in effort to not overwhelm on a minimalist post 😅, I’ll split this into a two part post. Part 1 (today) I’ll dish out my spiral-story of minimizing on “stuff”, and part 2 (tomorrow) will include tips to help you do the same if you’re looking to declutter.

Disclaimer: I’ve named this post ‘semi’ minimalist and I want to explain — here’s the deal, if you’ve ever watched tv programs on tiny living there are some super extremist out there!! And I kind of admire that, BUT the reality (for me) is that I have a family and I need my life to work and make sense, so maybe I could minimize more here or there but we also need to be able to function decently at the Witt house so this ‘semi‘-minimalist-living is what works for us…

Mostly I receive positive comments or compliments from family and friends when they come over and see my home’s decor or lack there of. Even people have commented on the blog when they see pictures of my house’s content.

People are interested (maybe even sub-consciously) — in less distraction, tidiness, and clean design these days from what I’ve learned. The interest of thinning out can be overwhelming though — not taking action is sometimes a lack of knowing where to begin but having a strong desire to do so.

The enthusiasm has caused me to write this very post to help encourage the fervor.

For me I was always a collector growing up — those creepy little troll dolls, knick-knacks, baseball cards, collector Barbies, etc, etc, etc…

I’ve shared about my adversity as a child and I’m pretty certain collecting (for me) was a coping mechanism. I must have felt security through my stuff and I had a lot of it.

When I left for college I took some of the knick-knack things with me and left a good portion of the rest at home where I grew up.

In my twenties, once Nate and I were married, I began adding pots and pans, wall hangings, holiday decor, craft supplies, etc…

It didn’t stop there. I remember when Nate started getting his first paychecks from the job he’s still working at. It was good money and that was something neither of us had growing up so after the bills were paid every paycheck, we’d spend the rest on this and that — I don’t even know what we’d spend it on but we were definitely living paycheck to paycheck at that point.

In our late twenties we had over $10,000 worth of credit card debt, and another $8000 wrapped up in college debt, some odd amount on a personal loan, plus a car loan or maybe two, on top of a house payment.

One day, when I went to pay a credit card bill, I paid attention to the interest rate!!

Ouch!!

Our interest amount was of course higher than the monthly payment. I was like ‘umm we probably better do something about this!’….so I did the only financial thing I knew to do “best”…

I got another credit card!!

Only this time it was a zero percent interest card and I transferred everything from the other credit cards over and we began power paying that single credit card payment and stopped spending frivolously (tips will be provided in the follow-up post).

I was beginning the process of minimizing without even realizing it.

I’d also picked up on the Dave Ramsey financial plan from a few friends. I never purchased the program but learned enough about it to utilize the idea to my own advantage — power pay bills and use a cash envelope budget for grocery, fuel, and fun money.

Around that time Nathan (thank God) got two large bonus checks and rather than blowing them on junk, we paid off debt. So between the bonus checks and the Dave Ramsey budgeting we paid off everything except a car payment within a few years…the car is now paid off too.

Slow learners…shortly afterwards we bought a camper on a loan and kept it until this past summer, selling it and eliminating that payment.

We now have a house payment only!!!

Throughout the process of eliminating debt (and starting a savings account) I began to feel a weight lifted with every bill paid off…and I wanted “more”….more of that feeling, so I began to purge belongings.

Tomorrow we’ll digger deeper and get into the physical process of keeping, saving, selling, or donating stuff; and hopefully if you’ve felt the desire to change things up a bit in your home and spending habits you’ll be able to gain some insight!

You can leave a comment if there’s anything you hope to see included; because while I’ve spent time on putting this together in what I feel is simple form, I’m hoping I haven’t overlooked any tips (for tomorrow). I’ll try to include whatever suggestions I get, along with my own tips in part 2.

See ya tomorrow in part 2 (Tips on Becoming a ‘semi’ Minimalist).

Reopening my Etsy Shop on Day 11 of Quarantine

Last week I wrote about my run-in with (or exposure to) Rona which threw me into a 14-day home quarantine.

So far I’ve managed to dodge the bullet and I’m at day 11 still feeling well; no symptoms means no getting tested. Been there, done that with my nursing home hair job as they have to test employees once a month and trust me if you haven’t been tested there is absolutely nothing flattering about someone shoving a six-plus-inch stick up your nose. I don’t think it actually goes six inches or whatever up there BUT nevertheless my brain feels like it wants to sneeze each time afterwards!!

Anyway quarantine hasn’t been bad but I’m also a homebody so I don’t mind, plus it’s cooled off a bit my way so I’m good staying indoors. My homeschooled girl, Mc, on the other hand is chomping at the bit to get out of the house and go somewhere… ‘like to grandma’s or (her friend) Quency’s’…I hear that at least three times a day!!

So what have I been up to during my time of quarantine you might ask?

Well I’ve organized the pantry, created a simple laundry system for my way-too-small laundry area, re-situated the baskets and their contents in our linen closet, cleaned out and tidied the basement storage room, sanitized surfaces a half a dozen times each day…

Y’all I’m feeling well accomplished!!

That basement storage room was no small task! Boxes of clothes, boxes of junk, boxes of nothing, bags of this and that…stuff collects and builds quickly and I’m not a fan.

When I get out of hock (actually quarantine has been wonderful) my first outing will be to the second hand store to drop off this mess of collections. Technically it’s all still good stuff, it’s just things I’ve grown tired of or the kids have outgrown etc….In a future post I plan to write about getting rid of things and not feeling bad about it, and really just getting to the point of minimal-izing (I might have made that word up).

Sorry mom if anything’s in there that you’ve given to me over the years.

Minimalism is something I’m hugely passionate about!!….But it wasn’t always that way…so if you’ve ever felt in the same boat, take heart, there is hope! I’ll be sharing (in an upcoming post) some of the things that have helped me to throw out “stuff” without feeling like I’m throwing my heart out with them!! Stay tuned for that one!!

OK so in my title I mentioned that I am re-opening my Etsy shop….

I’ll explain. Along with deep cleaning in the basement storage room I had to look my jewelry making supplies right in the eye because they share the same space. I felt like it was taunting me….‘what a waste of money…think of the possibilities…Christmas is right around the corner…’

Sooooo two days ago I took the initiative to clean up that space, hammer out a few pieces of metal, and relist some of my items on my Etsy shop.

Rustic Looks Etsy Shop

I actually plan to open an Instagram account as well which is scary — actually terrifying to me. I like simple and practical so the idea of having a few more social media platforms to operate is somewhat intimidating to me.

However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned during 2020 it’s that life is so unpredictable and with that neither of my jobs (substitute teacher or nursing home hair stylist) are providing a stable income. I’ve decided I’m going to make an effort to get a bit more serious about jewelry making and other odds and ends that I may list on Etsy to create a little extra cash flow on my end. Aside from Instagram I’ll advertise on Pinterest as well. That’s one I use already but not necessarily for the benefit of advertising so that’ll be an adventure in itself too!

As I write this post so many motivating Bible verses come to mind but there’s one I want to settle on and highlight:

Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

That verse encourages me to do what I feel called to do but also (and most importantly) to just simply trust that God is in control no matter what.

The things we dive into, get involved with, create or take interest in may very well flop — they quite literally may. We’ve seen, and hopefully learned, in 2020 that plans change and uncertainty exist — yet even then God is ALWAYS strong, dependable, and His love is steadfast. He never wanes. Ever.

It’s okay and healthy to have the mindset of motivation as we want to release from what might feel like a gripping year BUT ‘motivation that is moved by Him who leads’ is what will bring us through.

As I venture out to re-open my Etsy shop I want my motivation to be stirred and moved by God. I want to listen and follow His lead. I want even Rustic Looks Etsy Shop to bring glory to Him.

Thanks for reading! Take care!

Rustic Looks Etsy Shop

**Feel free to browse Rustic Looks and share on your social media avenues. Adding new items frequently.

**We give 10% of all sales to charity.

Day 4 of Quarantine

Well hello there!

First off allow me to explain the title to this post. Yes I’m in a fourteen day quarantine, homebound for the next week and a half. I was exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid recently therefore I have to do the “stay-home” procedure — ordered by our local health department.

As of now I’m feeling alright so I may end up getting out of the woods without a hitch. I do have a high chance of ending up positive so we’re trying to take necessary precautions here in the Witt household. Sanitizing like crazy, social distancing from my family, even masking up in my own home.

It’s such an uncanny feeling.

Here’s a selfie of Nate and I — social distance rule breaking…(Nate’s being a smart aleck with the mask FYI)

I even got shunned to the living room with a twin size mattress while Nate gets the king size bed and our room. I’m still trying to figure out how that makes sense so please don’t judge us.

I’ll explain the no-couch situation some day in a future post…

A few random facts & thoughts:

1. I’ve noticed our ceiling fans and light fixtures REALLY need dusted….but maybe that should wait, don’t want to agitate the lungs by chance…

2. The lady from the health department suggested I have a bathroom separate from the family so I wasted zero time and kicked the girls right out of theirs and took it over as my own!

3. Having my very own bathroom is really nice!!!! I never imagined I would enjoy it this much!!!

4. Sometimes I find myself in the bathroom taking mask breaks.

5. Wednesday morning’s conversation with my husband:

Me (in a muffled voice behind my mask): Hey Nate could you let Max out?

Nathan (whining): Aaaahhhh!!! I have to be a mom and a dad!!

Me: uhh….When did you turn into a mom?

Nathan: Well I have to let the dogs out and make food by myself now!

….Not sure when those two duties ever fell under the “mom-only” category!!?

6. Black Rifle Pumpkin coffee is magical when you mix it with Caramel Macchiato creamer.

7. A research statistic shows 70% of people who tested positive for Covid were faithfully wearing a mask…..so am I producing Rona for myself as I sport my mask within my home?…hmmm…

8. I kinda want to get Rona just to get it done and over with.

9. A close friend of mine texted this the other day, “once you get out of jail (or vacation depending how you look at it) we should get together.”

…Yes please!!!

And this is exactly where I want to turn for a devotional reflection today.

You see, my friend’s words have coated my heart with peace and a goal because the reality is that I have the choice in how I want to view this time.

Jail or vacation…what will my perspective be of it?

And the answer I’m choosing is not to view it as jail, not to count the negatives (and there definitely are some) but rather to focus on the REAL “positives”….like me getting my own bathroom, because that’s been cool.

Lol, no on a serious note though there’s true good in this time of being confined to the house.

As with anything, I can sit (stuck in quarantine) and still praise God because He is good and faithful when I consider that then who am I to even begin to complain. He is who He is, no matter my situation or condition. My circumstances (or yours) don’t ever change who God is.

That truth alone is so soothing to my mind and heart.

Check out some of Paul’s words in the New Testament:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ…I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly. (Ephesians 1:3, 16)

Because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (Philippians 1:14)

You guys!! Paul was writing those words while literally under house arrest in Rome for preaching Jesus’ name and falling into some religious disputes over it…and yet look at his remarkable encouragement!!

Those words weren’t recorded just to fill up space but rather to fulfill a purpose. I think the beauty and importance in Paul’s frame of mind is that we have the choice to adopt that same mindset for our very own.

Y’all we’re living in some tough times, where we could ALL benefit from a positive perspective. Just the idea of the election and the shape of our nation seems so eerie and off to me this time (regardless of who wins)…like unsettling.

I’m so thankful Jesus is my partner; because of my faith my heart feels prepared.

I can’t imagine life without Him and I hurt for those who don’t have their hope placed in Christ. It’s a mystery to me how people do life without God as their source of guidance and protection. With that I can count it as gain that He is in control and the ultimate leader no matter which way our country heads. I don’t have to worry over the outcome. He is the calm to the crazy.

Side note: Having said that, I’ve done my research and I’m confident in who I’m voting for!! Likewise, I want to encourage you to study up and be sure to vote! I don’t care how mouthy either candidate gets in debating — one has some better morals and values and it doesn’t take much digging to find out who.

This isn’t meant to sound like a political post but rather to encourage in undeniably wild times.

Friends, fear and negative thinking don’t have to be a part of our daily routine. There is magnificent hope when we’re fixed on Jesus — when a mess swirls around us or the unexpected takes up residency within our own homes, work, or lives —even then, we can choose to be optimistic by relying on Jesus!

Though this world is troubled, He is still in control and seated on the throne.

John 16:33 says this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When we turn to God we find stability, security, and support to wipe away the mundane parts of life that long to overwhelm us.

A positive mentality, focused on Christ and His words of truth, ‘trumps’ the disorder and unforeseen in our lives — every single time.

Scripture proves itself so. The answers to our problems and the encouragement needed are written and found there-in. Join me by opening your Bible each day and pouring comfort and hope into your heart…it’s just what the Great Physician ordered for each of us. How will you respond?

Take care,

Alicia