abarefootbride has moved!

We’ve been doing some major renovations here at a barefoot bride. =)

Check out my new blog site at www.abarefootbride.com!

Advertisements

We’ve Moved!

This post has been a long time coming, but I am so excited to announce that we have officially moved into our new home!

Thank you for your patience, as I have been completely overwhelmed with the craziness of moving. – Packing, Closing on the house, and then trying to find places for all of our things! This has been quite an undertaking and I had no idea how much *stuff* we had!

In the midst of this, in the past few weeks alone we have started a vegetable garden, traded our car for a work truck, have begun the process of starting a window cleaning business with Brad’s brother, I’ve second shot 2 weddings with a local photographer, and today was my first day working part time for Chik-fil-a!

Are we crazy? Quite possibly.

But we are having a blast facing all of the challenges of this new chapter in life head on, and are incredibly blessed to have eachother to do it with!

So hang on – I’ve got several new posts coming soon!

Be Still My Heart

Playing dress up!

My sweet baby girl is now 9 months old… and she isn’t so little anymore.

She is learning and exploring so many things that I can hardly keep up with her! She is crawling and standing and sprouting 7 little ‘toophers’. She’s a biter. . . She is already infatuated with shoes… Oh dear.

She is a “dada”‘s girl – she has been saying his name for weeks and simply laughing at us when we ask her to say “mama”… Finally she did. Trailing behind me calling for me to pick her up – “baba! baba! BABA!”

Be still my heart.

I’m a baba. =)

She took her first step a few days ago – and has been practicing ever since… We gasp for everyone to look when we see her start to waddle or tap her foot up and down, and she lights up with a smile and giggle. “Yay!” she says, and claps excitedly… She also likes to clap along during worship at church. – She loves music and the only time she seems to sit still during the day is when I start to sing – then she presses her chubby little cheeks up against mine and sings right along with me. . .

“dada dada da… i lahlu dada”

Be still my heart! . . . Our baby’s growing up.

A question for my readers

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been blogging nearly as consistently as I would like. . . The past few weeks have been complicated, however hopefully I’ll be able to pick back up again soon…. So please hang in here with me! =)

In the meantime, for some time now I have been considering the possibility of publishing a series on the basics of how to take better photos and how to take advantage of the wonderful world of your camera’s manual settings one step at a time… The series would be a fantastic challenge for me personally as I am 99% self-taught as a photographer, and have pulled from so many different resources over the past several years to get to the place I am right now with my photography.

With all of the terminology and equipment involved, it can be hard to learn how to take fantastic photos with your camera as a busy mom who just wants to capture the smiling carrot-covered face in front of her, the best she can before it grows up and figures out dinner time. =)

But the question remains…
Is this something my readers would appreciate, and … well – read? =)

If you would like to see some how-to style posts on the topic of photography – with an emphasis on portraiture, please let me know in the comments below. – I’d love to hear from you!

Homemade Cheez-its? – Yum.

The other day I stumbled across a delicious-looking recipe for homemade cheez-it crackers. – My #1 guilty pleasure!

The pictures in these recipes: [#1, #2 and #3] were so pretty and the crackers so mouthwatering, that I had to try them…

Mix your dry ingredients with the butter until crumbly:

1 cup of flour
4 Tbs. of cold butter cut up in small bits
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (I think I tried 3/4 tsp and they had a little too much kick!)
3/4 tsp. salt

Then mix in:
2 cups, or an 8 oz. bag of grated sharp cheddar cheese
and a couple of Tbs. of cold water until it can just hold together in a ball.

I put the combination in the food processor for a few pulses while adding my water, but you can leave it as is if you want the more gourmet feel. =)

Wrap and chill for about 30 minutes or so, and then roll out thin.

Your crackers will rise slightly but the thicker you leave them, the softer and chewier they can be. – I’d like to try that next. Cut and bake at 350 for 20 or 30 minutes, of course tasting along the way….

Et viola!

These were so easy to make, and even though I’m sure they are probably very high in calories, it’s nice to have control of what goes into my favorite snack. No preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. =)

Plus, I had the entire process of making these delicious crackers, to convince myself to only have a few at a time so as to make them last a while longer than the convenient store-bought ones would. (Yes, I will confess to eating an entire box in a day – I just can’t keep cheesy snacks in the house! or car…. or … well anywhere.)

But at least now I know I can make a few, with no added preservatives and low-fat or fat free cheese and butter, to have better control of the calories. =)

Yum.

Homemade Tortillas

I have a confession…

I really can’t cook.

For the first year and a half of “wife-hood”, I’ve cooked only a handful or two of “actual” meals. – Mostly pastas, and cheesy pastas, and more cheesy, pasta-y things. =) It’s hard to go wrong with cheese!

Otherwise we’ve relied mainly on convenience items – frozen meals, delivery and simple homemade meals – really simple.

Lucky for me, I married a very patient man who also happens to be a really good chef!

But a stay at home bride still has to cook eventually…. especially when we’re trying to cut back on our spending! So today’s venture into the homemaking-world was an uber-cheap and super-simple mexican soft taco. – An easy dinner for Bradley to take with him to work, which is always a plus!

Flour tortillas are already very inexpensive, but when I saw a 3 lb bag of tortilla mix at Walmart for $2.98 and compared it with the packs of only 8-10 pre-made for the same price, I decided to at least give it a shot – Why not?

They actually ended up only taking about 5 or 10 extra minutes of my time, and were fantastic! My tortillas were a little smaller and thicker than store bought, but they actually tasted quite a bit better. They were just the right blend of convenience and homemade to work for me. Plus I think they would keep pretty well if you wanted to make them in advance, or even freeze the balls of dough to cut out an extra step!

Top with fresh-cooked rice and yummy chili beans – so delicious! =) Next I’d love to try these with hummus and greens!

New sisters and fast!

photo by Amy Shepherd Photography

Those of you who know me are probably well aware that adoption is a topic that is very dear and near to my heart. In 2005 I had the privilege of traveling to Liberia for a couple of weeks and staying at a large orphanage where we were able to meet the 5 teenagers my parents were adopting, as well as hundreds of other children that were hoping and longing for their own forever family to pull them out of the crowd and say;

“You. . . You are special to me, and I want to love you and be there for you for the rest of your life. . . I will not leave you. You are mine.”

Through my family’s adoption, and the adoptions of families who are also very close to me, I have seen up close and personal the positive effect that adoption can have on a child’s life – and on a young teenager’s life.

These beautiful little girls in the picture, are my husband’s younger sisters. LilyMae (left) was adopted at 13 months old from an orphanage in China, and LucyMae (right) came home from China just last January at age 5. These girls have the sweetest relationship, and bring smiles to everyone they meet. =)

Well, my parents-in-law have decided to open their hearts and home again… This time not just to 1 child, but to 2 – and within days of applying, they have been matched with 2 beautiful girls who have been overlooked in the system for years. [Legally we have to hold off on posting photos of the girls, but they will hopefully be posted soon.]

Already 13 years old, it is just a matter of 3 months before these girls will age out of the orphanage and be forever un-adoptable. From there it is a near guarantee that these girls would be forced into lives of either prostitution, or working around the clock in underpaid factory positions. Adoption will change the direction of their lives, forever.

3 months is barely enough time to push the adoption paperwork through, in a country that usually takes years to fully process adoptions, much less for my in-laws, Jeff and Donna Dangler, to come up with the $40,000 necessary to bring these sweet children home.

But it’s not impossible.

I am posting this because first and foremost this entire process needs to be bathed in prayer. Please lift up the Dangler family as they fight to give these young girls a forever family and the love and security that comes with it.

Second, if you are able to give financially, your gift of any amount would be an incredible burden lifted off of their shoulders, as Jeff and Donna Dangler proceed.

If you would like to give toward this adoption, please send me a message here stating simply that, and I will put you in contact with Donna Dangler directly, or provide you with their mailing address if you would prefer to give anonymously.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for helping these young girls come home to their new forever family.

Your prayers and support can change their lives forever.

Vivian – 7 month photoshoot

This is my baby.

… and this is her little “buddy”. A few weeks ago Vivian took to this sweet little monkey with such a strong attachment it melts my heart…. She lights up when she sees it and cries for it when she’s tired. . . we’re both in love. =)

The leaves didn’t taste very good.

Ah, and the sweet little back of her baby neck… =) Can you tell I’m smitten?

Project Dreamboards

Have you ever looked through Etsy or Pinterest and thought to yourself, “I would LOVE to figure out how to make that!”, you may save the photo somewhere, or bookmark the link, but then it slips your mind and you forgot you even saw it…

I have that problem. All. The. Time.

It’s always one more project that’s a little too ambitious for me right now, but someday…

…oh. someday! =)

Pinterest seems to be a nice answer to this problem, by pinning and repinning you can collect all of those photos and projects and recipes and store items into your different categories. It’s really nice.

But it’s not for everyone, and with all of the dreamy-photos just floating around, it’s certainly not for the easily discontented. So I’m trying to keep my lists separate from the distraction of other amazing things. =)

All that being said, I introduce, my personal project dreamboard:

Hyperlinks to the tutorials, patterns or listings are embedded in each photo in the actual document, and of course I’m only using the listing photos as inspiration 🙂 In no way do I want to step on any toes!

Oh someday projects, here I come! =)

Honesty

In one of my very first blog posts here on a barefoot bride, I shared my struggles with meeting my self imposed standards of perfection. It felt so good to be so honest with myself and with others – even though I didn’t have any readers yet. =)

But I still have to change. I’m still just me. – A young wife and mom. – little time or freedom to pursue the hobbies that I love – just barefooted in my tiny little apartment… and I feel pathetic.

Part of me wonders if I started this blog to try and prove to myself that my life could look and be as glamorous and beautiful as the lives of the bloggers I follow regularly.

But that’s not quite it.

I’ve been fighting postpartum depression (PPD) for the past couple of months. Quite honestly, I thought I was in the clear and wouldn’t struggle with PPD, because after Vivian was born I felt just fine! Aside from being exhausted of course. =) But around 4-5 months postpartum, I sunk. – And I sunk deep.

At first I didn’t know what hit me. I was just tired, I thought. – I was upset by some personal things that were going on in my life, and I was just tired and hurting. Many days I would lay in bed and cry, and I didn’t want to get up.

But it’s been almost 3 months now, and I’m still in a daily battle between sinking and giving up – laying in bed, on the verge of angry with anything and everything that is out of my control, and feeling nothing but the slow steady dullness that used to be my beating heart. Versus getting up and forcing my way through the motions until I feel something again.

This blog has now become one way that I have been trying to motivate myself. to take my mind off of myself and focus on the success each day can hold for me.

My life isn’t put together, and to be honest that isn’t always okay with me.

Then I’m reminded that this isn’t ultimately my life to do with as I please.

Deep down past all of the stress, numbness and feelings of failure and insecurity, I truly desire to do something big with these years that God has blessed me with. I want to see this time in my life as the blessing that they are. I want to be joyful. I want to help other people. I want to be content.

The other day I was especially broken – I was again turning to chocolate and the warmth of my bed for comfort and joy (pitiful, right?) – and I had little motivation to turn anywhere else. When my sweet husband reminded me that when I feel as though I have to figure everything out and be perfect (or at least getting there), that I’m deceiving myself. – I’m buying into the lie that I even CAN become better without relying on Christ.

“He died so that you don’t have to be perfect to be holy – and because without his sacrifice, you never could. Don’t take that away from him.”

Wow.

I can hear God knocking at the door of my heart.

He wants me to climb out of the covers and into His arms.

It’s a struggle – I wrestle with my feelings and lack thereof. I’ve found myself saying “I’ll be there in a minute, let me get over this hump first.”, “Let me get organized first. – That might be my problem.”, “Let me finish what I started – that might just be what I need.” and while I’m spinning my wheels and getting nowhere, he keeps knocking.

Even as I write this, the wheels in my mind are still spinning – “maybe if I vollunteered at a shelter, I would feel more alive.”, “Maybe if I went on a mission trip again, I could really get in touch with God again.”. But is that really what God is asking of me?

No.

And I know that.

Those things are great, don’t get me wrong! But the motivation would still be impure. I dont have to make some big gesture of sacrifice in order to be accepted as I am. He already did that.

It’s always going to be one thing after the other that needs to be scrubbed or sorted or minimized or grown or improved, but when I wake up each morning, I need to remind myself that I truly don’t have to hide the mess from the one who loves me the most – just as I am. And I shouldn’t even want to. Why do I always think that I do?

He wants to come into my life on a daily basis and help me over the hump, help me organize and help me finish what I started.

I don’t have it all figured out, and most days that isn’t okay with me.

But we aren’t called to have it all figured out.

We aren’t even called to try and figure it out.

I’m still in a pit.

But I don’t have to get out of it in order to get back to God. He’s already climbed in with me and offered to lift me out.

What have I been waiting for?