Author: Becca Eby

Three Years Ago Today…

… We got engaged at Disney World in Orlando! It was an incredible day when Jed surprised me with the big questions and a gorgeous sapphire ring. We were in Florida for the Young Life All Staff Conference that happens every four years. All of our YL friends were there with us, so after our day at the park alone, we got to celebrate with so many people that we love.

Jed found the perfect place to propose – this little rose garden in front of Cinderella’s castle. I had always dreamed of going to the Magic Kingdom, and was so happy that Jed chose that day to propose.
We didn’t coerce a stranger into taking a picture of us making out. We had the camera set up with a timer, and after the 1st shot he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. After I said yes and we both cried, we took a few more pictures.
It was a truly magical day at the Magic Kingdom. I had forgotten that today was the day until Jed reminded me during our 20 week ultrasound this morning. He pointed out that it was amazing that three years later we were seeing our baby and preparing for his or her arrival. I’m so thankful for this man who loves me so well. I’ll post the ultrasound picture later, so come back soon.

How did your man propose? …or What would be your dream proposal?

Verse of the Week – Colossians 4:2

“Devote yourselves to prayer,
being watchful and thankful.”
Colossians 4:2
What does it mean to devote myself to prayer? I picture cloistered monks praying the hours locked away on a mountain somewhere. Though I would love to have a weekend away on a mountain to pray, that is not the reality of my daily life. How do I devote myself to something that can sometimes feel empty and repetitive? I think it has to do with getting over myself and knowing that prayer is the way for me to speak to and with my creator God. He wants me to know Him better, and to do that I must spend time with Him. It shouldn’t be an after thought or an in case of emergency call. Prayer should be a part of the daily fabric of my life, just like eating, sleeping, and checking my email. I hope to make prayer so much a part of my life that I don’t have to remember to do it, I just do it.
Do you pray?
How do make it a part of your life?

Frugal Friday – My Favorite Frugal and Financial Posts of 2010

Last year was a landmark one for our family. We moved again, began the journey to parenthood, and accomplished a number of financial goals. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite frugal and financial posts from 2010. It was fun for me to look over the posts to see how we’ve grown. I hope you enjoy them. Click on a title to check it out.

Dinner at Home
Estate Sale Decorating
Frugal Pregnancy Tips from Friends
Renting vs. Buying a House
This is Dallas – The Dallas Lifestyle
Frugal Date Night
An Ode to Aldi
Cooking with Friends
The Baby Steps – How Dave Ramsey Changed Our Family
This year our financial goals include saving for our baby and our first house.
What are your financial goals for 2011?

A Different Kind Goal for 2011

Today at church, our pastor shared one of my favorite sermons he has ever preached. It was simple and straightforward and he had us stop to pray several times in the middle. He spoke about a Barna survey on Christians today and how the results of the survey should challenge us. I won’t give you the full run down, but will share just what I got out of it. I haven’t taken the time to write down my other goals for the year yet, but these will be the most important.

– Read the Bible, every day.
– Listen to what it is saying to me.
– Let it shape my life.
– Make a difference in the lives of others.
This may sound overly simple, but based on my past experience they are in fact huge goals. I hope to focus on these and not let busyness run my life. I’m hoping for joy, peace, and contentment this year for our family, and for yours.
What is your spiritual goal this year?

My Favorite Crafts of 2010

I started blogging in January and got semi-serious about it in March, with a few lapses along the way. I have so enjoyed getting to read so many great blogs and sharing my life and little projects with y’all. Along with everyone and their grandma I’ve decided to do a few best of 2010 posts. I’ll start with my favorite craft projects of the year. Check ’em out.

The Picket Fence Project Part 1
and Part 2

Anthropologie Inspired Golden Rose Sandals

Vintage Fabric Headband Inspired by Anthropologie

Decorating with Paper Flowers

Cake Plate Jewelry Holder

The Doily Project

Vintage Necklace Remake

Shell Shadowboxes

One of my goals for the new year is to take on more craft projects because they bring me so much joy. I have a huge crafty to do list inspired by our coming baby, other blogs, and our new rent house. What craft project is at the top of your to do list?

Frugal Friday – Our 2nd Cash Only Christmas

There are many things that I love about the Christmas season. I love the meaning, traditions, decorations, time with family, time with Jesus, singing carols, the movies, and the giving and receiving of gifts. I do not love holiday stress, busyness, and money worries. Last year was our first year on the Dave Ramsey plan, and we were newly debt free. We budgeted for Christmas presents and used only cash and debit and it was so freeing. We loved it so much that we did it again this year.

We budget how much we want to spend on each other, our families, charity, and our friends, and then we pull the cash out each month and keep it in our gift envelope. Christmas comes every year and is not an emergency, so we want to make sure we are prepared so that we can be generous with our gifts. We pull out gift money through out the year to cover wedding and birthday gifts, and starting in September we add to the amount significantly to cover our Christmas gifts. Because we pull out money in September, October, and November, we didn’t have to take out much in December at all. We take our budgeted amount out of the envelope and use it to buy the gifts. If we buy something online with the debit card, we put that amount back into the bank. It feels so good to have the money to buy each other and our loved ones gifts without any stress.
We don’t have to worry about the credit card bill showing up in January reminding us of our mistakes. We have no money stress about Christmas. We remember the weight of credit card debt and never want to feel it again. Many of our friends and family have asked us why we would want to miss out on the airlines miles or rewards that come with many credit cards. We’ve heard from lots of people that they use credit cards because of those rewards. To us they just aren’t worth it. Credit card companies offer rewards so that folks will spend more, and studies show that is exactly what’s happening. We are completely convinced that no one beats the credit card companies. They always win. They make so much money off of the debt people incur to get some miles that I would rather not help them. Many friends claim to pay their bills off every month, and while I want to believe them, statistics show that it can’t be true all the time. You get behind one month or are late with one payment, and you’ve lost all the reward money you earned. We’ll pass on that. We have too tragic a history with credit cards and both of us have made HUGE mistakes in the past. Kudos to you if you can beat the system, but it isn’t for us. What’s in our wallet? Cash, baby.
Here’s some great info from Time magazine online on credit cards and their reward systems:

On the surface, it would seem like credit card issuers are foolishly giving away money with cash-reward cards, and that a cardholder getting 1% or 2% back is reaping in easy money. The reality is much different. Simply put, the study says:
The main objective of the card companies is to increase card spending that may result in cardholder’s debt in the future.
And based on the figures, the card companies achieve wild success in this objective. More spending. More debt. But hey, you get those occasional $50 cash-back checks in the mail! At least, that is, if you remember to keep track of your rewards and order the check—because these programs typically don’t give you cash back automatically.

For the consumer, getting cash back is of course better than getting nothing—but only if you don’t increase your overall spending due to the perverse incentives inherent in cash-back cards. Spending a dollar to get a penny back doesn’t make sense.
But what if you were spending the dollar anyway? Then it seems silly to not get the penny-per-dollar reward. The problem is that it’s all too easy for consumers to justify extra spending with credit cards. Studies show that you’re likely to spend 12% to 18% more with a card compared to cash. And when you’re vaguely aware that every item you pick up shopping gives you a little more cash back, well, then you’re even more likely to place more stuff in your shopping cart.

Read more:

How do you budget for Christmas?

O Little Town of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

This song has always connected with my soul. The line about the hopes and fears of all the years makes me ponder all the hopes and fears of my life. In what or whom do I place my trust? I think about what must have been happening in that little town the night Jesus was born, and in the days following. It must have been filled with people too busy to notice that the Messiah they had been waiting for had finally arrived. My prayer for myself and for my family is that we are not too busy to notice the Messiah this Christmas. I pray that we look to Him for life and hope and peace and joy.

O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

This is one of my favorite carols. I love the meaning behind the words, and the haunting tune of the song. I love that we can rejoice because Emmanuel – God with us, came to ransom us from our captivity to sin.

What is your favorite Christmas carol?

My Favorite Holiday Recipe – Our Family’s Cornbread Dressing

In my family, our favorite holiday recipe is my great grandmother’s cornbread dressing. It is complicated and delicious and the best thing ever. We usually have it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and have to make 2 skillets full to keep us happy. Try it with turkey and gravy or all by itself. It only tastes right if cooked in an iron skillet.

Here’s what it looks like before it goes in the oven.

6 cups (1 pan) cornbread crumbled
2 cups bread crumbs (2 pieces of wheat bread)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp sage
course ground pepper to taste
1 stick butter (Paula Deen would be happy.)
4 cups rich chicken or turkey broth
4 eggs, beaten

Preheat your oven to 375. We do all the chopping and crumbling in a food processor. Saute the onions and celery in the stick of butter in the iron skillet for about 2 minutes. Mix all the dry ingredients, then add the broth. At this point, check for proper seasoning and adjust as needed. Add the eggs and veggies and mix well. Bake in your oiled heavy iron skillet for 30-45 minutes. This recipe should serve 12.
This stuff is seriously amazing. You will love it and become as addicted as we are. Consider yourself warned.

What is your favorite family recipe for the holidays?

Pregnancy Limbo – 16 weeks and counting

Pregnancy Limbo feels like this.
I am living in pregnancy limbo, that stage in between looking like a normal person and actually looking pregnant. Even though I haven’t gained much weight, I feel like everything is becoming rounded, much like my friend the manatee in the photo above. My bump is starting to show, but mostly I just feel large. I’m sure strangers wonder if it is a beer belly or a baby belly. My pre-pregnancy pants don’t fit even with a band or the hair band trick. My friend Crystal taught me the hair band trick, and it saved my waist for weeks. You just put a pony tail holder through your button hole and around the button. Genius. I bought 2 Bella Bands at Target and barely used them because the hair band worked so well.

I finally gave in and bought maternity clothes, and they are such a relief. I bought them on the larger side so they will fit later on, and they are so deliciously comfy right now. So far Kohls and Target have been good to me, but I’d love to hear your go-to places for affordable maternity clothes. Bring on the stretchy pants!
I reached 16 weeks/4 months on Saturday, and had my monthly check up today. Everything went well and looks great. It is so fun to hear the heartbeat of my little Bun and know that he or she is cooking perfectly. We can’t wait to see Bun at our next appointment. By the way, we have decided not to find out the gender of our baby before the birth. I’ll share more about that decision later.