Called North: Following my Husband

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When Nathan and I began talking of marriage, I started to understand the real possibility of him being called to full-time vocational ministry. Of course, I figured it would be many years in the future. I was only a semester into college when we married January 2013. While I didn’t enjoy school, I knew I would be finishing one way or the other. I just tried to accept it.

A few months into marriage Nathan was just finishing a fast and God had planted the thought in both of our minds that vocational ministry may be closer than we originally thought. So we began seeking opportunities for Nathan. After a year of interview processes with a few churches and no job offer, we thought Kearney was where God wanted us for now. In May, Nathan began a full-time job to replace his two part-time jobs to make our life a little more liveable. I had worked hard taking several summer classes and was set to graduate summer 2015. Everything looked good! We were content. Then we got the email.

CalledNorthA church emailed Nathan saying their application process had gotten delayed and wanted to check if he was still interested. No big deal, we said yes. Soon after Nathan had a phone interview. Nothing new for us, plenty of short interviews before. Then he was asked to do a Skype interview. Okay, one step at a time, we have been through this before. Filled out personality tests, sent doctrinal statement, a few other things. We find out we were one of two remaining candidates. Still this doesn’t mean anything. We have been close before. Each time we were pointed back to Kearney. Then something new: a soft visit with the possibility of a candidating weekend. Wow. Okay… is this really happening? Is God really sending us somewhere else? An 11 hour car ride and we arrived for the first time in Devils Lake, ND. A weekend spent with some of the church and we were invited back 2 weeks later to candidate. That weekend could not come fast enough. Our life was up in the air. No plans could be made too far in the future without alternatives. After being welcomed by the church and drilled with questions (okay, Nathan was drilled I was only asked a few totally off topic questions), the congregation voted and we were given a call letter. WOW!

Is this really happening? I had finally accepted living in Kearney and finishing college in a year. What does this mean for me? And then it hit me, why am I thinking about ME? My life is not about me. My life is God’s. I am only here for his glory. Apparently I am supposed to be in North Dakota glorifying him. He is in control. So now I am trying, with the Spirit’s help, to align myself with God’s plan. I am to be a youth pastor’s wife. As usual God has worked all the little details out. My major is beginning to offer almost all classes online so I can still finish at my current college. It just might take the usual 4 years. We had to break our lease a month early, but a new tenant will be moving in so we don’t have to pay rent twice. We found an apartment that is available the day we arrive. We already have a hotel booked super cheap for Courtney’s wedding we will have to come back for in October. So many other details are getting taken care of! I am learning to release my worry.

Thursday we pack our U-Haul and Friday we leave the state! North Dakota better get prepared for a California boy and a Nebraska girl!

God is so so good!

Mackenzie Grace

Grand Opening: Introducing our Etsy Shop

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In case ya haven’t notice yet, we have an Etsy Shop! Boy that’s super exciting to announce!

So far we have a few patterns and handmade things you might have seen previously on the blog. As we like to dabble in a variety of crafts – you will find an assortment of handmade goods in our shop at any time!

 

Check out what’s in stock today here – and don’t forget to mention it to your mom, sister, neighbor, EVERYBODY! Thanks for your love and support!

Grace Elizabeth's Etsy Shop - design, create, share

Throwback Thursday: Week at a Glance Printable

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Throwback Thursday highlights a post from years past that we think you might enjoy! This post originally made its debut on Grace Elizabeth’s on July 18, 2012.

I created this weekly calendar to put in the household binder. My favorite thing to do with this is put down EVERYTHING we will be doing. Each type of event gets its own color so we know who’s involved with what and how to prioritize when we have multiple commitments.I hope it helps keep track of your family’s busy schedule!

 

xoxo,

Alexandrea Nicole

 

OTHER PRINTABLES

Grace Elizabeth's watermark is not present on the purchased graphic.

Sewing Machine Printable

Grocery List Printable

Grocery List Printable

Weekly Menu Printable

Weekly Menu Printable

Cowboy Western Quilt

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cowboy quilt 1

This quilt is a long time in the making! I started making this quilt in my college dorm room for Jake (before he was my husband!) That was at least 5 years ago! It was intended to be a Christmas present – then a birthday present – turned a graduation present. And now that it’s finished I figured he’s waited for it long enough – no special occasion needed to give it to him.

cowboy quilt 4

My husband, he is a cowboy! When I saw this fabric in a quilt shop I knew I needed to make something for him with it. Also is the quilt shop was a baby quilt that had fussy cut blocks. I loved the look and thought it would be a great way to highlight the fabric. Right there in the fabric shop I designed the quilt and figured yardage with the help of the shop owner.

cowboy quilt 3

I got started right away fussy cutting and cutting strips and whipping up blocks. The quilt came together really fast. I got 3/4 of the way done before the quilt got packed away – deep! It resurfaced a year and a half later I dug it out and assembled the blocks together. However, I didn’t finish the quilt top before it went back into storage. Last spring I added the borders and quilted it over the summer. I love the quilting – as I think it resembles stitching on cowboy boots. This summer the binding finally finished the quilt! Hallelujah!

cowboy quilt 2

And now my cowboy can finally enjoy his quilt while we are separated for vet school.

xoxo,

Alexandrea Nicole

Lavished with a Mound of Yarn

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I was thrilled when my Aunt told me she was bringing me some yarn but I had no idea how much.  I’m excited to start thinking about things to knit or crochet.  Any ideas?  Comment and tell me what you think I should make!

Mound of Yarn Mound of Yarn

A Note to My Sisters

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Today is National Sisters Day! Don’t forget to hug your sister and tell her how much ya love her!

I wanted to take the time to let my little sisters know how much they mean to me. I really like the following quote about sisterhood.

Giggles, Secrets,

Sometimes Tears,

Sisters and Friends

Through the Years.

sister day

Court and Kenz, you both can attest that we shared many giggles and a few tears growing up. We are close and close in age (both of which are the causation of those happy moments and fights). Now that we are “all grown up” and embarking on very different life journeys, I hope that we can remain close (even if physical distance might keep us apart). I see wonderful blessings in both of yours lives and you and blessings to me. I pray that God will continue to work in and through your lives.

xoxo – your big sis,

Alexandrea Nicole

FREE August Calendar Background – Wallpaper Download

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The FREE August Calendar download is here!  The picture is of the sidewalk outside the Lancaster Central Market, the country’s oldest, continuously operating farmer’s market located in Pennsylvania.  I not only love the Central Market but also love hexagons and couldn’t resist capturing these bricks as a digi image.

To get the free calendar background, right click on the image below and save as your computer wallpaper. Enjoy!

 

 

 Free August Calendar download - computer screen background

DIY: New Paver Patio

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Have you ever laid a patio yourself?  We did some time ago, but this time we put a little more thought and effort into it.  Maybe I should say our daughter and son-in-law put a lot of back-breaking, knee bruising effort into it.

Completed Patio

Ok, now I have to be honest.  We didn’t follow all the steps for a “professionally” designed paver patio. Lowe’s website has a nice materials and tools list if you want to go the extra mile.  We chose not to put gravel down before the sand. We may regret that later but last time we skipped both the gravel and sand. We just laid the pavers on a semi-level base of dirt.  That patio served its purpose and we were not disappointed.

We purchased our 16″ x 16″ pavers on sale, of course, and bought 10 at a time making several trips to the store.  Since we do not have a pickup we felt we could only put the weight of 10 blocks at a time in our Kia Soul. For the sand we had a local sand and gravel company deliver 1 ton of sand.  Yes it was more than we needed but worth it rather than buying a zillion bags of sand.

Patio pavers for new patio

 

Once we had all our materials we had to wait for the patio area to dry.  It rained off and on for several weeks but we finally had a perfect weekend – a bit hot – to lay the patio.  Unfortunately our soil is clay so removing the soil was very difficult: mucky, hard to dig and came out in large clumps.  Good thing we had a lot of sand to fill the big holes.

New Patio Well that’s about it.  You can see we used a level to place the pavers as even as we could.  We are very happy with the final product.  Someday we will get some edging bricks to finish around the edges, particularly by the plants.  Watch for updates.

Working on the new patio

 

New patio completed

Thanks Alex and Jake for making our patio!!!

Tell us about your patio project. Is this something you would attempt yourself?

Sonya Kay

 

 

Project Life: July 4th

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We had a lovely family gathering for Independence Day. We went to the neighborhood kiddie parade and had family over for a potluck.

I probably say this about every layout, but this was really fun to put together. I love the color combination. I put a few more embellishments than I normally would, and I really like it!

Project Life: July 4th @ graceelizabeths.com

xoxo,

Alexandrea Nicole

DIY Teacher Planner

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DIY Teacher PlannerIn one month school will begin…And this teacher will be ready. I have finally hit the magically number of 3. I survived the first year – just keeping my head above water. In my second year I settled in and made improvements to what I implemented in my first year. I am excited to start the third! Now that I am comfortable in the classroom, I am thrilled to see what this year will bring.

One thing that saved me my first and second year was my personal teaching planner. My first year, this consisted of printing out a page every week to write down lesson plans. I slipped these into a three ring binder on my desk. Last year, I made, printed, and spiral bound my own planner with calendar, weekly lesson plan template, and gradebook. This was a huge improvement! Everything in one spot.

DIY Teacher PlannerI took what I liked from each of those categories and made some minor changes for this year’s planner. It’s so crisp, clean, and ready to go! I can take a deep *sigh* knowing that no matter how crazy things get this year – I can at least keep my sanity. I would go insane if I didn’t have this organizational tool.

DIY Teacher PlannerMy favorite new part is the notes pages I added. These will be perfect for login and passwords, staff meetings, and collaboration with teachers/administrators/parents.

DIY Teacher Planner

My total cost for this project was $4.80. Here’s to starting the year of organized and enthused! YAY!

xoxo,

Alexandrea Nicole