Monday, September 26, 2016

How to Survive an International Flight

Before Aaron and I went on our 16 day adventure to Europe, we had never been on a flight longer than three hours. It's safe to say that the eight hour flight to Dublin and eleven and 11.5-hour flight home from Rome had us a bit nervous. But we did our research, made a few key purchases, and ended up handling the flight- and the jet lag- like champs. Here's how you too can survive your overseas international flights with ease.


Do your research.

Do you have certain health conditions that would make the flight extra uncomfortable or difficult? Does the airline you plan to take offer free earplugs, pillows, and blankets like most do these days? How many times will they feed you? Do you need a special meal? If so, you'll have to contact the airline directly and let them know. Ask friends what overseas flight items they have that you could borrow instead of purchasing your own. Try them out on your first overseas flight, and then you'll know what to buy for your next adventure!

Purchase necessary flight survival items.

Overseas flights almost always involve flying during sleeping hours. Make sure you have a good eye mask and earplugs that will block out sound and light since planes and the people on them are noisy. Consider getting a great neck pillow as well, especially if you're not flying in first class. You'll thank yourself for the support later.

Pack light.

I recommend using packing cubes to help you fit as many items into your suitcase as possible. We prefer traveling with carry-ons only so that we can get on and off of flights easier without having to worry about checking baggage or losing it.

Dress comfortably, and in layers.

Planes always fluctuate in temperatures, so it's best to be prepared for any scenario. I love traveling in a comfy pair of stretchy leggings and a shirt and cardigan. This way, I can move my legs around in a variety of positions, and can take the cardigan on and off as needed. I also wear slide-on shoes that are easy to get on and off during security, but I wear a pair of socks so that my feet won't get cold when I take my shoes off during the flight.


Eat and hydrate.

I didn't expect the food to be anywhere near as good as it was on all of the overseas flights we've been on. They feed you quite often. If you aren't hungry for any of the meals, save things in your small personal bag for later, and be sure to accept a drink every time they offer. Though it might make bathroom trips annoying, it will help keep you from dehydration.

Sleep.

I can't emphasize this one enough. Even though your body may not feel like it, try to make yourself turn off the free movies and games and make a concentrated effort to sleep. Put on your eye mask and put your ear plugs in, and at least rest. It's pivotal that you sleep on the plane while you can to help deal with jet leg. The only exception to this is when you come home, as the time change may help you if you stay awake a little longer.

Get up and take walking breaks.

This is even more important if you are pregnant or prone to blood clots. No matter your health conditions, getting up and getting your blood flowing every few hours is never a bad thing. I usually take a lap or two around the aisles before and after I use the restroom.

Stay on the schedule of the time zone you're in.

It can be incredibly hard to want to stay awake in Europe when your body is telling you it's 4 a.m., but trust me, you've got to try to acclimate to the correct time zone as quickly as you can. Make it through that first day, and then you'll sleep like a rock. Also, eat when the time zone says you should be eating.


Don't overbook your first day.

You'll be fighting that jet lag hard, so allow your first day to be a little less busy than some of your other days.  Instead of a walking tour, ride a train or trolley. Spend a little time at the cafe' sipping coffee. And then book a nice hotel room for the evening, and let yourself go to bed a bit earlier than normal. Your body will thank you!

That's it. Be sure to plan ahead for your flight, eat and hydrate, get up and go for walks, and you'll be just fine. Jet lag really isn't all that bad if you can make it through that first day! Best of luck. Let me know if you have questions or need advice!

Currently,
Kelsie

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Moment with Jen: A Season of Singleness

Today's Moments guest post is from one of my very dearest friends. We literally go all the way back to before we can remember, as our parents were buds before the two of us were born. Jen is funny, kind, and incredibly intentional. I love our long walks and talks, endless memories, and the simple joy of being friends with someone so wonderful. I'm so honored to have her sharing her heart and her words so beautifully on a topic that is so relevant to so many of us: singleness. 


Sometimes I feel like Katherine Heigel in the movie 27 Dresses. Not in the sense that my friends are terrible at picking out bridesmaid's dresses (although it would make this post much more hilarious- endless photo shoot potential), but rather that I sometimes feel as if I will always be a bridesmaid, or better yet the professional wedding guest. Now hear me out, I LOVE celebrating my wonderful friends and you can't beat an epic dance party, am I right? But there are times when I'm lonely and feel as if I'm always going to be the single girl. Always going to be the girl who is given the plus one on the invitations; the girls who is attending all the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, you name it party; the girl who had to get her own dates to dances in high school; the girl who never gets asked on a date; the girl who is the third, fifth, or seventh wheel.

Jen and Kelsie in June 2013
You thought this post was going to be a rant about and wallowing all about singleness. Nah, I'm done ranting and throwing my own pity party. Trust me, the good Father God and my journals have done enough of that. Today, I want to share with you the lessons I have learned and the blessings that have come with what I have started to refer to as my "season of singleness".

Lesson #1: I am not in control. Trust God's Plan.

Dear friends, I've heard so many times in sermons that God is in control. But why is it that we small humans think we are in control!?! We watch the perfect stories play out on movie screens and pages of novels. We trick ourselves into thinking that we have control and the ability to write this same perfect story.


In 2010, I was blessed to journey over to Kenya for a short-term mission trip with my campus ministry. Raising support for this once in a lifetime opportunity taught me about letting go and letting God. My biggest take-away from that trip: God is BIG, He brings hope to the hopefuls, and He is orchestrating beautiful stories in very differing circumstances. I have so much- the American dream, if you will- and these children that we met had next to nothing, but yet were the most loving and joyful individuals I had ever met. They talked of Jesus with such purity and hope. I will always treasure the memories created during this short two week trip. The children at the school gave each one of us a Maasai name. Perfectly, mine was "Noduata", which means "one who has hope". I'm not gonna lie, I've cried a time or two when I think about the deep meaning behind such a simple nickname.


I have to give up my stronghold on control almost daily and submit to God. Patience goes hand in hand with control. This word, "control", floods the pages of my journals. I get it. It's a lot easier said than done. I wholeheartedly believe God has a perfect plan for my life. Trusting in His timing and his goodness is all this hot mess of a girl can do.

"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." - Psalm 32:8 

Lesson #2: Rely on the love of God first. 

When I see the beautiful love stories of friends around me, it is easy to grow discontent and take my attention off of the Lord. I have to depend on His love and faithfulness daily. To be content where I am. I am a child of God. I am adored by the King. He has me for today.

The silver lining of singleness is that I have been protected from heartbreak. It hurts me when I see my friends heading down the path to heartbreak and then hurt even more when it is alive and well. Singleness has allowed me to be present in their lives, mend broken hearts, and just be the friend they need in their corner. I am oh so thankful to have been protected from this so far in life. Do I desire to be pursued by a man? Absolutely! But, when that day comes (if it's in God's plan), I can confidently rest in the fact that Jesus loves me more than any man on this Earth ever can.

"We love because He first loved us." - 1 John 4:19

"I love you, oh Lord, my strength." - Psalm 18:1

Lesson #3: Choose to glorify God in this season of singleness.

If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that for the last 10+ years I have pursued the discipleship of young people. I started leading middle schoolers as a high school student, which then flowed into being a small group leader in the awesome ministry of Kirksville K-Life, and now I get to love, mentor, and be ridiculous with the high school students of Vineyard Church (who we are endearingly calling our "boo boos"). The leaders and mentors that encouraged and invested in my life are a constant reminder of why I desire to do the same. 


This seasons of singleness allows my heart, not to mention my home and my time, to be more or less fully open to the lives of these remarkable teenagers. I get to walk beside them in their muck and their brokenness, but also in the really happy, exciting times. I get to laugh a lot and act like a younger version of myself. I get to embarrass myself by dancing like a fool (sometimes you got to step up to the streets). I get to listen to their hopes, dreams, wishes, tragedies, boy troubles, and hurts. I get to offer discernment and wisdom. But most importantly, I get to reflect this guy named Jesus to them.

"Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity". - 1 Timothy 4:12


Do you feel like the perpetually single friend in the group? You're not alone. There is nothing wrong with you. Cherish this special season of life and the freedom that comes with it. Don't waste it. So sweet friend, how can you be glorifying God in this season on singleness? Just something to pray and ponder... maybe even journal about it (I highly recommend it!). 

In the words of Queen Bey, "All the single ladies...Now put your hands up!

I love the way that Jen chooses to look at this season of singleness and see it as a time to love others and love God first with all she has. She has most definitely been a blessing to me and to many others, and I'm so grateful to have her sharing her story with such honesty today. You can find Jen on Instagram and Facebook. You are all loved, sweet friends, single or not. Let's not forget where our true worth and meaning lies: with the Lord. 

If you liked this Moments Guest Post, check out the others here. Have a story that you'd like to share on Currently, KelsieContact me here with your idea!

Currently,
Kelsie


Monday, September 19, 2016

Why We're Not Finding Out Our Baby's Gender

From the very moment you tell people you're pregnant, you immediately field a ton of excited questions. From "When are you due?" to "How are you feeling?", people are anxious to hear about your pregnancy and intentionally ask you about your plans for baby. One question that I've gotten a lot is "Are you going to find out?" And the answer, in short, is no. But you know what's really surprised me? That people can't believe we wouldn't find out. Or that we've gotten more negative responses than positive. We know we aren't the norm, so I'm here to clear up some of the confusion as to why we'd wait to know our baby's gender until they're born.


First of all, I'd like to offer up a bit of a disclaimer. I know the majority of mamas out there are choosing to find out their baby's sex ahead of time. And you know what? That's totally awesome and perfectly fine! We don't think finding out is something that's right or wrong. I firmly believe that every set of parents needs to decide for themselves, and there are some great perks to knowing ahead of time. I'll also note that some mamas may find out their baby's gender and still do some of the things I mention below. That being said, Aaron and I are both so excited about waiting to find out Baby K's gender. Here's why we've chosen to wait:

1. We're in for the biggest, best surprise ever.

I'm a huge, huge surprise lover. Like seriously, if someone plans me a surprise anything (date, party, etc), I'm theirs forever. But what better surprise than finding out the very moment of your child's birth if they are a boy or a girl? We are beyond thrilled for a sweet little one to love, and that's enough for now, but the anticipation of finding out is my favorite part, and I'm happy to wait for that surprise at the end. I just think it will be so worth it.

2. We'll get neutral items that we'll use for all our babies.

I've been to lots of super cute baby showers where the majority of the gifts are clothes. It's super handy to have cute clothes gifted to you, but we're okay with secondhand outfits and borrowed items once baby is born. We're looking forward to getting lots and lots of diapers, and other bigger items or gender neutral onesies that we can use with all of our babies, no matter what their gender is some day.

3. It will give me extra motivation in labor and delivery.

I know: meeting your baby alone is super motivating. But if I'm real, I'm not a huge fan of hospitals, and I'm a little anxious about the whole delivery thing. If I have my eye on the prize, meeting my sweet baby AND finding out if they are a boy or a girl, I think it will be huge motivation for me. I'll be so excited and anxious to meet them and finally find out that (hopefully) the whole labor business will be a little bit more in the back of my mind.

YoungLife Baby Onesie

4. There will truly be no disappointment.

If I'm honest, we're a little bit tired of the question "Do you want a boy or a girl?" We really just want a healthy baby who loves Jesus. And we'll love our baby no matter what. Yes, Aaron would love a first-born son, but you know what? He'd love a sweet little girl too. I think it's going to be pretty dang hard to be disappointed with either when we're so caught up in finally knowing, and meeting, our little one. There's not a lot of time to sit and think about their gender being any different when they're already in your arms the moment you find out.

5. It will keep us from buying lots of extra clothes and baby goodies.

I have already stopped myself about ten times from buying cute little baby goodies, solely because they are so gender-focused that I didn't feel I could justify buying both girl and boy options. Yes, we will pick out one cute little outfit for each gender to take to the hospital with us, but other than that I'm not planning on buying any clothes (except for the cute gender neutral onesie that helped us announce). We are trying to stay budget conscious, and the decision to wait is definitely helping me to not splurge.

6. It keeps us excited and focused on baby, instead of their sex.

I am such a planner that people are surprised we aren't finding out. But I truly feel that if I did find out it would make me focus more on finding the perfect cute clothes, gender-specific nursery, or items and would cloud some of the other important things to do before baby. Like taking the time to just soak in pregnancy and the amazing work that the Lord is doing in and through my body. With His help, I'm literally building a baby, y'all! How cool is that? Our baby is more than a gender: they are a unique, beautiful soul that I pray for daily.

7. It's another way for me to release control.

Obviously, you can still trust God and find out your baby's gender. But for me, choosing to wait even though I could find out is another way to remind myself of the truth of this pregnancy: that God is in control, that this baby is His, and that ultimately I am not the one in command. I'm giving up the very thing I so desperately cling to most of the time: control. I'm also fairly certain that I'll feel totally out of control at times as a mama, so why not practice that now, right?

Parents Praying for their Baby

8. It takes the pressure off of names and other people's expectations or opinions.

We already have boy and girl names that we really like, but we're keeping them a surprise. Once baby is born, of course we will happily introduce them to the world and tell the story of their name, but for now it's a special secret that only Aaron and I share. And this way, we also avoid hearing everyone's opinions or cautions on the names we truly like. In addition to names, we're taking the pressure off of everyone's initial expectations for our baby based on revealing their sex alone (especially those who don't really know us well).

9. It's fun to guess and dream and try to figure it out.

The old wives' tales predict if you're having a boy or a girl, so it's fun to look at those and see if they'll be correct. Friends, family, my students, and pretty much everyone else gets in on the guessing, and I love the way it helps people feel like a part of our pregnancy as they guess and feel involved. At the end of the day, I love the uncertainty that I have when it comes to gender, because it just builds my anticipation (and I should probably get used to uncertainty as a parent since I'll be clueless for a while ha!).

10. It helps us enjoy each step of this amazing process, instead of rushing to the end.

Some folks say it would kill them not to know, which is totally fine. You gotta do what you gotta do. But we feel like this is helping us practice some of the patience that we'll need so much of as we parent. We've got the rest of our baby's life to know their gender, and we honestly feel like waiting four more months won't hurt. I tend to want to rush on to the next step or stage in life, and so we are consciously making this choice as a part of our desire to slow down and enjoy each step of this journey, instead of racing ahead to the end. This is just one way we're enjoying these sweet little moments as our family of two becomes three.

One thing I'm definitely finding out already about parenting is that there are a bajillion choices to make, and about a million different opinions on how to make them. There's no right or wrong way to approach finding out your baby's sex, but these are the reasons we're waiting. We know that sweet Baby K will be worth the wait!

Have any of you other mamas waited to find out the sex of your babies? What did you think? Cheers to all the wonderful mothers out there who have brought the most incredible, sweet bundles of joy into the world. Y'all are amazing!

Currently,
Kelsie

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Creative Ways to Use Mason Jars at Home

Today's guest post is from Isadora Guidoni, a writer for homeyou.comShe's bringing us some fabulous ideas to take Mason jars and make them into all sorts of beautiful things. Check it out! 

Mason jars are a trend that started popping up a few years back and is still hanging around, not leaving any signs of going away. Everybody just loves them! They can be used for pretty much everything we can think of, are very versatile, and can be decorated many different ways. Here are some fun ways to use and personalize them!

A Vase

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Deer Pearl Flowers
The most common alternative use of mason jar is as a vase. You can use fake plastic flowers or real ones, and the result is adorable and elegant. You can leave the jar as it is and make it simple, or decorate by making laces around it. It fits perfectly at the center of a table. It is often used in weddings!

Silverware Holder

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Little Sprout Creations
At a small gathering or house party, you can use some jars to hold knives, spoons, and forks, instead of just leaving them on a tray. You can decorate it, make cards with the item’s name and attach it, or leave the jar on its side.

Hanging Outdoor Lantern

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Emmaline Bride
Making lanterns out of mason jars is super easy and a great idea for a luau. Just light a candle inside it and put something around it to make it stable. You can use colorful gems, sand, seashells, water beads, etc, or even fill with water and leave the candle floating. In this tutorial you can learn how to use a wire to fix the chain and be able to hang it.

Sewing Kit

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It All Started With Paint
Mason jars are great for storing items. But how about this awesome idea of making it a sewing kit? It’s definitely very creative and different. This Anthropologie knock-off by It All Started with Paint shows us how easy it is to make one.   

Bathroom Organizer

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Wild Whisper Blog
A great way to organize your bathroom items is by using glass jars. They’re cheap, easy to find, and fun to decorate. You can paint them at any color you want, and you can make them combine with the bathroom colors or contrast them. The choice is yours!

Candy Jar

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Country Living
A candy jar is fun to have as a permanent item of your house or even for a kids party. You can decorate it more, or let the candy show its colors. The different lids on the photo are simply made by gluing little toys on it and spray painting. Everybody will love it!

Chandelier

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Brandi Sawyer
A very different way of using jars is using them to make a rustic chandelier. Imagine what a great mood it sets for an intimate dinner with friends. The result is so incredible and unique that it is totally worth going through the trouble of making it. This tutorial by Brandi Sawyer is very detailed and show us how to make this piece of art.

Tissue Holder

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Landeelu
This cool tutorial teaches us how to make this creative tissue holder. It’s great to leave it on the coffee table or very useful in the nursery. Paint it to match the colors of the room and it’s going to fit perfectly.

Memories Capsule

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Lauren Likes
Do you like to keep little tokens from your travels to remember the good moments? Or movie and theater tickets with a loved one? Why not keep them in a jar? It’s a great idea to have those memories in physical form to remember whenever you’re feeling nostalgic. Keep the jars on a bookshelf and you’ll find yourself having that happiness and peaceful feeling every time you look at them.

Wood Board Organizer

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Chocola Design
A very different way to use the jars is to attach them to a wood board and hang the piece on a wall. You can use it on the bathroom, like the image, or on any wall of the house as flower vases or candle holders.

Spray Painted Decor

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Clever Pink Pirate
An easy way of changing the look of the jar is to spray paint it. From an adorable baby blue to a kickass gold, you can use any color and the result is going to look magnificent. This is incredibly easy to do: Just turn them over (make sure to use something to cover the floor, and do it outside) and spray a generous coat of the paint. Let it dry and voilá! Great looking jars ready to decorate your home.

Wrapped with Lace or Fabric

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Homesthetics
Doesn’t matter what the purpose of the jar is, for candle lighting, as a vase, or as a holder: wrapping it with lace makes it elegant and classy. You can also use any fabric you have laying around to decorate it. The result is so beautiful!


 Hot Glue Gun and Spray Paint Centerpieces

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Pure and Noble
This creative tutorial by Pure and Noble uses a hot glue gun to write on the glass and then spray paint to finish it. The end result is delicate and unique. You can also make patterns, draw flowers or write a message to a loved one and make it a gift.

You can also use the jars as a holder or container for office supplies, kitchen supplies, and light fixtures. It can be used to make mason jar salads that you can take to work, cakes for the kids, storage cookies, as sippy cups(just making a hole on the lid and letting a straw through it).

There are infinite ideas on how to use and personalize Mason jars. You could honestly decorate your entire house with them and it would not be boring, as each one can be so different from the other. How’d you like to use them? Which idea did you like the most?

 Isadora Guidoni is a writer for homeyou.com, a company that connects homeowners to reliable, affordable and professional contractors for their home improvement projects. For more, check Team HomeYou out on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

We had Mason jar decor at our wedding, and I've been in love with them ever since. What's your favorite use of these fantastic jars? 

Currently,
Kelsie

Monday, September 12, 2016

Our Third House-iversary

Time truly does fly when you're having fun. I cannot believe that we've now been in our sweet little home for three whole years! It truly has changed from a house into our home. I can't walk down the hall without happy memories of world series championships, birthday bashes, and finding out we were going to be parents. Our second year in our house was all about outdoor decor, a new guest room, and some small updates. And year three? It's been all about finally making upgrades I've been dreaming of, as well as finding ways to bring light into our rustic, oak-trim home. Here's what we've been up to this year!


Rustic Dining Room 

After multiple failed painting attempts (and a lesson in how fabulous paint samples are), I finally figured out how to get the rustic dining room of my dreams. After starting with a gold, deep brown, and modern patterned dining room that just felt super dark, I was finally inspired by a 49 cent curtain panel from Kohl's. Throw in some burlap canvases made from tea towels, a handmade centerpiece from my hubby, and the rest is history.

Rustic Dining Room

Dining Room Canvas from Tea Towels

Handmade Wood Centerpiece

Rustic Dining Room Centerpiece

For more on this look, paint colors, and how you can get a centerpiece of your own, check out this post!

Farmhouse Front Room

After finishing the dining room, I just felt like our front room didn't flow with the rest of the first floor vibes. I liked the gallery wall and cheap, unique decor, but it just felt dark, especially with all of the black and red. Solution? Some paint, new thrifty decor, and channeling a few Fixer Upper vibes! Here are the results!

Fixer Upper Magnolia Wreath

It's So Good to Be Home

White Rocking Chair, Ikea Shelving

Gallery Wall

Next on the List: A Nursery! 

The room that we plan to use for the nursery is already a pale blue, which should be fine no matter what gender our baby turns out to be (and personally, I'd like to do kind of a one and done gender neutral-ish nursery anyways). I've already started pinning lots of fun ideas on my Pinterest board, and I'll share a post soon with lots of my favorites!


It's safe to say that our fourth year will be my favorite year ever, as we bring a new little life into this home and life we've built together. I'll have to chill out a bit with how clean and tidy I like the house to be, but it will be worth it. This home is a blessing, and we are so grateful for all the memories, life, laughter, and friends who fill it with us. Year three, you've been a joy. From our house to yours, happy fall! 

Currently,
Kelsie