Thursday, September 24, 2015

Gratitude Leads to Generosity

Comparison can be an ugly thing. When I'm looking at what I have compared to someone who is "better off" than I (in the worldly sense), I become consumed with envy and jealousy. I think "woe is me, why can't I have that or look like that or live there?!" However, when I look at what I have compared to someone who is "worse off" than I, I notice that my attitude changes. Rather than becoming envious, I become grateful. I thank God for what He has given me and am grateful for what I have. I am given a different perspective. Gratitude wipes out comparison and instead leads to generosity.

I become freed up to take those who are experiencing far worse days, smaller bank accounts (or no bank account at all), sickness and death, little to no earthly possessions, injustice and violence, and lift them up to our heavenly Father who hears my prayers and who can actually do something about it. And then I can do something about it. I can give generously to those who are in need, because I have seen how generous God has been to me. I can give generously because I have experienced deep gratitude at what God has given me. 

And I'm not just talking about gratitude over the job and house and husband and friends and things that God has given me, although all those things are from His hands. I'm talking about deep gratitude for something that is of far more worth and value—namely a relationship with and faith in Jesus that results in a full life now and eternal life after life on this earth. I can experience deep gratitude to God for saving me from my sinful self and giving me a new heart... one that desires to follow Him. I am grateful that He has given me a hope for the future, as well as strength to face today. And this gratitude, it flows out into generosity towards others. If I have been given much, why would I not also give much to others?

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. —1 Chronicles 29:1

Gratitude is the key that unlocks generosity in our hearts. It is the spark that lights the fire of giving in our lives. It is the cause of joy. It is the outpouring of God's blessings. It is the multiplication of His gifts. Gratitude makes generosity possible.

So next time I feel comparison creeping in, I'm going to choose to focus on all the ways that God has blessed me—both with His grace by saving me, and with earthly blessings—and choose gratitude. I will ask "who am I, that I should be able to give as generously as this?" and then I will give. I will have open hands, and an open heart. Lord, will you make this true in my life? Will you help me to be grateful and generous?

To see more thoughts on generosity, here's a previous post on giving "responsibly."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Team Douglas Moves: Kitchen // Before

Happy first day of Fall, friends! And welcome to the first of many installments of "Team Douglas Moves" (you can check out our Instagram hashtag here). This week has been exhausting (is it the weekend yet?!) and I can say with certainty that I have never done this much cleaning in one stretch in my life! But I can also say that I am so incredibly grateful for the wonderful family and friends that have come over and poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the place already (ok, maybe just sweat...). I seriously would be crying in the middle of the dirty floor if it weren't for them, so thank you to each of you who has scrubbed, steamed, wiped, and inhaled lots of cleaning chemicals along the way. 

Today I wanted to share with you a few before photos of the kitchen. This room was a pretty big selling point for us. After living in our 4-plex apartment for a year, there were 3 things we really wanted in a kitchen:
  • Windows
  • A space to sit and eat in the kitchen
  • More space (especially counter space) 

This kitchen has given us all of that! There are two windows that let light stream in (no more depressing florescent lighting!), plenty of space for a table and couple of chairs, and the room is huge. We are hoping to find some kind of an island for the middle of the room for even more storage and counter space. The long counter on this wall makes me SO happy! We've been using a small chunk of counter for the past year and have used our stove as a counter multiple times!

We are hoping to put up some open shelving on this big wall above the sink. It's just asking for it, dontchya think? :)

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peak into our kitchen! I can't wait until there's some more plant life, a rug on the floor, some pretty shelving, and all those other lovely little touches that make a house a home and a kitchen oh-so-cozy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

One Year Staycation

Yesterday marked one year of being married to Loverboy. 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, one year. And it feels like just yesterday that we were standing at the altar, shivering as we read each other our vows on that chilly but beautifully bright day.

We had gone back and forth on how we wanted to spend our first anniversary, with thoughts of a nearby Bed & Breakfast or AirBnB. We even tossed around the idea of going to NYC or Washington D.C. for the weekend when Frontier flights were so cheap. But we eventually landed on staying home and enjoying a relaxing staycation. And I am SO glad that we did! We had just come off a series of busy out-of-town weekends, and staying home was just what we needed! So here's a glimpse at what we did, along with our recommendations for your very own staycation!

Friday night we enjoyed sushi happy hour at Wakame Sushi & Asian Bistro. This is the best sushi happy hour in the Cities, in my humble opinion. The selection is amazing, the atmosphere warm, and the prices affordable. We especially loved the Tootsie Roll (the middle crispy-looking roll in the middle of the plate).
After happy hour we headed to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA). We enjoyed perusing through the maze of paintings, sculptures, artifacts, and other pieces of art. Since it was a Friday night, there were only a few other people there, so it felt like we had the place to ourselves! Saturday morning we slept in and then headed to Colossal Cafe in St. Paul for a crazy-filling brunch. We shared the Spinach Artichoke Feta Frittata and the Apple Walnut Brie Flappers. Both dishes were amazing and we got out of there in under $20! Score!
After brunch we headed to the Science Museum. It was a blast watching Brian get into all the experiments and explain the science behind each one to me. The museum is currently switching their special exhibits and the omnitheatre was also closed, so we had yet another place mostly to ourselves. It was nice to enjoy the museum without the crowds. 
Sunday we went to Fogo de Chao for lunch, which was something that Brian was really looking forward to. Seeing as I'm not the biggest fan of meat, a Brazilian steakhouse wasn't quite as exciting to me, but the sides and salad bar were amazing! We did some shopping around Downtown and Uptown, then headed to a park to toss around some styrofoam airplanes I got at the Dollar Tree. We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing and going in and out of food comas. :) The weekend was the perfect mix of delicious food, relaxation, and exploration. We both got to experience new things and still enjoy our tried and true favorites. So there you have it! Some amazing restaurants to try out, as well as a couple museums that are fun to peruse through.Happy one year, babe. It's been an awesome adventure, and I'm excited to see what year two brings!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Goals

Well, it may have been balmy last week, but the cooler Fall air is certainly here this week! I'm sure it will fluctuate back and forth before really settling into Fall, but the cooler temps have got me thinking toward this next season. As you may know, I'm a bit of a planner. I like lists and to-dos and goals. So every season or so I try to make a list of measurable, (hopefully) achievable goals.

I never really got around to it this summer, but maybe that's because summers are still a bit carefree and loose in my mind. But Fall... Fall brings back memories of back-to-school shopping, prepping for classes, and getting back into work mode. So it's only natural that making a list of goals feels like such a Fall-y thing to do. :) So without further ado...


September–November Goals
  1. Finish The White Umbrella & When Helping Hurts
  2. Purge our belongings while we're packing to move... have less stuff when we get to our new place
  3. Attend at least 2 Anti-trafficking events (outside of BASE events that we plan)
  4. Host at least twice
  5. Read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (total of 42 chapters... so about one chapter every 2 days. Should be doable!)
  6. Complete 2 DIY projects
What's on your list to accomplish this Fall? Are you looking forward to getting some projects done? Or maybe you have a book you really want to read. Whatever it is... I'd love to hear it!

P.S. You can see last year's Fall goals here.

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