5 Essential Tips For First-Time Homebuyers

As of August 31st, Caleb and I are officially homeowners! Yay! We love our new house! As with any new house, there are some things that we want to change, but it is such a good fit for us and we are excited to live here for many years to come. Overall, our home-buying process went smoothly, which we are very thankful for. Today, I want to share with you 5 essential tips for first-time homebuyers! I hope these tips help your home-buying process to go as smoothly as ours did! 🙂

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Back From Break + 2 Announcements!

Hi friends! After a couple of weeks of absence here at Small Town Soul, I am BACK! I didn’t expect to take a blogging break, but lo and behold, it happened! Read on to find out why. During my break, I also planned out a few changes for the blog, so come find out what’s going to be happening from now on. I’m back from break and ready to share 2 big, awesome, exciting announcements with you!

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DIY Wednesday: String Art

About a month ago, I introduced DIY Wednesday with a post about transforming a boring old dresser into a fabulous entertainment center. It was a big hit, so here I am again this month, with DIY Wednesday: String Art! I got into string art a few years ago (thanks to Pinterest), but I was not successful in the least! Now, it’s one of my favorite crafts to do and I love the way it turns out! Keep reading to see how I do it and why I love it! 🙂

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Find The Awesome

Life is hard, and it’s far too easy to focus on the negative aspects of it. Today, it’s easier for me to complain about an upset stomach than it is to be thankful for the groceries that we can afford. But I heard a message on the radio the other day about finding the awesome in every situation, and I love that thought! God has given us awesome lives, and we need to focus on that instead of our problems. Since that’s easier said than done, let’s look at how we can find the awesome in every situation!

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3 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Netflix

Here’s a challenge for you. Take a moment, and think of all the people that you know that don’t have Netflix. It’s not very many, is it? It seems like everyone and their dog (literally) has Netflix these days. We have it, and we watch it pretty regularly (y’all, FIXER UPPER IS ON NETFLIX). But why am I talking about this? What can bloggers learn from NetflixA lot. Netflix’s view of their customers, their desire to share and produce great content, and their recognition of their place in the media world is virtually unmatched in any business, organization, or company today. I think we have a lot to learn from them, so let’s jump right in.

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Healthy Living 101: 101 Ways To Lead A Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Living 101: 101 Ways To Lead A Healthy Lifestyle

(This post may contain affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, click here.)

Living healthy isn’t just about eating right or drinking water. It isn’t just about exercising. It isn’t just about getting enough sleep, or having the perfect FitBit, or anything like that. It’s a whole lifestyle change! That sounds intimidating, and living a healthy lifestyle can seem difficult, especially in our fast-food, Netflix-binging, too-many-delicious-desserts-on-Pinterest society. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not! There are so many little ways to make your habits healthier, at little inconvenience to you!

Today, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite ways to lead a healthy lifestyle, along with some advice from my awesome blogging friends! I’m also going to share some (easy) recipes with you that will make your meals more delicious AND healthier, and we’ll finish up with a few apps and products to help you with your new or ongoing healthy lifestyle. 🙂

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When My Fear’s Like Jericho: Making the Wall Fall

When My Fear's Like Jericho

“When my fears, like Jericho, build their walls around my soul; when my heart is overthrown, Your love is my battle cry, the anthem for all my life.” (Every Giant Will Fall – Rend Collective)

I struggle with anxiety. It’s been a lifelong struggle, but it has really come to light in the past few years. In the past, I’ve struggled with anxiety attacks, sleepless nights, and physical pain caused by anxiety. By the sheer and utter grace of God, I have overcome that severity, but the devil still wants in, so he attacks me in little ways.

Caleb and I have several young married friends who have suffered miscarriages recently. It is painful beyond words to watch our friends go through this, and to imagine ourselves in their shoes is unbearable. We’re a young married couple, and we may start a family soon, so the devil thought he could sneak in and attack me here. Yesterday at church, during altar call, our pastor was praying over his 9 year old little girl who is fighting an infection in her finger. Something about praying over kids always brings me to tears, but before I even knew what hit me, I was down the trail of what ifs. What if that’s us here in a few years? What if our baby was sick, or I had a difficult pregnancy, or we lost a baby? Continue Reading

The Side Hustle That Pays For Our Groceries

Before Caleb and I got married, we discussed many practical aspects of marriage, and one of those was sticking to a budget. That can be tough, since Caleb is self-employed and I am a homemaker. Money can be a little tight sometimes, so I like to do what I can to help out to make a little extra money. Specifically, I like to earn enough to pay for our groceries each month. That’s why I was so overjoyed when I found this side hustle that pays for our groceries.

The Side Hustle That Pays For Our Groceries

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4 Lessons I Learned In 2 Years of Teaching

lessons learned in teaching

After graduating college, I spent two years teaching in public school. The first year, I taught 4th and 5th grade reading, writing, and social studies. The second year, I taught 6th through 10th grade technology, as well as advising the yearbook. After my second year, I resigned to be a homemaker.

Both years had their ups and downs. I loved my kids and I loved being able to teach them. Though I love being a homemaker, there are moments when I sometimes miss teaching. Teachers are a special breed of people, and I don’t say that just because I was a teacher. 😉 It takes someone gifted to be able to pour into children and dedicate their lives to shaping these kids into adults, teaching them not just academics, but morals and life lessons.

However, it’s not just the kids that are taught lessons. My students, as well as my fellow teachers, taught me a lot of life lessons during my short time teaching, and I think they’re crucial. Here are 4 lessons that I learned in my 2 years of teaching. Continue Reading

10 Things We Learned In Our First 100 Days Of Marriage

10 things we learned in our first 100 days of marriage

Today is July 4th, Independence Day. It is a day of celebration for our country. We are proud to be Americans. But for us, it’s another celebration, as well. Today, Caleb and I have been married 100 days! Yaaayyyyy! It’s been amazing, and we know that it will only be greater as we go. We are enjoying our life now and we are so excited for the future and everything that it holds. 🙂

I read a blog post the other day from Heaven and Hearth entitled Marriage Isn’t Hard (click the link to visit that post). Kali is wise beyond her years. In her post, she talks about how the phrase “marriage is hard, but worth it” has essentially become a mantra in the Christian culture. She disagrees, as do I. Is marriage worth it? Absolutely. Is marriage hard? No. Sin is hard, and we are sinful creatures. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” [1 Corinthians 15:10] God’s grace enables us to live a life pursuing His holy desires, and enables our marriages to be filled with grace, love, and mercy.

This is not to say that hard times will not come. Many of you will look at this and roll your eyes because we’ve been married a little over three months and of course nothing difficult could have happened during that time. (You would be wrong.) In fact, quite a few people have told us something to the effect of, “Oh, sure, marriage is good in the beginning, but you just wait.” If that is you, please stop. Speak life into newlyweds, please. We know that there will be difficult paths to navigate, but by the grace of God and with His mercy, we will triumph.

Marriage is good. We love it. We love each other. We’ve learned a lot about each other, marriage, and God in the last 100 days, and we want to share some of that with you. Continue Reading