Friday, December 28, 2012

Breaking the Silence!

Well friends, it seems as though I've been silent forever.
I think I've been feeling a little dazed and out of it -- I have so much catching up on life to do, and when I spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer at work the last thing I think about doing at home is to open my laptop!

I suppose this is the settling in period that we talk about in reference to work/home life. You get into your groove, figure out how to live around your new schedule, and life just starts to settle back down again. The good thing is, I'm still loving my job. And I know how lucky I am to be saying that, because I know so many people that hate what they do. 

I'm not sure what this next season of life holds for my little blog. I always have things to say, heck, I'm a woman with strong opinions and emotions -- but that being said, I don't find myself compelled to sit down and write anything these days. 

I will tell you that I finally finished "Love and Respect" last night -- and I already want to re-read and still want to buy it for everyone I know. 

I will tell you that I write little blog posts in my head while I drive, shower, and day dream at work. Mostly posts about friendship, politics, Jesus, marriage...the standard things I like to mumble about usually :) maybe I'll find the desire to sit down and write them out one of these days. 

I will tell you that life has been anything but dull. Two of my best friends visited early this month, that deserves its own wonderful post. We are bringing home a kitten at the end of January, I think the winning name right now is Penelope -- but I'll confirm that later. We have been home visiting our family and friends a few times, which is always fun, especially for the holidays. And today is my last day of work before we leave on our HONEYMOON! Of course I'll dump all of the pictures from that when we get home!

Here's a little taste of our Christmas at home:
Christmas at the Van Nuys home

The bearded men!

Dad and his rotisserie Turkey!
 Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with just a dash of Christmas cheer!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

For My Heart, and Maybe Yours.

I mentioned recently that I've been avoiding scripture and any form of devotion.
That's a crazy thing to admit.
Avoiding because of scared of being reminded of my sin and all the junk that's ugly inside of me.

I picked up my devotional today that I have on my desk at work, it was bookmarked November 8th."It's freaking December, Jamie." I told myself. How long am I going to avoid this?

Today's devotional was about seeing the light of the Lord in the darkest of places. When my heart is dark, there is always a window shining through with  His hope. Always.

Here's a little bit of hope from Streams in the Desert today:

"Sometimes the darkness in our lives is worse, because we cannot even see the web we are weaving or understand what we are doing. Therefore we are unable to see any beauty or any possible good arising from our experience. Yet if we are faithful to forge ahead and "if we do not give up" (Gal 6:9), someday we will know that the most exquisite work of our lives was done during those days when it was the darkest.  If you seem to be living in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Simply go forward in faith and in love, never doubting Him. He is watching and will bring goodness and beauty from all of your pain and tears"

The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet design
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some somber fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.

Spin cheerfully,
Not tearfully,
He knows the way you plod;
Spin Carefully,
Spin prayerfully,
But leave the thread with God.

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer, from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
Psalm 61:2

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly -- Week 2

Has it really been a month since my last post about this?! Crazy how fast time is moving these days.

Well I went back and checked and it's only been 3 weeks, so I'm not completely nuts after all. 

There are so many things that are GOOD to tell you about! There are some bad, and not too many ugly -- I guess I just have trouble defining things in my life that are ugly.

And now, here is a little snippet of life :)

The GOOD: 
Honeymoon in 18 days.
We are bringing a new kitty home soon, we don't know when, but it's going to be soon. And it's probably going to be named Boris which is awesome. 
The handmade craft show went great. And my mother in law one a wine tasting raffle at the event which she gave to us as a gift -- I do not mind that one bit. 
Christmas is almost here!

The BAD:
I still hate my hair cut. I see pictures of when it was long and I almost cry sometimes. A little pathetic I know. 
Both Seth and I are getting sick. I currently keep Dayquil at my desk and cough drops in my car, bedside table, and purse!
I seem to be having issues with insomnia which is driving me crazy, and has been for the last couple months I just thought I'd get over it by now...I'm going to see my doc next week, its just no fun to deal with in the mean time!
I'm not quite ready for Christmas!

My heart has been kind of ugly lately, I ignore the Word because I'm afraid that it will reveal that more. Any suggestions for battling periods of ugliness and complacency in your walk? It especially sucks that it's a special season and I seem to be in a funk! Also, when there are so many good things going on...why do I find myself in a rut?

Sometimes I frustrate myself just thinking about it!

Hope you guys have a great week!

Friday, December 7, 2012

3: Reflections on Marriage

Every time I talk to my dear old Dad on the phone he asks the same question:
 How is married life, is it everything you imagined?

My answer is always the same, YES!

Well, I don't yell. But it's always a yes, a good kind of yes, I never hesitate so I wonder why he asks every time still.

It's actually better than what I imagined, so much better. But I'm starting to wonder if our society has tainted marriage to the point that we assume them to fail as soon as they begin?

I hate that mindset so much. Seth and I know instinctively that divorce isn't an option, failure is not an option for us.  If divorce weren't so easy to achieve would that make people more willing to work out their problems? Maybe not so much work on their problems, but submit to the fact that they are prideful and imperfect and that they need help, humility...grace.

And by the way, I love being married. This is the best "choice" I have made in my young life and I have no shame in saying that. 

In these past 3 months of marriage I've learned that marriage has everything to do with grace and nothing to do with me. Marriage has everything to do with Jesus and His bride, the Church -- and how that beautiful relationship reflects on my own relationship with Seth.

I cling to that daily, because every day I fail. Everyday we fail. But every day we point each other to the one who can't fail.

If you can figure that part out, it's easier to navigate the ups and downs. Easier, not necessarily easy. Easier to remain humble, easier to serve, easier to submit (there I said it!), easier to love, easier to respect.

Admittedly, we haven't hit many big bumps yet. We don't have years of life experience under our belt. But we do have our good God who we know placed us together, provides for us, comforts us, and has more grace for us than we could ever provide for each other. So were running with that, were putting our eggs in that basket.

Right now my biggest advice to dating couples:
1.WAIT - and you know what I mean by that. Just...WAIT.
2.READ - read up on some good wisdom about how men communicate and receive love, it makes fights a lot easier when you understand how the other person is feeling.
3. Be humble.

Happy 3 months, Seth. I love you more than I did on that day and that is so crazy to me. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gilroy Holiday Boutique

Do you live in the greater Bay Area?

Are you free this Saturday?

Then you should come on down to the Gilroy Holiday Boutique!

I will be there selling goodies from my shop as well as a bunch of other local vendors, it will be a great time to buy gifts for your friends and family.

Hope to see you there :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

InstaFriday: Christmas Time Edition

Happy Friday, friends!
I'm snuggling by the fire this morning as the rain pounds and pitter patters all over our little house.

I won't be around much the next few days, I have a sweet friend of mine visiting for 6 whole days, the longest she's ever been here. I am seriously excited and a little overwhelmed that I have to entertain someone for that long!

This week has been good, probably because it's been short! I love 3 day work-weeks, I wish there were more of them! But good news, I got my shift covered for the Gilroy handmade show so I still get to participate! 

Anywho, here goes the last week through instagram:

As mentioned, we went home and hung out at our favorite bar/restaurant called The Office. Fire places in restaurants are the jam. 

I'm super jealous of this cute gift my mom was given. I want to steal them!

Sunday night we got home and picked out our Christmas Tree. We went to the place that you could cut your own down, but after circling the lot 5 times we couldn't find the kind of tree that we wanted -- aka a Noble Fir. We are both apparently particular about our tree type! We asked the people there and they said they don't grow them in California and they were only available pre-cut. Oh well, at least we got the kind we wanted!

My MIL gave us this sweet "First Christmas" ornament. Seth's fam is super into ornaments and he has one for every year of his life. I'd love to start that tradition in our house. 

I've been having a little fun decorating the whole house!

My mom has every wednesday off, she has had Wednesday off for most of my life so naturally it's become my favorite day of the week. This wednesday we met for lunch and I taught her how to use you-tube on her phone. We got her the i-Phone 5 for her birthday and it hasn't come in the mail yet, naturally she is nervous that she has to learn something new! But I'm excited to teach her everything it can do!

Btw, this pic is totally candid..she had no idea I was taking it :)

Trader Joes is the best, they carry this low carb chocolate bar that only has 8 carbs in the whole bar! I refilled my stash at work so I wasn't tempted by the other sweet treats floating around the office. I've been doing really well this week getting back on the diet and I already am seeing results!

And finally, I hung that amazing "HOPE" ornament in the perfect place, the light hits it so well and it is always easy to find. I love our little crooked tree. I love the way it makes our little home smell and its just perfect!

Well friends, it's been a good week and I'm excited to share with you the adventures I have with my girlfriends in town. 

See you next week :)

Linking up this week with Life Rearranged.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When the Sky is Pink...

Everyones family has quirks right?

I know mine does. 

I love retelling stories from my childhood, like my ridiculous temper tantrums I used to throw and the pranks my brother used to pull on me. 

But one of my favorite childhood memories centers around Christmas, so I felt it completely appropriate to share today. 

Tell me, do you think this picture has anything to do with Christmas or Santa?

I didn't think so.

But in the Skaates family, it means a whole lot.

You see, 
"When the sky is pink, Santa is making toys."

My mom has been telling my brother and I that since we were babies. And until recently, I honestly thought that everyone knew that too. 
When I started getting excited about the pink sky, I noticed my friends didn't share the same excitement, so I would say...well don't you know? When the sky is pink, santa is making toys!

You can't imagine the strange looks I got when saying that.
But for me it was absolute truth growing up! 

I have yet to ask my mom where she got that saying, or who passed it on to her.
But I do know that it is something I will be passing on to my kids.
Because I'll always get the same happy feeling when the sun is setting and the clouds are pink.

Do you have any sayings in your family that are quirky and fun?
I'd love to hear about them :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Virtual Coffee Date

It's a good day. The rain is falling, the wind is blowing, the fire is blazing, my coffee cup is full, the Christmas tree lights are dancing and I'm finishing up cleaning/decorating the house before two of my favorite girls get here.

Over said full cup of coffee, or hot chocolate, or eggnog, or cider,  I'd love to update you on my crazy life lately. In between my busy work life are really great moments of love, laughter, and family.

First and foremost, I would remind you that you MUST read this book. If you're in a relationship, plan on being in one at some point, are married, divorced...whatever you are it will change you. This book continues to change and grow our marriage every day. It blows me away how a few simple truths can have such an impact.

I'm thinking of doing something like my good friend Cindy did last year, and just buy this book for everyone I know, Christian or not. 

I would tell you about going home for Thanksgiving and staying with my in-laws for 5 days. I would tell you that I loved being back in our hometown, seeing our friends and family was great, but I was dying to be back home alone with Seth on Sunday. 

I would tell you that I'm getting excited about the Gilroy Handmade Boutique coming up, but that I'm starting to worry that I can't get the time off of work. I originally thought I would have that day off, but since my schedule has changed I no longer can be there...I'm praying that someone agrees to switch shifts with me. 

I would ask you to pray for my friends who are heading to the East Coast today to help victims of hurricane sandy. Many of those going are the same ones I got to serve with in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, I love their hearts to serve. 

I would tell you that I'm still enjoying work, a lot. I feel like I was meant to do this, meant to help people in this way, I feel really blessed to have this job and to be given this opportunity. Especially when I work with people that are twice my age and doing the same job, its a bit overwhelming! BUT, sometimes I come home and have a glass of wine or three because what I do is hard, it plays with your emotions and it tugs at your heartstrings all day long. 

I would tell you that I'm really excited to spend my first Christmas with Seth in our own home. I have truly been enjoying decorating, creating new traditions, and shopping! I would tell you that Seth and I wanted to buy a cat as a gift to each other this year, but that yesterday our kitty dreams were slashed. We thought that because our whole place was hard wood floors there would be no problems with getting a cat, but our landlord decided that we weren't allowed to have any animals. I'd be lying if I told you I didn't want to move because of that. 

Over said coffee, I might ask you how you're doing to.
Did you go shopping on Black Friday?
What was your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
I would ask you for Christmas shopping ideas, because I'm fresh out of good gift ideas.
What's your favorite part about the holidays?
Do you have any traditions?

We would probably laugh, sigh, be on the brink of tears, and talk for hours on this coffee date -- because that's what this season calls for. 

Then I'd have to sadly leave you.
Because I only have a couple hours to do a million things before work, like going to the post office to hopefully pick up the next Twilight movie from Netflix, obviously that's the most important errand of today. 

Until next time, 

Monday, November 26, 2012


Happy Monday friends!
I have the day off today and I'm running errands, cleaning house, and decorating our Christmas tree!

I'm also offering a 25% discount today in my shop!

Shop with coupon code: GIVETHANKS 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly {1} A Little Drama for your Tuesday

Hi friends, I'm joining a new linkup today over at Scissors and a Whisk, and its the perfect time to tell you about my hair-rendous experience at the salon yesterday. 

Yesterday was a really, really bad day for me. 

I decided that it was time to get my hair trimmed, and the hairdresser I've been seeing my whole life is now too far away, so I ventured out and tried someone new. 

Freddie was seemingly nice. He told me he was new to the salon but not new to hair-cutting. He actually came from Menlo Park which is close to where I'm from. He seemed to listen well. I told him I wanted a trim, maybe clean it up a little more than usual because I was having a lot of breakage. And we agreed on 1 inch.


An hour and a half later he had cut "one inch" off the ends...and 3-4 inches off the rest. So I basically have layers all around my face, which I told him I didn't want and have hated on me forever. And it's so short in the front I basically have bangs again. And my hair looks SO short, my mom told me it looks like he cut 5 inches. You can always count on Mom to be honest. 

I have been growing my hair out for 4 years.

For him to chop it all off like that was really heartbreaking. I actually woke up in the middle of the night  thinking it was all a nightmare...and then I felt my ponytail that is now barely 5 inches long and was still sad. 

I cried all afternoon. I cried in the car, I cried in the grocery store, I cried on the phone with my mama. 

I cried when Seth came home with flowers and donuts, because even that didn't make my hair grow back. 

Seth likes it. He says the layers are kind of fun and its not unhealthy anymore, and my biggest fear was that he was going to hate it, so Praise Jesus he likes it.. I also got a lot of positive feedback about it on facebook. 

Thank you, friends, for your encouragement. I'm sure I'll get used to it soon.
Seth titled my new hair style "My Little Pony"
It truly is a tiny little thing.
It used to cascade down my back...
and now..
There's absolutely nothing I can do about it. You know that helpless feeling? I totally have it. I feel like going on an angry rampage back to that salon and making him lose his job.
Everyone keeps telling me it looks nice, and I'm not saying I look downright ugly, but its the dang principle that we agreed on one inch and this is what he gave me!

I don't feel like myself, my hair was so much a part of me and my femininity, had I wanted this change it would be a different story.
I'm now desperately searching for products that will make my hair grow faster.
That seems crazy to me but I think I'm having phantom hair problems.
You know when someone loses a limb but still feels like it's there sometimes?
Kinda like that.
I'm realizing now how ridiculous that sounds...
and I'll stop.

I've said my piece, and knowing there is nothing I can do I will try and move forward. 
R.I.P long hair,
till we meet again.

the good, the bad, the ugly

Monday, November 19, 2012

Home Tour, Partially at least!

Friends and family who haven't been able to see our new place have been asking to see our new home, so today is yours and their lucky day!

Before I start, a couple disclaimers for your wondering minds:

All of our stuff, like mugs and bowls and pans that should have a home in a cabinet is out because our home was not built with cabinets. I repeat, there are NO cabinets. That being said, we've had to get creative. Our home was truly built by a man, and for a man, aka there is no storage aside from two closets and a pantry that both have slanted ceilings and are hard to access!

Our place also has very few windows. Like 3 total. Our home is a converted attic with windows only on the two ends of it, but it makes up for it with two big doors and a lot of lights that are flush with the ceiling. 

Also, my camera kinda sucks, so I apologize for the blur :)

I took these photos on the day of our house warming cooling party. It was the cleanest our house has been since we moved here, and has not been that clean ever since! I didn't include the bathroom or the kitchen because..well people got her early and I had to entertain!

Also, the pictures of our pantry are from today, because I took about an hour and re-organized everything in there, it was unliveable and driving me nuts so I finally did something about it!

Ok, here goes :)

Bedroom area: I say area because it's a studio so it's not really a room. I love our funky little wall cut-outs all over the place!

Here is where I house some of my favorite memories of ours: My bouquet, his boutonniere, our mickey and minnie hats, our lovebirds, a picture frame I made from a couple valentines days ago, and a special frame my best friend gave us for a wedding gift!

I love how our guestbook tree came out, I also love that I get to look at it every day! I'm still looking for the perfect thing to hang right over our bed, but I'm also worried that if it's too big it might fall!

Our "front door"

My desk area. I recently found this fantastic antique desk at a garage sale and I love how it hides all my junk so well!

TV & Living room area. 

I had lots of our wedding pictures out that day on display, they were well looked at!

One of our two book shelfs, that are both very full! I house my collections on top. 

that pile of blankets has been moved to this lovely trunk:

Seth's man cave:

This is my favorite bookshelf of life. I found it at a consignment shop and my sweet mother-in-law went back later at secretly bought it for me :)

Our fireplace is my favorite. We keep a tea kettle on time because it dries out the air when we use the fireplace. Also, those pinecones are sprinkles with cinnamon and they smell oh so good!

And newly cleaned pantry. It neatly houses most of our kitchen stuff. I dream of one day  having cabinets and drawers and places to hide more :) But this will do for now!

And last but not least...these magnets were on my car as we drove away from our wedding and they now happily reside on our fridge :)

One of these days I'll get to the bathroom, kitchen, and outside!
Happy Monday!