Welcome To My Refuge Spot

Welcome Friends to my blog about single motherhood and living for God. I hope that you find my thoughts and musings thought provoking and in alignment with God's word. Thank you for visiting and please feel free to share your comments and pass the word along to others who you feel could be blessed!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Frugal Friday- Frugal Wedding Planning Resources

Once again I am going to try to keep up with Crystal over at Biblicalwomanhood and her weekly Frugal Friday post. One thing I am learning about this wedding planning thing is how to make the most of frugality. I believe a wedding should be a beautiful affair glorifying God's testimony of bringing two of his children together, what I don't believe is that God would be pleased with a over priced wedding ceremony that does not show a testament of being a good steward of the money he has blessed you with. So I prayed and sought ways to make my dream day as frugal as possible with out looking as frugal as possible staying in my modest $4,000 budget. I will admit, there is one area that I splurged on and that is rental. I rented most of my tablecloths, candelabras, columnnade, and other huge stuff. But for the most part I utilized these outlets:

Hobby Lobby
Save-on- Crafts.com
Oriental Trading
Sams Club
Chadwicks of Boston
Burlington Coat Factory
Walmart- I bought all of my fabric from Wal-Mart's clearance fabric all of my fabric for the swags was $1 a yard. I had to go to a few Wal-Mart's a couple of time to find the type of fabric that I wanted but I found it and it was very inexpensive. I also bought the vases for my centerpieces there and my invitations. I found my invitations on clearance for $7 a box.
Hobby Lobby- I bought all of my flowers from Hobby Lobby's clearance sale. They were running a 50% off on all their floral bushes and bouquets, and since I am using roses, I had them special order all of the flowers that I needed for my day. I then went back a few weeks ago and took advantage of their 50% bridal sale. This was the mother of all sales for me and I loaded up with all of my bridal stuff and favors and again it was relatively inexpensive.
Save-on- Crafts.com- I found some really cool deals on here, but for the most part I did better at Hobby Lobby. My decorator and I decided to have my reception a different color than my wedding, so we are having an all white reception. It was cheaper and easier to find white fabric than my colors, which are champagne, cream, and chocolate. I also decided to use Calla lilies in my centerpieces which I ordered here for less than $1 each. I also bought my organza tulle at a very reasonable discount price here also.
Oriental Trading- They have some very inexpensive wedding favors, I haven't ordered yet, but there are a few things I am thinking of picking up.
Dollar Tree Direct- Dollar tree is one of my favorite stores, I can use them to buy most of my serving pieces here. Dollar tree in bulk is a dream!!!
Sams Club- I will probably purchase the food and or other items I can't find at Dollar tree in bulk. Not my first choice though.
Chadwicks of Boston- Very nice and a few modest bridesmaid dresses here! I wanted my bridesmaids to have nice modest dresses for a fraction of the cost that we were finding online, plus there was no long shipping turn around. I never knew that finding modest formals was so difficult and expensive!!! But we found a few here to choose from and I am totally satisfied with the product.
Burlington Coat Factory- I found my daughter's dresses here, and they had an awesome after Easter sale!!! A nice place to shop if you have the patience to hunt through the crowds of clearance stuff!
Honeymoonwishes.com- A nice alternative registry that allows guest to purchase items for the couples honeymoon. Most couples already have tons of housewares, and traditional bridal registry items, this registry allows guests to take part in blessing the couple to have a wonderful honeymoon. For Christian couples this is a God send since we are actually having an opportunity to take advantage of the real purpose of a honeymoon. It's refreshing to know that there are people out there who are partaking in the sanctity of the marriage bed as God has instructed!
Knot.com Last but not least, this was my most helpful site. I was able to send out e-vites and electronic save the dates for free. I was also able to set up a website detailing my courtship story. It is an excellent planning tool and you can even upload your guest list in it and your guest can RSVP online. It also has a spot for your online registries for those guest who may not be able to attend or have time to actually visit a store. And people can leave nice things about you on your guest book.
I know many of you may already know about this, but it was fun for me to discover and share. And I would love to hear if you have any ideas or advice for any better deals or places! Thank you all who have left comments on our wedding web page, it's truly a blessing.
Stay blessed and encouraged! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Weather Update

Hello All, its that time of year here in the good old state of Arkansas. Springtime is very nice and beautiful but occasionally we go through a season of tornado weather and fierce thunderstorms and flash flooding.

Last night was pretty okay, we just had thunderstorms early in the night and it stormed pretty solid this morning. We did have a little scare this am around lunchtime the tornado sirens went off and we had to assume evacuation mode. For all of you SAHM's I envied you today. Today while I was sitting in the stairwell of my office building, my children were at school in evacuation for a little while. Its the worst feeling in the world to know that there is a potential natural disaster going on and your precious ones are afraid and possibly in danger and you are miles away under the strong arm of attendance rules and regulations. God is blessing though. He kept my little ones safe and sound and he kept my FDH safe and sound.

If you look at my count down I actually have 65 days to go before my wedding and planning has become a little more manageable. I am still in prayer and decision on a cater. God worked it out that we were able to find a nice photographer that was so thrilled with our story of courtship and our "no touching stand" that he volunteered to take engagement pictures so that we could see his work and so that he could find creative poses to photograph all for free. I was thrilled and happy with the results, so all in all we were blessed to find a wonderful photographer who was excited about our courtship and the Godliness thereof and wants to be a part of our special day.

Now moving on along to my actual feelings about my impending marriage, well there are so many emotions that I am dealing with, fear, frustration, anticipation, excitement, love, did I mention fear??? I am afraid that I won't be a good wife. I am so used to being a mom full time, that I sometimes wonder how in the world am I going to add wife to my plate. Don't get me wrong I am looking forward to the challenge, but I do have a quiet fear, a Godly fear that in some way is keeping me humbly before him for help and guidance. I am learning in practice the art of womanly submission. It's not a bad thing, it's wonderful but I will say that it requires tons of effort. Some may say that it should be effortless, and I agree but when you have been used to making all decisions, it requires some gentle reminders from God that total decision making is not your place right now! So, pray for me, that I continue to remain humble and ever learning what it takes to be the wife I have so long waited to be.
Stay Blessed and Encouraged-smfg

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

100th Post!!!

Today is my 100th post and I am so grateful to God for allowing me this outlet to praise him, make new friends, encourage others, and come in contact with so much divine wisdom from so many people from across the world. I was looking at my feed map and am touched daily by the different visits from across the world. I am truly blessed.

I planned on typing this elaborate post last week, but as I sat huddled up in my bathtub with my two children while we experienced out first ever real live tornado last Thursday night I was hit with a new perspective; I was overcome with thankfulness and awe of just how mighty the hand, no the finger of God is. Last week, there was a
tornado that ripped through my community and left a path of devastation. The funny thing is, this particular tornado was different from any I have ever seen or witnessed. Normally, I am just on the tornado watch end, but the city that I moved to last year just so happens to be in our tornado alley, so this was my first time experiencing one close up. I was expecting high winds and hail and such, but this night the air was still and quiet, and had it not been for the warning sirens I wouldn't have even known to look out for anything. My kids automatically went into the bathroom and I stood one foot in my bedroom, one foot in my bath watching the news as they gave street by street directions of the tornado's path. When I heard them say that it was headed in my direction, I was thinking " this must be the quietest tornado ever" No sooner as the words left my brain, I hear a ripping crack of thunder and a blinding ray of lightning as if the heavens were opening, and the storm gates flooded. This tornado was surrounded by the thunderstorm, you couldn't see it because it was hidden by a blanket of rain and hail. I literally was able to experience the calm before the storm. But there was no loss of power, just a really intense thunderstorm and then it was gone.

Little did I know that about 1/8th of a mile from my house ( practically in my back yard) the tornado ripped through a housing community and trailer park. The lightning struck a gas main that set off fires destroying over 70 mobile homes. I stood out on my balcony and watched the ball of fire and the fire department extinguishing the blazes. Soon after we had to leave because another storm cell was heading our way and I live on the 2nd story of my apartment complex so my FDH who had just gotten off work decided that it would be best if we waited the storm out at one of our friends homes. It was late and dark when we returned home, but the next morning on my way to work I was able to see the damage, and I was so humbled at what I saw. I showed my girls and I told them this " This is why mommy serves God, do you see how he protected us!" There were trees uprooted, homes leveled, and many people displaced. All lived in a development right behind us. The tornado skipped over us and went right behind where we live. I serve an awesome God. There were also church members of mine who were fellow shipping at another members home, and the tornado touched down in their neighborhood. They came out to see uprooted trees and debris, but not a single one of them suffered any damage to their vehicles or the home. God is truly good to his people. I am still claiming his goodness, because this is just the beginning of the season for us, as a matter of fact we have tornado like conditions forecasted for tonight and tomorrow.

funnel clouds hidden in the rain
Lightning right before the storm
areal view of the storm damage on my street
entrance to the community behind my apt bld
more storm damage
Sometimes we hear of disasters on the news and yes we may say a prayer, but so experience the awesome greatness of how God moves and works will forever be a humbling miracle for me. Above are some pictures of what happened behind my house and I will dedicate my 100th post to my heavenly father who once again spared me an my family from known and unknown dangers. I would also like to once again thank all of you for reading and leaving comments. You make my day brighter! Be Blessed and Stay Encouraged-smfg

*photos taken from arkansasonline.com and fox16com