Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Are you qualified to study the Bible?

We've all fallen into the trap of comparison. But have you ever tripped up and started comparing your spiritual walk to someone who looks "more spiritual" or "more qualified"? Have you ever questioned whether or not you are qualified to read and study the Bible on your own?

I've seen many women insist that they have nothing to give, that they don't know enough about the Word of God to be able to lead or encourage others. It is heartbreaking to know that so many women stay quiet about what God is teaching them because they don't have the ministry title or the "book learnin'" to back them up.

In the presence of divinity students or powerful Christian leaders, it is easy to feel unqualified in comparison.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Thistlefish Knits has an ETSY!

Guys, I am SO excited that I finally have an Etsy shop! I have been hoping to open one for a long time, so even though this is something small, it already feels so big.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Letter to Me in 6 Months (aka: the first time mom of a 3-mo-old)

Hey there, Mama,
You are well into motherhood by now! You've been a mom for a year now technically, but these last three months are when things have gotten real. The rubber has hit the road. Motherhood is not a dream anymore, but a very involved reality. It's six months from now, and you are a first-time mom of a three-month-old. Wow.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Second Trimester Essentials + My Second Thirteen Weeks of Pregnancy

Hello sweet friends!

Wow, this second trimester has FLOWN. I can't believe I'm technically in my third trimester this week! This update definitely snuck up on me.

So here's a little peak at how I've been doing at this whole baby-growing thing.πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"Wait, why the cross?" Procrastinated, post-easter reflections from a lifelong church kid

I'm someone who does more reflecting after-the-fact instead of in the preparation. For example, when I go on a trip, I spend more time after the trip reminiscing and processing and looking back than I did looking forward to the trip and emotionally/mentally prepping for it. Maybe it's because I'm a procrastinator, maybe I'm just more reflective. I don't know.

Easter this year was similar. Instead of prepping for it emotionally and spending time in that portion of the Gospels before Easter morning was upon us, Jon and I found ourselves watching the Passion of the Christ a week late, and reflecting on Resurrection Morning after-the-fact.
Side note: How was this was my first time ever watching the Passion of the Christ??

All that to say, last week was spent reflecting on what it was Jesus actually did. Like, why did the cross have to happen again? As a church kid who met Jesus before she could form her first memory, I find myself needing to come back to these foundational lessons.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I will give you what you need for today: Becoming confident in God's promises to provide your daily bread

"I will give you what you need for today - nothing more, nothing less."
That's what I heard whispered to my soul last week, cutting through my worries and anxieties, putting to rest my heart's frenzy.
"I will give you what you need for today."

I have a struggle that I feel is not uncommon to A-type personalities and mothers: that feeling first thing in the morning of "I have WAY too much to do today. There's no way I'll get everything done."

It's this fear associated with not having the time, finances, resources, or energy I need to do what needs to be done. And it starts my day with a handicap because I feel like I am falling behind before I have even begun.

Falling behind before I've begun

I don't know where I learned it or how I started thinking this way, but ever since high school I can look back and see a pattern of worrying that I was going to fall short that day of what was needed from me. Sometimes that was stressing out about homework, or youth group tasks or the amount of chores I had. But now it looks like trying to keep my home in working order, keeping my husband's shirts wrinkle-free, finishing up this semester, nesting for a baby coming, struggling not to be tired, getting dinner ready, and still finding time to pursue my dreams of blogging and making a few bucks by doing what I love. Not to mention the budgeting. Oh, the budgeting!

Where does this fear come from?

Where does this struggle come from?
Ultimately, it comes from the belief that I am doing things on my own.
It comes from the belief that the Lord is there in my quiet times with Him in the morning, and then He sends me off into my day to figure out the rest on my own.
It comes from the belief that the Lord hasn't already decided what needs to be done today and what doesn't.
It comes from the belief that it's "all on me."
It comes from the belief that I don't have a good heavenly father that has promised to give me everything I need for the day.

Where does it end?

Where does this fear end? By believing that God is who He says He is - a Good Father who gives good things - and that He will do what He says He will do - provide for all of my needs! (Matt. 6:25-33Psalm 34:10Matt. 7:9-11)

"Consider the lilies of the field... even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:28-30

Basically,
if He clothes the pesky weeds in the grumpy neighbor's grass; 
how much more will He clothe His kids?

But this doesn't mean anything if I don't believe who I am to Him - a Beloved daughter who is free from the fear of abandonment (Romans 8:15). 

We can sing "You're a good, good Father," over and over, proclaiming that it's who He is and that we are loved by Him... but until we actually believe that, and we are walking that out with belief, it will change nothing about our daily life.

Becoming confident in my Father's daily bread

When Jesus shows His disciples how to pray, He teaches them to ask, "give us this day our daily bread," (Matthew 6:9-13). In teaching them this, He is telling them that they can trust their heavenly Father to give them what they need for this day, just like He gave the Israelites their literal daily bread in the desert (Exodus 16). There was never a day those Israelites went without manna.

Does this mean I'll be dripping in pearls and endless productivity every day of my life? Nope. It doesn't even mean that some days I will go without, or that our grocery budget might look slim, or that I will end the day without getting something done.

BUT I can be confident that God knows what I need.
I can be confident that, if I am walking in daily obedience and fellowship with His Holy Spirit,
the moment I need energy for what the Lord has called me to do, I will have it.
The moment I need the finances to feed my family, I will have it.
The moment I need more of His grace to get me through a challenging day, I will have it.

He won't give me what I need for tomorrow, nor will I have to rely on yesterday's leftovers (Exodus 16:19-21Matthew 6:34). In fact, He gives me what I need moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour.

Whatever tomorrow brings

My little dude comes in August, and there are many days when I feel like I am falling short of just taking care of myself and my home and my husband. Multiple times Jon has come home to a wife who laments "How will I be a good mother if I can't even get my life together now???"

But the Lord didn't make me a mother by accident. He knew what He was doing, and He still does. And He already has more than enough to give to me when I need it. I am not called to fret about being prepared for tomorrow, or August, or raising a teenage boy in 11+ years (omg how terrifying πŸ˜…)
I am called to be faithful with today and believe that God knows what I need for today. I am not going through today on my own, nor I am I called to. Success is not getting everything on my to-do list checked off, success is daily walking out my days with Him, letting Him dictate my agendas, my goals, my to-do lists, my priorities... And depending on Him more and more, knowing that He is fully aware of my needs and fully prepared to fulfill them.

And the best part is, this isn't a crutch, or an excuse. It frees me up to just spend my days walking in step with Him, following His heart, and seeking Him above anything else. #goals!

What promises are you learning to be more confident in?
Linking up with some awesome parties here!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Keeping Up with the Capra's: Feeling... 24? Birthday and Easter Celebrations!

These two weeks have been two full ones! Especially since my birthday fell on Easter weekend, there were lots of reasons to celebrate:)

Paint!

Jon and I finally picked out some paint for the nursery and the bedroom... only to dislike it once it was on the walls! Which is always disappointing. But hey, we're moving in the right direction! Any recommendations for grays?

Easter Sunday

Our Easter Sunday was different this year! We had Easter dinner in my parents front yard with my mom's extended family, and it was absolutely beautiful. And the weather made it one of the most beautiful Easters I can remember! It was also the first year Jon and I have been invested in our church, which means our Resurrection Sunday celebration was even more exciting.


Birthday Celebration

Funny story, for the whole week leading up to my birthday I thought I was turning 24! Nope, only 23... but I'm not even that old and I'm already getting my age confused πŸ˜‚ #mombrain

Jon took the day off, which was the best. And see the hanging flowers + the planter under my window in our Easter picture? He knew exactly what I wanted for my birthday πŸ˜„
We went to breakfast at a little place called Dock Taylor's on the oceanfront, got Starbucks, saw Beauty & the Beast, had dinner at our fave local sushi place, ate at Rita's for dessert, AND finished the day with a lounge in the hammock and a bike ride with the pup. It was a super full day, and involved so many of my favorite things. My husband is so good to me.

In the kitchen...

Finding things to make for Easter was difficult, but lead me to the oh-so-inspiring place of Pinterest! For our Easter potluck, I made Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing, and it was sooo so yummy. Cool, quinoa salads are great to make the day ahead and chill overnight, because the longer they sit in their dressing, the yummier they get! This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, and vinegar free, and high in protein, but would also be great if you added some feta or a crumbly cheese. 

I also made this Maple Oat Mixed Berry Cobbler. Next time I make it I'm going to double the amount of topping the recipe calls for, but it was such an easy recipe! I used a giant bag of frozen mixed fruits, which was cheaper than buying all the berries separately (I just stuck them in the oven for a few minutes before I put the topping on, to let them thaw out.) This recipe is gluten free, sugar free and vegan! (Sidenote: while it's hot it's a little runnier, but when it's cold/cool it isn't as runny... but just as delicious.)

A couple of days later, I made these Flourless Banana Chocolate Chips Muffins! I wake up SO hungry in the morning that I've been trying to have easy, protein-packed breakfasts that are quick to grab. They are also gluten free, dairy free, and egg free... and if you sub the honey for maple syrup, it would be vegan, too! They were really yummy, and I'm making them again for a brunch tomorrow! (Surprising, because they are made of beans!!!)

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After such a full two weeks, it feels like these next week are going to be so calm! Plus I only have one last exam to do on Thursday... and then I won't be back until next January (when my self-proclaimed "maternity leave" is up!😜). After that exam, I will be free to nest for the rest of the summer, and I am so so excited.
What have you been up to?
Linking up with some awesome parties here!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Currently: Watching, Reading, Wearing... and more!

Letting ya'll have a peek into my life these days currently! And honestly, I need some help with a few of these... Like my inability to commit to a book club πŸ˜…

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hello, Year 23: Oh, how the Lord has been faithful.

Wow, 23. To be honest, I actually thought I was turning 24 for hot second πŸ˜‚ That was a funny moment...

This birthday has been a little weird! Just because this season has been all about enjoying some "lasts" before the baby comes. Our "freedoms" and flexibility as a family of three will be very different! So we've been trying to really appreciate the little things.
Like Sunday naps together, random drives together after work, or eating whenever we want.
Or celebrating birthdays at sushi restaurants that we won't be taking a toddler to πŸ˜‰
(Literally wore my LuLaRoe dress all day for my birthday!

All that to say, I know that a year from now my life is going to look TOTALLY different. In so many good and challenging ways.
So maybe it's the fact that this birthday was a kind of "last," but it's left me very reflective about where Jon and I have been the last year and what God could possibly have in store for us in this next one.

Because even though this birthday is a "last," it is also one step closer to living out a lifelong dream of being a mother. I had no idea how many good and adventurous things God had in store for my 22nd year; why would my 23rd be any different?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Modest Budget + Lularoe Giveaway for My 23rd Birthday!

Hello, hello, hellooooo! Do I have something super fun for ya'll today!

First things first, it's my birthday! Woot. Birthdays tend to get less and less fun every year because that's just what growing up is... SO. To ramp things up a bit and celebrate, Megan and Cathryn from LuLaRoe Thomson Girls Boutique and I are teaming up for a LuLaRoe GIVEAWAY!
I got really excited when Megan and Cathryn contacted me because I have been craving a pair of LuLaRoe leggings ever since I had heard them called "butter leggings." Not kidding. Butter leggings.
But the thrifty girl in me always has trouble with online shopping! Megan and Cathryn were so sweet, though, and made everything so easy on me. And now I just might be addictedπŸ˜‰

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

God's Plans are For You... But Not About You

We all have had moments where we want to look at God and say, "Seriously? Where did that come from?"

Whether it's something big and tragic, or just getting stuck behind that lady that wants to drive 25 in a 45, our life is full of moments where we can doubt God's Romans 8:28 promise that "in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose," (ESV).

Sometimes what He's doing just doesn't feel good. And sometimes that silver lining just isn't there.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Keeping Up with the Capra's: Spring Things

These last two weeks have been full ones! Not only were we able to get out of town for a day, but spring just seems to make everyday life just a little bit nicer (minus the pollen! 😝)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Modest Budget: Learning to Love my Pregnant Body

Hi friends!
Can you believe that 3/5 of this outfit was clearanced, thrifted, or free??
Honestly, it doesn't mean I'm not discouraged about this growing girth of mine sometimes, but a couple of cute products always brings a little boost to the self-confidence levels.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Modest Budget: Pregnancy Meets My Fave Jeans

Hello, sweet readers!
This week has been a full one already. Monday was spent catching up the house after the weekend (like it always is) and cramming for an exam that I had on Tuesday. So here's Wednesday, and the first half of the week has flown by, leaving my fridge empty and my energy already a tad drained.
 
Shirt: Target (similarsimilar) // Jacket: Forever 21 (hand-me-down) (similar) // 
Jeans: Thrifted // Shoes: Target // Bag: Sole Society (hand-me-down)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Keeping Up with the Capra's: All things BABY!

Hey friends!

I feel like the last two weeks have been PACKED. The first week was spring break for me, and the second was full of Gender Reveal party preparation! (Not to mention cleaning my entire house!)

And while these posts are all about our family life updates, I realize that all I have to talk about this time has to do with pregnancy, babies or maternity! 😳 Lol. Sorry! It's all I seem to be able to talk about these days πŸ˜‚

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Gender Reveal (and the party!)

This last Friday was a day I have been looking forward to for an entire month. It was the day we would finally find out if August would bring us a little dude or a little dudette!
Where do I head first? Pinterest, of course. Gender reveal parties are so super trendy right now, so I had no problem getting some party inspo. Jon and I struck a compromise between the super casual cookout that he wanted and the cutesy baby feel that I wanted.

We weren't sure if we were going to find out the sex of the baby at first, but decided to find out for a few reasons.
1) I'm a planner, and not finding out sounded a little stressful (lol at being a new parent and second-guessing every decision ever)
2) It would be a great opportunity to invite people to be a part of this baby's life before it was even born! While you can totally do this without knowing what "it" is, we have just recently tapped into a new and awesome community in our church, and we were/are super excited to involve them in our lives in new ways.
3) We wanted an excuse to celebrate this pregnancy, and already surround this little kiddo with celebration!

So, with that, we planned our reveal party!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Modest Budget: Is Target the BEST Shop for Maternity Clothes?

Welcome back to The Modest Budget! This second trimester, I honestly have NOT felt like looking cute or posing for pictures... Finding things to wear in the first and second trimester has been really hard! I'm not big enough for a lot of maternity clothes, but almost all of my every day clothes are too small. And don't get me started about how uncomfortable jeans are right now!

SO. I have been slowly trying to transition my closet into flowy clothes/maternity clothes. And where was the first place I went? Target! (no duh!)
But I'm finding that Target has YAYS and NAYS when it comes to maternity clothes, particularly with their limited in-store selection.

First Trimester Shopping Trip (transitioning to maternity clothes)

For my first trimester, I was just trying to find some tops and flowy clothes that would not cling to my growing stomach. At this point, most of my pants still fit, as long as I rubber banded them closed or wore a BeBand (which is TOTALLY worth the $19! I highly recommend one!).
(Ignore my weird face πŸ˜‚)
Didn't buy: I really liked this shirt because it was really flowy and went down over the butt (which is nice for tighter pants and leggings) but it was a tad bit transparent. I try to avoid shirts that I need to wear tanks with, especially now that I know I'll be the most pregnant during the hottest months of the year.
Find the striped T here.
Did buy: So I got the black one instead of the white one. It has been such a great basic black T that can be dressed up or dressed down!

Didn't buy: This was a shirt that I didn't end up buying bc it was December and I didn't think it was super practical to buy a tank. But the fit was perfect for first trimester, and would have been great with some layers. The design on the front was so pretty, too!
Find this tank here.
Didn't buy: This is a top that I very much regret walking away from. This was not a maternity shirt either, but it was still super flowy and SO comfy! The little detail on the back was cool, and I needed more long-sleeve shirts than I thought I did. If I found this one again, I would definitely be taking it home.
Find this long-sleeve shirt here.
 Did buy: This was another great investment piece. Not only could it be layered (like I tried below) but it is really light, light enough for the spring time. My belly still has not outgrown it and it hasn't gotten too short in the front. Really excited to keep getting some wear out of these stripes!
Find a similar T here (and a $5 clearance T here!)
 Didn't buy: Again, I kind of regret this one, because I didn't think about the fact that a bunch of my cardigans have gotten worn out. I didn't get it because it didn't have any closure on the front, and I tend to get irritated with things I have to fuss with throughout the day, but I'm realizing now that those are great layers for growing bellies.
Find a similar clearance jacket here
Did buy: You may recognize this one from our baby reveal pictures! This has probably been one of my favorite early-pregnancy purchases, both because it is flowy and because this cut is pretty "in." The down side to it is that is a little shorter than I realized, which means I might out-grow it before summer truly comes, but I've already worn it a bunch.
Find this dress here and a maxi version here.

Second Trimester Shopping Trip (full-swing maternity)

I didn't document this shopping trip as well as the first, but this trip was to find some jeans and a few more shirts that fit my growing tummy. I was DESPERATE for jeans! But I had zero luck. I'll talk about that below.
 Didn't buy: This was a good top, but it felt too tight on my arms (and it was clearance, so no additional sizes). And, again, I'm trying to only get long-sleeve/winter items that are 100% perfect because I know most of my pregnancy will be in the summer. Not sure if you can tell, but this shirt also covers the bum, which is great for leggings.
Find this shirt (on clearance!) here
 Did buy: Ok, I think this is the best thing I've found from Target. This T is perfect!!! My favorite tops are v-necks, but they're hard to find at a modest v-length. But this one I can wear with out a tank underneath!! #winning. I bought the green color, but they had a bunch others not in my size. I'm going to keep looking for them, or order some more colors online (esp. the navy and the white, and possibly the black).
Find this great shirt here.
Didn't buy: Do you see those awkward-looking jeans that I'm wearing?? Ugh, horrendous. I think I tried on every pair of jeans/pants in their store, and all of them have a weird crotch area. I've run into this problem with every single pair of Target pants that I have tried on, bought, or been given. Pay attention to that if you shop at Target, because it really isn't cute.
Did buy: This dress was on clearance for $8! Woot! A pregnant friend of mine actually sent me the link to this one on clearance online, but it was $11. So I feel like I totally lucked out! It's still a little big in the belly area (hence, why I am totally pushing my stomach out to see what it will look like when it fits! πŸ˜‚) but it is super lightweight and awesome for summertime. Really excited to possibly dress it up for an outdoor wedding.
Find a similar dress here.

Is Target the Best?

While Target has been my go-to for clothes for a long time, I have been super duper disappointed with their pregnancy selection. (Not that I'm mad, they are still killing it in other areas!)
They are great for the in-between stages, or when you aren't yet in full-fledged maternity clothes. But when it comes to investment pieces, like jeans, some dresses, and undergarments, Target is a little bit of a disappointed. 
So, if you're in your first trimester and looking for some clothes to hold you over, I would totally send you to Target. But for other maternity stages, I am still looking for somewhere budget-friendly to shop for some investment maternity pieces.

Have you had any luck with maternity clothes at Target?
P.S. How are you rocking your bump?? I want to see those preggo outfits! Tag me at #TheModestBudget!

Also linking up with some awesome parties here!

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