Ok, so I’m obsessed. I recently took a trip to Omar’s Exotic Birds (a specialty pet store that sells birds— who would’ve guessed?). It was just for fun, but has now turned into something more. My husband and I really enjoy visiting the store occasionally, because all of the birds are out of their cages on perches and you can pick them up. Most of them are pretty friendly, and being the animal lover that I am, I think it’s pretty awesome to walk around with a parrot on your shoulder.

So we went to the store just for a casual visit, and that was when it hit me; my husband and I are living in our own place for the first time, and there are no rules about pets besides cats and dogs where we live. And so, technically speaking… nothing is stopping us from getting a new feathery friend. Once that thought crossed my mind, it set up camp and refused to leave. I had decided; we were getting a bird.

As of yet, we have not acted on this impulse. First, I needed to do some research. I went through plenty of information on the internet about different species and care requirements, did some test driving in Omar’s, worked out a budget, and came to a conclusion. A big parrot is too advanced for beginners in bird care like us, so that was out of the picture (not to mention that most of them cost upwards of $1,000. And I mean way upwards). But at the other end of the spectrum, finches aren’t quite what we had in mind either. We want a bird that is affectionate, intelligent, and easy to handle. After a long struggle between a parrotlet, a lovebird, a cockatiel, or a budgie (otherwise known as a parakeet), we finally landed on the lovely “middle ground” parrot, the cockatiel.

And once we decided that, we had to decide on where to buy it and when. More importantly, we had to decide on a name! Eventually, we settled on Rocky for a boy or Lilo for a girl. We’ve also decided that we’ll be going back up to Omar’s to check out the prospects next weekend.

Now, I realize that I’ve been rambling on for several extra-long paragraphs about our plans to buy a new pet. You may be questioning your decision to read this blog post right about now, but before you close the window, let me at least make my point; I’m obsessed.

I am most definitely obsessed with this plan I’ve just hatched (get it— hatched?). I’ve googled cockatiel related things way too many times over the past day and a half, and I even begged my husband to take me back to Omar’s today, just to play with the (already sold) cockatiels there. It’s definitely been one of the most popular thoughts on my mind of late, and I can certainly admit that it’s an obsession at this point. But the thing about that is… well, maybe it’s ok to be a little obsessed.

Obsessions aren’t always a bad thing. Yes, of course they are bad if they’re related to unhealthy habits or dangerous plans, and they definitely aren’t good if they get in the way of you living your life. But a little obsession every once in a while? Especially one that brings a little fun and joy into your life? That may not be the worst thing in the world.

Take my case, for example. My obsession with getting a pet bird would be a bad thing if I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or showering because of it. It would be bad if I was being reckless and deciding to buy a $10,000 macaw (which can live for over 100 years) without the proper budgeting or forethought about the future. It would even be bad if I was being impulsive and decided to buy a bird on the spot simply because it was cute and I thought it would be fun to have. But that’s not what I’m doing; I found something I like, researched all about it, carefully considered whether it was a good idea, checked to see if it was in our budget, and of course consulted with my husband throughout the process. And yes, I’ve been excited about the idea all the while, and it has given me something to look forward to.

Minor obsessions like this may seem silly, but I think they actually serve a purpose. At least for me, they are usually manifestations of mini hopes and dreams that I have for my life. Bringing a pet into my life could certainly bring me some joy and satisfaction, and even if it’s a little goofy to be so excited about it, who cares? I love pets, and as long as I’m responsible with them, then who could it hurt?

Sometimes, doing little fun things in life or making changes can go a long way in sustaining joy. And it’s not about searching for joy in places other than God, either; it’s about enjoying things that God created, enabled, or otherwise blessed you with, and thanking Him for that! As long as I know that Tweety will not be the one thing that makes my life perfect, then I say it’s harmless. God made the little joys in life, after all, and I’m pretty sure that he wants to see us to enjoy them.

So go ahead, start a new hobby and become minorly obsessed with it! Decorate your bedroom with a theme you love or posters of your favorite singer. Plan out your dream wedding, even if you don’t necessarily have the groom yet. And for goodness sake, go out and buy yourself a hamster, if that’s what you really want! (Just make sure you’re committed to taking care of it first.) After all, everyone could use a little obsession every once in a while.

Most of all, though, I’d encourage you to discover (or rediscover) the best obsession in the universe— an obsession with Jesus! (You know I had to throw that in there. =D)


P.S. Don’t forget to check back in next week! I just may have pictures of little Rocky or Lilo by then! =]


Well, if I wasn’t sure what it felt like to be an “adult” before, I think I’m a lot closer now. I’m working as a nanny/babysitter very close to full time (plus taking an online class), I commute to work almost every day, and I live with my husband in our own place. We have bills for goodness sake! Oh yes, I think that I can definitely say that I’m practically all grown up.

But maybe being a grownup isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

After all, now that I’ve reached this oh-so-elite position in life, I seem to find myself with a lot more responsibility on my plate and a lot less time to handle it all. Now working isn’t just about making money for gas and date nights, it’s about survival! If we don’t pay our bills, we will have serious consequences to face. And working enough to make ends meet here in Orange County, California is not exactly the easiest task, especially when your job only pays $10 an hour.

Not only has making money become more important, but now we also have more responsibility to take care of ourselves. We are the ones who decide what to buy at the grocery store, what to cook for dinner, and when to go to the gym. And even though we technically already did this when we lived with my parents, it seems to have so much more gravity now that we are officially on our own. Those little nagging reminders can’t motivate us anymore!

The sharing of housekeeping responsibilities has changed for us, too. In our apartment, there’s only so much space and the two of us. There is no excuse for leaving messes or not doing the chores—when there are only two people in a home, you can’t exactly shift the responsibility for cleaning to somebody else. You either do it, or the house is dirty. That can cause a lot of conflict, if you don’t communicate well!

And so, between the many things that fill our lives such as taking care of ourselves health-wise, keeping our apartment clean, attempting to maintain our social lives, doing church activities, and most of all working, it can certainly be difficult to maintain our bounce in life, let alone in our marriage. The bottom line is that life is draining, and sometimes it seems like we’re doing all of this stuff just to turn around and do more! When do we get to just stop and enjoy it?

The answer is… never. Well ok, that’s actually just the answer to the first part. We never get to stop, not really, at least not until the apocalypse. But even though that part’s kind of a drag, the good news is that we can still enjoy life (and marriage!) even through the work.

I think there are a few major necessities to achieve this. The first is to remain focused on God. Technically, I should say that the first requirement is to know God. Getting to know and focusing on God really puts life into perspective and fills you with a joy like no other; it also gives you a purpose, which is the next key ingredient.

Purpose is key to enjoying work in life. People want to know that what they are doing has meaning and is worthwhile. Having a purpose in life gives you motivation to get through the harder times and lets you feel fully fulfilled in the great times. And of course, you know that I’m going to tell you that the only way to find your true purpose in life is through God. He made you, after all, and He did that for a reason. Dare to find out what it is!

Passion is also a vitally important part of enjoying your work. If you love what you do, then you’re going to love doing it! Even though that probably should go without saying, I think many people need a reminder. It’s simple; if your job involves something you are passionate about, then working won’t be nearly as taxing. And God has the perfect job for you in mind, the job that you will love to do and that will make an eternal difference for Him in the world.

For me, the most vital ingredient for enjoying life besides Jesus is simply having fun! Everybody needs time to wind down and relax. Watching my favorite tv shows with my husband in the evening is one of the highlights of my day. I also enjoy cooking, playing with my pets, reading, writing (of course!) and listening to music. Using free moments to do things like this throughout my day makes working a lot easier, because it breaks up the monotony. Even if it’s just taking a 15 minute break to read my latest favorite book or listening to my ipod while I work out, those little things really do help.

All of these key ingredients also apply to enjoying marriage to its fullest! Focusing on God and your spiritual health as a couple puts your life in perspective and strengthens your relationship in amazing ways. Remembering the purpose of marriage motivates you to be the kind of spouse that God wants you to be—and doing that is incredibly fulfilling. Needless to say, passion in marriage is obviously important. Keeping the romance alive can go a very very long way to putting a skip in your step. So make the effort! Last, never forget to have fun together. Do something adventurous, be goofy, laugh and make jokes, and remember that you aren’t just husband and wife, you’re friends too!

Life is work, and that’s just the way it is. It’s part of the price that we humans had to pay when we decided to break God’s law, part of the consequences for failing to live up to His perfect standards. But just like Jesus provided a way for us to be redeemed for our imperfections, God also provides a way for us to enjoy our lives each day. The same goes for marriage. A good marriage is a lot of work, no doubt. But just like life, a good marriage is full of joy just waiting for you to find it.


Well, it’s official! Cory and I are moved into our new apartment. Yes, I know that just a week ago we were still contemplating our options. But I personally believe that when God has something in mind for you, He can make it happen pretty quickly. And for us, that’s exactly what went down.

Last Sunday, we started looking around at apartments just out of curiosity. We put a budget together beforehand and we knew what we could afford as far as rent, utilities, and move-in costs, so we had an idea of what we were looking for. With that, off we went to check out our options. The second apartment complex that we looked at had us hooked. The best part was, they said we could move in on Friday!

Now, after a very long week of waiting and preparing, we are officially here. The move in was quite an adventure, considering that we are on the third floor. We had to move not only our stuff (we have a lot more than we realized!) but also a couch, table, bed, and the rest of our furniture, which we also had to pick up from various stores at different days and times throughout the weekend. It was the most exhausting three days I think I’ve ever had, and we aren’t even done unpacking yet! But we are having so much fun setting up our new home together, and it is totally worth all of the effort.

But anyway, I just wanted to write a quick update for my readers about what’s been going on this week. Now, I’ve got more unpacking to do!

Thanks for reading. =]


For the past two weeks or so, my husband and I have been contemplating getting a place of our own. For those of my readers who don’t know, we currently live with my parents. We decided that we would really like our own space, and when we realized that we can make it work financially, we started getting excited. We’ve bounced around quite a bit from idea to idea, considering everything from renting an apartment, to buying a condo, to buying a mobile home. Finally, we’ve come up with a plan.

It’s been a complicated process to figure out what we’d like to do for many reasons. First of all, we are going to Spain for my husband’s study abroad in seven months, and we’ll be there for three months. As fun as it sounds, I have to admit that it is pretty darn inconvenient. My babysitting clients will have to replace me, and who knows if I’ll be able to get those jobs back when I return. I’ll have to leave my family and my beloved pets for the longest period of time I’ve ever been away from them. And if we tried to buy a house now, by the time it actually happened we would probably only have four months or less to live there before we’d have to move out and find a renter to cover it for us for the three months that we’re in Spain. Obviously, it’s not the optimal time for us to buy a house at the moment.

Our second issue is that we own a pit bull. My dog Marley, who is one of the most harmless, sweet dogs I’ve ever known, is unfortunately banned in every apartment from here to the moon. Because of that, renting an apartment long-term isn’t an option for us. I love my dog, and I don’t want to live without him.

The third complication that we encountered was the lack of availability in condos for rent, not to mention the outrageously inflated prices. We looked at renting condos as a solution to our “dog problem,” since most condos for rent don’t have the same restrictions that apartment complexes do. But we soon realized that we could actually pay less for a mortgage than we’d be paying for rent! On top of that, I was getting nowhere in my search because of the apparently limited availability of rentals at the moment.

And so, at long last, we settled on the idea of buying. At first, we searched for condos for sale (instead of houses) in an effort to save money. That was when we had to deal with another complication— the issue of the future. Most condos for sale in our price range had one bedroom, and due to the fact that we are planning on having at least one of our kids in any house that we buy right now, it’s going to need at least two. Add that to the lack of connection we felt with any of the condos we saw, and we were at yet another dead end.

That was when we started looking at mobile homes. We were happily surprised to see that many mobile homes in our area are actually quite nice, not to mention cheap and many-bedroomed! We eagerly started searching through the options. After eliminating the “bad” neighborhoods from the search and looking through tons of photos, we had a list of four houses that we were interested in. However, when we started talking to my husband’s parents about the idea, they were concerned by the fact that “space rent” for the mobile homes costs more than the actual mortgage payments would. Cory and I were okay with that, since the mortgage payments would be so low, but his parents pointed out that it might be a better idea to buy a more expensive house and have a higher mortgage payment than to waste so much money on “rent.” And so, we’ve landed (hopefully once and for all) at buying a house.

That, of course, brought us back to the Spain problem. We don’t want to buy a house until after Spain, but we aren’t going for another seven months. It’s an amount of time that seems to be just long enough to be worth moving out, but not long enough to be worth buying a house yet. So, we realized that we have two options. We can either stay at my parents’ house for another seven months, or we can rent an apartment on a six month lease and be temporarily without Marley. We haven’t yet decided which option we are going to opt for, but we are leaning towards the apartment.

Now, you may be wondering why I’ve gone on and on about the complex details of our housing search. Part of it is to illustrate just how complex of a decision this is. Given our income level and our financial position, any decision we make as far as housing turns into a careful and fragile balancing act. This is a common struggle for new, young, married couples, or so I’ve heard. I also wanted to share all of this to make another point; my husband and I have no idea what we’re doing, really.

We don’t have a perfect plan. We didn’t know a few weeks ago that we’d be considering buying a house within the next year, and we don’t know if that plan will change in the months to come. All I know is that I started praying for God to make us a way to get our own place, and shortly after, financial opportunities cropped up for us. And throughout this whole process, we have been careful not to force anything. God has a home picked out for us, and when we find it, everything else will fall into place. It’s that trust in Him that has kept us patiently searching, reworking, and reconsidering all of our options. It’s trust in Him that allows us to be at peace with whatever situation He calls us to be in; whether that means continuing to live with my parents for the next seven months, living without Marley temporarily, or anything else. We know that we are going to be where He wants us to be, and we willfully leave the control over that in His capable hands.

My husband and I are very excited and hopeful about our new plans to buy a house later this year. We have lots of fun visualizing what our lives will be like in a new place, and we honestly are very eager to make our own home together as a family. But overall, the most important things to us are that we do it all on God’s agenda and that we’re together. That’s what a marriage is, after all, isn’t it? Togetherness under God? Well I certainly think so, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.