12.22.2010

a matter of the heart.

Happiness is not determined by what one has or lacks. Genuine happiness is developed in the heart and radiates from within. I have come to realize that unhappiness is then an issue of one's heart. If I choose to harbor anger or frustrations in my heart, that anger will eventually overflow onto those around me, instead of showing them the love of Christ. The gospel of Luke states that, "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of the evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45 ESV)

Simply choosing to cultivate a joyful and contented heart obviously won't fix the problem overnight. It must be a daily choice in which I deny my own selfish whims and fears and allow Christ to live within me. This Christmas season, my prayer is that Christ will continue to teach me to store good treasures in my heart, and not evil ones. There are many situations that arise in my life that I have no control over, but I resolve to dwell only on the good things, giving the things I cannot change to God and trusting that He will work them out for good. 

I hope that you also will choose to allow God to fill your heart with joy and peace and contentment this holiday season, as we reflect on the wonderful gift of His son.


"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
-1John 1:9 ESV

~Bethany S.

12.09.2010

my latest bargain.

Here are a few snapshots of my new bookcase...


In case you missed the previous post, I discovered this little gem at New to You, a thrift store in Old Town Clovis, for just $15. 


I can't wait to fill it with all sorts of lovely books. :)

-Bethany

12.08.2010

Wednesday..

This weekend, I found some rubber stamps at a vintage shop in Old Town Clovis. They reminded me of how much I enjoy being creative so I bought them. This brings us to today...

I decided to check out Michael's stamp section to pick up some ink since I've been dying to test my new stamps. I quickly became sidetracked by the large stamp selection, my mind wheels spinning at all the amazing craft possibilities if I owned just a few more. The 40% off sign only reenforced that. After much deliberation, I selected a set of alphabet stamps, a "handmade by: (fill in your name)" stamp, and a chocolate brown ink pad which claimed to cost just $1.99. Well the stamps rang up at full price and the ink pad rang up at $3.99. Great. So now I'm holding up the line asking why nothing is ringing up properly. The cashier acts like I'm crazy but finally sends someone to do a price check. She claims though, that the add only applies to Christmas stamps. No, pretty sure the 40% sign didn't specify but I nod politely and wait patiently to be proven right, which I was. The price checker returned with the 40% off sign that the cashier tried to make me believe I had only imagined. So she was forced to give me the stamps at a discounted price. However, after much more foot-dragging, the price checker couldn't find the $1.99 ink pads. She claimed that only the black ones were that price and my "gold" one was more expensive. I actually had chocolate brown ink. And unless I'm completely insane, each ink pad was in a separate basket with the price labeled directly on that basket. She didn't even bother to bring me the cheaper ink, which I would have gladly taken. Frustrated, I simply purchased the stamps and left. The price checker and cashier didn't even offer any sort of apology for putting me through all that trouble. Needless to say, I am no longer a friend of Michael's. And, I still have no ink for my stamps, which was the whole reason for shopping there.

On a brighter note, I found a bookcase today at a thrift store for a mere $15. It's made of real wood, not particle board, and it's a lovely espresso color. I had to carry it out of the store by myself and drive really slowly the 3 or 4 blocks back to the apartment so it wouldn't slide around in the back of my car but it was worth it. Now I am waiting for Nick to get off work and see my latest amazing deal. 

<3 Bethany.

12.01.2010

amazement is...





"...If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them."
-Psalm  40:5


11.08.2010

officially anti-balloon.

Yesterday was our first Sunday teaching the 2nd & 3rd grade kid's connection class at The Well. It actually went really good. Nick felt nervous at first but the kids loved him. We spent some time coloring and talking with all of them for the first few minutes and then the kindergarten/1st grade class joined us for worship and the video lesson. Everyone enjoyed both. We also had an awesome group discussion with our kids about this months value: Uniqueness. All the kids participated and grasped the concept, because even later when I would ask one of them what the value was, they were able to rattle it off and give me a definition of it too. I was pretty proud of them. But we also learned that our kids have tons of pent up energy that if tempted, will cause them to go absolutely nuts. First of all, the class ran twenty minutes late because of the communion being served in the adult service. It really would have been no big deal except that one of the kids got bored and found some balloons. Harmless? I think not...

That was probably the worst idea ever. Immediately every kid wanted a balloon and soon they were racing around the room screaming and stealing each other's balloons. It got better too. One kid blew up his balloon until it was huuuuge, and then he inhaled back all the carbon dioxide into his mouth. Then he stumbled up to me to inform me that he felt really dizzy. Go figure. I had to crush that idea really fast by knotting his balloon shut. Another kid thought it would be a great idea to blow up the balloon and then let it go so that it shot around the room and smacked Nick right in the forehead. Sadly we had to stop that idea too. The kids thought it was hilarious but Nick seemed a bit stunned. Thankful, everyone enjoyed themselves and no harm was done.

Finally the balloons began to pop and everyone calmed down and we convinced them to play some calmer games just in time. Parents arrived to pick up their excited but much calmer children. And, I made sure to send each child home with a lesson reminder card like the awesome teacher that I am. At least we let them expend a lot of energy, right? I'd like to think that those children went straight home to a long nap and happy parents.

Needless to say, balloons have been banned from our classroom. Forever.

Even so, we learned some valuable lessons for the future. If the service happens to run a little late, from now on we will be playing heads up seven up or the quiet game. :) Just kidding. But seriously, who invented balloons? And, who left them in our classroom in plain sight??

This minor ballon blip actually turned out to be extremely enlightening and entertaining so for that I am grateful. The wheels in my mind have been turning with activity ideas to keep the class occupied and focused in the future, with more fun but less chaos.

Stay tuned.

~Bethany.

10.20.2010

roadtrip recap.

Last week Nicholas & I, along with Mom, Dad, Toya & Reuben, visited our family in Texas and Oklahoma. We got to hang out with my sisters and their families. From my nephew Cruz's 2nd birthday party, to The Alamo, to shopping at the fabulous La Cantera, to Dad getting crazy betting on some horse races, we had a blast. I thought I'd illustrate our joyous visit with a few snapshots. Enjoy!


~Bethany.


Our beautiful family. (minus one)

Cruz loved the racehorses (:

We told him not to let go but apparently the electric shock was too much for him to handle. 

Lunch at SaltGrass Steakhouse. yummm.

Lucas & Nessa.

The colors of the Riverwalk.

Ness & Toya.


Nick found a Buffalo in Oklahoma.



10.04.2010

words.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.   -James 3:7-12 ESV


I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I remember hearing the silly rhyme as a child that claimed "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," and not fully understanding how it could possibly be true. 

When I was about six years old, I observed that a certain individual had discolored teeth. So I pointed it out, not to be mean, but just as a six-year old observation. His expression was anything but pleased and my mom quickly pulled me aside saying that my words weren't polite or nice. But they were just words. It's not like I punched him in the face.

I also remember hearing adults express shock at realizing that I am one of six siblings. They would say things like, "Six kids!" or "What were your parents thinking?" and other such lovely and kind things. Words aren't supposed to hurt me though, right?  I would pretend to not hear them, or I would just try to make a joke out of it. Yet, these rude and thoughtless remarks always left me feeling like perhaps my family was strange or weird. 

These are just some simple example of thoughtless words people say without realizing the impact they have. I didn't even get into the awful things people call each other or the harsh words they spew when angry. Words that once spoken can't ever be retracted and might not ever fully be forgotten. 

I think it's safe to say that our words are powerful weapons. I can think of so many instances in my own life when I spoke our in anger and really hurt someone's feelings. Of course I later apologized, but the damage was already done. The Bible never fails to humble me and show me that despite all that I have learned or changed in my life, there is still so much more for me to learn. And I need to remember this every day. 

"And He said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'" 
-Luke 9:23 ESV


 This week I choose to thinking before I speak, and focus on controlling my words. I hope you will too.

~Bethany.

10.02.2010

lazy saturday.

Hello October (: 
So far, I am not loving the weather you've opened with but crossing my fingers for better days. It has been so humid and hot lately despite the fact that it is now officially autumn. Hmm. 

Well, Nick purchased my "Christmas Gift" today and I can already say with confidence that I will not be waiting until Christmas to open and utilize the gift. It is a pair of chocolate brown suede boots that I have been wanting for several winters to replace the really worn out pair that I already owned. Yay! I can't wait for cooler fall weather so I can show off my fabulous new foot wear. 

Today was mostly a lazy day. It seems like every weekend there is some baby shower or wedding or party or family function that we must attend. To be honest, it adds up to exhaustion. Not that I don't enjoy spending time with friends and family, because I do. But every now and then, we need a lazy day to wake up late and watch saturday morning cartoons while eating cereal. Which is exactly what Nicholas and I did this morning (: It was blissfully fulfilling.

We should be resting up because at this time next week, we will be in San Antonio, Tex. with the rest of my siblings and parents for my nephew Cruz's 2nd birthday party. I am looking forward to the mini vacation. The weather over there promises to be in the 80s so I am stoked. Also, since I haven't seen either of my two older sisters since my wedding six months ago, it will be nice to catch up with them in person. Phone calls just aren't the same as face to face conversations. 

Anyway, Nicholas just scored a touchdown on his NCAA 2010 game so I am going to stop typing and cheer for him. Nothing too enlightening this week but thanks for reading anyway (: Happy October!

~Bethany.




9.23.2010

learning lessons.

I learned something this week about friends. I learned that I expect people to treat me with the same loyalty, support and respect that I show them. But I've come to realize that my perception of what friendship ought to be is entirely different than reality. Some people are simply unreliable, not out of spite or cruelty but simply because they place their own needs first. On that same note, though, some friendships last simply because the friends choose to make time for each other. And regardless of my own circumstances, these are the friendships I will choose to cultivate in my own life.  



    "A friend loves at ALL times, and a [sister] is born to help in a time of need."
                                                                                                                                    -Prov. 17:17 

9.07.2010

thoughts for Tuesday...

Well, after a long break, I have rejoined the blogging world. In my defense, I was deathly ill. Well not exactly but seasonal allergies really are no joking matter. 

The last week felt extremely long, probably due partly to the fact that I felt unwell and also partly because of dove hunting season which caused us to be in Madera much longer than can really be healthy. :) 

Either way, I am home now and ransacking my brain for blog ideas. So far though, any good ideas have yet to surface. I had all these brilliant epiphanies of how true happiness comes from within oneself and people with too much time on their hands resort to gossip as a pastime, which is ridiculously annoying. But then I decided that I am not Dr. Phil and really have no desire for comments to surface with the dreaded, "are you talking about me in this blog????" thread. 

So instead of getting into all of that, I will just reflect on myself and say that despite many recent frustrating and extremely trying instances, I have learned that the only thing I can control is my own attitude and my reaction, and the only way I obtain this sort of strength is through much prayer. Choosing anger or resentment only proves that my antagonizer has the power to bring destroy my happiness. The real strength comes through choosing to completely ignore negativity and completely ban it from my attitude. 

At The Well this Sunday, Brad talked about how every action in our lives can be an act of worship to God, not just the songs we sing in church on Sunday, but our lives and our actions and the way that we honor God in every aspect of life. I really believe that. Even in the way that I relate with people, regardless of whether we have anything in common or not, the way I treat them reflects what is in my heart. And if my actions show even a fraction of the love of the God I claim to follow, then they surely bring honor to Him and not me, and that denying of self to reflect Christ is worship. 

And that is what I have been thinking about lately, and working on in my own life. 


<3 Bethany.


And He said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
                                                                                                                                                                                         -Luke 9:23

8.21.2010

a peek into my mind.

So it's 9:30 on a Saturday morning and for some reason I am wide awake. I want to go running but Nick won't wake up and go with me. He just keeps rolling over and mumbling strange things that don't really sound like English. Hmmm...

So I need to decide. Do I go running alone? Or wait for him to wake up, which could take a while.

I'm probably just going to wait...

Well, on that note, this has felt like a long week. I worked all week long and had to resort to some yoga stretches to help with my sore limbs. It actually helped though. I think I will be using yoga more often.

Tuesday, I visited with my cousins Jalisa and Isaac, and Jalisa's three month old daughter. She is huge! Well for being three months. But she is also cute and silly like most babies. She was so happy for a while until she decided to be grumpy and then we had to make her take a nap. The visit was quite fun though. I had not seen those two in at least five months so it was really nice to catch up. And it was my first meeting with baby Jocelyn.

I also shopped for my birthday gift on Wednesday. I spent nearly an hour and a half trying on jeans. I think the fitting room lady was sick of me because I kept coming in with five pairs and then I would leave four of them and keep one. Then I would change my mind and find five more pairs of jeans and start the process over. I think I did this at least three or four times. I finally settled on a super cute a extremely comfortable pair of Hudson jeans, which I love! Plus they were very on sale which was also a plus. But then I spent the rest of the day, as well as the next day, trying to decide if I should keep them or return them. In the end, Nick made the decision to keep them and I agreed.

Purchasing premium denim really is a huge deal though. There are so many factors that influence my choice: fit, quality, price, versatility, price, color, price, etc. They can't be too light of a color because then I won't actually ever where them. Also, if they don't fit my aura, I won't wear them either. And it is imperative that they fit properly because if they are even a little snug, after wearing them for any length of time, I will feel like they are killing me and have to unbutton them and then I just look pregnant which isn't good either. Also, I can't rationalize spending over $100 on a pair of jeans. On the other hand though, if I find a pair that were originally priced at $150 and have been marked down to $70, I still need to go through the process of determining whether this is a deal or not. Because as a general rule of thumb, I can find a super cute pair of jeans for under $20 any day of the week. So do I want to spend more than three times that amount on just one pair simply because they have a stupid seven on the pocket? Not necessarily. Do you see my dilemma? Needless to say, fitting room attendants and sales personnel cringe when I appear.

My Hudson jeans though, I rationalized because I used birthday money which really wasn't mine at all. Also, Hudson jeans are manufactured in the good ol' USA. Therefore, I am actually stimulating our  economy with my purchase. And I just feel like I'm getting better quality; this particular point is debatable but I'm just going to think it anyway and be happy with my beautiful new pair of jeans.

Well, that turned very long very fast so I will close now and try for the umpteenth time to wake my husband and convince him to go running. Have a great weekend!

<3 Bethany.

8.10.2010

T.J. Maxx smiled upon me..

Nicholas & I found this bench Friday evening while browsing through T.J. Maxx in Clovis. Although originally priced at $199, it was earth-shatteringly marked down to just $38. What a steal! (: So I was forced to make Nick carry it to the cash register amid gasps from fellow shoppers noticing our amazing deal. Feast your eyes on our latest pride and joy....  (:

8.04.2010

Domestication is bliss, i think. (:

August snuck up on me this year.

So did the length of my hair. I looked in the mirror today and noticed that it actually has grown quite a bit. I think perhaps the summer heat and my new relaxed attitude since graduating factor into this.

I'm starting to feel like a housewife. Well, aside from working extra hours at Spag. This morning I ate yogurt and cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast. I don't even like raisins, but it was strangely satisfying.

I'm also realizing that caffeine hides in way more than soda and energy drinks. I made Nick buy this awesome looking fruit juice from the grocery section in Target only to find out when I pulled it out of the fridge that it has "natural caffeine" from coffee beans. Gah! Bloody caffeine leave me alone. So I had to resort to something of my own creation which turned out to be peppermint ice tea with blueberries sans caffeine. Ah..lovely. (:

My birthday is in ten days. I heard on KLOVE yesterday that a recent survey showed that the age women feel most beautiful is something like 31. So basically, I should be getting more beautiful with age, right? So I'm welcoming this birthday (and many more, Lord willing) with open arms. I only hope that the majority of the women taking that survey were 31.

Love,

Bethany.

Adventures...

Friday we did indeed visit Chinatown. Despite a few wrong turns, paying for overpriced valet parking, and getting lost in the airport, the day turned out quite fabulously. I got some amazing paper lanterns and Reuben bought a knife. What a surprise there. I think the highlight of the day was when a few non-english speakers handed mom some fliers and tried to urge her to visit whatever it was the flier advertised in some foreign language. She just kept nodding and smiling and accepting fliers. We had to drag her away. lol.

I could spend all days describing the trip but of course, a picture is worth a thousand words. That being said, see for yourself....

<3 Nick's Wife.
















































































































7.28.2010

Summertime..

Nick and I enjoyed the most amazing weather this past weekend in South Lake Tahoe. I hadn't been there since I was about six years old so I had tons of fun exploring. We checked out a craft fair, the shops at Heavenly ski resort and some thrift stores around town. Despite Nick's initial lack of enthusiasm for thrift stores, we had a fabulous time. Our favorite was called "Thrify Hippie," probably mostly because I kept finding random maternity clothing and Nick claimed that it was a sign from "the man upstairs" that we need to make babies. Hmm, silly Nick.

Besides shopping, we spent an afternoon at the lake building sand castles and swimming with goggles and flippers. Nick found a fallen tree underwater that resembled a crocodile so we mostly stayed away from it. We spent a lot of time underwater with the help of the amazing flippers. It took a few tries to get used to them but once we figured them out, they worked amazingly. Nick said he felt like a mermaid. (:





Altogether, we had a fun and relaxing weekend.

Friday, brother leaves for camp in upstate New York, so I will be spending the day in San Francisco before his flight.  Hopefully that will result in some fun stories and pictures. Stay tuned...


<3 Mrs. Sellai.

7.12.2010

Counting the days..





This is birthday week! There are just four days left until Nick's official birthday on Friday. (:


7.05.2010

Musings at The Ranch.

          After a fun-filled Fourth of July weekend, Nick and I spent Monday morning on "the ranch," as the Sellai's fondly call it. The ranch is the family vineyard that has been owned and operated by the Sellai family for nearly one hundred years. Although the plot of land has shrunk since the good ol' days, with housing developments springing up all around, the ranch still offered me a great deal of history as I roamed its grounds, while Nick and his dad installed an air conditioning unit on the family home.

          See what I saw today in these photos...






       Fred, Nick's grandfather better known to his grandchildren as Nonno, kept a close eye on the ac installation, but also took some time to tell me about how he was born in that house back in 1919, and has lived there his entire life. Using his cane as a pointer, he shared details on his six children whose pictures line the walls, and his late wife. 


          For most of the morning as I sat on the porch steps, lost in thoughts and the nostalgia that surrounds the place. I tried to picture the lives of Nick's great grandparents, who first settled on that land after immigrating from Italy. It was really very peaceful.






          I think both Nick and his dad were afraid that Nonno would be in a grumpy mood, but he surprised them both as he spent the morning in cheerful conversation with me. He told stories about his wife and about the dogs  he has owned, about his children and about the changes he has witnessed in his lifetime like rising gas prices and the housing development sitting on what once was part of his then 20-acre property. "I used to have lots of neighbors," Nonno said. Longtime neighbors from his early farming days. "They've all died, though," he mused. "You out-lived them," Don, Nick's father, replied with a laugh. "That's what happens when you get old." 
          
          I don't think I am so worried about growing old though. I think today showed me that. I feel like I can grow old fearlessly as long as I do it surrounded by the people I love. I thought a lot about my own grandfather in Oklahoma. He used to share stories and insight with me often. I haven't spoken to him in quite a while though. Maybe I will write him a letter today, just to let him know I am thinking about him. And maybe I will make Nick take us to visit Nonno at the ranch again soon. Just to let him know that he is in our thoughts, too. ♥B.

          

7.01.2010

New.

The first day of the month always brings me a rush of mixed emotions. This 2010 year has already passed its halfway point, even though I still catch myself writing 09 instead of 10. I have much to look forward to and much work still to complete. Instead of bogging down my head, and my emotions, with details, I will pull myself together by thinking of everything I've already accomplished. Nicholas and I have been married three months and I have already completed the legalities tied to changing my last name. I achieved alumni status from Fresno State March 22, though I have yet to find a "real" job. And somehow, amidst the hustle and bustle of life, I still managed to watch Sex & the City (my favorite movie) twice last month. It's an inspirational film so don't you dare judge me. I say this with a smile though because I am well aware that most people I encounter quickly toss me into some frilly pink box labelled "very girly," and I embrace the title with open arms, although I someday hope that they will also notice my other fabulous qualities. Now I've begun to ramble so I will will end my idle chatter and focus on watching Oprah. Welcome to my blog and feel free to leave comments. :)
♥B