An Unveiled Wife Book Review

MY GUEST BLOG RE-POSTED FROM AUGUST 1, 2016 ON THE BRIDGE CHURCH COMMUNITY BLOG 

As a newly married woman, I was so excited to learn about how I could serve my husband and please the Lord while doing so. Trying to find that balance between love for God and love for my husband was something I was looking to pursue early on in my marriage so that it would become a habit for me for my whole marriage. So I started to read blogs online to see how other young wives were doing this.

In January of 2016, just 11 months after our wedding, I stumbled upon a blog called Unveiled Wife. (This blog is awesome, and I highly recommend it to all wives, both newlywed and well-seasoned) There were so many real life stories in her blogs, date night ideas, lists (and I love, LOVE lists), and more. I also noticed that Jennifer Smith, the blogger behind the Unveilled Wife blog, wrote a book entitled, you guessed it, “Unveilled Wife.”  What captured my attention however was the sub-line: “Embracing intimacy with God and your husband.” I thought to myself, “woah… I need to read this.” I went on to read the description of the book:

As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn’t wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God—one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.”

While my husband and I were not experiencing any trials or difficulties in our marriage, I thought this would be an awesome preventative read. I wanted read another person’s story on how they balanced the relationship between God and their husband and see how I can apply the tactics to my life. I was thrilled when Jennifer responded to my request to write a review blog about her book for our church.

When I started reading Unveiled Wife, I couldn’t believe how transparent Jennifer was in her writing. It’s almost like you were right beside her, experiencing everything she was feeling. It was heart wrenching at times, knowing that they were dealing with so much pain early in her marriage, and how this pain challenged the relationship between Jennifer and her husband, Aaron, and God.

Jennifer wrote in a way that you could absolutely relate with what she was feeling, how insecurities can crush your spirit and your heart. We’ve all been there, maybe not in the same context as Jennifer, but we’ve all had insecurities that threatened our relationship with the Lord. And with Jennifer’s deeply personal and honest story, you can see how her trials became her testimony, how she became unveiled.

It was really inspiring to read about Jennifer and Aaron, and to see how being transparent with each other, and lifting their marriage up to the Lord, in fact saved their marriage. Unveiled wife is a book for all wives, whether you’re struggling in your marriage or trying to find that balance between your love for God and your husband. We all go through trials and hardships in marriage, and in life for that matter, whether we like to admit it or not. And for all those trials, God is there, and it’s up to us to decide if we trust in Him. To be unveiled before Him, or to hide from Him, the choice is ours. But when we realize that when we married our husbands, we also married God, and we must be unveiled before both of them. I choose to be 100% me, not to hide, to see clearly, and to be unveiled.

Download The First Chapter Free by clicking HERE!

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Buy the book now by clicking HERE!

unveiledwife.com Wife After God

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How tithing changed me and my husband’s lives

MY GUEST BLOG RE-POSTED FROM APRIL 28, 2016 ON THE BRIDGE CHURCH COMMUNITY BLOG 

This past weekend, Pastor Allan told us in his sermon that God has “Double Dog Dared” us to give 10% of our income to him through our local church (if you missed it, you can watch the sermon here and see the live interview with me and my husband). Now God initiates this double dog dare in the book of Malachi 3:8-10:

Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!

“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’

“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

Right there, when God says “Try it! Put me to the test” he’s daring us to tithe (a term that means a tenth or 10%) our income.  My husband, Lee, and I decided to take God up on that dare just over a year ago now, and I’ve got to say that God has truly blessed us.

I wasn’t always a “tither.” I wasn’t taught to tithe my income to God while I grew up, even though I grew up Catholic. It wasn’t until I started coming to to the Bridge about two years ago with my husband (boyfriend at the time) that I started to give some of my income to the church.  It was my second or third time going to the Bridge when Pastor Allan gave a sermon about tithing. At first I was a little hesitant, because I didn’t fully trust God yet at that point, but I did have a $5 bill in my wallet so I decided to put it in the offering box. Soon after, I increased that offering to $20, and within a few weeks of making that small augmentation, God blessed me with a raise at work! To me it was God’s way of saying that he was pleased with what I was doing, and that I should continue. As for Lee, he’s been tithing ever since he was young, so this wasn’t a foreign concept to him

After Lee and I were married in February of 2015, we took a financial course here at the Bridge where we learned about managing our finances God’s way. We learned that we need to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”(Mark 12:17), and what’s left is for us to enjoy (there’s more to it than that of course, but for the sake of this blog post I’ll keep it simple.) At first, we didn’t think we could “afford” to tithe 10%, but through the course we discovered that it wasn’t a question of affordability…but more a question of trust in God. It was a sort of a challenge to change the way we were frivolously spending our money.

And so my husband and I began to budget our income. We took the money we were earning and gave each dollar a purpose. We were ready to fully trust God. First, we calculated our 10% tithe. Then we added in all of our bills, school loans and household needs, and finally whatever was left became our “fun money.” Although we started out with $40/month of fun money to share, we were happy that we put our full trust in God. Because of this God blessed us in April of 2015 by giving us the opportunity to buy the little house we currently live in. At that point, we hardly noticed the tithing money coming out of our bank account (we have our tithe set up through auto-withdrawal so we don’t even have to think about it), and with our mortgage and utilities being about the same as our apartment, things kept just kept on rolling as if nothing ever changed (financially speaking). Now just over a year since we got married and started tithing, God has blessed us with the comforts of home, and the comfort of having a sound budget. In business terms, we’ve seen a 100% return on investment!

So if you’re thinking of taking God up on his Double Dog Dare to tithe your income, I have a few steps for you:

  1. Set up a budget. (I suggest using Quicken or YouNeedABudget.com for a small fee or if you prefer a free version, Mint.com is a good place to start.)
  2. Go all in! It may be tempting to start small or contribute what you can “afford,” but remember it’s not a question of affordability, but that of trust in God. Think of it like getting in a cold pool…if you take the ladder, you feel the bite of the ice cold water with every step, tempting you to turn around and get out of the pool…but if you jump into the pool in one shot, sure you feel that cold bite at first, but as you wade around in the water…you become more accustomed to it.
  3. Reap the blessings – now these blessings don’t always come as a raise, or finding the perfect house…they could be anything really, but I can promise you that God won’t leave you hanging. Be patient, the blessings will come.

I encourage you to really think and pray about your decision to tithe. Don’t just do it because you have to, do it because you want to reveal to God that in your heart, you trust him fully. As Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians 9:7:

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

So…have you accepted God’s Double Dog Dare?

Product Review: Head and Shoulders Instant Cooling Relief Shampoo and Conditioner

I recently subscribed to a sweet website called BzzAgent when I heard that I would have the opportunity to review FULL SIZED products just by taking a few surveys. Now lets get serious, I mainly started this because I wanted to get some free stuff (who doesn’t like free stuff right?) but I actually quite enjoy it. It’s nice to try different products once in a while, and BzzAgent is pretty good at picking products that you’re actually interested in. Mind you, I did fill out over 40 super-short surveys, so they have a pretty accurate idea of what I’m looking for.

Most recently I had the opportunity to try Head and Shoulders Instant Cooling Relief Shampoo and Conditioner. I’ve used it every other day for a week now (I usually wait a day between shampoos) and found it pretty good so far. You can really feel the cooling effect of the shampoo right away, and it stays nice and cool for a decent time after (I left it on for 10 mins to see if the effect would dissipate, but it stayed constant the whole time.) It left my hair feeling fresh and clean when I was done. This shampoo also smells really fresh and minty, a little like toothpaste (don’t taste it, I did accidentally and ick –  0/10 on flavour…haha). Now don’t get this product in your eye, it happened to me, again by accident, and let’s just say my eye was not a fan of the cooling effect.

The conditioner was also very nice, with the same minty fresh scent. It left my hair feeling nice and smooth and was easy to brush through. The only thing is that when I used it on my scalp, I found I couldn’t wait that day in between shampoos because my hair was a bit more oily than normal. I’m used to applying my conditioner from mid-shaft to ends, so my scalp doesn’t get greasy, but that technique kind of defeats the purpose of the cooling scalp treatment that this conditioner offers.

Overall I give these products an 9/10! You can pick up a bottle at your local Shoppers Drug Mart store.

So, if you’re looking to try some free stuff like this, definitely sign up for a BzzAgent account! It’s totally worth it! I already have another full sized product on the way for my next review. I’ll make sure to post it here when I’m done testing it out.

 

Becoming a Boelsma Part 2 – Planning the Wedding in 27 Days

Yep you read that correctly – on January 11, 2015, we decided that we would get married 27 days later, on February 7, 2015.

Before we even started planning, we called up our closest friends to see if they would be in our wedding party. Lee had his two best friends Jordy, and James as groomsmen and of course the best man was his brother, Logan. As for me, I called up my two besties from Toronto, Alessa & Vanessa, who we’re both super excited to be my bridesmaids, and my sister Lyne was my maid of honour,

First up, we needed to make sure the venue for the ceremony and reception were available. We met with our pastor that week to see if he was available and sure enough he was. Church – Check! I also made some calls to see if any of the local hotels had their ballrooms available on February 7th. Luckily, February is technically wedding “off-season” so to my advantage there were quite a few venues available offering competitive pricing. We settled on the Holiday Inn and Suites in Kanata, which offers an awesome wedding package. Included with the hall was an overnights stay in the honeymoon suite, free mani and pedi for the me at Jask Salon and Spa, champagne with chocolates and natural bath & body products in the room after the reception, and finally a delicious room service breakfast the next morning. I highly recommend this place – ask for Jennifer, she’s great.

I already knew a DJ who would do a sweet job at the music for the night and lucky for me, miss Kitty-Funk was free on Feb. 7! DJ- Check! I also called up my friend Rebecca, owner of Dynamite Delights, to make some cupcakes and wedding cake to match our woodland theme. They turned out awesome:

Cake and Cupcakes - Photo by Dynamite Delights

Cake and Cupcakes – Photo by Dynamite Delights

Next I needed a dress of course, so on January 14, I met up with my mom and sister at Davids Bridal Ottawa, where they were having a massive dress sale. Like a kid in wedding candy land, I started picking out dresses in my price range and size, deciding to leave the beautiful $500 dress on the rack so that I wouldn’t be tempted by it. After trying on all the other dresses, which were so-so, my mom said “Angie, you need to try on that other dress, these ones aren’t it.” And by the “other” dress she meant the $500 one that was over my budget (which was on sale from $800 i might add). I ended up trying it on, and WOW, it was the one! Hardly any alterations needed to be made – just a hem and bustle, plus the manager at Davids Bridal gave me a $100 off, so it brought it a little closer to my budget. So I rang the little bell that signals to everyone in store that someone “said YES to the dress,” and bought the dress.

Me in my Dress - Photo by Neil L.

Me in my Dress – Photo by Neil L.

Finding dresses for the bridesmaids also went pretty smoothly. While I wanted emerald green dresses to match the wedding colours, it wasn’t a very “in” colour for the time of year. Plus on a short time frame I needed to work with something easy, so I settled on black dresses. I told the girls to visit a Davids Bridal in Toronto and choose a floor length black dress of their choice. They texted pictures as they tried them on, and finally we settled on one awesome dress. I helped Lyne find her stunning black dress during one of my fittings. I also ended up finding some emerald jewelry and little flowers to put in their hair to match the wedding colour.

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The girls in their bridesmaids dresses.

The girls in their bridesmaids dresses.

As for the boys, we decided on black shirts with a black suit and an emerald green tie, which we bought from The Tie Bar.

The boys following a youtube video on how to tie a tie.

The boys following a youtube video on how to tie a tie.

Next, shoes! I needed some shoes that were comfy and not too high so that I wouldn’t tower over Lee. So I settled on the dye-your-own ballet slippers from Davids Bridal that I dyed emerald green! They were perfect!

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Photo By Neil L.

We also booked a photographer right away, one of our friends of course – Mike Clarke Photography – who did a wonderful job. Lee’s dad plus our friends Neil and Andrew and my cousin Chris were also there with their cameras so we had plenty of pictures from all sorts of angles.

Another big cost saver was that we DIY-ed most of the decor, made our own email invitations (which pointed to an Eventbrite event).

All this to say! The day was awesome, and I would do it over and over with the love of my life any day.

-A

Becoming a Boelsma Part 1: It begins

It all began back on January 11, 2015 when I met with my local Pastor about the possibility of being baptized at the next baptism Sunday. I was really excited about being baptized and crushed when he told me that he wouldn’t be able to do so unless my boyfriend and I lived separately. I couldn’t be baptised because I was willingly tempting myself toward sin by living with my boyfriend. While the Bible doesn’t directly say that living together before marriage is a sin, it does tell us this:

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” – 1 Corinthians 6:18

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t so keen on this recommendation at first, but as the day went on it began to make more sense.

My boyfriend, Lee, picked me up from the church after my meeting to head over to his parents house for the day. He wondered why I was in tears, so I told him about what happened. We evaluated the possibility of living apart until we marry, but it was hard because we had been living together for 6 months at that point and all of his things were in my apartment. When we got to Lee’s parent’s place, we sat down with his mom and dad, both long-time knowledgeable Christians, and talked about how we should face this. We basically had two options, live apart and keep dating until we marry, or ignore the Pastor’s recommendations and just keep on living together. Well judging by the title of this blog post, I’m sure you’ve guessed our choice.

Lee and I had often talked about getting married in the fall of this year, so we were pretty excited to have decided to finally do so earlier. We wanted our married life to begin with a solid foundation in God, so we accepted the Pastor’s recommendation and decided to live apart until the wedding date.

We were hoping for a March 7th wedding, to celebrate our first “non-date” date together, but my boyfriend’s parents couldn’t make that date. And after comparing schedules, we landed on February 7, one month earlier than we had hoped…giving us just under 4 weeks to plan the whole thing.

I called my mom and dad and shared the news. They were a little surprised by how soon we we’re planning to get married, but they were supportive of our choice. Well, it took dad a little more convincing, but he eventually came around.

And so on January 11, our crazy 4-week preparations began. Find out how we planned and executed a most perfect wedding in just 4 weeks in my next blog!

-A

Hi stranger! An update.

I’ve been away from my blog now for far too long. I miss writing for it. Since my last post, there have been many changes in my life including a new apartment, adopting new precious kitty, finding God, getting engaged and getting married!

In February of 2014 I adopted a wonderful little cat from the Ottawa Humane Society. Her name is Valkyrie. At the time she was the second cat in the family next to Freya, who sadly had to be put down last December 2014.  Here’s a  couple pics of the two of them:

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Freya

Valkyrie

Valkyrie

I do miss my Freya, but thankfully I have miss Valkyrie. She’s my adorable fluffy, kneeding, head-butting kitty.

In July 2014 I moved to an apartment on Prince of Wales Drive just in time for a bunch of summer festivals within walking distance. I was 5 minutes away from the Ottawa Dragonboat Festival and the Hope Beach volleyball tournament. Here’s a nighttime view from the balcony:

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In 2014 I also found my way back to church, through my boyfriend (now husband) Lee and his family. I started going to The Bridge Church in Kanata, which is of Wesleyan denomination, and I absolutely loved it! I was born Catholic, but I much prefer going to The Bridge because they really work God’s messages into every day life. You can really relate to the weekly messages, plus the concert style worship sessions that kick off each service are pretty amazing! If you know God and are looking for a place where you can learn and re-learn how to connect with him, The Bridge Church is a place to you.

After a great summer, fall and winter with my Lee, in January of 2015 we decided to get married…and 4 weeks later, we were! Read my next post to find out how it all began.

Holiday Howl – Karaoke Party for Charity

holiday howl

This Christmas, I’m giving back to the animal community!

A close friend of mine decided to turn her birthday celebration into a Karaoke/Charity Night/Vegan Food Party extravaganza, all for the New Moon Rabbit Rescue and for the Sit With Me dog fostering program here in Ottawa! Naturally, I thought this was a fantastic idea! Some amazing vegan treats will be provided by SimplyRaw Express with cupcakes supplied by Compassionate Rabbit. See the totes adorbs poster above (created by moi) for more information! Also, a big thank you to terra20 and the NCVA for sponsoring the event.

Holiday Howl is happening on Saturday, December 14 from 7pm-midnight. Tickets are only available online at www.ncva.ca/holiday-howl and can be payed using PayPal!

See you all on the 14th! I’ll be the one howling on stage 🙂