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It’s A Love Story // Part 4

 

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May 26, 2014

After hearing our pastor, Chris Mueller, teach this message on prayer on May 25th, I was encouraged to give my desire for a relationship with Derek to the Lord in prayer. Chris had encouraged our church body to pray for some crazy things and I decided I would do just that. Here is a portion of my prayer journal entry from May 26th:

Lord, finally I lift up my desire for marriage to you. I thank you for giving me what Elisabeth Elliott referred to as “material for sacrifice.” Having an unmet desire is a bittersweet blessing because it causes me to draw near & depend on You daily. Jesus, I know my heart has been “boy crazy” in the past, yet I know You have been at work in me and have caused my heart to love you more than anything. I like Derek DuPrez and because of You in him, I’m not afraid of what may or may not happen. Many people have told me that he likes me and he spent much of the Musia wedding talking to me. It’s crazy Lord, and weird (at least from my human perspective). . . he doesn’t back down when I put up walls. He doesn’t flee the opposite direction instead he is kind and gentle and approaches me in a way that no else (human wise) ever has. He is so somewhat naive about basic life things (some. . . maybe it’s just church life) but he doesn’t even care. I love his heart for You, Jesus! I like too that I like him in a way. . . that I’m not distracted or anxious about it. He’s a great guy and while he’s young spiritually, I’m encouraged by his growth. We can have real conversations without flirting but still enjoy them and enjoy each other’s company. Lord I lift up this “like” to You – maybe it’s too early to pray that I could be his wife. I like him as a person very much and as my brother in You and Lord I pray that if it’s Your will, I would have the opportunity to get to know him better and to someday be his wife. Lord I pray that You would give me the grace to not be distracted by this but entrust it to You. . .”

June 1, 2014

Derek approached me at church on this day and asked me for my phone number. He said he wanted to hang out with myself and Courtney over the summer so he could get to know the people he was serving with on the high school ministry staff. I was REALLY excited but Derek and I both played it cool. I told Court that Derek wanted to hang out with both of us over the summer and she said, “Lauren, really?! Then why didn’t he ask for my number?” I just told her, “Well, he knows we’re roommates so he can just get it from me.” I still didn’t know for sure what Derek’s intentions were so I didn’t believe that he was interested in me. That afternoon Derek sent me a text and we texted back and forth a few times. Later that night I attended a staff meeting for the high school ministry but Derek was unable to go due to his work schedule.

After the meeting, the pastor’s wife, Katie, asked me if we could talk outside privately. I started to get really stressed out thinking that something was wrong with one of the girls in my group and was wondering what could have happened since the semester had just ended and I felt that it had gone pretty well. I was overanalyzing about this in my head when Katie took me by surprise and said, “So, can we talk about someone who’s been giving you special attention?” I said, “Do you mean Derek? Oh, I don’t think he’s interested in me – just because a guy asks for your number doesn’t mean he’s likes you.” Katie said, “Actually, he does like you. He even asked Josh (the youth pastor and Katie’s husband) about pursuing you.” My response? “YAY!”

0 In Blog/ Marriage

Happy Birthday My Love

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Lovey, today you are 28 I mean 24 (again). I’m so excited and thankful that I get to spend this birthday with you.

I am so encouraged by the man of God that you are. The way your heart is soft toward Christ and the way you so tenderly lead me is simply astonishing. I know when we first started dating, some of my friends warned me to be cautious with you since you were a new believer but that’s exactly what I love about you – that you are a new creation!

I love seeing your zeal for Jesus, His Gospel and His bride.

Those who know us know that we are obviously VERY different in every way, shape and form except for our love for Christ and His bride. Sometimes when iron sharpens iron, sparks fly (I don’t mean in the romantic sense) and I love that God has given me you as my husband and has used you in so many ways to cause me to become more like Christ.

Thank you for working hard to provide for me and our little girl. I know sometimes your job has it’s challenges and not every day is rainbows and butterflies but I have NEVER once heard you complain about working or being a provider.

Thank you for caring for me in “sickness and in health” which for us has really meant the first three months of our marriage and then through pregnancy. Although it hasn’t been too difficult there have been some little teeny challenges – like last week, when I had 2 nosebleeds. I was halfway asleep when my nose started dripping blood and you came and helped me clean up. Then there was yesterday when my right hand fell asleep and wouldn’t go back to normal and you massaged my hand and arm to get the blood flowing again.

I will never forget when we were having steak for dinner and you offered to not only prepare and make it, but to cut mine for me knowing that with carpal tunnel in both hands, it would have been very painful for me to accomplish that on my own.

Thank you for encouraging me to not beat myself up when I can’t do all the tasks that I normally could and telling me that you WANT me to ask you for help.

Thank you for cleaning the kitchen and vacuuming last weekend and thank you for helping me make dinner last night.

I love the way you so tenderly care for me, gently lead me and are compassionate toward me. I know you don’t quite understand me but I am deeply grateful for how you have grown as a husband and how you seek to live with me in an understanding way.

I appreciate that when I worry, you always remind me to trust God and then you pray for me. Out loud.

I love how you sing songs to the little girl in my belly and your excitement about being a daddy.

I am learning to love the way you push me out of my comfort zone (even if it’s involved you yelling my name at the top of your lungs across the grocery store when you couldn’t find me, ringing the bell at the Trader Joe’s check out and using that stupid selfie stick to make a video of us in Ross). Even though you tend to draw attention to me and I usually tend to get flustered in response, I love that you somehow still manage to make me smile.

DT, you are the love of my life, my best friend and my hero. I love you and I’m so proud of the man that you are and that man that you are becoming.

Here’s to your 28th year and all the blessings that will come along with it.

Happy birthday my love!

Love,

Lolo

0 In Blog/ It's A Love Story

It’s A Love Story // Part 3

 

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May 2, 2014

On this night at The Gathering, the college students were teaming up to play Just Dance on the projector screen. I, who tend to be a “behind the scenes” kind of person, was annoyed when some of the guys began teasing me and telling me that they had signed me up to be on their teams. My annoyance greatly increased when Derek came up at the end of the night and told me that he had signed me up to be on his team. Poor Derek didn’t know about the earlier teasing but I let him have it anyway. I firmly told him that I was NOT on his team and I was NOT staying late that night. I thought he would leave me alone after that, but to no avail. Derek continued to talk to me and was so gentle and sweet as he asked about how my week had been and how work was going. I was really confused as to why he still wanted to talk to me after I was such a brat. I started to question why Derek was always making attempts to talk to me and why he wasn’t pushed away by anything I said or did.

May 9, 2014

This was the night of Mystery Night, an annual even hosted by the youth ministry at FBC. Mystery Night is basically a city-wide scavenger hunt where students are provided with clues in the form of riddles. Once they solve the riddles, the learn the location of where the youth staff members are hiding throughout the city. At each location, the staff dress in costumes and host a game based on a theme they’ve picked. Once students arrive, they must complete a game or challenge before moving on to the next location. This year, I had dressed up as Anna from Frozen and Derek, in full body spandex, was a speed skater. Derek thought I was cute with my fake freckles I had put on my face using eyeliner. I thought he shouldn’t ever be seen in public covered in that amount of spandex but was intrigued that he seemed to have no shame. At the conclusion of the night, Derek asked me if I would be going to Denny’s – an annual tradition for the youth staff members. I told him since I had worked an 18 hour day two days prior, I was going to go home and go to sleep (yep, I’m an old lady). Derek was bummed that I wasn’t going but after I left, he began to tell some of his guy friends that he was starting to like me.

May 23, 2014

Derek and I both ended up attending the wedding of our friends Katie and Trev. I didn’t know this at the time, but Derek had talked to them prior to the wedding to see if he could get a plus one to invite me. Trev told him that I had already been invited and would already be attending. Derek was excited about this and came up to me at church the Sunday prior to the wedding to ask me if I was attending. He got really excited when I told him I was and he asked me if I was going to be the flower girl. I thought he was really clueless for asking such a question and replied full of attitude and sass (are you seeing a pattern here?), “The flower girls is like 5 years old!”

The evening of the wedding, I arrived with my roommate Courtney who was also attending. Court and I were “coincidentally” placed at the same table as Derek (thanks Trev!). Derek was genuinely excited when he discovered that we were at the same table. He sat right next to me and talked to me the entire night. I felt awkward because I was sitting between Court and Derek and Court tried to talk to Derek as well but he completely ignored and went right back to talking to me. I knew Court was annoyed and I also noticed that Derek seemed clueless – it was really awkward. Derek continued to share stories about his life and asked me questions about mine. At one point, he got so nervous he ended up spilling water all over the table and almost all over me.

He tried to be smooth and asked me if we could take a picture together in the photo booth, not one, but two times. I didn’t understand why we would need a picture together since we were simply acquaintances but I didn’t know how to tell him that, so, naturally, I changed the subject.

When it was time for dinner, Derek tried to serve me by offering to carry my plate. Since I didn’t know what his intentions were, I told him I could do it myself (according to my mother, I’ve been saying that since I was three – yikes. . . ).

Shortly after dinner, the sun went down and it got pretty chilly. Court and I didn’t bring jackets so we decided to head home. Derek wasn’t around when we left and since we weren’t really friends, I didn’t seek him out to say goodbye. I later learned that he was bummed about that (sorry lovey!).

After the wedding, I had many people at church come up to me and ask about Derek and I and tell me that he liked me. Since he hadn’t actually told me that he liked me thought, I refused to believe it. My response to people who said such things was that I needed to off of Philippians 4:8 and think on what is true. Maybe I was being too hard on myself but I know my own heart and how often in the past I would overthink any form of attention from a guy and turn it into some made up thing in my head about how he must like me since he was talking to me. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. I was done.

0 In Blog/ It's A Love Story

It’s A Love Story // Part 2

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February 5, 2014

The school I worked for was celebrating Spirit Week and theme for this day was country wester. I showed up to serve at youth group that night dressed in a flannel, boots and jeans. Derek thought I looked cute and while I was talking with my group of girls after the message, Derek came up to me, out of nowhere, and said, “Lauren, I just want to compliment you on that really great shirt!” I thought he was a little forward and that he was possibly hitting on me. His comment seemed odd to me since we had maybe had one brief conversation before. I figured maybe Derek didn’t know how to approach women but I wanted to be gracious and answered all the questions he asked me but I was still pretty cautious so gave one word responses and didn’t ask him anything in return.

February 6, 2014

I was at the Bible study for my group of high school girls, which I was co-leading with my friend Amber. That night, Amber told me that Derek liked me but I refused to believe it. As a single woman, I was tired of hearing about all the great guys at our church because, while I knew they were there, they knew I was available and weren’t pursuing me (and I definitely wasn’t going to pursue them!). Amber told me that she had spoken with Josh, the youth pastor, and he said it was okay for staff members to date. I replied, “Amber, I’m not even asking that!” Our group of girls thought it was hilarious to watch my face turn as red as a tomato and asked if they could be on the guest list for my wedding. I said, “If it’s in God’s will for my life for me to married, then yes, you will be on the list.”

February 12, 2014

I remember Derek and I talked briefly after youth group concluded. One of the questions he asked me was what I was doing for Valentine’s Day. I kind of freaked out on the inside thinking that he was going to ask me out so I made myself sound as busy as possible by letting him know that I would be working and then going to college group after. He didn’t ask me out after all and honestly, I was secretly kinda hoping he would.

Spring 2014

Derek consistently found opportunities to talk to me after youth group each week. I couldn’t figure out why and out of fear of being hurt again, I put up walls and tried different things to keep him away. One night when getting ready for youth group, I intentionally picked out an outfit that I thought wasn’t very cute, didn’t straighten my hair and put my glasses on. I went like that to youth group thinking that if I wasn’t dressed cute, he would leave me alone. At this point, I had started to like Derek a little but was frustrated because, while he seemed interested, he hadn’t asked me out. My plan to dress not cute backfired and had the opposite effect. Derek still came right up to me after youth group. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong and figured I would have to get more creative.

0 In Blog/ Financial Fitness

Stuff We Don’t Buy // Part 10

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I hate TV – there I said it. I’m a total nerd at heart and my favorite hobby is reading. I grew up in a home where we had cable TV and I feel like it was ALWAYS on even if no one was watching it. When I moved out as a single woman, I decided that I would not purchase cable TV.
For a while I opted for Amazon Instant Video which allowed me to watch TV shows and movies but I decided not to renew my subscription when I realized I couldn’t justify the cost.
My husband and I currently have Netflix and occasionally will download apps for certain TV networks for free access to full episodes of our favorite shows.
Our current Netflix favorite is The 100.
We previewed a few other shows and this was the first one we came to that didn’t have an inappropriate scene within the first 5 minutes (sad but true!).
I was really hoping Octavia would have been killed off in the first or second episode (who’s with me?!).
I don’t think having cable is bad, wrong or sinful, it’s just not something I prefer.
I believe that life is way too short to spend hours in front of the tube however, I married a man who likes to relax after work by watching TV for a bit and it has actually been helpful for me to learn how to do the same.
How about you?
Do you still have cable or have you found an alternative that you prefer?
Read the rest of the Stuff We Don’t Buy series here:
0 In Blog/ It's A Love Story

It’s A Love Story // Part 1

Intro

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 years since my husband Derek an I started getting to know each other. If you know us, you know life has been a wild ride of marriage, moving and now parenthood. Throw in The Worst Honeymoon of All Time, my first car accident, and getting stranded in Waco, we’ve had quite an interesting first year of marriage. This series kicks off a 5 part series that details our “love story” and will lead up to a special post for our one year anniversary on March 21st (and possibly the birth of our daughter, Adalyne Rose – she’s due on the 25th!).

 

Derek Tyler, I love you will all my heart and despite my reluctance to participate in a Hallmark holiday, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share how God has worked in each of us and brought us together for our good and his glory. Our journey has been WILD but worth it and even though it’s bee challenging, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m excited to see how the Lord will continue to grow us this year.

 

Thank you for choosing me.

 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

How We Met

Summer 2013

Our story begins here when Derek began attending The Gathering, the college ministry at Faith Bible Church in Murrieta (FBC). I had been attending FBC for three years and had been involved in the college ministry. We don’t remember the first time we met, but I can recall Derek talking to me about my water bottle at a baseball game we attended with The Gathering. I had been closed off to getting to know guys after a previous, year long relationship didn’t work out and thought to myself (full of sass), “Why is he talking to me?!” There was also a Friday night where The Gathering met at our friends, the Stead’s house, and Derek gave his testimony. Although I was encouraged to hear how Christ had saved him, he still wasn’t really on my radar.

September 13, 2013

Derek sent me a friend request on Facebook so I accepted and naturally, stalked his posts and photos to see what he was all about. It turns out he did the same to my Facebook profile.

December 2013

Derek began serving in the high school ministry at Faith Bible Church where I also happened to be serving.

0 In Blog/ Financial Fitness

Stuff We Don’t Buy // Part 9

 

Okay, so for a while, my husband and I were not drinking Starbucks because this list came out naming the companies that donate to Planned Parenthood and Starbucks happened to be one of them.
Also, with the drinks ranging from at $3-$5 each, we decided that it would be best to deny ourselves since those little trips to grab coffee were quickly adding up.
Recently, however, I found this blog post that I agree with wholeheartedly. My husband and I also have many friends who work for Starbucks and love Jesus, so I’ve considered that when we do buy fancy coffee drinks, we are supporting believers who (hopefully) are supporting their local churches. I’ve also heard that Starbucks is big on helping its employees with adoption costs which, I think, is pretty rad.
Overall, this has been (for the most part) an easy way for us to put a few bucks back into our monthly budget. Right now my husband is the only coffee drinker in our home and he makes his own “fancy” coffee at home with his pour over contraption which apparently is a big deal here in Austin.
I think if we do decide to go out for coffee habitually in the future, we will make a coffee budget and, although we’re from California and we’re okay with drinking Starsucks (as it’s referred to out here) we will probably be supporting our local coffee shops instead. Our favorites so far are Houndstooth, Seventh Flag, Mozart’s and Common Grounds.
Has anyone else had the Starbucks dilemma?
Have any of y’all had to “sacrifice” coffee for the sake of the budget?

 I’d love to know – feel free to comment below with your response!

Read the rest of the Stuff We Don’t Buy series here:

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0 In Blog/ Book Review

Book Review // 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage

There are so many marriage books available to Christians that discerning which ones will be the most helpful has become quite the challenge. I recently had the opportunity to read 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage by Sheila Wray Gregoire. In the book, she takes addresses the following 9 thoughts:

1. My Husband is My Neighbor
2. My Husband Can’t Make Me Mad
3. My Husband Was Not Put on This Earth to Make Me Happy
4. I Can’t Mold My Husband Into My Image
5. I’m Not in Competition With My Husband
6. I’m Called to Be A Peacemaker, Not A Peacekeeper
7. Being One is More Important Than Being Right
8. Having Sex is Not The Same as Making Love
9. If I’m Not Careful, We’ll Drift Apart

While I agree with Wray Gregoire’s 9 thoughts overall, it was her deliberation on these thoughts that struck somewhat of a red flag with me. As a Christian, I believe it is important to filter resources, such as this one, through the lens of Scripture. While Wray Gregoire’s book did include the use of Scripture, there were a few places where it is taken out of context and I strongly believe this is where we must be especially discerning.

One example of this is Wray Gregoire’s use of the verse Micah 6:8 which states, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” In the book, the author tells women that this verse is a part of God’s purpose for their relationships (p. 90). She expands on this by using the example of one woman whose husband was treating her in an unloving way. The woman would refuse to listen to her husband if he spoke rudely to her and refused intimacy with him if he was unrepentant for how he treated her.

The way this wife responded to her husband was actually encouraged because she was implementing justice in her marriage. I must question though how this wife is living out the Gospel in her marriage if she is responding this way. The Bible says that, “. . . Love covers all offenses. . .,” and “love covers a multitude of sins.” As believers, we are called to show grace to one another in light of the grace that God showed us when He sent His only son to live a perfect life on our behalf, become the atoning sacrifice for our sins and rise again so that we may be made right with God.

As women who follow Christ, shouldn’t we be advocates for showering our husbands with the same abounding grace (Romans 5:20) that God has shown us through Christ? 

(Of course, there is wisdom to be applied here. If you are experiencing abuse within your marriage, you may need to seek the help of the police and the authority of your local church to address your spouse and walk alongside you in love and gentleness as you work toward a resolution.)
Additionally, the context of Micah 6:8 is not marriage or our relationships with each other, but God’s relationship to His people, the Israelites. The tone of Micah 6:8, when read in context, is actually sarcastic because the Israelite’s knew how they were supposed to be living as a response to God’s deliverance and redemption of them, yet they were failing to walk in obedience. 
These are a few examples when, as believers, I can’t over encourage y’all to be knowing Christ through His Word! 
Revelation 19:13 refers to Jesus and states, “. . . the name by which he is called is The Word of God,” and John 1:14 tells us, “. . . the Word became flesh. . . “
If we want to know Him, we must know His Word! 
I don’t think 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage is the worst book ever written or completely horrible. My tendency is skepticism and I’m not one to “throw the baby out with the bath water.” However, it is not a resource I will be recommending as I love my sisters in Christ and desire that they know how they ought to do everything – including marriage – for God’s glory as outlined in Scripture. 

9 Thoughts does include some practical tips that can be applied in marriage such as prioritizing your husband before your kids, getting a check up to maintain your health (at one point in her marriage, the author was feeling unusually tired and a blood test revealed she had anemia), and challenging yourself to go a week without saying anything critical about your husband.

These are all helpful ideas and while they encouraged me in my own marriage, I would admonish women interested in reading this book to consider what the Bible truly says about marriage and how it is has been designed to reflect Christ’s relationship to His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

If you are looking for some solid marriage resources for yourself or for a Christian woman you know, I recommend the following:

BOOKS

Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of A Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney

Fierce Women by Kimberly Wagner

Helper By Design by Elyse Fitzpatrick

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace

The Fruitful Wife by Haley DiMarco

The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller (for men and women)

This Momentary Marriage by John Piper (for men and women – you can download this book as a free PDF here – all of Piper’s books are free as PDFs!)

MEDIA

Programs: Marriage – Nancy Leigh Wolgemuth, Revive Our Hearts (encouraging programs for women in any season of life)

SERMONS

Equal Yet Different: Partners – Chris Mueller, Faith Bible Church Murrieta

Uncommon Love Series – Chris Mueller, Faith Bible Church Murrieta

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for my review.
0 In Blog/ Financial Fitness

Stuff We Don’t Buy // Part 8

 

This was one of the unnecessary items that I cut from our budget when D and I were first married. No, we didn’t stick with tap (although I’m usually fine with that). I decided to buy this reusable mug for D and we used wedding gift cards to purchase this filter for our sink. We were both shocked by how hot a Texas summer can be and I decided buying the reusable mug would be better for my husband (and for our budget) than us buying water bottles every week. Honestly we probably aren’t saving a ton of money but every bit helps. The mug is also great because it keeps his water cold for hours.
I finally decided to buy this Thermos for myself because I forget to drink water throughout the day.
Yes, it’s a little pricey but I think the investment in my health and the small bit of money we’re saving by not buying water bottles makes it worth it.
Read the rest of the Stuff We Don’t Buy Series Here:
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0 In Blog/ Financial Fitness

Stuff We Don’t Buy // Part 7

 

 

This one is a little more painful to write about than the others. Not that I’m totally bummed about it (because I’m not) but it has been especially challenging for me because I have a sweet tooth. If I weren’t convicted about the need to care for my body and my baby, I would probably find a way to eat chocolate every day.
 I just LOVE chocolate!
I also love ice cream, and certain types of candy.
Although I believe that I have been doing well with eating throughout my pregnancy, I was recently convicted after reading this blog post by my sweet friend Tawney.
I’ve had a few very minor health challenges throughout my pregnancy that served, in a sense, as a wake up call.
In addition to finding out that I’ve become anemic (for which I’ve had to take iron supplements) my doctor recently told me that I barely passed my glucose test because I’ve been eating too much sugar and carbs. (Mind you, my husband and I did receive a box of Christmas cookies the day before and I forgot I had the test scheduled. So naturally, I sampled each cookie. . . ).
As much as I want to give in to my flesh and buy junk, I know it’s not what’s best for my family.
My hope is that since I’m the one who prepares the meal plans and meals, I can serve my family by being a good steward of our money and health.
Finding different snack items has been challenging but it has forced me to question how often I actually truly need snacks.
I know that 1 Corinthians 10:31 states, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Earlier this week I asked myself if the way I was eating sweets was glorifying to God or if it was just fulfilling a desire of my flesh.
Although I know I can enjoy sweets to His glory, most often it is just for myself.
With this in mind, I have worked really hard to come up with meals and snacks that don’t include processed foods.
Here’s what we’ve had for dinner this week:
Monday – Chuck Roast Tacos & Beans (I found a big piece of meat for under $5 at Sprouts. I threw it in the crock pot with cumin, chili powder, paprika & garlic salt and let it sit for 3 hours. We used tortillas from Trader Joe’s & refried beans from Trader Joe’s which are fat free).
Tuesday – Plantain Nachos (The whole meal is Paleo – it’s super filling and delicious)
Wednesday – Pizza & Salad (the crust and sauce were Paleo, the pepperoni was natural & nitrate free so the worst part was the cheese)
Thursday – Paleo Chicken Stir Fry & Long Grain Brown Rice
Friday – Baked Potato Soup
For snacks I usually have apples, bananas and baby carrots on hand. I use Trader Joe’s peanut butter to dip them in (yep, even for the carrots). I also have popcorn kernels on hand which I like to stove pop with coconut oil and sea salt and on occasion I buy almonds to snack on.
Removing processed foods from our diet hasn’t been easy but so far it has been SO worth it – not only for our health but for our budget as well!

Read the rest of the Stuff We Don’t Buy Series Here: