Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Two nights ago I dreamed that Christina Aguilera was chasing me across Alaska with a gun. She was trying really hard to kill me. I raced through snow and department stores and woods in an effort to get away. She eventually caught me, but then someone caught her attention long enough for me to get away. The last thing I remember before waking up was running into the woods hoping she had not noticed which way I went, because I was getting pretty tired.
Yesterday marked eight weeks since my knee surgery. Although I have not been running from Christina Aguilera, I have been running—for the first time in over a year I am able to exercise and go about my daily life with no pain. I really can’t express how wonderful that is.  
People have many different ways of relieving stress: some paint or draw, some play music, some bake yummy treats for their friends. I would always run. If I ever had a bad day at school, I would wait for the final bell to ring, change into my running clothes, and take out all of my frustration on the track. But with my knee injury at the end of my senior year in high school, it’s been a long time since I’ve truly been able to do that. Sure, I was able to handle jogging every now and then. For a long time I was able to tolerate the pain enough to run about every three weeks. After further damage was done last summer though, I haven’t run more than a few steps (while playing with my dog) in almost a year. Just sitting still was painful enough, and it became impossible for me to even add in speed-walking. I think the hardest part about it all was not the pain, but just the fact that I couldn’t pursue that outlet anymore. Exercise has always been such a huge part of me, and not being able to do it (while gaining fifteen pounds) got to be quite a discouragement. 
I’d like to give a huge shout out to all of my doctors (not that they read this) for helping to make me better. My surgeon, my physical therapists, and all of the nurses who assisted with my operation/recovery were able to give back a huge part of who I am. More than anything though, I’d like to thank my Lord…after all, He is the true Healer in all of this. I was released from physical therapy after only four weeks—which is quite the miracle. I have had zero complications and zero pain since starting back to my exercise routine three weeks ago. I’ve already gained back almost all of my muscle mass in my legs (now to lose the jiggly stuff in my thighs haha) and I can already run a mile and a half without stopping. I know without a doubt that God had a hand in my recovery because this has just been so easy. I joke with Roman and my parents that if I had known all of this would be as easy as it has been, I would have had the surgery five years ago (although it wasn’t torn five years ago, so they wouldn’t have operated in the first place, but you know what I mean.)
For all of the concerned citizens out there: don’t worry. I’m not doing too much too fast. I’m staying away from running on hard surfaces…right now I’m only doing the treadmill so it’s less impact. And rather than just running, I’m also spending an equal amount of time in the gym lifting weights so that ALL of my leg muscles are getting stronger. My doctor expressed that this was key for my knee to continue in good health, and my lack of gym-time is probably what caused my injury in the first place.
One thing is certain, and that is I am very happy to be back in the game. I’m already sleeping better, I’m feeling better, and I’m making sure that I’m treating my body right. Thank you to everyone who prayed for me and asked about me over the past eight weeks! God has certainly answered our prayers in a big way!
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  ~James 5:14-15

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pardon My Absence.....

Oh, hi there. As I'm sure many of you have noticed, I haven't written a whole bunch this month, and I'm sorry about that! But I do have a good reason--I'm currently working on a new blog! Wahoo!!

I can't tell you what the name of the new blog will be, because I haven't narrowed it down just yet. But I can tell you this:

1) Life with the Casterlines is not going anywhere. I'm still going to be writing my three posts a week here.

2) The new blog will mainly focus on marriage from a Biblical perspective.

3) I'm super excited!!

You might ask, what are my reasons for this new blog? Well, I'll tell you.

One thing I've noticed from all of my online reading is that there are so many people hurting in their marriages. OR, there are a lot of people who are searching for resources on how to make their marriage better. If you look at divorce rates, you can definitely see that people need some help with their marriages. Our nation's high divorce rate isn't just in the secular world either, it's just as bad (if not worse) in the church! There is a lot of "noise" on the Internet telling us things like "porn is okay" and "living with your girlfriend is okay", and I think more Christians coming forward with an Internet presence showing the Godly way of marriage is desperately needed. Plus, I've always loved being able to comfort people and offer advice. Roman says that one of my best character traits is my compassion towards others who are hurting and in need. In short, I feel like this is something God has called me to do. He has shown me a need for it, and I have a passion to help be part of the solution...however small that part may be.

Okay, so why not just do all of that from this blog? Why go through the trouble of setting up a new blog? The answer to that is twofold.

First, I have a hard time keeping my mind focused sometimes. On this blog, you can find anything from pictures of our latest vacation to talks on marriage to strange pictures from Thursday Throwbacks. And I really like it that way. I like keeping things different and changing things up now and then. (Hopefully, you like it too.) I also have a ton of family members who don't live around here who read this blog, so I like being able to share some of these more personal details with them. But if I'm going to call myself a "marriage blogger" and actually advertise myself as such, then my blog needs to stay true to what I call it. Having a separate blog allows me to do more fun (and sometimes random) stuff here, while having a "pure marriage" blog as well.

Second, if all goes according to plan, then the new blog will also help me earn an income so that once Roman and I have kids, I can stay at home. And to be honest, I don't like the idea of a hopefully-one-day-huge blog that earns me money having our last name in it. If our last name was "Smith", then okay. But our last name is "Casterline" and I've already mentioned on here before that we live in South Georgia. Casterline is not very common, so it wouldn't be hard for someone to figure out where we live. I'm cautious like that. Not to mention, Casterline is not easy to say or spell for many people and I would like my income-earning blog to have a shorter, catchier name that's easy for people to remember.

Alright, I think that's enough details for now. I've been taking a free blogging class this month and the last session is tonight. I'm really hopeful that in the next couple weeks I will have all of the design complete and a name picked out so that I can share everything with you guys. And I really hope that you all will help me in spreading the word about the new blog. It's going to have a completely separate Facebook and all of that, so be on the look-out for an invite to like the new page. I've got some seriously awesome readers! Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far and offered words of encouragement, I really cannot express how much it means to me. I love you guys!!!  :)  :)  :)

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." ~1 Corinthians 10:31

Monday, June 10, 2013

June Financial Update

So far I’ve written twice this year specifically about finance. The first time was this post back in February, and the second was this post just last month. I thought that now would be a good time to re-visit our finance goals, you know, with it being the middle of 2013 and all. Wait, is it seriously June already? Holy moly.
Goal #1: Pay off student loan by end of 2014
Update: We are currently still on track to meet this goal, which is pretty exciting because it is our “largest” amount of debt at $5,500.
Goal #2: Pay off credit card/credit line by July of 2014
Update: We’ve had quite a few hiccups on this one. We’ve paid off both the credit card and the credit line…and then subsequently charged more to them. Between having an emergency surgery on a dog, a non-emergency surgery on the same dog, truck repairs, and our pesky impulsive buying habits, well…..let’s just say that with some hard work we will still meet this goal, but it’s going to take some serious cinching.
One thing that we’ve done to help with this is switch back to using cash as much as possible. For some people, this doesn’t work very well…and in some cases it doesn’t work very well for me either. I can’t just carry cash around in my purse indefinitely because if I do, I will eventually spend it on something it was not intended for. So what we’ve been doing is taking out the cash for our groceries the day we get paid and then we buy what we need for the next week that night. I also give both of us a certain amount of cash for lunch for the week and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
This has not exactly been foolproof, but it has helped. Example: yesterday I forgot that we had to eat out for lunch because we were not going to have enough time to cook. Only except we didn’t have enough cash for that. Thank you, credit card for saving the day. But in my defense, I fully plan to pay that $20 back when Roman gets paid this Friday.
For the most part though, having to hand over actual for-real cash has been painful enough for me to re-think a lot of my impulse purchases, and it has helped in cutting down how much we spend on groceries as well.
Goal #3: Go on a second cruise in October
Update: We actually already went on a cruise back in March. So we can call this goal “met”!
Goal #4: Have $3,000 in savings by end of 2014
Update: We actually changed this goal to the end of 2013. Why? Because we’ve realized through Duke’s surgery and our truck repair incident that we really really REALLY have got to save up a healthy emergency fund. An emergency fund saves you from charging $400 to an already-paid-off credit line for a dog’s surgery.
Goal #5: Pay off our couch loan by end of 2014
Update: We are currently still on track to meet this goal as well. Wahoo!
Goal #6: Be 100% debt free by end of 2014
Update: We may or may not actually get to this goal by the target date. Currently, all of our debt is actually scheduled to be paid off by July of 2014-including my car. But we’ve been talking about trading in or selling my car so we can get something a little bigger, so if we do we probably will not be 100% debt-free by December 2014. But honestly, if we can get everything else paid off and keep a healthy savings account, then we can pay extra on the new car payment and get it paid off super early-which is certainly our plan!

The biggest hiccup that we see coming down the line is my impending furlough starting next month. Unfortunately, I am a federal government employee, so I get to endure the 11 furlough days that are being served to pretty much the entire federal workforce. I’ve done the math, and I will be losing $553 out of my net pay during the months of July, August, and September. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of this, but I know that God is going to take care of us regardless of whether I get paid or not. We are just really praying that Roman will make enough commission over the next few months to cover my loss in pay, that way we won’t fall behind on our goals-and so far he is on track for this month, so that is really encouraging!
How about you? Got any big financial goals you are working towards? Anyone else really hate those “sudden” financial situations that seem to pop up at the least appropriate times? And who else thinks it’s too early to be June already?? Feel free to share in the comments!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Three Years!!!!

You probably noticed that I decided to take an impromptu week off. I guess the start of summer put me in lazy mode-but that's okay because I'm back all refreshed and full of ideas and all that great stuff. But besides all of that, today is a very special day. Why? Because today marks me and Roman's third year of marriage.

Holy moly. We have been married three years!! It's crazy to think that a little over three years ago we were taking our engagement pictures......

....And then all of a sudden our big day had arrived!

"First Look" at our private reveal. 

It was a whirlwind of a day, but it was the best day of my life.

Dancing with Dad

Including our three years of marriage, we've been together for around seven years. We got together in tenth grade at the ripe young age of fifteen years old. Out of pure respect for your eyeballs, I will not post a picture of us in our early dating days. You're welcome. But I will post these:

On the escalator leaving a Brave's game
Senior pictures

We've grown from being silly and in love to being even more silly and even more in love. 

Cruise: 2013

So, fun wedding story: my parents paid for our first night of our honeymoon. We were so exhausted from all of the prior day wedding festivities (no hidden meanings there), that we way overslept our alarm the next morning. We wake up at ten-ish and are just kind of sitting around the room. At about 11:00 I decide that maybe we could go swimming before we check out, but then we think "hey. we should see what time check-out is." Check-out was at 10:00.  Um. Uh oh!! The only thing I could think about was my Dad getting charged for an extra day because we missed our check-out time. We throw all of our belongings into the luggage, I splash some water on my face, and we run out of there real quick-like. No shower. No fixing of my hair. No make-up. Which resulted in me looking like this:

HI! My name is Sarah and I just got married yesterday,
so I do not care what you think about me right now.

To rescue myself, here we are the next day.....after waking up on time and showering and actually making ourselves look like we could venture into the public. Haha.

And here we are again....still looking all presentable. Yay for us!!

But seriously. After three years of marriage, I can be 100% honest when I say that I am the luckiest woman on the planet to be married to this man. I thank God that He has blessed us so abundantly in our first three years of married life, and I can't wait to see what else He has in store for us. 

"And the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh."  ~Mark 10:8