WFMW: How to Clean Glass Showers

When I first got married, I was really naive concerning all things grown-up related. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and she took care of most of the cleaning and cooking while we busied ourselves with school and extracurricular activities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called her since I got married three years ago and started the conversation with “How do you……”  

One thing I’ve struggled with is how to get those water-stained glass shower doors clean. The usual all-purpose bathroom cleaner didn’t do the job, and I was getting tired of watching the grime build up. Here’s the before shot:
See what I mean? G-R-O-S-S. So what’s the best way that I’ve found to get all that junk clean? CLR. 
After you spray it, you let it sit for about five minutes. Then you take a rag, sponge, whatever and scrub the surface. Once you get done scrubbing, you simply rinse it off and you’re done. See how pretty my shower door is now? You can’t even tell that this picture was taken while looking through the glass:

And while I’m bragging on our clean shower, check out our new shower head. I’m kind of sort of in love……

CLR works for me!!

Note: I am not an affiliate nor was I reimbursed in anyway by the company that produces this product. All opinions/professions of love are 100% my own.  🙂

“She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.”  ~Proverbs 31:20

The Day After Memorial Day

My dad served for twenty years in the Army, but that was before I was born. He was not a typical retired officer: he didn’t force our family to adhere to a strict schedule. He didn’t make me and my brother fold our clothes or make our beds like they did in the Army. In fact, I think the only time I ever saw the true “Army side” of my dad come out is when he called my ex-boyfriend and told him to leave his baby girl alone. And that was more funny than it was anything else. Even though my dad served for twenty years, I did not grow up an “Army brat”, so I honestly cannot really relate to the families of other military members.
However, I do work on a Marine base, and that changes things for me. I work with countless Marines, a Navy officer, and who knows how many retired military men and women. These people are my friends. I’ve watched them get shipped off to a war overseas. I’ve learned about their spouses and children and parents. We joke about sequestering the coffee mess and we play pranks on each other. I work with some really great people, and I’m proud to have a small part in something so much bigger than me.
Yesterday was Memorial Day. I saw countless Facebook statuses showing support of our military, and it was really great. But let me encourage you on this: don’t forget our military men and women and their families. We often fail to tell them how much we appreciate them unless it’s on a national holiday, but they deserve much more respect than that. Regardless of what you think about our president, or our government, or whether we should be fighting in a war or not, our past and present service members need the support of this country. They need to know they are appreciated. They need to be prayed for. They need to see our love and pride for them.
So as we head into the official start of summer (and as I sit here starting at my computer with sleepy eyes), don’t forget about those who sacrifice to keep our nation as great as it is. Thank a veteran. Thank a service member. And above all else, pray for God to bless them and keep them safe as they fight for our freedom.
To all my readers who have served/are serving: THANK YOU!!!!!
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~John 15:13

Living or Existing?

“Are you living or existing?”
One of the church signs I pass by on my way home has had this question up for about two weeks now. I’ve seen it several times, but yesterday was the first time I actually gave it any real thought.
Am I living? Or am I just existing?
I have had a friend for the past several years who has not made any real progress in her life. She gets herself into relationships with guys who treat her badly. She enrolled in college twice and dropped out both times. She has a job, and then she doesn’t. Ever since I’ve known her, she’s been in this constant cycle. I’ve tried encouraging her….all of our circle of friends has tried to be there for her and give her guidance, but she never really takes any of our advice, and the cycle continues on. She’s not really living and she’s not really growing. She’s just existing.
Then there are the people who are very successful: they have great jobs, good kids, and lots of luxurious items. But all they do is leave for work, stay late, come home, eat a cold dinner, and then go back to bed. They have what appears to be a great life, but they aren’t actually living their life, they’re just existing.
I think at one point or another, we all hit periods in our lives where we just exist. We get into a routine, overwork ourselves, get tired, and before we know it we’re on autopilot. Go to work. Do the laundry. Watch a little TV. Go to bed. Go to church. Go to bed. Repeat the week. It’s pretty easy to just “exist”, but that is not what God intended for us.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  ~John 10:10
God never intended for His children to lead a mundane life. Sure, we have to do boring things like sit in a doctor’s waiting room or go to work. But our lives are supposed to be filled with joy and excitement! He gives us beautiful blessings so that we can experience life to the fullest!
After examining my own heart, I am sorry to say that lately I’ve just been existing. I haven’t really taken the time to enjoy life; I’ve just been putting one foot in front of the other. But after God opened my eyes yesterday to this truth, I’ve started asking Him to wake me up again—to help me really start to live again and see the beauty around me.
It can be so easy to slip into a state of existing, so I encourage you to ask yourself the same question: Am I living? Or am I just existing? And then ask God to help you re-learn how to truly live again.
“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O Lord; You cover him with favor as with a shield.” ~Psalm 5:11-12

WFMW: Dog Problems

Today’s Works For Me Wednesday is for all my fellow dog owners out there. If you’ve ever had a dog that has gone through surgery, then you know the heartache that follows: your dog has stitches and/or staples, and you now have the task of getting them to leave. it. alone. so it can heal. And if you’ve ever owned a dog like Duke, then you know that this task can be downright impossible.

Duke had stitches. Within three days he ripped out half of them. So he got staples put in. He ripped those out within two days. 

Why didn’t you put the cone on him? You might ask. Well, we tried that. But when he immediately started slamming his head into the ground to try and get it off, it came off real quick-like. Because the only thing worse than a $450 vet bill from surgery is a $200 vet bill to pay for your dog’s busted face right after the surgery. Basically, if he was going to be that desperate to get it off with us standing right there, what would he do while we were gone at work? Would I come home to find my dog knocked out and my house a wreck? Not a chance we were willing to take…..

So after he ripped out the staples on Sunday, we started to get pretty desperate trying to figure out how to get him to leave it alone. Because there was no point in getting staples put back in if he wasn’t going to leave it alone. And even if we didn’t take him back to get staples again, it was never going to heal if he sat there and licked it all day while we were at work.

Cue our lifesaver: the Kong Cloud. This thing is AMAZING and I wish I could buy whoever invented it a milkshake. Or at least say thanks. Because after a week of trying everything we knew to try, Duke-y Face is finally unable to mess with his wound. (PS: the vet didn’t put staples in again when we took him back, it had already started healing enough on its own.) The Kong Cloud was right under $30 for a Large, and I purchased it from our local Pet Supermarket. 
The Kong Cloud is a protective collar that attaches to your dog’s regular collar. It has an inflatable tube surrounded by thick cloth (so they can’t puncture it by scratching at it). All you do is attach it to your dog’s collar, blow up the inflatable tube to the needed amount, and then put your dog’s collar back on him.

It took him a little while to get used to it, but we did our best to be really upbeat about the collar. And as soon as we put it on him we gave him a treat and then played with him so that he would learn that the collar was not a punishment. He wears it all day and all night and so far it is working really great for us! Here he is so you can see what it looks like (don’t mind Lauren in the background #photobomb):

It has also brought a whole new realm of nicknames for Duke to our minds: balloon-face, bubble-head,  balloon-dog…just to name a few. But for real, I’m just so glad we finally have a solution so that he can finally heal. 

The Kong Cloud really works for me!!

Note: I am not an affiliate nor was I reimbursed in any way by the makers of the Kong Cloud. I just have a deep appreciation of their product!  🙂 

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  ~Mark 8:35

Swing….and a Miss

Has anyone ever told you life is hard? Because if not, I’m here to tell you: life can be stinkin’ hard some days.

I’ve written before about our quest to get out of debt. Our original plan was to be 100% debt-free by the end of 2014. Then we got a nice tax return, Roman made some great commission, and we were able to take a cruise and pay some serious debt down. So our goal was able to be moved up to June of 2014.
Cue: Life enters from stage right and takes up the. entire. stage.
Did I mention life is hard? Because if I haven’t yet, let me tell you: life can be stinkin’ hard.
I had to have knee surgery, and I know there is a not-so-nice doctor bill coming in the mail for me any day now. Roman is going to need some oral surgery and possibly braces, and God knows that’s going to cost us. And then, Duke all of a sudden needed surgery this week. He had a sore on his back that we couldn’t get him to leave alone, and it welled up into a giant red thing that we had to get cut off. After the fish hook incident, I thought it would only be around $150. After all, we wouldn’t be paying for emergency surgery this time. Oh no sister, try $400 (!!!!!).

Needless to say, I freaked out. And only one dayafter the credit line being 100% paid off, I had to do an emergency transfer of $400 into our checking account to pay for my dog-child. Hmph. Check out his battle scars: Only except now you have to imagine that half of those stitches are staples. Because shortly after me writing this post, he ripped out half his stitches and we had to pay another $40 to get the staples put in. Thanks Duke.

My poor baby. He sat in my lap all the way home from the vet’s office, he was so upset. And of course, I feel like a terrible dog-mom. And an awful budgeter on top of that.

So to all you other peeps out there who may or may not be in a quest to pay off some debt: life can come at you hard and fast. And it hits you hard when you least expect it, and often times when things are going super awesome. But don’t give up. Slow and steady wins the debt-free race. I can almost guarantee you that there will be set-backs. Flat tire? Probably. Cracked windshield? Been there. But you can’t just throw up your hands and call it quits just because life throws you a fast one. **This may or may not be a self-counseling session. Forgive me, I just revised our budget for the month for the ten-millionth time.**

Chin up all you debt-paying-people. Just keep trucking as best you can, and we’ll arrive at our destination sooner or later. Although, I can’t tell you when Roman and I will arrive at our destination now that we’ve had our big three setbacks, because I refuse to re-calculate our payoff dates. I’m still in denial. Ignorance, for the win!  😉

“The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives.” ~Psalm 37:21

Throwback Thursday: Dance Parrttaaaaayy!!

I now introduce to you Thursday Throwback. A lot of my friends on Facebook do a “throwback” by posting a picture of themselves from their childhood—whether it’s funny or just plain cute. So in an effort to be a complete copycat, I’m bringing the Thursday Throwback to Life with the Casterlines. Shablam.
Our first real Thursday Throwback was this post that I wrote back in March about Roman’s second-grade writings. But there were no pictures in that one… maybe it doesn’t count after all. And it was written on a Friday, so that’s two strikes against it. Ahem.

Anyways, did you know that I used to take clogging when I was little? No, you didn’t. Because there’s only a handful of people who knew that, but now you do. I was actually getting pretty good at it, and I did it for around five-ish years. But then we moved and couldn’t find a good dance studio in the new town, so that was the end of that. But for five long years I danced around my parent’s kitchen in my clogs and scuffed up the linoleum floors and drove everyone half-crazy. Here’s an adorable picture of me at one of my first dance recitals. I was either five or six years old when this was taken. Am I not the cutest thing ever???!?!!?! (Just nod in agreement.)


So there ya have it folks. If you’re lucky I might show you a few of my awesome dance moves. MAYBE.

“Let them praise His name with dancing, making melody to Him with tambourine and lyre.” ~Psalm 149:3

Happy Birthday to Us! (and some other stuff)

I 100% missed the one-year birthday of my blog. Womp womp. As of May 2nd, this blog has been in existence for an entire year. Sing it with me: Happy (late) birthday to you, happy (late) birthday to you, happy (late) birthday dear bloggy-blog, happy (late) birthday to you!
Now, marvel at my Paint skills:

To all of my readers who read on mobile devices, this post may not make much sense to you if you are reading it on your cell phone. So if you want to, please scroll down to the bottom and click “view web version” after you get done reading so you can actually see everything I’m about to talk about.
Last night I spent quite some time glued to my laptop making some changes, so I thought I would take today and let you know what I did. You may have noticed a couple weeks ago when I added a “Home” and “About Us” tab right underneath the header. If not, then guess what? A couple weeks ago I added a “Home” and “About Us” tab right underneath the header. Cool, huh? Last night I also added a “Contact Us” tab as well. All three are pretty self explanatory: “About Us” is just a short synopsis for any of my new readers. “Contact Us” is where you can go to find our e-mail address, as well as the links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest page. When you get tired of looking at all of that stuff, simply click “Home” to get back to the main page of the blog.
I also added a sidebar to the left side of the Home page. I did this mainly because I did not want everyone to scroll for five minutes to see everything. So on the left side we have a few pictures, the link to the Mercy House shop that I told you about a couple weeks ago, a list of the blogs I follow, and my affiliate link.
On the right sidebar, I’ve added a search box  so you can type in a keyword and search for a post, rather than having to dig through the archives to find it. When you search for marriage, for example, it will bring up all of my marriage-related posts. I’m currently working on labeling all of my older posts so that they are sure to pop up like they are supposed to when you use the search function.
Right below the search box is a place where you can subscribe to my blog posts via e-mail-wahoo! Simply type in your e-mail address and click “submit”. Google will open up a new window where you type in those crazy looking letters to verify you’re not a robot, and then it will send you a confirmation e-mail. Be sure to check your e-mail for that confirmation e-mail and follow the instructions, because if you don’t then you won’t actually be subscribed. And if the e-mail doesn’t show up after a few minutes, you might try checking your Spam folder, just in case. I highly recommend subscribing, not just for my own benefit, but because you don’t have to worry about missing my posts when they are delivered right to your e-mail inbox. Sometimes Facebook doesn’t like me and it may not show where I’ve linked to a new post in your newsfeed- this way you won’t miss it. I subscribe to my favorite blogs, and I can tell you that it is really convenient!
Underneath the subscribe option is all of our social media sites. Everything is still the same, except I added our Pinterest account as well. Next we have the top ten posts for this blog. These are the most viewed posts that I’ve written. So if you’re new to our blog and would like to play catch-up, this is the perfect place to do it! Lastly we have the blog archive. If you don’t like using the search box, or if you can’t find what you’re looking for, then I still have a by-month list of every post I’ve written.
A few other notes:
As I mentioned above, I am working on applying labels to all of my posts. Some examples are “Life”, “Marriage” and “Spiritual”. In addition to the search box, this can help you find other posts related to that topic. For instance, if you click on the label “Life” at the bottom of yesterday’s post, then all of the posts with that label will be displayed.
And last but not least, I have also changed the way the Comments work after a couple of you notified me that you had a hard time submitting them. You now do not have to be a Gmail user to submit a comment, nor do you have to do the weird word-verification thing. This may open up the comments to the occasional spammer, but I monitor the comments and will make sure I delete anything that should not be there. But hopefully it will make it easier for all of you to interact on the blog, rather than having to resort to Facebook to send comments.
Woo! That was a long post. But I hope it was helpful to you. And please let me know if anything is not working like it should. I’ve tested everything, but sometimes things behave differently depending on what reading device and/or web browser you use.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”  ~Colossians 3:23

Opposites Attract

The saying that opposite people attract may have something to it. One thing I’ve noticed over our (almost) three years of marriage is that Roman and I think quite differently. And not just in a “he thinks like a man and I think like a woman” kind of way. I mean more along the lines of “is the glass half empty or half full” kind of way.

Roman is an optimist. I am a pessimist.
Example: There is a forecast for thunderstorms and possible severe weather tonight (hypothetically speaking, not really). I assume that we need to be ready to lock ourselves in the closet because we might get a tornado. Roman assumes that he’s going to sleep awesome tonight because it’ll be rainy/stormy outside.
Example: Duke has a bump on his back that we have to get removed tomorrow (for real). I am secretly freaking out because it could be cancer. Roman is not freaking out because he just thinks it’s an old sore that the dog wouldn’t leave alone.
Roman naturally sees the good side of everything and hopes for the best. I do not. Well, I hope for the best, but I assume the best is not going to happen.
I have been at war with my own hormones over the past nine months, and it’s been quite the struggle. (I may or may not go into deeper details at a later date, but for now, I’m going to leave it at that.) The other day in the car I was lamenting to Roman just how tired of it I was and how I felt like I was going to be taking all these medicines for the rest of my liiiiiiiffffeee. I went through all of my frustrations and aggravations and then I waited for him to agree with all of my concerns. But he didn’t. He sat there for a few seconds and then he basically said that he understood and he was slightly frustrated as well, but he wasn’t worried like I was. He said he knows it will all work out in the end.
God bless the optimistic people in this world.
This is one of those examples of how your spouse can make you into a better person if you let them. Because my husband takes my pessimistic thought process and shows me how to think more positively probably at least once a week. Sometimes it is annoying, I’ll admit. But sometimes, it helps me to calm down and see the other side of the picture that my narrow thinking can’t see. And I can tell you this: it’s a much prettier picture from his point of view.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  ~Matthew 6:34 

A Tribute To My Mom

When I was little, my younger brother got in more trouble than me…..boys generally do. Lots of times, my mom would just wait until my dad got home. The dread of waiting the rest of the day for our dad’s return was just as bad (if not worse) as the spanking we got soon after. But there were a few times that I can remember that mom didn’t wait for dad to get home. I have no idea what he did, but my little brother did something bad. My mom reached for him….and he ran.
It is never a good idea to run from your parents when they are trying to discipline you. Never.
I remember sitting on the couch watching them run around the big coffee table in front of me. I wanted so bad to trip one of them, but I couldn’t figure out which one. If I tripped my brother, then he wouldn’t share his toys with me. If I tripped my mom, then I would be in big trouble too. Thankfully she caught him before I had to make up my mind.
My mom is one strong lady. She will exercise with a hurt knee and scrub her house from top to bottom when she’s sick. She’s taken great care of all five of her children. I’ve seen her love all five of us with a fierce love. She prays over us daily…through the hard times and the good. She is wise in her advice and you can always count on her to lend a listening ear. She is kind to friends and stranger alike, and visits the sick in the hospital often. She loves Jesus and reads her Bible every day. She is the perfect example of a godly, Proverbs 31 woman.
She was my absolute best friend growing up, and she still is today. I’ve always told her everything…..from who made fun of me at school that day, to what I was thinking about going to college for, to who I wanted to marry. She taught me how to tie my shoes and write, and she always took great care of me when I was sick. She let me cuddle up with her when the boogie monster came to visit and promised me that the thunder would not do anything to hurt me.
And if you know her, then you also know that she adores her four-legged children too. But don’t you dare bring a snake around her…’re dead meat then, and so is the snake.
I’m not a mother yet, but I can tell you that I’ve got a good one. And she set the bar pretty high when I do become one. I thank God all the time that He gave me such a great woman to call my mom. She is the perfect example of how I want to be when I grow up.
Mom, happy Mother’s Day. And thank you so much for everything you have done for me. I love you!
“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”  ~Proverbs 31:28-31

WFMW: How to Get Your Husband to Do Stuff

It’s Works for Me Wednesday here at Life with the Casterlines. This is where I share little tidbits of *hopefully* helpful information. And please feel free to leave your own tidbits in the comments! Today’s post focuses on how to -ahem- get your husband to do stuff….
The Problem: My laptop continually freezes up and crashes. Not a good thing when you need it for your ministry or when you’re trying to do a blog post
The Solution: Hubby needs to wipe laptop clean, re-install operating system, and possibly do a dance around a campfire so laptop will continue to work
****Problem persists for over a year….with no Solution****
Step One: Over-exaggerate your reaction every time laptop messes up. If that doesn’t work, proceed to Step Two.
Step Two: Find a $1,200 laptop and request it for your birthday which is coming up in *one month*
Step Three: Explain (again) why the new laptop is needed
Step Four: Watch your laptop get repaired the very next day and admire your handy work.
This method will work for almost anything that needs to be accomplished. Hubby forgets to change the oil in your car? Start sending him prices for a Mercedes. Need him to give the dog a bath? Dump dirt all over his pillow and blame it on how dirty Fido is. Tired of ironing his clothes? Accidentally burn a hole through his favorite shirt.
Any questions?
Note: This is 100% not-godly behavior and was meant as a joke. Ladies, let’s please not be conning our men into doing all of the housework. But seriously, if it’s been a year and your laptop/car/dishwasher still isn’t working…..well, you have the game plan! Hop to it!
Also Note: Thanks for the fixed laptop, darling!  Xoxoxo
Functioning laptops work for me! 🙂  🙂 
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” ~Proverbs 31:27