Easy & Inexpensive Way to Repair Garmin Watch Band

Daniel and I signed up to run the Knoxville marathon next March. We’ve never run a marathon before so if you’ve got any advice for us, send it our way!

With the race being five months away, we’ve been logging a good amount of miles each week in preparation. We take turns on who gets to use Daniel’s Garmin watch on our runs because it not only logs our time, but tells us how far we’ve gone and our pace per mile. It’s a powerful training tool and it’s helped us tremendously on our runs. But there was one tiny problem with the watch.

After years of wear and tear, the watch band broke. We were having to carrying the actual watch piece in our hands during our runs which got kind of annoying, not to mention how easy it was to drop and damage it even more.

Daniel looked for solutions to getting the band fixed, but it basically boiled down to purchasing another Garmin watch entirely, which is not a cheap investment. 

(Here’s the part where I get to brag on my resourceful husband!)

Daniel found a YouTube video that showed how to repair the watch for way less than it would cost to buy another one.

All you’ll need is:

  • Watch band (Daniel got this one from Amazon for $12 and it’s been working great.)
  • Tiny screwdriver (Daniel used the smallest screwdriver in a set like this.)
  • Two small pieces of plastic. Daniel cut out plastic pieces from an empty milk gallon. 

Once you’ve got your supplies you’ll need to unscrew the four screws in each of the corners on the back of the watch. Put your new watch band in place, then fit the two small pieces of plastic over the watch band and the holes of the four screws on both sides of the watch. Use your tiny screwdriver to put the four screws back in place, and if the back of your watch looks like the picture below, you’re done! Your watch is ready to wear out on your next run.

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This project cost us less than $20 and was a better solution than buying a brand new Garmin for 10 times that amount!

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One thing to keep in mind: It took Daniel a few tries to unscrew the four screws on the back of the watch because they are so small and screwed in very tight. I had to hold the watch down for him while he used both hands to turn the screwdriver. So, if you’re having trouble with the screws at first, get someone to hold the watch piece down while you use both hands to turn the screwdriver.

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Do the Thing You’re Meant to Do

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A few months ago I felt the urge to do get serious with my blog. I felt a fire in my gut and a deep assurance that if I wrote more posts and shared them on every social media platform possible, my blog was going to be the most amazing thing ever and everyone would flock to read the words I’d written. I asked God to never let that fire inside me to die because obviously the urge to write and share my stories and words with others was Him telling me I needed to do it.

A couple weeks into my “Blog is life” mentality, however, I felt the fire began to taper off. Not that the fire wasn’t still there inside me, it just wasn’t roaring with passion like it once was.

I didn’t see immediate results, and so, I stopped.

But here’s where I got it all wrong.

I was relying on God to do the work for me. By asking Him, “Don’t let this fire die. Don’t let my passion to write slip away,” I was basically telling Him that He was responsible for making sure that I kept putting pen to paper  or rather, finger to keyboard. But it’s not His responsibility to do that.

It’s my responsibility to be obedient to Him and do the thing that He calls me to do. And I believe that my calling is to write.

I read a quote the other day from another blogger‘s post whose writing I admire. He was talking about Ernest Hemingway’s book The Old Man and the Sea. The main character in the book is a fisherman, and after struggling each day to bring in his catch he says, “Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman … but that was the thing that I was born for.”

I think we can all relate to the fisherman’s words. Just because I don’t feel like writing doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. Just because I don’t have any good ideas waiting to be developed doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work on my craft.

And this relates to so much more than writing.

Maybe you’re a teacher and a few kids in your class are having a hard time grasping the material. No matter what you do, they just don’t seem to understand and you feel like a failure. You don’t want to teach because it’s just too hard. It takes up too much of your time. You just don’t feel like it anymore.

Or maybe you’re a nurse and you dread going to work every day because you don’t know what — or who is waiting for you inside those hospital doors. Your patient’s health is getting worse and worse. You feel like there’s nothing you can do to help ease their pain and suffering. You feel like a failure. You don’t want to help them anymore because it’s just too hard. It takes up too much of your time, and you just don’t feel like doing it anymore.

We aren’t called to do something because it’s fun all the time and makes us feel good. We are called to do something because it’s hard, but worthwhile. It’s not full of fun, but it’s fulfilling. It doesn’t make us feel good, but it’s not for us to begin with.

The teacher is called to teach because she is patient, understanding and strives for success for her students more than she wants it for herself. She was born to teach.

The nurse is called to nurse patients back to health because he is kind, gentle, compassionate and genuinely cares about the quality of his patient’s life. He was born to be a nurse.

The writer is called write because she is creative, believes in the power of a story well told, and has a knack for stringing words together. She was born to write.

So, friends, your calling isn’t always a fluffy, feel good one. In fact, rarely is that ever true. The thing you’re meant to do is hard, down in the dirt work. But not only were you hand-picked to do this work, you were hand-crafted by the Master Artist to live out your calling.

So do your thing. And do it well.

Build Your Barn

If you’re a frequent reader, you may have noticed that I mention my mom in a lot of my posts.

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She is a talented writer, my most influential Christian role model, and truly exemplifies what it means to live out your faith. She has even had several devotionals published in The Upper Room, a daily devotional guide that is available in 33 different languages in 100 countries! I’d say she knows a thing or two about writing 🙂 She has always encouraged me to share my thoughts with others through the written word, and not only to write, but to write well.

She’s acquired so much wisdom over her lifetime and she and my dad have never been wrong in the advice they’ve given Daniel and me, especially when it comes to marriage. They will be celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary on Monday, so what better time for her to share some of her best marriage advice?

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When my daughter asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, my mind immediately whirled into overdrive.

After 34 years of marriage, I have quite a bit to say on the subject of newlyweds, marriage, husbands, and my contribution as a wife to the married state. In addition, I observed my own parents’ marriage of almost 45 years until my father passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack at age 71.

So, after musing on the marriage subject for awhile, I hearkened back to the sageness of my dad, whose wisdom I deeply respect and still rings in my ears 21 years after his death. One of the first “talking-to”s (that Southern slang term for sitting your gluteus maximus in a chair while someone else talks and you listen) I got when I was a newly engaged bride-to-be was this:

Dad: “Wilma, look around at all that your mother and I have accumulated over the years.”

I looked around and made the following wordless observations while I got my talking-to:

Me: Okay, life’s not bad. Our home is nice enough. We have three bedrooms and one bathroom. We have a car in the garage. We own our farm. Three square meals a day appear on our table, courtesy of sweet mom. You and mom sent me and sister to college. But, I wouldn’t say we are rich….no swimming pool in the backyard, no brand new car for me when I got my driver’s license, and we’re members of a REAL country club….we’re a farm family.

Dad: “I want you to know that when you get married, it takes YEARS to get established and grow your wealth. But just keep working at it. Time will go on and little by little, you’ll add to your bank account and build up your home.”

Me: Years? Oh, great. You mean when we get married, we’ll start out in a one-bedroom apartment with gold shag carpeting and matching harvest gold appliances, and we’ll drive two functional, but very OLD cars, and the A/C doesn’t even work in one?

Dad: “Patience is the key. Just work hard and don’t get greedy. Don’t go out and rack up debt on credit cards. Pay cash for things and build your barn slowly.”

Me: BARN?! Barns are great….for cows, horses, cats, tractors, cobwebs and mice. But I certainly don’t plan on living in one!

Dad: “You and Bill just work hard together, support each other, and don’t get in a big rush to get rich quick. That never works. Slow and steady wins the race, and at the end of the day, you’ll lay your head down on your pillow and have a clear conscience and you’ll sleep good. Marriage is a team effort, and if you’re willing to work hard and make some sacrifices, you’ll be like your mom and me someday and look back on the wonderful life you’ve built together.”

My dad’s advice and wisdom have never failed me. This is his wisdom that I am passing on to you too. Be blessed in your marriage, be patient and just enjoy the journey. Anticipation maximizes appreciation!

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Thank you, mom, for supporting my writing and sharing your marriage advice today! Happy 34th anniversary to you and dad, and stay spunky 😉

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Photography by Derek Couts

3 Ways to Be Financially Responsible In Your Marriage

So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? – Luke 16:11

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Photo by Derek Couts Photography

Before the vows are said and the rings are exchanged, many couples like to prepare for the transition from dating to married life by discussing a variety of topics.

Where do we want to live? How many kids do we want to have? What church will we attend? What lifelong goals do we want to achieve?

Financial goals and expectations are topics that need to be discussed as well! Money is a large component of marriage, whether we like it or not, that has the ability to help or harm it. I’m not saying that money is everything, but when we steward our finances with intentionality and consistency, we add a level of comfort and convenience to our marriages that makes them more fun and enjoyable for both you and your spouse!

Here are a few things to help you do just that:

1. Keep a budget
I’ve hit on this topic before in a previous post, but it’s so important and I think bringing it up again is worthwhile. Setting a budget and sticking to it is how you and your spouse are going to reach your financial goals later on down the road. It might not be very fun when you first get into it, but you will thank yourself later for paying off debts and not overspending.

Being financially responsible by keeping a budget is just a better way to live. You will be able to do more things, go more places, and when unexpected events come your way, like an emergency room visit, you won’t be sent into a panic wondering whether or not you can foot the bill.

2. Make financial decisions together
Daniel and I have only lived in our apartment for a few months and we are just starting out. There are a few things that we’d like to have for our home, but we know that it’s not in our best financial interest to purchase these things just yet. However, there are several big ticket items I’ve had my eye on for a while now that I just know would make our little abode more homey and inviting. How easy would it be for me to hop on Wayfair and buy all the fancy rugs I’ve been ogling for months or go to Home Goods and buy everything in the store? Super easy!! But I have a feeling that my husband wouldn’t be very pleased with me if he were to check our bank account at the end of the day and discover that I had spent hundreds of dollars without consulting him first. So, we make our financial decisions together, no matter how big or small they are.

It might seem a bit trivial, but even when I plan on buying something small for our apartment, like a lamp or a pillow, or go searching for a new work outfit, I always let Daniel know what I intend to buy and how much I expect it to cost so that it doesn’t come as a surprise to him when he checks our account.

Communicating your purchases to your spouse can prevent a lot of arguments and ensures that you are both aware of your current financial status.

3. Have a joint bank account
I know this can be a wishy washy subject for some couples, but hear me out on this. When we commit to spending the rest of our lives with someone, why would we exclude our finances from that commitment? That’s like saying, “I promise to spend the rest of my life with you, through sickness and in health, till death do us apart … buuuuut I’m gonna need to keep my bank account separate from yours, ok?” It doesn’t work that way!

Having separate bank accounts can potentially lead to bad spending habits and a point of contention between you and your spouse.

Having separate bank accounts can potentially lead to bad spending habits and a point of contention between you and your spouse.

Let me clear this up a bit: If you and your spouse share a bank account, your husband or wife has the ability to check the account whenever they wish. They can see every penny coming in and going out of the account. This holds each of you accountable. This is good!

On the flip side, if you and your spouse have separate accounts, you can spend as much money as you want without having to disclose that information to anyone other than yourself. So when you know you’ve spent more money than you should have and you don’t want your spouse to know, you might find yourself lying about how much you’ve actually spent. When lies and deceit begin to enter our marriages, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at first, we are setting ourselves up for a long and bumpy road that can easily be avoided.

When lies and deceit begin to enter our marriages, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem at first, we are setting ourselves up for a long and bumpy road that can easily been avoided.

By keeping a budget, making financial decisions together and having a joint bank account, you and your spouse will set yourselves up for financial and marital success, and be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor “as long as you both shall live”!

3 Ways To Survive Your First Job After College

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When I was about to graduate college and searching for full time employment, a lot of people said to me, “Don’t snatch up the first job that comes your way!”.

I repeated these words over and over in my head and told myself, promised myself, that I would follow this advice.

But after I filled out a couple applications, talked my way through some phone interviews and was offered a job at a hotel a few weeks later, it was as if I had never heard that advice in the first place.

You see, after making nearly nothing at all in college, I jumped at the first job I was offered because it sounded like a million dollar deal at the time! Mind you, my starting salary wasn’t much, but for a fresh-outta-college gal like myself, it was enough to reel me in.

My start date was a week and a half after graduation and although I wished I had more of a summer break before I started working, I was ready to make some money. Donned in my new work clothes with my lunch box in hand, I headed out the door to sit in traffic alongside thousands of other working adults.

It didn’t take me long to realize what a big fat mistake I had made.

And I don’t say that because I didn’t want to work or that I was a lazy college grad.

Have you ever had a job that you knew you just weren’t cut out for? This was the exact thought that entered my mind after two short weeks at my new job.

Every day I dreaded going in and I practically sprinted out the door when my shift was over. I dealt with grumpy guests during my 10+ hour days which only added to my misery. Thankfully, I was transferred to another hotel once the summer came to a close, and my situation drastically improved.

But the good thing about going through tough times is that you come out on the other side having learned something. And maybe that something learned can help out someone else in the long run. Although I was very unhappy at my first job after college, I learned a few ways to cope with my less than idyllic situation that I hope you can put to use if you ever find yourself in similar shoes.

1. Find a mentor(s)
My parents were and are my best mentors. They didn’t let me take the easy way out by quitting my job, but they did help me see the good side of things. For example, they kept reminding me that I was able to save up money so that Daniel and I would have a nice little cushion once we got married. And my mom would always tell me, “At least you know now what you don’t want to do, which is just as important as figuring out what you do want to do!”. Keep this in mind when you are searching for a new job and steer clear of positions that are similar to the one you are trying to get out of.

Figuring out what you don’t want to do is just as important as figuring out what you do want to do. Keep this in mind when you are searching for a new job and steer clear of positions that are similar to the one you are trying to get out of.

Along with my parents, a few supervisors at the hotel I was transferred to after the summer took me under their wing. They made it fun to come to work, they taught me new things every day, and they listened to me when I needed to rant. Sometimes all it takes to feel valued and appreciated at your job is for someone to listen to what you have to say.

Sometimes all it takes to feel valued and appreciated at your job is for someone to listen to what you have to say.

2. Be a positivity sponge 
Most days at my job, the only thing that kept me going was listening to the Christian radio station, K-Love, during my morning and afternoon commutes. If it weren’t for those songs pouring out encouragement through the speakers and lifting my spirits before and after work, I wouldn’t have had the mental strength to go in each day. We can’t control what will happen to us at work, but we can control what we fill our minds with outside of it.

We can’t control what will happen to us at work, but we can control what we fill our minds with outside of it.

2. Have an end date in mind 
I knew I didn’t want to be at this job for much longer, but I didn’t want to quit either. The only way I could keep going was to dangle a carrot in front my nose. I told myself, “Just make it through the summer”. So I did. Then I told myself, “Just make it until the end of the year”. So I did that too. And around this time, Daniel told me that he had been offered a job back in Knoxville. With his new job lined up and our wedding right around the corner, I knew I only had 2-3 months left at my job. I was ecstatic! Finally, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. With an end date in sight, my outlook completely shifted.

Now, I don’t encourage you to up and quit your job without seriously thinking it through and consulting with your family and mentors first, but the truth of the matter is, if you aren’t happy at your job, nothing is going to change if you don’t have a plan in place to improve your situation. Whether that’s applying for five new jobs every week or making a deal with yourself to only stay put at your current job for one year and then move on, having an end date in mind with a plan to meet it will keep you motivated and determined to reach your goal.

If you aren’t happy at your job, nothing is going to change if you don’t have a plan in place to improve your situation.

With guidance from your mentors, staying focused on the positive, and reminding yourself that this season of life won’t last forever, I am confident that you will not only survive your first job after college, but that you will set yourself up for success for your next job as well!

Being Hospitable Even When Your Home Is A Mess

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Maybe you’re like me and you’ve just moved into your first home. Or maybe you’ve been in your home for a while, but there are so many projects that need to take place before it even begins to mirror the vision in your head.

And the last thing you want to do is invite people over when you feel like your place of rest is a mess.

You’re afraid of what they might think or that your home won’t feel inviting. Maybe you’ll call them up when you have some new furniture or when the yard has been cut or when all the boxes have been unpacked. But not right now because your home just isn’t ready yet.

I’ve been there before. In fact, I’m still there! Many times throughout the day I think of all the things I wish we had in our apartment to make it more cozy, more decorative, more put together. I see what it looks like now and compare it to how I want it to look, and that makes it really difficult to be content with what we already have.

I’d tell myself, “When we have everything set up and it looks how I want it to look, then we’ll have people over”. But that’s just not what we’re called to do.

1 Peter 4:8-10 tells us, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 

Did you get that? Use whatever gift you have received to serve others. It doesn’t say, “Wait until your home looks perfect before you open it to others”. It doesn’t say, “Wait until all the shelves have been dusted and every room has been vacuumed before you open it to others”. It says whatever gift you have received is all that you need to serve others.

I began to realize that if I waited until our home looked exactly how I wanted it to look, it would be a long time before we’d have anyone over.

God doesn’t say “Come find me when you have your life together, and then we’ll talk”. Instead, he meets us where we are, unpacked boxes and all.

We can do the same thing when opening our homes to others. We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t have to have new furniture or a freshly cut yard to be hospitable.

We do what we can with what we have and God will take care of the rest.

8 Pearls Of Wedding Wisdom For The Next Bride In Line

*All photos by Derek Couts Photography

Daniel and I loved and cherished every second of our wedding day and nearly five months later, we still talk about how much fun we had celebrating our marriage with our favorite people in the world. There were several things we did on our wedding day that I know will make your own wedding experience so much more enjoyable!

1. Pray a special verse over your wedding and marriage
As a bride, you think of all the things that can go “wrong” on your wedding day. It’s just what we girls do. What if it downpours at your outdoor wedding? Or red wine accidentally gets spilled on your dress? What if nobody dances during the reception? Or an unwanted guest shows up as a plus-one?

Early on in the wedding planning process, my mom told me of a verse that she had been praying over our wedding and marriage; Ephesians 3:20. This verse says, “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.” She prayed this prayer often and told me not to stress about the things that were out of our hands. All we could do was plan and prepare the best we could and leave the rest up to Him. This verse brought me so much peace during the time of my wedding.

When we accept that we cannot control every obstacle that will come our way on our wedding day, but trust in God’s ability to do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine, we allow ourselves to be fully present on our wedding day, enjoying each moment rather than being rattled with fear and worry of everything that could go wrong.

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2. Sit down and eat dinner with your husband
Before our wedding, I wanted to know what past brides wished they had or had not done on their wedding day. Something that I kept hearing over and over was that the bride wished she would have sat down and eaten dinner with her new husband. So, I made a point to do just that. At our reception, we had our own little table set aside for us by the fireplace where we got to enjoy 15 minutes of just being together and taking in all that was happening around us. We got to eat our delicious dinner and talked about how seamlessly everything came together. It is one of my most favorite memories of our wedding.

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3. Cut a rug
When your guests see you having a good time, it makes them want to join in on the fun! We came up with a first dance that we had practiced for months before our wedding and when our DJ announced us during our grand entrance, we went right into it. We had the best time showing off our silly moves and I felt like it set a fun atmosphere for the rest of the evening.

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4. Don’t go crazy with the decorations. Create an inviting atmosphere instead.
You might have the most beautiful decorations, but if the atmosphere is stiff and nobody is on the dance floor, that’s probably what people are going to remember about your wedding when they think back on it years down the road. However, if you create a welcoming and fun atmosphere, your guests are going to stick around until your send off.

I wanted our wedding to feel warm, cozy and inviting for our guests, and I think we accomplished that without going overboard on the decorations. We had a fire lit during our ceremony and reception (instant coziness), and lots of candles strewn about. You can buy candles in bulk for pretty cheap. We also had good music playing the whole night, thanks to our awesome DJ, which set the tone for the evening and had people on the dance floor the entire night.

So when you’re obsessing over the nitty gritty details of your decorations, remember that your guests would probably much rather have a fun time dancing the night away at your wedding than have pretty centerpieces to stare at for a few hours.

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5. Make it personal
Most of the decorations at our wedding were things we already had at home, like my typewriter, door wreaths, and things for our UT pom pom send off. Or they were things that people had made for us, like the wooden cross that sat on top of the mantle that my best friend handmade for me, and an antique door that my mom had made for us that served as the backdrop for our family dessert table.

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6. Involve your family and friends 
My mom made our wedding cake from scratch and used my grandma and grandpa’s cake topper. She also did the majority of the decorations by herself, helped me address wedding invitations, and so much more. Women on both sides of our family made desserts for our family dessert table, Daniel’s uncle married us, my aunt cross stitched our ring bearer pillow, my second cousins were our flower girls and Daniel’s were our ring bearers. One of my bridesmaids sang a song and played guitar while we took communion and lit our unity candle, and ALL of my bridesmaids were such a huge help with getting our trail mix bags stuffed and setting up the day before. Your wedding will be much more special when you involve the ones you love the most.

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7. Get most of your photos out of the way before the ceremony 
We had a wonderful photographer, Derek Couts, who is also our close friend! He did an amazing job taking our family photos and bride and groom photos before the ceremony so we could eat dinner, visit with our guests, and dance for the rest of the night! After all, we had been planning this day for over a year, so why not enjoy it?! He was also fantastic at taking natural photos of us throughout the night and not pulling us away from the fun to get forced, posed shots.

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8. Visit with your guests, but don’t feel bad if you can’t make it to everyone 
Yes, you should and need to visit with your wedding guests. They took time our of their schedule to come celebrate with you, so you should thank them for that! However, don’t feel bad if you can’t (and chances are, you won’t have the time to) visit with every single person there. They know that you have a lot going on and they want you to enjoy your own wedding! But be sure to thank them for coming after the wedding, whether that’s by writing them a thank you note or making a phone call.

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