Thursday, December 31, 2015

Be Present! A Plan for the New Year!

I can't believe we are done with another year already. Each year seems to go by faster and faster, but they also get better and better, so it's ok. I guess that's how it is when you have kids.

We had a big year this year, filled with lots of great moments, but some really tough times as well. I have to count it all as a blessing though, because even the hard times produce gifts, such as perseverance and a stronger faith!

Looking back on the goals I set for this year, I can't say that I am disappointed. I feel that most of what I set, I accomplished. There were a few things that maybe I need to continue to work on this year, but hey, nobody is perfect. I didn't expect to accomplish everything. Overall, it has been a very successful, rewarding year, and I am so very grateful for everything!

This year my focus is on others. To be present in every moment. Whether, I am at work, out with a friend, at home with my family, or spending quiet time by myself. I need to be more present in all that I do. Now that my years seem to be flying by, I can't afford to miss out on the important things.

In fact, if I can be honest, we all need to be a little more present in what we do. This means.....

~ Putting down our phones when engaging with others.
~ Scheduling less each month, so we have more time for what is important
~ Creating more meaningful exchanges
~ Less multitasking

The truth is, not one of us is promised tomorrow, and if we aren't careful with how we spend our time, it will be gone before we know it.

How do you want others to remember you by?

I already know my answer.

I wish you nothing but the best in 2016 and I hope that you achieve all that you set out to do!

Many Blessings,

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Year of Pinterest Projects

So I may be biting off more than I can chew with this task, but it's the start of a new year and I'm feeling motivated and my creative juices are flowing.

I designed this to be something fun, not a goal to reach and then get mad when I don't. I figure even, if I only complete a few of these projects, it's better than nothing. I feel like I pin so much stuff and never do any of it, so I created this plan and picked out specific projects to do. If I am able to complete the project for that week, awesome, if not, it's no big deal. Most of these projects are very easy and don't require a lot of time to complete, so even if I don't get to one on a certain week, I may be able to complete it the following week, when I don't have as much to do.

I have completed this list below for you to follow along with if you like. Each one has a link to that specific project, on my Pinterest Board. You can do them in order or pick a different one each week. I will be doing them in the order that they are listed.

1. 52 Date night cards*                                                   
2. Time capsule*                                                             
3. Glass terrarium*                                                         
4. Fall Wreath*                                                           
5. Anniversary heart map frame*                                 
6. Flower curtain ties*                                                     
7. Paper Dahlias*                                                         
8. Upcycle cans with twine*                                       
9.  Resurrection Garden*                                                
10. Wooden Scripture Tray*                                                             
11. Chalkboard Clipboards*                                           
12. Recycle baskets*                                                         
13. Mood board*                                                             
14. Laundry Room Redo*                                                 
15. Scrap paper flower on canvas*                                
16. Song lyrics on wedding photo                               
17. Decorative wooden box                                                   
18. Cork arrows*                                                              
19. Repaint the fireplace*                                              
20. Fabric envelopes                                                    
21. Mr. & Mrs. Placemats*                                            
22. Pantry Redo                                                             
23. Monogram Frame*                                                    
24. Mason jar wall vases*                                               
25. Hanging floating shelves*                                       
26. Modpodge photo on wood                                     
27. Repaint Piano
28. Woodland Centerpiece*
29. DIY stamped clay bowls
30. Angel wings paper wreath*
31. Burlap & pinecone Ribbon*
32. Record album frame wall*
33. Gallery Wall*
34. Photo booth picture
35. Sharpie Mugs
36. DIY Pin board
37. Wine bottle vases*
38. Burlap acorns
39. Pumpkin Planter*
40. Pumpkin pillows
41. Chalkboard mugs
42. Stick Letter*
43. Love hand/foot board
44. Believe Canvas
45. Give thanks chalkboard*
46. Burlap placemats
47. Santa letter cookie plate
48. Advent Calendar
49. Christmas definition photo
50. Antler Board
51. Handmand gingerbread ornaments
52. "Open when" letters

Here is a quick project to get you started. It's a calendar for memories that you can reuse over and over every year! I hope you enjoy the rest of 2015!! Click the link below the picture for the monthly calendar cards!

Memory Calendar

Many Blessings,

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Jesus & a Merry Christmas to You!!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
Happy Birthday Jesus!

Many Blessings,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Last Minute Gifts & My New Favorite Christmas Decor

I seriously can't believe that Christmas is five days away! I have really been enjoying Christmas this year in our new home. My son is starting to grasp the whole concept of Santa and every day he asks, "Santa come down the chimney?" I love watching the excitement on his face when we drive around to look at all the lights in our neighborhood. It is his favorite thing to do now! Part of me is worried about what we are going to do when Christmas is over and everyone takes their lights down.

We have also been doing our advent everyday, reading stories from the children's Bible, and enjoying the fun activities in our 12 days of Christmas. So far, we have been to Longwood Gardens, the firehouse to see Santa, decorated our gingerbread houses, made a ton of Christmas crafts, and baked lots of cookies together. I can't wait for Wednesday when we go on a horse drawn sleigh ride at the farm to see all of the lit up trees.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year and I am enjoying every minute of it. One thing I really enjoyed was decorating our house for Christmas. This will be our first Christmas in our new home, so I purchased some new decorations and got creative with some of our old ones. I love getting  inspiration from the bloggers I follow as well! This year my favorite decorated areas of the house are in dining room on/over our buffet table and my kitchen window. We have a really big window over our sink, so I decided to get creative and line all of our Christmas cards there. Now, whenever I am doing the dishes, I get to look at all of my beautiful friends and their families!

Another thing I enjoy is coming up with creative gift ideas. I always see on Pinterest, gifts in a jar or themed gift baskets, so I decided to do that for my friends this year. I had so much fun!

Check out my new Pinterest board below to see tons of awesome gift ideas that are so easy to create, even if you wait till the last minute! I think this year I am going to try to create themed baskets/jars for all gift giving occasions!

Pinterest ~~> Creative Gift

Have fun and I hope you get all of your shopping done!

Many Blessings,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Closer to Him: The Answer to Everyone's Question

If there is a God, and he loves and cares for the people of this world, then why do all of these really terrible things keep happening?

I feel like I have heard some form of this question so many times in my life. For the longest time, inside, I felt like I knew the answer, but I never knew exactly how to get it out the right way. I was so afraid of what people would say back, and would I have another answer for their reply. Would I end up confusing someone even more because I was not able to explain it the right way, and most importantly I don't want to offend anyone or hurt anyone by what I say.

In the bible it clearly states....

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you, to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"-1 Peter 3:15

"Let your speech be always filled with grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone". -Colossians 4:6

So here's my answer, with all the grace and gentleness and respect tied into it....

In life, there is good and there is bad. I believe that all good comes from the Lord and I believe all the bad, evil stuff comes from the devil. Here is the tricky part..... God does ALLOW bad things to happen to good people. He does not CAUSE these things to happen, but He does allow them, and there is a difference. 

Everything that the Lord created was meant for good, but we know that in this world there are really bad, horrible, unthinkable things that people do, and we all want to why God allows these things. He allows these things, these terrible, awful, horrible things to happen, so that we can grow closer to him. We all need a Savior in this life. Otherwise, where would we find our hope to go on? 

Think of it this way, sometimes the devil allows people to live their lives free from trouble, because he doesn't want them ever turning to God. Their sin is like a jail, except this jail is all nice and pretty and comfortable, so they don't ever see any reason to leave. In the end, these people will come to a point when they realize they are missing something and that there is more to life than what they are living.

This is when things start to get hard. People start to take interest in God and want to know more about Him. The devil can't stand this. In fact, he hates it, so he fights back. He does whatever he can to get you to believe that there is no God. He brings the doubt, the anger, the confusion. All in an effort to keep you from turning to Him. You see, the devil only has one plan and that plan is to keep you as far away from the Lord as he can. 

This means he will do whatever it takes!! Even to the point of death, so that you are questioning why God could take such innocent people from this earth. 

What if I told you that God's heart breaks ten times more than ours for those people's lives that were lost. Jesus prayed on that night for the cup to pass, so that He would not have to die on the cross, even though He knew that He had to do it. God allowed it to happen, because He knew that in order to offer us eternal life, He had to give His own.  

And in the end, Jesus won! The victory was His, when He rose from the grave, and defeated death! God can take anything that is meant to be bad/evil and turn it into good. 

This means that even though Jesus does not cause the bad, He does allows it. He allows it so that we can turn to Him for comfort and peace, and He can make something good out of it. 

Life is not easy and there are a lot of evil things that happen in this world, but God......, He is good and in the end He always wins, even if we aren't here to see it on earth.

Many Blessings,

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Best Of & What's to Come & Giveaway Winner

So, lets talk about how it's December already!! This year really did fly by. I mean, I know everyone always says that time flies, but each year seems to go by faster and faster! I am so glad that I love to document things, otherwise I would forget what I did with all of my time.

This has been a big year for all of us and I am beyond grateful for all that the Lord has blessed us with! I thought it would be fun to do a post with "the best of" 2015. I also want to give you a glimpse into the awesome stuff I have planned for next year!   Photos of the house with Christmas Decor. Greyson's birthday photos.

Here we go......

Top 5 Blog Posts

1. My first ever post was very popular: #beautyinthemidst
2. A Teacher's Best Friend
3. So Much Talent & a giveaway
4. Mother's Day Thinking Outside the Box
5. A Blessed Thanksgiving and a giveaway

I have had so much fun with my blog this year. I feel that I have learned so many new things and I can't wait for all that I have planned for 2016.

Our Year in Numbers

Our greatest accomplishment this year, I would have to say, was the purchase of our new home! I
knew from the first time I walked in that house, that it was meant for us! I now have it all decorated for Christmas and can't wait to celebrate this year!

What's to Come

I have a huge list of awesome stuff I have been working on for the new year and I can't wait to share. In no particular order, here are just a few:

1. A year of Pinterest projects. 52 weekly projects with tutorials for you to follow along. Let's make this the year we actually get some of those projects done!
2. 1000 Gifts infinity monthly calendar/basket (plus a download) with tutorial. This will actually be posted before the new year so that you can start in January.
3. A new devotional for each month of the year. Every month will be devoted to a new topic (faith, anger, discipline) with lots of scripture references & memory cards.
4. Endless Prayer Calendar. Every day of the month is devoted to a different person in your life that you can pray for and every month you will start over again. This is a great way to make sure you are praying for all your friends and family throughout the year.
5. A year in film photos. I have already started my year with Grey. We started on Thanksgiving, but you can start anytime. All you need is a film camera and a commitment to take a photo every day for one year. I can't wait to get my first roll developed!!
6. The Joy Jar for work. This is one of my favorites. Stay tuned, a blog post in January will explain all about the Joy Jar
7. 31 Days of Praise and Prayer Ebook (still in the works). Estimated to be finished in early spring.

Don't forget to follow along throughout the rest of this year. I have a few more great posts to share before we enter 2016.

Finally, Congrats to our giveaway winner Kristen! You will be contacted shortly to receive your basket!! Thanks to all who participated in this giveaway. A special treat is coming to you via email. Check your inboxes Monday!

Many Blessings,

Monday, November 30, 2015

Spread Love December Challenge

This year I wanted to do something different in giving back for Christmas. Not that donating to charities and organizations isn't great, I just wanted to be a little more creative. I thought it would be fun to do a 'Spread Love' challenge everyday of December leading up to Christmas Day. I carefully thought out 25 different random acts of kindness in an effort to spread the love this Holiday Season. You can join along with me on Instagram as I post a different 'act' everyday. Look for this picture everyday in my feed, with the date and kindness act. You can use the hashtag #spreadtheloveCC15 when you post pictures of your kindness acts.

Image graphics from www.jonesdesigncompany.com

Let's have fun and spread lots of love!!!

Many Blessings,

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Blessed Thanksgiving & A Giveaway

I don't know about you, but I had a an awesome Thanksgiving!! My sister-in-law hosted 25 peeps at her house and she is 6 months pregnant! She rocked it! The food was so amazing and the fellowship with family and friends was even better!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas planning, decorating, and gift buying is in full swing. We are going to the tree farm this afternoon to pick out our tree!! Im so excited! I will be up all night decorating it!

I have also been working on creating my own advent for this Christmas. It is very simple, but moving, and to me, tells what Christmas is all about. As my gift to you, I am offering it to you as a free download.  ~Jesus: Hope-Faith-Peace-Love~ 

I also have the tutorial for the mason jar advent candle you can watch. The candle goes along with the advent devotional. Every Sunday you light the candle as you read the devotions and pray. This is a great way to prepare your hearts for Jesus this Christmas. I hope you enjoy it!!

I also decided to do an advent reading with my son Greyson. Every night before bed, starting December 1st, I will be reading a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible. These are great short little stories from the bible that lead right up to the Jesus' birth on December 24th, the night before Christmas! Then on Christmas day we will read the last story in the book, A Dream of Heaven. I am so excited to do this with him, because he is finally starting to sit still and listen when I read books now. Get a copy of yours today on Amazon and have it time to start on Tuesday!

Finally, the best part, a giveaway!! I am so thankful for all that God has blessed us with this year. The good and the bad, because even the hard stuff is a gift that makes our faith stronger in Him. As a way of giving back, I wanted to do an "Oh, So Thankful" giveaway.  See below for all the goodies I am giving away to one lucky winner. It's so easy to enter!

"Oh, So Thankful" giveaway basket includes:

1. $25.00 Starbucks gift card
2. $25.00 Target gift card
3. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Best movie ever)
4. First Snow scented candle
5. Peppermint slims pretzels
6. "Hey Santa" banner
7.  2016 wall calendar (to start planning for next year)
8.  "Be Merry" burlap sign

Many Blessings,

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Host of Parties

Two weekends ago, we celebrated my son, Greyson's 2nd birthday! It was so much fun! It was also our first party in our new house! I had so much fun decorating the house and getting it ready to host. I ordered a lot of fun stuff for the party as well. 

My son LOVES trains, so of course I had to make that the theme. I really did enjoy decorating and planning for it and I was so pleased with how it all came together!

Food: Catered from Wegmans

Track #5 Desserts: Homemade mini-cupcakes/ Cake topers: by The Party Stork from Etsy

Railroad Sign cookies & Greyson's mini cake: The Cake Stand Bakery

Track #1: Extra Baggage (gifts)/chalkboard pennant sign from target & I hand lettered his name.

Track #6 Favors & Birthday Wishes/ "All Aboard" sign by: The Party Stork from Etsy

Train Whistle Favors purchased on Amazon.

'Birthday Wishes' filled out by guests. I created these cards in Keynote.

So happy! Waiting for us to sing to him!! Decorations & big balloon from Party Sparkles on Etsy.

He wasn't sure what to do, I think he got nervous for a minute, but we helped him through it!

Still in shock from everyone singing to him! He didn't know what to do, lol.

It was all around a great day! I still can't believe my baby is 2 years old already!! I don't know where the time went. Some of my favorite things from the party were:

1. The Railroad Sign cookies from the Cake Stand. They did such a good job and they tasted so good.
2. The different stations (track numbers) on the chalkboard signs for the food, gifts, & desserts.
3. The train whistle favors (with the thank-choo tags) and the birthday wish cards for his 2nd birthday book.

But the best part was hanging with our friends and family and seeing this boy really enjoy his special day!

Here are a few photos from the photo shoot we had done the Friday before his party! 

We were so pleased with how these photos came out. A special thanks to Sarah Ann Photography for capturing these moments for us!

We also hosted our first annual Friendsgiving Dinner this past weekend with our small group from church. This too, was a very special time for us, so special in fact, that I didn't remember to take any photos!! In a way, I am upset, because I love taking photos of big events, so that I have them to look back on in the future. I guess I was just having so much fun and really present in the moment, that I didn't think to take any photos. So, I guess I am ok with that! That means for you guys though, unfortunately, I don't have any photos to share of the food or decor. I do however, have the craftivity that we did, and I will share with you on how to make your own, in the next post! So be sure to check back on Friday, after Thanksgiving for that tutorial!!!

Until then, I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving! Don't eat too much Turkey!

Many Blessings,


Thursday, November 19, 2015

A New Way To Do Christmas!

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but before I know it, Christmas will be here. Don't get me wrong, I want to enjoy every minute of Thanksgiving, and make sure I don't rush through it, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't keeping an eye out for Christmas gifts.

A few years ago, I read about a new way of doing Christmas. I honestly don't remember where I saw this idea, but I loved it! Each family member would get four items: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. I think this is a fabulous idea. Let's be honest, now-a-days, people get so carried away with buying too many gifts and lose site of the true meaning of Christmas. I mean, I love giving gifts, but if that is the biggest thing for you at Christmas, then maybe you should re-think some things, and I mean that in the most loving way!

I thought that this would be the perfect year to cut back a little. We just bought a house and furnished the whole thing. I even thought about not buying anything this Christmas and wanted to just focus on Jesus and spending time with family and friends, but I thought since this is our first year in our new home, we should do something.

This is a fun way to buy gifts without going crazy. It allows you to give to others and celebrate the season without losing focus of what Christmas is really all about!!

I created these gift tags to put on the presents and I am offering them to you to download as well.

Check back on Monday for photos and stories from my son's 2nd birthday and our 1st annual Friendsgiving Dinner!!

Many Blessings,

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Welcome & Introduction (plus a review of Whole 30)

A few things to note about this video:

1. This is my first video blog post, ever, so please be kind!!
2. I stated twice, not just once,  that my blog was on blogstop, instead of blogspot. I don't know why I reversed it both times.
3. I apologize for the overly exaggerated lip smacking noise. I will definitely work on this, but I wasn't about to record myself again!

Enjoy and please feel free to leave me any questions or comments below!

Many Blessings,

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Writing Challenge: Day 31

So we are here! The final day of the #write31day challenge. I think I did pretty good. There were only 5 days that missed this whole month. I have really enjoyed doing this and I am proud that even though I missed a few days, I didn't give up and stop. I hope that you enjoyed reading my posts and that they were in some way, encouraging to you! My final praise and prayer is about salvation.

My salvation is a gift that no other could give. Because God the Father sent His son to die on the cross for my sins, I can spend eternal life in heaven, if I choose to believe. Some days I can't even wrap my head around it. My Lord and Savior gave His life for me, a gift I can never repay. It's the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate gift.

This gift is not just for me. It's for anyone who chooses to believe and accept it, and it only takes a simple prayer. Maybe this is something you have been wanting to do, but not sure if you are ready. Well, I assure you now is the perfect time. God is waiting for you to say this prayer today. Won't you pray this with me?

Dear Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and in need of a savior. I believe that you died on the cross for my sins so that I can spend eternal life in heaven with You. I ask that you come into my heart and forgive me of my sins and choose to follow Your path. Thank you for this undeserved gift that I can never repay. In Your precious Name I pray, Amen.

I praise God today for anyone who has chosen to believe in Him and pray this prayer! He is there for You and has a plan for You. I pray that you will grow in His knowledge and will be blessed in the days to come.

And here is a little something I finally got around to finishing, even though it's the last day of October, hehe. As I always say, better late than never, and besides it's still fall until the middle of December!

Many Blessings,

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Writing Challenge: Day 29

Praise: Today's praise is for His heavenly peace. I am so grateful that He stills my soul. Whether I am  overworked, overwhelmed, or worried, He brings a peace that transcends all. All I have to do is lift my voice in a simple prayer, turn it all over to Him and will bring a peace that passes all understanding. Praise God for that!

Prayer: My prayer ties into my praise today. As we are coming to a close with our #write31days challenge, I can say that Gd has really been working in my heart over the past few weeks regarding several different situations. Through writing about praise and prayer, He has really given me a peace about everything. I can honestly say when you make time for Him everyday, my days just seem more peaceful. Now, I am not saying everyday is perfect. I have definitely had some hard days, but during those hard times I have still been at peace, because ultimately I know that He is still in control of everything. This has allowed me to let go of things a lot easier and move on faster, instead of staying worries or overwhelmed in my situation. I pray this prayer for you, so that in the days to come you can experience this same peace no matter what your situation.

Dear loving Father, I thank You for all that I have learned over these past few weeks, while participating in this writing challenge. I ask that you would continue to bring peace into all areas of my life. I pray this for all my friends as well. Help to still their hearts and focus on the good. Bring them a peace that passes all understanding, so that no matter what their situation they will know that You are in control. In Your Name we pray, Amen.

Don't forget to enter the DaySpring Giveaway! Today is the last day!!

Many Blessings,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Writing Challenge: Day 28

As I was thinking about what to write for my praise today, I realized that I don't need a reason to give Him praise. I can just praise Him for who He is. He alone deserves praise just for being our God. Not for anything He does for us. So I'm keeping it simple today.

Praise: I praise Him just for who He is. Not for anything He has done or will do, just Him. For being my Lord and Savior.

Prayer: My prayer today is that I will do my best to remember how awesome He is, day in and day out. That nothing could ever replace Him in my life and without Him I am nothing.

Dear Jesus, I praise You for who You are. I am so grateful that You have been my God through all of the ups and downs. That just Your Name alone deserves endless praise. Please send Your Spirit to be with me, so that I may never loose sight of You. Forgive me when I don't make time for You in my day. As You should be first in everything. I love You! In Your Name I pray, Amen.

Many Blessings,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Writing Challenge: Day 27

So I know that I am a little late with this post, but the day is not over yet.

Today's praise is for His leadership. Many people think only of Jesus as this holy, all powerful, magnificent being, but forget, that He was also a human being just like you and me. Of course He was without sin, which sets Him apart from you and I, but He was still 100% flesh and bones human; breathing, eating, sleeping, and resisting temptation. He was the ultimate leader! I praise Him and thank Him for being the perfect example of how we should be. 

Prayer: Today's prayer is for our leaders today. Whether we agree with how they lead or not, they still need our prayers for guidance in making the best decisions for our country. Will you pray this prayer for them with me?

Dear gracious Heavenly Father, I lift up to you the leaders of this country. Be with them everyday in big things and the small. Watch over them and protect them from any harm or disaster. Be present with them as they make decisions and give them the wisdom and clarity to know what is best for our country. Give them peace and rest so that they will put forth their best self on a daily basis. In Your Name we pray, Amen.

Many Blessings,