Saturday, April 28, 2012

Print Edition Now Available!

Print editions of my book are now also available!

For those of you that don't own a Kindle and still want to read Finding Beauty in the Breakdown, I've just received notice that it is now available in paperback for $3.99 from Amazon (which is super cheap when you think about it). At 70 pages, it's the perfect size for some light afternoon reading, and when your done, you can pass it along to a friend and spread the message! :)

I have to say, I think the print edition looks pretty nifty myself! I did all of the design by myself (too cheap to pay for a designer when I own Photoshop) and the pictures are courtesy of my personal photographer (also known as my Mommy). Yes, those are my feet. And my toes. At the beach. :)

So. Excited.

I'm so excited (and I just can't hide it).

Reason #237384 I'm not a great blogger- I can't plan out things nice and neat time wise, because I just can't keep a secret.

[I had a really great video to post right here, but Max made me promise not to post it. Apparently dancing like a dork on video with your sister isn't cool. Who knew? But, he did tell me I could keep it on my computer for blackmail purposes to use when he is rich and famous, so I guess that is okay.]

I feel like most of us take a break on the weekend from catching up on blogs. I mean, weekends are time to spend with friends and family. Some of yall may not see this until Monday. Plus, I'm a mere three (now two) posts away from the highly anticipated 500. That seems like a great place to make a super big, ginormous announcement. But, that's okay. I just can't wait. I'm bursting at the seams.

Do any of you remember this?

I'm done. I mean...I'M A PUBLISHED AUTHOR!!!!! (meaning I have a book and it's being sold on Amazon, so I get this pretty nifty page with my picture on it. not meaning that I have a contract with a publishing company, though that would be pretty sweet if anyone has connections)

I just couldn't wait to share the news. This has always been my dream. As a little girl, being an author was one of those "dream jobs". I even wrote a few little books (but, they weren't really great). In Kindergarten, I wrote a little tale about "How Number 1 Met Number 2" (They met at a grocery store where Number One told Number Two that she was going to have a baby. I was a little obsessed about the little sibling thing. Kind of awkward. I might share it sometime if you're really lucky). In fourth grade, my friend and I wrote a book called "The Boat Trip" guessed it, a boat trip. In those very few short pages, we had pirates, cannons, adventures, and a trip to go see a favorite teacher. But, neither of those were published. Not like this anyways.

Over the last year, I've been hard at work on a book. The other night, I finished it. As I tweeted Wednesday, "I really might just cry. My book is finished. So much went into those 11,000 words (yes, it's short), but it is my heart." I've been a little self conscious over the length. But, I didn't want to write fluff. I didn't want to put unnecessary words on the page. My vision for this book was for it to be as if we sat down for a conversation. Therefore, it's pretty casual in it's tone. You won't find many big words (like eschatology) in this one.

My heart. My passion. Some of my writings over the past year have come from this book, but not the complete story. Not everything. Other portions of the book are from my journal. It's real. It's raw. It's messy. It's not all princesses and sparkles (but, it's not super depressing, don't worry!), but that's how my life is, and I'd imagine that yours is probably the same. There are times of sparkle and times of dimness. This is the story of many, many seasons. I've been stuck on the last chapter for about a month now, but during last Sunday's sermon at church, it all came together and ended in a nice neat,pretty bow.

I'd like to introduce you to my baby now.

Finding Beauty in the Breakdown. You see that name in the small print under the title? That's MINE!! As the description says, 
Worry and anxiety about the future are two of the biggest problems that people face. In an uncertain world, how can we trust that the future is going to turn out okay? We have to learn to rely on God and trust that he can and will provide for our every need. Life isn't worth worrying over, that is just wasting the precious time that God has blessed us with. It's time to take off the shame related to struggling with anxiety and time to start finding beauty in the breakdown.
If you've read my blog for long, you know my story. You know how I'm an obsessive planner and how I worry about everything. This is the story of my journey. It's a little scary to release this baby out there into the world, but I really want to share my story. I really want to show how hope can come, even in the darkest of times, if we just remember to turn on the light. 

So, I know this sounds kind of weird and all. I mean, really...I hate selling myself (that's why interviews aren't really my favorite- I don't like rejection. I mean, look at the book we are dealing with here!). But, I'd be honored if you would read my book. I have this dream of being the next Beth Moore, and girls, we have a long way to go to get there. This book is available on Kindle. I've priced the book at $0.99. I'd love for you to support me in this endeavor- as you've supported me all of this time since 2009 when I first began this blog. In fact, if you just so happened to read this book and you turned to the Dedication page, you might just find something special.
This book is for my “Not Your Everyday Cinderellas”- my girls that have supported me through my blog over the last few years. You girls have seen me through my ups and downs. My good days- and my not so good days. You were there for me after Chicago and you loved on me. I’m forever grateful for that.
Thank you so much for your support. I love the fact that when I'm going through a hard time, I've got all my blog friends to depend on me. I know we don't know each other "in real life", but I really feel like we do. 

An added fact. I'm hard at work on the print version of the book. It comes out to about 70 pages. I had some minor issues that needed to be fixed before the book went to the printing presses which delayed this release a bit. When it is released, it will also be available on Amazon, but it will cost slightly more ($3.99). Currently, we're on a 4-7 day wait to get into the Amazon system, but it is on the way! I wanted a hard copy of my book to remember this momentous occasion, but it will also be available to any of you who are interested. I will post more details when I get them (hopefully in the next few days)! This upcoming week on the blog will be Book Launch Week, so stay tuned for more information! Yay! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Finals Fun: Day 5

Okay, is the LAST DAY OF FINALS!!!! (Can you sense the excitement?) Today is my Church History final, so I thought we'd pull out some giggles from the early church.

Okay, so I get some slack sometimes in my classes because I'm republican and I really don't think that there is anything wrong with the military. Not that we should go out there and kill everyone, but I think that there is a time and place that war is necessary to preserve the piece. Well, in the early church (think Rome) all Christians were pacifists (pretty much anyways). They practiced non-violence and modeled their actions after Jesus. They thought that it was wrong to fight in the Roman army and wouldn't fight, and this wasn't looked upon fondly by the Romans (as you can imagine). This view shifted during the Constantinian Watershed when Constantine converted and all of Rome became "Christian". I mean, if it didn't there would be no army and the nation of Rome would be destroyed, and chaos would break loose...and you get the idea. Early Christians were pacifist.
Okay, so who doesn't like Luther? While the whole denomination thing has really divided the church (in a not so great way), I think we can recognize the significance this man had (and for you non-Church theologians out there, it started with just a few and then ballooned to what we have today. There was a time we didn't have Southern Baptists and Methodists. Just an fyi. Free factoid of the day).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finals Fun: Day 4

Woohoo! Day 4! I am going to survive finals week! My "hardest" finals are over and done (Philosophy and Ethics) and I feel like I have a chance of finishing this semester. I'm really enjoying all of these funny pictures and comics this week. They're bringing sparkle to my life (haha, I'm easily amused). So, since today is my "General Epistles" final (also known as the catholic epistles or James-Jude), I thought we'd pull out some funny New Testament jokes.

We talked a lot about the day of the Lord in class (next semester in Apocalyptic Lit it's going to be even worse). Since it's 2012, I thought I should throw this one in for good measure.
Okay, so this baby makes me giggle. And one of my pet peeves is people that use verses out of context and manipulate them to mean what "they" want them to mean. Read the whole thing people. Put those verses in context and see if "your meaning" still fits. Look at those surrounding verses, they really are pretty important.
Okay, so this one, I'm not really sure how it relates to the class. But, it made me smile. Jesus loved me before I was "cool". Before I was perfect and sin-free...that gives me hope! Even though we may not give, God keeps on giving. He doesn't withhold from us to enforce behavior change- he loves us anyways.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Finals Fun: Day 3

Christian Ethics final today, so I thought we'd giggle over theology a little.
Wait, you mean you don't giggle over theology on a regular basis?

I'm kind of a fan of this whole "Hey Girl" thing. I mean, Ryan Gosling. I first discovered Handmade Ryan Gosling. It's basically the "Hey Girl" thing with a crafty twist (because who doesn't want a cute crafy boy?) Then, thanks to my dear mother, I discovered Theology Ryan Gosling. It's pretty much a new favorite. Their tagline is "Helping disenfranchised female theologians feel loved one line at a time". Appropriate for the day? I think so. Here's some of my favorites, but you can go here to check out the rest!

It's official. I need to find me a cute theologian and run off and get married. Yep. That's the solution to all of life's problems.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Finals Fun: Day 2

Okay, Philosophy finals is now over and DONE. It was really the only one I was stressed out about (I'm on the verge of making an A), but I've realized that it's okay if I get a B in that class. I mean, it's Philosophy. I have no desire to ever talk about that subject matter again. I'm hoping for a little generosity in the grading, but it's going to be borderline no matter what. So, I guess we'll just see when grades get posted next week.

I kind of forgot who Kant was. And Hume? Who is that guy (only two of the most important philosophers)? The one question that discussed both of them was a little hard (as in I mixed up coercion and causation). Hey, they both start with "c". But, in my defense, I missed about a week of class around the time of "that discussion" because of allergies and sinus problems, so I was going all from the book. Have any of you tried reading a philosophy book lately? One without cartoons and fun pictures? It's not real fun. Or educational. Whatever, I "Kant" understand this guy.

Whatever. I tried the whole "questioning everything" policy (and I think we did pretty good at it), but there was still a test to be taken. I'm just glad that it's done. Sadly, the following cartoon is incorrect.


And just because I think it's a fitting ending...

I have a feeling that this week is going to make me look like a major nerd on my blog.

Which might just be true.
The End.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Finals Fun: Day 1

So, I have a philosophy final tomorrow.

I'm fairly certain that my brain may explode between this and my ethics final. So, since my brain feels like it's leaking out my ears, I'm attempting to find the sparkle in the situation- by making punny philosophy jokes, of course! Finals fun, we've just begun. Let's start with some silly puns!

all pictures via
I think I'm going to make this a Finals Week series. Philosophy jokes today, ethics/theology jokes tomorrow...oh dear. (I apologize in advance if you aren't familiar with the fields of philosophy and religion. You guys have no idea what's coming for you. But, I'm sure it will be super educational and Google will become your best friend!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm no world traveler...

For graduation, my Mom and I have been planning to do a girls' weekend in New York City. I've never been and all. But, due to my school schedule for next fall not being complete yet and the fact that NYC is a very busy city with lots and lots of people I'm beginning to rethink our plans. Plus, I'd really like it to be a family trip. I've been looking all over trying to find that "perfect deal" that would also be fun for the family. Here's where you come in. I need some help. Here's what I'm looking for.

1. I graduate in December, so the idea time for the trip would be during Christmas break. My brothers don't get out of school until the Friday before Christmas, so we'd be leaving around then (since they go back right after New Year's).

2. I'm not a huge fan of cold weather. I really liked Miami/Key West last year because I could wear shorts and go "swimming" (interesting fact of the day: I don't know how to swim. So, I stay in the shallow water where I can't drown as easy). But, it doesn't have to be THAT warm. I just don't want to catch hypothermia.

3. I'm not super outdoorsy or adventurous. So, don't plan on any zip-lining or rock climbing. Skiing turned out pretty bad last time I tried (see point 2).

4. I live in central Alabama. We visit Atlanta a lot (plus I'll be living in that area this summer!). I really want something different- but, we'd really like to drive since flights for five are expensive (especially at Christmas). Plus, we're good with 12 hour road trips. We've driven to Orlando, Texas, Iowa/Nebraska, etc. I also want to stay in the US. I know Mexico is warm and all, but the whole Americans getting kidnapped and decapitated thing isn't really cool. Plus, I don't have a passport.

5. We tried the whole resort thing last Christmas and it really isn't our thing. I feel weird going somewhere and feeling like the workers are getting taken advantage of. I really have a heart for justice and  it makes me feel out of place. Plus, have you seen my family? We don't dress up. We live in Alabama. The grass is almost never cut in our yard. We aren't rednecks, but we might be "hicks from the sticks". So, nowhere too fancy where we'd have to worry about appearances. I'll leave that to my youngest brother (the one that matches his shoelaces to his shirt to his hat).

6. Lastly, I have this end of the world fear. I know that the Mayans were probably wrong and all, but I don't want to be gone on the 21st, just in case. And I don't really like California, because in all the movies it gets swallowed up by a giant tsunami or earthquake or breaks off--end of the story, everyone dies. I'd rather not die in that manner. I'm also against the whole cruise thing, too. Have you SEEN Titanic? I mean, imagine Titanic meats the end of the world tsunami. No thank you.

So, after all of that, ideas anyone?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Almost Grown.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. -Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I think April/May/the end of the school year always has this bittersweet feeling. I mean, I'm excited that it's summer. This will most likely be the last time I ever have a "summer", because after December I'll have to be a big girl and get a big girl job. But, this time of year always reminds me of how old I'm getting. It's a time of goodbyes. I mean, graduation is coming up. Like every year, the time will come to say goodbye. It just seems so weird that I'm old enough to be friends with people that are graduating from college and going into the real world (and that I'm going to be doing the same in December). I mean, friends and acquaintances are starting to get married, have babies, start families...this is so foreign. I really don't feel like I'm that old. I've grown a lot in the last four years of college, and I may talk about wanting all that, but I'm nowhere near ready for that. I can hold a conversation about "Oh, your baby is so cute. You're such a great mommy!", but...nope. That's just weird. The idea of moving out of my parents' house into my own place? That just seems lonely. I mean, no way am I old enough. No way.

Then, I look on Facebook today and I come across a picture of one of my sweet Middle School girls from last summer. She was one of the 6th graders in my small group that I led a few years back. She's going to be a Freshman next year. When did my "babies" get old enough to go to high school? My Sunday School kids that I started teaching in 2nd grade are about to finish 4th grade. THREE YEARS. They've gone from barely being able to navigate the Bible to having full out theological discussions. They love Bible drills. And I'm having to say goodbye to them in three weeks when I leave to do my internship this summer. I mean, they've had a semester without me. But, this Fall, I may not be their teacher. My "big girl" job next Spring might interfere with that whole Sunday School teacher gig. They're getting older...and I'm getting older. I was working on a paper this afternoon and Mark Schultz's "Remember Me" came on my iTunes. When it gets to the third verse, I always tear up because I think of my kids. I hear, "Remember me...When the children leave their Sunday school with smiles.Remember me...When they're old enough to teach, Old enough to preach, Old enough to leave" and I think about my kids. What's going to happen as they grow older? Are they still going to have that same passion and zeal for the gospel? Or are they (like many teenagers and young adults in the church) going to leave the faith? When did my babies get old enough to go to Middle School? When did they get old enough to join the youth group? When did I get old enough that I have to face the fact that if I'm employed at a church, I probably can't teach Sunday School to my kids at a different church? #biggirljobproblems

When did I get almost grown? When did I get this OLD? 22 is quickly approaching this summer, and that scares me. "Graduation" in December. Big girl job come soon after, hopefully. There's a lot of faith, trust, and praying going on around here.

Oh memories. Three years ago I started this little blog. I never dreamed that it would be this big a part of my life. I remember the end of my Freshman year of college (that was at College #1) sitting on my computer blogging. This little place has taught me so much. I've made so many friends. We've "grown up" these last few years together. I'm looking forward and dreaming big about the adventures to come. This is such a happy/sad time. There is so much joy in adventure and so much sadness in goodbyes. But, I know in the end, it will be worth it. Sometimes people come into our lives for just a short period of time. We have a limited amount of time to impact their lives and learn from them. One thing I regretted about high school was that I never really stepped out to try and make a difference. I hid in the background. But, I feel like I've done things differently in college. I've been more adventurous. I've done things that I never thought I would (such as having an all-night tailgate camp-out, going to Chicago, interning at my church, wearing the same dress for 40 days). I've worked hard at building relationships with others. Even though I'm not an extrovert, I'm working on not being so introverted. Laugh all you want, but I ate lunch at the Dining Hall today! I'm realizing that I'm growing up. And maybe that's not so bad after all.

Pinterest Thursday

So, I have several Pinterest-ing finds to share today. :)

To start with, I love reading. I love bookshelves. Go ahead and call me a nerd.


And lastly, we should probably end with some giggles.
Because one more day left of classes and then finals.
I think we need giggles.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

favorite fonts

I'm a font snob. 
Since a lot of my favorite bloggers are sharing their favorite fonts, I thought that I would jump on the bandwagon. But, I have too many favorites, so it's going to be a multi-part series (this is the A-L fonts). I've downloaded all of the following fonts for free. Some of them, I don't remember exactly where I downloaded them, but I have found them elsewhere on the internet for free.
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

If some of them look familiar, it's because I have used them on the blog or my website. #2 was used on my One Dress Project Pictures. #4 is my title font on my website. #7 was on my blog awhile back. #10 is my new favorite, I just downloaded it today! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Light Never Stops Shining.

It seems like everyone in my life right now seems to be going through some kind of crisis. Honestly, I'm in a pretty good spot right now. Getting dragged into other people's problems and drama isn't exactly what I really want to spend my time doing. But, this theme of hope keeps coming back to me. This whole "I can't give up because there is a greater plan in all of this" concept is something that I want to share with the people that I care most about- even when their situations are messy. In Sunday School last sunday morning, we talked about how whatever happens, we should remember that God has a bigger story- this means we can trust God no matter what! We are so consumed in our understanding. We see the little picture- that in the "right now, things are bad. We don't know how things are going to turn out. But, we serve a BIG God. We can believe in him and have faith that he will keep his promises. His history of faithfulness helps us. I mean, think about the stories in the Bible. One I go to a lot is Job. His story seems pretty hopeless in the beginning. His children? Dead. Animals? Killed. Home? Gone. Skin? Boils. Friends? Blamed him. Wife? Angry. Everyone around him said that he should just go ahead and curse God and die. But, Job had hope. He had hope that God was going to come through and make this bad story into a good story. And God DID! In Job 42:10-17, it says that:
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. 
The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. 
After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years. 
God had a bigger story in mind. From Job's perspective, his life had to look pretty stinky at times. It had to look a little hopeless. I was reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp the other day, and it really made me think about perspective. Perspective is how we see the world. Ann writes that "that which seems evil only seems so because of perspective, the way the eyes see the shadows. Above the clouds, light never stops shining." That hit me like a ton of bricks. In the midst of dark times when we think that God cannot possibly be there and that God cannot possibly do anything good, we need to remember that the light never stops shining. God is still there. God is still at work. God is still standing beside us, holding our little hand. Later, Ann writes,
I feel Him hold me- a flailing child tired in Father's arms. And I can hear Him sooth soft, "Are your ways My ways, child? Can you eat My manna, sustain on my Mystery? Can you believe that I tenderly, tirelessly work all for the est good of the while world- because My flame of love for you can never, ever be quenched?"
Our perspective is warped. We fail to look at life through the lens of God's Word. Our view is warped, because we cannot see outside our tiny little worldview. Julian of Norwich writes,
See that I am God. See that I am in everything. See that I do everything. See that I have never stopped ordering my works, nor ever shall, eternally. See that I lead everything on to the conclusion I ordained for it before time began, by the same power, wisdom, and love with which I made it. How can anything be amiss?
Reflect on this today. Even in the midst of the darkness, when sin and death seem to overwhelm you...don't give up. Look at life through the lens of God and readjust your perspective. Cling to the promise found in John 16:33b, where Jesus tells you, his precious child, that "in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world." Take heart. Don't stop fighting. Don't give up. Embrace hope. Trust that God can turn your bad situation into something good. His story isn't finished yet! This is just one chapter, and everyone knows that a "conflict" has to before a "happily ever after" to make a good fairytale.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday Sparkle: Week 11-15

I've been taking pictures the last couple weeks and keeping up with my Project 52/Sunday Sparkle pictures, but I noticed that I apparently haven't been posting them here to share. So, it's time to play a little catch up on the blog for those that won't see my scrapbook (which is coming along marvelously, I'll do a post on that later) and who don't follow me on Instagram (but you should!). 

Week 11: 
Primary election day in the Great State of Alabama

Week 12:

Week 13:

Cupcake from Gigis.
I love crazy sock day.
Week 14:
I failed at the whole no- antihistamine thing. Allergy test had to be postponed.
Week 15:
Term paper on Christian perfection

Saturday, April 14, 2012

One Dress Project Video

I know. It took me long enough.
But, I've finally regained enough control over my computer to put together my video montage of my daily pictures from The One Dress Project. I think it looks really neat when you look at all of the outfits together one after another. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Books on the Shelf

I make no secret of my dream to have a library in my future home. Whether its as large and full as the one in Beauty and the Beast or just shelves in a room, I dream if the hours that will be spent in that room. I know that several of you love to read (just like me), so I thought I might do a post on the "books on my shelf". These aren't books I necessarily own yet, but books that are on my "to read" list for the upcoming months. (Book descriptions from Amazon- not my writing)

1. Anything:Safe. Comfortable. Happy. Words we all love. Feelings we want. Even crave. We may love God, but being that he's invisible, words like comfortable seem to feel better faster. We are all chasing something. Our hearts were made to run hard and fast after things that move us. But as a generation, we are all beginning to stir and wake up, identifying that these words don't satisfy for long, especially when compared to God. If God is real, and we are going to live with Him forever, shouldn't He be everything? Caught in this familiar haze of worldly happiness and empty pursuits, Jennie Allen and her husband Zac, prayed a courageous prayer of abandonment that took them on the adventure God had written for them. "God, we will do anything. Anything." Anything is a prayer of surrender that will spark something. A prayer that will move us to stop chasing things that just make us feel happy and start living a life that matters. A life that is... Surrendered. Reckless. Courageous. If we truly know a God worth giving anything for, everything changes.

2. Bloom: With lyrical prose and gorgeous full-color photography, Bloom takes readers on a wondrous journey through Nella's first year of life—a gripping, hilarious, and intensely poignant trip of transformation in which a mother learns that perfection comes in all different shapes. It is a story about embracing life and really living it, of being fearless and accepting difference, of going beyond constricting definitions of beauty, and of the awesome power of perspective. As Kelle writes, "There is us. Our Family. We will embrace this beauty and make something of it. We will hold our precious gift and know that we are lucky."

3. Organized Simplicity:
Organized Simplicity's aim is to convince its readers that simple living is the absolute best way to live. Be it with house cleaning, family schedule management, personal finances, and managing the "stuff" you allow within your four walls, the only way to live well is to do so intentionally and simply. The first half of the book delves into the "why" behind realistic simple living, giving the reader a nail to then hang the how of living simply discussed in the second half. And by redefining the too often-used phrase "simple living," a busy home manager living in the real world can then make practical changes that work for the whole family. There are chapters for cleaning and organizing the home room-by-room, and future project ideas will inspire readers to turn their house in a haven they love.

4. Quitter: Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you'd love to do? I have. At first I thought I was the only one who felt that way, but then I started to talk to people and realized we're becoming the I'm, but generation. When we talk about what we do for a living we inevitably say, I'm a teacher, but I want to be an artist. I'm a CPA, but I'd love to start my own business. I'm a _____, but I want to be a ______. All too often, we hear that dreaming big means you quit your day job, sell everything you own, and move to Guam. But what if there were a different way? What if you could blow up your dream without blowing up your life? What if you could go for broke without going broke? What if you could start today? What if you already have everything you need to begin? From figuring out what your dream is to quitting in a way that exponentially increases your chance of success, Quitter is full of inspiring stories and actionable advice. This book is based on 12 years of cubicle living and my true story of cultivating a dream job that changed my life and the world in the process. It's time to close the gap between your day job and your dream job. It's time to be a Quitter.

So, what books are on your "shelf"? What are you itching to dig into this summer?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Miscellany

Today has been a day of ups and downs. My computer is deciding to not like me again. It all started yesterday afternoon when I uploaded the Easter pictures to my computer. I know that I "safely ejected" the SD card, but Mr. Computer hasn't been the same since. I can't open any pictures. When I try, my computer freezes up and ceases to work. I have to then go and restart my computer- which is still super slow. On top of all this, I have a paper due tomorrow. Luckily, my computer was stable enough for me to email my paper to myself just in case. Currently, I can still use Word- so that is a good thing. I have a word processing app on my iPad, so I can do most things on it (aside from printing). It is super frustrating trying to type on it though.

I emailed some Easter pictures (what I was able to) to my iPad, so I can share those with you.

I got some pictures that I'm going to use for a new blog look soon. Soon, as in when my computer stops acting up.

Sadly, my ODP pictures aren't on my computer (still in the camera), so no follow up post yet. I'm hoping to figure this problem out soon. I've run my antivirus and it clean, I've run a registry mechanic, and I've updated my Windows Update. I just don't know what the problem is! I am hesitant to try too much until I get this paper done and turned in. I just don't want to loose what little functionality I have left. If anyone out there knows computers and wants to give me a solution to my problems, I'd be forever grateful. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

If you remember...

If you remember, last Easter I talked about making my own Easter dress. I had great marvelous plans to make this one.
But, it simply didn't happen. I got all of the fabric and cut out the pattern pieces. I made the bodice and sewed the skirt portion. Mom helped me get the sleeves on it. But, when it came to putting it all together, it didn't work. I cut the pattern out a few sizes too big and looked too much like a clown. Not cool. Mom wrote a blog about it. I stressed out about it. So, we just went to Loft and found a cute dress that was already made. Easy peasy. 

Well, this year, I really wanted it to work. So, I braved up and worked on attaching the top to the bottom. A minor elastic malfunction aside, it went together. 
Mom is helping me out (thanks Mom!) by sewing the bottom hem. Then, we (and by "we" I mean "she") are taking it in a little. As I mentioned before, I look like I belong with the clown troupe and it's just too big up top. Elastic waists can only do so much.

We've got pink and green shirts for the boys (going for the matchy-matchy this Easter)...and I think this year will be the year of the homemade dress (but, I do have a backup in my car...just in case!). To prep for the "big day", I thought we'd review some Easters of the past.
Left: Max's first Easter. I love Easter hats!   Right: Mommy and me when I was 4 or 5. 
In the left picture, Max is in the background running away from the camera. Typical boy.

Desmond joins us! This was 2003. I think the boys looked so cute in their vests!
2005 and 2006.

{Edit: By the way, if you are wondering, today is day FORTY! I have plans to post the remainder of my pictures and  for a followup soon as I get back to my dorm room where my camera cord is. I'm home for the weekend, obviously. So, stay tuned for that tomorrow or Monday. It's coming, I promise.}

Friday, April 6, 2012


Today is a good Friday- It's Good Friday!

I think it's easy to get down on ourselves on Good Friday. I mean, it is a sad day. It's the day that we remember Jesus dying on the cross. It's the day we remember the beatings, the torture, and the shame that he endured as he took the sin of the world. Certainly for Jesus's friends and family, that Friday way back when was very sad. But, we know the whole story. We know that this had to happen so that we could be forgiven. We know that because of this sacrifice made on our behalf, we have a chance at eternal life. We know that in three days (on Sunday), we will celebrate Jesus's resurrection and victory over sin and death! We can have hope because of what happened on Good Friday. We can trust that Jesus has fulfilled what he said when he said, "In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world!"

Source: via Raisa on Pinterest

So, today, I challenge you to remember that today is a good Friday. Without Jesus's death on the cross, we would have no hope. We would still be offering sacrifices and trying our hardest to keep all of the law. Now, we have a chance. We have a hope! Jesus came not to abolish the law (I mean, there were some good parts of it), but rather to fulfill the law. He came to be our sacrifice- our perfect sacrifice. I challenge you today to find joy in the midst of a bad situation. Remember to "praise the one who paid [our] debts and raised this life up from the dead". It's certainly good to remember the sacrifice and how it didn't come without a cost. But, don't forget hope! Two thousand years later, we have hope! We know that Jesus isn't going to stay dead and that he is going to return. The story doesn't end tonight. There's more- another chapter. Keep turning the pages until Easter Sunday. There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning! Find good. Find joy. Find hope.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Yes, I'm STILL wearing the dress...

Lent isn't over, yet. Six (well, five after today) days remain in the One Dress Project. I feel like I've been really bad at blogging the process, which is why it's not as "successful" as I planned it to be. But, I'm trying to look at "success" the way that God looks at "success" and not judge the project by the amount of money it raised and what not. I mean, I feel like we've had some great discussions about human trafficking. This project allowed me the opportunity to talk about it with some of my classmates. It allowed me to show my Sunday School kids a practical way to live out their faith. I've gotten some facts out about the whole issue. I've learned that I CAN wear basically the same thing for 40 days (which will make packing so much easier in the future!). As this project winds down, I'm happy. I'm grateful for my circumstances, even if I don't always think they are perfect. I'm blessed. I'm blessed to not have to wear the same dress for a year or my entire life. I have a whole closet of clothes- that's something to be thankful for. I've been reading One Thousand Gifts and it's offered me a new perspective on things. 
So, this week, as we wind down the One Dress Project and we enter into Holy Week, let's remember the blessings. There's a season for everything. There's a season for passion. There's a season for fundraising. I'm not downplaying these things- please don't think I'm implying this. I am still just as passionate about rescuing girls from this horrible thing. I'm still just as passionate for advocating for the end of slavery. But, I also know that sometimes we need a season of gratitude. Normally, we think of this time being thanksgiving- it's the season for giving thanks. But, this week (Holy Week) is also a week for us to remember. For us to look at our perspective and find the blessings that God has given us. Laura Story in her song Blessings writes, "What if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near? What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?" I love the last line- mercies in disguise. 
This month in Sunday School, I'm teaching about HOPE. Hope is finding the good in a bad situation. It's seeing that there IS something greater. We are learning from the stories of Jesus. In 1 John 16:33b, it says "But take heart! For I have overcome the world". I think that is so comforting. There are bad things in this world- but we need to remember that in the end, we KNOW who is going to win. It's not a mystery. It's not an unknown. We know that in the end, Jesus will reign. He's already conquered death and the grave. That's why we accept evil in the world today. I hear so often things like, "How could a loving God allow evil?". The answer is that one day he will defeat it. He has already defeated it. In heaven, there will be no human trafficking. There will be no slavery. Sometimes I feel so small and insignificant. Like, how will I ever change the world? Who am I to think that I can do these things? But, then I remember- Jesus. It's not me that will change the world. It's not me that will end human trafficking- I don't have these burdens to bear alone! It's Jesus in me. It's Jesus using me as a tool to get his work done. It's okay if my "project" isn't super "successful" by the world's standards, all that matters is that I have done what HE has told me to! I find little blessings within this project (that I've mentioned earlier). I mean, my "bad" situation- my discontentment, my disappointment, my tiredness of wearing this dress- is NOTHING considered to some of the people trapped in human trafficking's situation! I am BLESSED!

What are some blessings in your life this week?
What are some "mercies in disguise"?