Memorable Moments of 2014

I went through my Instagram account and saved my most memorable moments from this year. As I reflected, I thought I would share those memories with you as well.

New Year’s 2014 at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0683.png

Losing a childhood friend way too soon. RIP Rob Young, gone but not forgotten. (The song by Luke Bryan Drink a Beer, really brings back all the fun times we shared in the time our lives intertwined).

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0692.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0684.png

A great snowstorm! (We don’t see that often in N.C., it’s usually ice if anything)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0685.png

Mini’s first performance in a live production, Children of Eden.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0686.png

I am a sucker for reality shows, especially The Bachelor. My honey surprised me with a weekend getaway with a little bachelor twist. Thought it was precious.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0687.png

Out of the many concerts we saw this year, my favorite two would have to be Kutless and Garth Brooks.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0688.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0702.png

Mini’s artwork was chosen for the ACSI Fine Arts Festival held in Raleigh, N.C.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0689.png

For the second year, my girl was chosen to model in the American Girl Fashion Show. This year she modeled the pajama set.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0691.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0690.png

Our spontaneous family experiences, like hiking in the beautiful N.C. mountains.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0693.png

Taking my niece on our yearly lake vacation, her first experience with sand and water.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0695.png

Meeting some amazing God-loving women in A Beautiful Mess Bible study.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0694.png

Mini’s first day of 3rd grade and her first real haircut.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0696.png

Our date nights are always special but two of my favorite were when I surprised Kasey with tickets to his favorite band’s concert, Coheed and Cambria, and when we saw my absolute favorite love story movie, The Song.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0697.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0698.png

Mini’s first competition as an all-star cheerleader.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0700.png

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0701.png

Our Elf on the Shelf shenanigans.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0703.png

Biltmore weekend getaway, a first for mini.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0704.png

The hard work it took to surprise Kasey for his birthday with custom cornhole boards from the college he graduated from.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0705.png

What were some of your most memorable moments of 2014? Hope 2015 brings even more opportunities for memories!

Advertisements

Happy New Year!

2015 is quickly approaching and when it arrives, I will be oceanfront with my two biggest fans. For the last few years, we’ve made it a tradition to ring in the new year at the beach. It’s not about laying out in the sun and catching waves because obviously at the end of December and beginning of January, its way too frigid for that. It’s about a getaway, a renewal, a refresh of the mind and soul. It’s about spending time with those whom my heart loves most. It’s about making memories, regardless if you’re walking around in jackets and toboggans. The ocean is a cleanse no matter what time of year or season, or at least it is for us.

What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? Is it something done each year traditionally or out on a whim depending on your mood? I would love to hear what you’ll be getting into and what, if any, resolutions you have. I have quite a few myself although I prefer to call them lifestyle changes for the new year, not a resolution because we all know, resolutions get broken. Mine consists of:

  • Growing closer to God through art, design, and journaling. (You’ll see posts regarding my journaling Bible experience, hope you’ll be inspired and join in as well!)
  • Making fitness and healthy eating habits, and sticking to them. (Along with the majority of the world.)
  • Attending our home Church EVERY Sunday unless (a.) we’re out-of-town, (b.) we’re sick, or (c.) circumstance out of our control. (I haven’t been attending regularly and just have allowed being busy to keep me from going, no more!)
  • Saving money better than I have been. (I plan to follow the 52-week challenge – see post below.)
  • Memorize 24 verses. (I am going to give the Siesta Scripture Memory Team by Living Proof Ministries a shot.)

Seems like a lot but in reality, it’s all doable and makes way for a positive lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to it and will periodically post how well I’m doing in each of the 5 bullet points. I also look forward to reading about your plans for the upcoming year and how you’re doing so please feel free to share.

Here’s to a Happy New Year! Stay safe and smile a lot.

52-Week Money Saving Challenge

Tomorrow is the final day of 2014 and if any of you are like me, resolutions got broken, money was wasted, and you wish you had prepared for things a little better. I can’t do much for your broken resolutions other than to tell you to dust it off and try again. Make more attainable goals and ones that motivate you instead of seem like a chore no one wants to do. I can’t assist with you being more prepared either but I can possibly help with the money wasted!

There is a 52-week money saving challenge with a check box each week you complete. Here’s what it looks like:

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0671.jpg

If you haven’t heard about it for week 1 you save $1, week 2 you save $2, week 3 you save $3 until you reach 52 weeks. If you’re successful, you will have saved $1378. There are many different visual charts online for this challenge but for the one above, here’s the link to access it: 52-Week Money Saving Challenge

Here’s to saving money!

Growing Closer to God Through Art, Design, and Journaling.

I am human and I fail. I don’t live the way I should all the time but I try. I make mistakes yet He loves me anyway. How astonishing is that? He blesses me with so much even though I don’t deserve it. How can anyone know that and not want a deeper, more personal relationship with Him? I want to love like Jesus loves. I want to trust in Him ALWAYS, not just when it’s convenient. I want to be confident in myself and see myself through His eyes. I am valued, a one of a kind original. I was handpicked by the King of Kings.

Despite knowing all of this, I always feel that my relationship with God isn’t where it needs to be. So, I spent some time searching different approaches to really studying scripture and gaining a deeper relationship with the Lord. I came across the process of journaling in your Bible. I hadn’t heard of journaling Bibles before coming across Shanna Noel’s blog and Valerie Wieners Art. These two ladies have inspired me to start my own journaling Bible experience. One of my resolutions for the new year is the create a more meaningful and deeper relationship with God through my journaling Bible. I hope that through doing so and sharing my experiences, I’ll inspire someone else just as I was inspired.

So here it is, my first round of supplies on this new journey.

IMG_0661

I purchased the ESV Journaling Bible by Crossway. After looking in a few stores, I was able to find it on hand at Lifeway. Other supplies you see in the picture are Erin Condren extra fine colored pens (these were a gift and I absolutely love them!), Crayola twistable crayons, different washi and duck tape designed tape, stamps and stamp pads, flag punch, and stickers. I am going to decorate the outside of my journaling Bible but not all at once because I’m sure I’ll run into other sticky fabrics, stickers, and tape designs I like and would like to display. So I’ll provide you with a before and after (so far) of the front cover.

IMG_0662         IMG_0673

I had so much fun making it my own. The sayings on the front cover are from a sticker sheet that I purchased at AC Moore. “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?” How powerful is that? It really touches me and puts things into perspective. The other one, “Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you” is one that I felt connected to mainly because I am terrible at not doing my daily devotion or personal prayer time simply because “I don’t have time.” This is reminding me that when I MAKE TIME, the Lord will make time for me in other areas. Without Him, I wouldn’t have any time, so I really need to do a better job at taking that time for Him.

Have you ever had a journaling Bible or maybe currently do? I would love to hear about your experience if so. I will be posting more as I make my mark with how I’m interpreting the scripture. Hope you’ll find it inspiring!

Updates, opinions welcome!

If you haven’t noticed, I like change. I get bored with the same stuff over a long period of time. I like to keep things interesting. So.. I’m tinkering around with the appearance of the blog once again. Please, those of you who read often and visit the site, what are your thoughts and opinions of the new header? I found the image on Google and added my own font to it. I’m definitely more of a beginner blogger, but blogger nonetheless.

Looking forward to the feedback!

Missing Piece

This Christmas Eve was a new experience for me, my daughter stayed the night at her dad’s house. Normally, she stays with me and then goes to her dad’s on Christmas Day. Our schedule this year was different to where it worked out better for her to just stay with him Christmas Eve. Last night I was able to lay down earlier than usual, watch The Christmas Story and fall asleep with no intention of waking up to handle operation Santa. No child to run in so excited during the wee hours of the morning to see if Santa made a stop at her house.

Did I sleep in? No. Did I get a good night’s rest? No. Am I little bummed more than excited this Christmas morning? Yes. I tossed and turned all night. I wondered if her dad had a successful operation Santa for his first attempt, no pressure there I tell ya. I wondered if she was sleeping good and would wake up real early like she does here. I wondered if it would affect her mood that her Christmas morning routine was different this year. This Christmas morning, my routine isn’t like it normally is. This Christmas morning I will take my time to set out gifts and stockings from Santa and get the birthday stuff organized (we celebrate Jesus’s birthday on Christmas Day as well). Once everything is organized and ready for my girl, I will sit. I will miss her loudness, her giggles, her excitement. I will miss the wrapping supplies mess after she’s torn into everything. I will miss her singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Sharing children isn’t always the easiest, actually most of the time it isn’t easy at all. It can seem like a break from parenthood   but it’s really a missing piece is your normality. I am thankful though that she has so many people who love her and that her dad and I have such a good friendship where things can work out and not be hostile like most divorce situations. That is a true blessing! I’m not complaining because she is at her dad’s, because like I said I’m very thankful for that love he continues to give her, I’m just a little sad because I have a missing piece in my normal Christmas morning routine. Does that make me selfish?

I am so excited for her to come home and us make our Christmas rounds visiting family before coming back home and getting to do our Christmas (and Santa). I cannot wait to have a dose of her excitement and spend the rest of the day together. That’s what I’m looking forward to this Christmas morning. What about you? What is your Christmas routine like and have you ever had to experience sharing your children? If anyone else is in my same boat this morning, I pray that God will bring comfort to your heart and soul. I pray that you’ll be filled with joy and not emptiness. I pray that your day will still be Blessed. Amen.

Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy Birthday to Jesus!

Printables – Attempt #1

I am a big fan of DIY projects and such so I’m experimenting some here. I’ve drawn up some 2015 printable documents that can be framed or used as a sparkler display. I’ve scanned them to the computer and am going to attempt to upload them so it’ll be accessible for download and printing by those who choose to do so.

Please keep in mind, this might not work out like I’ve envisioned.. this is my first attempt. For anyone that has done this type of thing I would LOVE some input on your experiences and what works for you/what doesn’t. This is something that I am hoping to do more of and make available to those DIY’ers out there like me. Secondly, if you print off the sparkler sheets, use them as display only. DO NOT, I repeat, do NOT keep the sparkler in the paper when lit. I suspect that would create a huge fire hazard.

There are 3 sizes available (yet different styles) that say ‘Hello twenty fifteen’ and then 1 sheet that has 3 sparkler holders. You’ll need to print each document out and cut around the edges. For the sparkler sheets, I’ve placed slits that you’ll cut so the sparkler can fit through them.

If you use the printables and have a successful experience, I ask that you please provide credit to myself and direct others back to my blog. If you use them and find it unsuccessful, please provide me feedback regarding that as well so I can learn and hopefully make the next attempt a better and more successful attempt. Thank you!

Well, here goes nothing. Please let me know if you tried to use the documents and your experience. I apologize ahead of time if it doesn’t work, again, this is my first attempt. However, all documents have been hand drawn by me. There’s a positive!

If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
Sparklers
If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
4×6 & 5×7
If you use this printable, please provide me credit and let me know how it works out for you and/or what you'd like to see in the future.
8×10

Biltmore

In December, Kasey and I have birthdays. Our birthdays are 15 days a part and with his being right at Christmas it can sometimes seem as if it gets lost within the Christmas festivities. Not this year, though.

We both are turning 30 this month and so we decided we wanted a mini weekend getaway to celebrate. That’s just what we did. The three of us got up extra early yesterday and made the trek to Asheville, North Carolina. If you haven’t ever been to Asheville, I highly recommend it. The mountains in Asheville are beautiful. Yesterday, we even had snow flurries when we woke up and on our drive there. That was exciting.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0460.jpg
Entrance to Biltmore

We had bought tickets in advance to The Biltmore Estate and planned to spend the day there. Not only do I recommend Asheville but if you are ever there, Biltmore is a must stop for tourists. Plan for it though because it’s something you want to take in, not rush, and really soak in all the beauty. I am so thankful that my daughter being so young got to experience this beautiful place that some never experience in their lifetime. Wish I had been able to go when I was 8! I was 29 before I visited for the first time.

Here is a panoramic photo I snapped on my phone while standing on the lawn in front of Biltmore. You can see the lawn fountain, Asheville mountains, and The Biltmore Estate.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0474.jpg

Biltmore was the home of the Vanderbilts. Instead of posting details regarding this now tourist spot, I’ll provide a link where you can read about it, see photographs, even purchase tickets if you choose to do so. – www.biltmore.com – We toured the house, (pictures don’t do it justice) and then ate at the Stable Cafe. Once we finished eating we spent the rest of our visit going through the shops within Biltmore House & Gardens then we stopped at Antler Hill Village & Winery.

Funny story there. They had a petting zoo type area and I bent down to pet one of the baby billy goats. I proceeded to say ‘hey there sweet..’ when it bit me! Thankfully it didn’t hurt but it was quite amusing to my daughter. They were so funny, this one cracked me up standing on the bucket. Memories were made there that’s for sure!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0493.jpg

Oh! While you’re inside, no photography is allowed. However, they do have a stop within the self guided tour where you can get your photo taken and choose to purchase it once you’ve exited the estate. Since this was our first time as a family visiting, we purchased ours along with an ornament for our tree.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0500.jpg

I could go on and on about our visit but I’ll just leave you with a few more pictures instead. If you have been or are planning to go, I’d love to hear about your experience!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0504.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0505.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/ead/70787070/files/2014/12/img_0497.jpg

The verdict is…

…Bronchitis.

So you know I’ve mentioned the fact my daughter has been sick since the later part of last week and how proud I was of her for being there for her team and still competing despite how horrible she felt. Let me just tell you, she is my motivation more so now than ever. I have felt horrible the past couple of days and have barely felt like I could keep going. I just reminded myself that if she can do what she did this past weekend, then I can keep pushing forward.

Today, after mini missing another day of school we made our way to the doctor. You read it right, it’s bronchitis. We’ve got our meds covered, cool mist humidifier, TONS and I mean tons of Lysol, hot apple cider, Christmas movies, you know.. all the essentials. I’m so ready for the both of us to be over this mess but again, I continue to look at all that she did and it makes me push through when I feel like I can’t. Funny how that happens, huh?

If you’re the praying kind, say an extra little prayer that both of us feel better soon and won’t continue to pass it back and forth. I appreciate it! Here’s to a good medicated nights rest. Goodnight all.

Elf on the Shelf

Our household has been a part of the Elf on the Shelf tradition for a good 4-5 years. There is a lot of controversy regarding that little elf and whether to partake or not. I love the idea of allowing kids to be kids while they’re young. Before long, those years will have passed by too quickly.

When I was growing up I got to enjoy all of the fictional characters from the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and boy would I have loved the little elf! I understand not everyone grows up the way I did and not everyone plays those roles but in this day and age we should all be supportive of each other’s parenting instead of having parenting wars.

I have literally seen parents attack other parents on social media over their choice to participate or not participate in such things. It’s really sad. Parenting has enough challenges and we really need to support each other even if we all don’t choose to handle the holidays or life events the same. Bottom line, it’s a personal choice.

As I mentioned, our household chooses to participate. It’s not about a lie saying you didn’t do this or that, or about playing a role, it’s about her believing in something she can’t see. To me, that’s what is important about the fictional holiday characters. Hope in something you can’t see. Again, it’s a personal opinion and choice and I don’t down anyone for participating or not. Just giving my reasoning for doing so. In our household, my daughter knows Jesus Christ and knows the true meaning behind Christmas and Easter. We sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before even thinking about opening a single present on Christmas. That’s what truly matters.

So as for me and my family, we will allow my child and any future children I might have the opportunity to believe and have hope in something that can’t quite see. If your family does or doesn’t, I don’t look at you in any way. It’s a personal choice.