Saturday, June 30, 2012

Seeing RED ~ Save 5% on ALL your Target Purchases ~ Tip 14

image of Target credit card
I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't share with you what I learned today . Why I have never known this in all my years of Target shopping I'll never know . Maybe it's because I cut off the poor cashier before they can finish their sentence .My apologies cashiers of the past . I didn't know !! I didn't know !!

I and many of my friends shop at the wonderful world of Target almost weekly if we can . I have friends that cruise the clearance isle for everything from crafting supplies to inexpensive, but amazing gifts . I think every friend that's gotten married in the last 5 years has been registered at Target . I know I've purchased MANY baby shower gifts there along with other fun things like clothes , purses , and everything else . DID YOU KNOW that you can get a Target DEBIT card and save 5% on EVERY purchase ? I didn't !! I'm trying not to think about the money I could've saved over all these years . I may cry . Along with saving 5% on every purchase in the store , you also do not have to pay shipping when you shop online at . I know that I did most of my Christmas shopping online this year and this would've saved me so much !! Along with these benefits there is no interest or fee's like with a credit card . It is EXACTLY the same as your bank or credit union debit card!!! The only difference is that it is Target specific . Other than that.....that's all !! To find out more or research for yourself just click here ---> REDcard Benefits .

They do offer a credit card if that is your shopping/spending preference that will also save you 5% in store or online as well as free shipping with online orders . It does however have fee's and other "normal" associated costs that come with a credit card . To find out more or research for yourself just click here ---> REDcard Benefits .

Thursday, June 28, 2012

365 Days

Tomorrow marks the one year mark since my last day at my previous job . As I left campus that day I was hopeful , unsure , grateful , and exhausted . The 365 days that have followed  have been filled with those same emotions along with many others . I am grateful that the Lord allowed me what I needed to follow His voice and the path He had for me . Though I have been on this new adventure for 365 days, most of them I have felt as though I'm traveling with a blind fold on . There have been some of the darkest days I've known along with some of the most enlightening . I've recieved critisism , some unwanted advice and a little encouragement concerning my choices to take this path . Looking back AND looking forward I have NO DOUBT it was the right path for me at this time .

While I'm still in the process of this "new" adventure here are a few things I've learned so have to follow the Lords plan for YOU, more times that not it's gonna seem crazy to everyone else . That's part of what makes it so exciting, knowing that He cares so specifically for us as individuals. HE WILL PROVIDE , there hasn't been a moment in the last 365 days where I had to be concerned with would I have "enough" . Sometimes it was last minute or in a very unexpected way , but He ALWAYS provided for me and still continues to . If He asks you to rest, then do so , He see's much further than you do into the future, there's no tellin' what's comin' your way . Trust Him with your past, present and future . It is totally easier said than done , but it's a wondeful feeling to rest in knowing that He is caring for your every need . Those needs you are aware of and even those you aren't .

In the past 365 days the Lord has provided for my needs and even some wants, rest , fellowship , perspective , and some healing . He has allowed me a new job with new prospects for my future that I would've NEVER considered for myself . He's reminded me of how blessed I am to have the friends & family that I do . While I believe the adventure has truly just begun I am SO HAPPY to look back at the last 365 days and KNOW that my God was and still is in control . I am looking forward to whatever the next 366 (it's a leap year) hold for me . I have no doubt that He will continue to provide for me , grow me and teach me . I mean, most of life is a learning moment, right ?! I pray I stay faithful in my times with Him so that I can reflect back to others all the good that He has done....and continues to do in my life .

Psalm 136:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged

Matthew 6:34
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Matthew 6:25
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?

Free Starbucks, Worth It ! Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Repurpose -Tip 13

I'm not too sure when or how it happened, but I now consider myself a coffee addict . I love me some coffee in the morning to start my day when possible . There's just something about my hands around the warm cup, with the steam coming off the top, and the coffee yumminess in my tummy that really makes me a happy person in the a.m . This addiction can become expensive if you give into the temptations of specialty coffee , shops & drive thru's . In order to save a buck , recycle and feed my addiction I put into action the offer on the back of the bag . Some starbucks brand coffee grounds have the magical power to get you FREE coffee !!!! Bags have a marking on the back with instructions on how to recieve the free coffee . I encourage you to read the back of your coffee ground bag to see what other wonderful savings you might find .

Starbucks Coffee Grounds $7.99 - Target Special
Coupon - $1.50      
Target Red Debit Card 5% Discount         
Total: $ 6.16 for COUNTLESS amounts of
coffee in the comfort of my home AND
 a free cup from the coffee shop !

 WORTH IT !!!!!!!!!!!
 Happy Coffee deserve one !!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's Worth a Try

Red bird

Most of you know by now that one of my growing hobbies is gardening . I've been growing several "test" subjects since March in flower pots and other random containers . With most of my plants I've had great success, but my carrotts just did not seem to want to grow . I had stems, but not vegetables for the longest time . Finally in frusteration and at the end of my new gardening patience I gave up on the carrots . Figuring that 5 out of 6 plants going as planned was good enough for my first go at the hobby . I uprooted my sad little stems and retossed the soil for use with other plants . I have a new mint plant that is very thankful for the soil . I left the bucket of "to be used" soil on my porch with the other plants, assuming the rain, sun, and other natural elements would serve it well until I found a new purpose for it .

The past several mornings I've noticed a large dent in the soil . I at first figured it just settled in the night or perhaps a cat had found it's way into the bucket for a nap . I've seen such kitty napping spots on neighbors porches when on my walks around the neighborhood . Not being too bothered or concerned I just retossed the soil and went about my buisness . However , with each morning and afternoon the soil appearing to be disturbed, my curiosity has grown, not to mention the sting of being reminded that I failed with my sad little carrot stems that once lived in the bucket .

Well, today the mystery was solved . I spent the morning and afternoon doing some catch up with errands , car repair , etc . and when Jack and I finally pulled back into the drive I saw a red bird emerge from my former carrot bucket . As I got out of the car already talking to the bird as if it might answer me, "hey birdie are you resting in my bucket ?!" , his spouse poked her head out of the bucket . The red bird waiting on a near by branch for his mate watched my ever careful moves . Both flew to quick for me to get a photo and catch them red handed.......or red feathered as it where, or for me to distiguish if they happen to be red birds or cardinals .

I couldn't help but giggle as they flew off to a higher branch of a further away tree . Who knew ?! I never would've figured it on my own . What I had considered a failure was a sweet success to another . My non exsistent carrot plants provided a nice shade and cooling off spot for two of my prettiest back yard visitors . I recall reading at some point in my schooling that at times birds will "dig" or flutter in dirt or mud puddles to cool off on hot days . Just goes to show you never know what even your attempts at success might mean to another . This is a sweet and surprising encouragement to me that everything is at least worth a try . Just because in my little mind I "failed" or something didn't go as planned doesn't mean it was a waste !!!

I think on the list of my next DIY projects is going to be a bird bath for my porch . I would love to provide a little resting spot for some weary travelers . This picture  from Pinterest may be my future inspiration, Pin Found Here .

Pinned Image

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Re Purpose To Everything - Tip 12 - Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Re-Purpose

As I mentioned in this Prior Post I worked today on a few quick crafts for a care package . Tonight I finished it up . My favorite part may be the packaging .

Before : Empty re-writable CD Case
I took an empty re-writable CD case , random pieces of scrapbook paper , and some home made mod podge . I used the scraps of paper to line the inside of the case to make it pretty, fun and to protect the identity of the contents of the package from any would be mail thieves . :-)

After : Care Package Fun

I'm looking forward to putting this fun surprise into the mail to a dear friend . It's contents are just a few little things to brighten her day , give her some much needed, deserved energy and just to make her smile and know she is loved !

Contents: chicklets , home made book marks , energy water packets,
almonds , hair bow, AWESOME FAT Chocolate Chap Stick (the tube
is the size of a glue stick !) and a note .

This package cost me very little, but it will become priceless when my dear friend opens her mail box to find a fun surprise waiting for her . I hope this encourages you to think a little out side the box for your next project . It truly is , for most people , the thought that matters not the cost . I'd love to challenge you to look around your home and see what might be re purposed, something that you might have two or more of, or something little that even the most craft-declined person could make into something wonderful for someone who might need their day brightened .

Happy Crafting !

A Quick Craft - Quick Fix - Pin Did !

I am a multi-tasker by nature .  If I'm not doing one thing, I'm doing ten . It's simply how I was made . Today while waiting for a load of laundry to dry & lunch to heat up I decided to do a quick craft that I'd seen on Pinterest . I had a random piece of salvaged ribbon, a few paper clips and a pair of scissors  as my supplies .

I am working on a care package for a dear friend who hasn't been feeling well . She can't be too active and is often spending long hours in one space with out much moving about . I'm hoping that these fun lil' book marks will brighten her next down time and remind her she is thought of, prayed for , and loved very much .

I ended up with only enough ribbon
to complete two book marks. But I think they'll make
a great addition to a fun care package .  And I finished
just in time to fold my laundry and have some lunch !

To see the inspiration for this craft please feel free to click HERE .

Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy Fathers Day Gifts - Tip 10

 Every gift giving holiday or event I strive to get a gift that isn't just about "giving/getting a gift" . I want it to be thoughtful, helpful, useful and/or meaningful to the one I'm giving it to . If I can't meet at least two of those requirements then I tend to just give a card . With Fathers Day just a few days away I have been thinking for a while on what to get the men in my life . I'm very lucky to not have demanding or hard to please fellas to shop for . Usually I hear , " don't get me anything " when asked about gift giving events and holidays . But, if you are anything like me shopping for men is extremely difficult even with out the pressure .

Some of you know that I love coupons ! It took me a long time to see the use in purchasing items with coupons that I didn't need immediately . However, through the years I have figured it out . Items that do not perish or have a expiration date that is several years away are totally worth purchasing with a coupon, sale or deal then storing . For example - condiments such as ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, dressings, lotions , shave cream, shampoo's,  etc. I have purchased several for 50 cents or less at times or even gotten them for free. When you have a coupon that is buy 2 get one free combine with a store special of buy one get one you can walk away with 4 bottles and only having had pay for 1 (pending store couponing policies) . AMAZING!! Maybe I'm a grocery nerd, but I'm o.k. with that because of how helpful it's been to me .  In the summer condiments are often one of the highlighted sale items at your local grocer due to the popularity of camping, picnicking and BBQ's .

So, for this Fathers Day one of my special men will be getting some grilling/BBQ items along with whatever else they receive . I don't think I know a man father or otherwise that doesn't BBQ or grill .

Bottle of Kens Marinade = Free
Mustard = .50
A1 = $1.00
Worcestershire sauce = 1.00 or less
Oven Mitt = 1.00

Happy Fathers Day !!!

I hope this encourages you to be creative and maybe a little less stressed
 about your gift selection this Fathers Day .
Just keep in mind it's about the thought you put behind a gift not the money !

S'more Fluff - Quick Fix

Every now and then you need a sweet treat, but do not feel like making a trip to the store . This week I had some visitors and last minute realized I had planned everything for dinner, but dessert . What's dinner with out dessert to look forward to ?! For my guests I made Strawberry Fluff, through my "necessity is the mother of invention " moment I thought of several other flavors of "fluff" that would be handy, inexpensive, and yummy for the summer time .

S'more Fluff
Grocery List -
2 "normal" size tubs of cool whip or 1 large tub
1 box of instant pudding chocolate flavor
1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
Grahm Crackers

To Do -
transfer cool whip into a container that is a bit larger than the cool whip container
pour in box of instant pudding powder and combine until flavor is of preference and powder is completely blended in w whip
add in mini marshmallows and give another stir to coat and mix in all the mellows
place in fridge for several hours

To Eat -
Use Grahmn crackers like you would a chip with dip and enjoy !!!

Strawberry Fluff
Grocery List -
2 "normal" or 1 large size tub of cool whip
1 box of strawberry cream flavored instant pudding
1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
Fresh Strawberries

To Do -
transfer cool whip into a container that is a bit larger than the cool whip container
pour in box of instant pudding powder and combine until flavor is of preference and powder is completely blended in w whip
add in mini marshmallows and give another stir to coat and mix in all the mellows
place in fridge for several hours
you can either cut up the strawberries and add them into the mix or leave them whole and use them as you would a chip with dip

Hope this makes for a quick, inexpensive & sweet treat for your next back yard festivities !

Sorry I have no photo's to go with this post. Me and my guests ate it all up before
 I thought to take a picture !!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A New Day

Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;  therefore I will wait for him.

As I mentioned in THIS post from yesterday,  I have had company the last few days that included two lil' ones . Aubrey who is 1 and Griffin who is headed toward 3 . I do my best to be open to learning new things with every situation . I mean, it isn't all just for my entertainment and enlightenment . Is it ?! The Lord already told me the answer to that question, HERE . Something that I can't help but be amazed by every time I am around children is their ability to start anew so quickly . Two of my favorite times with babies is bed time and morning time . At the end of a very busy day of new experiences Griff and Aubrey where ready for bed . It seems, to me at least , that they napped hard and slept hard while visiting Aunt Stacie . In all fairness they've been traveling for a while and visiting for several weeks now with varied family . So, I'm sure their little minds and bodies are well tuckered out come nap and bed time . I envy a little one's ability to sleep so soundly . I wrestle so with putting my mind at rest when it comes to bed time that when I see a little one say they wanna go to bed because they're so worn out I can't help but get a little jealous . I have sleep envy and I admit it .  At nap time my friend Sarah would ask little Aubrey do you wanna go to sleep and worn out Aubrey would shake her head and heavy eye lids yes ! When little ones are sleeping they seem to be like angels . Peaceful, resting , and so at ease doing exactly what their bodies need, resting .

The second amazement is morning time . When a baby is so fresh faced, cozy in their jammies and super excited to wake up and see their momma, daddy, and whoever else is around . It's like a clean slate every morning . They don't hold onto the pain , sadness , or disappointments of the day before. They wake up just as excited to start this new day as they've ever been . The sweet look of wonderment on their faces always makes me smile . Even though lil' Aubrey doesn't speak yet when she came to me Tuesday morning in her jammies and pearls wanting to be held she expressed so much . Looking around at the living room as if she hadn't been there the day before . Staring at Jack wanting so badly to pet him, but seemingly thinking that there was a reason it didn't seem like the best idea . And looking at me like she was so happy to be sitting there with me starting her day.

Aubrey in her PJ's and Pearls ! Great way to start a new day.

When do we do we lose this excitement for a new day ? Is it when our life becomes scheduled with school , work , bills , and other responsibilities ? Is it something we learn or the way we are made ? Either way I want to adapt a little one's way of looking at the morning . I am beginning to ask the Lord that with every morning He'd place a new unexplainable joy in my heart for the day and what He has for me in it .  I also want to begin asking Him for peace as I rest . That I would leave the worries of the day at His feet trusting His care for me and His design of me that I would truly rest as I sleep . I'm thankful for these little lessons that come from little ones . We just never know who, when or where the Lord is going to use to teach us something new .

Psalm 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Full House

Aubrey Grace
The Partin's

Since Sunday I've had the privilege of hosting one of my oldest and dearest friends Sarah and her family at my home . Sarah and I haven't seen each other for a year and half .  Our last visit was New Years 2010 when she was pregnant with Aubrey and Griffin was just 1 year old . Her husband Jon is in the Army and they've been stationed in Germany for the last several years . It's so hard having a friend that's so far away, but with real true friends distance is only a matter of miles . I have no siblings of my own and I think the Lord has blessed me with amazing friends in their absence . I truly count my former college roommates as my sisters . We've shared fun, difficult, heart breaking, and inspiring times together, Life ! I'm so grateful that through the years while we may be oceans apart we have all been able to keep up with one another .

The Partin's are  headed to Texas where Jon will be stationed next . So, on the trek from Germany , visiting family, and on their way to their new home in Texas they made it to my house for a lil' pit stop and some much needed friend time! It was a BLAST!!!! I had yet to meet little Aubrey in person and I fell in love with her first thing . When she arrived Sunday evening she was still in her church clothes a fluffy pink dress , sweet slippers and her pearls . I would learn through this time together that Aubrey is a girl after my own heart with a love for pink and fashion !! I also believe her first word EVER was Jack .

Traveling with Sarah, Jon and Aubrey where Griffin, Sarah & Jon's son and Sarah Anne, Jon's younger sister . It was such a blessing to have every bed in the house full and a person at every seat at the dining table . My heart was overflowing with the joy of cooking for them and loving on them all . I'm so grateful for our former roommate Jessica who was a FACS(family and consumer science) major. When we all lived together she taught us all about menu planning, shopping for meals, and time management in the kitchen . Even still when we are going to visit with her she will ask in advance if we have food preferences or suggestions so she can plan ahead .  I swear I think I learned more from her than I did my home ec. teacher in high school .

It was wonderful to share my home, town and family with these dear friends on their visit . Monday we spent the morning getting their oil changed and shopping for craft supplies . After that adventure it was time for the babies naps and us girls crafternoon. Sarah did an AMAZING job making these sweet signs for each of her children's door for their soon to be new home .

I think they turned out so beautiful !!!! She painted , designed the lay out, and came up with the buttons for letters . SUPER CUTE!!!!! I am sure I will one day steal these ideas for my own gift giving or decorating purposes in the future . After naps and crafting we headed to my Great Aunt & Uncles farm for some time with the animals . My Uncle Lyndon has many talents but training, caring for, and hearing animals are some of his best ! Aubrey and Griffin loved the chance to pet one of the sheep and to be so close to them . They also got much entertainment from the sheep dog and the herding dogs Luke and Speck . To be honest I think us adults had just as much if not more fun . We also spent some time trying to coax the cows over to eat some leaves from our hands . Didn't work . I think they could smell our fear . HA! One of the funniest things was how Aubrey took to my Uncle . She had at this point not let me hold her yet . But once we got to the farm she went straight to my Uncle and wanted to stay with him for the remainder of our visit . Uncle Lyndon got a big kick out of it and loved having her to tote around .

After farm time we headed to my grandparents who had known Sarah when she and I lived together in the dorms . They where so happy to see her again and to meet her family . Papaw is a navy man so I think he and Jon talked a bit about military life . I'm so glad that Jon was willing to chat about it all . I'm sure it was fun for papaw . By the time we finished with family and farm time every one was ready for dinner . We spent the rest of the evening eating, crafting, telling stories and looking at pictures of Sarah and I's time in college . It was so wonderful to be together again and to reminisce . It was such a blessed time in our life so fun and care free . I pray everyone would have such a wonderful college experience as we did . While this visit was missing our other three roommates physically they where with us in spirit . Amber, Jenny & Jessica it just didn't feel complete with out you with us . Don't worry we told embarassing stories about y'all too !! I mean, didn't wanna leave anything out .

The Lord truly loves me more than I'll ever be able to comprehend . He knows my hearts cry and answers it before it's ever left my lips . Today as my friends pulled out of the drive to continue on their way to this new adventure I was over whelmed with tears and joy . I am SO thankful to have a home that friends feel welcome in , food to cook for them , family who will love on them like they are kin' , and friends that are so wonderful them selves that they make it all so easy to do ! I am blessed ! I've got to keep myself reminded of that when times get rough . God is good ! I've got to write that on my hand for the days He feels so tough on me . While I may not have children of my own , yet , God has allowed me friends with awesome babies that let me love on them, cook for them, and spoil them . While I do not know where I'm going or what is next for me just yet , God is allowing me to use this time to love His people and to use His provision and blessings for me , on others . I've got some of the best friends a girl could ever have .
My house is a mess, there's a pile of laundry , dishes , my grocery list is long for the next trip and I could use a nap, but I haven't been this happy in a long time . All those things and new "to-do's" mean I've been busy using up, giving away and sharing all that the Lord has allowed me to have both physical and emotional . Lord let me continue to be poured out for Your glory in whatever way You see fit !!! Thank You for beautiful, kind, caring and wise friends & family who love me like You do . Thank You for people who take time from not only their days, but their lives because they too find relationships important . I believe with all that I am that we will not remember when we retell the stories of our lives the money spent, the sleep lost , the time spent cooking or cleaning, but we will only recall the laughter, stories, and memories made . Friends & Family near & far - LOVE YOU ! Thanks for loving me too!
I'm sad about it too Aubrey ! I miss you already .

     Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.       

John 15:13   Greater Love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Ecclesasties 4: 9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. Elbert Hubbard
Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. Muhammad Ali

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Turn That Frown Upside Down

Not every day do I find the strength to move about with a perfect attitude . There are times when the worst of me gets the best of me . This morning has been one of those mornings . My immediate mind set when I awoke was overwhelmed , defeated and out of sorts. How do these things happen ? I haven't even left the bed yet . My breakfast didn't turn out as planned, I need to go to the grocery store after having been out of town , & Jack Davis is limping, again :-(  .

I spent the morning fighting to spend time in prayer, reading the Bible, and just at least attempting to refocus my heart . I asked the Lord in prayer and journaling this morning to please change my heart, day, and mind. I don't want to spend this Sunday down in the dumps. I don't really want to spend any day feeling blue . Suddenly words that I've shared with others in their down times came rushing back. "The best way to get past your own dilemma's is to do something for someone else" .

So , here I sit , 1. sharing my down and outs so that maybe , just maybe someone else out there won't feel so alone in their down time and 2. baking some fun treats for some far away friends and their pups . And in deed working on these little , maybe silly to someone else , tasks I am finding my heart a bit up lifted . I imagine how excited these dear friends and their pups will be when they receive their surprise in the mail and automatically my heart leaps. I am now looking forward to the rest of the day . Hoping to do some reading, get Jack out in the yard to exercise that sore paw , and of course packing up my fun surprises for mailing.

I hope that this helps encourage your heart and maybe gives you a few ideas to aid in your brightening of some days.

Philippians 4:19
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Joshua 1:9
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9
we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Saturday, June 2, 2012

What it Once Was

Isaiah 43:18-19 "Remember not the former things nor consider the things of old.
Behold I am doing a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it ?
I will make a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert."

What it once was isn't necessarily what it will always be . I've been doing a lot of praying this week about my past, present and future . I've been in situations where it's expected that I be able to state my strengths, weaknesses, goals, and why something is of interest to me . After a few times of rolling of the "right" answers I found myself pondering if I really believed what I was saying . Or had I been in this situation a multitude of times to where now I turn into a robot spitting out data that will please . My answer to this pondering was a little of both, there are some answers to questions that are expected, "why do you want this job ? " - A. Because not being poor is cool. B. Because I believe I can add to this position and it can make me better as well . Let's be honest both of these answers are correct, but only one should be said out loud .

I also found myself sharing a lot of my inner clock work with close friends this week . More answering of questions or explanations provided to blank stares as to why do I want to do the things I want to do or not do . Since I don't have siblings I depend largely on my friends for advice, guidance, balance and encouragement . While, the majority of my friends understand me I can't help but feel that a few of them think that I live in a magical world where the roads are paved with rock candy, the sky rains skittles, and I travel on pink pony that poo's glitter .

While, yes, that would be a splendid world to live in I'm fully aware of my reality . The reality of this world we live in isn't promised to be safe, wonderful, and caring . But my reality is very blessed to be quiet honest . To live in such a rough world where so many don't know what it is to be supported by loved ones or encouraged by friends or to feel the sensitive leading of the Lord, I, in comparison to all that, have an embarrassment of riches !! I have ALWAYS felt the presence of the Lord guiding me through out my life . Even in the times I so desperately wanted to stray from Him and His calling on my life I still felt Him ever so close . I believe He has had His hand and orchestration on every step I've made . Everything from the college I attended to the roommates I had . I look back and can see so much of His handiwork . But even now I as I look forward I can still see His handiwork in almost every day .  While times aren't always easy I still feel very loved and provided for by my Savior. I learned long ago not to question how He provides or why He loves , but rather to be thankful that He does . I'm lucky to be able to feel His closeness and to sense His guidance in my life . Not everyone, even His other children can say that they feel His leading them toward or away from something so closely and so confidently . I didn't realize that till just recently . I pray that in every step I take good or bad that at some point there is a reference back to the Lord . As I speak of my past I pray that it reflects what I once was and not what I currently am . When I speak of my present I pray that it references what I hope to be . And when I look to the future I pray that it gleams things I can't even begin to imagine now . I'm so grateful to have been created with the heart and mind that I was. I fear if I thought any other way I'd be so sad.

Lamp After
Lamb Before

This afternoon I've done some tangible activities to keep in my mind that just because something was once one thing doesn't mean it always will be. My lamp for example is going to be something that I can look at and be reminded daily that our past does not predict our future. Yes, the lamp is still a lamp, but with a little TLC and creativity it's a much brighter and cleaner lamp.
Here are a few of my hands on reminders that 
what once was isn't always what will be.

Before : Dirt & Seeds
After : Tomatoes and Chives = Yummy Goodness!!
Sometimes something wonderful can come from something
seemingly not so wonderful like mud :-)

After: When all the perfume had
been used. I cleaned the bottle and
turned into a new spray bottle
for my latest home made pesticide.

Before : Perfume Bottle
Beautiful, sweet and simply lovely.
The bottle is still a bottle, but after it's
original use it still has purpose.