Thursday, June 26, 2014

Namibia

It’s hard for me to believe that in just a 2 ½ short weeks, Matthew and I will be taking 8 crazy teenage girls to Namibia, Africa with us. It all started as a dream on the way to a concert and then suddenly became a reality when the trip really started coming together. I could literally tell you story upon story upon story of how God orchestrated this trip, but you’d be reading for days. 

Many of you have followed our journey via social media and many of you have even supported us financially. We cannot thank you enough for purchasing our ornaments, tshirts, sending checks in the mail, etc. We are overwhelmed by the love that you have shown us. A young couple, newly married, contacted me one day out of the blue and donated a large sum for each of the girls, which was a huge blessing! Another sweet friend, texted me out of the blue to ask if we were still raising money and donated a large amount of money to us. We are so grateful for the generosity of friends and even strangers.  You’ve blown us away!

We are almost there, but we still have a long way to go to get prepared. A few unexpected costs recently became evident to us, and we realized that we still need to raise $2400 before July 14th. Here’s the breakdown:

·                       *      Van Rental/Fuel - $1800 (required to get us all from place to place while serving)
·     
            *    Food/Lodging/Daily Expenses - $275 (eat + sleep)
·      
                     *        Medical Insurance/Luggage/Etc - $325 (protection + clothes on our back)

You might look at $2400 and think, WOW, that is a lot of money but if you break it down, we just need 100 people to give $25.00 to reach our goal.

We know that we haven’t gotten this far to fail now. If you can help us, please contact me at:


Thank you so much for your help!

Monday, May 5, 2014

DIY Confetti Popper Invitations

Baby girl, like every other girl in the world, is obsessed with FROZEN. Her obsession is being carried over to her birthday party. On the way home from seeing the movie in the theater, she had already made up her mind that she was having a FROZEN party.

For several reasons, we decided to scale down the party this year. She only wanted to invite 4 of her girlfriends and all of her teen friends. A lot less stress, and I hope a ton of fun.  Since we were only inviting a few people, I decided to make a fun invitation. Did you know that you can mail anything under 13 ounces? ANYTHING! I mean, if you can find a flamingo that weighs less than 13 ounces, you could mail it! When I read this, my mind was blown! I decided to attempt to mail a confetti popper with her invitation attached, then I decided to try to make the confetti popper the invitation. After I finished, I decided not to mail it because I was afraid the post office would detonate the popper in transport.

I really like how they turned out, and I think they'd make a perfect New Years Eve Party invitation! Anyway, another holiday, another blog post! You can find the steps below to make your own invitation.

*Here's what you'll need:
      *Confetti Popper (got mine at Party City)
      *Curling Ribbon or Confetti
      *Mod Podge
      *Tape
      *Top Cover
      *Wrapper
      *Invitation
















STEP 1: Take wrapper and topper off of your popper and empty the existing confetti out. Use the wrapper to measure your length and width to create your own wrapper. (Make sure you give the correct instructions, unlike me! I typed "TWIST RIGHT" with arrows pointing left. NOT SMART!) Then, use your top cover to measure your top cover.


STEP 2: create your own confetti and invitation. Add a little confetti.


STEP 3: add your invitation.


STEP 4: add more confetti to cover invitation.


STEP 5: top the popper with your cover.


STEP 6: use tape to secure the confetti cover. (I was able to find tape that matched perfectly to the paper i used for my cover. It blended perfectly!)


STEP 7: Mod Podge your wrapper on to the popper. 


There, now you have an easy confetti popper invitation!  

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Room Redo - Big Girl Room For My Big Girl

I guess you could say that we've been transitioning baby girl's bedroom from nursery to "big girl" room for about 4 years. Somehow, I moved the "big girl" furniture in and never got the room decorated. It literally bothers me every time I walk by, so I finally made the decision to surprise her for Christmas with a room makeover. The challenge? The challenge was creating a new room with no money. In the end, it worked and here's how...my amazing mom and a whole heck of a lot of  DIYing!
 
Now, where to start? I wanted the new room to be something that MC would love but that I could live with as well. When I asked her about 6 months ago, if she could choose anything to decorate her room with, what would it be, she told me, "I want princesses on the wall, with Mickey Mouse, and unicorns." Ok, NO, just no! I also wanted it to be a room that she could grow in to, meaning, if I don't get around to changing this out for another 5 years, will it still be legit?
 
She is obsessed with unicorns. When I think of unicorns, I think of rainbows and a whole lot of tacky, but when I was scrolling through the Pottery Barn website for inspiration (and I mean inspiration only, that place is WHOA expensive), I found a wall mounted unicorn head that was perfect. Naturally my first thought, and most likely yours too, is where do you go to catch unicorns to get that trophy head? After much "googling" for unicorn hunting grounds, I decided that I would stick with one that someone else had already caught. I found a "less expensive than PB" unicorn head on Etsy.
 
I also needed a color scheme, so obviously I went to Pinterest and found exactly what I was looking for. I took a photo that I found of a gold polka dot wall with a coral dresser and used it for "pinspiration." Those were going to be our colors: gold, vintage white, coral, and black.
 
As I mentioned before, most everything in the room is DIY, so if you see something that you would like more details on, just leave me a comment below and I will share. So, now for the photos...


The gorgeous furniture was given to my family years ago by some friends that were moving away and it was absolutely perfect for my sweet girl, it just needed to be refinished. Not sure if you've ever refinished furniture before, but it ain't a "walk in the park!"
When the unicorn head came in, it was bit smaller than I imagined, so I added the back piece of wood to give it a little more personality.
 

I love that Matthew's grandmother, GBo, crocheted this throw for us for Christmas and it just so happened to be the exact colors we were using and it added something so special to the room.

The heart wall was another idea that I pulled from Pinterest. I wanted MC to have photos of her family and friends without having to purchase frames. At five years old, excuse me, five AND a half years old, "friends" come and go, so Matthew mentioned the idea of using Velcro so that we could change the photos if needed. I am so thankful for a smart husband!
Look closely, maybe you made it on to the wall! :)

I call these the "Night Lights!" MC is scared of the dark, I mean, let's be honest, who isn't?  I have a deep love for Marquee lights, so I got the idea when I found the initials on the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby to put her name in lights. The initials are huge, and they are hollow on back so they worked perfectly! Matthew drilled holes and I bought battery operated Christmas lights so that there would be no cords showing. My OCD couldn't have handled cords.

Ok, the polka dots...I literally almost talked "ugly" several times throughout this process but I was determined that baby girl was going to have some sparkle dots on her wall. I found some solid gold vinyl wall decals at Land of Nod, but for the amount of dots I needed, we couldn't afford them. They would've been so easy, but instead, I got 50% off scrapbook sheets of gold glitter heavy paper from Hobby Lobby and used it as wallpaper. I used my hand-me-down die cutting machine that my sister gave me to cut the circles exactly the size I wanted.
I really wanted a coral piece of furniture like I originally saw in my room inspiration photo, but a dresser wouldn't fit in the room with the other pieces, so I found this little storage cabinet at Target for CHEAP and painted it and spray painted the handles. It now holds one zillion stuffed animals, MC's "babies!"

Curtains were made by the most talented human being in the entire world, my momma. We used Riley Blake black/cream striped fabric, and by "we," I mean, "she!"
Literally, I would have a chalkboard in every room if I could, wait, I do have a chalkboard in almost every room! I am a little particular with the chalkboards in the other rooms, so I thought that MC needed one that she could use for her creativity. This is before she got ahold of it. (ps. her daddy means that with all of his heart!)
This pillow is another DIY inspired by a pillow from Pottery Barn. I purchased the pillow from Walmart for $3 and used heat transfer and cut out the unicorn using a pattern that I created, ironed the transfer on, and BOOM, a WAY less expensive way to have a PB pillow.



MC has a tiny bathroom in her room, so it needed a touch too. The coral frame was previously a mirror that Matthew and I received as a wedding gift. The mirror part broke but the frame was too beautiful to trash so it got a little paint and a quote inside..."Always be yourself unless you can be a unicorn." The stool is one that I "borrowed" from my mom's house and by, "borrowed," I mean, I took it and painted it and it isn't going back.

Obviously, this is a great reminder for us all. (Same scrapbook paper and diecutting machine was used to create the letters as was used for polka dots)

Of course, my mom made the shower curtain to match the bedroom curtains. What do you do when you don't quite have enough fabric to finish the project...you put a solid black band of fabric in the middle. I had every intention of getting the solid part monogrammed, but it most likely will be just like this forever and I'm ok with that.
 
After all of that blood, sweat and tears, on Christmas Day, when we opened the bedroom door for her to finally see, she was most excited about...wait for it, wait for it...the $0.15 goldfish. (Goldfish names: Goldie & Polka Dot, I believe that she may have used her wall in front of her as inspiration for the fish names.)
 
If you have any questions about paint colors, DIY details, etc., just leave a comment below. :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Faith or Freaks?


Well, I thought I'd mosey on over and write a bit. I haven't blogged in a while, ok, 7 months, but it's time I get back to it.

The last year has by far been the craziest year of our lives. If you have a moment, I'll just take you back to the beginning...

On the morning of August 27th, 2012, my phone rang and it was Matthew. He was on his way to work and he told me that he was thinking about quitting his job, and asked my thoughts. I would like to point out that this wasn't out of the blue, it's something that we had discussed and prayed about for quite some time. You're probably thinking, "Oh, so he was resigning because he had a better job lined up?" Nope. Here's where you'll think us crazy! It's ok, you are not alone.

How often do we say, "We’re stepping out in faith," but really, we have a backup plan in case God doesn't show up? That's what we have done in the past, but that's not faith. We could've easily waited until we saved up six months’ worth of income before resigning, and to be honest, that's what we had planned to do, but Matthew had a peace about stepping out in faith, REAL faith, and as my spiritual leader, I had to trust him.

Stepping out in faith doesn't mean that we see far down the road, many times, you can only see a step or two in front of you, but you have to keep walking. Years ago, Matthew sat down with our friend, Dr. Steve Cloud, a brilliant dreamer and vision igniter, and together they mapped out what Matthew wanted his career to look like. Matthew's passions are Jesus and athletics, so naturally his dream job would be sharing the love of Jesus through athletics. For months after he finally resigned, Matthew felt like he would work for a friend, Mike Moye, who is by far the smartest agent in the Sports Agency business. To us, it just made sense, Matthew would be able to work directly with athletes, build personal relationships, and then share Jesus through it all. Matthew kept pursuing and pursuing but the door kept slamming in his face every time.  Obviously, God was trying to tell him to be still and wait. Waiting isn’t very fun and it's often very scary when you're having to provide for your family, but when God tells you to be still and wait, just be still and wait. Although the times of being still and waiting are frightening, they can be such sweet times...this is when God has you where he wants you to let you know the next few steps that he planned for you. During this time, Matthew realized that he was chasing something that wasn't supposed to be, and began having a real passion for starting his own business.

If you know me, you know that I am not a risk taker, starting a business is quite possibly the scariest thing to me, but when I saw the look on Matthew's face and heard his vision for what this company would look like, I couldn't help but get on board! Many nights, he gets so excited that he stays up all night working on his business plan. That vision quickly turned in to a plan of action and then became, Anchor Bats, a wood baseball bat company. Matthew and his dad have thrown the idea around for years, but it just took some time for them to realize that NOW is the time! Rick Warren recently quoted, “Every frustration is an opportunity for innovation. Great ministries and companies arise out of unmet needs.”  Thank God for unmet needs.

I would love to be able to tell you that it's been smooth sailing, but realistically, we've been through some storms. At times, it's been excruciatingly scary, but God is so faithful and He shows up mightily to carry us through every step of the way. I could tell you story after story of how God has provided for us) this year and is continuing to do so. It hasn't been easy, to provide our cost of living, we have made drastic changes. We sold our very unnecessary Mercedes, and became a one car family. If you ever need a lesson in patience and self-control, share a car with your spouse. Instead of eating out every week, we eat at home and then we eat this very rare meal later called, “leftovers!” Who knew you could actually save food in your refrigerator and eat it again? We’ve practically sold everything, our furniture, d├ęcor, jewelry, you name it we’ve sold it! Another big change has been side jobs, Matthew has been everything from carpenter, hardwood floor installer, to painter, lawn care maintenance man, to pool boy, and so much more, but we thank God every time he provides another side job to pay bills so that we can continue to get this business up and running.

Are you wondering what the holdup is? Well, it takes quite a bit of money to start your own company. Months ago, we came to the conclusion that we couldn’t do this alone, we needed the support of an investor. Have you ever asked someone for $400,000? Let me tell you, it ain't easy! People don’t just get giddy and say, “Pass me my checkbook!” Although we’ve had a, “yes” or two, things just haven’t really panned out…YET. Finding the money doesn’t happen overnight, so we just keep praying that God gives us wisdom and discernment in the days ahead.

My question to you is, do you believe in stepping out in faith or do you think we are radically crazy for the decisions we’ve made? Why don't we, as Christians, suffer persecution more than we do? (1 Peter 4:12-19) We believe it’s because too often we look like “the world.” If there isn’t anything setting us apart from the world, we won’t be a huge target for persecution. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wake up every morning thinking, “I really hope to be ridiculed today,” but we are called to be different and different is what I want to be! When we feel led by God, we often aren't obedient because of how "the world" (non-Christians and Christians alike) will look at us. We've been looked down upon so many times throughout the year by many "followers". What we're doing isn't anything "radical,” we are just trying to be led by God regardless of what others may think. Do you think this is easy? I don’t, I despise being looked as a weirdo, but I honestly believe it’s what God has called us to do and I pray that we continue to be obedient to His call.

This journey has been long, hard, difficult, many times embarrassing, humbling, frustrating, confusing, sometimes lonely, but we don't want to have an Esau moment and sell out to everything that God has in store for us (for His Glory) because of our desire to feed an appetite that is our own pride, fleshly desires, and worldly things. Genesis 25:19-34

Ultimately, this post/life update is about bringing Glory to God. I hope you’ll be encouraged that whether your marriage is falling apart or it's over, your kids are rebelling against God, you’re holding on the "American dream,” TAKE HEART because it's inevitable that trouble, trials, and tribulation will come but rest in the beauty that CHRIST HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD! John 16:29-33 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Family Easter Cakes

Well, here they are! Everyone raised the bar this year. In case this is your first year voting, you may need to know that this competition began 4 years ago, not really sure how, but it is one of our favorite times of the year. We have no, and I repeat NO professional cake decorating skills. Once you see the videos, you will realize that quickly. We have a blast trash talking throughout the year about who's cake will win. This year, it's anyone's game. We had a few issues with the videos on Facebook, so here they are, all seven of them. You can vote by leaving a comment here or on Facebook. This year, there is a $50 giftcard on the line, so it's about to get interesting. We have extended the voting time due to the issue with Facebook. Voting will end at 11:59 PM on Monday, April 1st. Thanks so much for voting and may the best cake win!!! video
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jimmy's Announcement

If you've been wondering where Jimmy has been for the past few days, you'll be happy to know...

A week ago, Jimmy received this letter:

 He came to us and asked us how we felt about him taking a few days off, and we GLADLY told him to go. Before he left, I had to know, what happened in 1998? He hung his head and showed us this newspaper article:

After he shared his 1998 troubles with us, we wished him well in the Reindeer Games, and sent him on his way. It was the quietest three days we've had in a while! 

A few days later, he sent us news that he'd be returning soon, and that he'd metaled in the following events:

 

Then, I found this at Publix:


I worry that with this success, bad behavior may begin to creep in. I guess we'll see in a few days.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, December 7, 2012

The "New" Jimmy?

Have you ever been in such a deep sleep that when you start to open your eyes, you have to figure out where you are and what day it is? That's what kind of morning I had. I opened one eye, peeked around the room, and it suddenly hit me...the aroma of a hot breakfast...JIMMY!!!! 

My first thought wasn't, "oh how sweet," with Jimmy, my first thought could only be, "is our house still standing?" I hurried to get my robe on, opened the bedroom door, and found this:

I couldn't wait to wake MC up so she could see that Jimmy had returned, but in the back of my mind, I wondered how Matthew would respond to the "new Jimmy!" 

Here are a few priceless shots of MC when she woke up to find him:



 

We all made it through breakfast in one piece. I wonder how long Jimmy will keep this up? TO BE CONTINUED...