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Monday, January 31

The Weekend's Gifts

81. Fridays. Arguably one of my favorite days of the week, when work ends and I can finally relax. It's full of anticipation for the rest of the weekend. 

82. Sunlight shining warm on my face and making me blink by its brightness.
Cincinnati - Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum photo © 2010 David Ohmer | more info (via: Wylio)




83. The sound of a baby laughing nearby.

84. Green, green grass, smelling fresh and damp from the sprinklers. 

85. A single sprig of pink flowers blooming on a bush.
Free Green Grass in Morning Light Creative Commonsphoto © 2009 D. Sharon Pruitt | more info (via: Wylio)
86. As I walked back to my apartment, I passed a little girl playing with her mother. She pointed at me and talked excitedly in Spanish, and her mother laughed embarrassedly and answered her while smiling at me. I don't speak Spanish, but thought I heard "muy bonita." Or it might have been "muy gordita," but I choose to believe the first. 

87. Beautiful words from Ann Voskamp. I'm two chapters into "One thousand Gifts," and I don't want to put it down! 

88. A fresh juicy orange.
Orange is the happiest color.photo © 2008 Nattu | more info (via: Wylio)
89. A tantalizing sewing machine, sparking creativity. It was tempting to give up on school and just go sew, but I restrained myself. 

90. Education. As a girl, living in America, I am very grateful for the opportunity to go to college. I know many women  around the world are not so blessed. 

91. Clean water to drink.

92. Cool breezes smelling of fresh laundry blowing through the screen porch door. 
on the line 2photo © 2010 Tabitha Blue | more info (via: Wylio)
93. Fresh peaches and pumkin pancakes. Surprisingly, they taste really good together.

94. Pizza. Do you ever get pizza cravings, or is it just me?
Pizza that makes you wanna cry!photo © 2007 Penny | more info (via: Wylio)
95. A clean house. I feel so much more relaxed and peaceful when the house is clean.

96. A soft nightgown and bathrobe.

97. Inspiring magazines. I'm reading my February edition of Better Homes and Gardens, which always inspires new decorating and crafting ideas, and last night I found a new online magazine called Matchbook. It's very vintage, romantic, and girly. And if you're style challenged like me, the pictures of what goes well together are very helpful. 
98. Free valentines! I posted a link to them in my Weekend Reading yesterday, so you can download them too.

99. February starts tomorrow! I'm excited for February, because Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays, and Brian's birthday is in February!
Happy Heart's desirephoto © 2010 Shironeko Euro | more info (via: Wylio)
100. Watching the sunrise today.

How was your weekend? What gifts did God bless you with? 


Sunday, January 30

Weekend Reading

Today the theme is Valentine's Day! I hope these links will give you something to think about and some decorating ideas!


Freebie: List of Free Valentines from Living Locurto!  Just download and print! These are so cute!
peptogirl





Friday, January 28

Thrilling Thrifty Finds

I know that's a cheesy title, but when you see what we found, you'll understand!

Saturday, Brian woke up earlier than I did (as usual) and decided to check out Craig's list. Days before, we'd talked about how small my desk was. It has one surface for a computer, but where the shelves are, it's higher, making it hard to fit books, notebooks, and a laptop.
I didn't get a picture before Brian had it all packed up.
 I loved that desk. It wasn't real wood, but it was a lovely color and I loved the shelves, but Brian found a desk on Craig's list he wanted to check out. Brian was so excited, he woke me up to tell me about it.

"This is such a steal!" It was an oak "L" shaped desk with lots of drawers, and the owners were only asking $130. Brian said new oak desks of that size would go for around $1,500, so we agreed to check it out.

As I ate breakfast, he found another desk. This one was also wood, painted black, and included a chair. It was bigger than my old desk, but not massive. It looked simple and sophisticated, and I knew it would match perfectly with our other Craig List finds: our coffee and end table.
$20
$20
This desk and chair were going for $85. Not a steal, but we decided to check it out too.

Brian also found a free desk, but we weren't very interested in it, it wasn't real wood and it was really long and heavy.

We looked at the black desk first. To our surprise, the couple who had posted it was from Iowa, and they had been to our home town on a few occasions! Their daughter's roommate was selling the desk, but they were screening potential buyers. Their daughter and her roommate lived in a gorgeous condo, so I don't blame them. Because they were really sweet and from Iowa, we paid full price for the desk and chair.

$85
This is my desk now. Here I do my schoolwork, blog, spend time on various social media sites, and as Brian suggested, writing letters.

Our next stop was the oak "L" shaped desk. Brian was already sold on it, before we even found the house. But when we pulled up, he started to waver. The yard was full of junk. The house looked nice, in nice neighborhood, but their grass was the only dead brown lot on the street. When they let us in, we there was hardly room for us inside, and the desk was almost blocking the door. Mounds of stuff piled all over everything.

"We're doing some remodeling," The man said. Judging by the fact that the piles filled the downstairs and wound up the stairs to the second floor and out the front door, and the wife was too embarrassed to come out of the kitchen, I'm kinda doubting it. Full sized cardboard cut outs of Justin Beiber and Jacob from Twilight stared at us from their perches on piles of stuff.

And the desk. It had severe water damage, marker or paint splotches, and the finish was totally ruined.

"You could sand it down and refinish it if you wanted," the man suggested.
"What do you think?" Brian asked me.
"I think....we need to think about it." I said. Safely in the car: "No way."
To my joy, Brian agreed, "I don't want to pay $130 for a project like that."

So, he called the people with the free desk. They said we could come right over, and when we got there, a smiling lady led us upstairs to the desk. They had just bought the house and were doing serious remodeling. Her story I believed; the towers of moving boxes and the torn up carpet made sense. Lucky for us, her husband arrived when we'd carried the desk to the top of the stairs. It was definitely a man's job. They carried it out, and somehow we squeezed it into the Durango with the other desk and chair. Don't ask me how. I wasn't sure we'd get either one out of there without calling the fire department for the jaws of life. 

$0
Here's our free desk. Brian has claimed it as his. 

Look at how well it matches with our bookshelf! The bookshelf is real wood, and we brought it from Iowa. A match made in heaven.

If you're wondering about that white metal curved thing in that picture, it's a wall sconce, and I bought it at Savers for half off. You can see it better and all the other cool things I got that day here.

But it doesn't stop there!

Recently, we were given some more free stuff. We've been wanting a couch for a long time, and God graciously provided not just a couch, but a loveseat, and two matching lamps! 
These couches and lamps have radically changed our decorating theme. We moved the light blue arm chairs to the guest room, which works because there's a lot of room in there. The couches reconcile the black and brown in the room; the coffee and end table and the new desk, with the brown bike planter, birdhouse, and clock. 

I didn't get a picture of the whole room, but trust me, it looks good. 

That's not all! Look what else I got for free!



Oh Yeah! Honestly, I didn't think I'd ever need one of these, but since I've been blogging, I've seen so many amazing sewing projects that made me wish I had a sewing machine. I figured I'd just stick to paper crafts, but our friends gave us this machine for free! My friend (who will remain nameless) said it didn't work, and her husband insisted she just didn't know how to use it. I plugged it in, the light came on, and it ran like a dream. I guess he was right...but, finders keepers!

Don't feel bad for her: she's getting another machine for free. And really, if she wanted this one back, I would give it to her, but she says her new free one will be better.

The moral of this story is this: If you need something, pray about it, and look on Craig's List! Sometimes God just likes to give us gifts.

Brian is completely addicted to Craig's list now. Like, he scours it every evening.

Have you found anything fun lately? Has a piece of furniture or art ever altered the entire decorating style of one of your rooms? Please share!

Wednesday, January 26

Determine Your Decorating Style

Ever wonder how to define your decorating style? I have! I have such an eclectic mix of French country, shabby chic, traditional, and modern, that I don't have any idea what to call it! So when I saw this quiz on How About Orange, I jumped at the chance to find out my style. This is what I got: 

"Park Avenue Cocktail"
A quite life… more simple, with your priorites in place. Your kitchen is your prize. Decorative, finished… elegant. In an exotic dream you sleep - sheer curtains, silk, and satin. Like the painter's brush, your composition is done in living color. A lady like table suitable to a royal wedding. Afternoon caffeine breaks to change your point of view. Pre-war, upper east side attitude. Bookcases, reading nooks and private studies provide a learned atmosphere at home.

Suspected Park Avenue Cocktail
- Marlene Dietrich
- Audrey Hepburn
- Frank Sinatra

I'm so flattered that I share the same tastes as Audry Hepburn and Frank Sinatra! How awesome is that?

I'm shocked at how accurate this assessment is, when all I did was pick a few pictures. Simplicity, check. Elegant, check. Silk/satin in the bedroom, check. Painter's brush, check. Feminine, check. Coffee, double check. And bookcases, reading nooks, private studies, check check and check.

Works for me!

There are over 20 different styles, so I know you'll want to take the Style Maker Visual Quiz to find out your style too! I'm curious, so after you do, come back and tell me what you got, Ok?!

P.S: The winning comment of the DaySpring Giveaway is....#1, Honormommy! Congratulations!!!

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Tuesday, January 25

God Gives Gifts

The last few weeks have been difficult, very stressful, busy, and confusing. I found that to keep sane, I had to keep a record of joys. Because even when situations seem bleak, God is still giving us gifts!



61. Even though there are hundreds of students in my online Geology lab, my teacher answered my email about the issue with the PowerPoint right away.

62. Brian is probably not going to lose his job at the moment.

63. Although online classes are difficult and frustrating at times, they are saving us a lot of money.

64. Although I didn't meet my goal of get up at 5:30 a.m. every day last week, I did a couple times!

65. We bought a color cartridge for my printer!!!

66. I bought a beautiful file holder thing for my coupons. Yes, I'm a coupon lady. But this file holder makes me feel good about it!
This pretty thing is replacing that pink crate.


67. I've got lots of blog design ideas floating around in my head. Not a total re-haul, but just a little face lift to freshen and lighten it up.

68. Brian bought me extra memory for my computer, so it runs much better now.

69. No one was hurt in the car accident that Brian was in on the interstate.

70. Brian's meeting with the CEO was very positive.

71. There has been lots of good blog reading lately! You all are keeping me glued to my computer.

72. Brian forgave me for being stupid the other day. That's one of my favorite things about him, he has a short memory when it comes to wrongs!

73. My blog was featured on Gina's blog, have a heart!

74. I ordered Ann's book, One Thousand Gifts. I CANNOT wait 'til it comes!

75. I have coffee to drink every morning. And creamer, because I can't drink coffee without it.

76. When working at the church Thursday, I was able to get speedy assistance with printing the bulletins, and folding them too!

77. We hung out with friends Saturday night, and I really enjoyed talking a lot. I probably talked Honormommy's ears off. But I had fun!

78. Brian and I celebrated our Seventh Month Wedding Anniversary! We went to Garcia's, a Mexican restaurant with really good food and portions large enough for two meals, literally, and we sat on the patio. It really was this dark, and red, because of the bright neon sign. Eventually, a waiter lit the out door fire place, and if it wasn't for the very drunk couple sitting in front of us, it would have been very romantic. As it was, it was definitely very entertaining!
Brian is SO photogenic


79. I baked peanut butter cookies last night.



78. Even though they all burned, I think they still taste good!


It's all a gift, from stressful weeks to burnt cookies. It's life, and thats a precious gift. 

Have you received any gifts lately that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments!

Monday, January 24

Answers, Part 2

Need some context? Here's Answers Part 1


But what about Brian's job situation? That's a lot more complicated.


While we were home over Christmas, people asked how the job was working out, and Brian told them about his dissatisfaction with the company. However, the night before we left, he talked to his dad until two in the morning, and he convinced him to stick it out for at least one year.

Before the end by *tomsumartin

The day after he started back at work, everything changed. Two managers approached Brian and informed him that the CEO wanted to fire him, and they had talked him out of it. They worked out a deal so that he would work in the shop for an indefinite time before travelling for the company. We were relieved that he wasn't fired on the spot, but this was a far cry from the project engineer position he'd been hired for, and being apart from each other for long amounts of time was not going to work for us.

After the initial sense of panic subsided, we decided that this was our sign - time to start job searching. 

But it wasn't that simple. For a couple years the idea of attending seminary has been tucked away in the back of Brian's mind. This situation brought it out to the foreground, so not only were we considering engineering jobs, but also seminaries across the country.

In light of that, the job search was...slow. Like, crawling. Right away we found 15 or so possibilities, and I suggested applying for one a day. Brian insisted that he would do better than that: three a day and six on weekends.
Rain Rain Rain by Quel Beast!
After almost three weeks, guess how many we've applied to so far? One.

Panic returned. I did not want to move again, I also did not want Brian to get fired if the CEO changed his mind before we found something else. I did not want to go to seminary for the wrong reasons; namely, as a last resort for not being able to find a job. I did not want to nag and frustrate Brian, but I did feel that we need to pick up the pace with the job applications, or seminary applications, or both. Or just make up our minds which we were going to pursue.

Our seventh month anniversary came and went. We've lived here in Arizona for around six months. We thought this job was the answer to our prayers, but it's been something of a disaster. Why did God bring us so far from all we knew and loved? Why did He bring us to wander in the desert?

Right around the time of our anniversary, Brian had a six month performance review. Based on the review, you would think that he was one of the most incompetent and worthless employees ever hired. They made ridiculous claims about him not being able to work without direct supervision, lacking judgement, professionalism, and confidence. I assumed that this review was just an excuse to fire him. 
Storm Clouds by JSmith Photo
As part of the review, Brian had to evaluate himself, so he bought a couple books about writing performance reviews and spent the weekend writing, researching, and revising. By Monday he had a solid five page response ready. Then we waited for the meeting between the CEO, the head manager, and Brian to discuss the review.

The CEO arrived Tuesday but didn't have time to meet that day, or the day after that. 

Thursday was a bad day. Tuesday night, I'd only slept for three hours-2:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m., and Wednesday night I went to bed at 10 and got up at 5:30 a.m. again to see Brian off for work. I feel asleep on the couch, and after an hour woke up to my phone ringing. Why is Brian calling? He's supposed to be driving to work. "Hello?" I mumbled, still mostly asleep. I heard voices talking loudly in the background and the sound of traffic zooming past, and then realization hit me: Car accident.

"Hi babe, I got in a car accident." Yep.
My heart was somersaulting. "Are you ok? How bad is it?" I was wide awake now.
"I'm fine, everyone is ok. A car ahead of me rear-ended the car in front of it, and I slowed down in time, and the truck behind me slowed too, but the car behind it didn't, and it pushed the truck into me."

He had called ahead and let his boss know the situation, and that he'd be late. Of course, this was the day that the CEO could meet with him. 
Storm 
from nette1274
Exhaustion took over and I fell back asleep, waking up 40 minutes after I should have been at church, helping out with the secretary work. I didn't make it there until 12, and then, I couldn't get the bulletins to print. After maybe an hour of frustration and tears, I called someone who was able to come and help me figure it out. But while we were working on it, I missed Brian's call about his meeting. 

He called on his way home from work, but he didn't tell me much because I "interrupted" him. Even after he got home, he wouldn't tell me anything. When I brought it up, he'd say, "Well I was going to tell you, but you interrupted," and refused to say what he was going to say if I hadn't interrupted. Sometimes he's stubborn like that. FINALLY late at night, after much frustration and tears on my part, he told me all about the meeting. 

It was very positive, he said. They weren't going to fire him. In fact, they really never seriously considered it; the managers who informed Brian must have been grossly mistaken. The CEO seemed to be willing to work things out. 

So Brian didn't lose his job. Answer to prayer, right?

Honestly, I don't know. Brian was miserable before the threat of being fired. He says he will still look for jobs, but just not as "gung ho" about it as he was. So, maybe he'll apply for one every three months? I'm not holding my breath. And what about seminary? Is that out of the picture now too? I don't care where Brian works, or goes to school, or how much he makes, as long as he's happy and enjoys what he does every day.

I'm frustrated and confused. What was the point of all this? After an emotional roller coaster, we're right back where we started. 
God's ways are certainly not mine right now, but I can be certain of this:
"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." Jeremiah 29:11
That's a comfort!

If you think of it, please remember us in your prayers; even though life seems to be back to normal, we still need God's direction. And, we're a little worse for wear after all the stress of the last two and a half weeks. I need your prayer, so that I can be supportive of Brian and accept that this is where God has us right now.

I know this was a very long post, and it really didn't resolve in a very uplifting way, but thanks for sticking with me to the end! I appreciate your kind words and thoughts so much!

Sunday, January 23

Weekend Reading

Today's links have a theme. Can you guess it?



There are more in that series by Emily too! I encourage you to check them out when needing a little motivation.

Friday, January 21

This is The Stuff

A fun song for a Friday, "This is The Stuff" by Francesca Battistelli. Love, love, love this song! It's so catchy, and I can totally relate to the first verse! It's the perfect song if you're having one of those days, those days when nothing goes as planned.

After a week of those days, I'm so glad the weekend is here!




 Happy Friday everyone!

If you haven't entered the DaySpring giveaway yet, hurry! You're almost out of time!

Also, the Answers post from Wednesday will be continued Monday. See you then!


Wednesday, January 19

Answers

I talked about listening for His voice during the Christmas season, after God chipped through my protective shell and broke my heart for the weak and needy of the world. I needed answers. I felt helpless in the face of such vast hopelessness. I knew God could use me, but how? When? Where? I feared I was wasting my life.
Source: http://weheartit.com/entry/6080735
So I listened. I had two questions in mind: Does what I'm doing right now matter? And if not, what should I be doing differently or in addition?

Right about the same time God was working in my heart, Brian started doing some soul searching as well. Brian's job was difficult (major understatement) as a result of the way the company is managed ...mismanaged is more accurate. He wondered if he was really where he should be. Together, we began seeking God's will in answers to those questions.

In my Bible reading, I came upon verses like 2 Timothy 1: 8, 9 and 4: 5:
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord of of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity..." 
"But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."
But what is my calling, my ministry? Yes, to be a wife and helper for my husband. But what else? I knew there was more. What about the helpless and suffering people in the world?
Old Globephoto © 2007 Kenneth Lu | more info (via: Wylio)

The verses kept coming in, phrases jumping out at me that I'd never noticed before.
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men...He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy...
 This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men." Titus 3:1, 2, 5, 8
Then I started receiving comments in person and on my blog, people thanking me for a specific post, or mentioning how something I wrote touched them or made them think.

I believe God used your encouraging words and The Word to tell me that my blogging really can be, and is, a ministry. I might not be able to donate much money to causes, I might not be able to travel on mission trips, but through my blog, I can be a voice. A voice for the voiceless.

Consequently, I intend to bring causes and ministries to your attention on a regular basis, and to continue to donate my profits from my affiliate links. It seems like a small offering, just a few fish and loaves, but I believe God will take it and multiply it to feed thousands.

But what about Brian's job situation? That answer wasn't as straightforward.

To Be Continued.

Monday, January 17

DaySpring Giveaway!

I have three important things to tell you today:

First of all, let me say this: you, my readers, are wonderful people. Your comments make my day, and your blogs are a constant source of inspiration for me. I truly appreciate each and every one of you and I'm so glad that you choose to spend a little time reading this blog!

Secondly, I would like to thank Elizabeth of Be Joyful Always for awarding me The Stylish Blogger Award! Thank you so much, it's an honor! Winning awards is always nice, because it means that you enjoy and appreciate what I write. And that means a lot to me!

The Rules (they're more like guidelines)
  1. Link back to the person who gave you the award.
  2. Share seven statements about yourself.
  3. Award fifteen bloggers.
  4. Contact those bloggers to share the award.
Fifteen bloggers?  That seems like a lot, so here's where the rules become more like guidelines, I only picked ten. And that's probably too many for you to go visit, so I specified why I picked them and what kind of style they have, so you can go visit the ones that interest you. 

The Graphics Fairy. She's got artsy, vintage style and free images and clip art.
At Second Street. She's got crafty vintage style.
Design it Chic. She's got blog design style and lots of helpful tutorials.
Eighteen25. They've got crafty DIY style.
How About Orange. She's got crafty modern and cutesy style, and tutorials.
Life on Orchard Road. She's got knitting and decorating style.
Mandyland. She's got writing style. 
On Linden Way. She's got photography style.
Reluctant Entertainer. She's got entertaining style. Plus, she wrote a wonderful book about entertaining.
Small Notebook. She's got organizing, de-cluttering, and overall simplifying style.


My Seven Things:
1. I'm a middle child.
2. My Christmas decorations are still up.
3. I don't like answering the phone. Talking on the phone is fine, I just have to get over my dislike of answering it.
4. My favorite food is pancakes. 
5. My favorite animal is a butterfly. Yep, it's really an insect, but I can't choose between mammals.
6. I don't really have a favorite book, there are so many I love.
7. I can count the number of times I've been to a movie theater on one hand. 

****

Thirdly and finally, TODAY  is THE day. I've been really, really excited to introduce this giveaway! Drum roll please!

From today, Monday the 17 through next Monday the 24, I'm giving away one $20 online gift card for DaySpring! 

You could be the lucky winner! Here's how to enter:
  • Go to DaySpring.com, come back here and leave a comment telling me what you would buy with your $20 gift code. 
That's it! Easy, right? If you'd like extra entries:
  • Go to Scribbles From Emily facebook page, and leave a comment with a tip for getting organized in the new year. 
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook. Come back here leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Tweet about this giveaway, and come back to leave a comment letting me know you did.
That's a total of four entries possible! Please leave separate comments for each entry so that I can accurately count them. I will pick the winning comment using Random.org.


Need some ideas? Use the buttons on my left sidebar to check out some DaySpring products. Or might I suggest the Valentine's Day collection?



Mr. Love Notes - 32 Note Set
Mr. Love Notes - 32 Note Set


Or, Visit DaySpring Home Page. Remember, the commission I will earn from your purchase will go to Food For the Hungry. 


Ok, on your mark, get set, go!