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Saturday, May 21

News!

I got glasses!

It took a long, long time to find a pair I liked and Brian could live with. I really wanted an Ingrid Michaelson look, kinda the sexy librarian/retro/artsy vibe.

Unfortunately, those glasses are a little overpowering on my face. But on a normal day, Ingrid wears glasses that look like this:



Pretty close, don't you think?


The eye doctor told me I would only need to wear them when watching TV, driving, and reading, but I've been wearing them every waking hour since I first put them on. I can't believe how high def. everything looks! I know everyone says this, but it really is remarkable when you can see the individual leaves on the trees!
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On a different note, these guys are the up and coming band known as The Widow. They have an amazing opportunity to make it big by getting one of their songs in a movie, if they get enough votes to stay in the top 20. So why do I want you to vote for them?


They're friends of mine! Well, not the guy with the flower and the silver tie. I don't know him. But the guy on the far right is Brandon, my best friend's boyfriend. The guy next to him is Mitch; I've known him since I was five. Skipping the guy with the flower and silver tie, the guy with the big red beard grew up in the same church that I did too, and he became our youth group leader. His name is Dan, and he had a huge impact on my life. I know I would not be the person I am today if it weren't for the way God used him in my life.

The movie that their song would be featured on is called Renee, The Movie. This is the synopsis: "A drama centered around Renee Yohe and her battle with drugs, depression, and other life issues that ultimately leads to the founding of charity group To Write Love on Her Arms." This non profit charity "dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery." Read their vision statement too, one line says "You need to know that rescue is possible, that freedom is possible, and that God is still in the business of redemption."


Voting is unlimited, so hit refresh a few times! Thank you SO MUCH! Go here to vote for The Widow's song.
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On another unrelated note, Tara from Haute Lunch has awarded me the Adorable Blog Award! Thank you so much Tara! 







The Adorable Blog Award comes with a few rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave you this award, and link back to them in your post.
  2. Tell us 10 things about yourself.
  3. Nominate five other adorable bloggers.
  4. Contact these bloggers, and let them know they received this award.

Alrighty, my ten things:
1. I have never been outside of the United States.
2. I would love to go to China, Kenya, Ireland, and Paris someday. Those are at the top of my list, there are many more places I'd love to go!
3. I don't like clowns or mascots or Easter bunnies or santas, or anyone dressed up in a costume that obscures their face for some reason...
4. I don't like talking on the phone much, although I'm getting better about it.
5. I can't do a dive, and I'm not sure how I managed to pass swimming classes.
6. I love shoes!
7. I love peonies and roses and apple blossoms.
8. I've had glasses before, when I was probably about 10 years old. They were gigantic and I laugh at loud at pictures of myself from back then.
9. I used to be a major tomboy. Girls always had so much drama, while boys were so much easier to get along with!
10. When I was little, I wanted to be a professional violinist when I grew up! Ha! I never did learn to play the violin :)

I know of several adorable blogs, but I'm having a very hard time deciding on just five. As I see it, you're all adorable! If you want this award, feel free to claim it.

Thank you all for your very thoughtful comments on my last post. God is working, and actually, even as I was writing that last post, He was bringing an new opportunity our way. I'll tell you more about that later!

I'm now back in Iowa for my little sister's high school graduation. I'll be here until June first, so for the next few weeks, I'm going to try to keep my posts to a minimum. I need a vacation! So I'm planning to do some reading and writing, but not blogging. Well, I might still pop in to read your blogs, I can't really resist!

Wednesday, May 18

When Life is Easy

I reach for the lamp as he reaches for me. Tickling leads to cuddling with our limbs entangled and his head on my chest. My lips brush the top of his buzzed head.

"Are you alright babe?"

"Yeah," I say, but the sigh that follows is involuntary.

"Are you sure you're ok?" Brian pulls his head back to look at my face.
I don't know how he has this sixth sense that something is on my mind, even when I myself don't know how to express it.

"It's just...when life is good, moments like this, days like the last couple weeks, I feel uneasy. Like something terrible and tragic is about to happen." I pull him in closer. "It's ridiculous, I know. I can't really enjoy being happy because I'm afraid that something bad might happen."

We lie in silence, and I think about all the people in my life who are suffering. A high school friend whose father was killed suddenly in an ATV accident. Maureen, who recently lost her little nephew, and a few days later, her sister also passed away. Kristen, who carries the weight of the suffering in Kenya while living an ordinary life in Texas. Friends of friends with cancer.Viviene and her husband facing uncertainty and another move. Heather mourning the loss of a daughter.

And then I look at my life. I sleep in until 8 a.m., read my Bible and pray, write while sipping coffee, enjoying the birds singing outside and the cool morning breezes. During lunch I get to talk to Brian, and even though we don't have much to say to each other, it's nice to hear his voice and "I love you!" Then I work on the scrapbook for my sister's high school graduation party. I'll be flying back to Iowa in a few days and get to see my friends and family, all alive and well. Brian and I are getting ready to move in July to a house, with a dog and a yard with flowers and a hot tub.

Life is so easy right now. I'm not suffering. I feel like I should be.

Not in a masochist type of way, but I just feel like when life is hard, when I'm going through trials and crises, I'm closer to God. It's easier to be close to God, because I feel like I really, really need him. When life is good I start slacking off, flipping through my Bible reading and thinking about my next blog post while I'm praying. And I wait for tragedy to strike.

When life is easy, it's also boring. Not the lazy summer day kind of boring, but the soul-sucking dreading waking up the next day kind of boring. There's nothing in particular that we dread, work is going well for Brian and I have several projects to work on. It's just that it feels like every day is a repeat of the one before...like treading water, moving without going anywhere.

"I'm just killing time before going to bed, so I can wake up tomorrow, go to work, come home and kill more time." Brian said Monday night. It's depressing. And I don't think this is how life is meant to be.

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10
I don't think an abundant life is one that consists of killing time. I feel like we're just going through the motions right now. I feel too comfortable and complacent.

On the other hand, I know I should learn to be content, regardless of the circumstances.
"...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13
Based on this verse, I think I can say that it's not sinful to have plenty, if you are content.

I am content with where we live, our finances, our apartment, our relationship, but there are other areas that I know I'm not being content. We found out that more friends of ours are leaving. I'm not content with our very small square of friends (Yes, I said square, because two people plus Brian and me makes four, so that makes a square, not a circle). I'm not content with our ministry involvement, I feel like we're just warming a pew when we help out with the youth group. I'm not content with where I am spiritually. I'm complacent, and I'm not content with that.

And this leads me to believe that God has something more in store for us in the near future.

Instead of fearing the next crisis, maybe I should be channeling that energy into anticipating the next adventure.

Source
Will you pray for us? Pray that we will ready, that we would not fear, and that we would be content, regardless of the nature of the next adventure. Pray that we will recognize it when it comes.

Monday, May 16

As For Me and My House

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15, New International Version)
It's a great verse, one you've probably read many, many times before. But on a practical level, what does having a household that serves the Lord look like? We might all say that we want our family life to glorify God, but how?

I think it looks different for every family. Some may be serving the Lord by homeschooling, others by reaching out to the parents at their child's public school. Perhaps some families serve the Lord through music ministry at church, while others help with service projects. Because each family is made up of unique people, each family has a unique purpose.

Brian and I are in the process of evaluating our strengths and weaknesses, our passions, our dreams and goals, and our values using a set of questions from Simplemom.net. The end result is an intentional plan to glorify and serve God as a couple. It hasn't been easy, but it has been enlightening! It has brought to light some of our common interests and goals, and brought up ways we can serve each other and others better.

As we've been working on our family mission statement, I've also been considering our home's appearance. We want our home to welcoming and hospitable, which means that keeping it clean needs to be a priority, but beyond that, we also want our faith to be obvious. As I look around now, I see lots of wedding pictures, beautiful things, and books. Unless someone were to look closely at the titles on our bookshelf, I don't think they would know that we serve God. What if we had visual reminders throughout the house of the values we want our home to reflect - peace, love, and joy? 

Enter: Christian Home Decor from DaySpring, specifically The Wooden Carved Ichthys.

Through (in)courage's (in)spired deals review program, I received the wooden carved ichthys to review.


While this may not say peace, love, or joy in words, it is a beautiful reminder of Christ. The Greek word "ichthys" loosely translated means "Jesus fish." Each letter forms an acrostic:
  • Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus"
  • Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed"
  • Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for "God"
  • Upsilon (u) is the first letter of huios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son"
  • Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior"
It's also a reminder that we are called to be fishers of men! 


For some reason, Blogger likes to put some of my pictures sideways. I hope you can still appreciate the detail of the carving! This is what DaySpring says about it:
This carved Ichthus symbol of Christian faith is made from beautiful mango wood. The exquisite carving detail and overall beauty of this sturdy, solid piece makes it ideal for the living room, dining room, entryway or office, or showcased on your fireplace mantle, and is a stunning display of faith and good taste.
Product Details:
  • Size: 20" x 14"
  • Weighs approximately 6 lbs.
  • Brackets on back allow for hanging vertically or horizontally

Again, I apologize for the sideways picture, but can you see the metal brackets on the back? There are two on the top and two on the bottom, and they are very sturdy. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the package and pulled it out. The picture on the website looks much more brown, and I wasn't sure how it would work with our black wood furniture in the living room. It was much darker than I expected, and really looks black! The color might vary from one piece to another, however. 

I'm very satisfied with the quality, detail, and look of this piece, and I especially love the meaning behind it. Five out of five stars! Especially when you consider the price: regularly $49.99, this month it's on sale for $29.99!

If you're interested in adding visual reminders of your faith to your decor, check out the other sales on Inspirational Art and Home Decor, like the Ornate Metal Collection.





If you've got graduation parties, weddings, or baby showers coming up, here's a little coupon code for you: 


*Dayspring gave me this product for free to review, however, I was not required to write a positive review, the opinion expressed here is my own! 
*Actions taken from some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. See disclosure at the footer of this website.

What does your home say about your family? Do you have visual reminders of what's important to you? Have you ever thought of putting a purpose or mission statement in writing for your family?

Friday, May 13

Where to Find Good Fashion Advice

As some of you may know, Blogger had some serious issues yesterday, leaving many of us without our most recent posts. As a result, the post I had in draft for today has disappeared, and it's going to take me a little while to re-write it. Talk about frustrating! So, for today I'm taking a quick detour back to our Fashion 101 series, just to share some great resources with you.





Fashion 101



Great Posts to Read: 
Great Sites:
  • Already Pretty- Sally shares wonderful advice and helpful pictures for modest, do-able outfits, while also focusing on maintaining healthy self-esteem and body-image. 
  • Haute Lunch -You've already met Tara, so check out her blog for product reviews, ratings, weekly sales and deals information, trends, and fabulous giveaways.
  • The Pleated Poppy- What I Wore Wednesdays. Every Wednesday Lindsey has a link up for what I wore posts. You take pictures of your outfits every day for a week, and blog about them every Wednesday. It's so inspiring to see what everyone else is wearing, and it gives you great accountability! Lindsey says she started it just for that reason, since she has her own business, she makes an effort to get out of sweats and comfy oversized sweaters every day. 
  • BonBon Rose Girls- these fun ladies write about trends, have lots of giveaways, share great advice, DIY projects and frugal fashion ideas. 
  • What I wore- Jessica Quirk has been documenting her life through daily outfits since May 2007. Her style is ADORABLE. Plus, she has lots of DIY's and how-tos, plus she's written a fashion "cookbook" full of recipes for a fabulous wardrobe!

Where do you find fashion advice? Friends, family, websites, magazines? What's your favorite source?



Give Scribbles From Emily's sponsors some love!


Shop SallyBeauty.com!

Wednesday, May 11

For Moms Who See the Possibililties

Meet Molly, a special needs child who doctors said would never walk or talk. And Kerry, her mom, who choose to see the possibilities instead of the obstacles.



My brother Ethan competed in the Special Olympics last year, and loved it! It was a joy to see his huge grin when he got to stand on the podium and have a medal draped around his neck. Someone (probably dad) taught him to flex his muscles, so he stood on the podium doing a strong man pose for the camera, and got quite a kick out of it!



P&G is partnering with the Special Olympics Team USA with a goal of raising $250,000. And you can help!


It's small, but it adds up. P&G will donate $1 every time someone likes the page, shares it, or leaves a comment! Head over to the Thank you Mom by P&G facebook page, it will only take you a second! 




Monday, May 9

Finding Beauty in the Weekend

Multitudes on Mondays, counting the many ways God shows His love for me, always makes my Monday better!  I haven't done very well at recording gifts in my journal lately, I've let business and stress crowd it out, not realizing that taking the time to slow down and reflect on God's love towards me is the perfect antidote. But now, I'm back. 
370. School is over!!! I turned in my final project last Friday, and I've already received some of my grades- both A's so far!

371. To celebrate, Brian and I had a wonderful date! Dinner and a movie at the two dollar theater, always a good choice. 

372. I got dressed up for our date, and really enjoyed wearing a skirt and feeling pretty.

373. We went to Old Chicago for dinner. I'd never been there before. The food was amazing! I had an Italian sausage stromboli, and Brian had the "meat me" calzone. So good!

374. Good conversation. During dinner, we worked through some questions to help us evaluate our family priorities, strengths, and goals for the purpose of writing a family missions statement. I'd been wanting to do this for a long time. We used the questions from Simplemom.net for creating a family mission statement. The idea is that having a purpose statement allows you to be intentional about how you spend your time, resources, etc. so that you can achieve your goals as a family.

375. Killing time at Barnes and Noble. We had several hours to kill between dinner and the movie, so we hung out at the bookstore and read magazines. I got to read all about the royal wedding, and browse In Style magazine. 
Hats worn to the royal wedding
376. White chocolate caramel Macadamia nut cheesecake. After reading for awhile, we had enough room for desert. We shared a piece from the Cheesecake factory. Even though we were both sharing only one piece, it was too rich for us to finish!

377. The movie we saw was "Unknown," a Bourne Trilogy type movie. I really like the Bourne movies, but this was a little scarier. I spent much of the movie curled up in a ball in my seat with my sweater over my head, and Brian's hands over my ears and eyes. So why is this a gift? I enjoyed Brian protecting me! 

378. Spending time by the pool Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It was great to finally have a weekend without any schoolwork to do! We are very blessed to have a swimming pool in our complex, and we really enjoyed working on our tans and cooling off. It's been in the 100's lately!

379. Mail! I love getting mail, and Saturday we got an invitation to my niece's first birthday party, my younger sister's graduation open house, and Brian's cousin's wedding. 

380. This is big news: we will be moving in July! I mentioned awhile back that a couple we'd just become friends with was moving in July. Well, they decided to rent their house, and our apartment lease happens to end in July also. We'd looked for a new apartment, but hadn't really found anything. When we rent their house, they will leave a lot of their furniture for us to use, and their dog! They'll be moving around a lot and can't take him with them, and their company provides furnished apartments. Brian will get the garage he's been wanting, and I'll get a pet to keep me company! We are really excited, and I can't wait so show you some pictures!

381. We signed the lease last night and enjoyed ice cream afterwards, and played with the dog. He is seriously the funniest dog I've ever seen. He's also the best behaved!

382. I finished the Fashion 101 homework from the second week, the shopping your closet challenge. I've already referred to the pictures I took twice when looking for something to wear, so it's been very helpful!
This is my accessorized outfit. I wore it to church yesterday :)

Same shirt, but this is the casual version.


383. A quiet, cloudy Monday morning. 

384. Talking to my mom on Mother's Day. 

385. DaySpring's e-cards. I didn't get my Mother's Day cards mailed in time to get there by yesterday, so I also sent e-cards! It worked really well! They have some wonderful cards, including cards you can send to friends who are moms to brighten their day.

386. On Saturday, we went to Walmart to look at eye glasses for me. After we finally decided on a pair, we found out that they don't take our insurance. At least, now I know what style I like. 

387. While at Walmart, we picked out some paint color ideas for the house! 

388. The maintenance man came by and replaced light bulbs, fixed our shower drain, and replaced a broken outlet cover, little stuff we just hadn't gotten around to getting taken care of earlier. 

How was your weekend? What gifts did God give you? (They're there, you just have to look for them!)

Sunday, May 8

Weekend Reading - Mother's Day!


Saturday, May 7

Happy Mother's Day!

Everything a mom says in 24 hours....in 2 minutes!



To my mom and mom-in-law, I love you! THANK YOU for all you do!

Friday, May 6

Define Basics: What Do You Really Need?

The "basics" are essential to a versatile, classy, and loveable wardrobe. And this is where I have trouble. When I go shopping, I'm easily distracted by something sparkly and I forget that what I really need is a pair of black flats.

I found this list of twelve must have basics, the bare essentials every woman needs in her wardrobe. What's your score?






Photobucket


Essential Wardrobe Staples
1. Little black dress (LBD)
2. A black suit (blazer and pants)
3. White button down shirt
4. Knee length black skirt
5. Classic trench coat
6. Dark denim jeans
7. Black pumps
8. Black flats
9. Two cardigan sweaters, one black and one white
10. Black leather bag
11. Set of pearls
12. Diamond (or small cubic zirconium) studs


Midnight Garden
Classic black dress: Midnight Garden from Shabbyapple.com

I got 7 and a half out of twelve, so almost 60%. Hmmm. How did you do?

When picking your basics, keep some of the other principles we've talked about in mind. For instance, if button up shirts aren't flattering on you, look for an alternative, like the white wrap shirt below. Try googling "White wrap shirt" and all sorts of options will come up.


While some lists might include a pencil skirt as a must have basic, if you know they make your hips look too big, find a black A-line skirt or a pencil skirt with a little flair at the bottom.


  or
Adelaide and All Ruffled from Shabby Apple.

More Info

What are your wardrobe basics, your go-to items? If you could add something to the essentials list, what would it be? 

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway! (click the cupcake button on the sidebar to go there).My commenting system had some issues on that post, but with help from technical support, I found out what happened. I have all of your comments that were left with Intense Debate, so if you already entered, don't worry! You're still entered.


P.P.S. Is anyone trying the homework for this week ? Or catching up on last week? How is it going? 

P.P.P.S. This is technically the LAST Fashion 101 post. Having said that, I will probably do a weekend reading post with some good resources for finding more fashion advice, and now and then, I might pop in another fashion post if I feel like it. Has this series been helpful? Did you learn anything? 



Give Scribbles From Emily's sponsors some love!


Dresses from Shabby Apple

Thursday, May 5

If My People Pray...

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7


"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14



Today is the National Day of Prayer. Take a moment, wherever you are, to pray today.

National

  • Lift up our leaders, our President, Congressmen, Representatives, judges and lawmakers. Pray that they would seek wisdom from God and strive for integrity.
  • Pray for our troops' safety, at home and around the world.
  • Pray for all those in the midst of loss and grief as a result of tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. 
  • Pray that our nation would seek the Lord.
International
  • Pray for persecuted Christians around the world.
  • Pray for missionaries all over the world, that they would be bold and effective.
  • Pray for all those living in extreme poverty, orphans, and widows, who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Pray that God would provide and protect them, and give them hope.
  • Pray for Japan's recovery. 
  • Pray for Haiti's recovery.
Church
  • Pray that Christians around the world would have a spirit of unity and love. 
  • Pray that churches would reflect Christ to their cities and be His hands and feet.
Individuals
  • Pray that marriages would be strengthened, that marriages would reflect the selfless relationship between Christ and the church and extend the same unconditional love and forgiveness to each other that Christ has for them. 
  • Pray that individuals would feel compassion for others and seek to serve them.
  • Pray for individuals struggling with an addiction, that they would find freedom through Jesus's power. 
Personal
  • Please pray for a family in my church that was in a bad car accident. The two kids have had surgery for internal injuries, but what really makes it hard is that their mom is visiting family in Korea, and isn't able to come back yet. Pray for peace and healing for their family.
  • Please lift up Heather, her husband, and their other children as their daughter Emma passed away on Good Friday. Emma was truly a miracle child. You can read Emma's story here
  • Pray for Brian and I, as we make plans for the next few years, that we would seek the Lord in everything. 
Your turn! 
Share your prayer requests in the comments below, and let us pray over them. I would love to support and encourage you in this way.