Everyone expresses him or herself differently.
Some write letters.
Some paint.
Some express through effortless movements of dance.
and others... use words.

The Polaroids will always be near and dear to me. :)

How do you express yourself to the ones you care most about? Why don't you start of the new month with telling someone you care about that you love them!? (Go ahead! I promise, it won't be scary.)

Snow day anybody?

As I was doing some browsing on one of my favorite sites, Etsy, I came across some of my lovely Thursday wonders. Here are a few of my favorite...
Um, Can someone please show me how to make one of these? I am now on the hunt for an old dresser drawer or whatever this is made from. 
One of my favorite watch companies comes directly from Etsy. I absolutely love all of their watches. This particular one caught my eye because I feel as if it portrays the perfect artist watch. I love it.
If any of you have known me long enough, you know that the number five follows me everywhere. So I thought it would be most appropriate to have this in my creative spot in my house someday. Slowly but surely I am finding the perfect pieces for that corner of creativity.
I am excited to say that my favorite painting of all times is now back up for sale on Etsy. This means I have the opportunity to invest into it finally and use it for decor in my room. I am so pumped. The story behind this painting is that the artist painted completely from coffee! Yes, you heard me right... coffee! How amazing is that! To see more of Emma's artwork go here

So I have recently joined a community group through the church I have been attending here. I have only been going for a short time now, but have really enjoyed each time. When we walked up to the door of the house this week there was a sign that read: CoGro Here! Please come on in! It was not until later that my best friend and I realized it was short for Community Group and it has just kind of stuck ever since. Each week we are given questions, scripture, and words to ponder. This week our focus is on dealing with our current circumstances. Here is some of the study! I hope you are challenged by it as I am!

What does contentment mean to you?
For me, contentment means being satisfied at where you are in life, at who you are, and at plan that you have established for yourself. Contentment is definitely one of those areas I continue to learn and grow in. The Lord likes to work on this area in my life. :)

Circle the areas where you have felt discontentment in the last week:
The weather
Your mode of transportation 
Your dating life 
Your town
The way others treated you
Your living conditions
Your clothes
Your family life
Your physical appearance
Your health
The peculiarities of others
Your school                    

Think about these questions and apply them to your live and where you are in contentment!
-Can a person find contentment in prosperity if they have never learned contentment in poverty?
-Can a person find contentment driving a new car if they’ve never driven an old car?
-Can a person find contentment dating someone if they’ve never found contentment being single? 

-Thinking back to the things you’ve been discontent about lately – why were you so disappointed? Did you have expectations that were not met?  -Did someone/something break your trust?
-How much of your discontentment is about the physical aspects of life and yourself?

-Why is waiting so hard? This question really stuck out to me because I think a lot of the time we can say a lot of things to say why waiting is hard and give the typical answers, but often times we forget to place this question into reality. Waiting is just plain hard. It is an area where we are tried, taught discipline, show off our weakest and our greatest moments, and just plain challenged. Waiting is hard because we often time do not find peace and contentment at where we are at in life. As humans, we seem to never be satisfied.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners." Romans 5:3-6

This is my challenge to you...
How are you going to change your attitude and be content at where you are right now. I mean, stop. Stop what you are doing and just ask yourself, "How can I be content?" What are ways that your friends around you can help you to achieve this goal of contentment? What makes waiting hard for you? How can you change this?

So lately I have been thinking a lot about the 5-K I ran in November...

I have been thinking how exciting it was to cross the finish line.
To train.
To teach myself discipline.

Well it has been almost two months since the 5-K and I am really missing the determination and discipline I had during my run. So it has been getting me thinking about running a half-marathon. I know that sounds extremely crazy, but there was something about watching all the half-marathon/marathon runners starting off their race and then seeing them finish that just started a spark inside of me. Now, I am definitely not the MOST talented runner in the world. In fact, I am far from that. However, I feel anyone can do ANYTHING if they set their mind to it.

"I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

So I got to thinking... of course I can run a Half-Marathon. I just do not know where to start. You see, I graduate in about 108 days and well I would love to run one by that point and maybe potentially starting seeing a personal trainer.

However, there are a few dilemmas in the way...
1. Finances - Personal Trainers are not free. I have always wanted to get connected with one so they could teach me tangible steps towards daily improvement of my health and fitness.
2. Where to run the Half-Marathon - This one is not quite as difficult as the first, but still. There are so many options of where you could run a half-marathon. Do I run in one local, or do I travel somewhere to run in one... (which would increase the motivation to pull it off!)
3. Running the Whole Thing - I have this theory in my head... The hare may have been the fastest, but the Tortoise always won. My mom gave each of us kids a book during Christmas, and it has just been a motto of mine to follow through with the saying in that book. Running the whole thing would be a step all in itself. I think with a little determination and encouragement it is all possible.

Now I know I have listed some dilemmas here, but here is my thought behind all of this... God is so much BIGGER than all of this. He is a God who provides (who has consecutively showed me this the past month). He is a GOD of encouragement and strength (so when I am weak He will always be strong). And He is a God of perseverance (in those moments where I just feel like I couldn't run any longer, He will get me through.

I said all this to say... I am going to start doing some research... I am going to start seeing where to begin and continue to pray and ask the Lord what/where/when He exactly wants me to fulfill this. Remember... our plans are not always His. And in more ways than not, our plans sometimes just get in the way of the big spectrum of things.

I know I can do this. I know I can.
So the step begins here...

Let's see where this goes...

"I am going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life." Elsie de Wolfe

What an amazing quote!

Just a beautiful saying I found HERE - Thank you Anna Spiro for having a great blog!

Fast Forward.
I feel as if my life is on fast forward.
Full throttle.

This is my last semester of nursing school and I truly feel like I am going 100 miles an hour at every moment of my life. I finish reading one ATI, take the exam, and then go pick up another ATI, read that, and continue the cycle over. But you know what?!

I. Am. Almost. Done.

Then reading will not just be something I have to do, but something that hopefully will be relaxing.

Go Team Student Nurses!

You know sometimes you really get into life and all kinds of things are thrown at you. The mirage of day to day life and all the mundane activities that are mixed in become a matter of chaos. However, it is how you handle the everyday chaos that helps to set you as an individual.

I am finishing up my final semester of nursing school and sometimes I feel like the agenda I have is slightly chaotic, yet when I stand back and look at the overall storyline... it really is a simple design with a little out of the box thoughts thrown in. First day of classes, I was slightly overwhelmed. I may have had a slight information overload. However, when I stepped back and looked at what I had to achieve and looked at what I have already achieved, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Nursing school has been pretty chaotic for me pretty much from day one. However, the Lord has gotten me through each and every day and has walked me through the burdensome days and the days full of rejoicing. He has taught me that you can not just try to tackle this challenge on your own. Rather, take each day, give it to Him and He will handle the rest. Yes, you have to do your part (studying, reading, studying, reading... oh and did I mention studying and reading). But through it all it is how you perceive your confidence (not calkiness) in Him that gets you through those stress tearful just want to pull every hair out of your head kind of days.

God is always there to teach us, to discipline us, to love.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understandings. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path."

What are you going through? Do you have one of those schedules that you just do not know how you will get through it? Hang in there. Sometimes we get caught up in this busyness that we forget to see what is right in front of us. The very best thing may be staring us right in the face and we are missing it because of what we are consuming our time with.

Photo Courtesy of Apple.com


i start my last semester of college tomorrow.
i am excited and nervous and ready to accomplish this step.
it has been quite a journey these past 5 years.
i have had lots of laughs, perseverance, heart aches, memories, and love of moments that i will remember.
so here's to 1-11-11 (MINGO day)... my last first day.

Today I was doing a photo session when someone came up to me and said that they read my blog (Shout out to Nat... Thanks!)! I just wanted to say thank you to all who read and take a moment to hear my thoughts and words of encouragement. If you ever have the opportunity, please leave comments! I love to hear your words and your thoughts. They are all beautiful and deeply appreciated.

Be inspired by a visual life - courtesy of the Sartorialist and thoughts by this blog

I love this quote. I think this is the first time that I have heard a phrase like this worded in such a manner of simplicity. I feel as if it is a beautiful way to live life... to love the visualization of our day to day lives transform who we are. Our life should not be controlled by the negativity that is sprinkled through our days and weeks... rather our life should be full of what we see and what we do with the inspiration around us.

17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.[a] He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.[b]
James 1:17 is a beautiful verse that talks about time and how everything comes from the Lord. How do we spend our time each day? Do we sit wasting it away on the silliness of life or do we take action for what the Lord has provided using our time in a timely manner?

On day 2 of the devotionals for small group, one of the things it says to do is memorize a verse... So I chose some verses from Ecclesiastes 1. I'll start on verse 3...

"3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. 6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. 7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. 8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content."

and then it goes on to say in chapter 3...

"9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God."

The verse I am working on is: "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can." Eccl. 3:11-12 NLT

What are you working on this week? You all are wonderful and I hope you continue to be encouraged by these words.

This week I went to my first small group meeting with a young adult community from the church I have recently started to attend. The past semester the Lord has definitely been teaching me contentment and how to have a non-judgemental attitude when it comes to church searching. I have learned that I need to have an open heart and an open mind when it comes to the preaching and worship while still keeping up with my personal beliefs and standards. So this is what I have done, and the Lord has really taught me things through this whole process. One of the things that He taught me is that there are other good preachers out there who love the Lord and who do their best to serve Him. Yes, not everyone is perfect, but the Lord has called each of us to love, serve, and share with others and to see that in someone is refreshing.

Now back to the small group... I had received this email from the small group leader...
"My name is ---------- and I'm a small group leader at the church. I heard you wanted some info on a singles community group so I  thought I'd let you know about the one I lead.
We meet on Monday nights. We've had a couple of weeks break for Christmas and New Years but we're getting ready to start back up tomorrow night. On a weekly basis we have about 12-15 come and there's about 20 of us total. We're around early 20s - early 30s, and this semester we're going to be studying different characteristics of Jesus and applying them to our lives. We also like to do community service projects together.
Basically I think all of us are just looking for people our age to live life with and hang out with. If you haven't found a community group yet, I hope you (and your friend Jena) will feel comfortable enough  to check ours out. We try to make each week unique so if you have to miss then  you won't feel like you've missed anything."

I was so thrilled! I just had a feeling that I needed to try this group out. Well I tried it out and thoroughly enjoyed it and am sure I will visit again. This semester they are learning about the different characteristics of Jesus and how we can apply them to our lives. Each week we are provided devos to do on our own personal time and then come back to the small group and collaborate our answers. So here are some of my thoughts on Day 1 devotions.... (below is the actual part of devo provided by the leader)

Redeeming the Time
How do you spend your time?

Day 1:
                                -Who do you know that spends their time wisely?
I have had to sit and ponder this question for awhile. I could say lots of different people. I have had teachers in my life who knew just exactly how to handle the one hour we had to cover six chapters and then I have also known people who have a TO DO list and nothing will get in there way until they accomplish it for that day. But I have also seen very laid back people who somehow get everything done with the time that is provided (I am not one of these laid back people). 
- How do you see Christ spending His time? What do you think a typical day was for him?
I see Christ being the perfect essence of time well spent. It is as if He woke up each day and accomplished all that the Lord had for Him to accomplish for that day. It truly amazes me from all the miracles He performed to all the time He spent alone with God how he managed everything so perfectly.
-A New Year, a new agenda – do you have a “resolution” that involves how you spend your time?
I do not really have "Resolutions". However, I do have a few goals in mind that involves spending my time. One of those goals is to pass my NCLEX. With that, I have to have a schedule written out of what exactly I need to read each week so that I can successfully accomplish what I set out for.  
- Do you spend your days trying to accomplish a to-do list within a particular time frame?
You know... I would have to say I do. I love lists.... so much so that one year my best friend gave me a book all about Lists for my birthday. However, I do not let the list consume my every waking moment where if I do not accomplish the list I panic. I do love my lists though and the thought of marking something off brings such accomplishment. So, I try to be reasonable with them... if you know what I mean. 
-Do you feel like you are fitting into God’s plan?
                              I think this is a continuous thing I strive for. I want nothing more than to continuously fall into God's plan.  
                              What are your longings? What are your abilities? Are you serving God now?
                              One thing I long to do in the future is continue mentoring young adults. I have done this in the past before nursing school got so crazy. I know that where I am at right now is where I am suppose to be and I thank God for teaching me contentment through this stage in life.  

I want you to write out everything you did today (or yesterday if it’s morning).

This last question I challenge to you just like I am challenged to do so as well! 

Hope you were blessed and challenged with these thoughtful questions as I was. May you be blessed the remainder of this week and let GOD lead! 

Our wonderful friend Kelly Moore is offering some great giveaways in the next few days and I just wanted to let you all know about the great deals she is offering!!! If you click here, you will find a link to her blog where you can find out all the details about the 2011 Giveaway!

Here is a list of giveaways...
1. Millie Hollomans Get It Together Kit
2. Merino Wool Hat
3. Heaven's to Betsy CD
4. Gift Certificate to Vintage Pearl
5. Logo Design by Graphically Designing (What a great prize!)
6. KELLY MOORE BAG (Hey... I just got excited!)
7. Mybook Adaptable Planner
And these are just for day 1

I just wanted to say Best Wishes to everyone who tries for the drawing! Blessings to you all! Maybe, someday in the future, I will be able to do giveaways on my blog! Good luck to you all!

And thank you to all the providers who are helping Kelly Moore sponsor this giveaway!!!!

Welcome to the New Year!
Can you believe that 2010 is gone and 2011 is rolling right in?
I know it will be a year full of lots of excitement, joy, laughter, tears, perseverance, and lots of memories!
I hope I strive to do the very best the Lord has set out for me with all that He gives. May I continue to honor Him through my actions and let HIM lead my life!

Welcome 2011!