Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday V10

Today is a special Thankful Thursday.

It is 100% dedicated to my Mommy.

I am thankful for the 17 years I got to spend with her :)

It is hard for me to believe it has been 13 years since she went to join our Savior.

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was walking through the halls of my high school, on the 4th day of my senior year, when I got the notification that she passed away. I remember it like it was yesterday. I called my Dad to check on her and she said he had just got the call, and was on his way to check me out of school and head to the hospital. I remember word of mouth had already spread via the office that my Mom had passed, so, friends were passing me in the hall as I was on my quest to find my best friends classroom, as well as my high school sweethearts classroom. I needed their support. I am still best friends with both of them as a matter of fact. My life forever changed that day. While I would give anything to have had more years with my Mommy, and have her watch me evolve into the woman I am today, I know God had a bigger plan, and her death has shaped my life in many ways. I also know she is watching over me. I feel her presence.

August is always a hard month for me, but, this year is different. I feel empowered. I feel good. I know God has me in Maumee, Ohio for a purpose. And the fact that Maumee is pronounced Mommy, and that I moved out here in August. I feel her presence all over this opportunity!

Sadly, I don't have many pictures of my Mom and I. She was the complete opposite of me in that she hated photos. I on the other hand am a photo freak, documenting every little thing.

My Mom truly was an amazing woman who went through many obstacles in life to get to where she was going. One thing I will never, ever doubt was her love for me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was her world, her pride and joy. She was sure to tell multiple people, who (just in case I didn't already know) were sure to tell me.

So, Mommy, I thank you for the 17 wonderful years we shared together, and the memories we made.

I will wear my yellow butterfly necklace in honor of you today.

When I look to the sky, I know you are there <3

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Welcome to Maumee

Welcome to,

^^ my 1st view of Toledo

The time has came, I am officially an Ohioan... until November that is. 

As I mentioned last week, I took a promotion at work that has brought me to beautiful Maumee, Ohio. It's a more upscale ritzy little suburb of Toledo. I feel like I am driving around little suburbia. All the houses are so quaint and gorgeous. Man oh man, how I love traveling. There is just so much out there to explore.

I flew out here with my boss on Sunday. She is here for 10 days with me to help me get my new call center set up. Basically, we are starting this call center from the bottom and working our way up. We came into an empty call center, zero employees. So, I will be hiring and training my entire staff. And I need to seat 60 research assistants each night. I am up for the challenge!

We flew up American Airlines and had a wonderful experience. Their flight attendants were on par with everything! We were in row 3 which was awesome because we got to get off the plane first. My lunch was cajun shrim and grits. Mmm mmm, good!

 ^^ my lunch
 ^^ my bosses lunch

It was around 10pm by the time we finally got settled into our hotel, and we started our week off at the center at 9am. Yesterday and today have just been cleaning and organizing days. The real fun starts tomorrow when I get a delivery of 60 laptops, and it's time to get them all hooked up and ready to dial live. My center will be 100% cell dialing. By law, it is illegal to dial cells from an automated dialer, so, all my stations will be hand dial. With this being said friends, don't forget, if you get a call to do a quick survey, DO IT! We really want your opinions. And your survey could be the difference of an employee getting sent home early or working their whole shift.

I just wanted to do a quick check in with a few photo's. More to come soon, as you can imagine, things have been hectic since this move came on pretty quick!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thankful Thursday V9

It's my favorite time of the week! Time to give thanks for all the wonderful things I have going on in my life. Well, I give thanks everyday, but, time to share the things I am thankful for with you all!

This week I am thankful for:

* An answered prayer. You guys, did you know, God is so, so good? I hope so! Because he is. All the time. Last Wednesday I made a 7 month goal of mine public on facebook. I said that within 7 months I wanted to pay off a few credit cards, sell my car around income tax time when I feel it will be the most profitable to sell, and then by me a new car. Then, I prayed for God to open a door and show me what I needed to do to make this happen. And you know what? He did. Within hours. I had just dropped my friend off at the airport and was heading home when I sent that prayer up. I had only been home about an hour when my boss called with an amazing opportunity for me. It involved a temporary relocation, but, you know what? I'm taking that leap because I feel that was the door God opened for me. So, this weekend I ship off to the Toledo, Ohio area for the next few months. I am so very excited and just so thankful to serve such an awesome God!

^^ Monday began the juror selection for Arnulfo's case. Justice will be served. For those of you not familiar with the situation, Arnulfo is one of my friends brothers. He was slain in the line of duty December 2011. My friend actually just graduated the police academy herself and will be working for the same department her brother did. #familypride

^^ tights! a friend of mine got me addicted. SO COMFY! and can be work at work or gym!!

 ^^ I am going to miss my furbabies while in Ohio!

^^ what what?! Is that some muscle starting to show?!

* new bra's! I rarely splurge on bra's, but, it was about that time. Victoria's Secret sent me some awesome coupons so I took full advantage of them. I had to get remeasured and all that good stuff since I have been losing weight with this whole clean eating thing. 

Those are a few things I am thankful for this week? What about you? Leave me a quick comment :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Painting with a twist

I know they are super popular right now and popping up all over the place, but, I had never been to one... until last Friday. Painting with a twist. A little paint, a little wine and a lot of fun! Why did I NOT think of this?! What a great idea. Perfect for a girls night out.

My friend and I got there a bit early to ensure we could pick out a good seat and warn the teacher that we have NO artistic abilities. Of course, she said she hears that all the time. I am so serious though, I can not draw a straight line so I was wondering how on earth I was going to paint an amazing picture. But, you know what? I did. And you can too. I LOVE THIS PLACE!

When I was invited by a friend for a group event, I was super excited 1) because I have never been and have been wanting to for a long time and 2) the painting we were set to paint was nautical and I love all things related to the deep blue sea!

 ^^ the twist, drinks :)

It got confusing at (many) times!

^^ Our group

I had so much fun doing this, however, I think my painting looked better at the half way point, before I continued to add to it. Haha. Once we added the highlights, I accidentally went a little dash crazy and it changed my anchor from black to grey, but, have no fear, the teacher saved the day and showed me how to fix it!

^^ Half way point, looking alright if I do say so myself


^^ the groups finished product

^^ making a mess but having fun!

All in all, painting with a twist was a wonderful laid back girls night. For someone like me, who is not at all artistic, to walk away with their very own masterpiece, I thought it was pretty awesome. The class takes about 2 hours, we were scheduled 6-8pm but left around 8:20pm. We wrapped the evening up at Chili's for some deliciousness. 

^^ their guac was okay, but I like mine better ;)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thankful Thursdays V8

Well, hello Thursday! And the last day of July. Time is flying and I don't know about you but I find it hard to believe that tomorrow is August. I will let you in on a little secret. August is my least favorite month of the year. My mommy passed away August 2001 and it has never been the same for me since. I plan to do my best to remain positive and smile on. August will not bring me down, I must shine on for my momma!

What better way to wrap up July than with a Thankful post?

This past week I am thankful for:

* Answered prayers. Yesterday I literally had just updated my facebook saying "I have a 7 month goal, pay off my debt, encourage those who owe me money to start making payments, sell my car around income tax time, and buy a new to me car around my birthday in March" and then I prayed for God to open doors and direct me on a path to reach my goals. Literally, within 2 hours, my boss at work called me with an amazing offer. More to come in the next few days on that.

^^ a beautiful stroll around Lake H

^^ Pina Loca's :) nom nom nommmm

^^ having sisters in Christ to grow with through daily devotionals <3

^^ I know pistachio seems weird, but, it's deeeelicious!

^^ still with the clean eating 5 days a week and I feel amazing!

And I will follow this by the worst thing to have when you are clean eating, BUT, it was a cheat day.

^^ I saw this smore pizza roll up floating around on facebook and had to try it. It was beyond amazing and super easy to make. I looked a recipe up on Pinterest. 

I hope you each have had an equally amazing week friends and have much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Weekend Recap

One of my best friends came into town last week for a vacation and she stayed with me. It was a week full of shenanigans as you can imagine. You know how it goes when you get your closest girlfriends together, especially when you haven't seen them in awhile. Her trip was semi vacation/semi taking care of business as she is looking to possibly move back to Florida to finish college. She actually lived down here before while she was in college but that came to a screeching halt when she was diagnosed with APL Leukemia in 2007. Thankfully, God is good and she has been in remission since 2009.

Anyways, she flew in Thursday evening around 8pm. And that ended up being a fiasco as a friend of mine was working on my car and it was supposed to be good to go for me... Well, as he drove it to my work, the part failed and it was leaking coolant again. Now, I count my blessings that it failed on him and not me when I was on the interstate. It still left me in a predicament though as I was stuck at work with no ride and T was stuck at the airport with no ride. I didn't want to stress her out so I told her I was running late due to work (which was partially true, hectic night at work) and I worked to solve our issue. I have the best friends in the world and a friend of mine let me borrow her Yaris not only to pick up T from the airport but all day Friday as well, all I had to do was wake up early enough to take her daughter to daycare and her to work. This helped SO much. T & I were able to grab a rental Friday afternoon and we were good to go transportation wise.

We got SO much done in a short 5 days, 6 nights. I have been clean eating 5 days a week since June but I knew this week would be lots of cheating as she had many favorites that we needed to visit that she can't get in Virginia. We started off Thursday night with a bestie night in topped off with horrible food and a great chick flick. We got Hungry Howies subs and I made a pinterest recipe, smores rolled up pizza, which was amazing and we watched The Other Woman and laughed until we cried.

Friday we got right to business with taking care of her to-do list while in town. It was an early morning since we had to drop my friend off at work. We then ventured out to Lake H which is a popular workout spot so we could take a 3 mile stroll while enjoying the great outdoors. We followed that with breakfast at Fat Jacks, her all time favorite and a must visit every time shes in Florida. You can get 3 eggs, hash browns, grits OR home fries and toast for $2.99. You can't beat that! After that we headed to the local DMV so she could try to renew her expired Florida DL. I was expecting a hassle, but, we breezed through! She took that as a sign from God! We made a quick stop at Parkesdale Farms for some produce and dessert. She was in awe that I've lived here my entire life and never been. And boy was I missing out. Their strawberry milkshake was top notch. No wonder it has been voted best drinkable dessert by food network. Friday night we had a girls night out at a local hidden gem that plays live music in a great outdoor environment. This was a perfect evening with the bestest of friends, good craft beer, variety of food and a relaxing live band!

 Saturday we intended to wake up early and head to one of my favorite places, Anna Maria Island, but, we slept in. We finally headed that way around 11am and met up with a friend for lunch at Lobstahs which is a local favorite. We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sun. It was a perfect Florida beach day! We ended our Saturday by cooking in, shrimp, grilled onions, corn on the cob & cilantro rice.

 ^^ do not judge my corn. I like it Mexican style ;)

Sunday was a fairly laid back day. We went to breakfast with friends at another local gem, The Ribhouse, and then met up with more friends for Church (which might I add, the praise was awesome and the word was amazing!). We hosted a little cookout by the pool at my house after church to give anyone who hadn't met up with T over the weekend a chance to swing by while she was in town. I missed the gym Friday and Saturday so was grateful to have time for a run on Sunday night.

Monday we headed out to the Webster Flea Market which is only open on Mondays oddly enough. We went out there with a purpose and our mission was accomplished. The rest of Monday was back to reality for me. I had to return to work after a wonderful 3 day weekend, and T had appointments at local universities on Monday and Tuesday while I was working. Tuesday was also pretty chill. I hit the gym in the morning and then bam it was time for work as I went in early so T could make an early appointment. We had a quick lunch date at Panera and a local cupcake bakery before I jetted off to work.

^^ look at this cutie I found at the flea market! He just wanted some kisses!
^^ I got a reeses cupcake and T got a mini creme brulee

We definitely did not accomplish everything that she wanted to do while she was in town, but, we knocked out a big chunk. The most important part was of course getting answers about finishing her degree, which she got taken care of, so I would consider this a successful trip for her. She wanted to end out her vacation by going to her favorite spot, so we grabbed breakfast at Fat Jacks on the way to the airport.

When I say I am blessed in the friends department, I am not lying. I am so thankful for each and every single one of my friends. They truly are my family.

<3 you T, thanks for spending the week with me!

Monday, July 28, 2014

How much is enough?

 ** sharing a post from my former blog **

Last night as I listened to the storm outside, and read chapter six in Radical by David Platt, I was convicted. Various parts brought me to tears. Chapter 6 is titled How Much Is Enough? American Wealth And A World Of Poverty.  Before I get started I am going to give you a few statistics because I have a feeling many of you may not make it to the end of this post as I will likely become a babbling mess with a super long message. SO, let's get right to the stats: ┼ As of 2010 if you make more than $50,000 a year, you are in the top 1% of the worlds wealthiest people. 99% of the world is less wealthy than you. Remember, this is world we are talking about, NOT America.  ┼ If you make $25,000 a year, you are wealthier than 90% of the worlds population. You are among the richest 10% of adults in the world. ┼ Of the 6.7 billion people on earth almost half of them live on less than $2 a day. We spend $2 on french friends, or mints. Our hourly wage is MORE than $2 and so many make that in a DAY. ┼ 60% of the worlds population make LESS than $1000 annually. That's right. An average of $83 a month. ┼ If you have money saved (any amount), a hobby that requires some equipment of supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, 2 cars (any condition), and live in your own home, you are among the top 5% of the worlds wealthiest. You may think YOU are struggling financially BUT 95% of the world is struggling more than you or I. ┼ 93% of the worlds population don't even own a car. Yet we complain on a regular basis about our car problems. ┼ More than 26,000 children will DIE today due to starvation and preventable diseases. --- from the Radical book Statistics like this blow my mind. I guess I've never looked at the grand scheme of things. We tend to focus more locally. But when you start adding world into everything, things change.... and drastically I got the above stats from & The hole in our Gospel by Richard Sterns, president of World Vision. If you haven't read David Platts' book, Radical, I highly recommend it. It has definitely brought things into perspective for me. Chapter 6 is about blind spots in our life. "we all have blind spots - areas of our lives that need to be uncovered so we can see correctly and adjust our lives accordingly. But they are hard to identify. Others can often see them in us, and we rely on friends to point them out. But the reality is, even then we have a hard time recognizing them. We don't want to admit they exist... often until it's too late" David Platt says he can think of at least one glaring blind spot in American Christian history: Slavery. How could Christians who supposedly believed in the gospel so easily reationalize the enslavement of other human beings? Churchgoers with good intentions worshiping God together every Sunday and reading the Bible religiously all week long, all the while using God's Word to justify treating men, women, and children as property to be used or abused.  When we look back at slave owning church goers of 150 years ago we ask "how could they have treated fellow human beings that way?" We have to wonder if followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask "how could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn't have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn't even exist?" Good intentions, regular worship, and even study of the Bible do not prevent blindness in us. Part of our sinful nature instinctively chooses to see what we want to see and to ignore what we want to ignore.  Do you think materialism  is a blind spot in American Christianity today? More specifically, is materialism a blind spot in your Christianity today? Does this mean to sell everything you have? No. Take a look at Mark 10 and Jesus' conversation with a rich young man. The man eagerly approached Jesus and asked him "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" to which Jesus said to HIM "One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then, come follow me." Jesus was clearly exposing THIS particular man's allegiance to his possessions. The rich man needed a new heart. One that was radically transformed by the gospel. David Platt says that there are two common errors people make when they read Mark 10:
  1. some try to universalize Jesus' words, saying that he always commands his followers to sell everything they have and give it to the poor. But, the New Testament doesn't support this.
  2.  some people assume Jesus never calls his followers to abandon all their possessions to follow him. Mark 10 DOES teach us that sometimes Jesus DOES call on people to sell everything they own and give to the poor.
One writer put it this way... "that Jesus did not command ALL his followers to sell all their possessions gives comfort only to the kind of people to whom he would issue that command." How true is that?! David Platt makes sure to reiterate that the Bible NOWHERE teaches that caring for the poor is a means by which we can earn salvation. The means of our salvation is faith in Christ alone, and the basis of our salvation is the work of Christ alone. He does remind us that the books of Proverbs warns about curses that come upon those that ignore the poor. James(5:1) tells those who hoard their money and live in self indulgence to "weep and wail because of the misery that is coming"  Chapter 6 goes on in great detail about the luxuries of our American life and simple ways we can help others. For instance, one example he gave is how as our annual incomes increase so does our spending on ourselves. We make more a year, that means a bigger house, or a better car. When really, if we capped our income, and continued to live off of that cap, each year as our income grew, we'd have more to give to help those that aren't as fortunate. One example given was of John Wesley (1703-91). He identified a modest living level for him and never surpassed it. At one point he began making the equivalent of 160,000 a year in todays terms, yet he still lived as if he were making 20,000 a year and had 140,000 left over to give away. WOW. Scripture clearly teaches that God intends our plenty to supply others needs.  There are two questions that need to be asked?
  1. What can we spare?
  2. What will it take?
What would happen if together everyone stopped giving their scraps to the poor and started giving surplus? What if we started giving not just what we were able to give but beyond what we were able to give as the widow in Luke 21 did. She gave ALL that she had. What if WE began to give what it HURT us to give; not just because of the critical need around us, but because this kind of giving is actually what the heart of Christ in us both demands and desires? This is exactly what the Scripture teaches. In 1 Timothy 6, Paul tells Timothy to command the rich "to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." This, Paul says, is the key to being free from the deadly nature of wealth and possessions. GIVE. Give generously, abundantly, and sacrificially.  Chapter 6 gives SO many examples of this from cleaning out closets, donating electronics, selling a large house for a smaller one, and even one lady who, as her church tried to raise money to rebuild homes in Indonesia (you could rebuild a home for $400) after destruction from an earthquake, said "my husband and I don't have much money right now, BUT, I can give this (her wedding ring) so that a couple in Indonesia can have a home." I won't go into great detail of these examples as I know I've ranted for awhile now! The war against materialism in our hearts is exactly that, a war. It's a constant battle to resist the temptation to have more luxuries, to acquire more stuff, and to live more comfortably. It requires a strong and steady resolve to live out the gospel in the middle of an American dream that identifies success as moving up the ladder, getting a bigger house, buying a nicer car, eating finer foods and acquiring more things. BUT, we can beat the battle. We can win the war within our heart.  Don't be blind to materialism in your own life friends. Don't miss eternal treasures by settling on earthly trinkets. Where your treasure is Jesus says, "there your heart will be also." It's easy for those statistics that I gave at the beginning to seem so cold and distant. It's hard for us to even imagine as we lay our pillows down on our comfy pillows at night. But, it's out there friends. Men, Women, Children, just like us, are out there suffering. We have a choice. When we see those poverty commercials come on TV, we have the choice to switch the channels on our mega tv's, to continue our ordinary comfortable churchgoing lives as if the global poor don't exist, OR we can open our eyes and our lives to the realities that surround us and begin considering the facts that are represented by these numbers.  Only time will tell what you and I choose to do with this blind spot of American Christianity in our day.
The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field....
when a man found it,
in his JOY he went and sold all he had
and bought that field!
Matt 13:44
All they asked,
is that we should continue to remember the poor.
The very thing I was eager to do.
Galatians 2:10
To help locally it's as simple as cleaning out your closet, donating excess clothes, dropping food off or volunteering at homeless shelters or food banks. You can simply google local organizations that need help. If you'd like more information on helping fight the global battle please check out the following:
Isn't it amazing to think that by us sponsoring a child and donating $25 or so a month, we are making an enormous difference in that families household income? In some cases we are doubling an ANNUAL income. If you made it this far, thank you! I know it was a lot to take in, but I am so appreciative for you taking the time to read it. May you have a blessed coming week.