Spring Planting for a Cause – Blossom Care Network

Although we had snow here in Denver on Mother’s Day, for the most part spring is here! It’s time to start thinking about what to plant in the garden. I’m a novice gardener myself, and bulbs are a great low-maintenance way to go when adding some life to your yard!

blossom care network

I recently discovered a great organization through our church called Blossom Care Network. This organization is based in Denver and takes in children rescued from sex-trafficking in Colorado. These children are placed into the foster care of people specially-trained by this organization to help these children heal from their traumatic experiences. Also, they continue to care for the children into their adult years and do not abandon them when they turn 18.

One way to support this organization is to buy bulbs through them and a portion of the proceeds directly benefits them. I got some for Mother’s Day gifts and some for myself and wanted to spread the word! They arrived quickly and I can’t wait to plant them!

Click here to get your summer blooming bulbs, on sale until June 1! Bring some beauty to your yard or pot while benefiting a great cause!

Summer Read

If you’re looking for a book to read this summer, I have a recommendation for you!

photo 2-1

I just finished this book (finally) and it is really thought-provoking, challenging, and beautifully written. I started it LAST summer, but then life got busy and I stopped reading basically all together for like 9 months. Shame on me!

photo 1-1It is filled with tidbits like this that gave me a new perspective on my faith and the way I can increase in joy and intimacy with Christ even (and especially) in the day-to-day.

Now that I finished this, I don’t want to take another 9 month hiatus. Anyone have any good suggestions for me?

Extreme Gratitude

Hey all! Hope you had a great long weekend. We had a great time. It was the hubs birthday Saturday and the celebration filtered through the weekend. We got to watch our alma mater’s first football game at a Kstate bar we discovered in Denver which was a blast! It felt like we were back in Aggieville again. Calder spent that day fishing, it’s his newest favorite hobby 🙂 Hence this card I made for him:

I made it from an actual photo of him fishing so the fisherman in the card is him! We also had a BBQ with some friends on Labor Day and I made Calder’s favorite cake to bring: his mom’s strawberry cake recipe, which I plan to make a post of in the near future.

We also were celebrating OFFICIALLY being approved for our mortgage meaning we OFFICIALLY are homeowners! Move date is in 2 weeks!!

AND we had more to celebrate…I was offered a full time designer position at the firm I’m interning at! It was very unexpected, but I am super excited!! So I will nanny for the rest of the month and then transition into the new job.

Clearly we have so much to be thankful for. I don’t want to take any of it for granted. The Lord has rained down His blessings upon us for reasons unbeknownst to us. But even when times are tough and it seems like nothing is going our way, I pray we will still live with a lifestyle of gratitude. I am reading Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 gifts and I have been totally convicted and challenged to embrace a lifestyle of gratitude for the every day things, looking for the Lord’s beauty and blessing in every moment. Even when I’m cleaning, or when I’m stuck in traffic (two things I’m really not a fan of at all…). Or, to go even further, even if something tragic happens, my husband loses his job, one of us gets sick, etc. It is definitely not first instinct. I tend to complain much more when I am no thinking about it. I must be intentionally noticing, praising, and thanking the Lord as I go about my day.

In the book, Ann is on a journey to find the source of true joy in life and she discovers it is to live with Eucharisteo. The Greek word for thanksgiving found throughout the Bible. It is used when Christ is having the last supper when it says “he broke the bread and gave thanks.” But not only does the word itself mean “to give thanks,” its root word is charis meaning grace. It also contains the root word chara, meaning joy. Grace, thanksgiving, and joy. All wrapped up in one word. One word to describe a lifestyle that leads to true joy: a lifestyle of radical gratitude. To apply this practically, Ann makes a list of 1000 things she is grateful for. She adds to it throughout each day, and once she reaches 1000 she decides to keep going. Things like: the rainbow of light on the bubble’s surface while washing dishes; the sound of her children’s laughter; the way the sun moves across the floor.

Truly a great and poetic book. But past the book, what a challenge, but blessed way to live. I want to live that way. I’m grateful for this book opening my eyes in new ways and for the Lord continually working in my heart. If you enjoy reading (or even if you don’t, but want to be challenged in your faith), I would definitely recommend it. She can write much better than I can. I hope the Lord has used this post to reflect on things you are grateful for, and to look for ways to be grateful in situations you would normally complain about. Even the hard ones.

Bring the Rain!

Hey blog friends! Just a quick post today to ask you a little favor… please pray for Colorado! You have probably heard on the news about the wild fires across the state, and they are out of control. We desperately need rain, and it is thundering as I type this, and we need the clouds to spill over. Please join me (and many many others) in praying that the Lord would open up the heavens! Lord bring the rain!

Jesus, we pray you would hear our prayer, and that you would open the skies and bring the rain! Protect the families and tourists that have been evacuated. I pray in Your name for the fires to cease! Give strength and endurance to the fire fighters, may your name be glorified in seeing the fires cease, and in seeing people come together to help those who have lost everything. In Jesus name, Amen!

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts!!

Summer Goals Update (#6 The Water Project)

A couple of posts ago, I shared Calder & I’s summer goals. Well…the clock’s ticking and here we are 3/4 through June!! So crazy how fast time flies…and it seems like most of our weekends are booking up fast!

I just got back from a beautiful wedding of one of my best friends this weekend (more to come later) and so now that we are done with our travel bonanza that was the past month or so, it’s time to get started on these babies!

Next weekend, we plan to conquer a 14er (Calder did a 4-in-1 peak this past weekend, but I’m not counting that unless we do it together 😉 ) but I wanted to announce the start of our fundraising efforts mentioned in goal #6! We did decide to partner with The Water Project because they are such a great organization AND we are able to have our own fundraising page where it tracks our progress to our goal, as well as shares some personal info about why we are doing this and more about the organization themselves. SO please click your way on over there by clicking on this button:

If you want, we would love to welcome you to join forces with us and donate through our page!! Any amount helps! And if you think maybe later you might want to, this button will be sitting pretty over on the side bar permanently 🙂

We have brainstormed a couple of fundraising events that I am also really excited about! Some of our ideas are:

-Host a poker tournament where half of the buy-in goes to the cause and the other part goes to the pot/provides food.

-Have a community yard sale where people donate items and the proceeds go to the cause.

-Have a volleyball tournament & barbecue with a small entry fee.

That’s all we got so far… we’ll need to get to planning these events! If you have any fun ideas, I would love to hear them! Thanks for partnering with us!!

4 Years

Four years is a long time, but sometimes I feel like it was just a moment ago. Four years ago my family lost our mom to cancer. I can’t believe it has been that long! I miss her everyday and wish she was still here to talk to and get advice from. I especially wish we could encourage one another in our faiths since I wasn’t following Christ too closely while she was around, while she was a spiritual warrior, and so I didn’t get to experience sharing that with her.

Even though I miss her so much, I know she is up in Heaven with Christ and I know I will see her there when my time comes. God has a perfect plan, and while I don’t believe he WANTS bad things to happen in this world, they do as a result of our fallen world. But I do believe that he can use all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and he has proven Himself faithful in the past four years. My relationship with my Dad became closer than ever and our family pulled together. Most importantly, it also sparked my desire to have my own relationship with Christ instead of riding on my mom’s coat tails, since I couldn’t do that anymore. Also, my now husband, then boyfriend, and I were going through a rough time and we were able to re-evaluate our priorities. It took me a while to really grieve too, because for a while I was kind of in shock, it felt really surreal, like in a few months she would be back with us. Most days are good now, but some days, not even necessarily significant days like her birthday or this anniversary or mother’s day, are really emotional. I don’t think those types of days will ever stop happening, and I’m okay with that. Sometimes a good cry is necessary.

My life has changed quite a bit since my Mom was here. I graduated college, married my best friend (I’m thankful we were high school sweethearts because my husband was able to meet my mom!), and moved to Colorado away from my family in Kansas. It blows my mind how fast time flies. My dad is dating a wonderful woman now, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to get to know her now and that she keeps my dad from being lonely 🙂

Loss has a way of making you more grateful. Don’t take life or your loved ones for granted! And allow hard trials to strengthen you instead of break you. Lean on God, He is always faithful. This post is a tribute to my mom and the impact she had on my life. People say I look like her, and that couldn’t be a better compliment. She was a beautiful woman inside and out! So thankful for the time I had with her and the impact she had on our family. Miss you mom!

Life More Intentional–Summer Goals!

That’s kinda cheesy…sorry about that..haha. But after reading the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years a couple of weeks ago, I was challenged to live life more intentionally get out and enjoy making fun memories! So in light of that, the hubster and I came up with the summer goals we want to accomplish. They are mostly recreation related but there is a few other ones mixed in there. And we wanted to be realistic and make them attainable. As we complete them, I will be sure to post about them! Oh and we are saying the end of summer is the end of September…so a few months to complete them!

1. Climb (and summit) three 14er’s (mountains in Colorado that are above 14,000 feet) Calder has gotten one so far and he wants to summit all 54 of them eventually…so we are getting started! We plan on doing Gray’s and Torrey’s (kind of a 2-in-1) and Mt. Evans.

Here are the peak’s of Gray’s and Torrey’s. See how you just summit one and then cross the ridge to the other summit. Yay for 2-in-1’s! I’m sure that it is not as easy as it looks though..

And here is Mt. Evans! There won’t be that much snow on it let’s hope!

2. Try rock climbing. With ropes and harnesses. On a real rock. This one I’m SO excited for!! I have always loved climbing on stuff…trees, rocks, whatever.

3. Spend a weekend camping out! (By a mountain river hopefully!) This should be fun, I do like the outdoors but I struggle a bit with sleeping on the ground/not showering/being surrounded by mosquitoes… lol but I’m going to go for it anyway!

4. Spend a weekend backpacking. Similar to goal #3 but this one involves packing up all our stuff each day and hiking to a different campsite a few miles away. Since it’s only 2 nights it shouldn’t be too crazy 😉

5. Get at least 2 customers for my online design business Main Street Charm…there will be more to come on this in about a week! The website is almost ready and I’m excited to launch! (and I’m so excited to be working with my 1st client!)

6. Raise money to build a well in to provide clean water to a community in need. We most likely, we will go through The Water Project. By partnering with them, we can make a big impact in a community in Africa!  I’m really looking forward to looking into this more. God will work through us and in us through serving others and I believe it will not only help us grow in our individual faiths, but to grow spiritually in our marriage as we work to together for a greater cause and brainstorm fundraising ideas. I will keep you posted on our progress!

Overall, we want to make sure we take advantage of the opportunities God has provided for us and the opportunities our location offers!

If you have any goals for the summer, or even for the year, do share them!

Book Review- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I just finished reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. What an awesome read! It is light hearted and funny in a lot of parts, but also deep and thought-provoking in areas as well.

In this book, Donald is approached by some producers to create a movie out of one of his previous books (Blue Like Jazz). Once he accepts, they start the editing process. He finds it an interesting process, and through it all he learns about the aspects of a story and what makes them good. He then come to the conclusion that his life has not been a good story and he begins to take steps to make it a better one.

This book was very inspiring to me to try and live my life with meaning! I don’t want to end up wasting the precious days that God has given me. I want to live with intention to create meaningful experiences and relationships in my life that will glorify God!

All of that inspired me to think of attainable goals and seek to achieve them…which I will post that list next week so stay tuned 😉

Overall, I definitely would recommend this. It’s such a fun & easy read! I read it in about 2 days… and I already want to read it again! If you are looking for a good summer read, pick this up at your library or book store!

What about you guys? What inspires you to do more than just go through the day to day? Have a great memorial day weekend!

(this is not a sponsored post…i just really liked this book!)

Sunday

Happy weekend everyone! We have had a great one spending time with friends and celebrating Cinco de Mayo with home made tacos and coronas! And a pretty intense game of monopoly 😉

It was also beautifully warm yesterday and I spent my first day of the season poolside! And I have the red skin to prove it 😦 BUT I’m hopeful that within a few days it will be a nice tan!

Anyway, today I finished a book I’ve been reading–it’s called From Blah to Awe by Jenna Lucado Bush and it’s about getting our faith out of the boring and into the exciting that it was meant to be. It’s geared towards younger girls, but I still got some good stuff out of it (I would definitely recommend it to any teen girls!)

This quote really stuck out to me:

“Why would want to show off His glory & why did He create us to promote Him more? This of it this way. You’re floundering neck-deep in a dark, cold sea. Ship sinking. Life jacket deflating. Strength waning. Through the inky night comes the voice of a life boat pilot. But you cannot see him. What do you want the lifeboat pilot to do? Be quiet? Say nothing? By no means! You need volume! You need to hear him say ‘I am here. I am strong. I have room for you. I can save you!’ Drowning passengers want to pilot to reveal his preeminence. Don’t we want God to do the same?”

It goes on to say that is why God glorifies himself through nature, through the changed lives of his children, and why he wants us to glorify Him in our own lives–out of love and care for those who are “drowning” so they can easily find Him!

The reason it stuck out to me so much is because like most people, I have questions and have questioned my faith and why God made certain things the way He did. If I’m completely honest, I have to say I have had the thought that “God seems kinda narcissistic to make everything for the sole purpose of bringing himself glory.” But the difference is that he brings himself glory out of LOVE for his creations. He knows that, since we are created by Him, a relationship with him is the only thing that can TRULY fulfill the longing in our souls. And glorifying himself shows that to the world!

Thank you, God, for glorifying yourself through your creation of nature and through me!

And for good measure, here God glorifies himself in the cuteness of my kitties!

Tune in tomorrow to see how our map project turned out!

Living in the Light

This weekend at church, our pastor gave a message that really resonated with me. He is doing a series called “Shine” where he talks about living in the light of Christ and shining the Light of Christ through our own lives (click here to check out the sermon series). The verse this week’s sermon was based on was Ephesians 5:11-14

“Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. but their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, ‘Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead and Christ will give you light.'”

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that we should be pointing out the sin in OTHER people’s lives after reading this verse. And there is the common saying “Love people but hate their sin.” But our pastor gave us the humbling challenge to:

“Love people and hate OUR OWN sin.” –I love that! A great phrase to live by.

The light of Christ will not just expose the evil and darkness in others, but it will expose the sin in OURSELVES. And praise God for that!

Another important point is that though the light of Christ exposes darkness & evil, instead of condemnation it brings grace, mercy, and forgiveness! We don’t have to be trapped in the darkness of our sin–Jesus shines his light to lead us into abundant life!

After church I felt challenged to truly love people and examine my own life and my pridefulness. Everyone has sin, people just sin differently so who am I to judge anyone?

I hope you are feeling challenged and inspired as well! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments 🙂